Julie Johnson: Before we talk about Vol. 2 of the Twin Cities Electropunk compilation - How well has Vol. 1 done since its release in 2004?
Todd Millenacker: Twin Cities Electropunk Volume 1 has done pretty well. We're completely out of the 750 copies we originally pressed of Volume 1 and it's been download about just as many times. Actually, I wasn't going put out Volume 2 for awhile, but then because Volume 1 caught on I figured we better "strike while the iron is hot" and put out Volume 2 fairly quickly.
JJ: Were there any bands that felt that their music became more of interest after the success of Volume 1?
Todd: I hope they all felt like that. If anything it puts every band's name and music in front of quite a few people who would have never stumbled across them normally. It also ties them to the electropunk movement in the Twin Cities which I think is gonna get more and more attention as time goes on.
JJ: Before you started compiling the artists for the compilations did you see a raise in Electropunk Artists?
Todd: Other than Avenpitch I don't think too many - if any - bands in the Twin Cities were claiming to be "electropunk". However, there was definitely something happening around here. There was already an established community of electronic music artists that had some awareness and respect for each other. There was the "Electro-Tank!" club night in St. Paul and also MSPESP, a Yahoo! Group, where local electronic music folks spent time chatting.
JJ: There are countless electropunk bands trying to survive in the underground seen. Is there a band that you think has influenced the artists on these compilations to do what they do?
Todd: I can't speak for the other bands, but I know personally I've been quite inspired by Emil Hyde of the Mystechs. I've known him since 2001 and he's basically shown me what it takes to make things happen as a DIY electronic musician. Every year he manages to release a new Mystechs album, tour America in the spring, fall and on weekends, run Omega Point Records, play keyboards in Corporate MF and produce 2 or 3 albums a year for other artist. Whenever I think I'm working too hard, I look at him and know I've got a long way to go. He's influenced my whole mentality and approach in regards to what it takes to be a successful underground musician.
JJ: How did you go about selecting the artists for Vol. 2?
Todd: After Volume 1 bands started contacting me. I gave them all a good listen and put together what I thought would make up a great sampler of our little scene.
JJ: I really got into the track by Heliosphere. What impressed you about them to have them on your compilation?
Todd: I think it's safe to say Heliosphere is probablyone of the best, if not the best, EBM band in the Twin Cities. They make music that gets ya moving: simple as that. Andy's synth programming and production is tight and Bill has great stage presence. They're one of the newer bands on Volume 2 and look forward to seeing what they do next. Already they're doing quite well - they're opening for Assemblage 23 in a month. Very cool!
JJ: How does your own band Avenpitch play a role in the diversity of the compilation?
Todd: I think we're definitely the most "punk" band in terms of both sound and attitude on the compilation. Most of us come from rock band backgrounds and we've got much more of a "caveman" approach towards technology than the majority of electronic musicians.
JJ: I noticed that some of the same artists appear on both Volume 1 and 2. Is there a particular reason why?
Todd: No, not really. I liked the bands so I asked them be a part of Volume 2. I'm just happy they wanted to be a part of it again!
JJ: The first compilation only had 10 tracks, was there a demand for 16 tracks on Vol. 2?
Todd: All Twin Cities Electropunk CDs are given away for free at all involved artists' shows. With that logic I figured the more good bands on the comp and the more cross promotion for all bands involved. We were also able to print up 1000 CDs this time around. We're all Americans. Bigger is better, right?
JJ: How well has Vol. 2 been doing now that it has been about for about a month?
Todd: Very well! It seems like people were anticipating and looking forward to this disc. Volume 2 has been getting quite a bit of press. The Star Tribune (Minnesota' big paper) has declared electropunk "officially a genre" and quite a few netzines have done favorable write-ups on this comp as well. Hopefully, the compilation will continue to get attention and more and more people become aware of it.
JJ: Are there any particular artists that have been stirring up attention over others on Vol. 2?
Todd: There's absolutely no consistency to anyone's favorites. That's the beauty of these comps - everybody can get it for free and find something that works for them. The left field surprise for me was Tim Rally Gold. I loved their track from the start, but I didn't think it would be the one the critics single out time and time again. Honestly, all the bands are great and deserving of more attention.
JJ: Do you feel that this compilation may bring out more electropunk artists?
Todd: More than anything I'd like these comps to inspire other electronic musicians to start their own little electropunk scene wherever they live. I know the folks in the Twin Cities aren't the only people with cheap keyboards, loud guitars and out-of-date computers.
JJ: Can we expect this series to continue for several years?
Todd: I'm planning on putting out an electropunk disc every year or so until death. Well maybe not until death, but at least for awhile - at least until interest dies down. If I get too busy or lose the passion for it I'd like to hand the compilation series on down to some other ambitious electropunk. Volume 3 will be 2006.
JJ: Really, how is the electropunk scene really in the Twin Cities?
Todd: Good and getting better everyday.
JJ: Lastly, by making this available on-line has this created more buzz?
Todd: Definitely! I 'm amazed that people from all over the world - Denmark, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Australia - are sending me emails and telling me how much they like the comp and this or that artist. Its both amazing and humbling to see people paying attention to this little group of electropunk musicians from Minnesota.
JJ: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your compilation project?
Todd: Get more info and download "Twin Cities Electropunk Volume 1 & 2" for FREE @ http://www.tcelectropunk.com
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