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  Offworld Music
Record label catering to innovative music, artists and producers - from drum&bass to hip hop and electronic.

Apply here to become one of our partners.
 
 

 

 

  Speaker Junkies

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Tekno Tom

 

 

 

 

   Will

 

 

 

 

 

 
Name: Will Usey Tekno Tom
Age: 25 25
Years performing: 4 4

Not every kid raised on techno music wants to be a DJ. Some of them, take the road traveled by the likes of Prodigy, Crystal Method and Daft Punk, turning singing and keyboard skills into energetic live stage performances filled with synthesizers and drum machines. With a touring trail that looks more like a bus schedule (how many cities can you possibly hit in that many days?), Speaker Junkies are set to bounce off the road and into your home stereo with the impending release of their first full length original album, "Decibel Therapy" later this year. Until then, join us for a one-on-two interview with Will Usey and Tekno Tom, aka Speaker Junkies.

Jennifer: How did you two meet?
Tom: Will's brother married my aunt. One day his brother told me that Will also does electronic music and introduced us. I was very impressed with his skills as a writer and performer and asked him to work on Liquid Fiction with me. I was taking this project live and started to do gigs around Orange County and of course needed someone to perform and sing backup on stage with me. That's how we ended up being partners. Can you imagine - we used to sing behind our keyboards? Wow - that was actually funny.

How did you get started in music?
Tom: During my first year in college, I started writing lyrics and singing and decided to record a few songs. I was highly inspired by Depeche Mode and started doing synthpop music. One track led to more and more and I recorded my first album in 1998. I called the project Liquid Fiction (which can still be found on amazon.com and mp3.com). So that's pretty much how I got my feet wet with the music scene.

Will: I got my first keyboard at age 7 and learned how to play Yankee Doodle. From then on I was interested in music. My brother used to thump his music in his car all the time and I loved how the bass just made my whole body tingle. I got my first guitar at age 11 and took lessons. I learned how to record on my computer at age 14. Music has always been a part of my life and I loved experimenting with it. I was introduced to the rave scene at age 18 and fell in love with trance and techno. I wanted to create my own music after hearing the Robert Miles album. "Children" is the song that inspired me and ever since, my creations have been evolving along with the music heard today.

What instruments do you each play? Did you have formal training?
Tom: I've played the piano since I was about 10 years old. I had formal training to become a classical pianist. Thank God my parents made me practice everyday for an hour! Everything I've learned has been absolutely beneficial to my writing as a musician. I do mess around with the guitar here and there, but not even close to what Will on the guitar. You should hear him jam!

Will: Keyboard and Guitar that's about it.

How did your music evolve into a live act?
Will: It started with the equipment we have. We had experience from our synth pop band "Liquid Fiction", playing our first live show at chain reaction. We only had two keyboards, a sampler and two mics at that time. Eventually we slowly built our gear until we both had our own home studio. We started to produce what we thought was trance at that time until we had enough for a one-hour set. We felt confident enough that our music was sufficient to get a crowd to dance and it worked!

Did you ever DJ?
Tom: Nope. Although I'm thinking about giving that a shot sometime in the future. Maybe when these keyboards get too heavy to carry. DJ's are so lucky! All they have to carry are their record bags and their headphones. That makes traveling a bit easier. But I guess I get a good workout lugging all of our gear to the clubs. Bring on those flight of stairs dammit!
Will: Me neither. I never DJ'ed. But I always wanted to.

How would you describe what you do to someone who's never heard of you?
Tom: I usually tell people that we play trance music at clubs and parties without records or turntables, but with keyboards and other synthesizers. It's like a two man rock band, but replace the rock with techno and replace the guitars with keyboards and that's Speaker Junkies.

Do you perform all your own music? Will: Yes. All the music we perform on stage is written and produced by us. Sometimes we like to throw in a cover song of a popular trance anthem and do a different variation of it just to let people know we can do that also. The crowds usually dig it.

Where are some of the biggest/wildest/your favorite places that you've performed?
Will: Florida (Winter Music Conference), Aspen, lake Tahoe, Club Raw, House of Blues, Grand Avenue, Steam boat Colorado, and a few other ones that I can't name off the top of my head. Tom: Playing on top of a mountain at a resort in Colorado was crazy. People had to take these shuttle gondolas to even get to the party.

What's the craziest thing you've ever done on stage?
Tom: Jumping off stage and crowd surfing. I only did a few times. I learned my lesson though. The crowd usually doesn't get me back in time to play my next part - but it's worth it. Will: Dance. I used to be terrified of dancing in a club. I was afraid someone would laugh at me. The rave scene surly depleted that fear.

Have you seen the scene change since when you first started?
Tom: Definitely. There are less raves now and the big massives aren't around anymore. I'm pretty bummed on that. Massives like "How Sweet It Is" and "Audiotistic" were great. Now the raves are done in clubs and afterhour parties. It's not the same vibe and it's not about the PLUR as much or at all anymore. I saddened me when I heard that fights and gangs started to pollute the scene. Come on people - can't we all just get along?

Have you seen the events you play be effected by the police crackdown?
Tom: Occasionally. It's silly that security and police do not allow novelties such as glowsticks, food, and candy at raves and certain clubs. We were told once to take off our glowsticks because we were told that the county police passed a law that glowsticks are a drug related toy. I guess road flares should be illegal also then. We don't want ravers to stop in a middle of a road and stare at the shiny stick now do we?
Will: Raves were our main target for blasting our performance for all those speaker junkies. Now we have to adjust our music for the club scene.

If you weren't performing, where would we find you at a party/rave/club: standing in front of the speakers with your head in a bass bin, in the middle of the dance floor going for hours non stop, off on the side picking up girls... or some where else?
Tom: Truthfully, I'd be sitting somewhere listening intensely to the new sounds DJ's are spinning. It's exciting to hear how trance and techno is evolving. It helps to keep us on our toes and get fresh new ideas. I do get off my ass and dance if I really like the song though.
Will: I would be at home producing. If I were not producing, then I would be studying chemistry and biology. And if I were not studying then I would either be hanging out with my girlfriend and friends or be playing counter strike.

How has your creativity and style changed over the years?
Tom: Being inspired by 80's bands such as Depeche Mode, I was a bit more mellow and melodic in the songs I wrote. Now I love the harsh sounds and craziness of Nu Nrg and Hard Trance.
Will: When I first started producing my creativity was very high and my style was very melodic. Over time I developed writers block and was not very creative. Now I'm back with fresh new ideas and a harder style.

What are a few of your current and all-time favorite records and artists?
Tom: My current favorite artist is an unknown synthpop band called Cosmicity. I also like Nirvana, Paul Oakenfold, Madonna, and OMD just to name a few. Depeche Mode's Violator is probably my favorite record of all time. Will: Robert Miles, Prodigy, Fat Boy Slim, Daft Punk, Metallica, Diesel Boy, 311, and many more.

Who has influenced the music you make?
Will: Robert Miles, Prodigy, Crystal Method, Daft Punk, and those various Trance CD's.
Tom:
Actually, Will influenced me to start making trance. I wasn't really into trance much before I met him. Besides him, I have been influenced by mixes spun by DJ's such as DJ Beej, Thermo, Christopher Lawrence, and ATB.

What inspired you to make your first single, "Drifting"?
Tom: I'll pass this question on to Will since he was the brainchild behind Drifting.
Will: I wanted to create a song that would be filled with emotions and uplifting - a song that would take you on a dream - like journey. I was motivated to make a song that everyone would enjoy. Also my partner Tom and manager DJ Daniel inspired me a lot

How did your music end up in an ESPN commericial?
Tom: A friend of ours gave a CD to a commercial agent and basically the agent called our manager and got us the gig with ESPN and ipod. I didn't realize we actually got the gig till I heard it one Saturday morning. I turned on the TV and was like "Wow... I can't believe someone made a song that sounds just like ours. Holy crap... it is ours!!!" I freaked out and was jumping like a mad man.

How would you describe the music on your upcoming full-length album, "Decibel Therapy"?
Tom: It's a combination of melodic to hard electronic dance music that will make you want to get off your seat and bounce. Well, at least, that's what I hope people will be doing. Will: Upbeat, crazy, hard driving, dreamy, mood enhancing and euphoric.

Which of you does what in the studio, on the album and on stage?
Tom: We both have studios in our homes. So pretty much we produce and write the initial part of the song separately. Then we'd get together about 2-3 times a week, share our new ideas, and work on a few songs together. Our parts on stage are pretty much equal - just depends on the song. He'd play a lead part on one song and I'd do the backup sound effects, tweaks, and drum changes and on another song it could be vice versa.

Can people hear any of your music or mixes online?
Will: Definitely. You can check us out at www.speakerjunkies.com. We have sounds linked from mp3.com and iuma.com.

What is your goal as the Speaker Junkies?
Tom: I would love to make this a full time job. Doing something that I absolutely love with a passion and making a living out of it. Getting signed with a major record label wouldn't hurt either. But until we do, we'd like to get our songs to as many people as we can.
Will: We also want to keep this style of music alive. Music is our passion and without it, life would be pretty dull.

What would you be doing right now if you weren't making music?
Tom: I really don't know. I eat, drink and breathe music now. I'd be a very boring person if I weren't doing anything with music.
Will:
If I wasn't making music, I would surely be listening to it and I would fully concentrate on school to better my future.

PLAY IT LOUD!

Thanks guys!!

-- written by Jennifer Warner

 

 

 

 

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