Monday, April 25, 2011


Can you introduce yourself and what your role is in Robocop?

My name is Ryan Page. I play guitar, along with various electronic instruments (mainly wave form oscillators) and one of the three vocalists. I also write the lyrics for the most part, and do the design work for the band.

How did Robocop form?

I was in a super market getting something to eat, and Tom came up to me and asked me if I wanted to play in a power-violence band. I immediately said yes, even though I didn't know who this guy was. I honestly didn't think anything would come of it, but in a few weeks he got in touch with me.

At the time, I was trying to get a live version of my other project, Body Hammer, going, but something about it wasn't working for me. Anyway, I had been trying to do that with Luke, so when our band needed a bass player, I thought it would be a chance to play in a band with him, which I had wanted to do for a while. A month later we recorded our demo.

What is it like being a band in Maine?

It's pretty difficult. Most of the support exists for bands that emulate popular bands. I'm sure its similar everywhere, but because most nationally recognized bands don't come up here, the next best thing for people are bands that sounds like them.

The way I see it, there's essentially three or four camps as far as punk/metal/hardcore goes: The stereotypical punks who spell it with the letter 'x', the hardcore guys, the metal crowd who's goal is to be sponsored by monster energy drinks and tour with trivium, and the “arty” portland scene that's sort of the exclusive hipster thing that imagines its cool because its only a year behind the curve rather than the 10-years-past-its-expiration-date metalcore that gets played up here.

That said there are good people in the scene. Some of the people into hardcore are exceptionally nice guys, and for a while there was an attempt to build some kind of community up here.

Essentially though, we kind of fall through the cracks because we're not really committed to any scene or aesthetic other than our own internal ideas about what does and doesn't work.

You released “Robocop II” on J. Randall’s label Grindcore Karaoke, how did that come about?

I'm not really sure how Jay first heard us, but basically, I received an email one day where he mentioned that he had been following Robocop and Body Hammer, and offered to release something for me. At that time we were coming to the tail end of the process for Robocop II, so it was perfect timing in that sense. I've always been a fan of ANB and from what I can tell Jay and I have similar interests, especially in regards to noise. We've talked about doing a noise recording, I think that would be really cool if that worked out.

What was the writing process like for “Robocop II”?

About half of the songs written for Robocop II came from our demo, and on the demo a few of the songs were partially written by Tom for another project. So it was somewhat complicated. I believe the demo was written before Luke joined, but of course he writes bass lines that are different from what I'm playing on the guitar. Its difficult to say when these songs were fully formed. “Fed to the Wolves” and “Maine is The Bastard” were written after he joined, but I believe everything except the noise tracks was written in 2009.

What was the recording process like for “Robocop II”?

The recording and mixing process was really hard on Luke and I. It took over a year, and we never felt completely satisfied with the results. We recorded it ourselves, by using our own equipment or borrowing it without asking from the school we're attending. Unfortunately we had a lot of equipment failures, and the computer we were recording on had errors throughout the process. We lost an entire session because of this. We tried again, and had similar errors, but somehow we got through it. The process was complicated because we had to record extra percussion for the record (gongs, timpanis, etc), and electronics for certain songs. We also were tracking the guitars for most of the songs because the recorded guitars didn't sound great. It look a long time to get the recording in decent shape and there were times when I wasn't sure we were going to finish it.

What are some of the lyrical themes on “Robocop II”?

The lyrics and extracted quotations are a variety of perspectives that range from fairly straightforward songs like Skramz and CBMP to quotes from Baudrillard and Ballard, and songs with more complicated and compressed ideas like Feminism Uber Alles.

Initially when I first joined the band, I was writing lyrics to fit the simplicity of the music we were writing, and to a certain extent what is expected in hardcore. I think initially playing this kind of music was a bit of a stress relief, and was a break from the more serious works I was doing, and to a certain extent, in Body Hammer. However, the full length became such an extended and painful experience that the lyrics and designs shifted to match that. Because the recording process was so fragmented, I wanted to take advantage of that, so that the album would at the very least be consistent in its sporadic nature.

I guess I will summarize, I think the lyrics reflect a general paranoia, and distrust, especially in regards to codified scenes or ideologies and those that use them to define themselves. There is also a sense trying to make sense of the large number of symbols we are constantly bombarded with, and maybe an attempt to find patterns in the chaos.

I think the best way to listen to this album is pattern recognition. There are a large number of allusions to other works and ideas from a variety of sources with the intent to overwhelm the listener. I think this was partially to match the effect of the music. In a way they are very similar, the music is a large number of sounds compressed into a short time frame, and the lyrically there are a lot of concepts compressed into a small number of words.

I've heard it described in various ways, but I tend to think of writing lyrics as similar to the act of computer compression. The idea being that if you have access to the same information it is easier to communicate a vast number of ideas merely by invoking a reference to them.

What music influenced “Robocop II”?

The Endless Blockade, Sleep, Japanese Torture Comedy Hour, Discordance Axis, Black Sabbath, Napalm Death, etc.

Who are some of your biggest personal musical influences?

I enjoy twentieth century composers like Stockhausen, Cage, Iannis Xenakis, etc. I also like a lot of metal; Doom, Black Metal, some death metal, a bit of thrash, etc. I'm a big fan of older hardcore bands, I enjoy powerviolence quite a bit. There are quite a few grindcore bands I like. Italian soundtrack music... I could go on for days.

I'm not really sure where the influences come from musically. I don't like the pretense that somehow my band was influenced by music that it clearly doesn't sound like, or doesn't share a philosophy with, but there are a variety of artists who have influenced me indirectly.

What albums are you listening to now?

Big Black's first couple 7”s. The new Gridlink. The Endless Blockade. Kool Keith. The sub-bass hits coming from my jock neighbors' apartment.

Are the members of Robocop in any other bands?

As I've mentioned before, I have Body Hammer. I also compose music for film soundtracks, and create electroacoustic compositions. Luke is in GiantGiant, and Tom plays in We Are, The Vulture and Divide and Conquer.

Does Robocop have any plans for the future?

We're currently working on a new split with Detroit. After that we'll be playing a few local shows and possibly doing a short tour. In August I'm moving to California to work on my masters degree.

Any other comments?

Thank you for setting this up. I believe this is our first interview as a band.

Thanks to Ryan for the interview! You can buy "Robocop II" here and download it for free here. Also thanks to Luke Kegley for the awesome original artwork, you can check out more of his work here.


  1. do you all the drawings for the posts? cuz those are pretty cool.

  2. No, my friend luke does them. I wish I could draw like that. Thanks, I think it is a cool addition to the posts too

  3. either way, it's a really cool, unique touch that adds something original to your blog.