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Gentleman Vase

Interview with Fred Pipes for 'Brighton Music Scene' magazine.

‘More Human Than Human EP’ is the first release by Gentleman Vase, an alternative, electronic project based in Brighton, UK. The songs are written and produced in the studio of guitarist John Fowler. John was a member and song writer with 'The Rhythm Method' and 'The Lizard Men', is currently the guitarist with 'The Gecko Brothers' and is founder of the Independent Label 'Vase Records'.

What has been the inspiration for the music on your EP?

I love artists like Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, Peter Gabriel, Vangelis, David Bowie, Dead Can Dance, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Depeche Mode, Electric Six and many many others. The EP title ‘More Human Than Human’ was inspired by Ridley Scott’s movie ‘Blade Runner’. It’s the motto of the Tyrell Corporation, which manufactures ‘Replicant’ humans.

The vocals are very unusual – how did you get that sound?

There are real voices on it but I have also used two different virtual vocalists in homage to the replicants in that film as well as the HAL 9000 computer in ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’. Its not completely unique as Japan have virtual pop stars called Kyoko Date and Hatsune Miku  - I think they have been high in the charts over there. I read that Hatsune Miku is a new speech synthesiser developed by Yamaha.

What is it you like about those films?

‘Blade Runner’ is an amazing film. I love the sci-fi concepts in the story, the astonishing visuals, the brilliant soundtrack by Vangelis and great performances by Rutger Hauer and Harrison Ford. I was moved by the replicants struggling to come to terms with emerging raw human emotions and their acute awareness of their 3-year lifespan. In ‘2001…’ the character HAL also appears childlike as he struggles to use logic to resolve conflicting human instructions. I think the characters make us ask questions about the nature of being ‘human’ as well as drawing attention to the relatively short length of human life.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on new songs for the 10-track album to be released early 2010. There will hopefully be a remix included by Martin Jenkins of  ‘Space Raiders’, and more guest vocalists (human or otherwise).

What do you think about the amount of technology used in music today?

I think its wrong to fool people into thinking a singer is a great singer by artificially re-tuning their voice. It’s best used to create new soundscapes that have been previously beyond the realm of traditional instruments and studios.

Music software has given me control of everything: the instrumentation, multitracking and production. The Internet gives me the ability to promote, advertise and distribute everything via my own record label. Technology is just another tool that can be used to create sounds that hopefully express something unique and transfer it from one head to another.

Where did you get that name ‘Gentleman Vase’?

It’s a bizarre name that has hung around from many years ago when I made music with my friend Richard Royale. He had a 4-track cassette recorder and we sampled BBC sound-effects LP’s, weird eastern-European cartoons off the TV, read stories, sang, played guitar and mixed it all together. Richard had some fantastic ideas and we spent much of the time creased over laughing at his insane mixing results. Hopefully we will be getting back together for the album.


Fred Pipes for 'Brighton Music Scene'.




More Human Than Human EP

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