Blogs » On Another Note » Robot Band Is Rocking It's Way To Fame....(An Interview with Greg Locke)

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I blame it all on Youtube. There I was.. just sifting through the net bored to tears and I pulled up the popular website to kill some time. And there it was... one of the featured videos on the front page... the robotic band... THE TRONS. I was immediately intrigued by the music, and the fact there was not a human on the video, yet there they were, playing human instruments... I had to find out more, so after some digging on the net, I found a contact to the band's manager (creator) Greg Locke, who agreed to answer some questions via email... So here they are all the way from New Zealand... THE TRONS!!!
 
 
 1. First things first... The idea of a robot band has existed for years,but  yours is probably the most unique and complete band I have seen (It's not electronic per say, but actual robots playing music) How did this idea come about?
 
A few things just seemed to coincide. I was in a two piece garage band many
years ago and had thought of building a drummer then, that would have
been the first thoughts. Recently I'd been heavily involved in music again
and working as a software engineer and just got thinking about it some
more. Then a friend was throwing out a beat up old strat guitar and finally
an old vending machine that I'd been involved in the design of was
decommissioned and was directed to my place instead of the dump. It had
some of the control parts in it I needed. Then there must have been a bolt
of lightning to my house or something too as it just seemed to fall into
place!
 


 2.Robotic Junk Band.. did you come up with the term? It's pretty spot on

I though for ages about that and found it real hard to convey that it is
robots made from old bits playing real music but the term junk adds in
the "punk" idea as well as keeping it fun. I also use the "garage band"
name a bit cause they were mainly built in the garage... and the music
style
is pretty close to that of the New Zealand garage scene.
 
3. How many songs does the band play?

They have about 10 at the moment... it's at the stage now where I have
trouble working out which ones to drop for gigs which is great.

 4. How long does it take to write and program (I assume) the robots to
 play it?

The ones so far have been written and programmed real fast just due to lack
of time. Some of them have been an evening and a couple have taken a day or
two. I have to revisit them as more instruments get added otherwise the new
guy ends up just sitting there doing nothing for the song. I'm really
looking forward to spending some decent time to write more.

 5. How many shows has the band played?

Five now... the last one was on stage as part of a big night with "human"
bands and they even got a mosh pit going!

 6. I first saw The Trons on "YouTube" it was on the front page as a featured video. It must have thousands of hits, has this helped the band's popularity?

yeah.. it's been pretty great. And the interest is really positive
too. I'm getting heaps of hits on the myspace as well so that's great to be
building up a solid fan base. I want to keep things happening and have
ideas for an interactive website too.
 7. Any plans on a tour?

Definitely. I am looking at one through New Zealand later in the year, and
try for overseas next year. It's a lot of fun... and I'm developing ways
that cameras on the instruments can pick up all the small movements and
project them so that it enhances the live thing even more.

 8. Which one needs the most maitenence>? Which one was the hardest to
 build?

Wiggy has been a bit of a nightmare. I need to add some more control into
him as the slider is a bit random and the string pressure is quite
critical. I like the rhythms he gets going the best though... there's a lot
more to explore there too.

 9. Name three random parts you used, and didn't think you would.
The giant horn used for Hams head was bit of a crazy coincidence. I bought
it at an auction a year back and was just drawn to it but had no idea why, then when I started putting the band together it just was the perfect answer cause he
actually does his singing out of it too. There are some pop rivets in Ham's
guitar as they are strong yet small diameter and I try other proper things but the chords suddenly don't change properly. Then of course there is pie plate for the snare... that was a totally last minute thing... and some pie plates really do sound better than others!


 10. I noticed all the band members have names. Is that so you wont get  them  confused, or did you want to give them real personality. (Personally Ham looks like a cool guy to hang with)

It was actually other people that started up the names thing. It is really
quite odd watching them play, the mind doesn't really understand what is going
but then it just lets go and enjoys it. Giving them names somehow helps link it all in and make it more connected to what we are used to.
Also people have been asking if they can date certain members so it seemed fitting to name them so they don't end up with the wrong guy.

11. anything you'd like to add?
Just thanks for the interview! I'm also looking forward heaps to developing
them much more and making the most of their non-humanness. There really is a lotthat can be done, getting more sounds and instruments together... expanding
on the vocals... it is just a chopped up tape loop at the moment which is fine for now but there is a lot more that can be done there. We're going to put a DVD together too of some stuff. They are great to work with like that!
Visit the Trons online at:
 http://www.myspace.com/thtrons