Mike Madriaga 9:30 a.m., May 25
Rise of the Speedmen
RIYL: RjD2, Slint, DJ Shadow, Fifty on Their Heels, My Bloody Valentine
- Blurt: "I Just Want to Bang on This Drum All Day" · Aug. 25, 2010
- Musician Interview: "Retro Electro" · July 29, 2009
Influences: T Rex, Slint, the Sweet, Humble Pie, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Lou Reed, Guided by Voices, Velvet Underground, Fifty on Their Heels, LCD Soundsystem
Rise of the Speedmen began as Gene Padigos’s one-man stage show, featuring electronic prerecorded music accompanied live by various instruments, from guitar to synth, bass, and drums.
“I got most of my gear with insurance money after getting hit by a drunk driver,” says Padigos. “The recording equipment turned out to be the best investment I could make. The whole homemade, bedroom-album thing was just starting, but I wanted to do something that sounded more like a band and less like some guy with a hard-drive full of samples and a drum machine.”
In 2008 Padigos recruited bassist Nick Shingle and drummer Rea for the band, both from local punkers Fifty on their Heels.
“I’d call our music electro-rock,” says Padigos, a native San Diegan. “It’s scientifically designed for the vocals to be sung in a low-reverberation wave fragment with minimal poetic lines, underlined with lots of beat-down, driving, electronic percussion.”
The songs manage to sound both old-school and cutting edge. “I like to take the structures of pop music and the minor-chord progressions of goth and top it off with the instrumentation of guitar and synthesizers. Vintage synthesizers, to be specific…only the retro gear has that real, old-fashioned, funky-worm sound.”
The band is so devoted to retro, in fact, that their 2009 album takes its cue from a 50 year-old TV series. “Our album The Real and the Shadow was actually inspired by a Twilight Zone episode. I remember waking up from a nap with the TV on, still half asleep, and finding myself in the middle of the episode where the main character, a trumpet player, is being told by this archangel about how he just got hit by a truck [A Passage for Trumpet]. Although he’s not dead, he is caught somewhere in between ‘the real and the shadow.’ That line seemed so surreal when I heard it, and it just stuck with me when I was working on the album.”