One week before the release of his new album, Anthems of the Hero, electronic dance music producer Kraddy, aka Matthew Kratz, is shooting the video for the album's first single "Black Box" at a house in Venice. Directed by Mickey Capoferri, the video depicts a house party gone awry, as two girls fight "Kill Bill-style" from room to room. They stumble upon one awkward situation after the next, from pukers to stoners.
Preparing to shoot a scene with lots of fake cocaine, Kratz talks to us about Anthems of the Hero. "The idea was Led Zeppelin 3000," he says of the work. The idea, he goes on, is that is the past and the future of music is intertwined.
"I want to retain the humanness," he says, "the actual takes of people playing. There is power in that."
Kratz is a founding member of The Glitch Mob, who scored a club with his 2008 solo single "Android Porn." On the new album, he merges '70s style rock with modern electronic music and works with producer Ross Robinson (Korn, The Cure), along with drummer John Theodore and guitarist Cody Volato. They recorded some of the tracks to tape and then ran the sounds through Pro Tools, he explains, with the live drums and guitars mixed with computer plug-ins. The resulting sound straddles the line between classic rock and EDM without sounding too contrived.
Kratz sees the divide between electronic and rock music growing smaller. "It's all kind of electronic already," he says, referencing the fact that the recording process for bands often involves a digital aspect. He hopes to create a "template" for this fusion of rock and electronic elements, similar to what Led Zeppelin did for rock decades ago. "The albums that Led Zeppelin made," Kratz says, "people look at them and say this is the right way to do it."
The Zeppelin influence goes beyond the sound of Anthems of the Hero. Kratz says that he wanted to inject a similar "mythic quality" to the songs, but clarifies that this isn't his Lord of the Rings album. For the cover, Kratz had Capoferri turn a sun and a pyramid into a "Rosetta Stone" type of symbol. "You don't know what it means, but you know it means something," Kratz explains.
Kratz had a story in mind when he was writing the album, one involving human rebels in a futuristic setting that was influenced by sci-fi and post-apocalyptic films like Blade Runner, The Matrix and Terminator. Science fiction is clearly important to Kratz's music. He references a scene from the 1997 film Contact to describe what he's doing with this project.
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"There's a moment where they have the blueprint for this machine, but they don't know how to put it together," he says, before describing how a member of the crew figures out the code for building the device. "They're working on multiple levels in that there's meaning and significance to every part of it -- the shape, the sound, the look. It's much more powerful and deep that way."
Ultimately, that's Kratz's goal for Anthems of the Hero, that the music, the symbols, and the story all work together to "create this idea of a coming together, a fusion."
Anthems of the Hero is out now through Kraddy's website.
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