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ange on 03/05/2013 at 11:00AM

The Real Scoop on Fake Techno

When our excellent new curator Price Tapes joined the Free Music Archive, they suggested we add a new genre called Fake Techno. To explore this new sound, we reached out to the originator of the term Fake Techno, the effects pedal virtuoso David Harms of Mincemeat or Tenspeed. He explains that if you wanna jump on the Fake Techno bandwagon all you have to do is get a holographic eagle. Laptops not recommended.

What is Fake Techno?

Fake Techno's a term I used to describe my music starting back a couple years ago. I was working with a lot of effects and feedback loops trying to approximate the structure and sounds of techno, and it sounded good but without drum machines, synths, music making stuff, it didn't really work. It wasn't noise but it wasn't techno so I decided it was the fake version of techno.

What's your process for getting the sound you want? 

I was accidentally strict when I was starting out and was only using effect pedals to make the music. This meant it was really easy to make the wrong sounds, but now that I'm old and don't care I use shit like synths, drum machines, and midi cables. This means I gotta try extra hard to make sure the music sounds wrong lest I make 'real' techno.  

What would we find if we went into your studio? 

This is a picture of my studio. If you wanna jump on the Fake Techno bandwagon the only thing you absolutely need from this set up is a holographic eagle. Fake Techno, like noise, can be made with any pile of garbage. The only thing I can't recommend using is a laptop 'cause that's the wrong tool. If you use a laptop you're probably gonna end up making techno, or electronic music. Don't use a laptop.  

Tell us about a FMA song of yours that you think makes a good example of this. What should listeners be noticing here?

I'd say Oaken Defender off the Dungeon Master tape is a pretty good example. It's got some stuff that kinda sounds like a drum machine, some that sounds like a synth, repetitive, builds up like a good technotrack should. Circle Crazy is also good one. It's not on the FMA, but Infinite Girlfriend is probably the fakest techno I ever made.   

Who else is doing this?

For a sec it seemed like everyone was gonna jump on the cool Fake Techno bandwagon, but most of them wised up and are now making synth pop instead. Notable folks IMHO are Unicorn Hard On, who has been doing this for a really long time way longer than me and is great. She's got something coming up on Spectrum SpoolsExtreme Animals, legends in the game. Mutwawa who are also on the FMA, and are total freaks. Container is kinda Fake Techno but also kinda legitimate sounding, he's like FakeFake Techno, which is cool.

What's your favorite real techno? 

Right now its Lauren Bousfield. He used to record under Nero's Day at Disneyland and he is a genius. 

Have you ever been to a rave?

No! It sounds terrible. Raves sound terrible.

What about a fake rave?

If by this you mean basement show, then yes.

Since adding your work to the FMA, it's appeared in lots of videos including one for making your own vitamin water, and a video about slicing pineapple. What's it like to see your work given a new context in this way?

Always glad to see my work help benefit some learning on the web!

The new Mincemeat or Tenspeed album The Tower is free on the FMA, and a lot of us here consider it one of the best releases of 2012. Though it's more a "Metal" record than Fake Techno, it's well worth a listen next time you're in the mood for some heavy noise.


User Comments

cloudonshore on 03/05/13 at 11:25PM
Eats Tapes definitely fits into this category too.
yan_g on 03/19/13 at 02:26PM
Hey, I think I made fake techno without knowing :)

Or not?
gwenblake on 12/15/13 at 09:03PM
cool stuff in studio!
amyhill on 12/18/13 at 06:27PM
Fake Techno rule!
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