Interview: Microwaved - Save Me


Elektro Vox spoke to Gabe Wilkinson about the new release 'Save Me' which has some incredible remixes, including one by I Ya Toyah, a new favourite of ours! This is an EP I very much enjoyed listening to with its real playground of different styles to keep me entertained throughout. Gabe has played alongside some giants of metal rubbing shoulders with the likes of Slipknot, System of a Down, and American Head Charge.

 

June 6, 2021 - Electro-Industrial band MICROWAVED has just unleashed their new EP, Save Me. The video for the title track featuring BOW EVER DOWN made its premiere on ReGen Magazine HERE.


The EP contains 16 tracks, 14 of which will be available on streaming platforms June 12th. The Bandcamp release will contain two bonus tracks: a collaboration with LIEBCHEN on a cover of Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb” and an additional remix from the talented and outstanding remix artist Steven Olaf.


'Save Me' refers to the album's theme of loss. Gabe Wilkinson, the founder of MICROWAVED says: "All of my songs seem to be about loss, addiction or monsters. These songs fall into the loss of love category. This record for me is also about taking these songs and expanding my musical vocabulary. It's about stretching some mental muscles and playing with ideas I may not have been very comfortable with."

 

Interview


Q. Gabe you have mentioned before that ‘Save Me’ relates to the theme of loss in the EP, can you elaborate upon how each main track reflects loss and how it ties into the overall theme?


A. That’s a tough question since I didn’t write the lyrics. I write the music from a place in my head that is filled with dark stuff. I’m an addict. I’ve been dumped by people I loved dearly. My kids don’t live with me. My brother died young. My life has been filled with drama and loss. My father didn’t want me, my mom took off on me. I’ve been alone most of my life to an extent. But when I’m writing I draw on those themes to help make the music dark. Angry. My life hasn’t been as bad as other people’s lives that I know but my experiences are mine, so they inform my art.

Q. How does this EP differ from previous releases and do you feel this is the direction you will carry on with in the near future or will the sound perhaps change even further with future releases?


A. This is the first release where I didn’t incorporate guitars from my friend Dave from The Derision Cult. I programmed all the guitars for a change. I was also experimenting with drums. My drums have always been pretty four on the floor dance beats. Very coldwave industrial, but I wanted to branch out into more metal sounding drums. I’ve been listening to a lot of metal lately and I feel like the double kick was really inspiring these new songs. I’ve always wanted to write a song like Fear Factory, this was probably the closest I’ve ever got to writing a fast metal song. I’ve written other metal like songs..

(“Worthless” is a great example of a slow burn metal song)

..but I’ve never really written one with double kicks like these songs. Will I keep going with this sound? We will see. I have about 15 other demos right now in various forms and none of them sound like what I’ve got going on right now. So we will see what happens. My sound I hope will ALWAYS evolve. If not I don’t think I’m doing it right anymore.


Q. There is a vast array of talent in these remixes, which remixes are you most fond of and which ones do you feel took the track/s in a direction you really didn’t expect?


A. Asking me to pick a favourite is like asking me to pick between my children. LOL! I will tell you though that I was most impressed with Stacey Jones’ (pilgramOmega, Monster Voodoo Machine). When he first heard the track he was like..

“Her voice is perfect for an 80’s teen drama movie.”

I automatically thought of The Breakfast Club, lol, I always wanted to be Bender, but I was not (side track there). So when I handed the track over to Stacey I wasn’t expecting the cinematic grandiose of the track he sent back. That’s why it was the first remix people got when they pre-ordered the release. It just blew me away.


Another stand out for me was Steven Olaf’s mix. I’ve heard Steven remix for countless other artists. Lots of artists that are far more qualified than I am for his level of talent. He has remixed for me before as well but this remix really took the track in a new direction. Almost a “pop” feel to it. I remember Steven emailing me and telling me that he changed the tempo of the song because his idea didn’t fit with the original BPM.


I always love it when people get creative with my stuff. I’m also very fond of the I Ya Toyah remix and the spankthenun remix. Honestly I love them all. Each one has reasons that they stand out. I must say too that the 46 Year Old Virgin mix is from my friend Eric who hasn’t ever done a remix before. We played together in a band (the most successful band I was a part of and the band that I played with all those big bands with) and this was our first collaboration in probably 20 years. It was really cool to have him on board.


Q. Tell us about the history of the band. Where did it all start, and what inspired you to start making music?


A. Well Microwaved started a LONG time ago. I was in a band called Smakdab a very nu-metal band. (Soundcloud of the song featrung Corey Taylor of Slipkont HERE)

We had a lot of success regionally, we played a lot of shows and did some cool stuff like record with Joey and Corey of Slipknot. At the same time I was writing music on my Roland XP-50 music workstation.

I played keyboards and samples in Smakdab and while I LOVED what we were doing I was also dying to write music like 16Volt and Hate Dept. Both bands were a huge influence on me during this point in my musical career. Anyway Microwaved was born as a side project. The name was taken from the Pitchshifter song “Microwaved”. If you haven’t heard it check it out, it’s pretty amazing and still relevant today.

Any way, Microwaved started as a way for me to get out the music in my head that we couldn’t use in Smakdab. After awhile Smakdab kind of fizzled out for me. There was some in-fighting in the band and I just lost my love for the project. I had a lot of fun and played a lot of shows but it was time to move on.


At that time I started a couple of different projects De-Solut!on with friends of mine. We played some shows but didn’t really do much. Then I stared Experimental Mind Therapy. All the songs I had written in Microwaved were crossed over to EMT and we began there as a starting point. EMT found some fans and success and played a lot of local shows and some shows out of town and out of state. As always the band was kind of pulled in two directions and I went back to Microwaved. I’ve been doing Microwaved since then (early 00’s I think, I don’t remember anymore lol).


Q. You’ve shared the stage with some big names, who were your favourites to play alongside and who would you like to play alongside in future?


A. My favorite, Hate Dept. Seibold is an amazing front man on stage and an amazing human being. He pulled me on stage to sing with him on “Release It” and my world would never be the same again. I also had a lot of fun playing shows with American Head Charge. We played with those guys a lot. In fact we were opening for System of a Down with American Head Charge and they got discovered and the next thing you know our good buddies were signed to American Records and recording with Rick Rubin! The big bands weren’t very big when we played with them, they got big after that. I mean Slipknot was a local band when we started playing with them, they hadn’t even really played out of Des Moines yet (I’m based in Iowa). I also really loved playing with Anyone.

Riz Story is an amazing song writer and that record he was playing when we opened for them was so fucking good. I was so jealous of that band. They were signed to RoadRunner too and I don’t think RoadRunner knew what to do with them. Kind of psychedelic rock.

Now asking which shows kind of sucked to play with that’s whole other story. LOL!


Q. What artists are you listening to most right now?


A. Ok, so I have been on this total metal kick lately. Records I have been spinning are the new Red Fang, Genghis Tron, Zombi, EYEHATEGOD, Gojira and a lot of older stuff. My playlist is crazy, I go from B.B. King to Public Enemy to Carole King to Deicide. Oh and I just got Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion on vinyl too. But right now it’s really been Gojira that has me jamming out.

Q. What life lessons has being in music taught you over the years, and what would you change about the scene if you could?’


A. A life lesson? That’s really tough. I’m nearly 50 years old and I think I’m still getting lessons. I’ve been doing this since I was about 19 years old and I still haven’t learned my lessons! LOL.


In all seriousness though, a lesson that I’ve found is honesty. Being honest to yourself as a musician, artists, human being. Are you doing what you want to do as an artist? Do you like what you are creating? Success is all relative. Be honest to the people around you. Other artists, fans, booking agents, club owners, DJs, bloggers who ever you come in contact with be honest. And remember to always do it for you and your love of what you do.


Q. Anything you’d like to say to your fans?


A. LOL! I have no idea. Buy my records. LOL! Well in honesty if you are reading this that means your probably a fan and I just want to say thank you for supporting me whether you’ve known about me for 20 years or you’re just discovering Microwaved. And thanks to you guys for taking the time to ask me some questions.


Thank you Gabe!

 

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