Mad Fresh: An Interview with Robots With Rayguns


I think it’s obsolete. I’m over it, and I don’t need it to enjoy life and be a good person.
Where does the name “Robots with Rayguns” come from?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t quite remember. I do recall that I came up with it during my first year of college as a side project to the industrial music I was making. I wanted it to be fun and silly and I think that possibly I came up with the logo idea in tandem. I thought it looked really dope to have the two ‘R’s play off the ‘W’ that way so I guess it just all came together. I have no idea where I got the specific title from though.

If you were 15 in today’s society, do you think things would’ve played out the same? (You doing the mashups in the garage?)

I’m not sure If I would have been more likely to start making music, or actually less. On the one hand it’s easier than ever. On the other hand, there’s so many people out there making great music that it can seem intimidating. When I was 15, it wasn’t like that. We didn’t have Spotify or Soundcloud. It’s a whole different ball game now.

When you first started, did you have “I want to create a brand” in mind or were just concerned with the music and things grew from there?

I think in a way I’m always in that mind set. I think I work from both ends and meet in the middle. I experiment from a blank canvas but with a vision of how it will all sound/look in the end and meet somewhere in middle, and usually it’s a better form of both ideas. As for when I first started, I had no idea what I was doing and it was just all about figuring out what I COULD do. 

How important is it for your logo to match your brand/product? –you have been connected to the 80s and Pop in general and your logo definitely fits well..

It’s actually very important to me. I think branding and image isn’t just about marketing and selling. It’s connecting one artform with another and give something iconic to tie it to. The RWR logo is like the face of the music and style.

When did things go from music to music and merchandise? When did you know the time was right, to add merchandise?

I guess when I made the first batch of T-Shirts. It came from me wanting to wear a RWR Tshirt and thinking how cool it would be, and at that point people were starting to inquire. And then it just hit me that people would actually buy RWR merchandise.

Has music triumphed your desire to be a movie director?

To put it simply, it has. I never thought of myself as a musician, and in someways I still don’t. I’m still open to all forms of art, but once I figured out that I loved making music, it’s something that I just never really looked back from. I’d like to one day do music for film and/or television and direct music videos. 

Being that there is an endless amount of opportunities when it comes to mixing sounds; how does it feel to know that every project you create can completely and absolutely be different than the last?

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately actually. There’s so much music out there now it’s endless. And in some ways you think well how many combinations of sounds and styles could there possibly be before it just starts repeating itself. But when I’m making music I constantly surprise myself at the endless possibilities and paths. I get ideas for side projects almost every day and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about branching out. I’ve been doing things for other people more and that’s been challenging me to do new and different things and that’s scary but also very exciting. 

If social media did not exist, how would you promote your music?

That’s a really good question for the time. I think Social Media has been so instrumental in getting my music out there and building a fanbase. I guess I would make lots of flyers and hire sexy people to ride around in rollerblades handing out posters and CDs. And I guess I’d have to actually play live shows. Which until recently I’ve never even considered.

Do you think instrumentals have a different effect than music with lyrics?

I think so, but it’s pretty abstract. I think it changes how you connect with the music because you have less of a literal sense of what the song is trying to say when there aren’t vocals. But that can also be a really good thing because that opens it up more to interpreting the music in a way that’s more personal to you. 

Would you ever play at any festivals? If so, which festivals are you interested in?

The thought of it is intimidating to me, but I’m open to it. I’d have to hone my DJ skills which are really very basic at the moment. I don’t really go to festivals or many live shows for that matter, so I wouldn’t even know where to start.

Would you be open to teaching workshops to those who want to learn from you? Why or why not?

I don’t think I’d have the patience. I also think I don’t know enough to teach anyone anything. I’m still learning myself because I pretty much just self taught myself how to make music using software synths and drum kits. I probably do things very differently than a lot of people do. I never feel like I completely know what I’m doing. 

What else do you enjoy about what you do besides making music?

I actually really enjoy listening to it. There’s something magical to me about jamming out to something you’ve created because it’s exactly how you’d want it to sound. And having in the back of my head the fact that “This came from me” is pretty cool. You also get to use your music as a sort of time capsule to take you back to places in time or feelings you had when you remember making it. My albums are like my personal diary. 

What can be expected on the next album? Is there any melodies you would really like to focus on or dig deeper into, to see what you can do with them?

This new album ‘Wild Style’ is a continuation of the ‘Fresh As It Gets’ model but a bit edgier and modern sounding. I’ve been listening to a lot more modern Dance, Hip-Hop, and Pop music, so there’s a lot more of that influence in there. For me this album is all about taking the Robots With Rayguns style and throwing in new things into the mix and seeing how that changes it. There are harder sounds on this album and some surprising elements that you may not think I would use. I also made it a point to work with some new people that I’ve never worked with before. For a while I was tearing my hair out trying to make something that would be “better” than ‘Fresh As It Gets’ and wondering if that was even possible for me to do. But I had to let that go and just get back to “What do I want to try next” and just have fun with it.

Anyone you want to shoutout that’s been supporting you since day 1 whether support with music or just support in general?

Wow. I wouldn’t even know where to start there. There have been so many people encouraging me through the years who are the reason I still keep going. I’d say meeting Steve Gillson, who runs a weekly radio show called Project Friday was a big turning point for RWR. He was playing my jams and we would talk a lot about music and through that we both met a lot of cool people who liked the same sounds we did. He’s actually mastered my last two albums and I look up to him because he’s so good with all the technical stuff that goes over my head. I’d also have to say that Reno Msad has been such a big part of making RWR look the way it sounds. Visuals are so important to me so having someone so fucking talented like he is and also so in tune with what my vision is for the project is so invaluable.

Follow Robots on social networks:

@robotswithrayguns (I)

@robtswthrayguns (T)