Review Fix chats with Strange Circuits’ Rodney Bakerr, who discusses the band’s upcoming tour and goals.
About Rodney Baker:
Rodney Bakerr is a Fender guitar artist on the Riff Station software project. He also wrote the first published printed House music patterns for the Roland 808 and 909 drum machines, printed in the Roland Users Group magazine and the Roland Rhythm Guide Book.
Strange Circuits November 2017 Tour Dates:
London – The Workshop, Shoreditch, Tuesday 14th; Sheffield – Haggler’s
Corner, Wednesday 15th; Nottingham – Tap N Tumbler Thursday 16th;
Manchester – Castle Hotel Friday 17th. See facebook.com/strangecircuits for
tickets and links.
Review Fix: How did Strange Circuits get together?
Rodney Bakerr: We got together in the late 70’s as the group Rain Forest but when the drummer left we replaced him with a drum machine and became Strange Circuits. From that point on we became more abstract and started mixing New Wave and Industrial influences. Punk music was popular at the time so we played just about every New Wave and Punk club in Chicago eventually getting a deal with Wax Trax! records in Chicago. We were fortunate to come along at a time of great creativity and imagination. Every decade has its theme, movement and sound.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like in 2017?
Bakerr: My creative process has changed as I got older. I now write the music and the lyrics pretty much at the same time or I will play the music and start adding and subtracting words that don’t fit the beat or rhythm of the music. I like finding topics on the internet to spark an idea for a song. I also have learned that it’s best to write songs on an instrument that you are very
familiar with so that when the song writing process starts you don’t have to stop due to not being familiar or confident with the instrument.
I also find that it takes a long time to find your own original voice. In the music business most people feel comfortable copying other people. So one of the most difficult things to do in the music business is to find your sound or voice. Once you have that, then you can start being creative.
Review Fix: What’s the standout song of your career and how was it written?
Bakerr: I would have to say the music for the video ‘The Opposition’ that is onYouTube. Some people are calling the music retro fresh by taking an abstract concept and moving it forward. I like the video concept also; its mixture of moving and static images matches the abstract music. Also I think my recording in the dance music genre RH019 the Lost Tracks was
quite good. Once again taking a concept, in this case dance music, and moving it forward and taking risks.
I was able to be creative and original on the above recordings and they flowed easily from my creative space within me… and as an artist that’s what you are looking for… a mixture of originality and creativity. You would think that it’s easy to be creative and original in this age of technology and the internet but it’s quite the opposite. Why is that? Because you’re competing with the whole world and not just your city or town and that’s different from the ‘70s or the ‘80s.
Review Fix: How do you want your music to affect people on your UK tour?
Bakerr: I think that’s difficult to say. If the UK fans are moved in any way I think that’s a victory of sorts. Positive or negative it’s still energy being focused toward the stage and that’s a good thing. I’m proud that clubs in the UK have asked me to come and play my music. I love to play and gain new fans from different cultures and environments. I think this tour will have an impact on the UK audience as well as Strange Circuits. It will be a mutual experience. I think that most artists are proud to play anywhere where their music is appreciated especially a country like the UK where so many great artist have originated from.
Review Fix: What’s next for Strange Circuits?
Bakerr: That’s hard to say. This tour of the UK I’m doing solo. The next tour could feature more players. One thing that I learned while preparing for this tour is that the more players the less I have to do and the less parts I have to play. I play a lot of parts in the music this time around due to the fact that I’m playing solo and I try to cover as much ground musically as possible.
On this tour I will be using a drum machine, which features air effects where you can affect the sound with your hand movements and I have made that a part of the performance.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the remainder of 2017 and into the new year?
Bakerr: I would like to tour more of the world if possible. I love the interaction between different cultures and my music. Travel is a huge influence on how you create and view the world around you. Travel has a tendency to expand your thinking process. I also do fine art. I’m fortunate to have my art works in many museums like the Museum of the Art Institute of Chicago and I’m very proud of that. So for the rest of 2017 I will be working on my music and my art works. I love creativity on all levels, sound and vision. I would also say that it doesn’t matter in what form you find creativity – once you have it and understand it you can move it to various genres of music or fine art. One more thing I would like to say is: You have to bloom where you are planted. Meaning that you have to take what’s given to you and make the best of it.