My Inspiration: Data_haven | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Data_haven are an electronic duo from Newcastle upon Tyne who have featured on BBC Radio, NTS, PC Music’s Perfect Music Friday Playlist and have received support from the likes of Iglooghost (Brainfeeder), Spinee (PC Music), Watgood (Mad Decent) & Sorsari (Liquid Ritual/Terrorythm). The pair release their excellent, high-octane debut self-titled album (via record label, Opal Fruits), packed with industrial noise, soaring soundscapes and relentless rhythms. Here, they share with us the inspiration behind it.

Music The music of the 90’s and early 00’s was some of the most inspiring and exciting for us. This was around the time that attention to detail in production became just as important as the songwriting process for some bands. Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot and Linkin Park are all examples of bands who were using a lot of sampled/electronic elements in their music. Linkin Park had entire tracks on their early albums which were purely electronic instrumentals such as Cure For The Itch and Session. In particular, our track In My Mind is a pretty direct reference to these old Linkin Park tracks. The production style and instrumentation of the nu-metal/industrial sounds had a big impact on our own album.

Another classic record, Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water by Limp Bizkit, from around the same time, influenced the way we produced the guitars. This involved a heavy use of phasers/flangers/chorus and some more experimental effects plug-ins.

The mood for the slower moments on the album comes from artists such as Massive Attack and Portishead, especially Massive Attack’s album 100th Window, where they introduced a lot of glitchy percussion and futuristic production, this influence can be heard most obviously during the first half of our track Lithium.  The second half of Lithium is inspired by Daft Punk’s album Discovery, in particular tracks such as Digital Love and One More Time, which feature pumping compression on the drums and melodic synths.

FilmsAesthetically, a few films that come to mind are The Matrix, Blade, Dark City and Fight Club. The moody, dystopian and otherworldly vibe of these films really resonated with the kind of music we were creating. I actually got to see The Matrix at the cinema in 4K remaster for the 20th anniversary whilst we were in the middle of working on the album. It was really great being able to relive what everyone else felt back in 1999 and going to see it on a big screen with surround sound and getting sucked into that universe with no distractions. Without a doubt, this influenced the sound, look and overall mood of the project. With the most obvious references being the track names Residual Self Image and Osiris.

The track Interlude on the album takes a lot of influence from film music in general. Specifically, it features a lead guitar that builds tension similar to the guitar in the track In a house in a heartbeat by John Murphy, from the film 28 Days Later. It also involves a pulsing synth bass which is heavily influenced by the film Drive and its rhythmic synthesizer-heavy soundtrack.

GamesGrowing up some of the biggest musical influences came from the games involving selections of licensed music. Most prominently,  the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games and Need For Speed Underground 1 & 2. They all had a great varied selection of styles, including metal, hip hop and some more electronic stuff on the Need For Speed games. The entire soundtracks had an intense energy to them, which is maybe because of the association with the stress of competition, but this is an energy we tried to recreate on a lot of these album tracks, specifically Clutch and Utopia.

AestheticsA lot of the art we surround ourselves with would fit the definition of the cyberpunk aesthetic. Whether it’s the experimental electronic music of the wave community, films such as The Matrix and Bladerunner or the artists and designers we take inspiration from. All of it has a melancholic “low-life/high-tech” dystopian feel, which has definitely bled through and influenced the mood of the album. This influence is most prominent in the tracks 308 and the 2nd half of Clutch which feature these choir-like reverberated trance leads whilst the rest of the musical elements remain gritty and pulsating.

Considering the main themes of cyberpunk aesthetics, It’s no surprise when naming our debut single, Utopia was the name that sprung to mind. While we wouldn’t necessarily call this a cyberpunk project we’ve joked about the sound of the album being somewhat cyber-rave during the making of it which is an unlisted musical genre, so I guess if it catches on then you heard it here first!


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