Music

Loopback: Detroit Techno Godfather Robert Hood Interview

By 28/09/2018 No Comments

To factor the influence that Robert Hood has had in modern electronic music is no easy task. For not only was he part of the era-defining, second wave, Detroit techno militia Underground Resistance, but also can claim to be almost single-handedly responsible for what we now term minimal techno. His Internal Empire and Minimal Nation albums stand to this day as blueprints for the genre that has since sparked ongoing generations of imitators with few managing to capture the raw essence of Hood’s vision. His M-Plant label has stood mostly as a vehicle for his own releases, though has from time to time played home to kindred spirits, and after a hiatus of some seven years was reactivated in 2009 with a run of new material and critical re-issues of classics from the vaults. In a career that spans some twenty years Robert Hood has indelibly left his mark on the techno landscape and to this day he continues to explore his particular brand of stripped back, haunting techno funk. we spoke to Mr. Hood about his new album, Omega, injecting faith into music and hearing the echoes of Motown through techno.

To factor the influence that Robert Hood has had in modern electronic music is no easy task. For not only was he part of the era-defining, second wave, Detroit techno militia Underground Resistance, but also can claim to be almost single-handedly responsible for what we now term minimal techno. His Internal Empire and Minimal Nation albums stand to this day as blueprints for the genre that has since sparked ongoing generations of imitators with few managing to capture the raw essence of Hood’s vision. His M-Plant label has stood mostly as a vehicle for his own releases, though has from time to time played home to kindred spirits, and after a hiatus of some seven years was reactivated in 2009 with a run of new material and critical re-issues of classics from the vaults. In a career that spans some twenty years Robert Hood has indelibly left his mark on the techno landscape and to this day he continues to explore his particular brand of stripped back, haunting techno funk. we spoke to Mr. Hood about his new album, Omega, injecting faith into music and hearing the echoes of Motown through techno.

Let’s start with the new album. Lately you’ve been selecting pieces from your back catalog and re-issuing them. There may be some confusion about calling this album Omega and the title of one of your 2003 releases of the same name.

Robert Hood: Well the album Omega is based on the movie “Omega Man” and “I Am Legend,” so those are two separate ideas there, as the track “Omega” was taken from the album Wire To Wire and was just a B-side or a one-off from that album. This album is something completely different. It is talking about the end of times and it’s about the character Robert Neville (I don’t know if you’re familiar with the movie or not), but here you have a man who is trying to survive. He is seemingly the last survivor of biological warfare and he’s trying to survive the best he can and at the same time trying to come up with a serum or a cure for the plague that has affected these other inhabitants.

Was the music a metaphor for you providing the serum for a plague of not-so-great music out there?

No, nothing like that really. It was more me looking at if I was the last man on earth and chronicling that struggle; me putting myself in his shoes and dealing with my own psychosis and dealing with loneliness and dealing with a band of demented people who were out there to destroy me. So the music is me looking through the character’s eyes.

Is that something you do with your albums generally? Do you like to construct a concept behind them? Does that help you to structure a whole album?

Well yeah, I try to envision a world or an environment or a situation or circumstance and try to make a soundtrack to it, much in the way I did with Internal Empire. So I reflect and immerse myself in this environment and try to express that through the music.

What can we expect from Robert Hood in the next year?

You can expect for me to work so much harder at expressing my spirituality through music and I want to take us to places we never even thought we could go. I want to express who we are as aliens, as spirits and I really want to expose and put out there that this is not our home, that we’re just passing through. So I really want to push the envelope on that principle that we are all spirits. Musically and spiritually I want to be able to take us there. How I’m going to do it I don’t know, but faith is not seeing the staircase but taking the first step.

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