Robotek Reagan is a highly creative soul spearheading the imprint Void Space Institute, a label with a unique vision, backstory and sound. We have a closer look at the artist ahead of his new EP ‘Taste my Lick’…
Robotek Reagan - Interview
Thanks for speaking with us, Robotek Reagan! Let’s kick this off by asking where you are right now and what you’ve been up to?
Currently, I’ve been preparing for a morning-time electronic music set for a new West Coast techno festival in the Mojave desert called Hyperspace. I’ve spent the last month and a half composing about six new pieces of music especially for the occasion. The next step is to break it all down into stems for a live performance, and then practice. I also have to teach myself how to build a 3D forest in a week so I have the cover for May’s release ready so I can get it out to promo in time, and while it seems like a lot, I’m really excited to put my brain to work creatively, as these things bring me great fulfillment and happiness!
Could you please take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Robotek Reagan and I am an alien catboy from beyond the void here fulfilling my life’s mission in my trusty Void Vessel™ (™ stands for temporal modulation within my own cosmogony construct). My life’s mission is to help people tap into their own dormant magickal powers by encoding into the pieces of music and art channeled into this world the understanding of particular truths the universe has shown me through my experiences. My hope is to help create inner knowledge in those that engage with the world of how they can craft their own magickal foundations in life to build a foothold for personal confidence, in effect teaching one ways to manifest their own individual inner worlds, thereby figuring out how to create meaning and happiness in their own lives while also contributing to the world at large. Right now we have a lot of people around the planet telling us how they think we ought to live, but no one is encouraging us to think for ourselves and imagine something better. Our greatest asset is our imagination, and that is a magickal muscle which, when exercised consistently, has the ability to bring amazing things into the greater story of humanity’s place within our cosmos.
You have a new EP on the way on your imprint, Void Space Institute, can you tell us a little bit about your process behind the release?
I guess these songs could be seen as an attempt at new production techniques and a practice in just letting go, brought on by new understandings of musical and rhythmic theory. The process felt primal, fueled by personal emotion and the chaos of Los Angeles in the summer, yet cathartic, working to find and appreciate the beauty in the chaos so as not to lose myself. The four were composed in Logic Pro, having fun with the arpeggiators with complex chords playing on the Roland Cloud’s JV-1080 for those classic 90s and early 00s anime and video game sounds that I love. I used a classic drum machine kit for the drums and just kind of improvised penciled in the notes as I felt them as the song progressed based on what I was hearing in my head at that moment. Sample some anime girls, ran it through my Make Noise Morphogene module, and glitch out the drums with the Make Noise Mimeophon. That was kind of my process on all four tracks, playing with different harmonic moods.
What are your plans for the label? What’s it been like building the brand?
The plans for the label are to continue to grow it as a platform to facilitate my creations. After 14 years of working with other labels and crews, I feel like it’s time to cultivate something personally meaningful for me and my creative world in which I have full control over my ideas and visions. I eventually want to produce my own series of sci-fi-like parties and cultivate some like-minded artists whose aesthetics are in alignment with my own. For now, however, it’s a tool to display my personal artistic endeavors. Being a bit of an introvert, my art is the main way I know how to express myself, what I feel in my heart, and how I understand reality, and I feel compelled to at least express that because it brings me great happiness and helps me create my own meaning in life. Once I get through this first year of releases, I’ll probably start dialing back from a release every month to maybe one every other month, so I can sculpt things a little more carefree; at the moment I feel a bit like I’m going to start chasing my tail—but I have to persist through this first round!
Robotek Reagan - Taste My Lick
What sort of kit can we find in your studio and what is your most treasured piece/s of equipment?
The heart of my studio would have to be the modular synth I’ve been piecing together for the last few years. It’s a lot of fun, basically like a never-ending unlockable puzzle. Just when you get tired of doing something one way, suddenly there’s another way to do it, while yielding completely different but similarly coherent results. It’s like a fractal of the universe living in my studio. Besides the modular, I’d have to say my most treasured piece is the modded TB-303 ‘the beast’ I nabbed over a decade ago from my good friend, hacker, and techno producer High Sage. (He’s mental. Go check his Instagram.) For a DAW, it depends on what kind of song I’m going to make. If I’m gonna make loopy long techno or minimal stuff, Abelton is my jam. For more experimental electronica soundscape stuff, Logic is my go-to. Ultimately I do all my mixing down and mastering in Logic. I have a UAD Apollo for my sound card.
Do you pursue any other creative outlets or hobbies?
I’m constantly reading sci-fi, and watching anime, as well as reading occult literature. I also love video games. (Uh-oh, now I feel like I’m filling out a dating profile!) I don’t know if I would necessarily consider those hobbies or not? Music, design, 3D design, and video editing have been my hobbies my whole life since I’ve been on a computer for the most part. My first photoshop experience was in 6th grade in 1996 thanks to the macwarez chatrooms on AOHell. 3D design I stumbled into through the boyfriend of my mom’s friend when I was in 5th or 6th grade—he had a huge 3D studio in Santa Monica and i’d sit in the freezing cold room playing around and making material shaders in 3D Studio Max. Music video stuff just kind of came together naturally with the music-making. Some people say it’s not good to work your hobby as your job, but… these are the things I’m best at, and putting them together in synergy to make something bigger than just one is a dream of a lifetime. I kind of wouldn’t have it any other way! All of my creative energy goes into the world I’m building.
How long have you been working on Robotek Reagan? Where and when did this project originate?
As a solo project, Robotek Reagan barely just started coming together in the summer of 2020. The name originated from a good friend (thanks Matt) who was visiting my apartment one day when I was still working with my old music partner under the duo name Android Cartel. It just kind of stuck. I really embodied the vibe of that name on so many levels. My real name is actually Reagan, and this really helped me ‘own’ my name more. After the Dance Spirit ‘breakup’ (the previous music project I was working on), I felt I had to act quickly so as to get back to being an artist doing what I love again, especially coming out of the pandemic, so I decided to pursue the giant sci-fi fantasy world project that’s been in my head since high school. At the moment it’s just me doing everything, but my goal is to create and produce lots of exciting visual content and stories to fill this world.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
I write this for myself just as much as anyone else: Don’t be afraid to chase and grab your dreams. It’s never easy, especially if you’re stubborn and true to your heart, but never compromise your ideals and believe in yourself all the way. Even if nobody else does, you can always believe in yourself!
Robotek Reagan - NXT2U
Robotek Reagan - Links
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