If you could ever have a perfect package of electronic music inspired by the past and present, and infuse it with rock, you would get Infinity Shred. The New York City trio recently released their first single “Long May You Run” off of their next release Forever, A Fast Life on 3Dot Recordings, due August 23rd, 2019. We emailed Damon Hardjowirogo to talk about Infinity Shred’s musical journey, and what’s in store for the future. Check them out tonight, June 25, 2019, at Metro Gallery in Baltimore, in support of Astronoid.
Infinity Shred’s first album Sanctuary is definitely beloved by synthwave fans, myself included. Who were/are some of the band’s electronic influences over the years?
During the time of Sanctuary we were listening to a lot of Zombi, S U R V I V E, and Makeup and Vanity Set. My origins in electronic music are in the 8bit scene with my old band Starscream and the band that first put me on to electronic music in general was The Octopus Project when I saw them open for Trail of Dead at the ripe age of 13.
The second album, Long Distance, is heavier and faster with touches of several genres, from noise rock to trap to metal, while being just as atmospheric as Sanctuary. What was the spark for that?
Nate and I had started going to a lot more metal shows together between the release of Sanctuary and Long Distance. We also met our now great friend Chris Alfieri from Vattnet Viskar — he ended up playing on the song Monolith from that album and is a heavy contributor to the new album as well.
While I’m still incredibly proud of Long Distance it was definitely the most confusing record we’ve ever worked on. Usually the collection of songs we would find ourselves with presented itself more clearly as a cohesive body of work but with Long Distance it felt like almost 40% of our time in the studio together was designing transitions from song to song to create the illusion of cohesion.
The next release, Forever, A Fast Life, is being released on 3Dot Recordings, a label created from members of the band Periphery. I had the privilege of seeing you guys open for them in 2017 (which was amazing). How did that relationship start? What is it like working with those guys?
We noticed that they started interacting with our band on Twitter and all of us were taken aback thinking, “How does this huge metal band know who we are?” Jake Bowen and I started talking a lot shortly after that — he said that he discovered our music while he was naked because he got out of the shower to see what was playing on his Spotify Discover playlist. I had also just finished playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided which Misha did the end credits song for so I was HYPED to be in touch with these guys.
They’re an incredibly sweet group to work with and we value everything they’ve done and are doing for us tremendously. The best part is that they’re not afraid to say what they’re thinking but always turn it into constructive criticism rather than making you feel you’ve done something wrong. They’ve also surrounded themselves with wonderful hardworking people who have been a pleasure to work with so far.
Each release is like a unique journey, and each track flows into the next. Your recent single “Long May You Run” feels like a journey in and of itself, and the ending makes me excited for the rest of the album. How did you approach writing material for Forever, A Fast Life so the next chapter in the Infinity Shred expedition is just as unique and flowing as the last?
Forever, A Fast Life is probably the fastest we’ve ever written an album — it just ended up taking us a very long time to finish it in the studio. The material for this album came together quite quickly between October 2016 (the release of Long Distance) and going on tour with Periphery (March 2017). During Long Distance we learned one another’s strengths and how to make the most of those. With FAFL we decided to lean in to all of those strengths to see where it would take us — I don’t think I’ve ever felt more proud of an album we’ve done.
This year Good Tiger put out a remix album, Redux, where Infinity Shred remixed Grip Shoes. What was that like? Any more remixes on the horizon?
We’re always open to doing remixes for friends! It was really fun to work with Elliot’s vocals — his style works really well translated in to other genres so immediately when I got my hands on the vocal stems I knew I wanted to make it R&B leaning.
The band is really hands on with every aspect of Infinity Shred, from recording live instruments to building elements from scratch for music videos. How important is that?
This goes back to the days of my old band Starscream which the original Infinity Shred drummer, George Stroud and I used as an excuse to learn various skills. We used to print all of our own shirts, build all of our own props, sew elements of our merch by hand, lasercut keychains ourselves. I’d say this DIY attitude is still very prevalent though more and more we find ourselves appreciating the help of others.
What are some of the bands favorite hands on hardware, synths or otherwise?
My favorite synth is the Mutable Instruments Shruthi-1. I still use this thing live all the time and am still constantly blown away by its versatility.
Nate just got an AXEFX and I’m really excited to hit the road with that. Something about syncing everything over MIDI just feels very exciting to me.
Who comes up with track names? “Catch These Blessed Hands” is one of my favorite titles by far.
Haha that song was a reference to The Kid Mero imitating Ben Carson starting a fight. For better or worse I come up with the majority of the song titles.
With the release of Forever, A Fast Life, are there any plans for a headlining tour?
We’re definitely planning some special one off shows around FAFL where we want to bring out as much of the orchestra who recorded on the album with us as possible but as far as tours we’d still just really like to get out in support slots and keep meeting people. The Sonic Unrest II tour in 2017 was so incredibly fun and we met so many amazing people so just getting out there to do that again seems the most appealing right now!