Interview /// Concrete Playground meets Computers Want Me Dead

One half of Computers Want Me Dead, Sam Harvey, chats to Kirstie Sequitin about Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails and embracing their inner synth pop.

Kirstie Sequitin
Published on June 09, 2011

Inspired by Madonna, Michael Jackson and Nine Inch Nails, Auckland based synth pop duo Computers Want Me Dead have decided they're not going to take themselves too seriously – resulting in a sound that's chaotic, almost dizzying synth pop that you can't help but pull shapes to. They've played Rhythm + Vines, Big Day Out and supported 30 Seconds to Mars – all while having only released their debut EP in March this year. They've taken over New Zealand and plan to take over the rest of the world later on this year, one synth track at a time.

One half of Computers Want Me Dead, Sam Harvey, chats to Kirstie Sequitin about Gary Numan, Nine Inch Nails and embracing their inner synth pop.

I read this thing on your Facebook profile last night, saying that your set is 'a whirling and buzzing tornado of sound akin to some wonderful lovechild of Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails on ecstacy'. And then I saw that you had a photo taken with Gary the other day – did he have something to say about that?

Yeah, yeah that was amazing! A friend of mine was organizing the Gary Numan show over here in Auckland, so as soon as I found out I ran in saying 'please, please, please can I meet him?'  And I met him, he was the nicest guy I've ever met, it was incredible.

Did he listen to your music at all?

I don't know. It was funny because the friend that hosted the television show knows I'm a huge fan (of Gary) and actually gave him a copy of our CD live on air. I was like 'Oh my God, I can't believe you did that.' But, I don't know. I'd like to think that he would have heard it but yeah, no idea.

Why do computers want you dead?

The name is definitely ironic, because we both love computers and we're kind of nerdy in that way. But it actually comes from a friend of mine who had moved to Chicago wrote me this massive long email on MySpace, back in the day when MySpace was all the rage. So she wrote me this massive email and clicked send and… it timed out. She had spent two hours writing this email and was really really pissed off. The next email she wrote was titled 'Computers want me dead'. I was like, "I'm totally going to use that as a band name". She didn't believe me until we put out a single.

What were you guys doing before Computers Want Me Dead and how did you guys start working together?

I was wearing a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt at a work function and Damien came up to me and was like, "Oh yeah, I'm a fan of Nine Inch Nails too." And we just got talking. We were both talking about how we wanted to, you know, start a band, and we started jamming. We ended up moving into an apartment – I live here with Damien and his girlfriend – and it kind of just went from there.

So how does a love for Nine Inch Nails translate to the stuff that you guys make together?

Well, it's funny - it started off being a lot darker and kind of grittier. Then one day I changed the bass line on something and added the sort of poppy sounding synth and all of a sudden it was a different song and we just ran with that. But yeah, Nine Inch Nails are definitely a massive influence on both of us and kind of evidence of earlier stuff that we've done. I've played one of our singles to a friend of mine who is also a Nine Inch Nails fan and – I don't know if this is compliment but  - he said "It sounds like Nine Inch Nails on E".  And I was like, "Sweet. That's awesome". That was the coolest thing he could've said.

You say that your music comes from being able to embrace pop music shamelessly; do you think other bands take themselves too seriously? Do you think that there's a bit of synth pop in every band?

(laughs) I think everyone has a potential to take themselves too seriously. We're all guilty of it sometimes. But yeah, I don't know, there's some music that's more serious than others – and I'm a big fan of all kinds of stuff. I don't look at people who are really into what they're doing as taking themselves too seriously – I don't think they're pretentious or anything, but it's just not what this band is about.

Computers Want Me Dead's self-titled EP is out now.

Published on June 09, 2011 by Kirstie Sequitin
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