Play: Another One Falls »
Confession time. I love Synthpop. Especially early Synthpop, and especially anything that Giorgio Moroder had a hand in, from the Donna Summer anthem 'I Feel Love' to the ridiculously decadent Scarface soundtrack.
In the intervening 30 years, the once revolutionary synthesizer has endured changing fads and fashions, but now Synthpop is firmly back in vogue, with hyped acts like M83, Passion Pit and Cut Copy turning back the clock on those days of primitive electronics.
Too young to enjoy the 1980s to its fullest, the young Craig Bell was nevertheless taking his first steps in music making: "I was about seven when I got my first tape recorder. I occasionally still find old tapes at my folks' house full of wonky noises, screaming and the kind of weird lyrics that only a kid could come up with."
That could be quite a listen, but now Bell, under the name Tokyo Knife Attack ("it's a syntax thing"), has honed his own take on Synthpop into a bold, beat-heavy barrage that will bring a smile to the faces of Moroder disciples and techno lovers alike.
Sourced from the Under the Radar blog
"Making music is a compulsion for me," Bell says. "When I'm away from my lovely machines and instruments I start to get agitated and pine for them. I hate going on holiday."
That may be so, but TKA would make for the ideal holiday soundtrack; it's good time music, harking back to those pre-recession days of unchecked hedonism and shoulder-perched boomboxes.
"There was a period in the late 70s and 80s when pop acts seemed to be given space to experiment and grow by their labels, at a time when technology was changing the way music was made and recorded," Bell says of his influences. "I love so many acts from this era: Kraftwerk, OMD, Devo, Giorgio Moroder, Roxy, Phil Oakey to name but a few."
But Bell didn't always ride on the electro side of the pop tracks. "My first experience of the Scottish music scene was Glasgow in the mid 90s," he says. "I played sax in a band and would gig with and go to watch other bands like Urusei Yatsura, Mogwai, The Blisters/TheKarelia, Eska, The Yummy Fur, The Delgados, Appendix Out... the city seemed rich with talent, albeit mostly rock bands.
"Over the next ten years there wasn't that much live music that held my interest and I gravitated towards clubs and electronic music," Bell adds. "I'm glad to say that recently the music scene seems to have burst back to life with great bands from all over Scotland making all kinds of genre defying music with all sorts of instruments and machines. I don't know how it happened, but I'm glad it did."
With new tracks in the offing, autumn gigs booked and the search on for a new label, Tokyo Knife Attack is set to add his own sound to the "genre defying" Scottish scene. Bring on the Synthpop revival I say.
Like what you hear? Watch TKA at the following shows:
21 Nov @ Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow (with Findo Gask and Adult Emergency)
27 Nov @ The Tunnels, Aberdeen