By Haley Pukanski
BeatRoute.ca is proud to premiere Hack the Mainframe, the debut LP by drum machine-based duo, Quantize. Take your trip through cyberspace by listening below and scroll down to read writer Haley Pukanski’s interview with the duo.
EDMONTON — “All day I dream about drum machines” is a very accurate reflection of Edmonton’s newest duo, Quantize. This being the description on their Bandcamp page is of typical Quantize fashion, as are the Internet-era jokes they use as track and album titles for their debut album. Hack the Mainframe will be released on April 20th (4/20.) The drum machine-centric band will have you catching a groove with the dark, and hard-hitting drum beats, while synth-y harmonies put you into a techno dream.
The band, composed of Nicole McDonal and Amanda Trajkovski, started in August 2015 after a joke between the two. “Our style and sound all tie into our name, which we came up with joking in Wunderbar; about how quantize would be a cool band name,” recalls the duo via email. Quantize is a function of drum machines that is used as a timing device. The members are no strangers to electronics, as Trajkovski also plays in the post-punk band, Blood Bitch, and McDonal also played the drum machine in her project Little Tits last year. In Hack the Mainframe, influences from both of the member’s side projects are clearly apparent, as they fuse intense post-punk drums with catchy house and techno compositions. Track two on the album, “Oodle Noodle Girl” fits these elements into a minute-and-a-half-long pop song. Like the other tracks titles, such as “DJ Scallop”, the duo successfully merges together “meme culture” with some serious bangers of tracks. “We added the computer slang as we felt it tied into the more technical aspect of our instruments. We chose the red pill,” say McDonal and Trajkovski.
Just as Internet culture has transformed and grown, so has Quantize. 2015 and 2016 have been both successful, but completely different years for the band. Although last year gave the band a good start, 2016 has been a year of progress and growth for the band. As the scene in Edmonton continues to change due a plethora of things, different opportunities (and challenges) have influenced the duo. “The Edmonton music scene is an incredibly accepting one, and we are fortunate to play with many bands who are stylistically different. Edmonton’s noise music scene is thriving. If you want to play live music as an electronic performer in Edmonton, you end up playing with bands that don’t sound like you. It creates diversity within the scene and allows people to get interested in listening to a wider range of genres,” notes Quantize.
Something in the name must be lucky; the duo has won two contests this year. “This year we won eight hours of recording by Matt McKeen in an auction for Brown, Black and Fierce. He recorded, mixed and mastered the whole record. We also played the first Rockin’ for Dollars put on by Craig Martell at the Buckingham. Everyone spins a wheel in hopes of winning money at the end, and we were lucky enough to walk away with four pregnancy tests.” Hundreds of dollars of time and (maybe) useful supplies are all at the duo’s fingertips.
The duo fortunately has more than just four pregnancy tests in their reach. They are well equipped with electronics. Trajkovski plays a Roland Juno-106 synth connected to a loop and an Alesis SR-16 drum machine. McDonal plays a Yamaha RX5 drum machine and a multi-pedal. They have also done one off shows with added vocals or bass as an ancillary tool, but are truly a drum machine-centric band.
Hack the Mainframe is the lovechild of the Internet and real life. Fusing elements of meme culture and the Edmonton Music Scene, 2016 has been good for Quantize. Presently they are on hiatus, but keep your eyes peeled for more in the future from a band like no other.
Keep up with what Quantize is up to on their Facebook page. Hack the Mainframe releases April 20.
CORRECTION: This interview originally attributed quotes solely to member Nicole McDonal. In fact, this interview was conducted via email, with McDonal and Amanda Trajkovski speaking collectively as a duo. We apologize for the confusion.AB, Alberta, Hack the Mainframe, Quantize