Man Made Hill interview: Toronto experimental artist doesn’t want you to dance to his existential disco

February 19, 2012

Man Made Hill

Man Made Hill is the one-man experimental music project of Randall Gagne. And yes, definitely experimental, with a capital X: Randy’s sound is rather bizarre – he calls it “existential disco”. Music Vice reporter Natascha Malta spoke to Randy after his show at Wavelength Fest ’12 in Toronto, earlier this week.

MV: How long have you been doing this act?

Randy: About eight years.

Has it always been a one man show?

Yeah. One Tree Hill.

One Tree Hill? Is that where you got the name Man Made Hill?

No, but someone at a show once came up to me and said- “Oh man! You’re that guy in One Tree Hill!”

Is it nerve wrecking to perform by yourself?

Yeah, but it’s nice not relying on anyone else and just psyching myself up. Because you know, I’m in love with the music.

Man Made Hill - Intercourses (2012, Cassette)

Man Made Hill - Intercourses: upcoming cassette release on Brooklyn, NY's Orange Milk Records

How do you describe your sound?

I call it existential disco.

Would I be right in saying you’re on the dark side of existentialism? Maybe tiptoeing towards nihilism?

On the darker side yeah, but I wouldn’t call it nihilism.

Musically, what are some of your influences?

80s Italian horror soundtracks, zombie movies and things like that. Late 70s disco. Late 80s new wave and pop. And a lot of other things.

What kind of mood are you hoping to put people in when you make music?

I find it hard to make people dance. A lot of what I do is dance music to me, but I don’t try to make people dance. I want to keep people on their toes, and not really sure of what to expect. I use these really short songs that are almost overwhelming. The way that they’re presented force you to pay attention.

Do you always wear the face paint? It looks like sunglasses, and…

No, that was new. I’ve taken various wardrobes and physical personas. But this is the first time. It’s kinda an evolution of sorts.

What were you going for with face paint?

Futuristic Elvis Priest Sociopath.

What are some of the other characters you’ve taken on?

I did the disco prison thing. It was, funny enough, kind of Elvis inspired also.

What’s your vice?

I guess my vice is being very self absorbed. Being very into my own world. Shutting myself out from the world and doing my own thing.

 © Natascha Malta, Music Vice

Man Made Hill – “Bush Express”

Internet link:
Orange Milk Records
Oh… and not only does Randy release his music on cassette, but he also has a Myspace page. Oldschool.

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