Initially, I saw the name Mark Wallbridge in the credits of the latest album We Are Not Really Here (December 2019) by the collective noise outfit of Inkräktare (UK). The band is led by Mr. Wallbridge and the electronic maverick producer Dean Garcia (Curve, SPC ECO, S T F U, Blurred City Lights), including the interstellar vocal talents of Rose Berlin (SPC ECO) and Preston Maddox (Bloody Knives and S T F U). In my research to find out who is Mark Wallbridge I discovered a musician active since the 90s (!!!) and who is also known as Vasco The Pig! I spoke with him about all things Vasco, Inkräktare, some tech, music in general, and it turned out a pretty torrential interview!!!
Hello Mr. Wallbridge, please introduce us to Vasko the Pig and your adventures from the first EP ‘Further Thoughts on Drowning’ in 2008 through to your most recent album ‘The Drawn Line’ in 2019.
Hey Mike, cheers for the questions! So Vasko The Pig is basically me trying to sound like the super group that might come about if you had Nine Inch Nails, Kevin Shields and Orbital all working together then got the Chemical Brothers to remix it.. I think.. Some of it is chilled ambient, some of it is an attempt at industrial drums and bass and some of it is just lovely distorted drones with drums skittering over the top. Each of the albums or EPs have their own flavor but I think they all probably sound similar enough to hold together as me.
Industrial electronic music with fervor for experimenting with things and knobs and sounds – this narrates what exactly?
Just as I was getting into creating music properly on the PC I was falling in love with the WARP label and people like Clark and Squarpusher and Aphex Twin and it seemed to me that trying to do something odd and a bit broken while still trying to make it melodious would be an fun thing to try and achieve. What was handy was that I didn’t really know how to use most of the technology properly so it all sounded a bit like it had been thrown together badly, which I personally liked.
The ‘weirdest’ release, I think, is Seven Nights Of Silence where I set myself the challenge of recording a track a night for a week. All done in the middle of the night, cos I had a young baby at the time to sleep patterns were a little destroyed. What I ended up with were seven tracks that contained a load of unusual decisions and sounds but I didn’t take any time to second guess myself, just cracked on and went to see what followed…and that was actually the EP that Dean heard that made him think to ask about teaming up I believe!
You were also involved in other electronic music projects in the early 90s. Please tell use about that.
Before I could afford a PC I was making stuff with Jester’s MUSIC 2000 on the original Playstation and then taking it to house parties and trying to sneak it onto tape players, probably drove my mates mad…
I’m still in a band with buddies from 25 years ago. We haven’t had time to gig since the 90s but we head to the studio a couple of times a year and put stuff out on Soundcloud. We’re called Paste and it mainly classic 90s Indie music, think Ride meets Ash meets Smashing Pumkins maybe? Still great fun and we’re still getting better.
At some point, you met and began working with Dean Garcia of Curve and SPC ECO. What has that been like?
Yup, so Dean opened up their first single Telling You for a remix competition of sorts and I put in my submission and he really like it so I got on the SPC ECO MySpace page which was amazing as Curve where a huge influence on my musical taste. I still remember the first time I heard Coast Is Clear. Blown away. Curve saved me from my Heavy Metal obsession!
In 2012, we saw the two of you introducing the project Inktraktare with the ‘You Have Reached Your Destination’ album. What was that ultimately like jam and record in the studio?
Sadly, there was no jamming or joint studio time, it was all done separately. I’d send ideas and building blocks of tracks over to dean and he stitched them together with drums and bass and bleeps then they cam back to me again for another pass of noise if needed.
What and who, in fact, is ‘The Intruder’ a.k.a. Inkraktare’?
It’s the voice inside your head that you don’t recognize as your own.
And as we were thinking that we completely lost contact with that project/ outfit, suddenly and out of the blue Inkraktare strike back in 2019 with last December’s ‘We Are Not Really Here’ album! Explain it all to us please…
The simple truth is we’d intended to do it much sooner but the stars just didn’t align. Dean is, as you know, a busy man and I go through bouts of not really being very creative, so we just didn’t synchronize very successfully. Until now!
The album is admittedly a marvel which features fairly Rose Berlin in it, and Preston Madoxx from the Bloody Knives and STFU. Tell us all that happened Mr. Wallbridge!
Ha! Very kind Mike, thanks. We worked harder on this one than the first one for sure. More back and forth and discussion on details and intentions. I played some guitar this time and Dean did some vocals so it’s really quite a different beast from YHRYD. It was great to get so much input from Rose too. Every track she’s on is completely transformed into something more meaningful and emotionally engaging. Same goes for the track Preston is on, it went from being just a cool guitar led track to a fully fledged song with an actual soul.
OK I see, and where exactly or almost are you pointing to with that album?
I think if there’s any over arching theme or intent on the album then it was for us to try and be noisy and to not hold back. Dean was all like “send me mad shit Mark, bring it on!” which was great. It was a fun playground of anything goes.
Do Inkraktare have any thoughts or plans to perform that music live on stage?
That’d be brilliant and never say never but…nothing on the horizon right now.
What kind of music would you say that you play as Inkraktare to a person who doesn’t know the name and its musical approach?
Trent Reznor and Portishead collaborate on a soundtrack for a David Lynch film? It’s not really hard enough to be industrial, it’s got too many synth riffs in there to be shoegaze.. maybe Industrial Shoegaze? Some of the best bits of both worlds with a healthy dose of Trip Hop. Best bet is to just to head home, turn of the lights and listen to it in the dark to make your own mind up I reckon.
I guess it is still early to ask that, but in case we won’t wait another very long time for a new release by Inkraktare, what should we expect to listen? I am not only asking you on music styles, but in deed where are you thinking to take the music to?
Dean’s set himself the task of pushing out a release on the 1st of every month all this year and so everything I’m sending him at the moment is earmarked for that I think. Probably more SPC ECO than Inkraktare but we’ll see. There will defiantly be another album though, not gonna leave it as long next time. Too much fun not to do it again real soon.
Can you share with us you ultimate live and studio gear, please? Oh, and why!
I’m an Ableton Live (intro) guy. I usually DI my Jaguar or Les Paul copy through my Focusrite Scarlett solo into the free version of NI’s Guitar Rig. Pedals on the record are MXR Distrion+, EHX Double Muff OD, Boss Super Feedbacker and Distortion. Actually mic’d up my mates vintage Fender Silverface Valve amp for the track that Preston is on, that thing sounded incredible with just a big muff in front of it (thanks Colin). Soundtoys’ plugins are on everything as are Freeakshow Industries stuff and Izotope stuff for mixing. Noting really fancy to be honest, pretty budget set up 😉
OK, but now I must ask you to tell us about your best 3 albums in your library.
Okay, so obviously this needs several hours of conversation and loads of caveats but today let’s say.. The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails, Going Blank Again by Ride and Selected Ambient Works by Aphex Twin.
…do they match with what you are currently listening at home?!
This week I’ve been listening to Ozzy Osbourne, Blankenberge, Ummagma, Bob Mould and a selection of Japanese Speedcore Techno.
Thank You Mr. Wallbridge, last words on you!
Thanks to Shauna at Shameless Promotion PR for handling our album campaign and also making this interview possible. Also, be excellent to each other!
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Interview by Mike D.