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This weekend Perturbator released his highly-anticipated fifth studio album, Lustful Sacraments. This is the first album the prolific producer has released in just over three years and it delves deeper into his hugely unique sound than ever before. The star’s oft shunned territory of “dark synth” gives the feel and vibe of a haunting soundtrack intertwined with electronic dance music. Perturbator – real name James – exclusively spoke to Express.co.uk about this style and how he sees and defines it.
Lustful Sacraments is heavy in a number of ways. Not only are the deep, guttural synthesizers included in the album an extension of his unique sound, but the subject matter, Perturbator revealed, is also designed to hit close to home.
James said: “It’s mostly very… I do have this recurring theme throughout all of my albums that is very dark and nihilistic in varied ways.
“And Lustful Sacraments is the same. It is about self-destruction, how humans tend to destroy themselves through addictions, through discontent – so this is basically the theme of the album.”
The producer was keen to add: “It’s not like a message. There’s no lesson, I’m not trying to point the finger. It’s more like a look at myself and for other people, maybe, to relate.”
His music has continued to develop this sound since he first started out around 2012.
Perturbator’s style has become undoubtedly unique. The albums and singles he releases are either loved or loathed by critics, but this isn’t something James thinks about when he sits down to create the music.
The 28-year-old said: “I don’t really… I think it’s kind of subconscious. I don’t really think too hard about it.
“I might have a little theory, that being that when I write music I mostly… it’s like a melting pot of all my senses. I don’t really, you know, imprison myself in one genre.
“I don’t say to myself: ‘[the record] has to be a techno album or a rock album.’ It mostly blends a lot of things that I like and I do it subconsciously. I think that’s what gives it its own flair.”
Some of his earlier work was pigeonholed under a synthwave genre, while his latest addition to his repertoire could certainly be placed under an umbrella “electronic music” term.
While Perturbator’s music’s title and label have been a point of debate, he isn’t too worried about what kind of music he makes, just its quality.
Firmly, he said: “I make what I make.
“When I started making music I was definitely leaning towards synthwave.
“But, even at the time, synthwave as a term wasn’t especially as widely adopted as it is today.
“So a lot of terms came by – dark synth, stuff like [that] – and I really like that I have more stuff in my music.”
Although, he added, some of his tracks could even be considered “jazzy”, he did reveal he considers his music one thing through and through: “I kind of just like the term Pertrubator.”
A lot of Perturbator’s fandom arrived in late 2012, early 2013 when the Devolver Digital game Hotline Miami was released.
The genre-defining ultra-violent hit was filled with synthwave acts that have gone on to become goliaths in the music scene a decade later.
Reminiscing about this, James said: “The Hotline Miami soundtrack just happened to me. They just contacted me and it was pretty nice. It also helped me get a bit of a break. People started to notice my music from the video game.”
Going forward, could Perturbator see himself working on more video game or movie soundtracks?: “It’s not really something I’m looking for, [being involved in] games or movies.
“Right now, I’m mostly focussed on my own music, my own album.”
Later this year Perturbator has a few shows throughout the UK and Europe – if they happen – but beyond that? The Parisian admitted he was going to take a little break.
Perturbator – Lustful Sacraments is out now.
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