Interview: Sentient Robot

Having just shared their latest song, we interviewed Manchester’s own Synth-Pop/Rock band Sentient Robot to learn more about them, their music tastes and future plans.

You have just released your latest single “From The Outset (Your Own Way)”. How do you feel the song has been received? And what is the story behind the song?
We’ve been getting a lot of good reviews, people hearing the things we’ve been aiming for, maybe some things we weren’t conscious of until they pointed them out, all good stuff.  We put a lot of elements into it, quirky fun things like the kids choir… they’re our kids r’kid… the sax and the glockenspiel. People have been talking about and enjoying that and  there’s a lot of praise about the production, textures and the groove… loads of positives! 
That’s satisfying and I think people are getting into the lyrics, it’s pretty personal but also I hoped it had a message for other people.  I’m reflecting on being a teen parent, we were 19, life changing to say the least. I’ve always been hard to advise or was especially then. Tell me to do something and I’ll try and do it the other way. I think I found being a parent at that age, you get lots of opinions, ways to do things and expectations. Maybe you get that at any age but I think being a bit younger there’s a bit more vulnerabilty, financially and maybe mentally. So you need help but your rebellious in nature. Not a great mix!
After a while you just realise you have to carve your own path, to feel confident and in control of your situation. Hopefully the final message of the song  is optimistic and uplifting and the melody and instruments create a positive vibe… and we all need that right now! 

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
Hmmm I never know. Sometime we are a bit indie alternative, a bit War On Drugs or REM that’s one of my all time bands, I had every Album at one point, used to drive my brothers…well to hate REM.  There’s probably some Manchester band influences in there not so much consciously but that’s the music scene we’ve grown up in and around.  Then we also and especially with this track step over into Indie Synth Pop with influences like LCD Sound System, Hot Chip and I would say Talking Heads and Bowie. Steve, who co-writes and produces our stuff, is always listening to new music and constantly looks to find ways to bring that in to the music we’re doing. He listens to stuff like Aurora, Haim, Robyn, All We Are… so we are always looking to mix the old with the new. 

It’s been a strange year, but when it’s possible to play live again are there any venues and/or cities you’d like to play? If you were to tour, what cities would you like to play most?
Yes, very strange. This project (Sentient Robot) started in the studio, well multiple studio set ups really.  Last October we decided to take it out of the studio to kind of road test some songs. See what it was like to play them live.  We liked doing it and thought well let’s gets some more of the track finished off and then we’ll go and do some more live shows…well that didn’t work our. Obviously there’s lots of stuff derailed at the moment and first of all I hope all of our venues across the country and musicians get helped at some point very soon or it just feels like there won’t be the places to go and play and for music lovers to hear all this great stuff that gets produced by bands all over this country.  
Where would we like to go though?  Other than our home city of Manchester of course. Well we seem to be picking up new fans in Newcastle maybe the Riverside. Always love a Liverpool gig, Glasgow, London… love a South London gig. Can I just mention every town and city in the country and be diplomatic?
If we can get out to Europe, ‘Paradiso in Amsterdam, would love to be hitting Germany, France, Spain… it’s going to be tough with Covid and Brexit but we’ve got to keep positive. 

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why?
Nice question!  If REM reformed for me it would be them, what a big gig that would be, I’d probably go to pieces and lock myself in the toilet though. If we are talking about people that are still going Bjork or David Byrne. Bjork is just a one off! mesmerising, magical with music that’s both beautiful and challenging. Byrne has got one of the voices that just catches me and pulls me along. It’s the rhythm of his voice and delivery. He’s reinvented himself enough time’s as well – maybe not as many times as Bowie and certainly not in characters but musically. I saw him touring with St Vincent, who I also really like, a number of years back. He just sounded fresh and familiar at the same time, timeless maybe.  I actually met him in the crowd at a festival watching Bjork. When I say met him, I basically told him he was David Byrne which he already knew, then I told him I loved everything he does. Even he probably doesn’t like everything he does. Needless to say he scarpered pretty quickly off into the crowds. It was a real face palm moment. 

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
I’ve been listening to Yacht quite a bit ‘(downtown) dancing’ is lot of fun and although it’s a bit older I found our new tune on the same playlist as Psychic City – Classix Remix. That made my week. A good friend of mine Duncan Jones, we went to the same primary school, he’s a real talent and seems to be making the best music I’ve heard from him at the moment with ‘See Thru Hands’. You should check them out.  Love the new ‘Sleaford Mods’ album, they are the band I want to see first when we can be in a crowd – I don’t think a socially distanced gig would work for that.  I listen to Teleman quite a lot and Nick Cave… his last two albums ripped my heart out. 

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