After the dissolution of other projects such as IDBLACK, and MEMORYCULT, Musician Erik Harris relocated from Los Angeles, CA to Pittsburgh, PA, and formed his new musical art project Vampire Disco Club, now releasing its second EP Neu Romance.
The record, developed while Harris was developing a full-length debut, is part of conceptualized series of Extended plays centered around the reactionary paranoia of the online world versus the very real human reactions from our current socio-political unrest.
The EP’s title “Neu Romance” is a play upon David Bowie’s 1983 single, “Modern Love” from the album Let’s Dance, and 1984’s definitive cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer by William Gibson.
The main characters of the EP are inspired directly by the protagonists of Gibson’s seminal work. Both “The man in the suit” and “Razor girl” represent Henry Dorsett Case & Molly Million’s journey to save humanity in an increasingly unrecognizable world, in four parts, as Harris details, track by track:
“Glory” is the ennui of a stalled world and longing for human connection. Combining synthpop with noise, and korg ms-20 and resampling guitar.
“Eye in the sky” is the collective fear and paranoia of our govt state controlling and oppressing the marginalized of the world. This was a reaction to the social media paranoia of the right-wing reactionary insanity, the increasing sub culture of conspiracy. Its composed almost entirely of record samples and Moog bass
“Panther Moderns” is the youth more radical than ever finding new means of survival in our technocratic dystopia. This song was an attempt to channel the bravado and swagger of Bowie during his 80’s era. Funk, swing and attitude. What I imagine the heat of young artist n 2020 walking through a crumbling society mixed with the humanity of not wanting to be forsaken by an unforgiving world.
The Ep closer “Razor Girl” details the collective anguish and imagines the power shift of the marginalized demanding retribution for injustice as communicated by the line “its time to pay your razor girl”. I see this song as a demand and a prayer to an unknown Force. “DONT LET ME DOWN, I’m waiting on you” is as much as plea for hope as a declaration of strength.
Listen to the Neu Romance EP below:
In February of 2020, While working as a following as a producer/songwriter/engineer for other artists, Erik Harris formed Vampire Disco Club.
Noting the tongue in cheek title Harris muses: “What music would play inside of a Fictional Vampire Disco club?, jokingly referring to his new multimedia project as the “Goth GORILLAZ” or “post-punk LCD Soundsystem.”
These aspects, combined with with the abstract pop of Talking Heads, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and the gothic aspects Bauhaus, Christian Death, and Nick Cave, drive the project forward as influences, but as for the methods, Harris channeled creativity into experimenting with hip hop drums, funk-driven bass, and synthesizers combined with conceptual storytelling lyrics.
Harris would then write and perform all these parts, mixing and producing in his bedroom utilizing Ableton Live, with a guitar, bass, record sampling, and a Korg MS-20.
The results of these initial sessions became Vampire Disco Club’s first release, The End of the World EP, which came out on March 11th. Notably, the record’s lead single “Ruby Veins’ was picked up by Kerrang!! and internationally by Salad Days MAG.
Despite this coverage, two days later the lockdown began and all of the planned shows in promotion of the record were canceled indefinitely.
Vampire Disco Club’s cyber punk-inspired second EP NEU Romance, released in our current era of quarantine where the USA is looking more and more like Gibson’s Sprawl, is out now.