Emerging from the northern reaches of Lombardy, Italy, Modulaar is an ensemble of three electronic producers who wield a potent mix of analogue synths, vocals, and a passion for sound experimentation. The trio merges these elements to create a distinctive blend of electro-dance music infused with an avant-garde, futuristic undercurrent.
Their eagerly awaited self-titled album, MODULAAR (out now via Pins and Needles Records), presents a vibrant – and occasionally bizarre – tapestry of twelve eclectic tracks that encapsulate the idiosyncratic tonality of the band. A curious mix of the energies of NIN, Stereolab, and Daft Punk, Modulaar is powered by relentless drum beats, gritty synths, sweeping melodies, and catchy vocals bearing an industrial edge.
Traversing the auditory terrains of electronica, techno, electro, and punk, the album MODULAAR carves a daring path into sonic exploration. Its audacity lies in its thrilling unpredictability, captivating and intriguing in equal measures. Every facet of the album pulses to a rhythm that is intrinsically electronic, yet feels remarkably organic. This meticulously composed body of work gleefully dares to defy conventions, pushing the envelope of contemporary electronic music and offering a refreshing, innovative perspective on the genre.
We were curious about the band’s songwriting process and imposing stage process, so Post-Punk.com had a chat with the masterminds behind Modulaar and what they have in store.
You have recently released your new album MODULAAR on Pins and Needles. Tell us a little bit about the production process and the ideas behind the album?
The new album MODULAAR was written during the covid period. That time was a very complicated moment in everyone’s life, we were forced to stay indoors for weeks and that’s where the record took shape. We did a “symbiotic job”, trying to give our best by working in difficult conditions, because we had to do everything via streaming, but we succeeded. This new album certainly reflects that dark moment in our lives, but it certainly has a positive reflection because it gives us hope that sooner or later change will happen and everything will go back to normal. We are very satisfied with the work we have done and we hope to inspire as many people as possible with our sound.
We hear quite a bit of influence from Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Daft Punk and Stereolab in your music. What other bands inspire Modulaar and what unique spin do you contribute?
Our sound is rich in influences; it’s a blend of electronic music, indie/rock, and punk vibes. We are three producers/musicians who listen to different genres and this influence has led to the creation of our sound that we consider unique. The bands we listen to the most are Thrice, Moderat, Mute Math, Kraftwerk, Sigur Ros, but as we said, our aim is to create our own unique sound that we’ve developed over the years.
Your band presents itself in faceless masks, erasing your individual identities. What does this choice represent for Modulaar, and what reaction or emotion are you hoping to evoke in your audience? How did you develop this aesthetic, and how does it complement the themes in your music?
For us, the mask is not a barrier, but a way of expressing ourselves that allows us to be even more free on stage and to convey all our emotions which are then released through our music. That’s why we decided to wear “neutral” masks, because the image is not the most important thing, but what you transmit with your sound is.
As a synth band, your sound is inherently digital. How do you see your music contributing to discussing or portraying a dystopian future?
Our music project is not composed only of synths but also of drum sets and guitars, and the fusion of these instruments manages to create a less digital sound and richer in influences that make it more analogue as well.
How does the dystopian narrative shape your album’s or individual songs’ progression and storytelling?
In truth, in our passages we speak of events that have occurred or we imagine stories that could happen or that have influenced us. Sometimes we like to travel with our imagination and create worlds parallel to ours where we can relive what we have experienced. In the end we live in a constantly evolving world and we are aware that everything could vanish at any moment and we become aware of it.
Do you infuse hope or resilience into your music, or is your music serving as pre-emptive grief?
We think our music is about pain relief, although often in our lyrics we deal with themes related to a situation of pain or stress that we have experienced. We fully live music day and night and use it as a type of medicine to relax us, to inspire us, and to process the good times as well as the bad ones. We love to dive deep into whole new worlds and discover new ideas, sounds and lyrics. And that’s why we believe that our songs are doing the same for other listeners too and that our sound should be consumed with a positive and inspiring approach.
Are there specific science fiction or dystopian literature that inspired your music?
Our songs deal with stories and facts that we have experienced and that we then rework with our imagination, often setting them in futuristic worlds. We often like to imagine ourselves in the future because perhaps the present is starting to get too tight for us. So to answer your question, we are more inspired by our own thoughts, imagination and visions!
Do you believe your musical themes resonate strongly in today’s world? If so, how?
We think our lyrics are particularly timely. Everyone has problems to solve, and we do it with music. Today there are many people who suffer from work problems, physical, psychological problems, or whatever, and our aim is to talk about ourselves through the medium we believe is the most appropriate, and that is our music. In the end, for us, it’s like an outlet, an outlet from the daily routine, and we think that everyone should let off some steam in some way, painting, playing, writing poetry, reading, etc., and just be more creative!
As artists known for exploring dystopian futures, what hopes or warnings do you hope to communicate to your audience about our own future?
Our message is that each of us must try to listen to ourselves and that every problem has a solution, because there are no problems without any solutions. Even if some of our songs may seem dark, in reality we always try to spread a positive message, even the worst evil can go away if you face it with due strength and courage, and exactly this mindset should inspire our listeners to take on all the obstacles that life throws at them with a positive and loving approach.
What instruments do you use for your distinct sound?
In addition to synths (Voyager Moog, Mofo synth and Microkorg), we also use drums and an electric guitar. We are planning to introduce other musical instruments to further enrich our sound in the near future.
Finally, in the spirit of looking forward, how would you like to evolve your music and message?
Our music is constantly evolving, like the world around us. Now we are more oriented towards electronic music, but it is not said that in the future we can become more rock or punk, it all depends on our evolution and our desire to experiment. The important message is that our music makes the listener happier and gains more courage, and finally, can go more relaxed through life!