Your Weekend Playlist, Courtesy of Kontravoid
Canadian-born drummer, composer, and producer Cameron Findlay is the EBM musician behind the mask. Known professionally as Kontravoid, the Berlin-based artist is fresh off of his second solo album Too Deep. Previously the founding member of the band Parallels, Findlay left the band in 2011, releasing his first self-titled solo album in 2012. Adopting the persona of anonymity, Findlay allures his crowds with his industrial, synth-punk tracks and dark basement-house party sets.
Milk chatted with the musician about his journey to becoming Kontravoid, living in Berlin, and the music he listens to when he’s not making his own. Milk Fam Chris Parente shot Kontravoid in his studio in Brooklyn, coming off of a collaboration on the artists’ video for his track “Cost of life,” which can be found on Kontravoid’s IGTV. New Yorkers can catch Kontrovoid at the first stop of his 2020 tour, at Brooklyn’s St. Vitus and get lost in his EBM beats.
Got a 12-hour drive ahead of you? Kontravoid has the songs to keep you occupied:
Where does the name Kontravoid come from? What was the inspiration behind the Kontravoid persona?
Kontravoid is a made up name, it doesn’t mean anything and that’s what I like about it. I just wanted something that could only be related to this project, was unique and sounded suitable for the music I was making. I guess the persona is playing off the idea of being anonymous or having a separate personality, I don’t really know sometimes. I just did some photos one day wearing a paintball mask and now there’s a persona surrounding the project which I like playing into, and I think people enjoy playing into it as well even though it was created unintentionally.
How did you get into music?
I grew up playing drums and eventually go into production in my late teens. I became obsessed with certain artists and surrounded myself with people who also felt the same way about music. I guess things eventually went from there and I started getting work as a tour drummer and then started to get noticed for my own projects.
What is it like living in Berlin? What made you want to live there?
It’s winter so it’s dark, lonely, kind of depressing but really enjoyable still. I’m here because I find it easier to pursue this project. Shows around Europe are convenient to get to and there’s a supportive community in Berlin for the kind of music I make.
Do the places you’ve lived have any influence on your music?
It’s more about the experiences I have when I’m there, so not really.
Why electronic? Can you describe the difference in making beats on drums versus electronic beats?
Basically out of convenience. I had ideas for a project that I felt were more easily attainable as a solo musician, and working with electronic instruments allowed me to do that.
What made you decide to leave your band Parallels and make your own music?
I just didn’t like where we were going as a band creatively, and I had written a few things that later became Kontravoid songs which were originally rejected. So I just decided to go in a different direction.
How did you make the transition from touring with a band to doing it all on your own? Was it difficult?
I just started booking my own shows and went with it, posting music and hunting around for labels. It can be tough because you hold all the responsibility if something goes wrong, but on the other hand, it can feel very rewarding when things are good, knowing you did them on your own terms.
Can you describe the most insane show you’ve ever played?
I played a show in Brisbane years ago where people were literally catapulting themselves onto the stage and into whatever gear was up there. Also, I played in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Kaunus earlier this year where people just got up on stage crowded around me and danced for the entire set, which I loved.
Tell us about your playlist. Where do you imagine these songs being played? Set the scene.
This is honestly just what I’ve been listening to at random, there’s no real order here it’s just whatever. I guess I picture listening to it in the car for like 12-hour drives
What do you have in store for 2020?
Touring both Europe, Russia as well as North America for the first part. Working on a new release later that year.
STYLIST: Sheyna Imm
GAFFER: Christian Robinson
LIGHTING ASSISTANT: Jack Platnter
STYLIST ASSISTANT: Sorenna Brown
Stay tuned to Milk for more Weekend Playlists.