Army of Robots
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Army of Robots

Band Alternative Rock

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Sep
14
Army of Robots @ The Sets

Tempe, Arizona, USA

Tempe, Arizona, USA

Jul
27
Army of Robots @ New Times "Summer of Sound"

Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

May
18
Army of Robots @ Hyperactive Music Festival

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

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Music

Press


Keyboards are an essential part of electronic music. Army of Robots, a Tempe-based outfit, uses multiple keyboards on stage along with the standard rock music instruments. It's a combination that makes the band unique, both visually and musically.

The fivesome of Daggrr, 26, vocals; Bryon Anderson, 30, guitar and keyboards; Micah Killough, 21, bass; Seth Ludeman, 25, guitar and keyboards and Scott Gunshore, 30, drums, will be performing tonight at The Clubhouse in Tempe.

According to Anderson, "We're trying to create what we do without hitting a button or pushing play."

Ludeman, a Chandler High grad, said when people hear a keyboard-like sound in a song they don't usually associate it with something a human being is playing. They think it is some kind of sound effect that is instantly generated.

"You actually have to program all that," Anderson said. "I might spend like 36 hours doing that."

The band said there are a few songs in which Anderson and Ludeman are both on their keyboards and there is no guitar.

Daggrr said electronic music opens up more possibilities for arrangements because they are dealing with keyboards, sampling and computer generations.

The Phoenix native will be strictly singing tonight. He played guitar, keyboards and bass on the band's most recent CD.

The band has two CDs. The most recent, an 11-song full-length, was released in February.

The guys have taken their live act up and down the West Coast as well as to New Mexico and Nevada.

The Clubhouse is located at 1320 E. Broadway Road. There is a $7 cover for those under 21 and a $5 cover for those 21 and older. The band expects to take the stage around midnight.

Information: www.ArmyofRobots.com.


- Arizona Republic / Craig Astwood


Written by Jim Campbell
Tuesday, 31 January 2006

The best way to describe AOR’s sound is to imagine if Moby dropped acid and hung out with members of Depeche Mode and Gravity Kills.

Buy this CD

Arizona has always been a mythical state. It is stuck out in the middle of nowhere, but every now and then produces a kickass band like the Refreshments or Gin Blossoms. Now trying to make their way out of the desert and into the mainstream is Tucson’s latest—and greatest—band, Army of Robots.

The best way to describe AOR’s sound is to imagine if Moby dropped acid and hung out with members of Depeche Mode and Gravity Kills. Their sound is a throwback to ’80s new wave with bits and pieces of techno pop and some hard-rock flavor crystals. The first time I listened to Secret to Everybody, I was on the fence; I couldn’t decide if this group was full of crap or if they were on the verge of something great. A few dozen spins later, I was fully on board with AOR and their unique sound.

The group’s lead singer, Daggrr (arguably the coolest name ever for a lead singer) manages to keep his voice as monotone as possible—which, oddly, isn’t annoying. His unaffected vocals strangely fit both the cold, sterile drumbeats as well as the hard-driving rock rhythms. The fact that AOR can’t seem to make up its mind concerning what genre to fall into kept luring me back for more.

The collection of songs on Secret to Everybody could be compared to a musical potpourri: There’s a little something for everybody. There are the techno-babble sonnets (“Too Close,” “Backstage Eyes”), the straightforward rockers (“The Heaviest Cure,” “Gold Star”), and even a few ballads to boot (“The Honesty of Fear,” “Let Go”). The cornucopia of songs represented on this album simply proves that AOR is not a one-trick pony; their ability to mix things up is refreshing and stimulating.

AOR’s mighty morphin’ ability, however, could be a sword that cuts both ways—either cementing you as a fan for life or sending you screaming back to the safe confines of formulaic, mainstream rock. The factor that pushed me to the “fan for life” side was their undeniable passion for remarkable music. When it comes to choosing songs to load onto my iPod, I will always chose interesting bands with passion over those who “just get through the song.” (Stacy Q, you are on notice!) If AOR is nothing else, they are undeniably MP3-worthy.

- playback:stl magazine


by: Brendan Joel Kelley



When you scribble about bands for a regional publication every week like I do, it's an occupational hazard that shitloads of crap local CDs arrive in the mail daily, destined to become coasters for cans of Budweiser. It's rare that a local's disc I come across is beyond lackluster, and rarer that a local album can blow me away. But when I got a copy of Army of Robots' forthcoming album Secret to Everybody, my jaw dropped.

In July of last year, I declared here that Tucson's hardcore heroes The Bled were "the best goddamn rock band in Arizona." Now it's time for a new christening -- Army of Robots fucked up the whole paradigm and established a new gold standard for Arizona.

Army of Robots defies easy branding; it's a self-professed "electronic-tinged rock band," but that phrase fails to evoke the combination of near-emo pop hooks, crushing guitar riffs, and the layers of digital bleeps, beats that can jump to 140 bpm, and all-around computerized mayhem beneath the standard guitar/keys/bass/drums lineup. All that, matched with Daggrr's often witty, deep, emotive lyricism, makes Secret to Everybody an anomalous blend of stylistics that I'm absolutely confident anointing as the local album of this barely born year.

Like a lot of people in the 'Nix, I'd heard the name and seen Army of Robots stickers in bar restrooms everywhere, but I'd never actually heard the band's music. I met Daggrr a couple years back at the infamous Tempe party compound/apartment complex Country where he lives (and records), but only recently heard what he, with bandmates Seth Ludeman and Bryon Anderson (who both play guitar and keyboards), drummer Scott Gunshore, and new bass player Micah Killough, produced sonically. Turns out that's by design.

"The album title is a reference to that," Daggrr told me on a recent beer-drenched afternoon, sitting in a cloud of cigarette smoke with his bandmates on his porch. "This band is very enshrouded in mystery to a lot of people. A lot of people don't even know we're from Phoenix. We're like the yeti; we don't want people to know if we really exist."

He's only half-joking. Other than a well-publicized opening gig for Radio Free America (whose album Daggrr produced) last Friday night, the only two shows Army of Robots had ever played prior to their February 5 CD release party were secret; I didn't even know about them despite several nights drinking with Daggrr around the same time.

The anonymity factor will change with the release of Secret to Everybody. The album's too fucking good to ignore, and the band wants its first proper album on the streets. "This is the first time we've had something we can be proud of and say, 'Look, this is Army of Robots,'" Daggrr says.

The album opens with a collage of white noise and atmospheric whooshes, with a keyboard line that dissolves into acoustic guitar strumming over a video-game bass line on "Too Close." Behind it all are stuttering breakbeats, some done in the studio on a drum set by Anderson, some too complex for human hands to create. The song is a kiss-off of sorts, where Daggrr croons, "I want you to know this. I want you to care. Because I've been drinking too and thinking about me," and concluding, "I can't let you get too close baby."

There are obviously a few retreads of past relationships on Secret to Everybody, but the bulk of the album isn't your rote boy/girl heartbreak shit. "I have a habit of writing songs about writing songs, and most of my lyrics are about the songwriting process, or the process of being a musician," Daggrr explains. This is most obvious on tracks like "The Heaviest Cure," an anthemic meditation on the tribulations of a struggling artist, where Daggrr straightforwardly asks, "How could I walk away from the only thing I ever really wanted to be and become nothing more than a lesson for those who come after me?"

The one thing Secret to Everybody isn't is hard. If you're averse to introspection, melodicism, or pop-rock choruses, it's not for you -- go put your Slayer CD back on the stereo. 'Cause sometimes Army of Robots are straight softies, like on the muted "Let Go," where guitar notes fall like a gentle rain around adoring declarations like, "You are . . . tiny lights that dance below the treetops; the places I may never live to see."

I could write a doctoral thesis on the merits of each individual song on Secret to Everybody, but the joy in music lies in your own interpretations of it, so I'll leave it to you to analyze the record further.

I'll be goddamned surprised if this self-released record doesn't land Army of Robots the deal it deserves with a good record label. Deal or no, the band members are already counting their blessings. "I'm not rich, I'm not famous, but I'll be damned if I'm not really happy and satisfied with what I've done so far," Daggrr told me, well-lubricated with PBR and Tecate. "I hope it gets bigger and crazier, and if someo - New Times Published: Thursday, February 3, 2005


Remember that one summer in the mid 90s when Third Eye Blind was actually cool, with songs like "Losing a Whole Year" and "Thanks A Lot?" Army of Robots seems poised to remind Stephan Jenkans just how to make smart, guitar-driven, power pop.

We caught up with Seth and Lawrence (a.k.a. DAGGRR) in Phoenix at the end of April to investigate their progress on their first ful-length. Check out what the boys had to say and a couple of sneak-preview tracks below.

The Heaviest Cure
Everybody

A_P: The early tracks from AOR sound extremely professional, even though you really have yet to release an album. Does that stem from the work you did with Dead Vinyl, or is that because of Jack Endino?

DAGGRR: The project has three (plus) years of development under it's belt. When we released 'This Distortion' on Dead Vinyl, I had already been working on AOR as a concept for about 2 years in the form of demos which I would post online as MP3s, just for fun. The next step for us was an attempt at capturing the vibe of the live band. Something that was very distant from the heavy production of 'This Distortion'. When we recorded the first five tracks with Jack Endino, we had already toured and were very comfortable with the material and each other. We recorded with him specifically because he's known for bringing out a band's "Live Sound". That was the first time we had ever recorded tracks with a real drummer. Jack did a smashing job. Les Scott (another incredible producer here in Phoenix) took us under his wing not long after we finished recording with Jack and we have all learned a great deal about how to approach recording. Les and I are producing the rest of the album together. To summarize, we have been lucky enough to have a wealth of talented people who believe in us to help along the way.

A_P: How does a band with very little public credit get hooked up with Endino (Nirvana, Hot Hot Heat -- a band Arriviste profiled in June '03) in the first place?

DAGGRR:- We were on tour and our label wanted new tracks ASAP. We had four days in Seattle (where Jack lives) so our manager contacted him and sent him some of our material. He dug it and agreed to track five songs for us. He was one of the coolest people we've ever worked with. Very fun guy.

A_P: What was your background prior to AOR?

DAGGRR: I played with these guys back in high school just for fun. At the time I wanted to be an actor. My friends and family encouraged me to keep writing music so I ditched the acting thing and started a band with my friend Ryan Breen (Who co-produced and engineered [songs] "Nine Lines" and "Gold Star"). We called it Mako Reactor and then changed the name to Digital Free Loner Boy. It was the first time I tried experimenting with sampling and electronic sounds. Sort of a hodge podge of punk and electronica. At the time, nobody was using keyboards in Phoenix. Let alone sequencing or backing tracks. It was very unfashionable but I guess that was our appeal. All of our peers were in Rap Metal bands. DFLB broke up and Ryan and I both went separate ways for a while. I played drums for another electronic/dance band called Radio Free America for a while before I decided to start another project which I called DOS Attack and later renamed Army Of Robots.

Seth: I was an orchestra and band nerd. I eventually realized that the tympani wasn't cool and "borrowed" an electric guitar from my junior high school (which will not be named). Some buddies of mine in high school started a rockabilly band back when we thought it was the cool thing to do. I got over it eventually. I met Lawren... I mean, DAGGRR, and started playing with him. Musically, playing with him, I mean.

A_P: You formed AOR originally with some buddies who you liked to play with. The official line up seems to have been picked by Dead Vinyl. Was that a difficult situation at first?

DAGGRR: I had been recording tracks for about a year at various studios. A lot of people had AOR MP3s but I had never performed any of it live. My friend John Landy, who I met through Radio Free America, started bugging me to do a show and that he would play bass. At first I wasn't into the idea but he wouldn't shut up about it so I caved. I put out an ad for a drummer and a guitarist. Bryon contacted me from one of the ads and sent me some God awful demo of him and some other dude. There wasn't much of him actually drumming, just guitar and keyboards, which I liked. We hooked up soon after that. Oddly enough, on the same night I met with Bryon for the first time, I met Seth. We knew each other from parties but only in passing. It was the first time we had ever really said anything to each other past "What up" and we hit it off pretty quick. I knew he played guitar so I asked him to join, and he did. I hadn't even heard him play at that point. I just thought he was really cool and figured if he sucked, I could fire him later. Luckily, he doesn't suck! We played some shows and ever - Arriviste Press May 2004


Discography

"The Fashionally Bad EP"
released 2000

“This Distortion”
Released Sept 2002
Dead Vinyl Records

"Secret to Everybody"
February 2005
independent release

Photos

Bio

Trying to put Army of Robots in a musical category that has any relevance to the modern day music listener is pretty much impossible. On listening, you can hear influences ranging from just about every musical genre out there. Drawing from influences ranging from David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, and Self, Army of Robots inspiration lies more heavily on '80's New Wave than straight rock and roll. They are often described as being in a genre of their own.

Army of Robots began as a solo project of “Daggr” aka Lawrence Hearn. In 1999 Hearn recorded material on a four track recorder under the name Army of Robots. He used the production help of Miles and Demion Porter and musical performances of musicians such as John Landy, Josh Griffas, Ryan Breen, Noah Nipperus and Seth Cunningham. Army of Robots, as it is known today, came to be with the joining of Seth Ludman and Byron Anderson. Their collaborative writing and performance has given the music a distinct sound which is easily recognized as Army of Robots.

Army of Robots prolific writing and recording has yielded a vast catalog of tracks. Their first release “The Fashionably Bad EP” was a short run, self released cd in 2000. Their second EP, “This Distortion” was released in 2003 with Dead Vinyl Records. (Both recordings have completely sold out and there are no plans to re-release either.)

The band toured throughout the southwest and northwest US during the spring and summer of 2003 supporting “This Distortion”. They acquired new artist management in the late spring 2003. In June 2003, during their tour through the NW, Army of Robots spent four days recording demos with Jack Endino, legendary Seattle producer (Hot, hot heat, Nirvana). These tracks would become the base of their current album. “Secret to Everybody”.

In the fall of 2003, Army of Robots parted ways with Dead Vinyl Records. During the same time period, they inked publishing and licensing agreements (on their upcoming album) with Source Q Boutique and Gimbel Music Group, Inc. in Los Angeles.

The recording of “Secret to Everybody” began in January 2004 at Red Mountain Studio, under the direction of Daggrr, producer Les Scott and engineer Andy Kern. The much anticipated 11 track album "Secret to Everybody" was released on February 5, 2005. It immediately was hailed as "the new gold standard" for Arizona music by the Phoenix New Times. The album was awarded the Best Recording 2005 by Arizona Infusion of Music Awards and the band was nominated as the Best Electronic Rock Band 2005 by Phoenix New Times. Awarded Best Rock band 2006 by Phoenix New Times.

The release coincided with the re-emergence of Army of Robots to the stage, touring the west, southwestern US and British Columbia Canada in 2005 and 2006. Notable performances at New Times Music Festival 2005 & 2006, Ampstock 2005 in Vancouver BC, South Park Music Festival 2005 and 2006 in Fairplay CO, Hyperactive Music Festival 2006 in Albuquerque NM, "Ruby Tuesday" at Key Club in Los Angeles and Spaceland in Los Angeles.

Army of Robots are presently recording tracks for their next album to be released in fall 2007.