Before you ever hear EchoDroides’ music, you know it’s going to be pretty cosmic based on the name of the band alone. Last week, I spoke with Miguel Martin of the two-piece synth-pop band about their history and spacey “Ancient Aliens-influenced” sound.
The band name, like the music itself, is a hybrid between Martin’s previous project, Androids Paranoid, and singer Frank De La Mora’s former band Echonine. The two men have known each other for several years and “have both been involved in music in one way or another for a while,” Martin said.
“Frank has been in rock and electronic bands as a front-man, but he always thought there was something missing in the music. I’ve been DJing since ’85,” he said. “Frank is actually a multi-platinum recording artist. He did the synths for [Chicago metal band] Disturbed’s first record.”
The two found common ground in their passion for close-listening. “We kept talking about doing remixes together,” Martin said. But after a couple of successful collaborations, the remixing duo hit a roadblock.
“We jumped on this one project, but when we got the stems, [separate instrumental tracks used for remixing], they were absolutely horrible,” he said. “So we tried to do our own thing to see what came out of it. A month later we had an EP finished.”
Between their multiple music projects and day jobs, the band can only meet once or twice a week to work on material, Martin said. Much of their songwriting is reliant upon digital communication.
“Dropbox is huge for us,” Martin told me. “[Frank will send me] a 30-second snippet of a melody or bass line, and I’ll decide if it works or not.”
Having collaborated on their first EP in this technologically advanced fashion, EchoDroides was signed by Chicago-based Hot Dog Records.
“At the time, [Hot Dog Records] had a really good distributor who got our music on Amazon, iTunes, Beatport and some websites in France,” Martin said. “The whole point is to get [the music] into the ears of listeners.”
EchoDroides play live around Chicago as often as possible. “We’re [currently] trying to build our stage presence with lasers and LED lighting because electronic shows can be boring; there isn’t much going on. You have to get interactive with the stage show. Luckily we have Frank’s great vocals, which helps,” Martin said.
“[De La Mora’s lyrics are all] very spacey and astronomical,” Martin told me, and they fit the futuristic, synth and drum machine sounds of the band perfectly.
“We’re only human after all,” sings De La Mora in the chorus of a track from the band’s latest space-themed EP, Horizons. It’s a line that contains the grand irony of the band: The earth and all of humanity is only a tiny grain of sand in the ocean of the universe, and in the face of that chilling reality, we might as well make a groovy beat with a funky bass line; we might as well dance.
EchoDroides is currently working on their first full length LP, due out sometime this summer. They are set to play at Bottom Lounge on Friday, April 5. Tickets are available at bottomlounge.com for $10.