Bleed Electric is the brainchild of music producer Chris ‘MUG5’ Maguire and originally created as an outlet for Maguire’s eclectic musical tastes. Maguire was joined by rappers Dean ‘S-Tradamus’ Fortt aka Silk and Leon ‘Siege’ Hassan after a chance meeting and the trio retreated into the studio to produce music that crossed and blended all musical genres.
Following Maguire’s relocation from Wales to New York, Bleed Electric have become a transatlantic band. Instead of slowing down, the blend of location and influences has served to benefit the eclectism and creativity of the band.
M chatted to Chis Maguire to find out more about this exciting musical project.
Is there a kind of invented ‘back story’ to Bleed Electric that you draw on to create songs, if so, how does it work?
Well, the band originated as a side project for me initially. I was playing in a bunch of other bands but, even combined they didn’t fulfill the musical output that I needed to create for myself. So I formed Bleed Electric initially as a means of me bleeding out these emotions and making electronic music that filled that void. This changed completely when Silk and Siege came into my recording studio, based in Cardiff at the time (Screamadelica Studios), to record a mix-tape. After seeing the skill-set on these guys I realised what had been missing all along and after a night of debauchery I literally asked them to join. Our first foray into making music together was writing concept songs based around a storyline I already had in mind. Some of these songs have survived the test of time and others have fallen by the wayside but that process of writing as characters discovering the feelings associated with some of the worst things you could ever hope to experience in life really helped us hone our skills and create the unique sound that is Bleed Electric as we are today.
When and where are you at your most creative, song-writing-wise?
In the studio. For two years straight we would meet up every Friday at 10am at my recording studio and would usually remain there until 4-5am the very next day. We would buy a ton of food and drinks and just hole-up, sometimes writing, recording, producing and mastering an entire track in one day – X Training Day is an example of this and is still one of our strongest songs to date. It was conceptualised in the morning, the music was written and performed by lunch and we had finished it up and were playing it in the car on the ride home that night. X Training Day was released on our second EP So Sick.
Now it is a little bit different as we are transatlantic band as I have since moved to New York City but I am sure the other two will agree that the best and most creative we have ever been is during the small hours of a night when you’re tired and probably not thinking 100% straight. I am a freelance artist and designer and work for clients the world over too and I find my best design work is done during those same times and at those same moments. Something about being tired makes your mind change the way it processes and from a creativity standpoint it works a charm for Bleed Electric and for me with my personal creativity.
Have you had to collaborate on songs across the Atlantic? If so, do you use things like Skype and Dropbox to put the song together?
Our main communication tool is Facebook. We leave messages back and forth, formulating ideas and plans and just discussing everything in general.
The coolest about transatlantic music making though is how the music is heard differently between us all and, as such, the songs sometimes end up going ways we would never have imagined they might have and that they probably never would have had we been in the same room at the same time together.
Your music is designed to appeal across genres, how do you take that into account when creating a song?
I own and am Editor-in-Chief of Altsounds.com and that role subjects me to a lot of music from all over the musical spectrum – some great, some awful. My music listening taste is eclectic in itself (the last four songs I listened to were: Kelis – Truth or Dare, Puscifer – The Rapture (Fear Is A Mind Killa), 30 Seconds to Mars – Escape and Wu-Tang – 7th Chamber – Part II (Conclusion)) so listening to all the music that is out there allows us to walk into our music creativity with an openness that most are never subjected to. As a music producer of other artists I have experienced a gazillion bands that would turn down good production ideas because it didn’t fit in with their chosen genre! We don’t do that. The exact opposite in fact. We are open to all musical ideas and will always at least try even the craziest idea to see what it sounds like. How do you know something isn’t going to work unless you try it and hear it? And that’s why what you’ll hear coming out of the Bleed Electric camp will always be fresh, or as we call it… future fresh! We have been lucky enough to be able to create our own unique sound whilst surfing all these genres which was something that happened from over two years of solid writing, recording and honing.
Who or what do you draw on for inspiration?
Silk and Siege are very influenced by Hip-Hop, as am I partially. They both adore Lil Wayne, his word play and particularly his delivery. We all, as a band love all the Hip-Hop greats from NWA to Public Enemy, Eminem to Jay-Z, Kanye to Mobb Deep and beyond. I mean two albums that shaped my musical upbringing as a kid were NWA – Straight Outta Compton and Guns ‘N Roses – Appetite for Destruction and I was spinning both to equal degrees whilst hanging out. That totally shaped my love of both the rock world and the hip hop world to equal measure.
We also draw influence from music of other genres (notable artists for us include Thrice, Between The Buried and Me, Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club, Alexisonfire, Beastie Boys, Gorillaz, Deftones, Jimi Hendrix, Machester Orchestra, Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, People in Planes, Radiohead, Rage Against The Machine, The Black Keys, The Dead Weather – to name but a few), music, art, politics and culture. Living in New York City has also been a huge influence on my current musical output because it is the most influential city in the world and will change the way you look at everything. If you’ve never been, you should plan a trip right away, your life won’t ever be the same again!
Has the Welsh music scene had any influence on the development of Bleed Electric?
A bunch in terms of inspiration and aspiration but not so much in terms of output. As of right now the only bands that have really made it out of Wales are of a similar sounding ilk. Bleed Electric plan to change that and hopefully cause a domino effect which will showcase the true underground belly of hip-hop talent that exists (believe it or not) and remains firmly underground at this moment in time.
How do you bring your songs to life when playing live?
As of right now Bleed Electric are a studio only project. We have done a few performances but to truly pull off what we want our live show to be we would need a budget and a big one at that! I’m talking full bands playing synths on guitars, drummers playing sampled drum sounds, dancers, VJs, DJs and anything and everything in between, above and beyond that! Plus, for us to get in the same room to rehearse is going to expensive to start with! We will get there though. It’s all part of the master plan which will take a while to get to its full fruition.
What are three important elements of any Bleed Electric song?
Excellent production is key, melody and harmony is second most important and wordplay, poetry and flow is the third. We pride ourselves on every single aspect of a Bleed Electric song being perfect and something that, even after listening 100 times can reveal new layers unheard to that point.
Bleed Electric’s Let The Invasion Begin EP will be released 29 February.
You can watch the horror-styled video to So Sick below (if you don’t like gore, you might want to look away now!).