Celldweller may not be the first name that comes to mind when you’re thinking of shoegaze or dream pop. A long career with highlights and chart successes in industrial metal and electronic rock, multi-instrumentalist and sonic visionary Klayton (Celldweller) has been universally known for signature driving beats and crunchy guitar riffs. So when he announced his forthcoming LP, Offworld would draw from a variety of shoegaze influences he’s loved, some of his fans may have come away puzzled. More Daysleepers than Deftones, previews of Offworld featured watery reverb, and perhaps a greater emotional depth than previous releases.
For us, the crown jewel of this new effort is “Echoes”. At once powerful and deeply personal, “Echoes” seems a perfect fusion of Celldweller’s epic aspirations and classic shoegaze flourishes. “This song really captured the shoegaze sound I have loved for years,” Klayton said. “Where I had sprinkled elements of shoegaze throughout the album, this song was 100% unapologetically shoegaze.” We’ll take unapologetic shoegaze any day of the week.
We asked about the new sound, the sonic new approach, and the gear it took to make this album a reality.
“This album is like no other Celldweller album I’ve ever made which was completely intentional. While exploring the idea of Offworld and contemplating what I wanted it to say musically, I found myself wanting the music to be a more organic, breathing & evolving thing. This made me approach songwriting by first picking up a guitar instead of a synthesizer and processing them through a vast world of guitar pedals. Further mangling organic sources and Infusing the tracks with my traditional electronic sound design resulted in an album I’m really proud of.
I bought a bevy of guitar pedals that I felt would inspire new ideas and help navigate uncharted musical directions for me and then went to work. I used pedals from Strymon, Red Panda, Earthquaker Devices, Boss, Dwarfcraft, Electro-Harmonix, Frantone & Eventide and found huge amounts of inspiration there.
I’ve been a longtime fan of ’90s Shoegaze artists but never really had a place to produce in that style on my own tracks. This was the perfect place to infuse those vibes across some of the tracks. I approached other songs with more of an Acoustic Guitar backbone and even delved into some Blackgaze inspired stuff to bring in the heavier side of things. I used some great software on the release. The Eventide suite of plugins (Blackhole!!) Valhalla reverbs, Soundtoys effects and Fabfilter Pro-Q 2 and Pro-MB everywhere. I used an assortment of guitars through Various amps – Vox, Mesa Boogie & Saldono as well as the occasional Native Instruments Guitar Rig for in-the-box stuff.
There were no production rules per-se. My only goal was to create an album that had a consistent feel – one I would have wanted as a teen, driving around on cold winter nights while lost in thought. To me there was an escape in that music and I wanted to create that same environment for someone else. You and I will go Offworld tonight…”– Klayton (Celldweller)