Marius Libman’s music sounds like something that might come out of a Gameboy after two or three hits of ecstasy. It’s precise, energetic and replete with howling electronic bleeps that build off one another into an aggressive synthetic cacophony. For the past three years, Libman has been performing under the moniker “Copy” and happily inducing slackers to dance with sugar-coated re-imaginings of ’80s-style electronica.
Marius Libman’s music sounds like something that might come out of a Gameboy after two or three hits of ecstasy.
It’s precise, energetic and replete with howling electronic bleeps that build off one another into an aggressive synthetic cacophony. For the past three years, Libman has been performing under the moniker “Copy” and happily inducing slackers to dance with sugar-coated re-imaginings of ’80s-style electronica.
Fast becoming one of the Northwest’s most respected producers, Libman also has an impressive collection of remixes to his credit, including razor-sharp takes on everything from Destiny’s Child to local favorites E*rock.
To date, Libman has released long players Mobius Beard and Hair Guitar on the Audio Dregs label, but he recently migrated to the fledgling Holocene Music, where he is set to release a new album in the near future. Somewhere in between tackling his new songs and hectic live schedule, Libman found time to answer a few questions for the Vanguard about electronics, songwriting and the questionable fate of electronic music’s finest set of facial hair.
Much has been made of your affinity for “retro” electronics. What do you think attracts you to these sounds?
I think the fact that I was born in 1980 and grew up playing Nintendo has a lot to do with it. And though I wasn’t really interested in it at the time, the synth-heavy pop music of that era seeped into my subconscious, I’m sure.
Your music is obviously conducive to dancing, but it feels like there are also these ambient and melodic elements that keep it from being strictly “dance music.” Would you say this is a choice you’ve made or just kind of a byproduct of your creative process?
I think it’s sort of a mix of the two. I can’t help what sounds good to me and what doesn’t, but at the same time I’m trying to create something a little deeper than what you might expect to find in a typical dance song. I want people to dance to my music, but I also want people to be able to listen a little more attentively and find details and subtlety that they maybe missed before.
In writing your songs, do you start with a riff or a sound that interests you and then just let it go where it pleases, or do you plan out your compositions before beginning? Or do you use some other process entirely?
It involves a lot of noodling with a beat and/or melody until I hit on something I like. I usually have some melodic idea at the start, but half the time it won’t end up in the finished song because I spend a lot of time messing with it, adding and subtracting layers and moving parts around. It’s a pretty intuitive process; there isn’t any pre-planning involved.
It seems like the music you’re making doesn’t lend itself very easily to lyrics. Have you ever wanted to experiment with vocals in your songs?
I think about it, but I agree–there isn’t really a natural place for vocals in most of my music. I’ll end up doing a more vocal-based album or project eventually, but I’m going to have to find the right singer before that happens.
How do you usually wind up remixing tracks? Is there something that you would say generally attracts you to the tracks you remix?
When a band asks me for a remix, they usually have a track in mind already. There are definitely songs that I’d have a hard time doing something with, but it’s fun to make a difficult track come together. As for the diva/hip-hop remixes, it’s more of a selective process, and it usually comes down to the structure of the song matching that I’m looking for.
Any new remixes on the horizon?
I just finished a remix of the Panther song “On the Lam,” which is online at a bunch of music blogs now, and I’m working on a few other remixes that should be coming out this year.
Creating your music seems like a pretty solitary process. Do you ever have the urge to try making music with a full band?
Yeah, I’ve actually been talking with a friend, another Portland musician, about starting a band…. I hope it comes together and we find the time to do it.
I have a friend who is convinced you possess the greatest beard in all of electronic music. Would you care to comment on this?
Well! I’m deeply flattered. I don’t know how much competition I have, though, right? Also, I just shaved, but it’ll be back, I’m sure.
with Starfucker, DJ BJ and DJ LinoleumMarch 15, $5Someday Lounge at 10 p.m.