We sat down with London-based alt trap duo Occult Hardware, who recently dropped their latest single, ‘Capstone’, on March 8th, 2024. The track was produced by BRNSRGHT, whose songs blend deep bass, spooky beats, and electronic elements, creating a mix of euphoria and nostalgia. The Lithuanian producer is critically-acclaimed as the musical director of the Olivier Award-winning stage production Traplord. Occult Hardware, comprised of Fayann Smith and Robert Burnham (of sister band The Naked Grace Missionaries), have had their confrontational, experimental projects featured in US/Japanese/Swedish Vogue, The Sunday Times, BBC Television, Dazed, i-D and many more respected titles. Playing across the globe, the duo have graced the hallowed stage at Glastonbury twice and performed alongside iconic acts such as The Libertines, Clor, Midnight Juggernauts, The Noisettes, Crim3s, and many more.

Read our interview with the dynamic duo and stream their latest single below.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Ethereal, esoteric, experimental, rap.

Who has had the biggest influence on your lyricism, and who has had the biggest influence on your production?

Our lyrics discuss futurism and ethics, the iconography of autonomous internet communities and the concept of esoteric or hidden truth. Smith’s (LVX Templar) formative experiences were framed by the transition from analogue to digital; a development that marked yet another dramatic shift in human culture in an era of exponential change. Smith grew up into a world that accepted hyperconnectivity as the norm, locked in the glow of an ever present screen. Reality fractured, with the digital realm becoming a distinct and immersive experience replete with its own nomenclature and established communities. Artists we love the sound of and are an inspiration are Ghostemane, $uicideboy$, JGRXXN, NIN, Three 6 Mafia, Bones to Goldfrapp, Gary Numan, and Vangelis.  A big influence is of course our producer BRNSRGHT.

How does a song come together for you? What is the songwriting process?

Smith (lvx Templar) & Burnham (Sol IV) have a long established relationship as co-producers, having both studied electronic music from their teens. Smith is more immersed in sound design and drum production, whereas Burnham is in addition to his composition a capable arranger and engineer. We generally start with a top line and melodic concept by Smith, often sketched out in a rough format on Ableton, then the initial production is arranged. Recently, by collaborating with BRNSRGHT, we’ve been able to achieve a much more polished sound and his creative influence has allowed us to move into a more contemporary rap and electronic sound that combines beautifully with our eclectic ideas.

What was the first album/CD you ever bought?

Smith’s was Nevermind by Nirvana – always one to get hyper fixed her first actual money was all blown on a CD (remember them haha). Burnham’s was Thriller, all hail Quincy Jones. Music used to be really hard to get if you didn’t have much cash and were too young to go see bands, even though the internet was budding it was still not the Napster days. Musicians still got paid, the nostalgia!

What album do you know every word to?

There’s a bunch but St Pepper we could sing in a coma and not miss a word, haha.

Share some advice for other bands/artists creating original music?

Don’t listen to anybody else. People always want to tell you they know best. Create without doubt, learn from the best, but never let even great teachers make you abandon what makes you original. Then let the world decide what it likes, failure is trying to please everybody all the time, that makes lightning into lead.

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

Back in the day after playing in Shoreditch with one of our old bands we had a former member of The Fall compliment us at a show. That was deep, we both nearly fainted. Just getting on a label and the support of a mentor like The 40 Records manager KDA has been life changing. Music is competitive and lonely, anybody who shows you love blows your mind. Oh, and people used to get naked at our old shows, we liked that A LOT.

Tell us about your upcoming releases?

They are going to be a journey. I don’t want people to ever think they know what we are. One of our influences, Beck is fascinating because he clearly just does whatever he wants with his sound and people go with it. So expect experimentation, a full flex of our creative muscle and lots of play.

Any emerging trap artists on your radar?

We love our collaborator Underwaterkash, we recently booked a show alongside up and comers GAMB0H and Sinn6r all fresh AF and teaching us how switched on new talent can be.

One last nugget of info you can’t wait to share with your fans?

Support local live venues. If you got money to drink and buy designer clothes, maybe pay for an album, merch or a show as well because it’s tough to stay going now without family money or connections, if you love the underground then please help fund it.

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