By Heidi Hopf
As great as the music scene is in our surrounding area one must admit that for the past few years it has been dominated by both singer-songwriters and cover bands. Variety is something we have been lacking for a while now. One of the many genres that has been neglected is industrial or electronic rock. We really haven’t had much in that genre since Shape in the late 90’s.
Nearly three years ago guitarist Charlie Magee and synth player Neil Howard, later joined by keyboardist and vocalist Drew Hussey, decided it was time to take matters into their own hands to try and change that by forming their band Pulse Code.
The three of them have spent nearly two of those years blending their industrial and electronic tastes together. They have carefully crafted a sampler that they have begun promoting at shows around Brantford at a variety of venues including house shows, the Glenhyrst Coach House Stage and Club NV.
Why the band chose to call themselves Pulse Code becomes apparent while listening to their music and through hearing about the pride they take in their non-conventional style of writing.
“I write mostly with a Vocoder, iPad or my phone so sometimes I’ll put on the mic and add effects onto whatever people are doing around me. For instance, “Out In The Cold” was written at five different airports across Canada while waiting for flights. “Howard explained.
Although some may think that adding electronic elements to rock music may seem cold and robotic, Pulse Code ensures there is a human element to every song by creating each sound and carefully manipulating each noise through their instruments of choice.
“The idea that we are creating the sounds we are synthesizing, even something as natural as a piano, is what makes it come together to create that fusion,” Howard said. “That’s what gives it the human element.”
By listening to the way Howard and McGee play off of each other, the importance of a human element is evident throughout many of the songs. The synth at times keeps to a breath like rhythm and McGee creates a heart wave overlay pushing the riffs through the veins of the song. That combined with Hussey’s gritty teethy vocals creates the bands distinctive sound.
I’ve always found it interesting the way that electronic music will often mimic natural sounds in a mechanical way. Nearly the same as the hum of a busy city will at times seem to be making music just for you as you travel within it. That thought during our conversation brought me to my next question.
I always enjoy asking bands if they feel Brantford has had an impact on their journey into the music they create. Hussey jumped on the question with a levitated sense enthusiasm.
“Brantford is the nexus of chaos!” Hussey said. “You have the worst of the worst here, but at the same time, there is such a large amount of greatness as well. It’s almost like because of the social structure you either are going to rise or you’re going to fall. You can focus on the negativity or you can focus on the creative elements and I think that’s why the people that come from here into the arts are so great.”
Brantford and its surrounding area have long been known for its industrial beginnings, it would only make sense that that would be reflected in our local music scene as well. After seeing their show at Club NV I’m sure this bands rising following will be filling venues all over the city in no time. There is certainly a demand for a bit more bite, as the band would say, in our music scene.
If a harder edge is what you crave in music be sure to go online and show your support.
Upcoming dates and news about Pulse Code can be found on Facebook.
You can also find their music on their SoundCloud page