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Thanks to Edward Snowden, we can now confirm what paranoid conspiracy theorists have been ranting about for years: The government is watching us.
So it’s easy to feel distrustful of the Internet, computers, technology, and really humanity in general. It can fuel a longing to “get off the grid,” if you will—isolate yourself from the rest of humanity. That’s the kind of sentiment that guides Flicker Out, the debut LP from D.C. darkwave electronic duo Technophobia. Apart from the inherent irony of an electronic band named “Technophobia,” Katie and Stephen Petix explore themes of existential despair, isolation, loss, and all the dark ideas that come with it on the album.
They’re themes that English goth legend The Cure explored more than 30 years ago on its seminal album Pornography, so it’s only fitting that Technophobia interprets one of the album’s darkest tunes, “One Hundred Years,” for Flicker Out. Stephen Petix explains the choice for the cover, which transforms the drone-y, melodic Cure classic into a electropop jam, while keeping its dark tones intact:
We are big fans of The Cure’s darker Pornography era and have always loved this song. When selecting a song to cover we tend to pick tracks that are different from our instrumentation, basically, non-electronic songs. It gives us more creative license, really allows us to reinvent the song. “One Hundred Years” turned out to be a great fit for us. It is very layered, much like our own music. While we had no intention of recording a cover, as this came together we realized not only is this song a fan favorite, but it also really matches the tone and mood of our record.
Pornography-era Cure might wield some nihilistic tendencies, but Technophobia is intent on using its music to do some good in the world. It’s releasing Flicker Out on its own nonprofit label, Working Order Records, which partners with artists and bands to “leverage recorded music to help raise awareness and funding for the community-based charities designated by each artist,” Stephen tells City Paper in an email. That means that 100 percent of the proceeds from every Working Order Records release goes to charity. For Flicker Out, Technophobia will donate proceeds from the album and its release show to Life Pieces TO Masterpieces, a local nonprofit that “uses artistic expression to develop character and leadership, unlock potential, and prepare African American boys and young men to transform their lives and community.”
Flicker Out will be released July 19 on Working Order Records. Technophobia plays a record release show on Sunday, July 17 with Heretics In The Lab and Semita Serpens at Black Cat. 7:30 p.m., $12.