Please submit to your robot overlords

By Jordyn Marcellus

Isaac Asimov’s first rule of robotics: robots can do no harm or, through inaction, cause humans any harm. Even though there are rules in place, it’d be foolish to trust a robot. There’s no soul in their hollow eyes.

Local band iblamerobot has an intense dislike of those mechanical rapscallions taking over our lives, even though they rely on machines for creating music. With the movement into electronic music for these local Calgarians, they have to rely on the robot’s little brother to provide their beats.

“We’ve been a band for nearly two years now,” explains Stephanie Noel, guitarist and lead vocalist in the band. “But we’ve changed our sound over the past year. We used to have a drummer and were a more of pop-punky kind of group. Then, we switched to the computer for our beats and now have our synth-led sound.”

iblamerobot’s punked-out synth rock is a unique sound to the Calgary music scene. There’s no pretension in the band’s sound and with songs titled “Dance Floor Drama” and “You’re Just a Boy in a Dress.” There’s an earnest sense of fun reflected in their music. With that sound comes a problem relatively unique to the band: finding other groups that sound similar to them in the already-diverse music scene.

“It’s definitely a lot harder to get into shows with bands that sound like us,” shrugs Casper Gilks, bassist in the group. “Most shows at bars will put three or four bands that normally sound the same to draw the same crowd and similar people. We’re not overly similar to anyone else at all.”

Even though their sound may not be exactly similar to any band in Calgary, in the age of synthesizer-driven acts like You Say Party! We Say Die!, Shout Out Out Out Out, and Cansei de Ser Sexy gaining popularity, there’s definitely an audience out there for the group. Even if some of the venues are more likely to be home to Iron Maiden tribute bands than three young punks in hi-tops.

‘It’s so crazy,” says Noel. “No matter what venue we play, we always get a handful of people that actually like us. We played at the Castle–which is this punk rock and metal bar–and we’re there with our synths. Even though it was kind of tough during the set, by the end of the night we had won some hearts.”

Before they impressed the punk rock crowd, there was palpable skepticism in the venue.

“When I was doing the tests for my synth, there was definitely laughter going on,” adds lead keyboardist Jesse George.

For such a young group, the band has certainly been able to get their name out there slogging through shows and earning their dues selling merchandise and trying to win over fans. In no small part due to their hardworking manager, the band is able to play numerous shows throughout the city–playing four or five shows a month isn’t uncommon for the group.

“There’s an upside and a downside to playing a lot of shows,” says Noel. “The upside is that you get more of a fanbase and will get more money. But you don’t wanna tire out the Calgary scene. We’ve just started out, and we don’t want to wear out our welcome and make everyone sick of us three or four months down the line.”

If beeping and booping to dance music is up your alley, then iblamerobot won’t fault you for rocking out. With the serious number of shows they play, it’s more likely than not that you’ll be helping them to combat the looming robot revolution.

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