Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
David Varga: Music producer, songwriter, arranger, keyboards, sequencing, programming, etc.
John Tumminia: Singer, songwriter, lyricist.
Phil Jones: Guitars
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Cyborg Asylum? How long has the band been around?
David: I was in one band prior to this one called, Mafik Dirge.
John: I have been involved in a few projects as lead singer and a principal writer, namely a funk-heavy rock project “God is Black” and another world-rock-blues band “Fringehead” both based in NYC. Cyborg Asylum is a new project, about a year old.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
John: David dreamed this one up. I just said “sounds good to me!”
David: I wanted the name to incorporate something "robotic" because the music is inherently electronic, though we use quite a bit of guitar as well. I was sitting on a train and came up with the name. We never tried another name and then I trademarked it.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
John: As a songwriter of melody lines and lyrics, David’s tracks are the main source of inspiration. Couple that with thinking about the cyborg character’s perspective and my surroundings at the time, and voila! As for the topics, they will certainly change and the change will likely be organic.
David: That's a good way to sum it all up. The last song we did called, Paradigm Shift, has a message about the world's political climate which is unlike anything else on the album.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
David- For me, I'd have to say many of the artists who came out in the 80's. Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, but also later bands like NIN, Nirvana, Radiohead, Alice in Chains. For the most part, I tend to go for artists who incorporate electronic music into their sound or, are somewhat edgy. The broad musical sound palette of electronic music appeals to me. I come from a classical background and studied orchestration. I don't like being restricted to just a few instruments when writing. Composers from the Romantic era and film have also had a huge influence on my writing.
John- I’ve always liked Tears for Fears, particularly the early tracks on The Hurting, for their honesty, mood and musicality.
David- Oh yeah, I like them too.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
John- Not particularly. Since I’ve been involved in music from a very young age I think the process of creating music has always been the driving factor in starting a project. To see the product realized is truly rewarding.
David- What he said. I should add that I've enjoyed writing music for TV, film, etc. for years. Creating for this project is just another outlet to do what I love. If there is a band that is a big inspiration, for me, I would have to say, Depeche Mode, though there are many others as well.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
John- Well, for recording vocals at a session I make sure I bring a lyric sheet in a big font, a roll of tape to tape the lyrics to the wall, and a good bottle of lemonade. Otherwise, a good night’s sleep helps. For live shows, the lyric sheets and tape are not necessary.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
John- Since this project is in its infancy, I’d say the organic way in which the Cyborg Asylum sound came together to complete the album. The process of creating the album was both solitary and collective. The music/lyrics/melody lines and guitar parts were all initially created by one person working on each piece alone. Then, later the pieces were put together across continents. While the collaboration spans continents, the energy and edginess of NYC contributes to the overall vibe.
David- The project is a very twenty-first century approach to collaboration.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
David- It would have to be a band that does a similar style of music but they can't dress better than us (laughs)
John- For me it would have to be a band with an inspiring lead singer, like an Annie Lennox. But without mentioning any more specifically I’d say I would probably stay away from any that use pyrotechnics.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity to chat with you, and thanks to everyone who has listed to our album. For those who have not, I recommend starting with the tracks “My Metallic Dream,” “Steampunk Highway” and “Synergy.” Stay tuned for a video!