Bending Grid - "The name serves as a subtle homage to the vector computer graphics prevalent in the 80s, reflecting the diverse artistic directions I aim to explore within the genre." - Stereo Stickman

Bending Grid “The name serves as a subtle homage to the vector computer graphics prevalent in the 80s, reflecting the diverse artistic directions I aim to explore within the genre.”


To coincide with the upcoming launch of the phenomenal new genre-blending and topical storytelling album Parallax, we were blessed with the opportunity to interview the producer and artist behind the project.

Bending Grid approaches things from a uniquely inquisitive creative perspective, a quality that shines brightly in everything from the songwriting and production to the artists chosen for collaboration.

Parallax is an immense twenty-track project that encapsulates stories of technology and love, and does so in a boldly enchanting, anthemic and euphoric fashion.

We talk with Bending Grid about the inspiration for the album, how his journey in music began, the process of collaborating, visual artistry, and plenty more. Here’s the conversation in full.

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Bending Grid – what a pleasure, excited to talk music with you. For those new to your work, where are you based, and who or what first inspired you to make music?

I call the enchanting lowcountry of South Carolina, USA, my musical haven. While my passion for crafting melodies has been a longstanding affair, it was the unexpected nudge from Covid that propelled me into a new chapter of musical exploration.

Your sound has been described in different ways, not least of all with statements like – “Imagine a musical journey that starts with a 12-year-old tinkering with Chopin and Beethoven before venturing into the realms of keys, and synths.”. How did you stumble upon this particular style, was it a process of trial and error?

My musical roots trace back to a deep appreciation for 80s pop and synthpop, coupled with a love for 80s movies, games, and the entire nostalgic spectrum of that era. Serendipitously, I stumbled upon synthwave, a genre that encapsulated all the vivid echoes of 80s nostalgia, and I was hooked. Deciding to dive headfirst into this sonic landscape, I chose to shape it according to my own vision, birthing the moniker “Bending Grid.”

The name serves as a subtle homage to the vector computer graphics prevalent in the 80s, reflecting the diverse artistic directions I aim to explore within the genre. My evolution within this space has been a continuous exploration of new sounds and styles. From Retrowave tracks that transport you straight to the 80s to synthwave tunes and even delving into the grittier realms of cyberpunk, I’ve embraced the challenge of pushing boundaries.

An unexpected highlight was my track Love Arcade finding a home in a step dance game in arcades. If you chance upon a StepManiax at your local arcade, give Love Arcade a spin on hard mode and share the dance on YouTube. I’d love to see your moves and drop a comment!

Let’s talk about Parallax. How does a project of this nature come to fruition – what was the time-frame from the first idea to the finished product, and what exactly was that very first idea?

The genesis of Parallax spanned a little over a year, evolving from a nebulous concept to a fully realized masterpiece. At its inception, the project didn’t adhere to a rigid direction; I tend to embark on an avant-garde, open-minded approach. The journey began with the creation of numerous instrumentals, snippets of which were tantalizingly shared on social platforms to expand my follower base.

As the musical landscape took shape, I concurrently delved into the visual realm, crafting reels that seamlessly melded snippets from 80s science fiction films. This immersive exploration of cinematic wonders not only expanded my creative horizon but also laid the foundation for the album’s thematic core. The decision was made – Parallax would weave fantastical science fiction narratives through its musical tapestry.

Having previously collaborated with other artists, I was eager to infuse this collaborative spirit into the album. Collaborations are a source of immense joy for me, adding diverse hues to the sonic palette. Parallax stands as my debut full-length album, and surprisingly, it’s a double album at that!

In a synthwave landscape abundant with instrumental tracks, I wanted to carve a unique niche. Recognizing the narrative potential of vocals, I committed to making the entire album vocal synthwave from the outset.

“While I appreciate the allure of instrumental compositions, I believe vocals offer a captivating avenue for creative storytelling, setting this album apart from the majority.”

For those who prefer the instrumental journey, fear not – an instrumental version will be released later, allowing listeners to immerse themselves in the evocative soundscape sans vocals.

What made you choose to include covers on this project, and why these particular cover choices?

The decision to incorporate cover songs into this project wasn’t merely a musical choice; it was a strategic move to captivate a broader audience, enticing them to explore the original compositions that form the album’s core.

A noteworthy cover in the album is Gloria Estefan’s Rhythm is Going to You, chosen from a place of personal fondness and a desire to collaborate with the talented Roxi Drive. This track served as a humble win in securing Roxi’s involvement, as I strategically recognized her interest in 80s covers. It wasn’t just a song I’ve longed to cover, but it also became the catalyst that brought a cherished collaboration to fruition.

Vampires was a deliberate and heartfelt homage to one of synthwave’s iconic bands, aiming for a symbiotic connection that gently introduces Bending Grid to the dedicated followers of The Midnight while breathing new life into the original piece. Tyler Lyle, the esteemed lead singer of The Midnight, generously shared his thoughts after experiencing our master file, and his encouraging words resonated like a guiding melody, affirming, “I think this sounds awesome. You guys have done a great job. Thank you so much for sharing and congratulations on a beautiful release.” It’s more than just a compliment; it’s a humbling acknowledgment that has become a cherished symbol in the synthwave realm, forging a dynamic link between seasoned artists and up-and-coming talents like Bending Grid.

“This shared recognition sparks a sense of camaraderie, gently propelling us further into the heart of the synthwave landscape, where creativity and mutual celebration converge, creating a resonance that speaks to both longtime fans and those just discovering our musical journey.”

Blinding Lights by The Weeknd stepped into the spotlight as the most successful synthwave song in the current mainstream landscape. What sets our rendition apart? The collaboration with Jolie brings a distinctive flavor that truly stands out in the crowded field of covers. While there are a handful of existing interpretations, I feel that my cover with Jolie possess the elusive “secret sauce” which elevates the experience and knocks the ball out of the park.

Lastly, the choice of Crumb’s Locket stems from my deep appreciation for the original’s psychedelic slacker-rock vibe and its visually stunning music video. In this synthwave rendition, adorned with pulsating synths, it’s the only track on the album where I take on lead vocals. The love for the original reaches new heights, with a plea to Lila Ramani of Crumb to consider having the band sign the coveted Crumb vinyl in my collection – a wish that could add a truly magical touch to this already enchanting musical journey. Lila, if you’re reading this, DM me please!

Given that the project is twenty songs in full, were there many tracks that didn’t make the cut, or was this a sort of ‘nothing left behind’ approach? If the former, how did you make that final decision?

Navigating a project with a whopping twenty songs is a delicate dance between creativity and constraint. The challenge lies in finding the sweet spot between my regular job, being a rad dad, and crafting music. In this dynamic juggling act, the ‘nothing left behind’ approach is the ultimate goal. Rather than making the tough call of cutting entire songs, I opt for an adaptive strategy during the creation process. If a tune hits a snag, I pivot, tweak, and mold it until it seamlessly fits.

Efficiency is the name of the game, making every creative moment count. Of course, not every collaboration unfolds as planned. Some featured artists faced the ticking clock, leading to strategic decisions to pull the plug and embrace new creatives. There was even a case where a dream collaboration hit a snag due to technical issues that couldn’t be untangled without causing significant delays. It’s a tough call to let go of a desired artist, but my philosophy is to build each song from the ground up, even if it means knocking down a few floors along the way. In the end, every musical structure is a unique and beautiful creation.

How does it feel to listen back through this now that you’ve completed the creative process and are about to share it with the world?

Listening back to the completed album is nothing short of a euphoric experience. Each song is like a cherished chapter in a captivating novel, and the entire journey feels like a rollercoaster of sonic emotions that I can’t wait to unleash upon the world.

The satisfaction is palpable, resonating through every beat and melody. It’s not just about completing a creative process; it’s about immersing myself in a world of my own making, a musical landscape that I’m genuinely thrilled to share with everyone.

There’s also a strong visual aspect to your online presence and this project – how does the creative process of visual counterparts compare to the music for you, and how important is the image of Bending Grid and Parallax?

The visual dimension of my online presence and the project is like painting a canvas that echoes the melodies and tales within the music. It’s not just about creating an image; it’s about extending the narrative, making the experience of Parallax multi-sensory and immersive. The creative journey involves a deep dive into visual aesthetics, meticulously crafting a world that harmonizes with the music’s mood, themes, and emotions.

Undeniably, the image of Bending Grid and Parallax is paramount. In an era dominated by digital aesthetics, the visual representation becomes a crucial gateway for the audience, offering a preview of the sonic journey before hitting play. It’s more than a logo; it’s a visual identity, a key to unlock the emotions embedded in the music.

When it comes to the album cover art, it’s a pivotal visual element in the Parallax release. I sought simplicity with a punch – space-like vibes, a touch of the surreal with the orbiting car, and a hint of mystery. Beyond just aesthetics, I aimed for an album cover that could be instantly recognizable, with aims to reach iconic status.

What do you hope listeners take away from this project?

The beauty of this project lies in its versatility, offering listeners a journey with varying depths and layers. A casual listen for pure enjoyment merely scratches the surface of what Parallax unfolds. Delving deeper reveals intricate lyrics, ensuring that revisiting the songs becomes a rewarding and enduring experience.

“I’ve sprinkled genre-bending elements throughout, catering to a broad audience palette. Whether you’re into synthwave, retrowave, or exploring uncharted musical territories, there’s a standout track waiting to resonate with you. The listening journey is as unique as each individual, promising an unforgettable ride through the rich tapestry of Parallax.

Will you be performing live after the launch, and if so, what can fans expect from that?

Live performances post-launch are a tantalizing possibility, though not set in stone. While I may not be taking the stage personally, fans can catch the enchanting vibes through live renditions by the featured artists. The Safety Word has already graced Australia with a live set, and Teya Flow has plans to ignite the stage in Amsterdam. Other collaborators might follow suit.

While I’m not inherently drawn to live performances, my mind is wide open. If the stars align—by stars, I mean the right team, label, and, let’s be honest, finances—I might just be swayed to hit the road. Envision a spectacle on par with Anyma or Deadmau5, offering concert-goers a visual journey of epic proportions. The magic might just unfold on stage providing the means and will to do so.

Is there anything else we need to know?

Absolutely, there’s more excitement on the horizon! Brace yourselves for the music video drop of In Love With An Android, and the premiere is already set on YouTube. Hit that [notify me] bell for the full experience.

What’s even better? I’ll be diving into the live premiere chat, just like I do for all my releases. The fan interaction, direct questions, it’s a blast, and I’m here for it.

And hey, stay tuned because I might just whip up a few more music videos – the creative kitchen is open, and we’ll see what delectable concoctions I can cook up next!

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Album out May 3rd – Pre-save PARALLAX. Find Bending Grid on Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Apple & the Website.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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