Rockstar Games’ great ability to choice wonderful soundtracks gave us the chance to meet an another incredibly talented musician: Kamtin Mohager. His musical project, The Chain Gang Of 1974 made a huge success when Rockstar decided to use his song “Sleepwalking” in the in-game radio station Radio Mirror Park as well as in the official trailer and commercials. But Chain Gang was in the scene before all of that. We asked Kamtin some questions to get to know more about Chaing Gang Of 1974 and he was kind enough to take his time out to answer them for us. Enjoy!
You received worldwide recognition with the release of Grand Theft Auto V, but you’ve been in the music industry for a long time before the game. How did it all start for you personally and how did you guys get together and form the band?
Kamtin Mohager: The idea behind the band first came about towards the end of 2006. The band that I was playing in at the time was about to see its demise, and I knew that I didn’t want to stop making music. Thought very limited in knowledge, I taught myself the basics of recording software and started creating songs. Shortly after, Chain Gang Of 1974 was alive. I grew up in the Punk scene, so playing coffee shops and DIY basement shows were enticing to me. The early material I was writing was very straight forward and aggressive, so it worked perfectly in those settings.
How did you think of the name “The Chain Gang Of 1974”? Was there any other name ideas on your mind?
Kamtin Mohager: The Raveonnettes released an album called ‘Chain Gang Of Love,’ while another favorite artist of mine, Ryan Adams, had a song called “1974.” I just put the two ideas together.
How did GTA V affect your career and popularity?
Kamtin Mohager: It definitely helped. It’s incredible to know that I wrote and released a song that gained so much recognition. It has done a lot for me in many ways. In all reality, the project is still relatively unknown. People don’t even know that there’s an entire full length album attached to “Sleewalking.” I blame Warner Bros. Records for that, though.
What does it feel like to have your music in such a popular game like GTA V?
Kamtin Mohager: It feels amazing. Like I said, to have a song be blessed with such a massive launching platform like GTA V is pretty surreal.
Did you play the game? What do you think about it?
Kamtin Mohager: I play it when I have time. I’m not the biggest gamer in the world. When I do play it, I love every moment of it. But I tend to spend my free time either writing music, listening to records, or surfing.
The thing I noticed when listening to your music is you don’t seem like you consider one genre particularly when you are making the songs and that’s why people really enjoy them no matter what music genre they like. Do you do this on purpose or are you unaware that your songs span across a few different genres?
Kamtin Mohager: I come from a lot of different musical influences. I listen to Punk, Hardcore, Brit-Rock, 80’s Post-Punk. The list goes on and on. I’m definitely aware of the aesthetic when I’m writing, though. ‘Wayward Fire,’ which was my first proper debut album, was a bit of a Frankenstein record. I put together an album with songs that I hd written years apart. With ‘Daydream Forever,’ it was a full concept and idea. It was all written at the same time, with every song touching on the subjects of love, sex, pain, fear, drugs, dreams, and pretty much everything you feel as a growing teenager. Though some songs may feel different, I believe I did a very successful job with creating the entire package with that album.
If people could know you for only one song, what would you want it to be?
Kamtin Mohager: “Plum”
Is there any European tour planned? We would really want to watch you perform if you came to Istanbul!
Kamtin Mohager: It would be a dream come true. I wish it were that easy. As I stated before, I was signed to a record label that didn’t show me any support. Being on Warner Bros. was a nightmare for everyone. They didn’t care to even release my music in other countries. I had to fight them to do such things. Luckily, I was able to get out of my contract with them. So fingers crossed, things will be different with LP3, and Europe will be more of a focus.
Is there any band, person or song that inspired you when you were making your own music?
Kamtin Mohager: There are a lot of bands that constantly inspire me. The list is too long. Smashing Pumpkins, The Stills, Oasis, Tears For Fears, Peter Gabriel, Echo & The Bunnmen. Too many to mention. I truly love the bands I love.
Your songs have also been in FIFA games before GTA V. How does it feel like hearing your own songs when playing a video game?
Kamtin Mohager: It feels great. It’s nice to know that what you created is being distributed amongst a larger audience.
What was your reaction when you found out your music was going to be in GTA V? Did you know that it was going to be one of the main songs, or did it surprise you when you heard your music in the game’s official trailer?
Kamtin Mohager: I had known for a couple of years that I would have a song in the game. Rockstar Games came to me in the summer of 2011 and asked me to write a song for the game. But the trailer didn’t get confirmed until about a week before its release. That was a very nice surprise.
We have to say, Sleepwalking is definitely one of our favorite songs in the Grand Theft Auto series. We really love the “Daydreamer” version too! Seeing you perform the song in front of the crowd at VGX as GTA V scenes are flowing on the screen behind you really got us all excited. What did it feel like for you to perform in this event?
Kamtin Mohager: Of course, it was an amazing feeling and I feel so privileged. But honestly, that was one of the worst performances I’ve ever done. I was suffering from a bad cold and severe sinus infection that week. It’s live music, so it can’t always be perfect and I realize that. But I just wish that performance could be erased forever.
What’s next for you? Is there any single or new album planned any time soon?
Kamtin Mohager: I started a side-project called Teenage Wrist. Our EP comes out this Spring. We’ll probably do a little bit of touring here and there. I’m currently working on the new Chain Gang Of 1974 record, and am very excited with how it is turning out. It’s much more organic. Less electronic, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’m also doing a lot of external writing for other artists. It’s something that I recently got into, and have been really enjoying it. It enables you to wear a different hat every day and write songs that you thought you’d never write.
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