Richter is a duo from Canada that makes electronic / synthpop music. Ikecht was positively surprised when reviewing their debut album Cost of Living, which was released by themselves. Therefore he decided to find out more about this promising act and invited Jack and Lizz to enlighten us about their project.

First of all can you introduce Richter to those who don’t yet know you?

Richter Jack: Sure, Richter is from Toronto, Canada and is made up of Lizz Andrykew and myself. As far as how we formed, you could say that Lizz was the catalyst for getting Richter off the ground as far as I’m concerned. Her experience as an engineer and producer is what I lacked primarily, though it’s much more than that. On my own I would sound nothing like Richter, even if I had her experience. Anyhow, we’d both been working around music for years but until we met we’d never clicked with anyone else – not on the level we felt we needed in order to form a unit anyhow. When I met her, we just really liked each other’s work, and more importantly we got along super-well – we share a very similar outlook philosophically speaking, and that’s maybe the most important thing for us working together I think. We’re both the kind of people who could never invest a lot of energy in something that didn’t feel like it rang true. I don’t think we could ever work on something that either of us felt was just completely superficial, even if it turns out to be just that. In any case, the core of Richter is the two of us.

Lizz: We hire additional musicians from time to time – people whose talent we respect.

You work as a duo, who does what within Richter?

Lizz: It’s hard to answer that in a way that would satisfy the value we put on each other’s input really. We could break it down in terms of who does more of what of course – but I think it’s very fair to say, especially if you were to hear the rough version of any piece, that it would not sound anything like it does if either of us were to attempt it on our own.

Jack: I suppose it should be obvious that as a producer and engineer, Lizz has a great deal to do with the mixing, choice of sounds, etc., and that her recipe is the mystery that brings cohesion to how we sound.

Lizz: And just when I think I can predict where one of our songs is going to go, Jack pulls out some strange chord progression or inversion that reminds me why I love working with him so much.

Jack: You’re fabulous.

Lizz: No, you’re fabulous.

The synthpop of Richter has its own sound, how would you describe this sound yourself?

Lizz: We both listen to many styles of music and hang out with musicians that expose us to more – and that seems to creep into our writing and choice of sounds much more than even we realize. So I think it’s really hard to pin down any specific ‘sound’. I know lots of bands like to say that, but reviewers seem to agree in our case. We get compared to bands that are all over the map sound and style-wise. Many reviewers have actually said “hard to pin down the sound”.

Jack Jack: I’m coming to accept a friend’s description of it as ‘conflicted’. Its has high-tech elements and low-bit retro elements; the lyrics are openly contradictory to themselves in places and the songs often shift from minor to major keys and back again. I like, admittedly, that any sense of anger that is expressed in the music is much subtler than other darker music of today – and sometimes it’s only implied, like a threat. But maybe it’s just me that sees it that way, since I know what we were writing about or what we were thinking about when we put a song together.

How are reactions to Cost Of Living?

Jack: Very positive. Certainly there’s a lot of people who say “why isn’t this band signed?” or “the quality of this album is amazing for a self-produced, self-released CD”, which is nice to hear. Without sounding immodest though, it doesn’t surprise us especially. We wouldn’t put out a CD if we didn’t think the production was up to at least a minimum industry standard or better – its just how we are.

Lizz: We’ve sent out stuff to some labels but ultimately we’re in no hurry to be signed. We wouldn’t turn away from it either, don’t get me wrong, but we recognize that we are not the flavour of the month. We’re not packing dance-floors with every track (though some Richter tracks are in club rotation). So it’s not like the labels are beating down our door – they’ll watch and see how we do, and what kind of staying power we have I imagine. Who knows. We’re great admirers of Collide and their model of success; so we’re not at all intimidated by having to do it all ourselves.

Jack: Primarily we wanted an album that someone could buy and listen to for years to come – not one that would become ‘danced out’ in a few cycles.

What are your lyrics about? Are you trying to get a message across with your music?

Jack: Yes and no. They’re about life ? maybe about how some people get a little too much life while others get so little. Often we take some existential idea about relationships ? personal or cultural – and over-intellectualize it to death. By the end we’re so sick of it that when we put pen to paper it comes in this flippant, cynical sounding kind of ‘told you so’ way that we find quite amusing. And we hope that any meaning is down to earth without being superficial or amoral.

Lizz: I don’t think that we are trying to impose any message on our listeners. We just write about our perceptions of life and the emotions that go along with that. What listeners get out of our lyrics will ultimately come from their own set of experiences.

Jack: Of course the music expresses a point of view, but the point of view shifts every time there is an acknowledgment that it might be wrong. The fact that we are a couple of middle-class people from relatively comfortable homes in a first-world country; the fact that we are pointing to so many negative things in the world ? that irony is not lost on us.

Though the label Sound As A Weapon sounds like a bona-fide label, Cost Of Living is basically self-released. Might the label start releasing any other acts, or will it only function as a way to release your own music?

Lizz Lizz: For a while it was the business end of a lot of work I did as a Producer and Engineer. Now it’s the keeper of all things business related for Richter. Jack and I have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde thing going on and the label helps us to separate the two. Like Jack said earlier, we’re not likely to work on something that we don’t feel strongly about ? and that’s also true of the label. What lies ahead for Sound as a Weapon will reveal itself in time.

Jack: Essentially, we have a lot of the know-how for running a label between the two of us ? but we haven’t decided if we want to do it for more than just Richter at this point.

How will Cost of Living be available to the public?

Jack: In-store distribution depends on a lot of things, but it is already available online at CD baby, A Different Drum, and Storming the Base. We’ll just keep plugging away at it to get more distributors and online stores involved – hopefully we’ll cast as wide a net as we can, globally speaking. We are fortunate in many ways that all our hopes are not pinned on staying signed or that we’re not heavily indebted to anyone. As we get more distributors to carry our music we add them to a listing on our website.

What can we expect in the future from Richter?

Lizz: Probably the only thing that you can expect from Richter is that we’ll continue to make music. The music and the sounds will change as we change. I learned long ago to not become married to a plan or expectation. It’s a guaranteed way to disappoint oneself. And I think, musically speaking, any attachment to a plan might cause us to restrict ourselves from taking chances with our music.

Jack: Just that we’ll continue to work hard and strive to make good music.

Finally are there other unsigned acts that you would recommend to the readers?

Jack: Within the boundaries of dark culture I can’t think of any off the top of my head except for “Fractured” ( ) – and I doubt he’ll be unsigned long. He’s very good and right on the money in terms of being where club music is at the moment ? and it doesn?t hurt that he?s a stand-up guy. Very cool and down to earth.

Thanks for the interview.

Oh, thank YOU! Very kind of you to indulge us!