Featuring your local Electronic DJ: Captive Portal??

Written by Austin Schumacher; Media by Michael Trieb.

With the introduction of The Lab this year, I’ve started to see that there is a certain amount of interest in electronic music here on the GC campus.  However, many of these talented artists are relatively unknown to the public.  Therefore, in order to shed a bit more light on the subject, I was able to meet up with Zach Bridier (aka. “Electromatic” “Much,” “Sebon” or more recently “Captive Portal”).  You can download his most recent “Throwing EP”  for free.

Photo via Zach Bridier

Zach is certainly a person who is not unfamiliar to the music scene, specifically electronic music.  Having started working with basic loops in Junior High, he has been working on mastering his craft and creating his own sounds through high school and now in college.  Using mostly programs like Pro Tools for tracking and mixing, he really doesn’t want to rely on just a computer for everything, but enjoys incorporating collaboration and real instruments and people into his mixes.  Currently, he is splitting his focus between playing as the drummer for The Advocates, working as an audio engineer, and creating his newest project, Captive Portal.

Zach Bridier drumming for the Advocates
Photo via Joe Kam Photography

Though still very young in its development, Captive Portal is a far cry from where Zach started in the early days with his first project, Electromatic, which entailed different concepts and ideas and is now labeled by Zach as a “failed project.”  Although this newest release was supposed to be the newest Electromatic EP, Zach decided to start something fresh, using new sounds and real instruments, as well as random samples, which didn’t really fit the sound he developed through Electromatic.  Other projects that Zach has been working on through the years include Sebon, a “more modern mainstreamish sound,” (which he is still working on, but enjoys the creativity of Captive Portal more) and Much, (yes, that’s with a comma) which incorporates a lo-fi singer/songwriter feel.  When questioned as to why he has so many projects open at once, he answered that he “likes to keep [his] horizons broad.”  It’s time to start a new project when the sound doesn’t flow with previous work.

Photo via Zach Bridier

Although he has experience working with both analog and digitally-generated sound, Zach mentioned that he did not have a preference for working with one or the other.  “It depends on the song,” he commented. “Some is all digital, some is played.”  Whatever works for each individual piece is what he goes with, and he is certainly willing to take some interesting measures to get just the right sound, including recording in a bathroom.  As far as what he enjoys most about making music, Zach is rather stumped and claims that he enjoys the whole process of creating a track and rolling with how a track develops over time, saying, “I have an idea in my head, but I never know how it’s going to sound in the final projects.”  His current interest lies in glitching random samples to make a rhythm, rather than relying on instruments to provide the melody.

Photo via Zach Bridier

In addition to working on developing the Captive Portal sound, Zach is also looking at doing some kind of live performance.  Although not quite sure how that would look quite yet, since he hasn’t had a chance to perform live yet, he is excited to experiment with how a show might run.  Enjoying interacting with the audience, he asserts that he’s not all about convenience and just using a computer, but wants to make music sound human and work in some audience participation.  One example he gave occurred during this year’s fusion ensemble, where he decided to hand out percussion pieces, encouraging those watching to grab an instrument and play with the band.  According to Zach, “I just don’t like to do things normally or what people expect….It’s not me playing for you, it’s all of us together.”  This mindset is also evident in his recordings as he collaborates with other artists frequently, including Kiah Kelson, his brother, and Ian Miller.

Regarding his current state of affairs, Zach is really excited about the reviews he’s been getting for his “Throwing EP” and is working on new Captive Portal stuff to include in an upcoming (you guessed it) “Catching EP.”  He appreciates the other GC electronic artists and recommends such artists as Cake Eater (Nathan Hopwood), PeteSnacks (Peter Huston), and Komono (Storm Sharrett).  Reinforcing the artistry of these individuals, he admits that good electronic music is difficult to do.  “GC doesn’t do club music, and that’s good….it’s not for on the floor, 128 bpm songs.”  His future goals include taking all of the inspiration that he gets from various types of music, and developing his own character and sound.  “I want to take what I’ve learned and do it myself without copying anybody.”

Click here to Listen/Download “Throwing”!


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