This Music Made Me

This Music Made Me: Alec Empire

Atari Teenage Riot

Atari Teenage Riot

Varying with the tradition of these This Music Made Me pieces a little, this time round the artist introduces their own choices of the albums that have, over their working lives, influenced them most…


Hey, I am Alec Empire of the group Atari Teenage Riot. You might know me but if you don’t then check out my website. I know probably every artist says this but in this case it might be helpful to understand where I am coming from.

I have done these types of pieces a zillion times in my career, which has spanned over 20 years now, so I thought I’d dig out some records that usually never get a mention. To speak about the importance of X-Ray Spex, Richard Hell, Suicide, Public Enemy, Detroit techno and so on is obvious… But creativity doesn’t work this way. We are influenced and inspired by tons of different music pieces and the culture that surrounds us. Whoever says all music is always a copy of a copy of a copy is simple minded, because the reality is far more complex.

Records continue to “make me”. It is a never-ending process.


Kluster - Eruption Kluster – Eruption

For many music fans Krautrock is already on the very edge of where they want to go in terms of taste. So Neu!, Kluster and bands like them have inspired many musicians and I can’t praise them enough.

This album though is very special. The atmosphere is less ‘peaceful’ than you might expect. Writing songs with a traditional structure can be pretty boring, but to just abandon the structure and end up with lose experiments is not always the answer. The internet is full of attempts to move away from pop music, which is great, but Eruption is a very good example of how it should be done.

When we listen to music in the charts it’s all about rules, they are very clearly written out and when musicians don’t adapt and force their music into this cage they get ignored. This is happening at a time when you could potentially upload really long pieces of music to the internet. Why radio is still living in the dark ages, is beyond me. The doors are wide open, go through them, be free.


SPK - Leichenschrei SPK – Leichenschrei

I was in one way or another influenced by that generation of musicians. This album is a classic.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it before, so I had to here. Atari Teenage Riot and me as a solo artist have a different philosophy but it was only possible because we followed this generation.

I like to believe that at least… not sure if it’s true.


Augustus Pablo - King Tubby meets Rockers Uptown Augustus Pablo – King Tubby meets Rockers Uptown

Dub was a huge influence on me when I was a kid. I’m glad I grew up with this music.

There can be a wall between sound engineer and musicians. Dub tore down this wall and since then musician and sound engineer can merge into one person. In this sense dub and reggae was more important for techno music and especially DJ culture than Kraftwerk.

Not many people want to accept this reality.


Notekillers - Notekillers Notekillers – Notekillers

I’ve always loved this record. The energy of it, everything… even the name is awesome.







Missing Foundation - 1933 Missing Foundation – 1933

An awesome noisy industrial experimental album I got decades ago. A pretty provocative title if you grew up in Germany.

I always preferred this to Einstürzende Neubauten. Although they shouldn’t be compared. But still I am just being honest here.

Listen to it on vinyl not YouTube, compression squeezes the life out of this record.


Big Youth - Everyday Skank Big Youth – Everyday Skank

Every time I program a drum machine or put together a beat in the computer I remind myself of these types of records, how they were made.

There is a groove that is impossible to create with machines. OK, maybe you could if you spend a lot of time on it, but still then it would be manufactured and would probably just be an imitation and nothing original.

One thing is for sure, Zion will win. Now light up. The soldiers fight and the kings are heroes.


Spooky Tooth & Pierre Henry - Ceremony Spooky Tooth & Pierre Henry – Ceremony

A perfect example… there was a time when musicians tried to bring rock and electronic music together. If you don’t know the history, check out this album – it’s wild.

Where would we be without these innovators? Yes, on YouTube watching dumb cat videos and developing no music taste whatsoever… ha ha… Yes, I mean you, Eloi!

Get out of the way…


YMO - Technodelic YMO – Technodelic

When this came out I was a kid and I dreamt of sitting in some skyscraper in Tokyo listening to this, looking over the city.

I started Atari Teenage Riot and a bit over a decade later, I experienced exactly that.

This is what music can do, it can make you realise what you really want. Every time you listen to it, you are reminded. I also love the artwork on this album. I have the Japanese pressing which has slightly different, not so socialist-looking, artwork. I prefer this one.


Vangelis - Spiral Vangelis – Spiral

Blade Runner is one thing, but I see this album mentioned almost nowhere. It’s a shame, this is amazing. A huge influence on me.

I love big sounds when it comes to electronic music. Making minimal or small sounding stuff is easy.




Goblin - Suspiria Goblin – Suspiria

I highly recommend this album. It is experimental and very well performed. Amazing.

To get a band to play this kind of material so well together, so they sound as one unit, is a rare and precious thing. I was always fascinated by that. Very spiritual.

Thank you.



Atari Teenage Riot’s album Reset is out now through Digital Hardcore. Tour dates and further information can be found here.

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