And as before, the music defies classification. “We don’t care about genres or trends,” says egomunk. “They are nice to play with, but ultimately they should never be used to restrict your creativity.” The cryptic film grammar of directors Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick are as much of an inspiration as any of the band’s musical peers. And just as Kubrick was fascinated by the potential – and hidden dangers – of technology, egomunk addresses the question of how we stay human in a world in which computerisation and virtual reality grow more powerful with each passing day. It is a theme that emerges most vividly of all in the new song “Drones”, a track inspired by “what seems to to be the inevitable take-over of technology over morality.” In a world where software and hardware can track our every movement, what will be the fate of privacy or the idea of a normal, everyday life? Technology is supposed to liberate us, but does it threaten to enslave us?
“I wanted to release an album completely anonymously to let the music be heard for what it is, not for who is behind it.”
Who exactly is egomunk? That remains one of the best-kept secrets in the music industry. Rumours abound about his or her identity, as well as that of the VIP contributors and guests. But remarkably, in the three years since the group released its debut album, “Footsteps to Mars” – which notched up a remarkable 300,000 free downloads – the musicians have managed not to let their mask slip. The mystery remains as impenetrable as ever.
How does the project hold together? Ironically, it is the absence of house rules that makes the venture possible. Artists taking part are asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but otherwise the framework is kept as loose as possible. Sometimes the process sounds closer to the ideals of avant-garde jazz than rock and pop. “There are no rules to the song writing process whatsoever,” egomunk explains. “As long as we are always slightly out of our depth then we are usually in the right place. We do what we do because we love it, and we want the music to be judged on the music, not on who we may be. The only thing avoided is mediocrity.”
There is even a chance that the musicians will use technology to overcome the ultimate challenge: how to re-create their music for a live, flesh-and-blood audience. Even though The Beatles long ago proved that a band could embark on a creative odyssey without having to perform in public, the interaction between performers and their public remains a crucial ingredient in pop music. Can an anonymous group find of way of closing that gap? egomunk thinks it can. “Without giving anything away, we are definitely looking at playing live in the not too distant future. With the advances in augmented reality and some of the new hologram technology it’s totally possible for us to create an immersive audio/visual experience.”