Based in Toronto, Canada, I Am Robot And Proud (real name Shaw-Han Liem) creates electronic music many people have tried to describe but few can pinpoint. Music-News put a few questions to the Canadian robot man.How did you start up writing and recording music?
I started playing music the way a lot of kids do; I grew up playing in rock bands. It seemed like everyone in my neighbourhood was playing an instrument at the time. Over the years I started experimenting with using computers to put together sounds, which seemed fairly natural since I had a deep interest in computers and programming as well.Name an artist or an album that made you want to make music in the first place
Early on, I would go and see local bands at the all ages venue in my town all the time. It was great seeing my friends, kids I knew, making this great music and it was really inspiring. It was mostly hardcore punk music, which you might think is very different from the kind of music I make now, but it wasn't really the music as the atmosphere which was really great for a kid growing up. I would also get these records from across the sea from labels like warp and rephlex and wonder how the hell they were making those weird sounds.How did you hook up with Catmobile Records? Did you find it hard to get your music released?
Claire and Andy (who run the label in Leeds) had heard a remix I did on a German 12' many years ago. They liked the song and looked me up, and we became friends. We had a lot in common; all of us grew up listening to punk bands and in the diy indie scene in the 90s and were looking to bring this sensibility to electronic music. It was a good match, and as soon as I had an album ready, they took a chance and put it out.What is the musical scene like where you're from? Do you feel part of it?
Toronto is a great musical city right now, there are bands playing all the time and new projects and weird things sprouting up all the time. There is this feeling that having a musical 'community' is very important, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Most of the musicians i know in Toronto are not electronic musicians, because I play in a few bands around the city.What equipment do you use?
I have a few electric pianos and synths, some samplers and things like that. Everything is assembled on my laptop.Would you like to collaborate with anyone in the future? Do you have anyone in mind?
Hmm there are a few people I'd like to work with. Both musicians and non-musicians. I still get really excited when I get to be involved in an interesting project. A friend of mine (a local songwriter) is having a concert in a great big church in a few days. There will be a brass section and a string quartet, and he's asked me to play the church's grand piano for the show. It's really inspiring for me to try something musically that I've never done before.Do you enjoy playing live? What's the set up?
The live setup is very similar to what I use at home to compose, although I tend to bring things that are easy to carry :) laptop, synth, and sampler is the basic setup. Although it's been evolving over the years.You recently had a track appear in the movie 'Artflick', showing at the Sundance Online Film Festival. How did that come about?
I was contacted a while ago by Brian Alfred, who is the painter that the film is based on. He was opening his new exhibition in New York and asked me to contribute a track for the catalog. Of course I said yes because one of my favourite electronic musicians (rei harakami) was also going to appear on the cd. A while later, the film was made and they asked to use the song as part of the soundtrack. It's sort of an animation piece that combines elements of 'real' photographs. Really nice stuff and the film was so well done. Eventually the film was shown at Sundance online, which was really great.What have you been listening to recently?
I know it is a real clichÃ© to say this, but it's the truth! I think I spend too much time working on my own music and not enough finding new music. I haven't really heard much of anything new lately.What are the future plans for I am robot and proud? Any plans to play the UK soon?
I'll be going on tour with Randomnumber (of Leeds) in the US this April, and playing a few shows around Canada as well. After that I will take a small break from playing live shows and work on some new songs. There has been talk of doing some UK shows in July but nothing is finalised yet. I'll definitely let you know!
For more info on I am robot and proud check out:US tour info: www.robotandproud.com/tour Other press: www.catmobilerecords.com/shawhan