Go Inside the Rockin’ Robots of Liam Lynch’s THE ADVENTURES OF THE SWEET ELECTRIC
By Dan Casey on August 29, 2014
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the wonderfully twisted mind that gave us Sifl and Olly, but this fall Liam Lynch is bringing one of his maddest musical projects yet to Nerdist: The Adventures of The Sweet Electric. The Sweet Electric, in case you weren’t already intimately familiar, are a group of Androgynoids who also happen to be the rockingest band in the entire universe. Basically, they’re what would happen if you built a race of David Bowie-esque cyborgs and gave them a tour bus capable of interstellar travel. Now, in a brand new series coming to Nerdist, you’ll be able to take flight with The Sweet Electric as they go from gig to gig on alien worlds, and go through all the trials and travails of an intergalactically popular rock band. To bring you further inside the rock n’ roll ribaldry, I caught up with Lynch to talk about how the Sweet Electric first formed, what we can expect from the series, and what will happen in the even of the Singularity.
Nerdist: The Androgynoids of The Sweet Electric are my new favorite new sci-fi creation. Tell us about how The Adventures of The Sweet Electric went from concept to glamorous, riff-filled completion?
Liam Lynch: Well, the group originally started in my video podcast, Lynchland, in episode 23 as “The Holy Rollers.” I soon after changed their name to The Sweet Electric, and started making music videos and more songs as the band. I was asked by Disney to create an animated band, to create both the characters and the music. I told them, “Well, I’ve already created a fake band and I’ve been recording albums as them”. So I wrote scripts and really dove into who they were and a HUGE back story and stuff. I did a full show bible on who they were and their whole world. We worked for two years trying to find the right character design art without luck. I worked with over 25 AMAZING artists and so many of their designs for the characters were incredible but not up to Disney’s high water mark.
So the whole project lost momentum since we couldn’t find drawings and we decided to call it quits. I just wanted to make stuff, so I started making more videos as The Sweet Electric (who were really the same band for Disney, but called a different name). I was going to do an episode of my Lynchland podcast just about the group. Kind of like one of the episodes I’ve done for Nerdist… but I knew it was a big can of worms and I would need to do a bunch of episodes. Years ago, the very first time I ever met with Chris Hardwick, I told him about The Sweet Electric and how I wanted to do these sort of TV corny, light sci-fi shows with them and he totally got it. It’s kind of like if the TV show The Monkees were written by Douglas Adams and Bowie did the music. It’s such a mental relief for me to SEE these episodes all done and to see the band on screen as three separate characters interacting and talking. As much work as it was, it just makes me want to make more.
N: We’ve seen plenty of sci-fi-themed bands, but apart from the occasional piece like Interstella 5555, we never really see sci-fi stories about musicians. Why is this the perfect blend of genres for you?
LL: These episodes are a reaction to many things I love. It’s a sandbox of appreciation for me. I had made several music videos for The Sweet Electric on my YouTube channel and I knew their personas and wanted to create something where people could get a better sense of who they are. One thing I wanted was this sort of cozy TV feeling that I miss. It falls somewhere between The Young Ones and Red Dwarf. It’s not just the funny things that happen…it’s the way it FEELS while they’re being funny. The laugh track is an important part of that feeling. I have so many old shows I love and you put them on and you’ve seen them so many times that you don’t have to look at the TV anymore. Just the sound alone is comforting. These shows are safe from time. They stay the same and create these constants through your life and it makes you feel like you did when you watched them ten years ago. It’s like a safe, cozy zone. No surprises. That can be
kind of a relief. You can relax around those cherished movies and shows.
I wanted something that sort of had that feeling for me. The characters are a mishmash of so many things. Shay, for example, is feminine and bitchy like C-3PO mixed with a bit of Hedwig, a bit of Rick from The Young Ones, and one of my relatives. Musically, they are a mishmash, as well, of T. Rex, David Bowie, The Beatles, and probably a lot of other bands. Visually, there are lots of things that are references or inspirations from other shows and movies, from Doctor Who to Pink Floyd – The Wall to Heavy Metal to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. It really is like throwing all the foods you like into a bowl and serving it, no matter how it tastes. It’s all these things at once for me. It’s pizza with ice cream and tacos and everything from the cupboard. It’s a big weird brain meal.
N: You play every character on the show, you directed it, you wrote it, you played all the music. Are you on the laugh track too? Seriously, though, do you prefer the level of control that comes with being able to do it all yourself or do you find you prefer working with others?
LL: I work with others all the time. Most of the projects I do are for other people and there are many involved. The reason I did everything on these episodes is mostly out of convenience. I had to do these on my schedule and, often times, I was working at three or four in the morning on stuff. I couldn’t schedule this to happen with others involved. If I needed to do a pick up shot at 2 AM. then I would go out and do it, and come back in, throw it in the computer, and composite the rest of the shot. I made it all at home with just a little Handycam on a tripod. Also, I really know these characters and it was far easier to just act things out myself rather than try to explain subtleties. So much of it was in my head that it would be a waste of time to try to explain it all to anyone. I just needed to make it.
N: What band would you most like to see on a double bill with The Sweet Electric?
LL: Simon and The Brothers Red (That’s Simon Roller’s band. Simon is V1ctor’s evil twin).
N: In the event of a singularity, would Sweet Electric rise up and crush humanity?
LL: If you mean crushing humanity with monster riffs and eye winks, then yes.
N: What would be inside your ideal burrito?
Cheddar cheese and a zip lock baggie containing a check for eight billion dollars.
The Adventures of The Sweet Electric debuts Tuesday, September 2, exclusively on Nerdist.