For several years, I’ve been fortunate enough to call Jon Dobyns a friend. Dobyns is known for his electronic project Twitch the Ripper as well as for forming the anime vinyl soundtrack company Tiger Lab Vinyl, which has released titles such as Perfect Blue, Devilman: The Birth, Wicked City, and more. Now, Dobyns and his Twitch the Ripper bandmate Lonn are gearing up to release original music again, this time under the moniker Alone in the Woods.
Already signed to Burning Witches, which specializes in electronic and soundtrack related music, the duo will be releasing their debut album later this year. However, to give people a taste of what’s to come, their first single “I Never Came Up For Air” will be on Burning Witches’ Record Store Day compilation album Communion and we’re here to present you a sample of that exact same track! Additionally, we’re bringing you an interview with Dobyns about Alone in the Woods, why they signed to Burning Witches, and what inspires their new musical adventure.
Dread Central: You’ve got quite the resume when it comes to music experience, both as a musician in Twitch the Ripper and as one of the masterminds behind the anime vinyl label Tiger Lab Vinyl. How has all this experience helped formulate your approach with Alone in the Woods?
Jon Dobyns: My previous music projects focused on a long term goal. Playing and touring in bands was all about sustaining what we loved while making a living. That was completely the wrong approach for us. It felt like trying to force a movement. I ended up burning out on endless touring cycles.
Tiger Lab is also a numbers game, but it exercises a different muscle for me. I love what I do, and release the scores that I believe in, but like any label it’s a business.
I took a much more humbled approach with AITW. I think because I’m older and more experienced, the approach is more self-aware. It’ll be the first original record I’ve released in over 6 years. Material has bottled up inside me for quite some time, and I’m finally ready to write again.
DC: If you had to do an elevator pitch for Alone in the Woods, how would you describe the project?
JD: Think electronic/pop/hip-hop beats, woodwinds, deep bass, and a bear eating trash in the forest, and that’s Alone in the Woods.
DC: Theoretically, you could have released your music through Tiger Lab Vinyl, although that would’ve changed the dynamics of your model. What made you decide to go with Burning Witches?
JD: That’s right. I didn’t want to release it on TLV because it wouldn’t make sense with the label’s mission.
I was introduced to Burning Witches by our mutual friend Ben from Two Headed Dog. Over the last year, Darren of BW and I became friendly, appreciating each other’s work, and just became friends.
I was listening to some unreleased instrumental demos from the end of the TTR era, and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed them. I got excited, called Lonn and said, “Let’s do an LP, no pressure, let’s have some fun.”
I thought of Burning Witches instantly because they were a newer, growing label that I respected, and I thought it would be a good fit. I messaged Darren and pitched him the idea and sent him some demos, and he agreed!
DC: Has your love of anime soundtracks and your work in that world bled into the music you created for Alone in the Woods?
JD: It has to a degree. For five years, I’ve been immersed in the soundtrack scene and 80% of everything I’ve been listening to has been instrumental, so that kind of perked up the creative juices in my brain.
DC: What were the main musical inspirations for this upcoming album?
JD: I’ve been inspired by orchestral instruments recently, and I wanted to balance that with early UK synthpop influences. Lonn has spent the last few years in the producer’s chair, so you’ll also hear his hip-hop influences in the production on the LP.
On a side note, we always play our tracks to Joe Spinell stalking scenes in Maniac.