Ganymede is the now-familiar American duo of David Friede
and Patrick Runkle, who both grew up in Pennsylvania. They
met while attending film school in Los Angeles, and after
discovering a number of similar interests, including
music, they decided to work together on their own musical
project. They took the name Ganymede from one of Jupiter's
moons; it's a name both David and Patrick thought would
reflect both their music and in turn their interest in
At the end of 1999, Ganymede sent a copy of a demo they
had made to Dave Richards from the now defunct American
80s/synthpop magazine Lexicon. Richards had set up the
Ninthwave Records label and had released a number of
compilations in association with the magazine itself.
Ganymede made their first release with Ninthwave Records
with the nine-track album After The Fall in mid-2000 (ten
tracks if you include the remix of "You're my Passion").
Electrogarden ‘Single Of The Year' Neon Rain, a five-track
single that included a number of Their blend of retro
electropop quickly found interest in the synthpop scene,
and likewise After The Fall became a firm favourite within
that scene. Ganymede's further releases included the 2001
remixes as a first indication of their forthcoming second
album. Ganymede released that second album, Euromantique,
in June 2001, and it features ten tacks with remixes from
both ElectroSquad and the Cruxshadows.
Euromantique continued to both raise the profile of the
band within the synthpop scene and elsewhere. The album
also featured their second single "Are You Falling In Love
Again?," released earlier this year as the eight track
Falling E.P. This release included remixes from B!Machine,
Simulator and Soviet, and also included their cover of the
rare Vangelis track "Don't Be Foolish." More recent
appearances have included their cover of "Don't Go" for
the Ninthwave Records Yazoo tribute Nobody's Diary and a
collaboration with David Mahr for a track on the Synthetik
Broadway compilation released on the A Different Drum
Patrick and David recently set up the synthpop label
Cohaagen Music. The label takes its name from a character
in the film Total Recall, a firm favourite with the band.
The label includes the solo artists Simulator, Gary
Flanagan and Nukleon on its books while first releases for
the label itself included the hit Evolution compilation
and Simulator's debut album, Enter The Unknown. Upcoming
titles include the Fr/action debut album, Crimes of the
Future (set for August 20th), and Gary Flanagan's first
official album, Future Fashion, set for release in early
October. The Gary Flanagan album has been produced by
Ganymede as well.
For complete information on Ganymede, be sure to visit the
official website at
I first interviewed you exactly two years ago for my
synthpop fanzine Synthetic Vision. Within that time
Ganymede have made four releases: two albums, and EP and a
single. Do you think you have achieved what you originally
set out to achieve with Ganymede through these releases
and within the time they where released?
Insofar as Ganymede is the musical collaboration between
the two of us, it's exactly what we set out to achieve. We
wanted to bring our own (hopefully somewhat unique) ideas
and influences to bear on the modern synthpop scene, and I
think that we've established ourselves the way we wanted
to. We can now make the music we want to make, and there's
an audience there that will follow what we're doing.
People are listening, and that's really all you can ask
for as an artist.
At the time After the Fall was originally released you
stated that the album itself featured mainly analogue
synthesisers and equipment and that the album itself
featured no presets. Have Ganymede continued with that
same policy with the releases that have followed After The
Fall? And is it now just as important to both continue
that policy and to use mainly analogue equipment?
For me, it's all about crafting a song completely from the
ground up. There are no loops, no multi-samples, no
software synths, and no canned pre-sets on any of our
albums. If that sacrifices some of the immediate dance
potential of pre-done tracks on ultra-modern drum machines
and modeling synths, so be it. But I think it gives all of
our tracks a unique and organic feel. I'm not against
these sound sources per se, but I really, really like the
sounds that I get on the vintage gear I have. Why play
around with a digital imitation when I can have the real
I'm not too hung up on gear, if a sound is good I don't
care what machine it came from. The analog synths are
certainly largely responsible for the sound that is
associated with Ganymede, though I'm not so fast to
discredit alternate sources of sound generation just
because they're of the digital or software variety.
In an interview with the Lancaster (Pa.) New Era in
October 2000, just after the release of your debut album
After the Fall, it was stated that Ganymede had an
expected sales target of 1,000 copies for this album; did
Ganymede reach that sales target? :-) And two years on
from that release what would be an expected sales target
for a new Ganymede album?
We've never really counted our total sales, but we're
getting there. Euromantique has done better than After the
Fall, and that encourages us because we think each album
is reaching more people. This genre is quite small at the
moment, but we think the Ganymede albums have sold very
well for indie releases in this genre, and we're happy
Is there likely to be more releases from Ganymede like the
Falling E.P rather than a standard new studio album?
Especially in regards that more can be done with an E.P
like Falling between its new tracks, remixes and cover
We're planning something really special for our next
single, which will precede the new album by a few months.
We're planning on doing a double-CD single, with two
singles from the album in one package. I've tossed around
the ideas of doing videos for those singles and/or
releasing them on vinyl, but we'll see whether those are
feasible in the coming months. We're always trying to find
new ways to appeal to new audiences.
With the release of four Ganymede CDs in just two years,
are Ganymede likely to step back for the remainder of this
year and not release any new material? What plans (if any)
do Ganymede have for future new material, especially that
third album? Is there anything that you've not done with
the two previous albums After the Fall and Euromantique
that you would like to do with this third album?
We're hard at work on new material. We're just finishing
up the master for the Gary Flanagan album, which we've
produced, and after that it's new Ganymede material all
the way. We'll get the double-single out either at the end
of this year or early next year, with the album to follow
before next summer. At that point, it will have been 2
years since Euromantique, and we think it's time for some
fresh Ganymede material. Again, in this genre, it's
publish or perish, and you've gotta keep putting out good
material to have your name out there.
Speaking of which, our new album now has a title: Space
and Time. The songs are a bit longer and more developed
than what we've done before. Basically, I think I've
gotten some incredible sounds on the new album, and our
songwriting is always improving. We looked at our favorite
moments on Euromantique and took it a step farther from
The idea is for our third album to be the culmination of
everything that people have come to expect from Ganymede,
while at the same time incorporating some exciting new
ideas into the mix.
I know Ganymede have performed a number of gigs around
California, but are there any plans or at least intentions
of playing some dates in Europe? If so, would you prefer
for Ganymede to perform solo or possibly as a ‘package
tour' with a number of other American synthpop bands? If
so which bands would you most like to see support you on
There's a new set of American synthpop festivals being
planned now by the label heads that will happen several
times a year, as sort of a replacement for the
money-losing festivals like Synthcon and Synthpop Goes the
World. Those shows have had varying degrees of success,
but if promoters can't make money on synth festivals like
that, something else needs to happen. We're definitely
going to play one of these new festivals either this year
or next, and we hope to do a small tour in support of the
new album when it comes out. My desire is to do an east
coast tour, starting in Toronto and working our way
through Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and
then Baltimore/Washington. Whether that's feasible and
whether it happens are still up in the air. A European
tour is more of a fantasy at this point; unless some
European fans get involved and book some shows for us, it
probably won't happen anytime soon. To answer your other
question, I think we could do some great shows with the
likes of Freezepop, Soviet, or Gary Flanagan. I've also
always wanted to do shows with ElectroSquad.
The American synthpop scene has had a number of bands who
remain both fondly remembered and well liked by American
synthpoppers, bands like Information Society & Red Flag,
do you think that in future years Ganymede will be looked
upon in the same way as these bands or do you think
Ganymede are already been looked upon in that way and if
so do you think Ganymede deserve to be remembered as one
of ‘the' American synthpop bands?
Obviously, we hope Ganymede is thought of fondly in and
out of the scene, but we think we have a long ways to go
before we're on the level of the bands you mentioned. We
have lots of enthusiasm for the scene and for Ganymede, so
we hope to grow in the future.
Do you think the retro electropop sound of Ganymede has
played a part in the past two years in being a major
influence on the present American synthpop scene,
especially to the extent of giving American synth that
retro electropop trademark sound?
I haven't been aware of our work influencing any other
American acts. However, if you mean that our work has
largely contributed to what is considered the "American
synthpop sound," I'd find that very flattering indeed.
I wouldn't say that I think we've had a huge effect on
that sound. The American synthpop scene is still too
fractured and doesn't have enough of a following to make a
very coherent statement, in my opinion.
With the recent setting up of the Cohaagen label and your
future-pop project Fr/action, will (the work you do with)
Ganymede indirectly be taking a back seat to both the
label and new projects or will Ganymede remain a first
priority for yourself?
Nah, we're still working really hard on Ganymede material.
Fr/action is really Dave's project, I just helped out
recording some vocals and assembling the artwork. With
Cohaagen we want to present artists and releases that we
can be completely proud of, and I think so far we've
achieved that. Ganymede is a part of Cohaagen, and there
will be new Ganymede material soon.
I see Cohaagen as being our top priority, with Ganymede
being one of our primary assets. We've been continuing our
work as Ganymede as we would have without Cohaagen, yet
now instead of Ganymede being a means to an end itself, it
now feeds into the greater interest that is Cohaagen.
Do you think in setting up your synthpop label Cohaagen
Music that it will restrict in anyway what you do with
Ganymede, in both deflecting any ideas away from the band
and towards both the label and the acts & artists on the
We're not really worried about that. We're thrilled to be
running our own label, and we're happy to be on it as
Ganymede! Dave has been able to explore his futurepop
addiction with Fr/action, which we're really excited
about, and we've both been able to stretch into the past
with the Gary Flanagan album. Dave did the programming
last year for the Gary album, and I've been doing all the
physical production, so we've essentially each had our own
projects going here for a little while. I loved blasting
away with my old synths on the Gary album, and I think
people are going to love it. There's one track in
particular, a sort of French rap called "Metro Boulot
Dodo," that we can't wait to see hit the clubs. It's gonna
be huge with electro people.
In addition, I think all the artists on Cohaagen embody a
certain feel, and that's part of what our intention is. I
also think the scene is going to be blown away by the
NukleoN album when it comes out early next year. In the
end, Cohaagen is an extension of what we're doing.
Cohaagen is our way of exploring ideas that fall outside
the boundaries of what we could do as Ganymede. In that
respect, no ideas will be deflected from Ganymede, but
rather Cohaagen enables us to achieve so much more through
our work with other artists and projects in addition to
Ganymede. What's good for Cohaagen is good for Ganymede,
and vice versa.
Is your label Cohaagen Music a long term project, to the
extent that you plan to build the label itself up to the
same or similar level as fellow American synthpop labels
like A Different Drum & Synthphony Records and achieve the
same or similar results as these labels have done and
without unintentionally becoming a competitor to these
Funny you should ask, because we were just discussing
this. We could never compete with the scope of A Different
Drum, and we don't really want to. We have a promising
slate of releases now, one coming out every 2-3 months,
and we're going to stick to that for the foreseeable
future. In terms of the rabid following that Todd has
amassed for his label, we hope too that a certain set of
people count on Cohaagen Music to deliver a quality and
exciting musical product.
I'd hate to think of us as a "competitor" to other
synthpop labels, since we're all on the same side in
trying to bring this music to the masses. Our plan is to
devote 100 percent of our attention to one release at a
time, which would preclude us releasing material in the
quantity that A Different Drum does.
You recently started your own Future Pop project
Fr/action, did the idea for this project come from the
Future Pop influenced ‘Legacy' track on the ‘Euromantique'
album? And is the forthcoming Fr/action album a ‘one-off'
or are there any further plans for future releases under
the name Fr/action?
I wouldn't say Fr/action was inspired by "Legacy," but
rather it came from the same set of influences that
inspired that track. I'd love to continue recording as
Fr/action should there be the demand for it, as I have
plenty of new ideas. Reaction to the project has been
great so far, so I have high hopes for the release of the
debut album, Crimes of the Future, on August 20th.
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