Robotnik is Chris Morrin
Possessed, unhinged and strikingly original, Robotnik channels a more furious Beck, a more sporadic Mark Linkous and through a frenzied mix of lyrical lullaby’s, YouTube adventures and unforgettable live shows, has become one of the rare wonders of the Irish music scene.
The terminally wild Chris has had many jobs in his time, from assisting his stand-up comedian father on stage as a lad to the construction line in a nut factory to a telesales post that earned him €800 a week (which he unfortunately squandered on drugs). A stint working in a fruit and veg market brought about
the perfect moniker for the musician, when his Polish counterparts dubbed him Mr. Robotnik (Polish for worker). The word struck a chord. Morrin liked what it represented - an insatiable appetite for one's labour.
Baby Robotnik was a giddy loner; an introspective young pup from a working class suburb in Dublin with a semi-serious pornography addiction and an indisputably serious chocolate addiction, both of which he had carried with him into his 20s.
"I always found where my parents had hidden the chocolate - it was a running thing where I would get fatter and fatter. Then they had the clever idea of putting the chocolate into a suitcase, locking it and putting it under my own bed. Eventually, I found it and when I was looking for the key and that's when I found my dad's pornography stash. That was that really - my innocence just went out the fucking window. I was so imaginative when it came to all that stuff when I was a kid. When you're 11 and 12 you just go wild on the whole sexual thing."
“I was an only child so there was nothing going on but Chris. Then I met this guy Paul and he had two friends Darragh and Steve - they were the first people who I felt like I wanted to hang around with. I bought a guitar for like £40 and that's when I started doing music, just to keep friends. I wasn't even thinking 'I want to be a songwriter'. It was just not in my head."
Morrin spent the remainder of his teenage years fronting "Weezer-esque" Dublin foursome the Wesley’s with his new mates, before getting thrown into the Dublin singer songwriter scene.
"Everyone was doing this Damien Rice-style music and I ended up getting sucked into it a little bit. I released an EP as Chris Morrin called The Mucky Kid EP because my Mam used to sing me a Cilla Black song called 'Mucky Kid' to put me to sleep all the time. It was a very sincere EP. That's when I started taking a lot of drugs. I stopped doing music and I lost my head a little bit.”
"It was a really weird situation", Morrin admits. "I just stayed at home, I was on anti-depressants for a year and I was really not well. But after that I felt like I could get on with my life, I was happy just to be doing music again."
And so began a love affair with all things lo-fi electronic. Today, the noise Robotnik makes is from a cocktail of old tape samples, modern beats, repetitive melodies and brutally honest lyrics that express the true nature of human errors.
"Music is possibly the best art form." Morrin enthuses. "It's just the most amazing thing because you can't hold it and see it or taste it. It's pretty amazing. I love the universe. I love how the universe works. I'm big into quantum physics and I love how sound works. I just think it's incredible how a car alarm can be instantly horrible and how Beethoven can be instantly beautiful."
The buzz around Robotnik’s debut album, 2008's ‘Pleasant Square’, soon scored the young Dubliner support slots with Crystal Castles and Laura Marling, and the video for the single 'People Walk Away' was quickly snapped up by MTV2 in the UK.
Since then Robotnik has done some unforgettable live performances in Europe, especially in Berlin in which he call's it his second home. 2012 has already been an exciting year for Robotnik. He has just completed a remix of Wallis Bird's first single under the Label Rubyworks.
Veering even closer to the edge, Morrin has just finished his long awaited second album; “I've written a lot about my primal needs. It's pretty harsh what I've written about. The album is very personal, describing my issues with intimacy, love and sex.” The album was produced by Chris Morrin and Yensin Jahn (Yo La Tengo, Calexico, Lambchop) in the spring of 2012 in Berlin.
Release date TBA.
DEBUT ALBUM REVIEWS
"Breezy Melodies, assertive diction and scratchy acoustic guitar sounds never ever sounded as at home with trebly beats and primitive Jean Michelle Jarre synth sounds as they do on this hometown classic." - HOTPRESS 4/5
"…remarkable debut, which straddles Eighties synth-pop and thoroughly modern laptop lo-fi, he displays ambition and originality in spades…this is among the very best records of the year" - ALTERNATIVE ULSTER 8/10
"Pleasant Square is a simple pleasure that proves surprisingly invigorating." - METRO 4/5