Captured! By Robots to Hijack SoCal


CAPTURED! BY ROBOTS play The Complex Feb. 22 and Soda Bar Feb. 23; press photo

If ever there was a musical group that has a monopoly on being technically innovative, very loud and inarguably unique, that honor definitely goes to Captured! By Robots. The robotic-based group will bring their “20 Years of Suffering Tour” to The Complex Feb. 22 and Soda Bar Feb. 23.

The tour is both a celebration of lead vocalist Jay Vance, the creator of his innovative robotic band mates 20 year career and the end of a long hiatus following an “awful break up.” In reality, Vance powered down his robots and took time off to rethink.

“I wasn’t satisfied with what the band had kind of become, you know,” says Vance. “It started from kind of a campy place and it went along this very specific path I was on for years. Once it got to about 15 years out, it started to get very boring to me and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore.”

Vance recently surprised the music scene by returning with his robot cohorts this year to release his latest album, Endless Circle of Bullshit, online. This release was accompanied by both a music video and an announcement for his tour that officially begins Feb. 22.

“I’m extremely fulfilled since we did this,” Vance exclaims. “It’s been great. I can get out all my aggression with it and it feels really good. The robots have gotten so good that they can play pretty much what I want them to these days.”

The inception of Vance’s undeniably unique group stems from frustration in working with other human music groups, most notably Skankin’ Pickle and The Blue Meanies. Internal problems led to Vance becoming despondent with his musical future.

“It was just making me nuts dealing with the egos, the overuse of drugs and just people not being prompt,” Vance relates.

Deciding to start his own band, Vance was presented a unique means of accomplishing that.

“I saw this band… they were using a tape deck during heavy parts of their songs. So I wanted to make something similar but not be copying them and since I was having a hard time trying to find a guitar player it just came to me ‘I’ll build a robot guitar player’.”

Applying all of his technical knowledge, specifically repairs he did while touring with other bands, Vance’s goal to create a robot guitar was a success. It was soon followed by six other robots each of whom is designed to speak and play specific instruments. How they work and how they were made are subjects Vance says he’d rather not disclose.

“I don’t like to kind of spread that around that much but it’s very simple technology. I mean, a lot of my stuff that I’m using is 20 years old. It’s ridiculous.”



In addition to its robotic nature, Captured! By Robots is also known for its story-based approach. According to Vance, he has been enslaved by his own creations after having spilled coffee onto their CPU boards. This story is played out between songs, entertaining audience members with generous doses of black comedy.

“The robots are super mean. They talk a bunch of crap between the songs. They’re pretty funny. They’re dickish so we generally fight on stage quite a bit and they heckle the crowds. From what I’ve been told, people’s faces hurt from smiling so hard. That’s what they tell me.”

But when it comes time to play, it becomes much more serious. Backed up by the pre-programmed strums and beats of his robots, Vance delivers all manner of high pitched vocal ballads that mainly focus on the poor state of the world.

Songs like “Debt To Be Paid” for example uniquely focuses on the subject of death. Vance uses elderly rabbits he’s adopted as a means to sing about how short life in a style Vance’s describes as “grindcore, metal, punk rock, hardcore kind of shit.”

“The music is extremely aggressive,” Vance states. “It makes you spun up. It makes you feel like you just can take on the world.”

Vance hopes to do that now more than ever on both his current tour and in his future endeavors. In addition to starting up another robotic-based band he calls Teddy Bear Orchestra between later this year and 2018, it’s back to business as usual for Captured! By Robots.

“We’re just going to record another album come next fall and just keep putting out new albums and new videos,” Vance says. “And there’s going to be plenty of really good fodder with all the stuff we have going on in the world right now.”