:Interview: Level 2.0
Interview conducted by William Nesbitt with Mike Hoffman during December 2017 via a series of e-mails
Level 2.0 released their first album Dreams of Youth in 2005. Since then they have released records on Nilaihah Records and Nemesys Music Digital. The latest album is Resurgence released in 2017. The first single is “Moonlit.” In the following interview we break down the second single, “Heartbeat,” track-by-track as well as discuss what’s next for Level 2.0
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William: How did you end up making “Heartbeat (Juliet Version)” as a duet? Who is the female voice?
Mike: When I first released “Heartbeat,” a close friend of mine actually mentioned to me how much she liked the song and how it would be very interesting to have a duet version. So I reached out to Sarah Chenoweth (Synapse/Voicecoil) whom I’ve collaborated with in the past on my side project “Saviors Among Us.” I showed her the song, and she was 100% behind the idea of doing a special duet version. So I sent her an instrumental version and she recorded it with Patrick Hogan (Hexheart/Synapse/Voicecoil). They sent it back to me, and I put it all together.
William: What’s the story behind “Flares”?
Mike: “Flares” was one of three new original tracks that were made for the Heartbeat EP. This song was written about the final moments in the personal relationship that “Heartbeat” was also written about.
William: Tell us about “Heartbeat (After Dusk We Dance Mix).”
Mike: I put out a fan poll on all my social media accounts asking fans which track they would like to be remixed from the Resurgence album. “Heartbeat” and “Moonlit” were the two top tracks chosen by fans. So because I was already doing this EP, I decided to choose “Heartbeat” and make an alternate club-styled version.
William: When did you write “After Dusk We Run”?
Mike: This song was actually written a week before the release of this EP. I felt like there was another chapter to speak about, more to say about the toxic relationship that I walked away from, and that was the motivation behind this track. A lot of that is on Resurgence also.
William: “In the Stars” has some similarities to “Heartbeat.” Do the two songs connect?
Mike: When I first started writing the EP, the goal was to add a song that had the same atmosphere as “Heartbeat.” With this track I used the same elements and synth patch I created that gave “Heartbeat” its unique sound. Lyrically, it was written about how things were just not meant to be for us. No matter how strong the love was in my relationship with my ex, it wasn’t our time. The relationship was just not meant to overcome the adversities that came along with it
William: Why the choice of Matrix for the “Heartbeat (8 Bit Mix by Matrix)”?
Mike: I actually was a big fan of Matrix when I first got into this music in 1999/2000. They were a local Long Island band who grew up only 30 minutes from me. I’ve shared the stage with John Sepúlveda’s side project In A Sense. So it was an honor to have him remix one of my own tracks.
William: Any plans for touring?
Mike: I was asked about playing Wave-Gotik-Treffen in Germany and Convergence in Chicago, both in 2018, but nothing is confirmed.
William: Are there going to be any more singles from Resurgence?
Mike: No, that is it for Resurgence. I feel like “Moonlit” and “Heartbeat” were the two best singles to showcase the album.
William: Have you started on the next album? Anything you can tell us about that? How similar will it be to Resurgence?
Mike: No, I haven’t started work on a new album yet. I put so much into Resurgence, and I have never been as proud as anything I’ve made as I am of that album. So for now I have put all my musical focus on all of my side projects. One in particular is a new project in which I am collaborating with a female vocalist. Her name is Crystal Ortiz. Like me she lives in Central Florida. The project does not have a name yet. In this project I produce and record all the music and she does all the vocals. The music is a mix of electronic genres, but electro mostly. There is no doubt that the music has a Level 2.0 vibe behind it. But as the project grows, I am sure it will find its own identity.
As for what’s next for Level 2.0, I’m sure the style will pick up from where Resurgence left off. But who knows? That’s what I love about making music: the spontaneous emotion that goes into creation.
William: Please finish this sentence. If I weren’t playing music with Level 2.0, I’d be . . .
Mike: Putting my free time into becoming a professional poker player.