CHATTERBOX: Ivan Anderson from Cyberattack talks ‘Invincible’, bad-ass band names and Terminator 2

Cyberattack is a NYC-based glitch-pop project led by singer/guitarist/songwriter/YouTuber Ivan Anderson. A multi-talented creative, Cyberattack returns with his newest visual for single ‘Invincible’, offering chilled alt-pop soundscapes. Accompanied by a new, iridescent music video, ‘Invincible’ embodies the eclectic and original nature of Cyberattack with infectious melodic lines, dynamic rhythms and distinctive lyricism. Here, the budding musician sits down to talk about the journey so far…


– First things first, you’ve recently unveiled your latest visual treatment for ‘Invincible’… how are you feeling about it?

Mostly good. Part of me has always wanted to capture the weird, artificial beauty of suburban New Jersey, which is where I grew up. There’s a super intense fakeness to it that I decided was usable in music videos. So, that’s where I got the idea to use all these glitchy screenshots of Google Street View in this music video. It took me a long time to grab all the footage and then mangle it so that it looks hyper and bright in the exact way I associate with NJ. But now that I’ve done it, I feel like I’ve finally completed this quest—the quest to show other people what I think New Jersey looks like. It’s like my update to The Sopranos. And I’m glad to have done it, but I’m dreading having to come up with a new quest. So I guess the answer to your question is, “I feel good and also filled with dread.” 


– For those who may not have heard of Cyberattack before, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your sound?

Now that I think about it, the whole project is probably me trying to convey “I feel good and also filled with dread” in every song. All my stuff tends to be hyper, bright indie-pop jams about feeling tense or agitated or conflicted, but usually in a fun way. That’s why I named the album “Hard Feelings.” And then, since the band name is Cyberattack, if I can make it sound like the computer broke while we were recording, that’s usually the choice. So basically the sound is glitchy, uptempo little verse-chorus babies. 

– We always love to know the origin of artists and band names, what was the inspiration behind Cyberattack?

I’ve always been obsessed with band names, so even though Cyberattack is my solo project, I couldn’t bring myself to go by “Ivan Anderson” or “The Ivan Anderson Band.” I just think it’s cooler when you say “I’m in Metallica” or whatever. So I picked Cyberattack entirely for that reason. As for the name itself, a lot of my lyrics and everything are kinda flirty, so I wanted to balance it out with a band name that was hostile. Again, I wanted my own version of Metallica—one word, kinda intense. 

– You’re super talented, with credentials in everything from, singing, songwriting, guitar-playing and more recently, music video directing… which would you say was the most difficult skill to master?

For me, singing is definitely the hardest. By the time I was a teenager I was already practicing guitar obsessively, but I was too scared to take on singing. For a while I only wanted to be a lead guitarist, not a lead singer—like Eddie Van Halen or Slash, the guy with mystique, etc. But a big part of that was just me being freaked out about having to sing and look at everybody in the audience, and I got sick of being afraid of that. So I made the leap. But I still think it’s the hardest thing to get right. With guitar, I’ve been playing for so long that I’m not really nervous about it, ever. But anytime I have to sing, there’s a part of me that always thinks, “Oh god.” The way I deal with it, aside from practicing, is writing songs that are in my range and have pretty simple melodies. I try to fool-proof the material as much as possible for myself as a singer, while I’m still writing it. 


– ‘Invincible’ is a cool track all about wanting to be invincible but also recognising the pitfalls that that power would come with. Could you tell us a little about your interests in being invincible and where those stemmed from?

I’ve been obsessed with the movie Terminator 2 my entire life. There’s a line at the end when Schwarzenegger says, as the robot trying to protect teenage John Connor, “I know now why you cry, but it’s something I can never do.” I’m not gonna say that’s like, a healthy approach to life—understanding human emotions but being physically incapable of crying, much like a killer robot from the future would be—but I love that movie so much that I’ve spent major portions of my life fantasizing about what it would be like to be the Terminator, or to be raised by the Terminator. Again, I’m not saying it was good for my brain to do that. But there’s no turning back now. I’ve spent too much time imagining it not to have been affected by it. So to answer your question, the song “Invincible” is me wondering whether or not it’s really cool to get to “I understand crying but it’s literally impossible for me to cry now.” And then also, it’s probably obvious now why a huge part of the music video is an animated Terminator action figure dancing around the suburbs.


– What’s been a highlight of creating this music video for you?

I’d been wondering, after the last couple music videos I shot, if I had run out of moves to do on camera. What do I do with my body that I haven’t already done? I was starting to worry that I need to start taking dance classes or something, like maybe it’s time to start studying movement. And I assumed that was gonna be super difficult and terrible, but also probably good for me, like taking singing lessons was. But then, when lockdown started, I put off that idea and just decided to shoot one more music video—this was going to be the one where I was like, “OK, I’m really out of ideas this time.” But then I liked the way it came out. I feel like I made some internal breakthroughs about how to stand still on camera that would not make sense if I explained them, but for me, it’s a huge relief. And then as for whether to sign up for dance classes, I still haven’t decided. It’s a terrifying idea, but that makes me feel like I must do it. 


– Lastly, what’s next on the agenda for Cyberattack, what can fans look forward to next?

I’m writing material for the second Cyberattack album, but before any of it comes out, I’m going to release music videos for every song on the first album. At this point, there’s only two left—a Tom Petty cover (“Listen to Her Heart“) and a song I wrote called “I Just Wanna Talk.” So both of those are getting music videos in the near future. And then also, in the last 6 months, my YouTube channel kinda blew up because I started posting gear videos for guitarists. So I have a bunch more gear videos coming out as well. I use those to test new special effects, so if you watch my gear vids you’re usually seeing test footage for my unreleased music videos.


Listen to Cyberattack – Invincible

 

Follow Cyberattack on: Instagram

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