Shelby Cinca is a busy man. Game designer, UX designer, musician and record label owner, as well as new dad... Shelby is the sort of person who has to be mindful of his time! Originally from from Washington DC, he also owns and operates the label Swedish Columbia, a play on words with where he has lived! Currently living in Gothenburg, Sweden, we recently caught up with him for this short Q&A.
You've been in a lot of bands, can you tell us about your musical history?
93-99: Frodus - Spazzcore (Reunited in 09-10)
95-Present: Travelers Of Tyme (w/ members of Frodus) - Exotica/Surf
99-11: The Cassettes - Steampunkrock
02-05: Decahedron (w/ members of Frodus, Fugazi, Roadside Monument) - Post-Punk
04-06: Frantic Mantis (w/ members of Division Of Laura Lee) — Data-Punk
06: Man & Wasp (w/ members of Darkest Hour, Division Of Laura Lee) — Post-Punk Metal
07-Present: Triobelisk — Space Electro
Mostly these days when I have time, I record with Travelers Of Tyme sending files back and forth with my comrade, Jim Cooper, who was also the original Frodus bassist. On the side I also very slowly chip away at new Triobelisk tunes.
You do a lot of work in many different mediums - music to tech, game developer to label owner... Can you tell us about your career milestones within each field?
For music for me it was recording the last Frodus album and then going to Japan in 1999. After that I did music in different capacities and different genres, the milestones for the post-Frodus projects vary from personal creative achievements such as realizing an electronic music universe around my Triobelisk persona.
For games, I feel like 2 milestones, one for my iPad game I made with Erik Svedäng, Tri-Tri-Triobelisk, since I realized an 80s childhood arcade dream with that one.
The second one is getting my crazy sci-fi boardgame, Zoneplex, funded on Kickstarter and released to the world. It was a ton of work and more challenging then anything I've done previously since it involved creating a ton of video content, making the game, art-directing, graphic design, and generally doing too much for it!
As a label-honcho, it felt great starting Swedish Columbia to document my friend's laptop music which they usually kept to themselves since they are mostly guitar-focused musicians in the public eye. I felt like I reached a milestone this year with pressing our first vinyl record for the current flagship artist, El Huervo.
How is time important when you're working on new projects?
As a “Traveler Of Tyme”, it is the vital dimension in which I travel. Time is essential, having time to focus on music really lets one hone the song/craft and really create the sonic world.
What is keeping time like when you're developing and launching a game or a record?
The timelines are invisible yet very apparent. For a board-game time moves slow, a lot of testing is involved as well as getting the artwork and everything together. Not to say that records take just as long if not longer, the perception of time is different between the two creative journeys.
What's your favorite song of the moment and why?
Aphex Twin “syro u473t8+e [141.98] [piezoluminescence mix]” — I like the places the song takes you to, frantic synapses firing, opening up to a Kraftwerk soundscape, and then dumping you back into the labyrinth of humanity.
Your favorite watch style?
The Sun & Moon Collection — a tip of the hat to Copernicus with class and dare I say a dash of Steampunk.
What is the one piece of style advice you can give to any person on the planet?
Listen to your intuition. White pants are difficult.
Where is the most beautiful place you've ever traveled to?
Joshua Tree, CA so far.
If you could go back in time, where and when would you go and why?
To Swinging London in the 60s to play in a band.