Alien Skin produces darkwave elektropop drawing from elements of 80s post punk subculture. His legacy in the electronic genre spans four decades.
George Pappas, performing as Alien Skin, is a former member of Real Life. The Australian new wave/synth band topped 1984 charts with their million seller, Send Me An Angel.
Upon leaving Real Life in 2005 recording commenced on what became the debut Alien Skin album, 'Don’t Open Till Doomsday'. The album resonated with a burgeoning MySpace community of synthpop and darkwave fans, especially of 80s 'Black Celebration' era Depeche Mode persuasion. It was via this once pervasive and powerful social platform a fan base of support emerged and grew.
Alien Skin music has consciously evolved over the years. From the atmospheric early releases, characterized by New York's 'Grave Concerns' magazine as “goth music with the rock bled out of it” to the “gloom soaked synth crunch with afflictive emotions” of post-punk darkwave heard on his more current releases . Since 2008, 14 CD albums, a number of EPs and singles have been issued. Most recent major release (2024) 'Let's Play Mortuary Dress Up' EP on Bandcamp.
ALIEN SKIN: "I remember the effect new bands from the UK had on me in the early 1980s. Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure and a similar coterie of others. An intoxicating new point of view, dark synthesizers and electronic rhythms, the angular and sculptured new fashions. A subculture that was so seductive and yet so far removed from downtown Australia."
"The pursuit of electropop music on my home turf, dominated by a dated rock industry, was a struggle against mainstream indifference throughout the 80s. But I hung on. The 80s didn't become 'The 80s' till much later."
"My REAL LIFE era - the touring years - was a career highlight of course, but creating music as Alien Skin for a nuanced new (and old) public wanting to hear that darker, alternative 80s aesthetic through the prism of my work is even more rewarding for me today."
Q: Why the name 'Alien Skin' ?
ALIEN SKIN:"My first album was recorded and ready to go but I hadn't decided upon a working name for myself as yet. The closing track is a one line song with the lyric "the stranger within alien skin" it's from this I took the name; a dual concept of keeping the core of yourself out of reach and impenetrable to others; as well as sometimes having an existential awareness of yourself as a stranger within your own body. It's a psychological atmosphere which I thought was an appropriate representation of the music I wanted to write."
Q: Your later releases though livelier in tempo are infused with more existential struggle, do you agree?
ALIEN SKIN: "I'm not concerned being seen as gloomy, doomy or pessimistic. I know many artists publicly proffer caveats that although their music has darkness and doom stamped all over it, it's also full of hope and not really that sad or depressing and so forth.
I think my own psychology, like it or not, is no less valid or unique within the general population. It's people who share this psychology I find greatest affinity with and vice versa. We all seek channels to find others of similar attitudes and states of mind. No one wants to feel alone believing no one else feels the way 'they' do, I used to be like that. If the music I create finds intimacy with certain people, it affirms its value to me."
Q: Current artists of influence?
ALIEN SKIN: Find me with Clan of Xymox, She Past Away, Lebanon Hanover, Ash Code, Molchat Doma, The Cure and not to forget Alan Wilder era Depeche Mode.