If you’ve been to a N3ptune show, you’ve witnessed the boundless musical talent of his creative partner and guitarist, Rusty Steve. Alex Restivo, the man behind the venomous mask Rusty Steve sports during most of his performances with N3ptune, does much more than shred eight-string guitars. He also produces, sings, writes and even designs some of his own clothes. While most of his collaborative efforts include pop rock tracks, synth-heavy experimental ballads and alternative R&B, Rusty Steve’s solo work dives deep into the world of weird bewilderment and unflinching experimentation. His new track, “Save Face” is no exception.
“My solo work tends to be a lot more experimental because I have all the say in any creative decision,” Restivo explained. “When I’m collaborating I tend to take the role more as a producer/co-writer and in that, I try to be easy to work with and let projects in the studio grow naturally. Working with other people brings out a mixture, unlike something I’d create by myself. The infusion of two or more artists brings the art to a place it never would have gone otherwise.”
“Save Face” is electronic synth-pop meets punk rock with a slight horrorcore edge. In it, Restivo’s dramatic shouts to the heavens crash through delicate glass walls that hinge on God’s last drop of sanity. “Save Face” is an epiphany of sorts. The track is a moment of clarity, manifested in the manic realization that no one in this modern world displays their true identity to the world. Everyone is walking on eggshells, scared of judgment and condemnation from their peers who are more concerned with self-promotion than they are with authenticity. Restivo, on the other hand, is concerned with growth — both sonically and personally.
“In our age of social media, curation and cancel culture, everyone is on their toes. No one wants to say what they really think and only wants to see what fits their narrative. Our images online are carefully curated to perfection. The online para-social dream world we visit constantly isn’t real, but we are dangerously close to believing it is. We don’t want anyone to see our wrongs, but I think our wrongs are important. How can we be better people if we hide our bad parts? How can we be better people if we aren’t given the room and the grace to right our wrongs and grow?”
While most people are trying to blend in and “save face,” music breeds entire cultures of fanatics that want to stand out. The electronic music world and the punk rock scene are two such cultures. It’s no coincidence that Restivo dances at the intersection of these two iconic sounds and cultures. With a healthy mix of traditional emo influence, over-the-top vocals and thumping bass lines drenched in a sonic thunderstorm, “Save Face” is a genuine evolution of musical countercultures meeting the complications of the modern world with an iron fist. Speaking on the intimate connection between punk and electronic music, Restivo explained:
“I think electronic music and punk merged in the ’80s with New Wave/post-punk. So yes I totally think they are similar. I love when they work together. I think in a lot of ways, electronic music is the progression of punk, and I love that. I wouldn’t consider myself ‘punk’ though, and I’m sure true punks wouldn’t either. I want to be a progression of it, something new.”
If you’re looking for something new, check out Rusty Steve’s “Save Face,” and keep your eyes peeled for a new solo project from Rusty Steve dropping sooner than you might expect.