DECAYCAST Interviews: “If it smells like noise, it must be noise.” – An Interview with experimental music mainstay Steve Davis / +DOG+

DECAYCAST Interviews: “If it smells like noise, it must me noise.” – An Interview with experimental music mainstay Steve Davis / +DOG+

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First hearing of +DOG+ they were somewhat of a mystery to me in history and intention, I think I first came across a split 7” between +DOG+ and  The HATERS or maybe they were separate release I acquired at the time along with a Tribes Of Neurot CD maybe were the first “noise” albums I would own ?  I could be crossing releases/synapses, but i remember +DOG+ was sort of  enigmatic from the  beginning-  much like many of the out there experimental titles I was discovering at the time, who were the members, where were they from, what did they do during the day, and why were they making these wonderful and chaotic sounds.  In the bay area, +DOG+ had built sort of a mystified legend around themselves, toting a modular lineup that seems to shift with nearly every performance and document (of which to both there are, MANY). +DOG+ was one of the first projects I saw that completely eradicated the boundaries between audience and performer, encapsulating the true spirit of noise, freedom from convention and maybe even a slight dissolving of the psyche, or  at least a loud probe into it’s  existence. +DOG+ seems to record an uncanny amount of studio material, boasting at times seemingly monthly output but overall, the work is intentional and nuanced, yet free and engulfed with the celebratory spirit of  true  avant-garde sounds and performances.  Digging into +DOG+’s exhaustive discography, there is a nearly endless trove of sounds and expressions, but we are left with one constant, the man behind +DOG+, Steve Davis. We chatted with Steve about his longstanding +DOG+ project as well as his imprint LEM. Love Earth Music  although largely focusing on noise, boasts a rather  diverse roster of artists, everything from the nuanced, drone tone poem mastery of multimedia artist Conscious Summary “Flowers”  or the blasting, alienating noise walls  of +DOG+, or the angular, broken  guitar rhythms of Intensive Studies, LEM keeps it  refreshing, interesting and uncontrived in the most honest way possible.

 

 Can you  talk to us about the history of +DOG+ and your other various musical outlets if any?

 Hi, I started doing +DOG+ around 1990 when I lived in Osaka. Prior to doing +DOG+ I was in a Boston band Expando Brain and  The Flower Brothers in Osaka, I played bass in those bands. I had been doing another noise band J-Shi with David Hopkins- Public Bath Records and Sam Lohman- Nimrod , 36. Then made +DOG+ as a ‘studio’ extension of that sort of. When I moved back to MA in early 1993 I started doing +DOG+ as a regular band and did a lot of shows around MA/NY/CT with myself and a couple of others. We were blessed to have Ron Lessard release our 1st 7” on Stomach Ache in 1994 and Detector to do our 1st full album in 1996. I moved to CA in 1997 and continued to do +DOG+ there. That’s when I met you and the other Bay Area folks and did a lot of shows around CA as well as  doing a  tour of UK/Belgium in 2007 then did a tour of Japan in 2008. I moved back to MA in 2016 and have continued to do +DOG + here and have a new CD out soon called “10, 585” which is approximately how many days I’ve done the band. The line up has been myself and a large number of members coming & going. I’d say the core members besides myself are Eddie Nervo, Ron Karlin, Lob, Chuck Foster, Bobby Almon, Jack Szymczak and they send me stuff for the cd’s and then I mash it all up so to speak and add my crap.

 

I also have a couple other bands, Intensive Studies with Jack, we grew up together and started it when I moved back. I think that band is a mash up of styles from all the stuff Jack & I love; the Mothers, Punk, and just overall weird sounds. It’s a hard band to categorize as far as a “style” goes. I also just started a new noise band with Daniel Sine from L’elcipse Nue. That  project is called Le Chien Nu and we just did a release on LEM. +DOG+ has a new release out spring and another probably out in the summer.

Speaking of releases,  talk a bit about the history of your imprint, love earth music? How does running your longstanding label, LEM inform  your creative practice, if at all?

 I started Love Earth Music (LEM) around 1999 when I was living in CA. The 1st release was +DOG+ “Luddite Revolution” I started it just to be able to do +DOG+ releases and stuff from my friends and that’s how & why I did it. I used to make all the CD’s, covers, etc at home with my computer and printer but it just got too much so I don’t do that anymore . I have them made by someone else now. I have my friend Lob to help out with the art stuff on a lot of the releases and my pal Dustin ( Actuary) helps with a downloadable component of the label. That’ s stuff that usually is not on the physical LEM releases. A lot of the early LEM releases were friends from CA, but then it sort of branched out to bands from everywhere, mostly noise/experimental stuff at first. I’ve tried to do some stuff that is not noise/experimental stuff cause I’m really into everything. Weirdly, we did a Brutal Truth 8 track but I think we sold all of those.  I  feel that doing the label is a way to be a part of something that I enjoy and have respect for. Its easy to make crap, and have someone put it out. The stuff we / my friends do and release is hopefully something that isn’t boring and pushes the envelope a little. I have met so many great folks thru the bands and label and I have enjoyed many wonderful life experiences  that I never would have imagined as a kid growing up in the woods in MA. I  don’t get out to many shows these days, but when I do I am always blown away by the power of the  sounds and the passion that my friends put into the shows. Even after all these years, it’s still  inspiring.  Last summer I was playing a show at a venue in Worcester, MA and there was this huge drum on top of a piano and was looking at it thinking how cool it would have been to use ( I’d already played my set) and then a bit later, Victoria Shen, a local noise great, went over and used it and it was soooo awesome..I so glad she went over and just mic’d it and wailed! It was very cool. Stuff like that is inspiring to me.

“If it smells like noise, it must be noise.”

I don’t know,  it makes me happy to be able to get some of these sounds out for other people to hear. Seeing people and hearing the stuff they do keeps me interested in sounds and being creative. Doing the label has also let me get to know people from all over the world. Some upcoming LEM releases are going to be by Ego Death from Greece and God Pussy from Brazil. I’m also planning to do releases by some local / east coast folks here over the next year too, like Angelsbreath, Lean, Matt Luzak, Pas Musique, Martyr, This Is Not Okay, Bullshit Market ( MI), The Flayed Choirmaster (CA), Jolthrower (CA), Instagon (CA) and others that I can’t remember. I am looking forward to being able to release some interesting stuff in the future.

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Having established yourself and your label on both coasts can you talk about the differences and similarities between west coast and east coast scenes, and if not the  scenes the style/aesthetics? 

I honestly don’t see much of a difference at all really.  I think with so much stuff available online and the growth of these different groups online, everything is out there for everyone. So therefore there are no surprises …I see folks in NH doing similar stuff to folks from CA etc…  I really don’t see differences..the only thing different here in the northeast is that the winter weather can mess up plans for shows/travel, but as far as styles or aesthetics it seems pretty much the same to me all over the country.

What was the most powerful performance you’ve ever witnessed? 

I have seen a lot of shows over the years so its hard to pick just one, but if I had to I would have to say that the Swans at the Rat in Boston in the mid 80’s was one of the most powerful shows ever. They were terrifyingly amazing, the sound kinda went thru me and Michael Gira was awesome..it was an incredible show. The Boredoms 8-8-08 show in LA with 88 drummers was also great.

What are the main differences between recording and performing noise, is one inherently more valuable to you as an artist?

I think for me the differences is in the energy. I tend to be a little more harsh I think doing +DOG+ shows as compared to some of the studio stuff which is usually more varied. I also tend to play short sets ..usually between 5-10 mins so that would be different as well. When I ‘ve done ‘live’ on the radio sets..its usually a combination of studio and live cause I have to fill more time and bring a lot of extra gear as compared with a regular show. I honestly like both about the same…each year though I say to myself I’m gonna do less shows, but end up doing about the same number each year. One thing I do like about playing out is just seeing friends and seeing what they’re up to with regards to theirs sounds and their lives. I do feel that as an “artist” the recorded stuff is more of an accurate picture of where my head is at musically/sonically/sound wise. For example, the  new +DOG+ studio album will have a couple minutes of acoustic guitar and actual singing on a track, which I doubt I would ever do live, and the sounds are more layered and clearer in general. What I enjoy about playing live are the physical aspects of playing, of making noise on the spot with all the adrenaline of it all, you know, getting to release some noisy energy. So I guess they both have value to me but just in different ways.

And lastly, how do you define noise?

I don’t know..at this point “noise” seems to encompass many varieties & styles. When +DOG+ first started it was easier to define, we set up a wall of amps with a few distortion & delay pedals, smashed metal all over the stage, screamed bloody fucking murder  and made a lot of ‘noise’…it was very primal at that time. We considered ourselves a “noise band”…but now I don’t know…the noise scene now has so many sub genres…harshnoise, ambient noise..experimental noise, whatever…its noise if you wanna call it “noise”. I guess I could define it as anything that doesn’t follow the standard musical format and/or structures, but even that would be wrong cause a lot of noise folks do use structure and use regular instruments etc…so its really hard for me to literally define noise to someone else. If it smells like noise, it must be noise.

 

 

DECAYCAST Interviews: A Deep Look Into Collective Grimalkin Records

DECAYCAST Interviews: A Deep Look Into Collective Grimalkin Records.

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We  stumbled across VA based label collective Grimalkin Records on the internet, and this discovery proved the internet still occasionally can surprise you in the best way. Here’s a in depth look into the label and collective as told by, and questioned by their own collective members. The best interviews often feature little of the interviewer, so we went one step further and  removed ourselves entirely from the discussion, enjoy and make sure to buy some of their fantastic music here! The label varies aesthetically however the overall presentation is unified and concise, yet sonically there’s something for everyone on their bandcamp, so take a look!

https://grimalkinrecords.bandcamp.com/

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Nancy Kells (Richmond, VA), founder and leading facilitator of Grimalkin Records, also creates music as Spartan Jet-Plex.

Elizabeth Owens (Richmond, VA) is a musician and visual artist and helps with various logistical and design work for the label.

Liz (to Nancy): What are some big plans you have for Grimalkin down the line? Any specific projects you have in mind?

Nancy: I would love to put out a collective member compilation. It could benefit a specific person or organization or whatever we want to do. It would be nice to do some other compilations with various members curating different ones or members collaborating on curating it together. We could also do one as a collective where we each pick a song of someone else- we each ask one person/band we know for a song for it. I would love it if we could grow enough to do releases of 100 where proceeds from 50 could go to a non-profit or cause and the half could be given to artist to sell as they want at live shows or on Bandcamp or their website. It would eventually be great to have a setup to dub and do all j-card printing work. I hand dub them now, but it’s a small setup where realistically it would be too much to do runs or 50 or more. I’d love to have a community recording studio and do workshops on how to home record, do releases on your own, play music, whatever people were interested in hosting and attending. I love collaboration and would be interested in  putting together small projects with others. I love that kind of thing. Maybe we could do one large mega-collaborative song with all of us? That would be very cool and probably a lot of fun.

Liz: In what ways do you hope Grimalkin differs from other labels?

Nancy: In comparison to bigger labels, even some smaller indie labels, we aren’t a business. If we were to grow and could get grants and be non-profit to support people on a larger level with stipends and then also in terms of raising money for organizations and collectives but also individuals in need. I personally admire Virginia Anti-Violence Project and the work they do. I would love for GR to be a place were we could do workshops and educational things but also support on learning things and how to be creative and play music- and then also individual support for people and even counseling. I also really admire Nationz and what Zakia McKensey has done for RVA. I see Grimalkin as a collective group of musicians who can help organize the community through music and in doing so can organize with others in the community as well and support other organizations and individual people.

Liz: How do you find new artists and decide who to approach about doing a Grimalkin release/joining the collective?

Nancy: My hope is that collective members will naturally know people or have friends who’d like to release- just building a community and support our talented friends.  The people I’ve asked to join or release with us are people I’ve seen play live or from playing with them in Womajich Dialyseiz Mainly from being out at shows in Richmond.. I have met a few people on Twitter or through organizing benefit compilations as well which is great. So Kate is from Guayanilla, Puerto Rico and Berko is from Baltimore, Mabel is in Philly and Quinn is from Springfield, MO. It’s really cool to have people elsewhere and that our collective is branching outside of RVA..  I envision Grimalkin one day as supporting small music communities in various places. I know that’s lofty, but I can dream. We encourage people to reach out to us though.

Liz: If someone wanted to support or join Grimalkin, what are some of the biggest needs of the org in terms of labor right now?

Nancy: We want people to join us who feel like what we are doing is right for them. You don’t need to be in collective to release with collective so it’s more about just collaborating in various ways. Having people join us who feel like they have something that the collective would benefit from but at same time, it’s a no pressure thing. No one has to do anything specific, but if you want to contribute, that’s welcomed and encouraged. Everybody in our collective now contributes in various ways- graphic design, artwork, recruiting new people to join us or release music, social media promo, mastering songs- and we could help with mixing and recording as well, helping book shows and organize benefit shows. Also, just being a supportive friend to others is being part of the collective. Sometimes support is just showing up when you can. To me, that is important and I have a lot of respect for everyone in collective. And each person cares greatly for the world and all of the injustice and wants to do better and I think that ’with music is what brings us together.

Liz: Where you you like to see Grimalkin go?

Nancy: I’d like it to be a place where people can come to for help with their music and for support but also without expectations and strings. Like a home away from home or place you can come and be creative and help others and collaborate but a place you can come and go as you please. I’d love it if eventually we had enough money where we could pay people stipends to help them create their work or take care of themselves. Get paid for shows or creating artwork. Just a positive community where we raise one another up and help people when we can. Being around creative people inspires creativity and collaboration and support. It would be great if at some point we had a recording space people could use with equipment. It would be great if we eventually had a proper printer setup to do j-cards completely on our own. I’d like to get two of my tape decks fixed and try to have a much better dubbing setup. If we ever grow to doing larger runs, that would be wonderful. Maybe we could dub albums for friends then as well which would help a lot of people. I’d love more people to join the collective but at same time don’t want people to feel they have to join to release or collaborate with us. I’d like Grimalkin to support other people’s collectives and projects. And on same hand, would love to see us grow with people who really want to contribute every now and again or as much as they want and be part of the collective. I want us to be this network of people basically and we do what we do when we want or can to work with and help others

Nancy: I think benefits of creating music might be similar for both of us. We’ve both talked about how music is a way to process life and channel a lot of dark emotions into something positive. When did you know creating and writing your own music was important to you?

Liz: I started writing music as early as 7 years old, and knew it was important then. I used to get punished a lot as a kid and as a result ended up spending a lot of time in my room with nothing but a pen and paper and a lot of feelings. Before I knew how to write my own music I would just put my own lyrics to other songs (an early favorite of mine was the Harry Potter opening theme…). I’ve always used poetry as a way to work through my feelings and putting the words to music helps solidify the message in an emotional way for me. It didn’t really occur to me that my emotional/mental health largely depended on making music as a therapeutic device until about 5 years ago, though. I think I’ve gained a lot of clarity and healed a lot as a result of that insight.

Nancy: How has your personal sound changed over the years?

Liz: I think most of the change in my sound has come from collaborating with other musicians and challenging myself to think differently. My dear friend and musical sister, Micah Barry, has had a huge impact on my sound because we flow really well when we write together. She’s an incredible guitarist, so challenged me to write more complex and fluid guitar parts for Coming of Age, for example. Access to weird instruments has also shaped my sound a lot; Dave Watkins, who helped record Coming of Age, lent me a bowed psaltery which I learned to play and used heavily on the album. I also just acquired and fell in love with a lever harp. So curiosity and a love of learning new instruments has a lot to do with it, too.

Nancy: How did you meet the people who play in your band? You all really seem like you fit together when you play live like perfect puzzle pieces. Your music solo is wonderful. Growing Pain is particularly beautiful. I love that EP and all of those songs except the intro are on Coming of Age. The intro is this beautiful ambient and vocal piece that you can also hear ideas that end up on Coming of Age. Perhaps you think of Growing Pain as sketches for Coming of Age or maybe they sit separately as two entirely different things or a bit of both. I wonder how you view them in relationship to one another and what you think your current band brings to the songs on your new album?

Liz: First, wow thank you! Regarding my band mates, we fit really well together because I was friends with everyone before we started playing together. They’re all kind, perceptive listeners and I think that’s the key to making a band work really well. We have fun together. Regarding the EP vs. full album, I definitely think of the EP as a sketch of Coming of Age. It helped me lay down an intention for the record and feel out the sound before committing to a full band and recording plan. It also helped me realize that the songs were begging for added instrumentation and a spirit that could only exist with more people present, hence the band. It was really difficult to hand over these extremely personal songs to other people at first, but I’m so glad I did because the record wouldn’t be what it is otherwise, and I wouldn’t be where I am otherwise. Working with a band has done amazing things for my depression.

Mabel Harper (Philadelphia, PA) has a variety of music and writing projects including their solo project Don’t Do It, Neil, and helps with recruiting bands, artwork and graphic design, and mastering releases. She has a new album, B/X, out with us late June 2019. You can view her first video and single, Strawberry Cake, below.

Nancy: Your new album that you’re working on has a newish sound for you. What do you think inspired this change? I actually think your sound varies from listening to your Bandcamp. I think experimenting and trying new things is great and important in growing as a musician. I think it’s really exciting that you’re trying new things. Is there anything that stands out to you about doing things differently than you have previously?

Mabel: K-pop inspired the change. People shit on boy bands and pop music and stuff, but I think, when it’s really good, it’s good at crystalizing emotion in an accessible way. I basically see Don’t do it, Neil as an experimental pop project—not experimental as in, I wanna make something alienating, but experimental as in, I don’t wanna limit myself. It gets boring if you do the same shit over and over! I really believe that you can’t grow as an artist if you just keep doing the same thing over and over.

Nancy: You collaborate on a web serial through Form and Void. How did you get the idea for that series? You also have some music collaborations as well. How does your music collaborations differ from the writing and how to you see them in relation to each other?  How does writing differ creatively for you from music and from your various collaborations?

Mabel: We got the idea for Form and Void after a long time of not collaborating and then one day just being like, “Maybe we should do something?” And, from our mutual interests in the historical practice of magic, queerness and identity issues, and stark human fucking darkness, Form and Void arose. I see writing as totally different than making music. Writing for me is something I find naturally collaborative, while I find that hard as fuck to do with music. I’m just so into my particular vision, that I find collaborating on music really frustrating. Of course people have their own ideas, but, if I feel strongly about something aesthetically-speaking, that’s it. That’s the way that shit’s gotta be.

Molly Kate Rodriguez (Guayanilla, Puerto Rico) makes music as kate can wait, and helps with recruiting new artists and collective members.

Nancy: Kate, I think you said you just recently played out solo as kate can wait for first time or first in a long time. I played my first ever solo set as Spartan Jet-Plex a month ago which was very scary. Just guitar and vocals is really intimate and kind of intimidating to do in front of people, at least it was for me.How did you get prepared for your show and how did it go? Do you have any advice on how to prepare and for getting your head in the right space for it?

Kate: It was my first time as kate can wait but it was the 3rd solo show I’ve ever played. My first 2 shows were me singing over a backing track but this one was the first time it was just me and my guitar. I practiced a lot,more than I ever have and the show actually went well. I’m a very indecisive person so I was still choosing songs for the setlist the day of the show which added a lot of stress to an already stressful occasion. My advice would be to not think about things too much and just have fun with it. People react positively to honesty and passion in a performance so just go for it.

Nancy: Kate, Out of everyone in the collective, your music is probably most similar to what I do with Spartan Jet-Plex. What is your writing process usually? And do you usually write lyrics and guitar simultaneously or which usually comes first for you?

Kate: My writing process involves me grabbing my guitar and playing around until I’ve found a chord progression I like,then I sing over it and if I like the vocal melody enough then I decide to make it a full song. Sometimes I end up recording the first thing I play and sometimes it takes me a long while until I come up with something worthwhile. I almost always write lyrics after the music, I find it super difficult to match up music to pre-written lyrics though I do it on rare occasions. I don’t like to spend too much time working on songs because I enjoy my first reaction to the music so my writing process for the most part coincides with the recording process. Sometimes I’ll go back and add or subtract things here and there but I normally spend a day on each song,2 at most.

Nancy: Kate, You mentioned that kate can wait and this current style of music for you is fairly new. I think you mentioned doing ambient and noise type music projects previously. How were you inspired to switch gears and write the kind of songs you’ve been currently writing? And do you ever miss doing ambient and noise and do you feel like there is room within the kate can wait project to bring those other sounds into it or how does that work when you’re writing music?

Kate: I made ambient and drone music from 2010 to 2017. I also dabbled a bit with instrumental hip hop,meditation and noise music and while all of those things were very exciting to make I’ve always wanted to make singer-songwriter type of music. Experimental music is very gratifying to make but sometimes you just wanna work on songs with verses and choruses and the like. I never felt confident enough to do it and my access to recording gear has always been limited so I always saw it as a pipe dream. I’d like to mix both things in the future but at the moment I have no real desire to go back to that sound. I feel like I ended those projects off on a high note and I’m ok with that.

Berko Lover (Baltimore, MD) met founding member Nancy Kells through organizing one of the compilations we put out as Friends For Equality. She’s been supportive of the work we are doing and helps with recruitment as well. Berko and Nancy just released their collaborative project, MERGE, this month.

Nancy: Berko, what is the music scene like in Baltimore? What are your favorite hangouts and places to see or play music there?

Berko: The music scene in Baltimore is very vibrant and and eclectic. There’s something for everyone.i love it and I am very proud of my peers. I love playing anywhere where the sound guy really loves to mix. That’s hard to come by but it’s a magical night when you sound like you want to sound.

Nancy: You created a food show. I loved how you edited it together with the different restaurant visits around the city and also the music. How did you come up with the idea to do your show and how do you view it in relationship to your music and other collaborations you do with various people?

Berko: I use my show as a vehicle to drive my music. I shot a bunch of footage but lately have been in a weird creative slump. I’m working on getting mySelf out of it and am pushing myself to get my show back up. I love food so coming up with the idea was easy. The execution and discipline to continue on hasn’t been as simple.

Nancy: I know we collaborated and I am excited to finally release it. I love So Nice Yesterday. Whenever I do a collaboration, the other person is bringing something unique and different to the table and it’s fun to see how you can bounce ideas and mesh with someone that works and possibly sounds different than you do. What is your motivating factor for working with Cazre?  You both sound great together musically and vocally. You also were in another collective a while back and have collaborated quite a bit. What do you think makes it work?

Berko: Cazre is my best friend. Working with him is easy and the friendship motivates it. However, working with someone is always difficult when your both inspired in spurts. Getting on the same page can get challenging but once we do it feels and sound gorgeous. But our mutual respect for the talent each brings to the work is what works. I know that I perform my best in collaboration with him & I know that also does in regards to working with me. We bring out the best in each other musically and understanding that is what we focus on.

Sarmistha Talukdar (Richmond, VA) is a scientist, visual artist, and musician, and founding member of Womajich Dialyseiz, a queer improv noise collective. They help with organizing benefit shows and designing artwork for releases and events. Their solo music project is Tavishi.

Nancy: Sarmistha, why did you form Womajich Dialyseiz and how to you think Grimalkin can support the goals of WD? My favorite times playing with WD were when it was just a get together and not a show. Liz and I have talked about scheduling one seasonally. Emily R said she would be down to host at her house. We could not only get together for an improv session but also share what we are all working on outside of WD.

Sarmistha: Womajich Dialyseiz was formed to create a safe(r) space for women, non-binary and trans artists to improvise and collaborate artistically. I think Grimalkin can continue to support the goals of WD by continuing to support and provide platform to marginalized artists. It makes me happy to see members of WD having and organizing cozy musical get togethers!!

Nancy: What types of benefit shows, events and people do you think we should organize a benefit show for this year?

Sarmistha: I feel we could host fundraisers for ICE out of RVA, Southerners on New Ground (Black Mama Bail Fund), Richmond Food and Clothing Initiative, Advocates for Richmond Youth, The Doula Project, these organizations tend to not get enough funding or visibility even though they are really doing great work. We can try to support undocumented immigrants who have taken up sanctuary in Richmond (ex Hands off Abbie campaign), there are many community advocates in Richmond who are struggling but hesitate to ask for help, I would like to fundraise for them as well. For example Maria Escalante has been trying to help migrants in Southside through Richmond Conexiones, but has been going through a lot in her own life. There are several QPOC folks who need money for hormones, gender-affirming surgeries but do not have the means to do that, we could try to fundraise for them as well. We could potentially even fundraise for a small scholarship for QPOC folks who might need a little help with their work/studies/creative efforts.

Martina Fortin Jonas (Portsmouth, VA), who makes music as MELVL, helps with recruiting bands and musicians and organizing benefit shows. They also serve on the board of The Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia.

Nancy: Martina, Your music sounds both ancient and new. What are your inspirations?

Martina: I am a classically trained instrumentalist and have been an early music enthusiast for most of my life, so ancient music, medieval music (shout out to my girl Hildegard von Bingen!!), renaissance music, and generally just music before 1750 A.D. have a huge grip on me. Some of my other favorite composers include Leonin, Machaut, Josquin, Mealli, Uccellini, Marais, Handel, and of course, Anonymous. Other artists I love that influence my work are Enya, Sade, early Grimes, Alcest, Pink Floyd, Treha Sektori, Csejthe, Araphel, Batushka, Atrium Carceri, Endvra, Coph Nia, and more.

Nancy: You teach at ODU? I think that is correct. What do you teach there? How do if at all does your teaching impact or influence your music? I was a special education teacher and taught middle school math, algebra and English. I always felt like my work was directly in relation to my music. I feel the same now too as a vocational counselor. I think my job always affected my art or music but it has had a more positive impact as I felt like what I was doing was meaningful to me outside of a paycheck.

Martina: I have taught at ODU before, but currently I teach Intro to Linguistics, Written Communications, and German at Hampton University.  Usually I keep my music and teaching pretty separate from each other, but over the years I have found that it is teaching that helps me the most with the stage fright I deal with in my musical endeavors.  

Quinn Wolf (Springfield, MO) is a musician and podcaster who recently reached out to Grimalkin about joining via email. She plans to help with recruiting and planning future podcasts.

Nancy: How did you get involved in the video game project Transhaping? Can you tell us about your experience working on the project and how you came up with songs for the soundtrack and what attracted you to the project?

Quinn: Unbound Interactive put out a call on Twitter for trans musicians to contribute to the soundtrack. A friend of mine sent me the link, and I just sent them a quick DM with some SoundCloud links and forgot about it until they messaged me back. I really wasn’t expecting anything, since I hadn’t done any paid work of this scale before, but the Unbound team were both super cool and committed to telling their trans story with trans talent. I let them know the genres I’m used to working in, and they gave me the task of making a handful of short songs to play on in-game radios. I naturally sketch out short musical ideas with different synths, so making these tiny tracks came easily to me. Unbound Interactive is a fantastic group of folks with some real business smarts, so I’m looking forward to watching their next project take shape.

Nancy: Tell us about Luminous Studios and how you got involved in that podcast team and what your goals are with that and some of the main topics you like to discuss on there?

Quinn: Where to start? The founding members of Luminous Studios – myself, Cole Shepard and Jack Grimes – decided to form our own network after discovering our love for podcasting on a now-defunct podcast arm of a vaporwave music label of all things. Originally the three of us wanted a space to create more serious works of analysis and criticism about media, but instead the network became more of a place to showcase new and experimental audio content. We have a large group of friends from our past creative endeavors, and Luminous Studios became a great way to introduce a lot of them to podcasting and vice versa. Right now, we’re pushing forward with this idea of honing our craft and trying things without worrying too much about being commercially viable or anything like that. To be honest, we’re somewhere in this weird middle space between podcast network and publishing co-operative and art collective. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Nancy: Tell us about your music and what inspired you to reach out to Grimalkin and what you hope to gain from working with us, how you hope to contribute to the collective and how the label can help you personally but also what you would like to see us do for others and communities?

Quinn: Music has always been a bit of a lonely pursuit for me. I grew up around church music and school bands and choirs, but I’ve never had friends who were into pursuing music independently. […]

Osser Smith (Richmond, VA), a.k.a. Peter Pierpont, is a visual artist and musician and helps with various aspects of the creative work Grimalkin does (i.e. posters, merch, promotion, etc.).

Nancy: Similar to me, you just performed live for the first time. I find that exciting but it was also very scary to me but I felt like it was time to push myself to do not only for me personally to grow as a person and musician, but also as a way to give myself some kind of validation that my music is worthy to share with others in a live setting. I guess I never really felt like I was good enough or valid enough to play in front of people. I was really holding myself back and fearful of failing and falling flat on my face. What are your thoughts on this and what drove you to finally take the plunge? Did you have to psych yourself up for days, weeks? How did you prepare and overcome any fear or reservations you may have had?

Osser: Oh my gosh I was terrified. I told all my friends I would never perform my music because it’s too scary. But a couple nights before Kosmo, my friend running the show, asked if I would hop on. I practiced a couple hours before, hoping I would remember all the words. I remembered most of them! I think I just really was driven to share the feelings I got making those songs.

Nancy: Tell us about Peter Pierpont. Where did you come up with that name and are you taking on a persona when you do your music or is that just a band/project name?

Osser: Peter Pierpont is actually a character from a narrative I’ve been working on for some time. I decided to use his name for my music project because he sort of represents the positive sides to being overly emotional and mentally ill for me. In my narrative, Peter lives a very similar life to mine in the beginning, dies in his early 20’s then comes back from the dead some time in the future to sing songs about his past life and find a new path to plunge his heart and soul into. Metaphorically, Pete’s death represents killing the happy parts of myself early in life and slowly picking them back up. I don’t know what my future holds but I hope Pete can bring myself others empathy and aural elation!

As for the name, Osser is actually the origin. Osser was the original “Peter” persona. He was actually called “Ossy” and his character design was based on the sad clown, Pierrot. At some point in my late adolescence I was too embarrassed of how queer Ossy was so I created Peter from him. I used “Pier” as a starting point then. Peter and Pierpont both mean “stone” in some way.. (and that’s a whole other story) Peter was a more gender confirming character for me even though I was still years away from coming out. I started to miss the old Ossy and brought “them” back in my art and via myself. Their name changed to “Osservalten” in a car ride one day and it just stuck. Peter lived through the narrative for sometime gaining more and more relevance. Now I happily serve as a vessel for Peter’s musical numbers he writes about his past life in his new life. We are all much more comfortable with ourselves now.

Nancy: Osser: I know we’ve talked about the Legendary Pink Dots together already. I mentioned how your live set (my first intro to hearing your music) reminded me slightly of them and your voice of Edward Ka-Spel. When did you discover their music and is there anything you’d like to share about your music and them? I know you mentioned Edward is a music idol of sorts to you.

Osser: LPD is my biggest inspiration! Back in my teen years I was very angry and listened to lots of Skinny Puppy. This one time I was watching some tour footage and one of the band members pointed out “The Legendary Pink Dots” was written on the wall backstage somewhere. I didn’t know anything about LPD til one day soon after that I walked into Plan 9 records in 2007 and found their album “Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves.” and bought it on impulse. I thought their sound was fantastic then slowly discovered more and more… (and I’m still finding things I’ve never heard by them) One of the most inspiring moments in my life was watching Edward Ka-Spel perform “Salem” live in DC. I’ve looked everywhere for a video of my favorite part of the song where he screeches “YOU??? I MEAN YOUUU?????” Ka-Spel is a compelling story teller and I will always aspire to follow a similar direction.

Nancy: I believe you are also an artist? Can you tell us how you see music and art in relation to one another and specifically your creative relationship to both music and art? I made artwork and drew and painted and then got into sculpture long before I tried creating music so I am interested in how people relate the two who do both or have done both. I always had a love of music throughout my life but drawing and painting seemed more natural to me creatively when I was young and then overtime that flipped for me. I feel like artwork was limiting me to what I need to get out of myself and so I think that is where the change came for me.

Osser: I’ve been having a very similar experience as of late! I grew up in a musical family but didn’t really take interest in playing an instrument or learning anything about music because I was always more passionate about my drawing ability. I watched my mom participate in choirs, my dad play music with his friends every thursday night, and my brother pick up drums and electric guitar at an early age. I was excelling in art and it was the only thing I really cared about growing up so I stuck to that for the longest time. As I grew older though I began hanging out in different Richmond music scenes trying to find my place. I’ve always been an audience member because I didn’t want to share my narrative with anyone. But one day in late 2018 I opened GarageBand on my computer and just started obsessively piecing together some heavy loops to sing over. And I haven’t been able to stop ever since!!! It definitely took me a while to even want to take that first step away from the pencils and paintbrushes. I didn’t think I could make something that sounded decent but thanks to modern technology I can focus on narrating and create a digital piece as a catalyst for my stories. Together with art and music I want to create a complete work. I’ve thought of making a comic book with soundtracks to go along with them but that seems very involved. We’ll see what life throws at me.

 

Heaven Imanchinello. Richmond, Virgina.

Heaven IImanchinello is involved in several community projects that help people in Richmond. including Great Dismal, which hosts and books benefit shows and supports local and touring musicians. They help with recruiting bands and musicians and with organizing shows and with giving us general advice. Heaven is also in Womajich Dialyseiz and curated our live set release. They also will be curating an upcoming compilation Grimalkin is putting out of collective members & friends hopefully this fall. They were unable to participate in this interview this go around due to life getting in the way.

Backxwash. Montreal, Québec, Canada.

Backxwash helps with promotion and recruiting. We met her through her Twitter and discovered her killer music and checked out her music video for F.R.E.A.K.S. and you should too. We asked her if she would be interested in releasing and/or joining and we’re so glad she’s a part of our collective. Look for a release from her in July 2019. Backxwash just joined the collective this week prior to conducting and submitting this interview.

DECAYCAST Interviews : SIGNOR BENEDICK THE MOOR

DECAYCAST Interviews : SIGNOR BENEDICK THE MOOR

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Sb The Moor /// Photo:  @parra.productions

The discography of California based imprint Deathbomb Arc spans across rap, noise, experimental, noise rock, abstract electronic music and more boasting releases from experimental rap group Clipping, and rap/noise crossover Death Grips to the dense lush  pop soundscapes  of Fielded, to the noisy chaotic percussive assault of  Foot Village, but none of these releases seem to masterfully weave so many seemingly disconnected genres into such a dense, queer, volatile, explosion of hybrid-styles future music than one of the the labels newest release, “Spirit Realm.Final” from non binary CA based rapper SB THE MOOR. On “Spirit Realm.Final”, SB takes the extremes from “Pillows” and “MNFST​.​dstnii” and a swarth of self released cassettes and mix tapes and pushes them even farther into the psychedelic netherworld that is their mind. This record truly defies categorization, it’s at once both haunting, beautiful, chaotic, poised, explosive and contained, seamlessly bridging hip hop, post rock, noise, industrial, and avant garde. These terms seem to contradict each other but upon opening your ears to “Spirit Realm.Final” and the work of SB THE MOOR, you’ll find beauty, chaos, anger, confusion, and even peace in the complicated dichotomies of our very existence. Moor has been on an unrelenting tear of touring, recording and collaborations and we needed to know more! We chatted with SB about their newest record, released on Deathbomb Arc, what it means to be a queer working artist, collaboration, touring and how this impacts the creative process. You can order their new record from the label  HERE.

Dr. Decaycast: Thanks for talking with Decaycast! Can you talk a little bit about your project SB The MOOR? Do you consider it more of a band, solo project, or concept?

SB The Moor: hmm I guess when I started, Signor Benedick the Moor was just another name/alias. I think I already finished an album (which ended up being El Negro) and that was just another weird name I picked to call myself. I didn’t expect it to take off. Now, it’s a bit of a mix of all three. SB is sort of a persona, or alter ego with which to experiment and make art with.

DD: You have a new record out on Deathbomb Arc, correct, titled “Spirit Realm.Final”? Is this record a linear continuation of your sound from the previous Deathbomb releases, and if not how has your sound changed?

SB The Moor: This new record…. well I never really know what’s going to happen when I go into album making mode. Even after I’m finished it usually takes a couple weeks of downtime before i really understand what it is. In a way this new record, titled “spirit realm.final” is a continuation of “Toybox”, “cybr.pnk”, and “MNFST.dstniii“. Those records were like…me figuring out how to make spirit realm.final. Sonically, texturally….and figuring out my music making process….as well as how to mix to my liking…those last three records trained me in all of those aspects. Thematically this record reminds me a lot of El Negro, too. It’s almost like a spiritual successor in my mind, because the album was born from a very dark place. This time though I’m experienced enough to identify the darkness and use it purposefully, instead of being used by it. Tbh,  El Negro attracted a lot of attention from people I really didn’t want to be associated with haha.

“Representation is everything! Even on this tour ….. non binary kids have been tellin’ me how much it means to them. ….. But, y’know, seeing artists like Mykki Blanco just tear shit up was crucial for me.”

DD: You’re currently on tour, correct? How does touring affect the writing and recording process? Do you record and write ideas on the road or are the two unique and individualized parts of your process?

SB The Moor: Being on tour and being “in the studio” are really yin and yang to me… I find out what works live, what my vocal and performing abilities are. This really fuels what I decide to do when making a record. Then, having leveled up on stage, I make something with new ideas and abilities in mind. I’m not usually thinking of one while I’m doing the other, so connecting the two is usually a learning process in itself, and another way to level up. I do think broadly about recording when im on tour, like what themes I want to explore and what sounds/textures/genres I might use, but I usually only write when I’m actually making a record, working on a collaboration, or of course, working on a commission.

DD: What is the most misunderstood aspect about your work as SB, or rather of nothing comes to mind what would be one thing you would like to share with your supporters that they perhaps don’t know at this time

SB The Moor: I think I felt wildly misunderstood around 2014-2016. 4chan is apparently a big reason for my success early on and I hate 4chan lol. A lot of sweaty racist white boys, proud to tell me about their obscure music tastes, simultaneously putting me down and looking for me to give them a proverbial cookie. Maybe most artists just ignore them but I felt hurt that by these dorks, I’m sensitive damn it! And I also thought about what that meant about me, what part of myself is being reflected here? When I released Toybox, which was pretty much a pop punk record, a lot of people were actually angry! And I’m like wow I’m way too un-famous and broke for these clowns to be getting under my skin…and where were they when I needed support??? Lol. So now….idk speaking plainly where I need to is a bigger part of my music haha.

DD: Might you talk about the zines and other visual art you’ve been making, are these a direct extension of the ideas and concepts your exploring with SB, or do they exist on their own as well, both physically and conceptually?

SB The Moor: Even before music, I wanted to draw comics and make cartoons. So making the zines is more like a childhood fantasy come true haha. The first one I made was with my partner, Marcosa (@multosa on Instagram) who paints beautiful colorful landscapes and puts poetry on top. I thought putting my cartoony, punk-esque drawings in the same magazine would be a cool contrast, so we did a zine!  Then I realized I could take what I learned and make my own little comics, which I peddle on my patreon. Both of the mini comics are extensions of the record. One is titled “Sexuality in the Digital Age” and the other “What are Feelings For?” which are themes directly lifted from spirit realm.final. I don’t really know where I’m going with comics but a lot of my favorite musicians also work in comics so I figured I shouldn’t let anything stop me haha.

DD: I think the 4chan thing you brought up leads into something else I wanted to talk about. Has your experience as a Black, queer artist affected how you’re treated within experimental music circles? Also, I have heard people talk about on how your work as an expansive and eclectic, radical mixed-genre, queer rapper  has helped give them a voice as a queer or non binary artist themselves. How important is visibility to you as an artist living and working within a world largely controlled by racist, sexist and transphobic systems of oppression?

SB The Moor:  Representation is everything! Even on this tour (Legendary tour with milo, we just played our first date in Denver last night) non binary kids have been tellin’ me how much it means to them. And tbh the first time someone mentioned it I was surprised! But, y’know, seeing artists like Mykki Blanco just tear shit up was crucial for me. And I can understand how I might be something similar to others, especially as I grow more and more into myself. Idk what 4chan thought I was about, I never asked…lol. But the minute I got gayer and poppier, despite becoming arguably MORE experimental and confirmably more skilled at music making in general, I think a lot of 4channers realized I was not for them haha. The contrast between people showing up for my shows back then to now is great, and I look forward to my crowds getting gayer and browner as I grow. Haha

DD: Do you see the politics of representation changing for the better or for the worse within music communities for queer people of color, disabled people and marginalized communities in general?

SB The Moor:  Tbh I….idk if I’m qualified to answer in an intelligent way lol. I know it seems to be easier for me and others like me, but this game is still a lot about privilege and I wield mine like a sword. I don’t have kids, I have a great support system, I’ve been lucky enough to work on my mental health with professionals…I’m tall and scary looking…haha. But many of my friends do not have these advantages, and even just working a full time job can really drain you when you’re black/brown, trans, and disabled as many of my friends are. How can they tour, or find enough time to finish projects for themselves? And of course, some do anyway, but….idk I’ve drifted from the question haha. I’m not political, or rather, I’m a political skeptic. Like the police, politicians just aren’t our friends. And as more people like us make music that people can’t deny, then yeah certain things get easier.

DD: Can you elaborate on your (apparent) affinity for collaboration ? You also accept commissions on occasion and can you talk a bit about that process and how you started to be so open and prolific with your talents?

SB The Moor:  I love collaboration for a couple reasons…I love to experience newness. It’s a great way to train your brain. I believe if you can look at something new and just accept it, even if u don’t like it, you will never be stuck in your ways. And that leads to learning faster and reaching a certain level of mastery faster. And I accept commissions as often as I can, it was a large part of my smol income last year and it was fun to do, fun to see who is listening and who wants a piece of the pie I’m baking and what kind of weird underground shit is out there. Once I conquered my fears it seemed like the logical step. Honestly I was inspired by Lil Wayne’s prolific output too haha. Saturate the market and have fun widdit. I still have songs poppin up on spotify and bandcamp and I be like, oh damn I made this??? I’ve done like 150 commissions so I really be forgetting lol!

DD: Future plans for SB the Moor ?

SB The Moor:  future plans:

  • keep bein’ dope

  • stay in the dojo

  • upload to the spirit realm

DD:  OK, Finally, any shoutouts, closing statements etc

SB The Moor:  Shout out to milo, the ruby yacht, Randal bravery, Pink Navel asleepin like a angel beside me, my Taurus Moon Sweetie back in Port Orchard, our families, my big little brother and my little little brother, the ancient ones, the future ones, shout out ratskin for the continued and future support, and lastly shout out to myself cus I couldn’t have done it without me.

DECAYCAST “Deathquestions” AKA An Interview with Anti-Fascist Metal Group NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP

DECAYCAST Interviews: “DEATHQUESTIONS” AKA An Interview with Anti-Fascist Black Metal Group NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP

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Black Metal, as many forms of extreme music has often taken an ambiguous stance when it comes to politics, if not outright fascist stances exemplified through the racist ideologies darkly and morbidly cloaking bands and labels who define (or disguise) themselves within NSBM or National Socialist Black Metal. Do these same types of ideologies exist in other scenes without us even knowing? The answer is an obvious yes, however due to metal’s historically unrelenting use of extreme imagery and themes celebrating death, mutilation, war, lynchings, white supremacy,  terror/terrorism etc, usually in the most fetishistic way possible, many times  devoid of  any inherent critique  for said content, it beginss the question, is there more overt racism in extreme metal than other genres? Probably not, however it often seems this way due to the outspoken and upfront nature of the rise of “edgelords” in extreme music (see: white supremacists) . In an age where the “leader of the free world” aka some grease encrusted orange, sniveling worm, criminal  uses racist policies and language, othering and institutionalized racist and sexist tactics to “drive the nation” and “Make America Great Again” and magnify hate, racism, and xenophobia around the globe, many extreme music fans are often left wondering where the artists and musicians they support stand politically within a constantly emboldened right and a flaccid left, well extreme black metal band NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP doesn’t sit on the fence. In fact they burn the fence down and stuff it’s simmering embers down the throat of racism, transphobia and many forms of oppression and hatred within the metal scene with their debut album, “White nationalism Is For Basement Dwelling Losers” that took the internet by storm  They were kind enough to grace us with an interview to deep dive into the ethos of ND. Also buy their record here and go see them at the esteemed Maryland Death Fest  this year whose need for an antifascist presence has been long overdue!

 

Dr. Decaycast: Thank you for uniting with DECAYCAST to talk about how racists are trash humans, wait maybe I jumped the gun, .Can you describe the philosophy and ethos of NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP for those who might not be aware

KH:  NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP IS A MILITANT REPLY TO THE FASCIST SEIGE OV HEAVY METAL ENABLED BY CURRENT POLITICAL TIMES. WE ARE AN ANARCHIST WAR BRIGADE ASSIGNED TO THE MANUAL EXTERMINATION OV THE RACIST BEDROOM KEYBOARD WARRIORS AND OUR DIRECTION IS SINGULAR AND UNSTOPPABLE. OUR PHILOSOPHY IS ONE OV ABSOLUTE HATRED AND CRUELTY FOR THEIR DISGUSTING WAY OV LIFE AND OUR OATH IS TO ABSOLUTE INTOLERANCE OV THEIR CHILDLIKE ANSWERS TO THE HARD QUESTIONS. THANK YOU FOR HAVING US. HAIL BLACK METAL. HAIL VICTORY.

HK: OUR GOAL IS THE COMPLETE ERADICATION OV  NATIONAL SOCIALISM

DD: Why is it important or isn’t it important for bands to be political?

KH: AS A BAND YOU’RE ALLOWED TO MAKE MUSIC ABOUT WHATEVER YOU WANT. I’M NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF TELLING ANYONE HOW TO MAKE THEIR OWN ART. BUT I THINK MUCH OV THE CONVERSATION WE HAVE IN BLACK METAL IS ABOUT HOW ASSHOLES TRY TO ESCAPE THEIR OWN AGENCY IN THE ART THAT THEY MAKE WHENEVER CONVIENIENT.

AND THAT IS SOME SHIT BY WHICH WE SHALL NOT ABIDE. DOUBLY SO IF YOU WANT TO PRETEND YOUR BAND ST8RMKR8EG SS IS AN “APOLITICAL” BLACK METAL PROJECT. YOU FUCKING DORKS.

CONVERSELY I THINK THE WARRIORS OV THE WORLD MAKING PROTEST MUSIC. AND ESPECIALLY HEAVY PROTEST MUSIC IN TIMES LIKE THESE ARE HUGELY IMPORTANT. AND THEIR VOICES SHOULD BE HELD HIGH AND HEARD LOUD.

YOU HAVE A LOT OV AGENCY IN YOUR ART. AND WHAT YOU MAKE WILL NEVER ESCAPE WHO YOU ARE. NO MATTER HOW HARD YOU TRY. SO TRY TOMORROW TO BE LESS OV A DICKWEED THAN YOU WERE TODAY IF YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE THE COMPANY OV ANYONE OTHER THAN MISERABLE UNAPOLOGETIC DICKWEEDS.

HK: I DON’T THINK IT IS NECESSARILY IMPORTANT FOR BANDS TO BE POLITICAL; THIS IS BECAUSE MUSIC IS AN ART FORM, AND SOME OF THE EMOTIONS EXPRESSED THROUGH MUSIC ARE APOLITICAL. WITH THAT SAID, IF A BAND HAS ANY STRONG POLITICAL LEANING OR BELIEF, BY ALL MEANS EMBRACE IT. SOMETHING I HAVE DONE PERSONALLY, IS TO HAVE SOME OF MY MUSICAL PROJECTS TAKE A POLITICAL STANCE, WHILE OTHERS REMAIN APOLITICAL. THIS PREVENTS THE MUSICAL DIRECTION FROM GETTING CLOUDED WITH TOO MUCH CONTENT, WHILE STILL GIVING AN OUTLET FOR POLITICAL VIEWS.

DD:Do you think the black metal scene harbors a disproportionate amount of fascists, racists, and homophobes/transphobes and just ignorance in general, as compared to other genres, or are these notorious NSBM bands just more becoming with their beliefs,  because of artists like Varg, GAAHL, and others alike perpetuating these beliefs through their music and writings?

KH: 
NO. I THINK BY VOLUME MOST RACISTS (AND CERTAINLY MOST RAPISTS) LISTEN TO DANCE MUSIC AND DO THAT THING WHERE THEY WEAR BOAT SHOES AND CHUBBIES SHORTS IN GROUP PHOTOS. HOWEVER HEAVY METAL HAS ALWAYS ATTRACTED THE EDGIEST PERSONALITIES. AND WHERE THOSE GUYS WILL SAY SHIT LIKE “I’M JUST FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE” AS CODE FOR “I DON’T REALLY CARE HOW SYSTEMIC RACISM HAS EFFECTED THE BLACK COMMUNITY”. OUR ASSHOLES JUST PUT A FUCKING SWASTIKA ON THE ALBUM COVER AND WILL CALL YOU SLURS OPENLY. IT MAKES THEM EASIER TO POINT OUT AND TALK ABOUT. LOUIS CACHET CERTAINLY PLAYS A HUGE HAND IN THIS PHILOSOPHY OV MOST OV THE DUMMIES HERE IN HEAVY METAL, BUT MOST OV THEM ARRIVED STUPID AND EDGY WITHOUT HIS HELP.

HK: INARGUABLY, YES. JUST SURF THROUGH SOME BM BANDS ON METAL ARCHIVES AND THAT WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW.

DD: Who would be three bands or humans you could eradicate from the music scene altogether,  and why and never bat a lash?

KH:  FAMINE OV PESTE NOIRE HAS TO GO. AS PER OUR CONTRACT WITH PROSTHETIC WE ARE REQUIRED TO PRODUCE THREE RECORDS OVER THE COURSE OV THREE YEARS. FAMINE IS ACTUALLY SO EFFECTIVE AT MAKING A MOCKERY OV BLACK METAL HE MAY ACTUALLY BURN THE GENRE DOWN BEFORE THAT TIME. THAT GUY CAN SUCK MY ARISTO-ASSE.

NYOGOTHABLITS. THOUGH OUR FRIENDS STILL SEND EACH OTHER HUGE WALLS OV TEXT ABOUT SILLY THINGS TITLED “TRANSMISSION 616: DECLASSIFIED” ONLY IT’S ABOUT WHOEVER ATE THE LAST TOASTER STRUDEL, OR WHOSE CAR HAS ALL OV US BLOCKED IN THE DRIVEWAY. I’M MAD THAT THOSE GUYS EXPECTED US TO READ THAT MOUNTAIN OV SHIT BRANDED AS A PUBLIC STATEMENT AFTER THE HELLVETRON SHOW GOT SHUT DOWN.  THERE ARE PLENTY OV OTHER DUMMIES IN FASCIST BLACK METAL DOING MORE HEINOUS SHIT THAN THESE GUYS BUT ALL THOSE DUDES DON’T USE THE PHRASE “APOLITICAL NEO-FASCISM” UNIRONICALLY.

I’D ALSO SEND DER STURMER HOME. I DON’T HAVE A PUNCH LINE FOR THESE GUYS, THEY’RE JUST BAD AND I FIND THE DISCUSSION SURROUNDING THEM REALLY BORING. SOME OV THE OTHER NAZI TURDS ARE AT LEAST MARGINALLY SELF AWARE OR INTERESTING TO SHIT ON. BUT LIKE PEOPLE CAN TALK SHIT ABOUT US ALL DAY FOR HAVING NO RIFFS YET UNIRONICALLY GAS THESE GUYS. WHO ARE LIKE UNFLAVORED OATMEAL SERVED WITH A MAYONNAISE SANDWICH ON WHITE BREAD WITH A NICE GLASS OV WATER.

HK: ANTICHRIST KRAMER, LAURI PENTTILA, DER STURMER

DD:  In a time where many systems like white supremacy and the justice system have rendered political neutrality in ones daily life dangerous and impossible, do you think/hope by taking such a strong stance against white supremacy, you hope to nudge younger bands and artists to create passionate anti- fascist music and art? 

KH:  FUCK YEAH. IT’S ALREADY BEGUN. THE AMOUNT OV PROJECTS CROPPING UP WHO ARE ALREADY PLAYING BETTER THAN US, TELLING THE PUNCH LINE BETTER THAN US, AND THROWING HEAVIER PUNCHES THAN US IS GREAT. MORE PEOPLE SHOULD DO IT. WHEN THE FIRES OV FASCISM ARE DISTANT AND EXTINGUISHED. WE CAN MAKE ART AND MUSIC AND JOKES ABOUT THE NEXT ISSUE. WE’RE FAR FROM THE FIRST. AND WE WON’T BE THE LAST. MORE.

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH. MY ACTUAL POLITICAL INTEREST AND BEST TALKING POINTS ARE ON HOW MONSANTO AND OTHER MAJOR FOOD CONGLOMERATES HAVE BECOME A CORPORATE OLIGARCHY AND PAVED THE WAY FOR THE PURCHASE OV OUR HUMAN RIGHTS BY LOBBYING FIRMS.

BUT THAT WAS BEFORE A TIME IN WHICH AN ADULT MAN IN AN ILL FITTING MY LITTLE PONY T-SHIRT FELT COMFORTABLE SCREAMING DIRECTLY INTO MY FACE ABOUT MY SOY INTAKE. SO HERE WE ARE.

HK: ABSOLUTELY YES. I HOPE TO CONVERT AS MANY PEOPLE TO ANTIFASCISM AS POSSIBLE. MANY PEOPLE, INCLUDING A YOUNGER ME, WERE SCARED OF ANTIFA MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT’S PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA, WITHOUT ACTUALLY KNOWING ANYTHING ABOUT LEFTIST PHILOSOPHY. I HOPE THAT THE MUSIC WE MAKE WILL HELP PEOPLE SEE THE ERROR IN THEIR WAYS, AND EDUCATE THEMSELVES ON LEFTIST PHILOSOPHY. ONCE YOU ACTUALLY LEARN WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT IT’S ABOUT, YOU’LL FIND IT’S NOT SCARY AT ALL.

DD:  Who would you rather see drawn and quartered, David Duke or Richard Spencer?

KH: YES.

HK: YES.

DD:  Can you talk a bit about the process of forming this project? Have you all played in bands with each other before, was it a long time coming or a reaction to specific event or point in time?

KH:  IT WAS A REACTION TO AN ONLINE ALTERCATION BETWEEN ME AND AN UNNAMED LOSER WHO RUNS A NAZI LABEL OUT OV HIS MOMS BASEMENT. I POSTED THE BAND NAME AND ALBUM IDEA AS A JOKE TO FACEBOOK. THE NOW RETIRED SUPERKOMMANDO UBERWEINERSCHNITZEL, WHO I HAD BEEN TALKING TO ABOUT OUR MUTUAL DISTASTE FOR NAZI BLACK METAL IMMEDIATELY WANTED IN. HE RECRUITED HAILS KOMRADEZ WHO HE HAD BEEN WORKING WITH ON OTHER PROJECTS AND WE FORGED THE ALBUM.

WE SAY THIS OFTEN BUT THE FIRST ALBUM WAS INTENDED TO BE A ONE OFF. HAILS AND I DECIDED TO SET DOWN THE OTHER STUFF WE WERE WORKING ON TO PURSUE THIS FULL TIME AFTER PROSTHETIC EXTENDED THEIR HAND TO US.

HK: BASICALLY THE OLD GUITAR PLAYER ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO PLAY DRUMS ON AN ANTI-NSBM ALBUM AND AFTER HE SHOWED ME THE SONG TITLES I COULDN’T SAY NO. I WAS IN SEVERAL BANDS WITH HIM PRIOR TO NECKBEARD, BUT NONE WITH KRIEGMASTER.

DD: You just signed with Prosthetic Records, Will you be recording an LP for them, and any plans to tour Europe or The States?  There’s A LOT Of fascist scum to melt if you so choose to come to this trash pile of a country.

KH: YES. THE LP IS ACTUALLY ALREADY FINISHED. ON TOP OV THAT THERE ARE NINE SPLITS COMING OUT NEXT YEAR WITH SOME CO-CONSPIRATORS I’M PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT. WE’LL TAKE WHATEVER COMES OUR WAY. OUR PLAN IS TO REMAIN GROUNDED AND ENJOY THE GOOD GRACES OV THOSE WHO LIKE HANGING OUT WITH US.

I FIGURE IT’S WORTH MENTIONING THAT WE’RE ACTUALLY FROM THE US. WE HAVE A FULL US TOUR PLANNED THIS COMING SUMMER. BRING YOUR SKI MASK.

HK: THE LP IS ALREADY DONE, SHOULD BE OUT SOMETIME IN THE FIRST HALF OF THIS YEAR. WE’RE PLANNING AN EXTENSIVE US/CANADA TOUR RIGHT NOW, MAYBE WE’LL HIT EUROPE NEXT YEAR.

DD:  Any other upcoming releases, tours, or other vital information that should be known about NECKBEARD DEATHCAMP?

HK: I JUST WANT TO SAY, DON’T BE SCARED TO READ THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO JUST BECAUSE IT HAS “COMMUNIST” IN THE NAME AND YOUR SEVENTH GRADE HISTORY TEACHER TOLD YOU COMMUNISM WAS BAD. CHANCES ARE THEY DIDN’T READ IT EITHER.

KH: NEVER LET SOMEONE PISS ON YOU AND TELL YOU IT’S RAINING. TAKE NO SHIT SUPERS OLDIERS. BLACK METAL FOREVER.

DECAYCAST Interviews: ROSTOV’S HATCHET: AN INTERVIEW WITH JAY PAUL WATSON of Dental Work / Placenta Recordings

ROSTOV’S HATCHET : AN INTERVIEW WITH JAY PAUL WATSON of Dental Work / Placenta Recordings.

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I’ve been following the work of Michigan based surrealist artist, label head, musician, and all around intellectually deep and philosophically and visually  rewarding stalwart of the noise scene Jay Watson for over ten years. I first met him in the flesh after trading tapes online at a show i put on at our old house in Oakland, The Razorwire Compound, and we instantly became great friends and collaborators. It’s been great to see Jay’s projects evolve over the years including his main recording project, Dental Work expand into a three piece entourage and his label, Placenta Recordings slowly inch it’s way toward its  500th release. After many years, we finally pinned him down for a short penning of the strategies and philosophies of his past and current practice, enjoy!

Dr. Decaycast: Please introduce yourself, and introduce your various projects?

Jay Watson: Hola! Thanks for having me. My name is Jay Watson, I am the leader of an international collective/record label called Placenta Recordings. I also participate in a number of musical/non-musical endeavors but my main squeeze is my project Dental Work.

Can you talk  first a little bit about Placenta Recordigs? When and why you started the label, and how has it changed over time?

Sure! The concept of Placenta Recordings came to my head in 2005. I was making really weird music, and I was looking for a way to release it. I was 18 years old and I saw an actual placenta for the first time when a litter of kittens was born at my apartment. Disgusted and intrigued, I asked my roommates what it was. The told me about it, and that we all had one, it’s vital to life, helping us with nutrients. Apparently some have even grown hair and teeth! I knew then that this would be a fitting name for my new label. The first actual releases were in 2006 and 2007, when I switched from one project “Jehova Wrinkle” to “Dental Work”. I really didn’t even know what Noise was, I was listening to stuff like Agoraphobic Nosebleed, discovered Merzbow, and wanted to make something a bit heavier, and that’s when Dental Work was born. The first releases I put out were on handmade and distributed CD-R, probably around 50 copies of each of the first EP releases. I never intended on releasing other people’s music, but that quickly changed. What started as a bedroom “noise” label has evolved into an entire international family of artists, over 700 projects deep.

We surpassed our own expectations to the point that we actually released our heroes and idols including Agoraphobic Nosebleed AND Merzbow. Now we are releasing everything from Detroit Rap artists like Menacide, Esham The Unholy and Team Eastside to Doom Metal legends like Black Mayonnaise, Canadian Gorenoise, Norwegian Black Metal, the list goes on. If you would have told 18 year old me this, I would say “ha, right”…Now our aim is mainly to document and archive extreme pockets of diverse music from all over the world, in a variety of formats. We also organize and host shows, run a distribution for underground artists, do printing and manufacturing work, release films, have a dedicated team of alternative models who represent us, graphic design, charity work, you name it.

How has Placenta Recordings became so diverse in the genres represented, it seemed to start as mostly a noise label, but now you’re releasing  everything from hip hop to gorenoise to black metal, can you talk a bit about how that progression took place?

I have always been into all kinds of music. I started collecting tapes at 5 years old, I would save up quarters I earned for stacking firewood and buy cassettes from the liquor store down the street. My first tape ever was something called “Rap The Beat”…My 2nd was some Metal mix that I can’t recall. This was around 1991. My obsession continued to grow, I started buying CDs and digging through my relatives vinyl collections, picking up whatever I could get my hands on. My Dad was into psychedelic music and Jazz, my Grandma was into classical, so I absorbed plenty of that, and continued to soak up as much music as possible, which definitely reflects. Magazines and the internet definitely helped later on.

With the label I realized that there weren’t too many labels releasing more than just one kind of music. I wanted to share diversity with people in such a narrow minded world. Just because you listen to 80’s Hardcore doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy Rap, Techno, Noise, or whatever you find to get into! Pretty much as long as your music isn’t racist, it deserves to be hear somewhere by someone!

Interesting, yeah it boggles  my mind how many labels stick to a very formulaic presentation through the  artists and genres they work with. Was this a conscious decision or did it happen more naturally?

I would say it started to begin naturally, and over time I really started to zero in on this being a certain code to live by!

You also have a very longstaning recording project, Dental Work, can you talk a  little bit about this, it’s philosophy, and how it has evolved over time?

For sure! I got bored with the confinement of my previous project Jehova Wrinkle, which was a quirky Industrial/Trip Hop mutant offspring thing, and wanted to create something with less rules, and something to reflect some of my own internal struggles. I have always loved aggressive music since I discovered it, Death Metal, Horrorcore, Grind, Hardcore, and stuff so I definitely draw inspiration from all of that, Horror movies, etc. – anyway I’m rambling on. I was heavily influenced specifically by Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s “PCP Torpedo” which came with this remix disc that blew my fucking mind. Still does. So yeah I wanted to push the limits making really fast, untraditional, loud, almost Punk but not…You feel me? That’s when I cranked out the first DW release, “Mike Vick Raped By Pit bulls” EP, self released on CD-R via Placenta Recordings, which was my version of a revenge fantasy scenario against Micheal Vick, who was a football player who was involved in dog fighting rings. I am firmly against all forms of animal abuse and cruelty. So yeah it was a total platform to get out all of my aggression, weird, uncomfortable thoughts, anything.

Over time i developed multiple split personalities within the project, becoming some sort of bizarre anti-hero out for all of the underdogs…I ended up adding 2 full time members after a variety of live collaborations and ghost members, and since around 2014 we have been performing and releasing albums as a trio, merging Noise, discomfort, BDSM, Comedy, and a trash attitude with plenty of sarcasm, inside jokes, political unrest, anti-society ethics, and general distaste. We like to leave our fans, family, friends, and haters wondering “what the fuck just happened?” LolZ

Is Dental Work more of a live based performance project or are the recordings more important, less important, or incomparable?

It started with recordings. The first DW EP was released in 2007, I believe there were about 6-7 more releases before the first live set in 2008. Both have been evolution. When I first started doing live shows I was wearing normal clothes during the sets. After a few years performing in the Midwest and8fee5225-22ee-4918-82ec-21de4f73ab00 east coast, I did my first west coast tour and saw what people in California were doing, so I took all of that in, and decided to craft my own aesthetic, which I have been building upon, manipulating, morphing, and upsetting people with since. Now I even have other people joining me and ordering raincoats from China to collaborate with us…It’s crazy. So yeah I think that you really need both the albums and to catch a few performances to complete the puzzle, to understand some of the humor, inside jokes, sarcasm, and love that is put into it all.

Would you ever allow a Dental Work performance to happen without you for any reason?

Actually, yes. It’s already happened twice. Once around 2012, when I couldn’t make it to one of my shows in Chicago I had my friend Billy Sides perform as Dental Work, he wore a hoodie and bandana and only a few people noticed. The other time was literally last week, I couldn’t make it to one of my shows, ironically because I just had oral surgery…So I asked if Justin and Sean could pull it off without me. They did, and it was fine. The project will die with me though.

Talk to me about the connection between your art and food, because between track titles, cover art, and photographs that my pop up online, it seems to permeate your artistic practice. What role does food play in your practice, and if none talk about some of your favorite foods.

Food is crucial. Food is life. Food is death, and death is important. I love food. I grew up eating food. I’m not vegetarian, but I respect every creature that feeds me. Man has been eating meat since the dawn of time. I am totally against unfair treatment of animals in any way, like fuck Tyson. You would definitely catch me at a Halal butcher shop though. I started working at 14 in restaurants. I did prep cook and line cook for years. I’ve always been into writing my own recipes, and the last 10 or so years I’ve been working on a cookbook of all original recipes with my own photography included. It won’t be available another 5 years I would imagine, but I will be publishing it. I’ve also always had a dream of running my own food truck. I come from a diverse background, I am part Lebanese and learned a ton of middle eastern recipes and skills from my Dad and Aunt…I worked in Mexican restaurants so I have a huge background there, and I grew up in Michigan so I have a ton of BBQ knowledge and a growing obsession for Canadian favorites like Poutine. My favorite foods besides what I just mentioned would be Pizza, Chorizo, Tacos, Shawarma, Indian food (hotter the better), Pakistani cuisine…Coney Island (Detroit or Flint), Gyros, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, even recently got turned onto Portuguese. Fucking A I love food, dude.

Can you talk about any up and coming acts that are inspiring, or new music or art that you’ve heard or seen which has made an impact on you as an artist?

I’m inspired in some way by everything I come in contact with…I am always peeping what cats in Oakland are up to, some great stuff seems to be coming out of Toronto lately, definitely digging a lot of Gorenoise, basically Goregrind but even more liquified…lots of wild mutations always seeping out of Japan, but I can’t name any specific acts.

As far as shout outs, totally. I have so many people I want to thank, but I’m gonna keep it pretty simple for the interview. Definitely number one to my parents, my cats, my girl, the entire Placenta Recordings Family, Ratskin Records, Grindcore Karaoke, Jay Randall, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Patrick Doyle, Trashfuck Records, Morgan Feger, Will Olter, Justin Lee Smith, Sean Barry, Krysti Mathz, Doc Colony, Nice, Clee, Billy Sides, James Lee Jones, Dan Bale, Menacide, Bad Mind, Esham, Jon Pilbeam, Nerfbau, Styrofoam Sanchez, Coral Remains, Tommy “2 Blades” Kittendorf, Bobby Waters, Hex, Project Born, Bonus Beast, Ben Durham, Craniophagus Parasiticus Records, Lexie, Luke, Nirma, Todd, Caleb, Aaron, Vincent Trotto, Watabou, Cock ESP, Evan Glicker, McCarthy’s Pub, Lob, NorCal Noisefest, Caroliner, Denver Noise Fest, WZRD FM, and R.I.P. Heidi Johnson. Dental Work is forever dedicated to YOU, and everyone who ever gave us a chance…R.I.P. Jsun, R.I.P. Uncle Charlie, love and miss y’all.

 

DECAYCAST Interviews: Oceans of Blue, Forests of G R E E N : AN INTERVIEW WITH ANNA LUISA PETRISKO

Oceans of Blue, Forests of G R E E N : AN INTERVIEW WITH ANNA LUISA PETRISKOimages

The  work of multi-media artist Anna Luisa Petrisko has been making waves in the bay area and beyond for years under her own name, the longstanding JEEPNEYS project which mixed recording, performance and video, which culminated in a video game project “JEEP JEEP”, The Black Salt Collective,  and now her new album, titled “Green” , released on LA’s Practical Records help solidify Luisa as one of the most important contemporary artists working today across many different platforms while still retaining their roots and radicalized aesthetics. Luisas’ tour with XINA XURNER , “The Royal Hearts Tour” stops in Oakland this Wednesday at Pro Arts!

Hello Anna, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with Decaycast. Can you introduce yourself and speak a little about your current performing/recording project?

My name is Anna Luisa Petrisko and I am an artist working across many mediums. I recently released an album called “Green” which was co-produced with Julius Smack and features guest vocalists Adee Roberson and Ana Roxanne, and piano by Gavin Gamboa. I’m getting ready to tour (with my friends Xina Xurner) in support of this album. I’ve been calling it “tropical new age pop” but you could throw in “synth” and “experimental” too. It is definitely song-based. I live in LA and although there is a ton of nature, it isn’t the greenest kind, especially in the summer and after several years of drought. The “green place” I dream of through these songs is this lush space where we can all chill, heal, and play. And pray for rain! Green is the color of your Heart Chakra and I wrote this album while grieving, so the green place is also where we process grief and connect to the ones we’ve lost, our ancestors and whomever else we keep close.

Thank you  for going in so deep, how has the sound of “Green”, your newest recorded work, changed since previous works such as the esteemed JEEPNEYS project? Also is collaboration a main theme of all of work audio works?

JEEPNEYS was a project that was in and of itself constantly evolving and was a way for me to process coming into my self as a multimedia artist, rather than somebody who was always in bands, as well as processing my identity and culture as a Filipino. When I decided to retire JEEPNEYS (in the form of a video game JEEP JEEP) I knew my next album would be something different. But it is still a lineage and a continuation because the theme music from JEEP JEEP evolved into the first song Offering on GREEN. Damn I guess I cannot escape myself! The songs on GREEN feel different than music I released as JEEPNEYS, and they are not tied to specific performances whereas JEEPNEYS releases are more like opera soundtracks.

I am mostly reclusive in the studio so collaboration is really fun and a way for me to get out of my insular world. I love my friends so much but I am also a create-aholic so collaborating is how I hang out with my peeps without having to leave the studio! Working with Adee, Ana, Gavin and Julius Smack on this album was absolute pure joy and lots of snacks. If we collaborate, I will feed you.

So in a way, the work under your own name is less tied to multimedia works? Are you still working in other mediums, and if so, will they work their way into these newer works under your own name?

I don’t have plans for Green to become a large scale performance project, but I did make music videos for “Mountains Gold Rivers Green” and “Maintenance in Loving” and they will be premiering this week! In terms of my other work, I continue to do the Sagittarian most. I am currently in a group show in Oakland at Dream Farm Commons with a bunch of amazing peeps including my longtime collaborator and friend Grace Rosario Perkins. I have plans to collaborate with The Creatrix for a special residency with Practical Records in Berkeley in November. I am also working towards my next experimental sci-fi opera premiering in 2019 which will have holodeck-inspired mixed reality experiences and space cult vibes!

Wow, thats a lot of projects in the  works How do you manage to  balance so many projects at once in so many different mediums? Do they all inform each other, or do you attempt to operate in different mind sets for the work flow of  each project?

To be honest my flow often feels like a sporadic and heavy gas pedal / sudden brake situation but I thank my lucky stars every day for my completely nonsensical & non-linear process because it usually comes into focus at some point. Not always but that’s ok. I mostly just follow my intuition, make lots of mistakes, and try not to get anxious thinking about it all by doing lots of self-care. You seem like you are doing a million things, and supporting not only your own work but so many other people’s work who are all very unique. What’s your secret?

Honestly I’ve  always respected you as an artist  for many reasons, but one of them being you seem to have so many different projects going, but they all are fully realized and it seems as if you’ve successfully cloned yourself.  I am doing a million things, but i have so much unseen support, mostly from women of color, and all of the amazing radical art that gets produced by folks that have exponentially less privilege than i do is a constant inspiration to do better, and do my part in documenting all of the amazing work thats being produced right now, also strong weed.  

Is there anything else you’d like to talk about within either the context of your practice, or the world in general lol?

Thank you! I totally feel you and resonate with what you are saying. I have so much seen and unseen support from friends, family, and history in general! There’s a long lineage of artists who came before and after, and had/have it way harder than me! Grateful is a small word to describe a big feeling. Can’t wait to see you in Oakland! Take care

 

Being The Machine : DECAYCAST Interviews Derek Rush (Chthonic Streams, Compactor)

Being The Machine : DECAYCAST Interviews Derek Rush (Chthonic Streams, Compactor)

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Compactor live at Knockdown Center, NYC during the No Workers Paradise release show. Photo by Kim Wirt.

Derek Rush is a man of many hats in the contemporary noise/industrial scene; like many artists these days, Rush has taken a ground-up, DIY ethos to his various musical projects, his imprint Chthonic Streams, his DJ sets, as well as mixing, mastering, and designing artwork for his releases. Many times, when artists spread themselves this razor-thin, for a myriad of creative, philosophical, and logistical reasons, aspects of the work suffer, or appear rushed, but not in the case of Derek Rush. His commitment to the preservation and documentation of the New York City and North American noise and industrial scene is impressive to say the least. Make sure to keep up with his various projects here and here.

Hello Derek and welcome to Decaycast. Can you talk a little bit about your current creative projects and what you’re up to these days both with your label, Chthonic Streams and related projects?

My main current project is as SysAdmin for Compactor. This means I’m overseeing the production of recorded Documents, and I handle tech, setup and breakdown of Live Shifts. Compactor is a machine, or series of machines, operated by a uniformed person called The Worker. The idea is that this is an anonymous figure who could be anyone, they represent everyone who works for a living. The project is a series of ongoing statements about work and its place in society, the dehumanization of people, the focus, fetishization, and trust in technology, the push-pull of how it can be pretty cool but also pretty destructive. In May 2018 Oppressive Resistance Recordings released the full-length CD “Technology Worship.”

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Chthonic Streams started as an outlet to release my own work when other labels are unavailable, as well as distribute the work of others I’m even tangentially involved with. Recently I’ve been expanding it to put out short-run releases of artists I like. I usually collaborate on some aspect, at least the design, sometimes a bit of mastering or even mixing, it varies. The latest release as we’re talking now is a tape by Endless Chasm, a dark ambient/experimental artist from Kansas. I also try to combine the release with a show I present under the Chthonic Streams banner with a variety of complementary artists.

As for other related projects happening now, I’ve been contributing to Theologian, which is the project of Lee Bartow. I recently sent him some melodic/harmonic elements which were turned into a track on the cassette “Reconcile,” and we have been sending files back and forth for the next major album, “Contrapasso.”

How did the collaboration with Theologian come about? How do you (if at all) separate the sounds you use for Compactor vs. the sounds you use for Theologian or other collaborations, and also how important is collaboration to you on general?
Theologian is Lee Bartow, but sometimes he likes to collaborate with others. We’ve known each other from a distance for years, but connected more in 2010 when I asked him to remix a song from my band Dream Into Dust. In return, he asked me to contribute to a project called Love Is Nothing, and then he sent me material which I added to along with others that became the Theologian EP “Some Things Have To Be Endured”. I mixed the “Forced Utopia” album last year, and I’ve been editing/producing material for the forthcoming album “Contrapasso.” The “Reconcile” album came about because of the Darkness Descends industrial festival in Cleveland put on by Stephen Petrus of Murderous Vision. Lee asked Stephen, Andy (The Vomit Arsonist) and myself to send material that he would turn into an album (mixed by Mike McClatchey of Lament Cityscape), and the four of us played in Theologian for the fest.

The mindset, sound, and material for Compactor is very different from other projects or collaborations. Compactor sonically is all about different textures of primarily atonal sounds. The material I sent in for “Reconcile” was very melodic and droning and in a specific key. In general when working on Theologian, I know what that sound is and where Lee is coming from, and I’m just trying to do something that goes along with that but adds a dimension he doesn’t usually do when working on his own, things like trying to add a different structure or little synth melodies and string parts.

I think in any collaboration, it’s important to find out what the other person wants and needs, which may not be the same thing. I’m mostly just trying to help their project be the best it can be to my ears. But in the end, they give the final seal of approval and may even change things I’ve done initially. I find that totally democratic collaboration often doesn’t work. Someone has to be in charge of a project and someone else in more of a supportive role.

Seems like the sounds of Compactor and your collaborative projects come from very different places, intention-wise. Oftentimes in experimental music artists can take an “anything goes” approach, but that might end up not working for every situation, or even many situations. Do you think noise and experimental music, more than other genres, emphasize collaboration, or on the contrary does it discourage collaboration and focus on promoting the individual. Is removing yourself from the identity of Compactor a conceptual move or does it occur for different reasons? 
I think noise music by its nature might not discourage collaboration, but it’s kind of unnecessary and sometimes a bad idea. With many types of noise, the more distortion and frequencies that are happening, the harder it is to fit in other sounds. It needs to have people even more attuned to each other than in conventional music, to know what and when to play or not play. Otherwise it can just become total white noise, filling up every space. There’s a place for that, obviously HN and HNW, but even one person can generate that on their own. So collaboration usually seems to come more out of a need for cameraderie and community. I think there’s a lot of loners, myself included, for whom noise has somehow had the opposite effect of connecting with others on the same wavelength. So it’s not like a rock band where you’re a guitarist who needs a bassist and drummer. You can do it all yourself, but you want your buddies with you, especially if they by themselves create something you respect.

Compactor being the machine, operated by the faceless figure of The Worker, is something that naturally came about from the early titles and imagery. It basically wrote its own backstory. Once that was in place, other details just obviously follow. The Worker’s story is a conglomeration of what goes on in this country and other parts of the world. The greed and inhumanity of corporations, the constantly working, often exhausted working class and shrinking middle class. It’s more important, and more interesting, to refer to these things than just say, wow work sucked today, I’m going to write a song about that. Because it’s not about me, it’s about everyone. And it’s sadly a pretty common feeling.

Can you talk a little bit more of the aesthetics of “The Worker” or “Compactor” from the mask/outfit to the unified aesthetics in the artworks well as music videos?

The predominantly black, white, and grey color schemes are just naturally bleak, and also give things a vintage or archival quality. A lot of the look of things is intentionally old, outdated, and ragged looking. For all the advancements in technology, there’s still a lot of old stuff being used by businesses that aren’t upgrading in order to save money. The Worker is kind of a personification of that, wearing a gas mask from 30 years ago, always the same worn-out shirt and work boots, and a generic cap, sometimes additional tools that are old, dirty, rusted or cheap-looking. It seems like a lot of companies are providing the bare minimum, or even leaving it up to employees to take care of their own uniforms or supplies.

Most of the videos in the past were outsourced to F Squared Media, who do some amazing work. Something to note is that there are never any people in them, in order to increase feelings of dehumanization and isolation.

Speaking of unified aesthetics, let’s talk about your imprint, Chthonic Streams. Most of your releases are rather involved with artist editions and elaborate packaging, including a boxset housed in a tool box?!? Is this true, care to elaborate?!

I’ve only started doing more elaborate packaging in the past few years, but have always strived to make sure there is really something to hold in your hands and look at. Also, it has to make sense and have a purpose. Although I appreciate albums that come with buttons and stickers, that’s not my thing. So I come up with images, words, and objects that bring the meaning of the music into the physical world.

The boxset you’re talking about is “No Workers Paradise”, which is 8 x 60-minute tapes, each one from a different noise artist. Compactor, Gnawed, Redrot, The Vomit Arsonist, Filth, Blsphm, Existence In Decline, and Work/Death each recorded a full album’s worth of material, so the total time is 8 hours, the standard American work day (although many people work longer than that). It also includes a 7″x10″ 12-page booklet with images, credits, and an essay I wrote about the prevalent relationship of people to work these days. Putting it in a tool box just made the most sense to me, as though someone woNWPboxuld carry it to work with them and listen to it all day. Though this was my concept I have to give serious props and thanks to all the artists, who did some of their best work.

What is the most difficult part of running your own imprint and also what is the most rewarding? Also please discuss any upcoming releases you have for both the label, and Compactor.

The most difficult part is dealing with money. While I can save money doing pretty much everything myself, as soon as you start adding in the kind of crazy ideas I have, the cost goes right back up again. Not to mention the time and labor. I’m cheating myself in some ways, but I guess I’d rather do that than cheat an artist. Then again, probably a lot of labels at this level operate this way, which is sad. We’ve become so used to busting our asses incredibly hard just to get anything done and not lose our shirts.

On the positive side, it’s so rewarding to hear from other artists that they’re happy with how a release came out. These are people whose work I respect a lot, and we are friends and peers, so that’s the most important thing. Though we’re also happy to sell out of things too!

Just released is a compilation called Prematurely Purgatoried, which is a benefit for fellow musician Casey Grabowski (Nearest, Obligate Surrogate, Secret Societies) who has cancer. In the works is a release from Seattle-based artist Morher, who was until recently known as OKA Amnesia. I’ve booked her a number of times, and she recorded several long pieces live to multitrack at my studio, with plans to do more and make it a full-length, which I’ll be mixing, as I did with STCLVR’s Predator. She’s also a visual artist and we hope to collaborate using her work to come up with some kind of special edition that suits her and this material, which is incredibly open and visceral. It’s gorgeous sung and spoken word live and looped vocals, with ethereal backing based on field recordings bleeding into harsh noise.

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By winter there will also be a special edition cassette by Mortuary Womb, a duo project between myself and the late John Binder of Exhuma and Arkanau. It’s full-on death industrial in the vein of early Cold Meat Industry and Slaughter Productions, recorded in Winter 2014. The limited edition will include a second cassette with the final recordings John did before he left us.

Compactor will have split releases with Vitriol Gauge and Ruiner. coming in Fall and Winter, respectively. There will also be tracks on compilations from Black Ring Rituals (for Fargo Noise Fest) and Spiricom Tapes, as well as a remix on the deluxe reissue of the Theologian/Lament Cityscape album. Beyond that, work has begun on a gabber album for Sonic Terror Recordings.

Chthonic Streams: www.chthonicstreams.com
Compactor: www.wastemgt.info