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 Reviews : LUER “Cartridge” (Fluxus Montana, 2018)

 

DECAYCAST Reviews : LUER “Cartridge” (Fluxus Montana, 2018)

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Here we step back over to a short but power and sonically diverse from Matt Taggarts’ LUER project. “Cartridge” comprised of two short sides of mixed style electronic compositions spanning harsh noise, post industrial, musique-concrete and expanded ambient/drone techniques; a hearty stylistic swath for such a short release indeed, but this cassette doesn’t feel contrived in it’s uniqueness and non-commitment to a specific sound or style. Like his solo work under his own name and P.C.R.V., Taggart has always oscillated between the  sonically dense and the hauntingly minimal, letting the concept dictate both the intensity and the presentation

0013940643_10, and that could be happening here as well, though the focus seems to be more onto nuanced sound with LUER than previous works with refreshing and interesting results. LUER blends sputtery, chaotic synthesizer patterns and textures, backed with heavy, industrial percussion working in tandem with mutating synths and unrecognized manipulated sources. Both sides offer varying peaks and troughs of intensity, but as the listener, we are never left with a boring moment, a unique sonic happening is always right around the corner ready to unfold inside our  cochlea. Harsh, synthetic noise blasts swiftly and determined  cut through the mix like stab wounds to our own perceived reality.

The B side offers more warmer synth manipulations on the forward coupled with digitized harsh noise blasts, analog machines crumbling atop each others dying circuit pulses, and space. The use of sparseness on the second side especially offers a tense and cinematic feel to the overall composition, never knowing when the next cacophony is going to rumble up through the speaker and slice your skin to fill up the case. This is the sound of blood corroding a body into the inner most part of the ear- perfect. Stunning artwork to boot, pick up the cassette today here.

DECAYCAST : Fifty + Impactful Genre- Defying Music Releases of 2018 : Part One

DECAYCAST : Fifty + Impactful Genre Defying Music Releases of 2018 : Part One
*part two to be released Feb 2018

2018 was a wild year for music and the world. Bad politics and worse people coming to positions of power often spark good art. Here’s fifty genre defying releases from 2018 that we at Decaycast found absolutely exceptional.
Please seek these albums out and support the artists as directly as possible!

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700 Bliss “Spa 700” (Halcyon Veil)

Akvan “بلک متال آریایی” (Self Released)

Anna LuisaGreen” (Practical Records)

Attilo Novellino & Collin McKelvey “Métaphysiques cannibales” (Weird Ear)

BbymuthaMD3” (Self Released)

Beast NestA History Of Sexual Violence” (Self Released)

Black Spirituals “Black Access / Black Axes” (SIGE Records)

Bonemagic “Cult Of The Red Vest” (Cult Love!)

The Breathing Light “Light Fast, Black Power!” (Self Released)

Burmese “Privilege” (Fuck Yoga Records)

CBN “Neblastya” (Phage Tapes)

Colin Bragg & Bill Pritchard “Andedyr” (Self Released)

Compactor “Technology Worship” (Oppressive Existence Recordings)

Conscious Summary “Exhaustions” (Skin Trade Recordings

Dental Work “Fog Of Summer Ghosts” (Placenta Recordings)

Dreamcrusher “Grudge2” (C-I-P)

Drew McDowall “The Third Helix” (Dias Records)

Eleh “Wear Patterns” (Self Released)

The Fathers “Sound Advice” (T/ECA)

Fletcher Pratt “Dub Sessions, Volume 4” (Crash Symbols)

Lara Sarkissian “Disruption” (Club Chai)

Girlz N The Hood ‘All 4 Nia’ (Self Released)

Golden Donna “Date Night” (Self Released)

Hiro Kone “Pire Expenditure” (Dias Records)

HIRS “Friends. Lovers. Favorites” (Self Released)

House Of Cake “House Of Cake” (Houdini Mansions)

Jeff Carey “Zero Player Game” (Ehse)

Jasmine Infiniti “Sis” (Club Chai)

Jonathan Snipes “The Nightmare” (Deathbomb Arc)

JPEGMAFIA “Veteran”  (Deathbomb Arc)

K 23 “Blacklight Sessions” (Fantasy 1)

Kepla & DeForrest Brown Jr. “The Wages of Being Black is Death ” (PTP)

King Vision Ultra “Pain Of Mind” (Self Released)

KK NULL “Pulsar X” (Self Released)

Kohinoorgasm “Synthwali and The War Empire” (Self Released)

Lunar Tomb “Tierra de las Brujas” (Distort Discos)

LSDXOXO “Body Mods” (Self Released)

Luke Stewart “Works For Upright Bass And Amplifier” (Self Released)

Lana Del Rabies “Shadow World” (Deathbomb Arc)

Macho Blush “Users Guide” (Tymbal Tapes)

Midmight “Cut Cut Cut Bruise” (Resipiscent)

Moira Scar “Wound World Part 1” (Psychic Eye)

Nightmare Difficulty “Run and Gun” (Self Released)

Open Mike Eagle “What Happens When I Try To Relax”

ONO “Your Future Is Metal” (American Damage)

Portal “Ion” (Profound Lore)

Russell E.L. Butler “The Home I’d Build For Myself And All My Friends”

Ryan King “How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love To Bomb” (Serious Hype)

SAN CHA “Capricha Del Diablo” (self released)

Serpentwithfeet “Soil”

S.B.S.M “Leave Your Body” (Thrilling Living)

The Sorcerer Family “Hidden Rooms” (Stay Strange)

TAHNZZ “XILA” (Self Released)

The Bedroom Witch “Triptych” (Self Released)

Turkish Delight “Howcha Magowcha” (I Heart Noise)

Voicehandler “Light From Another Light” (Humbler Records)

White Boy Scream “Remains” (Crystalline Morphologies)

Witches Of Malibu “Fever Dreams” (Self Released)

Yves Tumor “Safe In The Hands Of Love” (Warp)

V/A: “Energies” (Practical Records)

V/A: “Stable Submissions, Vol 2” (Stable)

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: SHADOWS “KnightsEnd” Cassette (Polar Envy / SKSK, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: SHADOWS “KnightsEnd” Cassette (Polar Envy / SKSK, 2018)

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SHADOWS “Knight’s End” (photo: Polar Envy / ASR)

Cleveland, OH mainstays SHADOWS is David Russell and Wyatt Howland (and at least for this release are assisted via the sonics of Roman J. Leyva) crafting their  dark, horrific, take on the legacy/story of Batman  through mastered techniques of harsh noise, drone, percussion and dynamic  mixing and editing techniques. The sound of SHADOWS seems go evolve with every release and “Knight’s End” is no different. Beginning with a murky, distorted rhythm we are  quickly whisked away into a harsh symphony of ringing, clanging, scraping; attack on  the ear and the “fearless”? The sound of shadows is physically manifested through the  black clad, pointed eared upside down man of the night. “KnightsEnd” fuses longer drone sections, which contain a rather cinematic arch to their presentation, slowly beginning as a low, slow sine wave and over the course of a few minutes, escalate into a cavernous,  yet detailed sonic explosion of harsh noise, voice, and percussion, a masterfully blended evil sonic stew leaving the listener with a tense, uneasy feeling, which for my ear canal is just perfect.

.The B side “KnightQuest”  follows a similar compositional format, beginning with stark, alienating percussion, resembling the swaying of an old, cursed sinking ship with hundreds of  piezos placed within it’s weakest structural support system and signing a hum of the  druid through mangled cassette tape, as it creaks and rips apart all whilst bombs fall from an unknown sky above.  We hear a parade of  dissonant sounds slowly dragging themselves closer and farther away to the ear canal, like a slow, pulsing infectious disease spreading through an unknown human cavity, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The blending of all of the different sonic elements that compose the sound of SHADOWS is perhaps one of their strongest elements as the  tension seems to build throughout in a subtle, yet  important way, dragging us down and down into the sea of sonic mayhem until the  last air bubble pops at the  surface, the ship has sank, their are no survivors, only the harsh, alienating tortured sounds of Shadows “Knight’s End” As of the time of this review, according to the label’s bandcamp page there’s just, ONE copy left and you should GO HERE AND BUY IT.

POLAR ENVY 

SHADOWS 

DECAYCAST Reviews: BUCK YOUNG “Proud Trash Sound” LP (No Rent Records / Rent Hike, 2018)

BUCK YOUNG “Proud Trash Sound” LP (No Rent Records / Rent Hike , 2018)

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BUCK YOUNG “Proud Trash Sound” is one of the most unique, albeit one of the only fusions of contemporary harsh experimental music and western fever dream Americana that I have come across, and what a discovery this has been. From the twisted. hand drawn, scrawly, but beautifully executed artwork to it’s strange, and twisted blending of seemingly unrelated styles and techniques,  “Proud Trash Sound”  subverts much of what we have come to expect from “harsh noise” or experimental music in general, and turns it’s on it’s ten gallon hat as our brains leak out in a red mess on the floor trying to articulate what this “Proud Trash Sound” is just all about, ya hear?!

Fuzzed out,  westernized twangy acoustic guitars and nasily, heartbroken, yodeling  vocals skate and twirl along, rising atop the bent capo as Whisky drips down the neck of the guitar, often and angrily interrupted by dense, belches of harsh cut up noise that Crumer has articulated as his own over the years, but “Proud Trash Sound” doesn’t stop there; it escapes the one trick pony of ironic “comedy” record and belts forth an honest and complicated, yet aurally and conceptually pleasing synthesis of styles that are traditionally considered “unrelated”.  In the cacophonous slab of post modern beauty that is “Proud Trash Sound”,  there is truly something for everyone on this record, from morose, sad, heartfelt paino works such as “Murdoch” which blends heavy, heartfelt piano arpeggiations with a lonely buzzing from the farm’s distance to minimalistic, muffled blendings of bending guitars, field recordings of explosions, horses, farm animals, and just about everything else left after the show down, BUCK YOUNG slickly avoids categorization throughout this LP. Are these some sort of twisted cover songs, or is Buck Young simply pulling on nostalgia strings through this deep and unnerving sonic tale of a time where the cobblestone streets ran red which archaic blood of those on the wrong side of the gun and the bottom of the barrel. Other tracks like the more upbeat “Harper Valley PTSD” offer a higher pitched twang, blended with cut up tape loop destruction and a thick warm analog haze of sonic confusion; this is a good thing btw.

The  album’s standout track for me “Hey Linda!” is a chaotic, multi layered, fumbling, bumbling, beer soaked love ballad sped up, bled dry sounding like Can 1968 loops accelerated through a mangled, ash-covered  tape machine feeding back through CB radio. Blending 60’s psychedelia with futuristic sounding harsh noise, a cowboy belt buckle stash spot of mind bending, leather hide rank sounds into a hooch barrel of = truly unique and all encompassing American experimental music, BUCK YOUNG offers us nothing short of a dark take on a murky past. Buck Young is a truly indescribable sound, you must only hear it for yourself to believe.  Pick this up from No Rent Records before it’s sold out, or it might already be?!

“Until now… 

It has been 74 long years, so steal a few tall cans of beer, pull up an old crate or a worn out tire and start a bonfire with your roommates’ crap. Add a reasonably functional cassette player and this is the new American concert hall. “

 

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.

 

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