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.

 

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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

DECAY CAST Interviews : STATIC AND SOUND; An Interview with DEREK PIOTR

Sound artist Derek Piotr is releasing a new  record coming out in late September on the DSPR imprint, titled “Grunt”, so we decided to have a short conversation about Piotr’s work as “Grunt”, specifically on their new record.

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“A grunt. That most primal and animalistic of utterances. The new project by Derek Piotr, his eighth solo record and a set of short-form brutalist shards of human-digital noise, is

named for this sound. Had Xenakis bought a laptop in 1999, he may have produced something comparable to Grunt and its post-human #voicenoise aesthetic. Yet this is a wholly unique piece of work. As with Xenakis, Piotr takes recognisably analogue sounds – particularly the voice, but also drawing on acoustic instrumentation and found-sounds from nature – and reconstructs them into 21 intricate ‘electroacoustic’ miniatures. Yet

Piotr is less interested in dissolving these boundaries between electric and acoustic than he is in hybridising the organic and the digital. Grunt is subversively queer in its post-human composition”

 

Dr. Decaycast:  “A grunt. That most primal and animalistic of utterances” would you say that this  quote sums up the Ethos of the Grunt project perfectly?

Derek Piotr: Grunt has a separate meaning in Polish which is “earth” or “ground”. In general this project is trying to remind people of awareness of the physical body and reconnecting with nature in a really direct, almost clumsy way. I feel society has totally gone ethereal with apps and phones and I wanted to hit listeners lightly over the head with this project.

DD:   Can you talk a little bit about the strategies of creating the sounds on this new record?

Piotr: Granular synthesis and heavy edits. In my earlier work i did a lot of very klobig cut and pastes, just lines and lines of small repeated glitches, then got further and further away from that idea as I moved on in my work. I wanted to return to some of the earliest ideas I had about sound, but in a way that is closer to my own vision than it was before…it always takes many tries circling around something before you reach the center.

DD: Would you consider yourself a concept based artist? If so, How does this record differ in concept from your previous seven full length albums, if at all?

Piotr: I think every record does fit into a concept. Drono was about drone music, Forest People Pop was of course more of a Pop record. I think I need a fence to work in or I would just be utterly lost. It would be interesting to me to create an album with no borders, every track a different flavour or feeling, but I feel ultimately that may result in a very uneven album. Something close to this happened with my fourth record Tempatempat. I tried many different sonic environments and, to me, that effort is my weakest. Consistency is important. I think grunt may be my most thematically consistent record. Most of the tracks are within the same parameters of length, and very similar processing is applied to the sounds across the entirety.

DD: Xenakis was mentioned in reference to this album. Can  you talk a little bit  about the impact his work has had on your  process and  aesthetics, if any?

Piotr: Xenakis is amazing, the press release was not written by me, but I definitely suggested that visual “if Xenakis had a laptop” to the PhD who wrote the liner notes. I think a lot of Xenakis’ work is very rough and direct in a way I tried to be on this album. I was not thinking of Xenakis when writing, more after I had the record done I tried to tie touchstones to it. Some of the work on this record sounds like Xenakis chamber music. Some of it sounds like Stockhausen. Some of it sounds like Pita. Some of it sounds like Kit Clayton. But I only drew those threads together after.

DD: The last track on this record is a reworking of a Kevin Drumm track. Can you talk a little bit about that collaboration and how that came about?

Piotr: I’ve known Kevin for years and we’ve emailed back and forth. We’re on the same label with some of our stuff. As I did with Drono (where I collaborated with Thomas Brinkmann for the last track), I invited Kevin to edit some of the material I was working on for this noise album. I sent him a bunch of demos and he chose Redirect to work with.

DD: Any collaborations planned for the  future?  Did you learn anything from that particular collaboration with Drumm?

Piotr: Didn’t really learn anything from Kevin, we work pretty similarly…that said I do have more collaborations coming in the next few months…

DD: What is some of the best new music (noise or other that you have heard)

Piotr: AGF – Dissidentova

Dirty Projectors – Lamp-Lit Prose

anything from Don’t DJ

but i am bad to talk about “new” music, I mostly lately listen to Jean Ritchie and old Thai music on youtube.

DD: Do you think queerness plays a  big enough role in noise?

Piotr: No. It’s very much a boys club still. I wanna wag my finger a bit: many successful noise artists feed into boys club energy; use guitar and have kind of a postrock shoegaze situation going on. I think it pulls in people and feels like stretched out major power chord business, just made slightly weirder or dilute. Then you have harsh noise which is almost mosh-state sometimes. Definitely macho-ness going on, at least with some of the noise scene figureheads. I wish for more alertness sonically, use of differing tonal systems, general freakiness, softness and sensuality.

DD: What are the next plans for your project?

Piotr: Tour and remixes and videos…

 

You can Pre order  Piotr’s new  album, Grunt, here:

 

DECAYCAST: MATMOS INTERVIEW (Nerfbau Interviews Matmos, remastered)

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This interview was conducted as the first official interview by Decaycast aka NERFBAU jsun Adrian McCarty and Michael Daddona interview experimental music underground stalworts M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniels of Matmos, in their then SF Mission District Studio/apartment.

We did this a long time ago, but i think many of the questions and content holds up really well and also it’s nice to hear Jsun’s voice as a distant snarky beckoning to the past and future Matmos was a rather big influence and Jsun and my early work as Nerfbau and later as Styrofoam Sanchxz and Coral Remains and were without a doubt monumental in the formation of Ratskin so I thought it would be nice and fitting to re present this. We stayed up all night the night before, myself on speed and dope and Jsun chain smoking cigarettes to prepare for this, arguing over
questions, prepping cassette decks withpre recorded hidden questions on time travel and the sound of dreams, we ended up hiding several cassette recorders throughout Martin and Drew’s studio oinged with questions which interrupted the normal interview. In our early morning franticness and nervousness (we approached the interview more like a performance / collaboration than a traditional interview ) we even managed to spill coffee into a tape machine which housed some really important master audio tapes containing interviews with Drew’s mother before she had passed We told that story for years, how if it was our studio and some high kids came in to interview us and nearly ruined a priceless historical document we would’ve kicked them out and dragged to no end, but they didn’t do that, we were welcomed, as peers, collaborators and family. One of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done. Enjoy.
-MD for Nerfbau, 2018

follow matmos at :
http://vague-terrain.com/

ESOTERIC MAGNETS : Interview / Label Spotlight with Out Of Body Records

Recently, Malo of Decaycast sits down with Rob Buttrum, a key figure in the TX noise / experimental music scene to talk about his label , OUT OF BODY RECORDS, the future of experimental music and tapes .
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Malo : Hello there , we have a bunch of great tapes from this label , OUT OF BODY RECORDS , what can you tell about this endeavor ?

Rob Buttrum : OUT-OF-BODY RECORDS started out of the ashes of AFTER DEATH RECORDS, A label I co-ran with a friend. We disbanded because of scheduling issues and the fact we were both so busy, it was hard to find time to work together. So we both started our own independent labels. OUT-OF-BODY was mine. The label stared in summer of 2011 with the a tagline of OUT-OF-BODY RECORDS – “ESOTERIC SOUNDS & EXTRATERRESTRIAL SIGHTINGS” I decided, right off the bat that I wanted to run a label not only focusing on music but also video. Focusing on Cassettes and VHS (first VHS batch out this summer) and hopefully eventually vinyl. Also focusing on releasing material that was not only harsh noise but esoteric music in general / non genre specific. I run the label out of my house/ex-venue HOUSE OF TINNITUS here in Denton TX.

Malo : So considering the label isn’t totally genre specific , can you talk a little bit about the curatorial process for selecting releases for the OOBR catalog?

RB : Basically any artist I want to work with,or respect/dig, i reach out to, to see if they are interested or available for doing a release.
I like to work with artists or bands that i feel are doing something a little different. Even the artists that I already am really into their material, I will ask to step outside the box or their comfort zone and try to come up with something a little different than they would normally do for a release with me. In addition when contacting artists, if I know or find out that an artist or band also works in video, I ask them if they would like to release a VHS, as opposed to a Cassette. I do receive requests / demos / submissions from artists and bands hoping to put something out on the label, and i listen to everything anyone sends me, if it grabs my attention or blows me away I will totally release it, it has happened. I Also like to work with as many artists I can that are in my local scene.
I feel there is a huge amount of talent in the DFW / North TX area, that never gets surfaced, so I like to make sure they get heard if possible. There are some really killer acts going on here right now. My musical taste ranges in everything from noise / industrial / cut up/ abstract, to sludge metal / thrash / black metal, to cold wave / darkwave / electro, to 70’s/80’s pop/funk/soul. and i could go on. I love music period. Though I do release a lot of noise I don’t consider OUT-OF-BODY solely a noise label , I am however trying to focus on pushing the limits on modern music, and trying to stay in the esoteric / abstract zone, when picking releases. Though not to say any of the genres i listed could not fit in there somewhere, if it really grabs me, ill go with it!!

Malo : Most of my favorite labels often dont stick to one genre , yet one can often still draw links between the releases , one link between all of the OOBR is the layout, Can you talk a little bit about the layout/design process for your tapes, and what if an artist decided they didn’t like the format?

RB : Well, So far i have done 98% of all the art / design on all the releases, with the exception of a photo or two used in inserts, in which I credit the artist / photographer. But all the covers have been done by me. As far as the layout goes, I do try to keep a few things the same for every release, for instance I keep the same font for every spine, and the color font is lifted from a color from the cover. also i use the O-O-B R logo on the back hook of the j-card. The covers and inserts are made based on the mood or themes the music gives me. Or in some cases based on the themes the artist / bands want me to work with. Most of the art is done by hand where some is done digitally, its a mix of both. I tend to work better without computers but use them as a helping tool when needed. I also make about 4-5 different B&W xerox collages for each release that i use for the backs of the J-cards. Though so far i have done all the art myself, I am not against the artist / band designing the art if they want to, but so far most people are cool we me doing it. I will however be using the artist’s design for an upcoming release. I do try to make the artist happy with the art i come up with and always approve it with the artist / band as I’m working on it, and if they don’t like something or want something changed i alter the art to their liking. Iv drafted dozens of covers for single releases until we both find one we really like. When I start working with a new artist i discuss the art and tell them how I keep the spine and the back hook, consistent and uniform, on each release so when on a shelf they are all uniform and have a common theme. No one has really had a problem with that yet.

Malo : So, what are some other labels / artists / etc that have inspired you to start a locally focused label ? And in the digital age , why is it still important to release physical media?

RB : Anyone that has ever ran an independent label and/or released music has influenced me.
I appreciate anyone’s ability and urge to keep underground music, culture and scenes alive. Its something iv always been interested in and doing my part in… I remember being a young teen and ordering music through a catalog or zine, before the internet. Ordering things that you
have never heard based on a description. waiting and getting it in the mail. Then looking at it and listening to it, feeling as if you found something special. you were part of it. It was an amazing feeling. I still do this with music I buy today. I have always been a fan of physical
releases, the holding of the actual media and looking at the art and reading the linear notes,
the packaging, the feeling of ownership. I have never been a fan of digital music. I just cant get behind it.It seems too empty and disconnected from the actual art in my opinion, and I don’t feel like I’m the only one that feels this way, so this is a reason i feel its important still today to release physical music. As well as it being a physical documentation of media that you can actually collect and create a library with. The same reason the Library of Congress still stores everything on cassettes. Its a way of preserving a work of art. I feel music releases are forms of art the same way a painting or photo can be, especially considering the fact that actual artwork is created for the releases. This art is just as important in my opinion as the music in cases.Thus the physical cassette becomes a piece of art and can be collected.
A relic of art.Thus, collectors are preserving the art / music, and in most cases the releases are limited so they then become collectible. Then eventually become worth more money then they were worth when they were originally released, as is the case for any limited collectors item.
Its an awesome feeling when you find or stumble across something that is 5/10/20/ 30 years old and know you found one of the few copies made or
possible left in circulation ever, and that’s a cool feeling. where a digital file has no feeling of rarity, its limitless and anyone can own it of find it. Computers are fragile and non permanent. Owning a digital file does not feel the same as owning the actual artifact to me. I also enjoy actually looking at a physical collection, as opposed to owning millions of albums on a computer that you can not actually see. I do not own any MP3 players or have a computer with quality speakers. I don’t associate music with computers in the sense of it being a playback medium… however as a lover of music i do have an adequate setup to listen to tapes, records, VHS, CDs, 8-tracks etc. on my home stereo. I pretty much only buy and listen to music on tape and Vinyl these days. I know some people that do have their computer set up through a good system and that’s totally cool but i feel personally i need more. And i think there are many others like me. Yet I do not want to alienate anyone that wants to purchase a release and become part of a scene who are not into the physical necessarily, and would rather have the digital version, so i do have digital downloads available in addition to the physical version.
As far as releasing local artist. its about 50 / 50 at this point. All areas have their local scenes and within that are micro scenes and little pockets of scenes. Some of these scenes have some killer shit going on but most of the time only that small scene has access to it, or perhaps if a touring act comes through that scene and sees it first hand. I enjoy experiencing other peoples scenes and seeing what other peoples music communities are like. I enjoy knowing where the newest pocket of killer shit is going on at a given time and scene. So I also like people to be able to experience the north TX scene. I make a point to try and release as much local stuff as I can, as I feel the TX scene is very strong and i like being an outlet for lesser know artist that i feel are doing things just as amazing as some of the more well known artist. I like being in a position where i can help people be heard.

malo : do you feel that digital technology specifically social networking has made it easier or more difficult for experimental acts to tour and pull decent gigs ?

RB: This is a good question. I’ve actually been talking to friends about this lately. It’s really a double edged sword. I definitely think
that social networking has made it way easier for bands and acts to tour and set up shows. Before the internet you had to already be involved with the right people and know contacts personally and call people on the phone and send demos and press kits venues and booking agents in order to set up tours. That’s why there were more people doing that as a job because they worked in the business and already know people. Eventually if you’ve toured constantly you had contacts. But a first time tour, or a smaller act… that was hard for most. Now just about anyone can book a tour without hardly knowing anyone anywhere, you can just put the word out on social media and someone will get you in contact with someone somewhere that can help. It still makes it easier the more you tour and the more personal connections you make. Like at this point I’v toured quite a bit and seem to at least know someone in almost every city, and within different scenes. It also helps that i used to run a DIY venue so i had hundreds of people come through my place that will return favors when your in their neck of the woods. But for booking tours, especially places you have never played, social media come in very handy. Even if you don’t know someone in a certain city or town you prob know someone who does, and with the internet its as easy as just sending some messages around. You don’t even have to have ever met someone or even have known them previously and they might be able to set you up a gig. In addition, as in the past you had to send press kits and demos if you wanted a club or promoter to hear / see what your band is about but now it is all online as well.. all you have to do is hey so and so – my band wants to play your city, I hear you book shows, can you help? Here are some links to our music and some videos and reviews… and its all done in a matter of minutes. Now a days you can book a tour in a matter of weeks when in the past it
could take half a year to really set some good gigs up, if you were doing it yourself. HOWEVER social media / networking in my opinion is also hurting the scene. Again on one hand it makes promotion easy, but its too easy. I feel like the youth in general is loosing the need for live shows. I feel they are not as into seeing live music. Its like they get invited to a show online, say their going, hear and see all the hype, then end up staying home to be on their computer cause they constantly plugged in and they can still feel like they went. Like in a virtual world, they know who went, they can watch videos of the show after it happened and its like they still experienced it virtually without actually having to go to the show. and still feel like there part of the scene, and they experienced the show.. its really weird, but its def. something iv been noticing. Sure you’r die hard music lovers still go to shows, but i feel were part of a dying breed. Everyone is so connected to their computers and smart phones that life is passing them by and they don’t care, they feel content and connected to everything in a different way. For example someone books a show and and makes a facebook event for it, say 100 people say there “going”and there is a bunch of internet hype around the show, but when the show come time to happen there are like 20 people there. Someone later posts a video or posts online how awesome it was then you run into someone that was not at the show and when asked if they were there or saw the set, the response was na, i could not make it but i saw the video and saw people talking about it. It was awesome!! and that’s enough for them. they know if they miss a show. they can still experience it in another way. This is what i think is destroying modern music scenes in some ways. people are not connected with real life. They get all the entertainment / art / music they need from a little screen. They don’t need to experience things in real life anymore. its scary shit man.


Malo :Ok, lastly what does the future hold for experimental music in the US? has it peaked? is it just beginning?

RB: Its hard to say what the future holds, but i have high hopes that it will continue to be relevant. Really hard to say if it will become more popular or less. Its always been an underground scene, and will most likely stay fairly so, yet I do notice that experimental music / noise is absolutely creeping / entering into more mainstream ideas and arts. Noise is not as weird and shocking as it once was when it was a newer idea. Most people who are at least into some form of music or art, at least know about noise. Its not weird to hear dissonant / noisy sounds in current pop, rap or rock music. However there as still crops of young people getting turned on to and discover noise that did not know about before and are falling totally in love with it and therefore research the history of the genera. It takes a certain person to have a passion for experimental music, i don’t think it will become a fad or mainstream by any means but it will be less underground, but i still think it will be relevant. And perhaps more so than in the past. There have been many great artists that it will be very hard to surpass, yet i still have no doubt that there is still plenty of room for people to continue to push music to insane levels and continue to create music that is next level and crazier then
anything ever created. which in my mind is very exciting and am looking forward to the future of experimental music!!

malo : LASTLY, anything u want to get off your chest, future releases, death threats. etc?

RB: I’d like to thank anyone that has supported my label or music / art in the past / future. I have a huge passion for the things i do and i invest a lot of time and effort into my art, and it makes it all worth the it when its appreciate and understood. I’m super stoked to announce the new batch of VHS on OUT-OF-BODY RECORDS. This marks the first Batch of VHS on the label thus far, and its been something iv wanted to do since i started the label 4 years ago. The new batch consists of audio and video work from artists Regosphere and Somnaphon. They are now available for mail order through outofbodyrecords.blogspot.com .
I’m completely back lined with many many more cassette and VHS releases for the future. Many exciting things to come. Next in line on the roster are cassettes
from Arvo Zylo, Ghost Miner, Bottomed, CBN/Satanic Abortion and VHS from NITE SHADEZ , Future Blondes , and Styrofoam Sanchez, all hopefully will be out in 2015… and beyond that more releases from artists such as Plack Blague, Redrot, Prisons, Sobering, Violator x, S. English, Alberich, FILTH, Private Archives, Profligate, Compactor and many more… looks like I’ve got some work to do…..and fuck anyone that gets in my way.

Here’s a few reviews of two of the stellar tapes from the Out Of Body Catalog

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This tape brings together two of the hardest hitters working under the dark / industrial umbrella in the US today . EN NIHIL possesses the A side with a dark journey through a decrepit sonic landscape. The intro track is slow, minimal and haunting but halfway through dense, crunchy blown out beats creep in, and before you know it, the listener is submerged in a black lake of ringing and pounding. EN NIHIL creates distorted, slow churning rhythmic compositions, devoid of any light and hope . With each track the listener descends into a Lower level of thick , industrial soundscapes . Old shaky machines have gone awry and are slowly chopping and churning all of the metallic waste that humans have left behind into a fever pitched
Synth explosion of chaos .Adam Fritz EN NIHIL project proves to be one of the most articulate and consistent dark industrial / death – drone projects going currently.

On the B side, FILTH creates a slightly more chaotic, frantic , yet equally heavy and articulate version of the genre, sputtering out all analog based walls of industrial mayhem. FILTH is no stranger to decaycast review section , but this is one of his strongest efforts to date. Slow , tundra calving like rumblings cascade into high pitched screeching vocals, pushing through the dense, dark pillars of electronic sandstorms, all but shredding the speakers through magnetic madness. FILTH records with an all analog signal path, and it shows. FILTH is a master at blending the cacophonous array of his sound sources of electronic chaos Into a well defined, tension filled musical composition. This isn’t just noise, folks, not that there’s anything wrong with noise, but in the traditional sense, this just isn’t it . Theres a level of compositional
Awareness that just doesn’t exist on this level , often in these genres. And because of that, this tape, and the work of FILTH in general , is quite refreshing.

MATTHEW AKERS “A History of Arson”

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With this cassette, Matthew Akers takes the listener on a ride through the mind of an arsonist. “A History Of Arson” is a concept album delving into the mind of an arsonist on all the levels of experience that the arsonist goes through, the anticipation, the act , the aftermath, and it’s done with a barrage of digital and analog synthesizers. “A History of Arson” takes the listener on a dreamy, dark , arpeggio ridden ride through cinematic repetition of well crafted synth riffage and highly thought out compositions. Akers music is cinematic and composed, yet visceral and natural at the same time. Tension is created for scenes in a film that doesn’t exist, but yet somehow the sounds still
Substantiate the narrative. The riffs are visceral, yet ephemeral, dark and beautiful , all while creating an emotional intangibility that takes the listener outside of their own mind and into the mind of a criminal, an arsonist , a psychopath hell bent on the inherent beauty implicit in nature’s destruction. light the match and let the elements do the rest of the work ! This is top notch synthesizer music, for fans of early Tangerine Dream , Radio People . Alan Howarth and John Carpenter and the alike . beautiful, cinematic and intentional. A Great release

“ORIGINALS” : DECAYCAST INTERVIEWS OAKLAND’S WEIRD EAR RECORDS

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These days,  record labels seem to be popping up all over the place in the independent /underground music world, and we  think that’s a good thing. Each independent music outlet that can get music to the right people without  all the unnecessary industry bullshit chain of  command isolationism that is perpetuated by the “record industry” the better, and Oakland’s Weird Ear Records is doing just that. Releasing top quality recordings in multiple formats to anyone who has an odd ear to the underground experimental music pulse. We sat down with Weird Ear Records dual head honcho’s Raub Roy and Dianne Lynn of oakland….
Dr.. DECAYCAST:  : Hello…. I heard of this strange new record label called WEIRD EAR RECORDS  Why don’t you spill the beans …. Let’s start off with Who, what, when, where…..
RAUB ROY: We started WER in 2011, after relocating from San Francisco to Oakland, Ca, and finding that the inexpensive cost of living here afforded us the opportunity to do something a little bigger than we could have managed in SF. I think the name ‘Weird Ear’ popped into my head one day and it seemed like a name one would either give a Recording label or a scroungey-but-loveable chinchilla…. Having no desire to harbour rodents, we went with putting out pieces of music that fit our aesthetic for the label.
DD : What do you all have against rodents? Why are cats so popular these days , especially in “noise”
DIANNE LYNN: We think rodents are cool too! Personally, our cats chose us and we couldn’t turn them away. In fact before the cats were around we had more rodents in the building. We don’t see much of them these days. Maybe the “noise” was too much for them?
DD:  That’s cool . I happen to like rodents as well, so much so that I named my label after a popular one from the 1980s….

At what point did y’all decide to start a record label, and why? Do you think it’s important that artists start their own labels, and in the digital age what is the “point” of releasing physical objects when one can just purchase a download ?

DL : We’ll say first that if you don’t get the “point” of releasing physical objects, then we’re sorry, you just don’t get it! We love the physical package. Some of the DIY stuff will blow your mind! Not to knock a download, but some works you gotta just “have.” To another point, playing files off a computer can be annoying as hell.

The label was manifested around February 2012. We sort of went crazy setting goals for ourselves and decided to put our words in motion. I think the tipping point was when Raub came home with the name Weird Ear. Honestly, we just wanted to have a label so that we could put music that we liked into a physical format that we personally appreciated; at the time this was vinyl, but we have come to appreciate the convenience of cassettes. As far as artists starting their own labels, we say go for it. The more the merrier.

DD: That’s an interesting take! Do you think there’s a point of over saturation in the experimental music community ? Is there such thing as too many projects, too many releases , too many “side projects” ? Is there an importance to trying to define the changing trends in experimental music? Or just let it run around like a chicken with its head cut off ?

RR: Well, one trend that I think keeps over-saturation from happening is that of keeping such things limited to smaller production runs. While the audience for experimental/modern/avant-garde/out/noise/weird/gnarly music is bigger than it’s ever been, it still is a tiny splash in the pool that is the whole of recorded sound, and we believe that putting the 300 copies of “Stand Up Comedy

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Alessandro Bossetti’s “Stand Up Comedy” LP
(for example) into the right 300 peoples hands is more important than spreading it all over the place and hoping random people pick it up. The advent of streaming entire albums also backs this strategy up – we really would like people to listen and make sure it’s for them before purchasing a copy. Defining trends is a slippery slope, in part due to the relative insignificance of our scene in relation to recorded sound on a whole (again), but then there’s the the flourishing microcosm aspect that no one person could keep up with all the facets of, so the way we define those trends that we aspire to steer clear of is very subjective, though a guideline that has worked well for us is trying to find works that wouldn’t have an easy time finding a home elsewhere. We also are attempting to avoid trend within our catalog for as long as we can, which is a bit easier to quantify.
I believe that a large amount of the proliferation of side-projects/one-off projects and such that you refer to is generally relegated to the noise end of the spectrum, and as such, we probably will leave Noise to other able and willing labels.
 
So you wouldn’t ever define your label as sticking to any one genre, rather anything with a weird bend that catches your ears? So far y’all have a really diverse roster, showcasing vastly different aesthetic sets, everything from the proto- industrial styles of WAXY TOMB on her “infra shape” cassette to fever dream psychedelia borderline abstract pop sounds of A MAGIC WHISTLE LP that y’all recently released, yet somehow it all works, to a rather refreshing degree curation wise, care to talk about that?
RR: we hope to avoid trend and purity in our releases not only on a world scale, but within the confines of our releases as well. So, for example, in the larger scene, modular synth stuff was nominally bigger last year than years previous, so, even if we really like a buddy’s Buchla Synthi album, it would need to be queered by some other element to feel like it fit in the catalog. On the level of our releases, I’d like to try to keep from trend there too, excepting the trend of having releases that wouldn’t appeal to purists of any particular genre – so like, Glochids “Originals” album is largely field recorded, but he is in these field recorded passages playing objects/instruments, so it’s field recordings, but impure, or queered, if you will… what was I getting at? Oh, right, so, now that there’s been an album of field recordings, I probably won’t do another one too closely related to field recordings for a while, until a good number of other styles of experimental/modern music have been touched on, see?
NEXT QUESTION PLEASE
 
DD: Tell me about the future vision for weird ear , upcoming releases / tours / WTF stuff ? Blow our mind

Ok so we have a couple upcoming releases that should be out before summers end; WER-006 is Angela Sawyer, of Preggy peggy and the Lazy babymakers, duck that!, and exhusema.. The album was commissioned in 2011, and she’s been working away at it for us since then, but she also runs Weirdo Records in Boston and has little free time, so it’s taken a while, but the results are completely worth it – sweet and sour songs sqeakily sung with a wealth of oddvant-garde instrumentation and arrangements, the songs themselves being largely covers from her huge collection and other local bostonians… I believe that there are a good few samples in there also gathered from her stacks, which begs the question of why more record store owners don’t make sample based musics, since they’re diggin in the dustevery day already!

We also are quite pleased to be presenting a split between,  Trumpet Trumpet Synthesizer and Horaflora (thats me). TTS is a duo (Brad Henkel and Weston Minissali) on amplified trumpet and Synth/vocoder playing some really out tones in a sexy as fuck way, which i’m told is fairly uncommon in experimental music! My side is loosely based on Mauricio Kagel’s Acoustica, or maybe just indebted to it, but will mark the end of my work with acoustic phenomenon for the foreseeable future, and I felt the connection should be credited later than never, so there’s that!

Beyond specific releases, all our future cassettes will be in handcrafted cardstock jackets rather than plastic cases, as we were impressed with Geweih Ritual Documents Envo-Box: http://www.gritual.com/Info-About
As they point out, the plastic cassette case isn’t intrinsically related to the album, and once cracked, is quickly rendered useless garbage, basically analogous to the plastic bag an LP may come in, nice to keep your jacket clean, but all too replaceable, adding to the plastic problem we would ideally like to avoid being a part of.

Thanks for asking all those questions! See ya soon!

Raub and Dianne,
Weird Ear Records