First I just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. With this interview let's just start with a bit about yourself. Where are you from, how old are you, and how long have you been making music for?
I was born and raised in a small town called Mierlo, in the Netherlands and I moved to the US in 1996. I currently live in Washington state and have been here since 2000. I'm 34 and have been active with making music since I was 18.
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself? What led you to electronic music, particularly the heavier kinds of it?
I'm into a lot of different styles of music, so it's hard to pinpoint if there was just one particular style or sound that influenced me, since so many things function as an inspiration. I'm equally into electronic music as well as things like metal, hip hop, funk, classical, experimental etc, so I take influences from all those things to construct my own music. What led me to electronic music was the vast possibilities of it, it's limitless, especially with today's technology. You can sculpt your own sounds and program things in a way that sound almost alien, there are no borders. I am drawn more to aggressive music in general, so that also helped with influencing the style of music I do. But if I had to pick some artists that are a big inspiration I would say Skinny Puppy, Venetian Snares, Mike Patton, Devin Townsend, Coil, Dillinger Escape Plan, Aphex Twin, Wu-Tang Clan, Godflesh, Bong-Ra,1990's Digital Hardcore, and much more. Everything I hear is an influence one way or another.
What genres of music would you consider yourself to be the most active in, or influenced by? What are your thoughts on genres in general? Do you find them creatively helpful as a template to work with? Or do you find them restricting? Or possibly somewhere in between? Now that the internet has caused so much crossover in music, would you even say genre labels are relevant any more?
If I had to tag myself into any kind of genres, I'd say I probably fit in somewhere between Breakcore, Industrial and Drum&Bass, but I usually tell people I make "heavy electronic music" or "Cyberpunk". They are non-descriptive, yet they paint a certain image. There are so many genres and sub-genres that it's hard to keep track of what is considered what style, when essentially they all sound very similar to each other, especially in the electronic scene. I can't tell a Neurofunk track from a Drumstep track, to me it's just Drum&Bass. Basic genres help with labeling if you're looking for a particular sound or a way to describe yourself to people, but like I said I think we've gone a bit overboard with it. I think it's more of a "flavor of the week" approach and an attempt to make yourself stand out from the rest. I tried to stay more on top of it in the past, but mostly I just can't be bothered with that shit anymore.
Is electronic music where you started making music? Or did you have previous musical background or experience before hand? If so does/did your previous musical experience affect your electronic compositions?
Electronic music has definitely always been at the core of anything I have ever been involved in, one way or another. When I first started, I played in some Industrial Metal bands where I switched between guitar, drums and keyboards, whatever a song called for at that moment. When I quit that I delved solely into only using electronics to make music and collaborated with some friends who did the same, and that stuck. I had a project called BlackPillBook that involved one of my good friends on vocals while I did all the music, so that was a way to mix my solo efforts with a band-style performance. Recently I've picked the guitar up again so that has changed my style of making music a bit, it's another layer of sound and a more direct way of playing, instead of programming.
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
It has rendered me fucking broke most of the time haha. This is not a cheap endeavor, but when you love something you just go for it. I'm not sure if it has evolved me as a person in any way, I've always just loved music and wanted to give my own contribution to the art of it. It does function as an outlet for emotions, that's for sure and I have a constant need to create the noise I hear in my head. The main challenge is myself, I'm very critical of what I do and if I can't stand behind it I get rid of it, which has caused long spans where I didn't do shit, because nothing was sounding right. Lately though, it's been better and I've been writing a lot, so let's hope I can keep this momentum going. Other challenges mostly include getting the music out there to people, with how saturated the market has become and the fact that I make a style of music that's not very popular, it makes it harder to get any kind of label support or play shows.
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What would you say are your favorite themes and topics to write about? What draws you to those themes?
I generally don't make music with any kind of theme or topic in mind, I just start with something and see where it goes from there. If there is any kind of theme or topic, the music will dictate that.
Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music? If so, is there a reason in particular that draws you to said creative outlet?
My main DAWs include Ableton, Maschine and Reason. I will usually run them all at the same time, but at times I will only use one. They all have their own unique flow and depending on which one I decide to use, the music will come out different. Other than that, I'm a big fan of all the Native Instruments plugins, especially Massive, FM8, Reaktor etc. I like the U-he stuff, Bazille is fucking great to work with, Izotope VST's, I could go on and on. Aside from that I also enjoy playing guitar, using the Arturia Microbrute, the Korg MS2000.
Other than what you currently produce, what other sorts of genres, instruments, and sounds would you like to use in the future? Are there any people you would like to collaborate with in the future artistically, musically, or socially?
Oh man, a lot! If I had all the money and resources in the world I would have 20 projects. I would love to work with a real drummer at some point, some good guitarists, vocalists, taiko drums, an orchestra. I would love to be involved with a metal project, soundtrack work for movies and video games, some trip hop. I have some friends I would like to collaborate with at some point, it's just hard finding the time. We'll see what happens.
Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity? If you could collaborate with any musician or artist, dead or alive, who would it be? And what in particular draws you to want to collaborate with them?
I have a project called NOOTROPIC where I focus more on slower tempos, kind of a hybrid between techno, industrial, dub and ambient. I have collaborated with Criambique who did some work on my upcoming album and have done some remix work for other people. If I could only pick one musician, I would have to say Mike Patton, that guy is something else. He's super versatile and has an amazing voice, he can pretty much work with anything, from electronic to opera, to metal and more.
Are live shows an important part of your career? Or are you predominantly a studio musician? If you could play a live show anywhere in the world/do a tour anywhere, where would it be? Is doing live music something that you envision for yourself in the future? If so what are some of the images, themes, or ideas you might have for said future live set?
I enjoy playing shows and love touring, but I feel most at home in the studio. I can take my time crafting my tracks and sounds, where with live performances it's more immediate and you get instant feedback from the crowd. I have toured Japan twice now and I would love to go back and do more, those tours were amazing experiences. I would love to tour through Europe at some point, maybe play Australia. I want to get out and do more shows, but it's quite the undertaking. Local shows are good practice for the real thing. I would love to have a better stage show, because in the end I'm just some fuckhead bouncing up and down behind a laptop and some controllers. It would be great to have more visuals to go along with my performance, giant screens with sick visuals, maybe even some theatrics, live orgies, sharks haha.
When it comes to non-musical media, what do you find yourself most inspired by, and what about it draws you to it as a source of inspiration? Do you participate in the gaming world? Avid reader perhaps? Maybe cinema fan? Combination of some lol?
Well I always have a movie playing on the side (on mute) while I'm working on tracks and find that the imagery or flow of the movie can inspire the outcome of a song. For a while I had things like Tetsuo: The Iron Man or BLAME! playing on repeat and found them nice to write to. And I play some video games every now and again, whenever I have writers block I will pop in Syndicate and play for a bit to refresh my brain. Reading is good as well, I mostly read non-fiction, biographies and such. So I guess a combo of all of the above helps one way or another, wether I'm conscious of that at the time or not.
Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path?
As for inspiration to keep going, it's just my constant need and desire to work on tunes. Even if I saw zero career opportunities in it I would still do it, I just love it and music is a huge part of my life. Crowning achievements would be the tours in Japan and the response I got from the people there, fucking amazing shows out there. Any kind of good feedback helps and I do appreciate it when people approach me after shows to tell me what they liked or didn't like. I guess one of the weirdest moments was playing with Drowning Pool, no clue how that even happened. Me and my laptop in front of a 1000+ very confused metal heads, maybe not a crowning achievement but a funny one that will stick with me.
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
More tracks, more releases, more variety, more collaborations. I have a plan in place for how I'm gonna go about my music this year and hopefully it will all work out. I will work harder on getting more out on a consistent basis, label support or not.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thanks for the interview, I do appreciate the interest and thanks to everyone who has ever checked out my work and let me bruise their ear balls with my tunes. Please check out my soundcloud at https://soundcloud.com/solid-state1
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