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. What's your name, where are you from, and how old are you?
Hey! I go by my initials, CJ, or Dead Angel. I'm currently 17 years old and I'm from Florissant, Missouri.
How do you enjoy where you live? Is their a vibrant music community for you to indulge? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
I find where I live pretty decent. I haven't really looked into music in the area but I do know a few producers who live around here. A lot of the stuff that happens around me influenced the mood in my music rather it coming from good or bad events.
I've noticed in your imagery and themes there seems to be a persistent theme of mortality, betrayal, religion, and emotional introspection all shrouded in very dark cloak per say. Is there something, or a particular reason, that you might be drawn to the sound and imagery that you currently manifest?
I've been through a lot during my life, fake friends, depression, anxiety and other personal problems. A lot of it has influenced the way that construct my image on the internet. I grew up in a very religious family and that brings some of the "holy" aura into my image. I've always had kind of a dark or twisted mind and this really impacts how I picture myself in general.
You recently released the album WICKED, featuring a whole slew of collaborations, some of your best and heaviest performances. What are your feelings on the album now that it's been released? Has the album been performed in the live capacity yet? And now that you've released the album what are the next stages for you as a musician?
I honestly made the album to show everyone my full potential. I wanted to express multiple emotions throughout it and show everyone how much I've been evolving as a producer. I feel great to have finally released this project, I will never forget creating this piece. I don't think the album has been performed live yet, I've never really been into the live sets. Now that the album is out, I'm planning on just improving my sound even more and just release singles for a few months. I can say for everyone to expect another EP this summer as a sequel to my EP entitled "Solicitude", but this one will be 10x better.
Have you been making music for a long period of time? Did you have any previous musical background before working with Dead Angel?
I honestly have not been making music for long at all. I've been producing for about a year and a half now. My name wasn't always "Dead Angel" on SoundCloud though. I started as the name "Masher" which stemmed off of my Playstation name. Then about a month later I changed it to "Grave" to give myself a darker image, but I found the name to be too overrated so I changed it to Aerith. Aerith is probably my favorite character from a video game called "Final Fantasy" and that's why I used that but I got bored of that so I ended up changing it to Dead Angel a bit over a year ago to express my dark yet holy aesthetic. I'm not planning on changing it anymore, for now at least.
Are there any bands that you would say are your "core" or "prime" inspirations when making music? Are there any new bands, or styles of music, that you are currently exploring that may possibly be evolving your sound?
I've never really gotten into listening to bands much. As a kid, I grew up listening to people like Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, etc. They didn't really influence my music much but it always gave me that drive to try making music.
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?
I think genres are great. I'll listen to almost anything nowadays. I feel like it definitely helped me out a lot. I've always loved trap and witch house and stuff like that. It's really influenced me a lot. I feel like genre is just a great way to group together artist who enjoy creating a similar type of music to get to know each other and work with each other. It's great.
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?
Honestly, music has changed my life so much. It's made me such a different person in a good way. I feel like I can finally express my creativity in an enjoyable way now and it's a great learning experience to learn from other creators. Honestly the biggest challenges I've encountered with music is probably producer's block and pointless beef with other producers.
When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Do you participate in the analog versus digital debate, vouching for the purity of analog sound? Or do you find it negligent with the advances of technology nowadays?
I've always just been using software. Just on my computer with a mouse and keyboard. I honestly wish I had some hardware like a pad and a keyboard or something, I feel like it would help so much. I've talked to people about this and everyone pretty much agrees that you don't need hardware to make good music but it doesn't hurt at all to have it. I just never summed up the money to get anything like that.
Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?
I've been using fl studio 11 from the start. I know there's a lot of other programs that are really good as well but I learned from fl studio. I like to switch my music up a lot so I can't say that there's any effects or instruments that are vital to my music production.
Other then the genres that you are most typically known for working with, and being inspired by, are there possibly guilty pleasure bands or genres drastically different your usual repertoire that find themselves working their way into your inspiration?
A dark witchy vibe always seems to no matter what type of music I try to make. Sometimes people say that my music can have a mix of witch house in it which I don't mind at all, but yeah I can't think of much more that influences my music.
Is collaboration something that is actively important to you? Do you have any individuals you are particularly successful, or unsuccessful, in collaboration with? Has there been any collaborative based songs that you would say stand out to you?
Honestly collaboration isn't everything to me but it's definitely something. I love working on music by myself but it's also such a fun learning experience collaborating with people. My favorite collaborations are with Pearl White. We have two collaborations together and I listen to them both on almost a daily basis. I don't know man, our styles just work so well together and it's always a great time working with him. Definitely expect more collaborations with Pearl White.
Do you find collaboration changes the way you approach music, or evolves you as a musician? Or is it more just a platform to gain exposure?
Collaborations definitely help me grow as a producer. Each time I collaborate with someone, I learn something new from them and it helps me get better and better each time.
Are live shows an important part of your career? Or are you predominantly a studio musician?
I've never done a live show. I'm quite the shy character and I've really insecure about showing myself to a lot of people.
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?
I find myself most inspired by a few things. My family, my friends, and oddly enough, video games. Everything that I listed has impacted me and helped me evolved as a person in several different ways that I can't even explain.
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?
Honestly, when I dropped my first collab with Pearl White, I just finally felt like I was getting somewhere in the music community. To have gotten some exposure and collab with one of my inspirations from the start was a thrill.
What do you see in the future for your creative output?
I don't know what the future holds for my music but as of now I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing and hoping for the best.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
I just wanna thank you so much for being the first person to interview me, this is honestly a big achievement for me and was really fun to do. To the fans, expect more new music very soon. I have so much planned for 2016.