The Rose Phantom: Infidel Interview #36
First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about both of you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, what instruments you can play, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Name: The Rose Phantom aka Ted Newsom. Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Your stage is dominated by eclectic dark imagery and costumes, with an overall atmosphere drabbed in a neo-psychedelic post-modernism. You truly have established a unique sound and image for yourself. What sort of inspirations help mold what you see today? And what do you feel you personally have to bring to the darkwave / goth scene?
I'm always searching for new moods and inspirations. I draw inspiration from all kinds of sources, from other musicians, films, paintings, and nature (Utah deserts). It's funny that most of my music is considered "darkwave" or "Goth Rock", but really I'm not trying to fit into any type of genre. My musical heart just so happens to resides in darker moods.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics to write about? What draws you to those themes?
I guess my topic of choice would have to be sorrow. I love to write about deeply personal issues. I just so happen to have an abundance of emotional pain to write about. It's very therapeutic for me to express my darker feelings in my songs. Most of my songs really just write themselves.
When you write your music, do you have any particular processes or routines that help you start or flesh out tracks? Do you have a formula(s) that you follow, or do you feel it out as you go along? Or is it more of a mixture of the two?
I would say it's a mixture of the two. I love to experiment and try new things in the studio. My last few EP's have been extremely experimental.
You have taken your personalized image to the next level and made your project at truly multi-media experience. You have created several promotional videos that go beyond the typical musical experience, and show elaborate works of surrealist drama. Do you create your own pieces with an in house team, or do you work with outside collaborators? How would you reflect upon the filming of these projects at this point?
I usually work with Purgatory Pete on all my videos and photos. I direct and edit all of my own content. It's in house, and it's all self financed.
Would you say the character you have created for your stage persona is a reflection or exaggeration of self? Or is it a manifestion separate from you the non-musical individual? Do you find separation between your musical life and "real" life? Or is the musical character fully fused into your every day life at this point?
Yes, The Rose Phantom is very much my other half. I like to think of him as the spokesperson for the art that Ted creates. Do I sound schizo? Ha, ha
What would you say would be you short term, and long term, goals for your band? What do you see in the future for your creative output?
It would be nice to put together a backing band for my live shows, but that seems like a pipe dream at this point. I have many aspirations for the perfect live performance, but to be honest, most of my goals are reserved for studio projects.
You've been involved in a variety of different projects, and collaborators with a few different people. How would you say the different artistic outlets and relationships you built evolved you spiritually/mentally/emotionally as well as musically?
The evolution has been very interesting. Being in a band (Melodramus) for 5 years was quite the learning experience. Every project has been a learning experience.
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?
I am open to using new gear every time I go into the studio. I wouldn't say there's anything vital. I like to leave the experimentation open. Currently, I've been thinking about limiting my gear for the next project. I think limits are good. Too many options don't seem to serve me well. It's taken me this long to realize that the key is simplicity. All the greatest records are actually pretty simple, of course, they can be very complex, but the core is simple.
When it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?
It's definitely more of a musical and visual presentation. My live show is heavily based on the video projections.
Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?
It doesn't take a lot of effort for me to get focused on a new idea. It's as if the idea takes my life over... it really becomes the center of my life. I follow a certain lifestyle that lends itself to the creation process. I'm an open vessel to these visions.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Exposure. It has been a battle acquiring an audience. There's so much noise these days, and most of it is the noise of mediocrity. Most of the true artists these days are buried underneath the noise. If you're a true artist and you're not buried under the mediocrity noise, you're very lucky.
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 other people you would like to collaborate with in the future artistically, musically, or socially?
I seem to be moving in a more organic, rock based, direction. I see myself creating a Floyd type album... or a 'Gone To Earth' type record. I know that's a tall order, but I feel I'm the man for the job. I would love to collaborate with Alan Wilder (Recoil), David Sylvian, Steve Jansen, Jean Michel Jarre, Brendan Perry, David Gilmour, David Lynch, and maybe in another life, David Bowie.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interviews. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Thank you for watching and listening.
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