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 yourself to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, what instruments you can play, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Grew up in Michigan for the past 39 years. I am an artist. Started out with pen and ink, influenced by yoshitaka amano and H.R Giger. Eventually moved into digital media and photography. Music is just a side outlet for creativity which was inspired by my older brother, who at the time had a korg XD along with this old black and white Mac with master tracks pro loaded for a Daw. That’s where the music started. Playing around with sequencing sounds and programing drums. I wanted to create CD album artwork, but I didn’t have anything to use it on, so I started making my own.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics to write about? What draws you to those themes?
I have a huge love for horror movies. My themes tend to be darker with my artwork, a sort of sad broken beauty with my photography, so my music is influenced by those concepts and ideas. It’s the vulnerabilities in those subjects that draw me to create dark textures layered with distortion. Sometimes we hurt inside, and I feel like that one-emotion coveys so many different ideas of how we want to express it.
Your music is often hard to define. You seem to take inspiration from many forms of electronic music. How would you describe your overall sonic direction to someone who had never listened to you before? And what inspired you to have such a musically diverse sound?
I was turned toward industrial music from an old friend. It was so different from what I was listening to at the time. The grittiness and depth of it was amazing. I fell in love with what wumpscut was doing at the time, and I wanted to start creating that style. I’m not sure how to describe it, as it has changed slightly over the years. I have always been a fan of trip hop, or down tempo beats. I have strived over the years to create interesting beats and layered drum tracks for my work, as I was disappointed in what the industrial scene at the time was doing. Everything felt weak. I missed what haujobb was doing at the time with their complex programming. So I started filling in the gaps for myself, trying to create that sound that I missed.
Often technical, layered, and extremely musical while simultaneously balancing noise and rhythm, your music comes across as very proficient. Do you have musical training of some kind? Or are you entirely self taught?
I have no training. I can’t play any instruments, besides a few chords on a guitar. So everything I do is programmed in with a mouse and keyboard. I don’t even have a controller. I picked up a few things over the years by other musicians within the Project 5 comunity before cakewalk discontinued my favorite program. I treat it like my artwork, slowly building up layers over a period of several days, just messing with different sounds until it all just sort of comes together. So more often than not, the tracks are more like lucky mistakes, where something just seemed to work out when I placed it on the time line within the program and added effects to it to shape the sound. It’s just another creative outlet for me.
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?
All software, since I don’t actually play an instrument. Its just easier to load a VST, and start tweaking. I think Analog actually sounds better. It seems to have a distinct sound to it. Sometimes I feel like some of the virtual instruments have a cheap sound to them. They just don’t feel as full as an analog instrument. But I would still use VST’s over hardware, just because of the simplicity of having everything right inside your computer.
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?
Cakewalks Rapture with sound banks from FI sound and Bio labs. Battery 4 is my main drum sampler/synth but grew up on Linplug’s RMV. iZotope 7 Advance for all of my mastering plugins, and absolutely love iZotopes trash and Ohm Force Ohmicide! Must have distortion plugin effects. I run everything on Bitwig studio. I came from Cakewalks project 5, but when it was no longer supported, I spent a long time looking for something similar, and when Bitwig was released, I fell in love with its workflow and ease of use. Its just a great program, and fits well with my workflow.
When it comes to sound design, do you have a particular approach or method, or are you more of a experimental wing it sort of guy? And when it comes to influence and inspiration, and creativity, there is often a fine line. It's been said that all the sounds have been created, and all the notes played. Do you find it important and/or difficult to come up with "original" sounds? Or do you focus more on what sounds good over trying to find a so-called "original" sound?
I mainly just keep playing with the sound until it turns into something that sounds good to me. I don’t spend too much time thinking about what has been done already. We are all influenced by something we heard. I just ta