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 take that influence and turn it into something I like, and the rest just unfolds. I never have any Idea of what it will turn out like, I just make it, and whatever the end result is, I just continually tweak it until it feels right.
You were very prolific in your early career, but you seemed to have up until recently been on a bit of a hiatus. What encouraged you to take some time off from musical releases? And when you were on a hiatus were you still producing music in your spare time?
I still feel like I am on a hiatus. My main reason was my two daughters being born, so that takes up a lot of time. Now that they are a little older, I can find a few hours here and there to mess with music. I was also burned out, and shifted my creative side over to my photography for a long time. Having so many hobbies, its hard to delegate my time because I want to do them all. When I purchased Bitwig, I started to produce a series of tracks getting used to the program, and some of my new software. That was uninspiring for a while, because I wasn’t used to what I could do, and I was out of it for so long. But lately, stuff just feels like it’s coming together, and I am enjoying it again.
You have a new batch of songs that have been released. Do you anticipate a full album coming out in the future? What would you consider to be your short term and long term musical goals, or shall we say aspirations?
Yes, new album in the works. It will be titled Eros. Im shooting for 10 tracks or more, and it will be the last :10: album I plan on releasing. I am retiring :10: and possibly starting something new. One of the Tracks, titled Eros I have already shot and edited and Erotic dark music video. I had a lot of close friends help me out on it, and I will most likely showcase it at an art show. I have a lot of work to do on the artwork, as I need to shoot all of the stock images and digitally create the artwork. My goal was to create a book of art, along with a DVD with possibly a few videos on it, but we will see. It’s still early. I’m not sure I even want to release the video due to the content at this point, though I am quite proud of the way it turned out. Very glitchy, dark and bloody. Its like a mini horror movie.
How would you say your sound has evolved over the years?
Hard to say. I think its more refined, maybe not as raw as it used to be. Everyone I have ever talked to seem to like the “Inert” album the best. That album was a free download, and showcased some earlier work that I still love. I do like my newer stuff though. “Photic” and “Industrial is Dead” have some of my favorite tracks I created on them.
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?
I love creating dark distorted beats. It is another way of being creative. It just feels good to accomplish a track, and to see that people generally enjoy listening to the work you put into it. I don’t think it has changed my life, but it definitely gave me a creative way to experiment with a different style of art. I would say the biggest challenge was not having any real music theory or the fact that I couldn’t tell you what key the lead synth or piano might be playing in. I think over time I sort of mentally just picked it up and learned what works and how the pieces fit together.
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?
I used to collaborate with lots of people back in the Project 5 days, but lately I just don’t have time for it. A few remix opportunities here and there, but I mainly just stick to working with vocalists on finished tracks only. I really enjoy working with Chiasm’s stuff. She has helped shape a few songs with her vocals that I really feel fortunate for and love. Always thought here vocal style fit well with my work.
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 mainly just stick to movies or darker series on Netflix and HBO now. I tend to stay away from actual TV. I spend a lot of time on art and photography sites for inspiration. I am an artist at heart, so that will always be my main passion. Photography seems to be my main creative outlet over the last few years, but I am hoping to get back into digital artwork as well. Possibly my own video game and a short horror movie which I am actually in pre production on.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Just a quick thank you for taking the time to reach out and talk. The last album will most likely be on Bandcamp only as a pay what you want download. Its pretty hard to find my old albums on itunes or amazon due to the messed up category and band name they seemed to give it. Apparently “:10:” doesn’t work well within web coding and search engines. So they all just sort of made up their own names.
You can download :10: music's releases on his official Bandcamp:
You can get physical copies of his releases from CDBaby:
His official website for his portfolio and works can be found here:
And you can follow his Tumblr here: