First off, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Thank you so much for having me, It’s great to be a part of it! I’m from Australia, and I release music under the name Isserley. How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?
I barely leave the house so I don’t think I’m influenced much by the outside world. I’m way more influenced by the media I consume, movies, games, that kind of thing. What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
For the near, I have a new album called Sadposting coming out this year, likely next month. I’ve always been a total defeatist about the future though, so I don’t really plan ahead much. I’ll probably just start another album, but I have some plans for smaller projects I’d like to undertake. I’m making a really dark noise diary at the moment, and I’ve begun scoring a survival horror game that will be out soon on Steam. Do you consider yourself to be part of a particular sound or scene? What is your thoughts on the nature of genres and styles, and do you have any particular ones which you find to your enjoyment more, listening and/or production-wise?
I’m very easily distracted by new genres and styles, so I constantly try to change up what I do. Actually, I’m probably not easily distracted at all, just very easily bored. I tend to experiment less with new genres and more with specific tropes from popular genres. Lately it’s been 808 bass, which is hugely prominent in Soundcloud rap and ironically, quite a lot of current pop music too. As a whole though I’ve taken to just describing my music as “Dark Electronic” since that could mean anything from Dubstep to Pop, and generally my music takes enough from so many different electronic music genres that I can afford to be a little vague.
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?
If I wasn’t producing music I’d probably just spend every day watching movies and gaming, and while that isn’t so bad, I don’t think I could live that kind of life without the inevitable “What is my purpose?” breakdown. Over time I’ve accepted that music, or really any art in general, is an acceptable purpose. No matter how small your audience, even if it’s just your dog who sits next to you while you produce, you’re doing something so important. Even if nobody heard my music, I’d keep making it because it’s a catharsis that is so hard to replicate in any other situation. There’s been times where fans have told me they’ve had the same catharsis through listening to my music, and that is such an elating, purposeful thing to experience. If I can do that for even one person, I know that what I’m doing isn’t at all a waste of my life, and thus that in itself has changed my life because I don’t feel as though I’m aimlessly wandering through the world anymore, as much as I am contributing to it in a deeply emotional way.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes?
For me it’s 100% emotional. Some people are able to make a living producing because they can just think of a good song idea and make it happen, but for me it’s an entirely unpredictable thing. I can go months without making anything, and then make a whole album in a few weeks. I find that the happier I am, the more I struggle with producing because I enjoy myself more, but when I am suffering, I suffer through my music and let it speak for me. That’s probably what making music is all about for me.
When it comes to your musical self and your real world self, would you say that their is a separation? Do you find yourself getting into a character or mindset when you create, or do you find your music is a representation of your day to day self?
There’s definitely no separation, if anything I put more of a persona on in what you referred to as my real world self. My music is a very private and personal thing while I am creating it, there is no barriers or eyes watching me, nobody I have to impress or be the best version of myself for. I’m happy to release it publicly however, because I do really crave a deeper connection with people that I just don’t seem to be able to make naturally. I’ve forged very strong friendships through my music, and strengthened previous ones by sharing specific songs. Any art I make is always an extension of myself, or a reflection of a part of me that I struggle to show outside of art, but want to be recognised or appreciated for.
So much has been said, and it sometimes feel that every word combination has every been taken. As a lyricist myself I know the pain of how hard it can be to articulate something in a way that is both engaging to the audience and uniquely artist. How do you find inspiration for your lyrical poetry?
Almost all of my lyrics come from phrases. I’ll be going through my day and a particular word or phrase will inspire another, and it goes on until I’ve got a poem in front of me, which I then turn into a song’s lyrics. Other times I just ad-lib, if I have the music already made and have no idea what words I want to put to it, I just turn my microphone on and sing whatever comes out. Generally when I do that, I find myself singing about specific things that I hadn’t even realised were on my mind or bothering me, but they come out naturally when I’m given the platform to freely express myself without judgement or deliberation. What would you say are your biggest influences when it comes to art and music? Are there any bands that you would say struck you with the chord that inspired you to peruse your current path of musical aspirations?
I mentioned earlier that I’m mostly influenced by the media around me, but there are some producers who shaped me more than most. Mismerizer and Emika are the first two to come to mind. Emika especially was the first female producer that made me realise I was severely downplaying what I do by referring to myself only as a singer. I proudly call myself a producer now because I understand just how much I do to create as much as I do. So much goes into it, writing, structures, programming, progressions, instrumentations, just so many different things that require so many different kinds of creativity. So many of my biggest muses are other women, particularly the ones who are entirely DIY, and it inspires me so much to know that I am just like them and they are just like me, we’re all together in this and it’s a great motivator. Are you musically self taught? Or have you had mentors along the way to help you develop?
I am self-taught, yes. I grew up in a trailer park in a nowhere city in the Central Coast of Australia, and the only fun I had was watching television and being allowed to play on the community centre’s piano. I was probably around 5 or 6 when that begun, and since that and watching television was my choice of skill sets, I decided to pursue piano on my own. When I was like 10 or 11, I learned a decent amount of Moonlight Sonata and played it for my mother, who wasn’t impressed because it wasn’t the entire composition. I learned the rest of it and she had nothing to say, so I constantly tried to improve and better myself, until it got to a point where I stopped caring about playing other people’s compositions and wanted to focus on creating my own. I downloaded my first DAW when I was 16, and I haven’t stopped producing since. That being said, I play a frickin’ mean Moonlight Sonata now. When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?
I don’t feel like I’m very consistent since I just create music with the intent to express. It’s often just me playing around with noises or singing whatever I am feeling, and making something out of it. That usually means my songs aren’t very impressive on a technical or structural level, but there’s always some strong feelings behind them. 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?
I have no focus or balance whatsoever. I’ll wake up in the afternoon, play a few games of DotA, go back to sleep, maybe wake up at 1am, It’s always all over the place. In terms of structure, my life lacks any stability, so it’s not abnormal for me to be making music at 3am, and sleeping at 3pm. I don’t struggle with time as much as I struggle with motivation, but the apathy that comes with that is often one of the experiences that inspire my music, as well as the negativity and darkness that only someone who plays DotA could understand.
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?
The biggest achievements for me, through music, have all been interactions with people who have related to my music. It’s like talking to someone who has known you your whole life because they’ve dug into your music and know you in ways your closest friends might not. More than anything I value the relationships I develop through my art and I’ve made some incredible friends over the years I’ve been doing this, and I could never have met any of them without my music. What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
I don’t think I’ve ever had any real challenges in my music career. For me, it has always been a matter of creating and sharing, I don’t put much thought into it and I very rarely involve anybody else in any of my processes. There’s no real risks I can take that aren’t creative, and I don’t expect to make money or live off of money I would make from my music. I’m very well prepared in that sense. The closest thing to a challenge may be overcoming issues with self-confidence, not believing my music is good enough to share or whatever, but the longer I do this, the less I care what other people think of it.
When it comes to fan and critic feedback, how much do you take it to heart, and how much do you feel it evolves, pushes, or holds your sound in place? Do you feel that the personal response and interaction in the live environment, and the subsequent positive press you've regarding both your live and recorded music has consciously encouraged you to do things a certain way?
I take all the feedback to heart. It’s not often I get negative feedback, since my music is so niche. The kind of people that hear my music have probably found it through very specific channels and are likely to enjoy it to some degree. On the rare occasions I have gotten negative comments, I do get very upset about it. I’m pretty weak with that kind of thing, I care about my music because to me it isn’t just “A song I have made” as much as it is a part of me that I have chosen to share. It’s hard to separate myself from my music in that regard, and I haven’t had enough negative feedback to be used to it. Hopefully my new album will get really bad reviews, so I can grow as a person or something. Outside of Electronic music, what other genres could you see yourself composing music in? Or should I say, do you see yourself inspired by? 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?
I always tell people that if I had the know-how, I’d be in a self-produced doom metal band. I love all kinds of music, or rather I love at least a little bit out of every genre. I’m a huge Britney Spears fan, I love Babymetal and Massive Attack, my favourite bands are Garbage and Queenadreena, and I adore Chelsea Wolfe, Jucifer and Rich Chigga. I have so many influences I don’t think I could ever list them all.
Over the course of this year I’ve collaborated a few times with Nawadar, she’s a jack of all trades, a very skilled songwriter, vocalist, director and editor, among other things. We met through my music and we’ve been close friends ever since, It’s a joy working with her.
I also did a song with an incredible australian rapper, Atkin$, for my new album. He was an absolute pro in how he handled his verse, I really want to work with him again.
What sort of new bands have come out in recent years that have caught your attention? Is there any bands out there you see yourself, or would like to, remix or collaborate with in the future?
A lot of the new Soundcloud rap stuff that’s been a big deal recently has been really cool. I never thought that’s a genre I would be so interested in, but the raw emotion that goes into it is often really genuine and engaging. I’m very sensitive and empathetic towards people who wear their hearts on their sleeve, especially in art, and it seems rap is full of that kind of thing, so it’s something I’ve gotten really invested in recently.
I made a goal not too long ago to email some of my favourite producers and ask if they’d be interested in remixing for my new album, and I was surprised how many of them were up for it. After the release of Sadposting, I’ll be releasing a remix companion that features some of my all-time favourite producers, some of my dream collaborations are on that album, and I’m so excited to share them with everybody.
Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
I’m pretty serious about horror movies and gaming. I play a lot of DotA 2, Dead by Daylight, CS:GO, and many other games. If any of my fans wanna game, just message me on my Facebook page or Soundcloud and we’ll party up and hang out! Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
The best advice I can give is to download my new album when it comes out, and cry yourself to sleep to it. Thanks for having me here!
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