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 you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?
Hello! My name is Shayne “Daemon_w60” Lawrence, I’m 39 years old, and I’m the sole writer/programmer/vocalist for the industrial/metal/hiphop solo project Twitch! I currently reside in the Calgary, Alberta region of Canada.
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?
It’s alright, I don’t want to stay here forever, but I do have some really good friends here (as well as some family). I wouldn’t say the music scene here is vibrant, Calgary is a corporate oil and gas city, and it is quite a tough town to play consistent gigs here… we also don’t get a lot of larger tours here (larger bands seem to skip Calgary, although every once in a while a tour rolls through here [Ministry just played here not too long ago]), although, we do have one of the only Dark/Goth/Industrial festivals in Canada… matter of fact I think it’s the only one... which is alright… it’s always exciting to see what bands will be playing every year the fest has been going on! I’m not sure the scene here really influences my attitude or creativity… I mean with the first album I did under Twitch, a lot of that was what was going on around me at the time… to be honest it was a very negative album (which I find really hard to revisit), I was very depressed and angst ridden, as well as very angry, so for that album yes, it was the local scene and Calgary that influenced that album (Although, if you are asking if, musically speaking, was I influenced by other bands, I would have to say no, I definitely tried [and still try] to do something different [I don’t like copying other sounds/bands, I would rather do something original])… but the following album (We Are Here To Dance!) was quite different and more positive… it wasn’t so much about what was going on around me, but more of an attitude shift (I couldn’t stand being in that negative state anymore, it was making me sick, so I changed to a positive state of mind), and I wasn’t so focused on issues going on in my life, and more so focusing on larger issues of what was going on in the world at the time (9/11 and shit) and how I was feeling about that, and as time has gone on, I tend to focus on more world issues (especially with the current state of politics in the U.S. right now as well as our previous Prime Minister here in Canada [the album “The Block, The Stream, and The Key” was heavily influenced by that]). What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
I’m currently working on the next EP, which I hope to have out in August (2018)… Then hopefully not too long after that a new album (hope to release that sometime in the fall)… I like staying productive and I’m always writing! As far as far future, I already have ideas for potential albums and what they are gonna be thematically (even have names for them already). I would like to have 40 or more albums out by the time I die… at least that’s the goal. Ideally, I try to have an album out once per year… failing that, a double album every two or three years. I don’t want to be 80 or 90 and only have a small handful of albums… I want to be constantly writing and releasing (if I could do two albums per year that would be even better)!
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 do not consider myself part of a particular sound, as I mentioned above, I’m trying to do something different… as far as scenes go, I would say that I do consider myself as part of the goth/industrial scene with a leaning to industrial. I think it’s ok to classify music to specific styles in order to label your music, so people have a general idea as to what you are doing... and can make a choice on whether to listen to, purchase or download your music based on that general label. For me, I generally listen to a lot of industrial stuff, whether it’s industrial rock, metal, electro-industrial, ebm, or what-have-you… I also listen to hiphop/rap, and nu-metal, as well as synthpop type stuff, I’ll even listen to some pop music every once-in-a-while too (although, I would say, a lot of it is quite samey, so I find there’s couple of songs that I’ll like and then skip the rest)… I like a lot of different stuff! As far as production wise goes, I myself produce a combination of industrial, metal, and hiphop… I couldn’t write anything else, my interest lies in that cause musically speaking those genres inspire me the most!
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? Music has always moved me, I remember seeing music videos on TV when I was 6 years old, and seeing Michael Jackson and various other artists, and realizing that’s what I wanted to be… a musician. For me music is the perfect way to express yourself, whether it’s listening to it, and sharing it with your friends, dancing to it, writing it, or performing it. I would say that it is a peek into parts of an individual’s life (personal as well as environmental) at the period of time that an album/EP/song was written… If I wasn’t doing music, I would probably be dead or in jail or something… it has very much kept me alive, out of trouble, and sane! I’m not sure creativity has evolved me so much spiritually, emotionally, or logically… but I would say it has let me express what I’m feeling about certain issues, whether that is dealing with what is going on in my life or going on around me and in the world…
Interview continues after this video and all further streaming content...
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes?
Some of my favorite themes are: finding light in darkness (or even creating it), general love of the goth scene, vampires, songs of celebration, songs of personal revolution/evolution, peace, songs about winter (I love winter), some spiritual stuff (life after death, being one with yourself), overcoming pollution, current politics, and technology and where it’s taking us, these are definitely the ones I’m drawn to the most. What draws me to them, for finding light in darkness, or creating light in darkness is, I find people are afraid to walk in and learn about their darkness, and at times may feel blind or lost, and once you’ve decided to explore your darkness the end result is that you either find light in darkness (just like in nature… space, stars, planets, moons, galaxies, etc…), or you create light within yourself. For general love of the goth scene, I mean… I’ve been a goth since 95 or 96 or something like that, and I love the scene, they are my family, friends, and companions, for me goth has always been a fun thing (I don’t really view it as a lifestyle [I won’t get into that right now, cause I’m sure some people would not like what I have to say about that]), I love dressing in black, I love reading dark literature and I love going out to the clubs and various goth events and such… why not sing about it!! For Vampires, or drinking blood, I love Anne Rice, and the various vampire literature out there, as well as various vampire movies, I mean, if I could be a vampire (in the fiction sense) why not! For songs of celebration, there are a lot of good and positive things to be acknowledged in the world… why can’t we change the world and have fun while we are doing it! For Songs of personal revolution/evolution, I think that we can change the world, maybe not in a direct way, but an indirect way… by
changing ourselves/evolving we are changing the world… and the hope is someone will take your example and learn, and change/evolve too! For songs about winter, I love winter, and it always has brought positive things in my life… maybe cause I’m more productive creatively, or cause I just love the snow and the cold… winter is a time of hibernation, of death, and rest. For spiritual stuff, I am a very spiritual person, and some spiritual topics like, what happens after we die… do we pass on to the next (spirit) world, is there a god (should we be concerned whether there is a god or not)… I also think it’s important to strive for “oneness”, being a complete person, and knowing yourself… these are all very inspiring themes. Pollution is an issue that the world needs to deal with right now, as, if it goes on for too long, how long do we have left, before it’s too late, and we can’t reverse the damage we’ve done. Current politics is also important, cause like I or anyone knows things aren’t going well in the political spectrum (especially in the U.S. right now), and it’s actually kind of scary, the war in Syria, Brexit, the emboldening of white supremacists, and national socialist types… I know some people think musicians should stay out of politics, but to be honest, this shit has to be dealt with, and maybe writing about it will encourage people to get up and out and get active (granted a lot of political music is a time and place in history, but I do think a musician/artist can be very generic about the subject.. so it fits any time). For technology, I would say that there’s good (A.I., miniaturization/portability, space travel, computers… etc) and bad (A.I., nanotech [to a certain degree; killer nanobots and shit], autonomous weapons… etc), there’s also some stuff I’m not sure about right now, like crypto-currencies and shit, and I think technology is a subject that needs to be discussed, in order to responsibly move into the future! 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?
Honestly, I’m generally a very positive person, so I come from that perspective. I find there’s a lot of negativity in the scene, and people with self-destructive voices and such… I’m trying to be different. I find there is not a lot of people doing that… if any. I’m always inspired!
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 would have to say, I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a musician, but as far as influences go, it was Nine Inch Nails that got me started in the industrial side of things. After hearing them for the first time, I knew that that was the direction I wanted to go musically. Then a few years later, I heard Korn for the very first time, and realized I wanted to combine the sounds of Nine Inch Nails with Korn. Industrial/metal/hiphop!!
Are you musically self taught? Or have you had mentors along the way to help you develop?
I am mostly self-taught. I did take drum lessons very briefly when I was 15 years old I think, and also guitar class in high school (but it was short lived). Then not too many years ago I purchased my first synth (6 years or so), and even that is self-taught as well. 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?
Generally, I have a vision (and ideas) of where songs are going, but it really depends on the song, sometimes I’m just messing around and find a melody, or sound that I like, and write around that. I do find in order to keep creative/consistent/inspired I have a day set aside just for writing, and I will sit down and write even when I don’t feel like it. I’ve found that that keeps me creative and consistent. I also keep a journal with me for when I have ideas and jot them down when I’m not in the studio. I also record melodies or sounds (when I’m not home) with my phone that seem to inspire me, and try to use them in my songs and such.
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?
Well, as I said above, I have a day that I set aside for writing (usually Saturday)… then we rehearse usually during the week… after work and such like that. Fortunately, right now I work at very forgiving place of employment… I can generally do shows when I want to, and generally, I work around the other (live) members schedules.
For fans who have not seen you yet, 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?
For the live show, I think we are a high energy band, very passionate… visually I sing, and my connections with audience are interspersed with live synth playing. Brooke (live guitarist) is cool, aloof and stresses his chords, and our live drummer Colin he is quite like a machine, drumming along to sequenced beats. When it comes to performing, what are your favorite sort of venues to play in, and what are your favorite areas to tour? If you could tour with any other band in the world who would it be and why? What are some of your favorite memories of touring?
We like performing in all sorts of venues from the shitty dive bar, to more upscale pubs and bars. We haven’t really extensively toured yet… we’ve been out of the city here, once (lol!)… but I would love to tour with a whole assortment of bands and stuff, I mean, if we could play with Nine Inch Nails, they are my idols, and the reason why I got into industrial music in the first place. It would be an honor to tour with them. VNV Nation would also be cool, Assemblage 23, Covenant, Ministry, Cubanate (as well as Marc Heal), C-Tec, System Syn, Aesthetic Perfection, Pop Will Eat Itself, Atari Teenage Riot, Filter, DeathBoy… I think this list could go on forever… there are so many bands I would love to go on tour with!
You've had an opportunity to play a series of concerts some other pretty awesome bands. What are some of your favorite places to play, and bands to play with, and why?
Some bands that we’ve played with that have been excellent to play with; The New Jacobin Club (band) was excellent (very professional), I know some of their crew from back in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. Playing with Ghost Twin was pretty cool too, very nice people. Playing with XSRY is always a treat, Aldo is the master of industrial cover tunes! Melted Mirror was excellent to play with… they are very professional, and very excellent musicians. Wet Nurse. is always fun to play with… love the guys death industrial. Cygnets was fun, those guys are very energetic! Wychdoktor was fun to play with, love the ritualistic rhythmic noise type stuff. To be honest, I don’t think there is a band that I haven’t really enjoyed playing with… each band brings a new experience and new people!
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?
Not sure, I think playing with Melted Mirror, was an excellent experience, I would also say next year, June of 2019, Twitch will have been around for 20 years… For me, in the end it’s about the live show… every time I play a show, I am continually inspired to write, and to play out! The more live shows I do, the more energy I have, the more inspired I feel! That’s what it is for me! What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
That’s a tough one to answer… There were a couple years that I wasn’t doing so well mentally, and a lot of that time was spent just trying to get healthy, not realizing that music and art were a part of getting healthy… Fortunately, I realized that was a big part of me being healthy, that I have to do music and art… there is no choice… if I’m not doing it, my health generally declines. 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?
Outside of industrial/metal/hiphop there’s not much more that I want to be doing… I am inspired by other sounds (like; witch house, or noise, or digital hardcore, or cyberpunk, or various other genres including pop music), but if I’m inspired enough by something outside of what I do, I try to incorporate those sounds into what I’m doing, if it’s relevant. I’m not currently involved with any other projects right now. I am working with Elijah Hennig right now on guitars for the next couple of releases for Twitch, and we are also bringing in Colin “Dark North” Christopher as a drummer to help with the tracks as well!
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?
There are a lot of bands that have caught my attention as of recently… really digging ZCluster (Australia), Ooluu (Ottawa, ON, Canada), Cell Zero (U.S.), Endgame Protocol (Orlando, Florida.), Datacode Division (Las Vegas, NV), Future Lied To Us (Germany), Boy Harsher (U.S.), KANGA (U.S.), Venus In Aries (U.S.), Purity+Control (from here in Calgary, AB, Canada)… the list could go on! As far as remixing or collaborating, definitely would love to do something by the bands listed above, as well as Nine Inch Nails, Filter, Atari Teenage Riot, Aesthetic Perfection, [:SITD:], Skold, Ministry, Caustic, Android Lust, I Parasite, Marc Heal, Element A440… the list is endless, so many bands/artist I would like to remix or collaborate with… I wouldn’t mind working with some hiphop artists as well… Jay-Z, Saul Williams, Kendrick Lamar, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg… once again, the list is endless! Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?
Outside of music, I also like drawing, or painting, I read as much cyberpunk manga I can get my hands on (favorite genre), I read a lot of other stuff too, like; vampire fiction (love Anne Rice), Cyberpunk fiction (William Gibson is a favorite), I like staying relatively physically fit, and I enjoy the occasional craft beer! Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
You’re welcome, and thank you! All I gotta say is: you can check Twitch out at...
Digital download & streaming on Bandcamp:
Social media on Facebook & Twitter
And on their official Blogs on Blogspot & Wordpress:
Hope you are all well!