First I just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. With this interview let's just start with a bit about yourself. Where are you from, how old are you, and how long have you been making music for?
No, thank you! This is my first interview as an artist.
I go by Hemlock,
I’m currently 21 years old and live in Jarrettsville, Maryland. I want to say that i’ve been making music since i was twelve, so roughly nine years.
When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself? What led you to electronic music, particularly the heavier kinds of it?
When i had first started, I was just like any other kid. I wanted to be a rock star. I had taught myself the basics to play bass, drums, guitar, and a few other stringed instruments. Also found myself in a few garage bands here and there but ultimately never found a group of people that ‘clicked well’ with me musically. I didn’t even start writing my own music until i had turned 18 and found out that you could just do everything by yourself with a laptop and a DAW.
I can’t say initially what had led me to electronic music but i can tell you that once i had heard “Operating Tracks” by Front 242, i was hooked and falling down the rabbit hole of Wax Trax! era industrial."
What genres of music would you consider yourself to be the most active in, or influenced by? What are your thoughts on genres in general? Do you find them creatively helpful as a template to work with? Or do you find them restricting? Or possibly somewhere in between? Now that the internet has caused so much crossover in music, would you even say genre labels are relevant any more?
I can’t say that i’m active in any specific genre since my releases are all over the place. “Armalite” had more of a Nitzer Ebb esque EBM influence, “Longing” was influenced mostly by oldschool Resident Evil save room themes, “Ghosts” is very influenced by 80s action flick scores. It goes on. I also don’t want to be restricted with one single genre, i have too many ideas for my music and feel as though people put too much emphasis on genre and not enough on the music itself.
As a template, not so much. I feel as though a genre over time just becomes a formula and a restriction. It’s as if it’s like you have someone over your shoulder saying “That cant be (insert genre) you need these specific drum samples and it needs to progress a certain way” It’s not every case but take pop for example, every major hit has been the same 4 chords.
Is electronic music where you started making music? Or did you have previous musical background or experience before hand? If so does/did your previous musical experience affect your electronic compositions?
I sung a bit in a garage band, played guitar in a few others, but that didn’t really have any effect on what i do today. However, my time in Dharmata 101 as their bassist/drummer had a pretty big effect on me at the time into transitioning into a solo electronic producer. Jsun, the singer and producer, has been there since day one giving me advice and tips when i needed it, as well as a really awesome remix of Armalite. It was my first introduction to creating electronic music as well.
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 wouldn’t even know where to start with that. I’ve come a long way since day one but i know i also have a very long way to go. But for what it’s worth my biggest enemy in this is still myself. Self doubt is more of a roadblock for me than anything else.
What would you say are your favorite themes and topics to write about? What draws you to those themes?
I dont really write about any particular topic when i sit down and produce. I more or less find myself inspired by visuals i create for myself in my head. Small little flashes of movie clips would be the best way to describe it, and i just tell the story the best way i can through music. These images can be anything from cyberpunk esque cityscapes to futuristic warzones. I guess i can credit my love of Sci-fi and cyberpunk literature for that.”
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?
Well, i rip sound files from a lot of older Playstation and Sega games and try to use them, manipulated or raw, in my music. I guess it’s mostly a nostalgia thing. Other than that my favorite VST right now has to be SQ8L. Which in short is an emulation of a 1980’ Ensoniq SQ80 synth. I just love the sound of the 80s synths over today’s stuff.
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 people you would like to collaborate with in the future artistically, musically, or socially?
I’d really love to start dabbling more into Synthwave and Witch House. My newest release “Ghost” was a flirtation between EBM and Synthwave. Though i’d also love to pursue a darker oldschool EBM sound as well. So i may have to split ROGUE into two separate projects. I’d love to collaborate with Velvet Acid Christ or Mindless Faith in the future if i ever build up the courage to ask either one, heh.
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? If you could collaborate with any musician or artist, dead or alive, who would it be? And what in particular draws you to want to collaborate with them?
Well, I currently make some cassette only releases of some noise music with The Perceiving Eye, and i contribute stuff to some of my friends groups but nothing major at the moment. However if i could collaborate with whoever i wanted to? It’d have to be a split between Front 242 and Die Krupps. D.R. Goettel (RIP) as well. They all had a huge influence on my sound and always stuck out from everyone else.
Are live shows an important part of your career? Or are you predominantly a studio musician? If you could play a live show anywhere in the world/do a tour anywhere, where would it be? Is doing live music something that you envision for yourself in the future? If so what are some of the images, themes, or ideas you might have for said future live set?
The last live show i performed was with Dharmata 101. I haven’t amassed enough material for a decent live set yet. I also lack in the hardware needed. Realistically i’d like to do as little as possible involving a laptop. The more gear on stage the better.
For my dream show, I’d just love to see myself on stage at Wasteland Weekend at some point with some of my more experimental and raw ebm stuff. I’d love to be able to drag up a bunch of scrap metal and empty metal cylinders on stage to perform the songs how i want them to be without having to worry about the fire hazards or noise complaints. I can’t imagine too many enclosed spaces wanting live pyrotechnics and grinders shooting sparks everywhere.
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? Do you participate in the gaming world? Avid reader perhaps? Maybe cinema fan? Combination of some lol?
I’d have to say it’s a combination of everything. I’d like to just say my brain is landscaped out as this odd cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic universe that’s constantly evolving. Something i’d like to not just express through music but also as a comic at some point in the future.
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?
Releasing my first single would have to be my current big achievement. I’m just taking things one step at a time and currently await what the future holds for me.
What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?
Hopefully a full length album in the near future. I’d also like to be signed eventually but it’ll come when it comes
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or audience?
Thank you for your time first and foremost. But for my audience i’d just like to say thank you for the support. I can’t do it without them.
You can find all of his published music on his official Soudcloud & Bandcamp. Check it out folks for more musical awesomeness: