“Another Los Angeles” : Graham Reznick Talks Influences, Film, and New Album ‘Glass Angles’

You may not be familiar with the name Graham Reznick, but I don’t think it will be long until you are. Reznick has been working in the independent film world for years now, wearing multiple hats. What hats, you ask? Well he’s done sound design, engineering, mixing, and scoring. He’s also acted, written, composed, and edited on films going back to 2001. Some of the films he’s worked on include The House Of The Devil, In A Valley Of Violence, The Mind’s Eye, V/H/S, Stake Land, The Innkeepers, The Sacrament, and he wrote and directed the 2008 film I Can See You. He’s been a lifelong friend to writer/director Ti West and he worked under the tutelage of writer, producer, director, and actor Larry Fessenden(don’t know that name either? Believe me, you’d know him if you saw him.) Reznick also wrote the hit PS4 game Until Dawn with Larry Fessenden.

So Graham Reznick is a guy that’s been behind the scenes for years doing the work and making some great indie films. He’s very adept at sound design, which brings us to his debut album on Mondo/Death Waltz Originals titled Glass Angles. It’s a hallucinatory musical trip. There’s elements of Berlin School, EDM, synthwave, and independent electronic like Boards of Canada, Four Tet, and even Flying Lotus at times. But really, Glass Angles is unlike anything you’ve heard. It’s quite brilliant. It’s also a kind of a concept album, really. Reznick wrote the album while adjusting to life in Los Angeles after being a New Yorker for years. The album is an ode to an alternate world version of Los Angeles. Odd angles in mirrors that turn the familiar into something new, unknown, and maybe slightly sinister.

I got the chance to talk to Graham about his childhood, how he got into film, and the making of Glass Angles. We also discussed musical influences, David Lynch, his stoner path in Austin, Texas not taken, and album number two that’s coming out later this year on Burning Witches Records.


J. Hubner: So where did you grow up?

Graham Reznick: Born in New Jersey, raised in Delaware, died in New York, live in LA.

J. Hubner: What was your childhood like? Were you making Hi8 films with your pals in the backyard?

Graham Reznick: I spent a lot of time taking things apart and trying to put them back together again.  Radios, science kits, clocks, whatever.  Anything I liked as a kid I tried to replicate – so yeah, making movies with old cameras and two VCR’s, usually blowing up GI Joe’s in the backyard with Ti West, or drawing comics, or making patches for DOOM.

J. Hubner: So were you always interested in film and music? 

Graham Reznick: I was always very interested in art and drawing, and movies, though I didn’t really know that you could express the things I wanted to express in film until I discovered Twin Peaks and David Lynch.

J. Hubner: So Lynch was the gateway for you?

Graham Reznick: He was the first director that I understood was an artist, able to synthesize all the elements of the medium into something greater than the sum of its parts.

J. Hubner: Lynch is a true auteur, mixing sound and music so incredibly flawlessly. 

Graham Reznick: Music and sound went hand in hand with the other elements of film for me – they’re equal pieces of the puzzle and need to be treated with the same amount of attention as the script, the camera work, the acting, the editing.  For some directors, the balance is different – music and sound are means to an end – but I’ve never been able to approach it that way.  Cinematic gestalt is axiomatic.

J. Hubner: All the elements come together equally, at least they should. I think if you’re not giving equally to each then you’re doing a disservice to the art. 

Graham Reznick: I’ve always felt that if a screenplay expressed an idea perfectly, it should remain a screenplay.  If a photo expresses an idea perfectly, it should remain a photo.  If a song… etc.   Cinema should use all the tools at its disposal to express an idea impossible to express in any other single medium.

J. Hubner: So where did this commitment to cinematic artistic integrity come from? How did you get started in independent film?

Graham Reznick: I grew up with Ti West (director of THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, THE INNKEEPERS, IN A VALLEY OF VIOLENCE); he went to SVA for film, I went NYU, both in NYC.   We shared resources and experience – best of both worlds.  Through Kelly Reichardt, Ti met Larry Fessenden, who was already a legend to us because of his incredible 90’s NYC vampire indie film HABIT (and Larry and I went on to co-write UNTIL DAWN and related games together).   Larry financed Ti’s first film, THE ROOST, in 2003.  I was just out of college and considering moving to Austin and becoming a stoner, but Ti convinced me to move back to Delaware for a year and live in our parents houses and put the film together.  It was a remarkable opportunity to learn the entire professional filmmaking process.  I did almost all of the post sound work, and some additional music (Jeff Grace did the great score), in my parents basement.  I had a Pro Tools LE license and a Digi001, an SM57, a DOD Buzz Box pedal, a Line 6 Delay Modeler, two broken guitars and a Roland HS-60 – which I got dirt cheap because in 2000 when I bought it, people didn’t realize it was virtually the same keyboard as the Juno 106!  That was basically my entire music setup for the next 10 years.  After THE ROOST, my filmmaker friends asked me to sound design or contribute music to their films.  It was a good way to collaborate with directors and friends I admired, as well as pay the rent while I tried to get my own projects off the ground.

Still from Graham Reznick’s 2008 film ‘I Can See You’

J. Hubner: Speaking of your own projects, could you tell me a bit about your 2008 feature film debut, I Can See You? Where did the idea for the film come from?

Graham Reznick: In the mid 2000’s I worked with a group of friends from NYU who had started a company called Waverly Films (filmmakers who have gone on to direct some interesting things, including CREATIVE CONTROL and SPIDERMAN: HOMECOMING) and they made a lot of music videos.  I crashed on their couch in Bushwick for months and edited music videos for them (including The Juan Maclean’s “Give Me Every Little Thing” and LCD Soundsystem’s “North American Scum.”)  One video, which will go unnamed, didn’t turn out the way the label expected, and things went pretty sideways.  The experience of being part of a group of young, creative professionals being completely taken advantage of by a big company looking to scrape talent for peanuts had a big effect on me.  I CAN SEE YOU is about a lot of things, but that experience was a major influence.

J. Hubner: And you worked with Larry Fessenden once again on that film. Besides being in the film, did he have any other role in the production?

Graham Reznick: Larry Fessenden financed the film (which was ultra low budget) and allowed me complete creative freedom.  I knew I had the opportunity to try things and say things I would never be able to achieve in a larger budget, more traditional situation – so I went for it.

J. Hubner: Let’s talk about your Death Waltz Originals debut record ‘Glass Angles’. I’ve been filling my head with it for the past couple weeks and it’s amazing. How did you get involved with Death Waltz? 

Graham Reznick: I met Spencer Hickman, founder of Death Waltz, after he released Jeff Grace’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL score on vinyl, but I’d been familiar with the label already because of his incredible run of soundtrack reissues on vinyl.  Around the time I’d put the album demos together, I heard through a few friends that he was considering putting out original material as well as soundtracks, so I took a chance and sent it over.

J. Hubner: Regarding the record, what was the writing process like? You’d said that you were learning to work with Ableton and soft synths while writing the album. Was the software inspiring you to create? The album also feels like it has the specter of Los Angeles haunting it.

Graham Reznick: After living (on and off) in NYC for almost 15 years, I relocated to Los Angeles in 2013.  I had just finished sound designing three films in New York – CLOWN, BENEATH, and THE SACRAMENT – and had some time off to get acclimated to the new city.  I’d also just had a track included on Joseph Stannard and Justin Watson’s incredible compilation THE OUTER CHURCH, and it was receiving some nice attention.  I wanted to make more electronic music, but I’m really not a very good keyboardist (not as good as I’d like to be).  Most of the music I made for myself or for the films I worked on involved a ton of sloppy live playing and then heavy, time consuming editing (of both synth and guitar feedback).   So I invested in Ableton, swapped out my Roland HS-60 for a midi controller, and started learning soft synths – which had come a long way from when I first tried midi compositions in the early 2000s, and when I had tried the early versions of Ableton.

J. Hubner: So learning Ableton helped the process along?

Graham Reznick: Ableton 9 was a huge revelation and I started writing a ton of material immediately.  The HS-60 only makes one appearance – as a lead line halfway through the final track, “Palm Freeze.”  There’s a unique, buzzy, disorienting, thick sound you can get when using the 106 / HS-60’s dual oscillator monophonic mode – I’ve never heard anything like it in any soft synth.  But that’s the only true analog synth on the album – the rest is entirely software.

J. Hubner: And the subtle nods to Los Angeles in the song titles?

Graham Reznick: The culture shock of jumping from NYC to LA informed my mood and I’d write songs during the day, and drive around the city late into the evening, listening to the mixes.  I realized that depending on where you positioned your car, on particular streets, around the city, at particular times, you could look into your mirror or out your window, and if you were listening to the right music, you would see another Los Angeles.

J. Hubner: There’s a real hallucinatory feel to the album. Listening with headphones on, songs like “Beverly’s Crop” and “Highland Steel” have a really psychedelic, sensory overload feel to them. They make you feel off-kilter, but in the best way possible. Even with something like your film ‘I Can See You’ there’s a real hallucinogenic feel, as if you’re not sure what your seeing is real or not. What was the influence on the sound of ‘Glass Angles’?

Graham Reznick: There’s an interesting theory about brain plasticity (which I’m sure I’m misrepresenting here) that says we create new neural pathways when we think about familiar things in a new way, and we rely on preconceptions and existing pathways when we are presented with the familiar – which means we may discount important new info that is hidden by the familiar.  For a piece of art – story, music, film, whatever – to be effective, I think it should find a good balance between the familiar and the unfamiliar.  Sometimes the complete unknown can be exhilarating, and sometimes the familiar can be comforting – but a good balance of the two can allow the audience a way in and then hold their attention while their brain has to literally rebuild itself to keep up.  That’s all just a way to say that there’s always a new angle on things, and those new angles should be explored.

J. Hubner: So from a mixing and engineering standpoint, did you intentionally want to create a dizzying, almost psychedelic feel with the songs?

Graham Reznick: In regards to the album specifically – I did a lot of the initial work and mixing in headphones.  It wasn’t ultimately mixed for headphones specifically, but a lot of the creative choices were geared towards a dizzying, psychedelic, headphone experience.

J. Hubner: Speaking of hallucinatory, your video for “Highland Steel” is insane. It’s dark, nightmarish, and you can’t stop looking at it. What was the influence for what you created? And should there be a seizure warning on this thing? 

Graham Reznick: I wanted to capture the experience of the way the mind works, or doesn’t, during a panic attack.  I didn’t want to recreate the unpleasant experience of a panic attack in the viewer (who wants that?) – but I wanted to find a way to express the terrible awe of how our racing, spinning minds malfunction in fear.

J. Hubner: It’s really hard to pinpoint influences on your sound. The record has bits of 80s electronic in it, but your sound is very much your own. What are some albums that have made an impact on you that may have made their way into your sound?

Graham Reznick: It’s very likely that I’m directly ripping off the artists and music that influenced me.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I will list at least some of the artists and pieces of music that I was consciously aware of directly ripping off while making Glass Angles.  I cannot claim that the music I made comes anywhere near the excellence of any one of the pieces in this list.

In no particular order:

Laurie Spiegel – The Expanding Universe, and Appalachian Grove
Terry Riley – Happy Ending
La Monte Young – The Black Record
Steve Moore – Light Echoes
Aphex Twin – all
Tangerine Dream – White Eagle
MGMT – Congratulations
Tangerine Dream – Force Majeure 
Harold Faltermeyer – Beverly Hills Cop
Tangerine Dream – Phaedras 
John Carpenter – Assault on Precinct 13
Tangerine Dream – Encore
Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
Tangerine Dream – Ricochet
The Amps – Pacer
Emeralds – Just to Feel Anything
Valium Aggelein – Hier Kommt Der Schwartze Mond
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – Architecture & Morality
Steve Hauschildt – Tragedy & Geometry
This Mortal Coil – It’ll End in Tears
Isabelle Adjiani screaming in the subway in POSSESSION
Angelo Badalamenti – Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Oneohtrix Point Never – Rifts
Lou Reed – Coney Island Baby
Pye Corner Audio – Prowler
Outer Space – Outer Space
Heart – Dreamboat Annie
Pierre Bachelet – Gwendoline
High Rise – High Rise II
Add N To X – On The Wires of Our Nerves
Donovan – Open Road
Heron – Twice as Nice & Half the Price
Tangerine Dream – Encore 
Future Sound of  London – We Have Explosive 
Butthole Surfers – Psychic, Powerless, Another Man’s Sac
Olivia Tremor Control – Dusk at Cubist Castle
Olivia Tremor Control – Black Foliage
Shellac – 1000 Hurts
Disasterpeace – Fez
Wendy Carlos – Sonic Seasonings
Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump
Tyrannosaurus Rex – A Beard of Stars
Maurice Jarre – Witness
Geinoh Yamashirogumi – Akira
Little Wings – Light Green Leaves
New Age Steppers / Creation Rebel – Threat to Creation
Daniel Johnston – 1990
Monolake – Cinemascope 
Don Caballero –American Don
Mercury Rev – Deserter’s Songs
Gary Numan / Tubeway Army – Replicas
Mazzy Star – So Tonight that I Might See
The Flaming Lips – In A Priest Driven Ambulance
Proem – You Shall Have Ever Been (disc 2)
Popul Vuh – Cobra Verde
John Stewart – Bombs Away Dream Babies
Boards of Canada – Music Has the Right to Children
Richard Lloyd – Alchemy
Can – Monster Movie
Mike Oldfield –Ommadawn 
The Holy Modal Rounders – Indian War Whoop
Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends
Kraftwerk – Autobahn
Electric Light Orchestra – El Dorado
Roky Erickson – All That May Do My Rhyme 
Brian Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
The Microphones – Mt. Eerie
Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
Sonic Youth – Washing Machine
Godspeed You Black Emperor – F#A#Infinity
Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos
The Feud – The Feud Vs. Yr Universe
Klaus Schulz – Audentity
Mikal Cronin –Mikal Cronin 
Manuel Göttsching – E2-E4
Yume Bitsu – Giant Surface Music Falling to Earth Like Jewels From the Sky
John Cale – Fear
William Basinski – Silent Night 
Os Mutantes – “Virginia” 
Mark McGuire – A Young Person’s Guide
Gangpol und Mit – The Hopelessly Sad Story of the Hideous End of the World
Paul McCartney – RAM
Thee Oh Sees – Warm Slime
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Start a People 
Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
Harold Budd – The Serpent In Quicksilver
Zombi – Digitalis
Chromatics – Kill For Love
Cliff Martinez – Only God Forgives

Also, I’m between 15 and 90 percent certain that if you play every one of these albums simultaneously it will be no different than listening to Glass Angles.

J. Hubner: Glass Angles isn’t the only album you have coming out this year. You have ‘Robophasia’ coming out with Burning Witches Records. How did this record come about? How does it compare stylistically with Glass Angles? 

Graham Reznick: Glass Angles is very specific mood, tone, moment in time.  Robophasia is a much darker record, in a much brighter package.  Less textural; more acid electro-funk with vocoders and sharp edges.  Faltermeyer factored heavily in some of it.

J. Hubner:  It seems like 2018 could be Graham Reznick’s year? With two albums and a great video, what else do you have planned? Are you working on any films? Maybe a feature you’re writing and directing? 

Graham Reznick:  There’s a ton more music in the pipeline.  Some more videos, too, hopefully…  And on the film side, I directed a first episode of a live-action interactive show last year called RAPID EYE, about a sleep study gone very wrong.   It’s full of surprises – it’s going to be a heck of a mindfuck.  Stay tuned on the release info.   I’m also a few weeks out from shooting a new series for SHUDDER, called DEADWAX… but that’s all I can say about that for now!


Head over the Mondotees and grab a copy of Glass Angles before they’re all gone(only a limited run available.) And follow Burning Witches Records on Facebook for a future announcement on Robophasia.

The Musical World of Xander Harris : A Conversation with Justin Sweatt

By J. Hubner

Photo by Victoria Renard Photography

In just a very short amount of time the music of artist Xander Harris, known to friends, family, and his high school Marching Band instructor as Justin Sweatt, has made a pretty huge impression on me. Starting with his most recent album, 2017s Transmission Dust, then working my way through The New Dark Age Of Love, California Chrome, and Urban Gothic, I was floored by Sweatt’s constant evolution with each record. He runs the stylistic gamut on his four full-lengths; from sleazy giallo to dark techno to ambient to dystopian dark synth. There seems to be a constant push to change up what he’s doing each time out. Rather than sit comfortably on top of a single musical trend, Justin Sweatt takes the music of Xander Harris into new territory each time out.

Like I said, it’s been a fairly short amount of time that I’ve been privy to the musical world of Xander Harris, but I’m happy to have finally stumbled into his records. Whenever I come across an artist that is always moving forward, I want to ask them what pushes them to create like they do. What drives their creative mind? Where do they pull inspiration and influence from? Sometimes these artists are up for some questions and sometimes they’re not. Fortunately for you(and me) Justin Sweatt was happy to talk to me about the musical world of Xander Harris.

J. Hubner: So where did you grow up?

Justin Sweatt: I grew up in Midland, TX.  It’s in the middle of nowhere out in West Texas filled with social conservatives, oil fields, and a totally flat desert environment.

J. Hubner: Was music an important factor in your life growing up in West Texas?

Justin Sweatt: Music was definitely important to me out there because there weren’t that many people I could relate to and it seemed like a doing music was a way out of the area.  Truthfully, I have a love/hate relationship with West Texas but I think it has more to do with my general love/hate relationship with life.

J. Hubner: So music was a constant for you in your formative years?

Justin Sweatt:  I was always interested in music as a child. My childhood friend Joel had a piano and I’d plink around on it.  I had a little record player when I was about 5 I would take everywhere  that my grandmother gifted me when I was little.  She gave me a bunch of 45s but the Beach Boys “Surfing USA” 45 was the one I would listen to constantly.  It began a life long obsession with Brian Wilson, weirdly enough.

J. Hubner: Besides Brian Wilson, was there any other artist that hit you hard when you were growing up?

Justin Sweatt: Like all teenagers during my era the most important band for me was Nirvana.  Cliche but it’s true and Nirvana was the gateway to everything else as far as forming my listening habits.  80s music was a constant as a kid as well, my mom always jammed the Eurythmics, Thompson Twins, and stuff like that.

J. Hubner: Do you remember the first album you ever bought?

Justin Sweatt: First album I ever bought with my own money was a Tears for Fears CD.

J. Hubner: Growing up in West Texas did you often haunt the local video store for classic 70s and 80s American and Italian horror films? 

Justin Sweatt:  I did scavenge VHS stores as a kid for horror stuff but it mostly consisted of Carpenter and Hellraiser, mainstream horror titles.  Most video stores in West Texas didn’t have any of the Italian directors when I was a teenager.  It took me moving to Austin before I was ever able to have an opportunity to watch any of those films.

J. Hubner: So how does cinema play into your work, if at all?

Justin Sweatt: Frankly, film isn’t incredibly influential to my writing process.  Certain soundtracks are in there but I am mostly inspired by works of horror/weird/sci-fi fiction.  Reading has always been more of my thing and more rewarding as far as jump starting the imagination.

J. Hubner: I think there’s a lot to be said about inspiration through the written word. How it works its way into your music I find pretty fascinating. So you’re reading all these books growing up. When does your interest in electronic music come in?

Justin Sweatt: Electronic music was explored in my teen years, especially the Clockwork Orange soundtrack, but it was through discovering industrial music at the record store I worked at that made the biggest impression.  My boss gave me a copy of Chris Carter’s “The Space Between” and I’ve been obsessed with that release ever since.  I own multiple copies of that album.  Skinny Puppy is a huge one, my best friend was always having me check out Front 242 and everything else in the industrial genre from the 80s.  We geeked out on it pretty hard.  She had an Oberheim synth and we played music together so I was really impressed with everything she recommended.

J. Hubner: It’s great having that one friend that puts you onto bands and artists you’d otherwise not know about. I’ve got a old friend that put me onto Skinny Puppy and Ministry in high school, then Boards Of Canada when we were older. Not sure I could ever repay him enough for that.

Justin Sweatt: I’ve never found anything on my own, I’ve always looked at my friends’ collections for finding new music.  Now I just have my friends share their Spotify playlists with me so I can keep up with new releases. There’s a part of me that wishes I could be a tastemaker but it’s just never been my forte.

J. Hubner: So has keyboards always been your instrument of choice?

Justin Sweatt: My primary instrument is drums.  High school life was marching band and then I went to college for sound engineering and music.  My desire was to be the next Steve Albini but that didn’t really work out. My family isn’t well off so I never had the capital or investors to open a studio like I’ve always dreamed of.  The construction of sound and the way records are made has always had an appeal to me.  Recording basics was something I learned with a friend’s four track and then started learning how to play other instruments to learn the way each instrument works in terms of composition and sound.

J. Hubner: A lot of the electronic musicians I’ve talked to came up in the hardcore scene. Were you ever in a punk band? 

Justin Sweatt: I wasn’t a hardcore kid, I wasn’t any kid to be honest.  I played drums in metal, punk, jazz, country, all sorts of different bands.  I’ve never been a one genre kind of guy, I’ve always really liked all music. Hardcore is something I love but I was never tough enough for that scene nor was I into being extreme in my appearance.  At that time I had long hair, a Black Flag T-shirt, and a pair of jeans.  Bands that looked like someone who worked at a janitor’s office were more appealing to me.  Even with goth, I love the look but I’ve never been compelled to wear leather, make up, or be outwardly anything other than a black jeans and a t-shirt guy.  The only thing that hardcore made an impression on me was be cool, be a part of your community, and it made me pretty radical in my politics. The DIY aspect of that community has always appealed to me but the fast and angry thing not so much, even as a teenager.

J. Hubner: What was your musical life like before Xander Harris? What other projects have you been involved in?

Justin Sweatt: Life before Xander Harris was interesting as I mostly just played drums or did noise duo material.  I have played in probably 100 bands but mostly bands that never did anything outside of the area where I was living.  All different styles but nothing really in print anymore.  Band names like Kosmodrome, Scab Sand Witch, We Can Cut You, Dry County, Bella, Skiesfalling, Red Ox, just to name a few.  In Austin I was in a couple of projects before trying to live in Los Angeles last year that have releases coming out.  I played drums and synth in a kraut rock band called Future Museums, which is still going strong.  Neil, who heads up Future Museums, just put out an album on Holodeck Records (Adam from Survive’s label) that I did some production work on.  Holodeck is also releasing a record this year from my friend Nicolas who heads up the project Single Lash.  It’s a goth-y shoegaze-y band that I played bass and synths on the record that’s coming out. I’m quite proud of it and I think Nicolas will be one of those house hold names in no time.  For Xander history, Nicolas painted the cover for California Chrome and he’s one of the most talented people I think I’ve ever worked with.  I miss being in Single Lash but we all have our things we have to do.

J. Hubner: Going thru your discography, from 2011’s ‘Urban Gothic’ to last year’s ‘Termination Dust’, you seem to have evolved your sound with each successive album. You’re not sticking to just a horror/score vibe or straight up 80s dance nostalgia. ‘The New Dark Age Of Love’ sounds completely different from ‘California Chrome’. And ‘Termination Dust’ sounds completely different from ‘California Chrome’. What’s your writing process like?

Justin Sweatt:  I try to go out of my way to make each record completely different.  Honestly, I love Urban Gothic but I doubt I’ll ever make another record like that ever in my career unless I was hired to do a score in the vein.   I don’t really care abut horror scores much these days and it’s not much of an influence anymore.  I feel like it’s better to try and grow your sound and push yourself into new territory.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

J. Hubner: Going into an album, do you have a certain theme or concept you want to stick to?

Justin Sweatt: Every time I write I always have about 5 grandiose ridiculous ideas that only make sense to me.  Much of the music I write is composed in my head when I’m at work.  After my shift I’ll come home, fuss with the notes, the chord changes, the key, and the sound a bit and start tracking but most of it is already stewing in the brain.  My brain is always on, sometimes for the better, sometimes not for the best.  The new album is all internal narrative and it’s the first one not inspired by works of horror fiction or books in general.  In fact, it’ll be the least nostalgic and horror-esque thing I’ve ever done.  I was quite happy with California Chrome and Termination Dust so I’m going more in that vein where I follow more my own internal narrative than anything. Termination Dust is a celebration of the author Laird Barron but it’s also a celebration of philosophy of Thomas Ligotti.

photo by Pagan Gold

J. Hubner: Since you brought it up, let’s talk a bit about your latest album Termination Dust. It’s an amazing piece of work, btw. How did that record come together? 

Justin Sweatt: Thank you. The influences for that one are all over the place.  I had originally pitched “Carrion Gods” and “Jaws of Saturn” to GhostBox in the UK as a 45 but it didn’t happen.  I had put up a couple of songs on Bandcamp during those sessions and made an EP couple with the Carrion and Jaws.  Eventually I was approached by Data Airlines to release it on vinyl if I could record more material to make it a full length.  I did the sessions for the rest of the album in about 3 days, which is pretty quick for me.

J. Hubner: As far as the sound of Termination Dust, it definitely sounds distinctly unique to your other albums. Who or what were some influences on the overall sound of the record?

Justin Sweatt: At the time of Termination Dust I was listening to a lot of Broadcast, BBC workshop material, Roedelius, Advisory Circle, John Bender, simpler electronic releases that were more about heavy emotion and less layering. I’ve always had an affinity for krautrock so there was a lot of that on the phone soundtracking the walk to work during those sessions. I wanted simple and effective but wanted to mix in acoustic instruments more like electric piano and real bass.

J. Hubner: I love the combination of organic and electronic sound. 

Justin Sweatt: The mix of acoustic with electronic is something I’m exploring heavily and in more detail on the next album.  People who are really into Urban Gothic are probably going to dislike the next one. It’s a nod of the hat to a lot of different genres, influences, people, all stirred up in my weird stew.  Nothing on the new album I’m working on would be considered horror though. Perhaps Drive-esque in parts (and only on maybe two tracks) but it’s definitely going in a totally different direction.

photo by Nicolas Nadeau

J. Hubner: You recently moved from Austin to New Orleans. How has the change of scenery been?

Justin Sweatt: The change of scenery has been fantastic, I’ve always liked New Orleans and it definitely feels like home. I’ve wanted to live in New Orleans since I was a kid the city has always held a fascination for me.  My only wish is that Trent Reznor would move back and help start a crazy electronic scene.  Having said that there are some great electronic cats here.  Joey from Pressures, who also runs one of the best record stores in America called disco Obskura, has always been here in New Orleans and incredibly supportive.  My friend Justin Vial, who used to be in Kindest Lines, also does a lot of electronic work here in New Orleans that is stellar.  I recently saw a performance of Andy from Thou and his electronic work is amazing.  A friend got me to come out to that and it was a pleasant surprise.

J. Hubner: Austin seems to have a pretty amazing electronic music scene, with Holodeck Records and Mondo located there as sort of flagship spots for all things synth-related. But sometimes a change of scenery is the best thing for re-starting the creative fires. 

Justin Sweatt: Austin is a great place but it hasn’t felt like home for a while for a myriad of personal reasons.  That’s not a bad thing, sometimes you need to move on in order to jump start the next phase of life and I felt like my time in Austin had come to a close.  I’m grateful for the relationships and experiences I have there, the music community in that city is like nothing else.  Austin’s music community is a true community whereas a lot of places I’ve been to just view you as competition.  That’s the great thing about Austin, and even New Orleans, is that people do give a shit on a human level that is quite rare.  There are still ties, I’m part of a cassette label out of Austin called Somatic headed up by my friends Michael and Lee. I do a lot of mastering for the releases and feebly attempt to get PR for the artists.

J. Hubner: So what do you have coming up next? What does 2018 hold for Xander Harris and Justin Sweatt?

Justin Sweatt: I’m working on a new record but I have no idea when it will come out.  I’m toying with it being a double LP as I have a lot of songs at the moment in various states that I would like to finish all at once and then decide if I’ll split it up or keep them all together.  I don’t know if people’s attention spans are up for it.

J. Hubner: Has New Orleans had an impact on the sound of the next album?

Justin Sweatt: New Orleans has definitely made an impact compositionally, I don’t see how you could avoid it if you walk around and listen.  I’ve always been a big fan of old funk and soul music so I listen to a lot of WWOZ, a local radio station here. Watching the drum lines here is fantastic so the city is definitely having an influence on the new material rhythmically and the drummer in me is squealing with joy.  The bass lines during the old New Orleans soul days are ridiculous so I’ve been thinking of ways of incorporating some of those ideas in terms of bass lines on the synth with a sense of melody into the new material.


Go check out out the work of Xander Harris, aka Justin Sweat, over at his Bandcamp page. And to keep up on all things Xander Harris, give him a follow on Facebook here.

Going Sølo : Nicklas Sørensen Talks Influences, Scat, and His New Solo LP

If you’re familiar with the Danish rockers Papir, then you’re quite familiar with Nicklas Sørensen. Sørensen is the guitarist for the three-piece psych rock outfit out of Copenhagen. His style is fluid, groove-filled and nuanced. He can go from heady post-rock passages that float on crystalline clouds to buzzing, fuzzed-out freak outs at the drop of a guitar pick. There’s a real intellectual quality to his style that is missing from so many modern players. Back in early 2016 Nicklas released his first solo LP titled Solo. Using his Papir bandmates as a rhythm section, the album was a tour de force of Michael Rother vibes and motorik beats that sounded like early Satriani and Dixie Dregs records, had they been influenced by NEU! ’75. In relation to other instrumental guitar album fare, Solo stood out as something completely new.

Nicklas Sørensen wasted no time recording album number two. Solo 2 was recorded with Jonas Munk at his Odense studio and this time around Sørensen kept the process to just himself and Munk. With Munk’s deft synth touches and some classic electronic drum machines, Nicklas built an even more unique listening experience. The results are stunning.

I recently spoke with Nicklas Sørensen about the album, the writing process, his influences, and how Eurodance led to A Tribe Called Quest, which led to “Smoke On The Water”.


J. Hubner: So where did you grow up? 

Nicklas Sørensen: I grew up in Bagsværd which is a small town in the suburbs close to Copenhagen.

J. Hubner: What age did you get into music as a fan? Did you have someone that was your musical mentor?

Nicklas Sørensen: I don’t remember what age exactly, but I think I was fascinated by music and instruments from a very early age. I remember collecting these Mr. Music-tapes containing a mixture of all these European hits from the 90’s; Scatman John and Whigfield just to name a few. I was around eight or nine then. A pedagogue was kind of a mentor for me. I was often bored and not really good a playing with the other kids, who wanted to play computer all the time, which I hated. But he made this mixtape for various hip hop groups for me, and I was listening to it all the time. Can’t recall what was on it though, probably A Tribe Called Quest, Cypress Hill – stuff like that. So hip hop and Eurodance was my first love so to speak. Rock’n’roll probably came from my father who played “Smoke on the Water” on vinyl for me, that’s the first rock’n’roll song I remember.

J. Hubner: Who were some of the first artists you fell for? Do you remember the first album you bought?

Nicklas Sørensen: Scatman John and Whigfield. I got my first stereo for my ten years birthday, and I wanted to buy Scatman John’s debut album, but for some reason I bougth a compilation called Dance Mix instead. That was my first CD.

photo by Jimmi Brandt

J. Hubner: When did you start to play music? Was guitar your first instrument?

Nicklas Sørensen: I started going in this youth club after school and formed my first band with some boys and girls from my class. I played drums. The pedagogues in the club encouraged and motivated us to play and make music. My father wouldn’t let me have a drum set though, so he gave me a guitar for Christmas instead. I played it every day and started hanging out with some guys from my school who played in another band, and soon I was good enough to join that band. We played Creedence and The Beatles and Guns’N’ Roses too. I also started taking lessons in classical guitar at the same time as I started playing in a band. There was actually a period where I thought classical guitar was going to be my life.

J. Hubner: When you started learning guitar, who were some of your musical heroes? Which guitarists blew your mind?

Nicklas Sørensen: I don’t recall I had any guitar heroes, but I started taking a few lessons in blues guitar also with this guy who was obsessed with Eric Clapton. So he got me through a lot of Eric Clapton licks and solos. What first blew my mind was probably a Danish band called Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, and the Danish guitarist Tim Christensen, who could play both heavy melodic riffs and majestic solos – I was really into that in my early teenage years.

J. Hubner: You’ve been putting out albums with Papir for quite a few years now. In early 2016 you released your first solo LP, titled Solo. When you decided you wanted to put out something on your own, what was the idea behind that first solo record? What, on your own, did you want to create that you couldn’t in a band?

Nicklas Sørensen: I used to see myself mainly as a “band person”. I have always been in bands and thought that was my channel for expressing my musical identity – so I guess it wasn’t really obvious for me why I should do a solo record in the first place. I remember Jonas and Jakob said something like “maybe you should do a solo record…?” or “you should really consider doing a solo record…with abstract sounds, new age, esoteric guitar or something like that”, and I was like “yeah maybe, we will see…” And then my girlfriend also started saying “I really think you should do that solo record”. Okay okay! And then in the end I thought, well why not – let’s see what I can come up with. I started experimenting with a loop pedal, and a lot of ideas just came floating. So I was too scared at that time to do it completely on my own and felt it would be nice to create the songs in more familiar context, so Papir was the obvious choice for a backing band and Jonas as a producer as well.

J. Hubner: Were you ultimately happy with how your first album on your own ended up? I personally loved it, btw.

Nicklas Sørensen: Yeah I think it turned out pretty good. I listen to it once in a while and it’s mostly a satisfying experience.

J. Hubner: So you are now releasing your second solo LP, titled ‘Solo 2’. There seems to be a lot more going on sonically this time. You worked on it with Causa Sui’s Jonas Munk and recorded at his studio. It’s a stunning album. How did the record come together? Were you creating guitar loops and then building upon those? Did you two discuss certain vibes you wanted to hit going in or did you just improvise and build the record as you went along?

Nicklas Sørensen: Again, I started with experimenting with loops and sounds on the guitar. Some old ideas, chord structures, themes, etc… And this time I had a more clear idea about the concept, that I wanted to try and make something without a band. But I still liked the idea of collaborating and sharing musical ideas. Jonas was the obvious choice, we definitely share a lot of musical references and to my ears he is a true master of working in details with the sound. He also contributed with a lot of different creative and musical inputs, so that a lot of significant details and the overall feel and vibe of the album is due to his mastery and creative mind.

J. Hubner: You seem to be a fan of Fender guitars(as am I). What was your guitar of choice for this album? What kind of gear did you guys use to create ‘Solo 2’ with? Any favorite pedals you won’t leave home without?

Nicklas Sørensen: Yeah, I have played my Strat for almost 16 years now! It’s all over the first album and on all the Papir albums. So that was also my choice for this album, hehe. I have a soft spot for digital delays – the classic Boss DD’s and my T.C. Flashback Delay are something that I always bring to the studio.

J. Hubner: Do you ever take your solo work out for live shows? Are there any plans to play any shows to promote ‘Solo 2’?

Nicklas Sørensen: I have played a few concerts – just me, my guitar and my pedals. I like that a lot, it’s nice “to be your own boss”. I don’t have any plans for shows this year, besides a duo concert with Jonas in april. But you never know.

J. Hubner: What’s next for you in 2018? Any ideas for the next solo album? Any new directions you’d like to take your guitar into?

Nicklas Sørensen: I have just got my hands on a 4-track recorder. I think I will spend some time alone experimenting with that. But yeah…no plans for anything specific yet. A new Papir album perhaps (we are already working on it). I guess I would like use more time on improvising and experimenting with sound and soundscapes.


Solo 2  will be released this Friday, January 19th on El Paraiso Records. Grab a copy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psychotronic Love : The Neon Sounds of Laserblast

The 80s were a perplexing time, man. The 70s really screwed us up with its indifference, key parties, and Hal Ashby films that by the time we hit 1980 we wanted to somehow get to the future as quickly as we could. We plastered fake smiles on our faces, wore neon colors, sweetened our sitcoms with mountains of saccharine, and we began the process of taming electronic music. Those heady synths that were being used to melt minds and transcend how we view the world in albums by Tangerine Dream and Popol Vuh were being used to create more mainstream sounds.

Electronic music became a little more light-hearted and welcoming. It could be grating when laid on too thick, but when there was just the right amount of romantic sway and minor key melancholy the music was quite amazing. The synthwave scene is a musical planet where the synth is using its powers for good, not evil. These aren’t horror soundtrack nods, but a tip of the shiny hat to Mad Max b-movie rip offs and exploitation space flicks. Bright and colorful Saturday morning cartoons and video games.

Danish band Laserblast are giving props to the decade of Reagan and Thatcher by honing their own sequenced 80s soundtrack with lots of hardware and space age vibes. Their music puts me in mind of Le Matos and Com Truise, but with more of a softer edge. Not so heavy on the deep bass and more concentrating on the whimsical aspect of 80s synth. There’s a sci-fi vibe that is more along the lines of adventure and thrill seeking than those darker tones a lot of synth music as of late wants to capture.

I spoke to band members Kristoffer Ovesen and Mie Jakobsen about how the Danish band got started, their influences, and what direction they want to take the band.


J. Hubner: So who is in the band?

Kristoffer Ovesen: We started out as Mie Jakobsen, EmileLouise Nielsen and myself, but after finishing the tape Emilie unfortunately had to leave us, due to lack of time. Emilie and I have been playing together in various projects for more than ten years, and she has taught me almost anything I know about sound synthesis. I first saw Mie play at an art gallery where she and Jannik Juhl, (who produces under the name Giedo Primo, as well as runs the record-label Hamarplazt) were doing a couple of impro live shows.

J. Hubner: What other band s and projects are you two involved in? How did you get started in music?

Mie Jakobsen: For me everything started when I joined musician Ras Bolding on stage. Through him I met great friends including Kristoffer and Emilie. Emilie wrote me and asked if I wanted to be a part of an Italo Disco/synthwave/80’s music project, and since I’m a big fan of these genres, I couldn’t resist.

Kristoffer Ovesen: Besides Videodrones and Laserblast I’ve done two tapes of quite repetitive techno under the moniker Metis, as well as worked with Danish performance artist Tine Louise Kortermand on several projects and done chaotic industrial-acid-techno as a part of the duo Selvmordsskolen (The name being another movie reference, it’s the title of a weird Danish comedy from the 60’s and translates School of Suicide.)

J. Hubner:  Being quite familiar with Videodrones, Laserblast seems on a completely different music spectrum. Very 80s vibe. Has a synthwave feel, as opposed to the darker tones of your other work. Who are some of the influences on the new cassette release? At times I’m reminded a bit of contemporary artists like Com Truise, Nightsatan, and even Le Matos.

Kristoffer Ovesen: Yes, we definitely strived for a more romantic and uplifting feel, than what I’ve done earlier. For us to find some sort of common ground, I had to move into a (to me) new territory, a handful of early sketches I did for the project was actually turned down by Mie, as “sounding to much like a horror soundtrack” Ha! For me Tangerine Dreams 80’s soundtracks was a big influence while working on the tracks. Risky Business, Near Dark, Miracle Mile etc.

I really like a lot of new synthwave, the combination of modern software and production techniques together with the 80’s synth sound is very inspiring. When we got together for this project 6 months ago my initial plan was to tap into the more clubby sound of Kavinsky and Lifelike, inspired also by the italo-disco of Claudio Simonetti and likes (especially a lot of the soundtracks for Italian post-apocalypse and Mad max rip-offs. Great stuff!) Quite early the projected drifted into a dreamier territory, though. Probably due to the way I produce, more hardware, less software, a lot of the techniques to achieve the more modern aspect of the harder, pumping sound of Kavinsky for example acquires a lot of software use. Listening to the completed tape, French act College might be our closest reference on the contemporary synthwave scene.

Most importantly I think the artist mentioned helped pave the way for both Videodrones and Laserblast, in the sense, that had it not been for them (and Stranger Things and Refns Drive, of course), I’m not sure many would care about what we do. Right now, it seems like people have been “conditioned” to this sound, but I’ve got a chilling feeling, that 5-10 years from now, people will want some sort of glitched out digitally shit or uk-garagy chip-munk hell again. I’m just gonna jump the wagon while it lasts and exploit the fact that 20+ years of collecting and watching 70′ and 80’s exploitation/sci-fi/horror movies, finally has some sort of relevance outside of geeky collector circles and xeroxed fanzines (even though I love both!)

Mie Jakobsen: I’m probably the one who’s been dragging Kristoffer in a more funky direction. Besides the earlier mentioned bands an important influence for me is music I would enjoy listening to in an airplane, looking down at the clouds, or the great tunes that makes my bike ride just that more awesome.

J. Hubner: What’s the songwriting process like in Laserblast?

Kristoffer Ovesen: Most tracks started out as a very minimal sketch bye me. A beat, bass-line and maybe and arp or some chords. Mie and Emile would either make alterations or just play on top of that.

J. Hubner: Let’s talk gear. What hardware are you using in Laserblast?

Kristoffer Ovesen: We sequenced the synths from my PC in Reaper and recorded back and mixed in Reaper. All beats are sequenced and played from a Korg Electribe sampler. It’s kind of outdated, but it has been with me for a long time, and I sequence beats relatively fast using it. Most drum sounds were samples from the Akai XR10. Everything else is either the Roland HS-60 or my modular. I’m not into soft-synths, really. I dig the concept and the sounds, but the work process bores me. I like knobs, cables and sliders. Both Mie and Emilie used soft-synths while composing some of their parts, but those tracks were all re-recorded later using the before mentioned gear. I mixed the EP using a minimal of plugins. Just EQ, reverb and some delay. We were running a tight deadline, as Mie left for Australia in October, there was only 6 months between our first meeting and the finished tape, so things has been moving quite smoothly.

The guitar part on the last track of the tape, Videovold, was played and recorded by Jens Hollesen, guitarist of Danish heavy metal band Death Rides a Horse (yet another film reference) and was also the final track added to the mix. Jens knows his film history and is well into Jan Hammer and 80’s Tangerine Dream as well.

J. Hubner: I really dig the artwork on your new album. Was there a concept behind it? Who created it?

Mie Jakobsen: While Emilie and Kristoffer are the masterminds behind most of the sweet bass-lines and spacey leads, I’m the one who made the cover art. Using 80’s sci-fi cartoons, Blade Runner and of course the music vibe as inspiration, Kristoffer thought a robot/laser girl would do well on the cover. The original idea was to match the color of the tape and the cover, but since we couldn’t find a pink paper good enough, we tried out a few different other colors – which is also the reason why the tape comes with two covers (the lucky owner gets to choose for himself whatever is preferred.)

Kristoffer Ovesen: I’ve been into comics since I was a kid, especially what you would call “graphic novels”. Will Eisner, Richard Corben, Moebius, Milo Manara etc. Especially the more psychedelic, weird ones caught my attention from a very young age. We were well into recording the first tracks, when I first saw Mies drawings, but from that moment it was pretty clear to me, that she had to work out some sort of visual concept for the band. The girl on the cover, I imagine as some sort of intergalactic agent. She started out as a sketch, and since the completion of the tape Mie has been sending me more drawings of her, so we might end up developing some sort of concept/story around the character. It’s a great inspiration and I like to work with some sort of concept when producing, whether it be aesthetically, thematic or technical to give you some sort of direction or framework.

J. Hubner: Can you tell me about Interzone Tapes, the label you released the cassette on?

Kristoffer Ovesen: Interzone tapes is my own label. I started it in 2013, mainly as a vehicle for my techno stuff, but since then I’ve released a handful of other artists as well. It’s very DIY, I enjoy making everything myself, including xeroxing covers late at night at my girlfriend’s workplace or recording all the tapes myself on a Tascam double-deck. I do very limited runs (20-50 tapes) and have no professional distribution, as this was never intended to grow into a bigger label. I’d rather keep it small, and release whatever I want, whenever I want. I’m definitely not “label-boss material”, but running Interzone Tapes gives me a perpetual motivation for moving forward creatively.

J. Hubner: So do you record your albums to tape? Or do you record digitally then transfer to tape?

Kristoffer Ovesen: We record digitally. Working with a hardware only set-up for the sounds, the further addition of an analog stage didn’t seem necessary. I do drive the tape recorder into the red to add a bit of tape saturation/compression during the recording of the tapes on some releases. Mainly techno and harder material. The Laserblast tapes was recorded quite conservatively to preserve the dreamy qualities. I’m no tape expert, so all of this is also a bit of a trial and error process and might not all be according to the books….

J. Hubner:  I think the cassette is great. Much like listening to the darker synth stuff puts me back to watching late night horror as a kid, the Laserblast cassette is another nostalgic trip, albeit a much different one. More like Saturday morning cartoons and getting lost in the local arcade for hours. What is it about the neon 80s and synthwave that attracts you? Were either of you an 80s kids?

Mie Jakobsen: Actually, I wasn’t even born in the 80’s. To be honest I don’t know where my fascination of everything made before 2000 came from. Sometimes I believe I was born in the wrong time.

Kristoffer Ovesen: I was born in 78′, so I grew up on Robocop, Burton’s Batman, Terminator, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Beverly Hills Cop etc. To me the music of Laserblast is very much about the future I was promised through eighties pop-culture. A very escapist trip, to be honest. My childhood in the 80’s were filled with fear of environmental disaster and nuclear war on one side, while there was also a very optimistic, futuristic vibe in pop-culture on the other side. I remember the eighties as a time were looking like an android were something to strive for, a time were Grace Jones, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Brigitte Nielsen were perceived as aesthetic role models for looking like machines. Things were cool in the eighties. It was cool to be cool. I was not a cool kid, though, I just liked cool stuff….

J. Hubner: How do you think the age difference helps the working relationship between you two?

Kristoffer Ovesen: I think the big age difference between Mie and I has been very important for the outcome of the project. Not having experienced 80’s pop-culture in the same way as I, gives her a different, fresh perspective. Emilie is a bit younger than me and is very much inspired by videogame music and the fact that she was a part of the Danish demo-scene, when she was younger, but we also share a love for 80’s synth-pop and EBM.

J. Hubner: Do you two want to take Laserblast on the road?

Kristoffer Ovesen: No, live shows yet, but when Mie returns from down under we’ll get right on it. Playing live was on our minds from the beginning.

J. Hubner: You’ve put out a great debut cassette which is also available digitally. Any plans for a full-length LP?

Kristoffer Ovesen: Most definitely. We aimed for an album length, but at some point, we realized, that if we were to release anything before Mie left for Australia, it had to be EP length. That also means, that we had to leave a handful of tracks unfinished, tracks that should hopefully be the foundation of a full-length vinyl, but probably not on Interzone Tapes, I want to keep that as a tape-only label, as vinyl would require bigger runs and thereby the need for professional distribution, and I’m afraid the extra amount of work going into running a vinyl-label would have a negative impact on the amount of time I spend producing music. I admire people like Jonas Munk (of El Paraiso/Causa Sui) who can keep it all together, while remaining chill as fuck…..

Mie Jakobsen: The plan is to get some lyrics and vocals recorded as well. I will be more musically active on our future releases. Our badass little front-cover character has just made her debut. Great adventure is awaiting her..

J. Hubner: What’s lined up for the rest of 2017?

Kristoffer Ovesen: Videodrones are getting ready for our first live show in December and I’ve got a release with Danish synth/space/kraut collective Mentat coming out on Interzone tapes. Otherwise I’ll be working on some of our leftovers and unfinished tracks from the tape, and see what might fit a coming full-length Laserblast release.


Head over to Laserblast’s Bandcamp page and pick this one up right away. I’ve been filling my head with it all week and it gets better each time. You should also check out Kristoffer’s Interzone Tapes. He’s putting out some really great music, and in a very DIY way. Go see what he’s got for you over at their Discogs page and take a listen at the heady tones right here.

The Magic Of Possibilities : Sankofa and 100 Magnets

Last we heard of Stephen Bryden, aka Sankofa, he was releasing onto the world an excellent LP called Ink From Rust. When Bryden does something, musical or otherwise, he puts 110% in. There’s no half-assing it. I came to Sankofa kind of late, but when I did I was in. I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to hip hop, but I feel that I know great art when I see/hear it. Ink From Rust is damn great art, created at a very grounded level where even a novice like myself could appreciate the work put into it. From the album art, to videos, to the media roll out Bryden brought together a masterful crew of truly creative Fort Wayne folks(as well as the support from home) to make Ink From Rust‘s release not just an album release, but a real happening.

With that album’s release just a few months behind us I wasn’t expecting to hear from Bryden for a while longer, but after a run-in with a school toolbox inspiration hit and Sankofa was back at it and we now have 100 Magnets. 100 Magnets is a breezy and loose 6-track album that feels like an afternoon walk thru downtown in your favorite sneakers, or an after work game of basketball with some friends. It’s a quick fix to a lousy day. Something to get you out of the everyday doldrums, even if it’s just for the album’s quick run time.

I caught up with Bryden and we talked about the new record, its inspiration, and maybe even the possibility of a new Silversmiths album.


J. Hubner: You dropped the excellent ‘Ink From Rust’ back in March of this year, and now you’ve released another gem onto the world with the 6 song ‘100 Magnets’. How did this mini-album come together? What was the concept behind it? What’s the story behind the title?

Stephen Bryden: 100 Magnets was one of two projects I had in the conceptual works when all the pieces to make Ink From Rust synced up, landed in my lap, and demanded my complete attention, thus putting 100 Magnets and the next Silversmiths album (entitled Amplifier Skull) on the backburner. I started writing an explanation rap which I ended up not recording, but it was focused on the blending of the grateful, fortunate, content, and inquisitive.  There are 6 songs because the producer (J Dankworth out of LA) liked that number. As a nod to the past, it’s getting a 25 (orange) tape release. In recognition of the present, it’s also available on digital platform mainstays. 100 Magnets is named/designed after a little box I found in an abandoned old school toolbox. To me, the box called forth the magic of possibilities, as though it were the beginning of an adventurous children’s book.

J. Hubner: It’s got a very old school feel to it. Very upbeat songs and simple beats that just stay in your head long after the album is over. 

Stephen Bryden: This is my “inspired by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince” project, with nods to the way groups like The Nonce made me feel. This is a project where the focus is fun.

J. Hubner: The first video is for the great “Dad of the Year”. That video gets me every time, man. It’s just so earnest and heartfelt. Was the video your concept? Who helped bring it to life? 

Stephen Bryden: As is most often the case, there were lots of ideas, some of which may well appear in future efforts. Bambi (longtime family portrait shooter/rap video everything collaborator) shot/edited/everythinged the video. I wanted to include dads I knew and Bambi’s odometer tells the tale as to the precise count. I sent the lyrics to a bunch of dad’s I knew, told them the general idea, and asked if they’d like to participate. “Dad of the Year” is about the fallacy of perfection, especially as it relates to the incredible challenge of parenthood. Love is bonds infinity to the impossible, a glue which holds fast when times turn the the grim.

J. Hubner: Are you playing any shows to promote ‘100 Magnets’?

Stephen Bryden: No. I’m playing a Kickstarter backer party to celebrate the community achievement of Matthew Plett and Lissa Brown’s WunderKammer murals in addition to a WELT fundraiser in November, but it’s refreshing to just chill. The event was the video launch.

Photo by Bambi Guthrie

J. Hubner: I wanted to ask you about the show you did in Illinois back in August with Fort Wayne native and Big Jaw mastermind Clint Roth. How did that show come together? A Sankofa/Big Jaw joint show seems like the perfect match, actually. 

Stephen Bryden: Joel Frieders, a larger than life whirlwind of enthusiasm. I love Big Jaw’s music and he was in Chicago with work. He asked if I’d be interested in playing a show and if I knew anyone. I contacted Joel who set up the show at the Law Office Music Hall he helped open via his Ellemy development company. The show fell on the same night as the big hype money pay per view and was dead, but I had a blast.

J. Hubner: It seemed like ‘Ink From Rust’ was an album where you had a lot to say about what’s going on in the world, good and bad. But ‘100 Magnets’ seems very personal in a different way. 

Stephen Bryden: IFR was navel gazing, 100 Magnets is life. The older I get, the simpler my approach becomes. I try to stretch from the aspect of working on my craft, but I continue to seek to evolve to simplicity. Amplifier Skull is an entirely different tack.

J. Hubner: Amplifier Skull? Can you tell me more? 

Stephen Bryden: I could tell you where the title comes from, but it’s a lot iller sans context.  Our previous endeavors have included The Algol Paradox (prod. by ognihs) and A Tandem of Giants (prod. by Agent Orange).

J. Hubner: How does your work differ in the Silversmiths, as opposed to Sankofa? 

Stephen Bryden: The Silversmiths is the rapper half (JON?DOE and myself) of a one time team up of two producers (ognihs and Manic Depressive then operating under the moniker Suspended Animators) and said rapper guys. White Collar Criminals’ “Invest-Mentality” was the result of J?D and myself living for a week with ognihs and frequently visited by Manic Depressive. Lots of Dreamcast Soul Calibre was played and lasting friendships were made. JON?DOE and I still had the itch to make songs together, but didn’t want to do that whole “act with only half the original members” thing and thus was born the Silversmiths. We recorded an album entitled Ragnarock back in 2001 which didn’t see the light of day until muuuuch later. JON?DOE is one of my best friends and an amazing rapper, so our working together provides a boost to step up my craft that sometimes proves daunting. Said focus is why I’ve yet to record my share of our album-I want to make sure I am properly prepared and truly inspired when I record my mostly-written component.  JON?DOE and I are remarkably similar in the way our minds work, to the point he’s one of the few guys who has understood what I’m talking about, more from perspective than a vocabulary-based standpoint. J?D brings a level of musicality and elasticity to his rhyming which I can only dream of nearing.  Sometimes I’ve been asked who I could make songs with  and honestly, it’s my friends, friends like JON?DOE who is a master of his craft between juggling the rest of his life.  I love that dude.

To simply answer your question: Silversmiths work differs in that it is-at any given moment-much more focused, silly, conceptual, and bizarre than my solo endeavors.

 


If you haven’t yet downloaded 100 Magnets, head to https://sankofa.bandcamp.com/ put it in your ears. For you tape aficionados, there will be a 25 orange cassette release as well. Follow Sankofa on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sankofafw so you can grab a cassette(when they’re available) and to keep up with this prolific dude.

Maiof On Maiovvi : A Conversation With Composer Anton Maiof

I think it was close to two years ago I stumbled across a split single on the record label Foreign Sounds. It was a split between Slasher Film Festival Strategy and Antoni Maiovvi. I hadn’t heard either artist before but I was in the moment it started playing. I’m sort of into that whole horror/electronic/synth gumbo that these two were throwing my way on that 12″ vinyl so I was a fan immediately. I was especially struck by Maiovvi’s track “Psychic Driver”. Hypnotic melodies and a driving, electro disco beat gave you the feel of cruising down some desolate stretch of highway where you may never find your way back from.

I started digging into Maiovvi’s musical past and it seemed to be an endless list of albums, EPs, remixes, in varied degrees of Giallo, heavy synth, and Italio Disco for every day, mood, and psychic trauma. But who was this Antoni Maiovvi, really? I imagined a cross between Giorgio Moroder and Abel Ferrara, this music composer and producer who would only come out at night in a blaze of leather jackets, analog synthesizers, mysterious women in lanky dresses, and possible concealed weapons. Turns out that’s not the case. Antoni Maiovvi is the nom de plume of musician Anton Maiof. He’s not Italian, but a Brit raised in Bristol. Though, throw one of his records on and you’ll think you were in the midst of some serious Italian groove fest.

Maiof recently released an imagined film score called Cuckoo. It’s brilliant and seedy and all those things you want out of an imagined horror film score. I sat down and asked Anton a few questions. He was kind enough to answer them.


J. Hubner: Thanks for taking the time to talk. Let’s start at the beginning, where did you grow up? Was music a big part of your life even as a young boy growing up?

Anton Maiof: I was born and raised in Bristol in the South West of the UK. To be honest I wasn’t really interested in music until I was a teenager. I thought music was for pretty people and I thought music was pretty boring. Then I heard The Jesus Lizard and I realised that maybe things could be weird and I was very interested in it. 

J. Hubner: With your music being very cinematic, has film and cinema always been a big part of your life? Were you a horror film fan growing up? Who were some of your favorite directors?

Anton Maiof: I’d say I was more interested in movies than music growing up. Horror movies were something I had to become acclimatised to. But once the nightmares stopped I was hooked. Favourite directors would be Stanley Kubrick, William Friedkin, Paul Verhoeven, Robert Altman, Ken Russell, David Cronenberg, Shinya Tsukamoto, Karyn Kusama, and Shane Carruth.

J. Hubner: What was the first album you bought with your own money?

Anton Maiof: It was Kick by INXS on tape.

J. Hubner: When did you become interested in making music? What instrument did you start out playing? Did the synth music come later?

Anton Maiof: I started with guitar and piano, I would borrow things later. At a friend’s house his father had an old 4 track reel to reel so I taught myself to multitrack with that. Then eventually someone showed me how to record on a computer. By this point I could play guitar, keys and drums. The computer offered more possibilities, I got into sampling and eventually when soft synths started coming along I would mess around with them. Then I went to University to study music and that’s where I learned synthesis and some more advanced digital music techniques. It’s not that exciting a story. 

J. Hubner: What were some bands you were in before stepping out on your own?

Anton Maiof: I played in the noise rock group Geisha, we released 2 albums on the Maryland based freak metal label Crucial Blast and 1 on the great UK label Super-Fi. I had a solo project called My Ambulance Is On Fire which I made some weird CDRs. I played in a improv duo called Defibrillators with the very talented Seth Cooke. I played bass in a country band called Papa Molasses & The Dane County Paragons with Dan from Sex Swing. I also played guitar for my friend Rose Kemp. I played bass for Bronnt Industries Kapital and I played guitar in a Goblin cover band called Il Goblini. I also played in the noise group Menschenfliesch with Greg Godwin and Nick Talbot. Once in Europe I played in the noise groups Ultraspiecer, The Superusers and Kottbusserdamm Terror Corpse. I also played in the folk group The Cold Hand. I also play in a duo with Umberto called Law Unit.

J. Hubner: Before I knew that Antoni Maiovvi was a nom de plume I really did think you were a 50 year-old Italian music producer. A cross between Giorgio Moroder and Abel Ferrara. How did you come up with the name? Who or what was the inspiration behind the alter ego? Why not make music as Anton Maiof?

Anton Maiof: Maiovvi was the italianised version of Maiof. I was performing as Anton Maiof all over Berlin doing improvised guitar performances. It was fun.

J. Hubner: You have quite an extensive discography with a wide range of styles ranging from electro disco to more ambient, darker tones. What’s your writing process like? Do you go into the process with a definite idea, or do you let the muse take you where she may?

Anton Maiof: Sometimes I have an idea I want to try out. Sometimes I’m just messing around. The other day a chord pattern came to me in a dream and then I wrote a song about when David Bowie said the lord’s prayer at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert with it. 

J. Hubner: I first came across your work on the split you did with Slasher Film Festival Strategy. I absolutely loved “Psychic Driver”. Jumped into your world from there. Do you enjoy collaborations? Do you prefer working alone to working with other artists?

Anton Maiof: Yes I enjoy collaborations. I just like making music. 

J. Hubner: Speaking of collaborations, how do they work normally, using the Law Unit and SFFS collaborations for example. Is it strictly file sharing online or did you actually get together in the studio with Matt or Christopher respectively?

Anton Maiof: With SFFS we didn’t collaborate it was a split. Two tracks of his and one if mine. With Matt it was a little more complex. We started sharing files but then he came to stay with me in Madrid and we worked together in my living room in between movies and cocktails.

J. Hubner: You released two film scores this year, one for a real film and for one imagined. Can you tell me about the “Karakura Orchestra” on ‘Abdullah’? What was the writing and composing process like on that project?

Anton Maiof: Technically three as Thug also came out this year. But that is an aside. Abdullah’s music existed before the film, it was my attempt at making a sort of techno out of Turkish folk music that I recorded with this radio that Milo Smee AKA Bintus who runs Power Vacuum gave me for my birthday. The radio I named “The Karakura Orchestra”. Karakura being a Turkish sleep demon. So they edited the picture to those tracks and then I edited the tracks to make the soundtrack more graceful.

J. Hubner: Your most recent release was the imagined film score ‘Cuckoo’. What was the concept behind that album? Who or what were inspirations for this album? It’s a great record, btw.

Anton Maiof: Thank you. I was living in Berlin and it had been a few years since I worked on a film soundtrack, I was a little bit frustrated by that, so I thought I’d do another record of the kind of soundtrack that I like. So there are shades of Giallo, Maniac and Nightmare On Elm Street. I tried to arrange the album so there is a narrative. The title I had for many years. I was supposed to do it as a record for Seed who released three of my albums before, Bruce really does believe in me and I appreciate it. I failed him by not making it sooner.

Sorry Bruce. 

J. Hubner: Is film scoring something you’d like to do on a more full time basis? You seem to have a knack for creating cinematic music. Yellow is one that I revisit quite often.

Anton Maiof: Yes these days I’m more interested in making film scores, I find it the most rewarding part of my career. I recently did the score for Can Evrenol’s Housewife. Though I have started enjoying DJing a bit more recently, but I am playing mostly italo and “fun” music these days. 

J. Hubner: Are there any recent records, films, books, or shows that you’ve been getting into? Anything inspiring? 

Anton Maiof: I saw an amazing film recently called ‘Valerie & Her Week Of Wonders’ which has an amazing score also. I also enjoyed the last Com Truise album and the recent Drab Majesty album and the last Boy Harsher album. 

J. Hubner: Are you doing any touring to promote ‘Cuckoo’? 

Anton Maiof: No traditional touring, but I have a band now. We will perform some it live.

J. Hubner: What are you working on next? Anything you can share? 

Anton Maiof: At the moment I have found myself writing songs again and I am close to finishing an album.

J. Hubner:  What is one album that you think everyone should own? And why?

Anton Maiof: Scott Walker’s The Drift because it is a tough listen but rewards those who are willing to put time to invest and revisit. It is also a wonderful piece of work. 


Head over to Data Airline’s Bandcamp page and give Cuckoo a listen. It’s brilliant heavy synth electronica. And check out Antoni Maiovvi’s Bandcamp page and clear about a day to indulge in those heady tunes. 

Sonic Terror : Inside The Heady Sounds of Videodrones

Videodrones is a synth duo from Denmark. What they create are the sounds of dread, doom, darkness, and those things that go bump in the night. They summon the spirits of Popol Vuh, Fabio Frizzi, Bobby Beausoleil; as well as countless soundtracks to late night horror films you watched growing up(especially if you grew up in the 80s and with local late night television at your disposal.) There’s a sickly sweet and queasy vibe to Videodrones. There’s the horror and Gothic vibe for sure, but they aren’t creating “spooky” sounds for the hell of it. There’s a purpose to their pulsating, modular madness. There’s also a serious improvisational spirit with the sound band members Jakob Skott and Kristoffer Ovesen create. It’s just the nature of synthesizers to make weird, “far out” sounds. But what these two do is take it to a new level. Obviously inspired by both synth artists and old VHS tapes filled with schlock horror films and exploitation trash(the best kind of trash), these two are taking Komisch and Berlin School noisemaking to new heights here.

For me personally, I listen to both last year’s excellent Mondo Ferox and their brand new(and equally excellent) record Nattens Hævn and I’m pulled into another place and time. I’m reminded of late night viewings with the lights off and everyone else sound asleep. But it’s not what I saw that stayed with me when I finally laid my head down to sleep, but what I heard. The music that accompanied the horror on screen. The synth-driven scores would echo in my head; square wave’s bashing on the walls of my skull as syncopated rhythms became in sync with my own bewildered heartbeat. Videodrones capture that spirit of music for me. They capture those childhood memories and add to them. They create their own sonic world of musical introspection and let you walk into these bubbly landscapes(at your own peril, of course.)

I sat down and talked with Jakob and Kristoffer about Videodrones, their influences, and their love of sonic mayhem.


J. Hubner: So tell me about the idea behind Videodrones. How did this project get started? Have you and Kristoffer Ovesen worked together prior to Videodrones?

Jakob Skott: We started simply by having a long overdue jam-session. Just a fun day of noodling with our synths. That’s where about 90% of the first album was recorded. The day we were working on it, the ideas just got better and better, and we recorded hours and hours, and it became more and more cinematic – which is probably no coincidence, because when we were younger we’d watch movies for hours from Ovesen’s vast VHS-collection. So we edited it in that style sort of reimagining the jams into something more cohesive – but it wasn’t something we’d really talked about ahead of it: “hey, let’s do a tribute album to all the movies we love” – it was way looser than that, without any real starting point and we didn’t figure out the name until we worked on the cover and titles. So the whole thing kind of just fell into place.

Kristoffer Ovesen: We’ve always had very similar film taste, so our friendship was always more about movies, than music. Although we had one or two jam-sessions about ten years ago, the day we got together to record the first album was the first time we ever got serious about making something coherent together. We’ve discussed films, and film-scores so many times before, that we didn’t really need to plan which direction to go. I think we both knew what kind of sound was common ground for us. I could elaborate some kind of grand idea, but it would all be something cooked up afterwards. It just kind of happened, really, without us ever discussing a greater concept. I think we might have discussed a bit more doing the second album, talking about which direction to go, referencing both the first album and other artists. But to say we had a plan beyond jamming might be stretching it….

J. Hubner: You two capture a very unique musical sound on both the debut album ‘Mondo Ferox’ and the newest record Nattens Hævn. Who or what are some key inspirations and influences going into the writing for Videodrones?

Jakob Skott: Like Ovesen says, I think we’ve pondered over these things for so many years that it’s embedded deeply into both of us – so to untangle it seems impossible. However I really do feel that the fascination of genre-movies from the 70s and 80s gets stronger and stronger. Directors like Jess Franco, Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci & John Carpenter – the sheer WILL needed to create their works – under B-movie exploitation standards, they managed to make their movies soar. Furthermore they were all directors working in unison with a composer in a small cluttered home-studio – like Abel Ferrara & Joe Delia or John Carpenter & Alan Howarth. It was one of the things we talked about: Not killing the music in post-production, but rather letting it breathe – as some dude who’s been painstakingly arranging his music to the cues would: just leaving a single stringer note there for suspense…

Kristoffer Ovesen: I was always more into electronic, jazz or rock scores, than orchestral soundtracks. Goblin, Tangerine Dream, Fabio Frizzi, John Carpenter etc. The major influence of film-scores was allowing us to make small mood-pieces, instead of just full blown traditional compositions. The freedom to explore a single idea or mood, without the need of letting it go further. I enjoy listening to soundtracks because of those small pieces of psychedelic suspense-inducing freakouts, as much as the more elaborated “theme tracks”.

J. Hubner: Did you grow up gorging your brain on 70s and 80s horror movies? What was a trip to the video store like in Denmark growing up?

Kristoffer Ovesen: I grew up in small town where the local supermarket had a video rental section, just next to the newspapers and cigarettes. My mom used to drop me off in front of the shelves, and I would contemplate what was behind the strange artwork and punchline on the boxes while she was shopping. We never had a TV set during my childhood, so the rental stores were mostly just some weird display of inaccessible wonders for me. I became obsessed with videotapes during my childhood and i bought a television and a VCR and began collecting horror movies as soon as I could afford it. A lot of the classic Eurotrash and exploitation were available on Danish rental tapes in the 80’s and tapes could be rented not only in rental stores, but gas stations and supermarkets often had a small rental section too. You could find stuff like Cannibal Holocaust, Tenebre, City of the Living Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc. I guess it was the same as in the US or UK, but we did never have censorship like in UK or Germany. Although I did spend some time at university reading about more conventional stuff, I consider fanzine-reading and watching Dutch bootlegs of Jess Franco and Lucio Fulci movies as my real film-education….

J. Hubner: Can you tell me a little about how you two write in Videodrones? Do you get together and just start making sounds, or do you have motifs you work off of?

Jakob Skott: I have one secret weapon, which is a special way of doing live sequencing – I use the same figure at different speeds and in different variations for each voice in the track. So basically every figure is very similar to, say, the bass. It can be reversed or permuted, but it’s the same scale and basic figure that creates all the sounds. It also turns out very massive, and you can jam with 4 different polyphonic voices changing keys at the same time. It allows for vivid improvisation, but also creates a lot of great variation and motifs popping in and out of nowhere – as opposed to most other synth-jams where you usually just run an arpeggiator through chords. That’s one essential thing about this project: it’s born through improvisation – even when it doesn’t sound like it.

Kristoffer Ovesen: I used a two voice modular systems for both albums. Jakob would feed us different sequences, as described above, and the actual “writing” didn’t go much further on my behalf than “could you make that sequence faster” or “could you reverse/transpose that sequence”. I would have three or four sequences that I would feed to different voices, sometimes using a polyphonic sequence that I would split up into two or more monophonic voices. The approach was very minimalistic, allowing a maximum of freedom to improvise, without losing too much structure. The modular system also allows me to split gate and pitch signal, hence use the rhythm of one sequence together with the pitch of another sequence to create a third variation.

J. Hubner: How long does it take usually to build up enough material for an album? Is there an extensive editing process that goes with these records? The albums are so well sequenced, and everything seems to bleed perfectly into the next piece. I imagine the mixing/editing/sequencing is just as big a part of each record as creating the sounds.

Kristoffer Ovesen: Both albums were basically cut from a one-day jam, but on Nattens Hævn we recorded more tracks afterwards, than on the first album. The editing and mixing, all done by Jakob, is essential to the sound. He sends me tracks while he mixes and I sometimes record extra sequences, but all the hard work of listening through hours of endless noodling around is done by him. Both albums were actually completed quite fast, as we talked about not overdoing the post-production.

Jakob Skott: Yeah, I try to keep it fresh. The first one I think I spent no more than a few hours mixing each track. Just really cropping out huge parts and reassembling hours worth of jams – folding the layers on top of each other and immediately sending the highlights to Ovesen – trying to decipher whenever something interesting was happening. For the latest one, I spent a bit more time – and it has more depth simply because it’s mixed better – adding stuff and automating a lot of effects, pitching and tweaking as well. But still with a sketch-like mood in mind. I try to empathise the weird coincidences, sudden shifts and dropouts, rather than edit them out.

J. Hubner: With the albums, from the titles to the names given to the songs, it feels like there’s a definite theme on these albums. Do you go into these with a direction? Are you writing as if you’re composing for a film? Do you go so far as to come up with an idea for an imagined film and write around that idea?

Kristoffer Ovesen: Not really. There was never a real concept behind it, it was more an extension of watching and discussing movies. We did joke around with different fictive titles during coffee-breaks between jams, though. Some too offensive to mention…. Some track titles might be referencing a certain movie, some just a feeling, but as said before, there’s not much of a finished story  going on. It’s all just a product of our shared memory bank of psychotronic cinema, I guess.

Jakob Skott: I’m very happy that we didn’t settle on the “lost movie” theme – it’s just everywhere – it’s weird. I remembered we did the first album in May last year, and in June when Stranger Things popped up on Netflix, I watched it and thought “holy shit, this synthwave soundtrack-thing is going to explode – I need to hurry up and finish this album”. Well then it kind of happened ten-fold. But I think our inclination towards more weirded out stuff sets it apart enough to keep it fresh – at least I hope that’s how it works to the listener – maintaining a rougher edge through that whole improv-aspect. I’m as inspired by modern electronic music as by the grand synth-maestros – stuff like Autechre still sounds almost as fresh as when I first heard them 20 years ago, and I try to channel that ethos as well.

J. Hubner: Can you tell me what’s some of the go-to instruments Videodrones uses to make albums? It all has a bubbly analog warmth to it. Do you record to tape or is that aesthetic created in the engineering and mastering side of things?

Kristoffer Ovesen: I use a Eurorack modular system and a Roland HS-60, and some effect pedals. While jamming we record onto separate tracks on Jakobs computer, allowing him to mix and edit the tracks afterwards. I think the “warmth” is partly a result of Jakob not overdoing it in the mixing process, but the mastering Jonas did for us was definitely the final touch. Just like The Dude’s rug, it really ties it all together.

Jakob Skott: We use all kinds of stuff – there’s tons of digital stuff in there as well – we’re not purists, but use the best of all ages. Ovesen’s modular has a lot of really noisy and weird filters – for the stuff he puts out on Interzone Tapes – I used wavetable-synthesizer, as well as the analogues – there’s even an Ipad in there. But usually with some sort of analogue pre-amp or drive boost at the end of the chain to warm things up. I actually tend to make my mixes too dark, so Jonas actually adds some sizzle (which tape will absolutely not do) as well as ties the low-ends together – by using some hardware compressors, etc. So he adds definition to our blurriness – I’m always really happy with that, because in the end it has tons of murky vibe, but still packs a good punch.

J. Hubner: If you could only choose one, who’s a director that had the most influence on you growing up? Was there a film that affected you more than others?

Kristoffer Ovesen: That’s a tough question, different directors through the years, of course, but i think George Romero, David Lynch and Tim Burton were some of the first directors I were into in my early teens. I guess the film(s) that kicked of my interest in horror movies was the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. I watched most of them one summer night when I was 13 and it had a profound impact on me. I think being a horror-buff grew into some kind of identity for me, and to this day I like to see myself as a horror/exploitation collector/expert more than a musician, actually. The first time I remember noticing how different a film score could be done must have been watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Argento’s Profondo Rosso. Especially the pounding prog/synth scores of Goblin still resonates in my brain whenever I turn on my synths.

Jakob Skott: Right now, finishing Twin Peaks: The Return I feel inclined to say Lynch as well. I watched the first Twin Peaks series when I was about 11 or 12 – needless to say, Killer Bob has caused a fair share of night terrors for me. I also remember watching Lost Highway when I was about 17 – yet another crucial turning point: watching a world of cinema you thought you knew and understood just literally go up in smoke in front of your eyes. And of course the outer-worldly role of music in his films. The way they’re not bound to regular structures, but invents their own deeper and more emotional logic – that’s very inspiring. And this new 18 hour opus is just as heavy. I’m blown away – the old weathered faces – and also that he’s not keeping it very clean stylistically – just messing up with poor video-effects, style changes in every scene. Zero fucks given to his own legacy – that’s awesome!

J. Hubner: Can we count on more from Videodrones? If there was a once-a-year release I’d be perfectly happy with that.

Jakob Skott: The first session we had at my apartment – the 2nd was at the Studio where Causa Sui records, so I played all of Jonas Munk’s synth gear. We had a third session a few months ago, but I actually haven’t listened to it yet – that was at Ovesens place in the country side. So sure, we have to finish the trilogy just like any good movie-franchise…

Kristoffer Ovesen: What he said….

J. Hubner: So what’s on the horizon for El Paraiso Records? What musical tricks do you guys have up your sleeve for us? I’m asking so I know just how much money I need to start putting back.

Jakob Skott: Ha, sure – there’s a lot of stuff in the pipeline. I’ll give you the first 3: New Causa Sui studio album, New Mythic Sunship – and Nicklas from Papir is doing a follow-up to his first solo album. All moving up to a new level and all currently being printed. The X-mas LPs are already causing really long delays at the printers, so we’ll probably have to wait til next year. But will be worth the wait! Our best stuff yet to come!


A trilogy of Videodrones, new Causa Sui, Mythic Sunship, and Nicklas Sorensen. The future’s so bright I’ve gotta wear shades. You should wear shades, too. And grab Videodrones’ Nattens Hævn over at El Paraiso Records.