Friday, January 31, 2014

Interview with Surachai

After a sort of externally-enforced sabatical, I've made my return to catching concerts as often as possible. I got to see a couple great shows this week. Unsurprisingly, they've been two of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in a while. This weekend is an extension of that, as I'm trying to catch Earring/Magical Beautiful/Tim Kinsella/Talsounds on Friday at Observatory Studios and Sin Orden/Acidic Tree/Earth Girls/Cabeza Twins at the Engine House on Saturday. Monday will continue this lineage with Youth Code/Coming/Surachai/Auditor at Cobra Lounge. It's a ripper of a show. I picked up a copy of Surachai's To No Avail at Permanent Records a couple weeks back and really enjoyed it. I then listened to Embraced immediately after and was a big fan of that as well.

It's a bit of a black metal hybrid. There's a lot going on from the texturization to the ebb and flow of songs. I reached out to Surachai to see if he'd like to do an interview in lieu of the show. He said "sure" and so we got on our way with this little shindig.

The Surachai website (listed in the interview) is really thorough with everything. It's basically like a bunch of documents/documentaries (almost a dossier) of Surachai activity. The website pretty much has the answers to the questions that I asked and anything else to be honest, including a ton of detail on the recording processes of Surachai recordings. That said, it was great to hear that Surachai was recording a sort of minimal synth album, which I'm really stoked to hear. In addition, they will be performing a set more along those lines on Monday.

Jordan: What all have you released? 

Surachai: Surachai releases are catalogued at an at

J: How do you decide with whom you're going to work when you do collaborations or split releases?

S: Never done a split. Collaborations happens when you appreciate the human aspect of a person foremost and their musical abilities second.

J: What was the process of making To No Avail? How did you write and record that album?
S: Alone.

J: Surachai in the past has been a one-man band. How did you decide to have a band featured on the recording of Embraced? And how was the experience?

S: This whole process was documented here:

J: Do you play live much? Do you play as one person or have a band play with you? Do you like to play live?

S: Playing out is rare. Usually for friends in town. I've always played solo and it feels cheap using a laptop for backing tracks. Never considered playing with a live band as that involves time and resources I don't have. 

J: Are there any bands or artists in Chicago that you particularly like? Anyone that you enjoy playing with?

S: There are tons of musical acts in Chicago I love. Too many to list.

J: You're playing a show with Youth Code at Cobra Lounge. Can you tell me a little bit about that? How did you get in touch with Youth Code?

S: A friend asked if I was interested, apparently he knows them or their manager. I said I'm working on minimal electronics/ noise projects and a metal performance is not possible. They said "perfect" and I got an email saying in scheduled to open. Really excited to see those two tear it up.

J: Have you been listening to anything in particular lately?

S: has a few massive lists of my favorite stuff from 2013/2012

J: What all is in the future of Surachai?

S: There is a new minimal electronics album coming out this year on a new label my friend Drumcell and I are starting. The album was created entirely on one synth called the Cwejman S1 mkII. The album is called RITUAL // Cwejman. The label will be called BL_K NOISE. 

J: Anything else you'd like to say?

S: Thanks for the interview. Catch you at the show hopefully.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Interview with Zach Robinson of D/A/D

I bought the D/A/D album The Construct on a whim. It was released on a great label, Hausu Mountain, run by Doug and Max from Good Willsmith and I always figure it doesn't hurt to buy a cassette. A tape is a tape. It's generally worth a cheap purchase and a listen. At the time I listened to the album (and still I suppose), I had been reading a bunch of 20th century Japanese lit - Yukio Mishima, Junichiro Tanizaki, Kenzaburo Oe. During my initial listen, however, I was reading a great book put out by Duke University press called Japanoise, which talked about the transnational cassette trade sparked by Japanese noise output and North American curiosity. At one level, it seemed appropriate because of an industrial fetishization of Japanese culture that results in fictitious cities like the Neotokyo of Blade Runner or Stephenson's Snow Crash - a concentration on technology and its impact. And then, of course, there was the fact that I was listening to a cassette.

Having recently been listening to a bunch of Japanoise like Hijokaidan, Merzbow, MSBR, and more, D/A/D's pleasant sound was a bit of a change, but a more than welcome one. The Construct seems like a forgotten 1980s relic. Parts of it sound like a John Carpenter movie and parts of it sound like J-pop. It's happy music though, which is somewhat novel to me if I'm serious. It's also different than anything that I had been used to hearing from music in 2013.

The project is made by Zach Robinson who describes D/A/D as "Channeling the 1980s through cyberspace exploration and sonic synthesis." It is a totally appropriate description of the music and ideology. You can read more about the project on D/A/D's FACEBOOK PAGE.

Zach also recently released a music video, which can be seen HERE. It's a really fun video of some alien humanoids who enjoy jetskis and tropical fun!

D/AD has recently been featured on NPR as one of the best cassette releases of 2013 and I couldn't agree more.

Jordan: Does D/A/D stand for anything? How did you decide on the name?

Zach: It originally didn't stand for anything. A friend of mine told me I should name it that, haha. It's very random but I never thought this project would pick-up in any capacity so I didn't think too much about the name. About two years after I started, I retroactively made it stand for "Day After Discovery" in order to optimize my Googleability. I ended up hating that and went back to plain old D/A/D! Pronounced DEE-AY-DEE, by the way.

J: Your music seems inspired a lot by the 80s and also a sort of textured playful machinery. Is that on purpose? What inspired it?

Z: Absolutely. D/A/D is indeed heavily inspired by the music, pop culture, aesthetics, and attitudes of the 1980s. My goal was never to straight-up imitate sounds from this decade though, I've always strived to create my own sound while paying deep homage to the '80s. I don't remember exactly why I started to create this music, but I think it was because it's full of such bright and vivid imagery. I work best with visuals and the 1980's are an endless source of them.

J: What was the process of making The Construct like? How long did it take? Where did you record it?

Z: "The Construct" took around three years for me to finish, and it was recorded mostly in my home(s), one in Chicago while I was studying in school and one at home in LA. The idea for the album itself came pretty late in the game. I had about seven songs completed needing a home and since I had never released a full length album, it made sense to put one together.

J: The song "Love Will Make You Stay" is a little bit different than the other songs on "The Construct" - it has vocals. How did that song come about?

Z: That song was about an inch away from being released as an instrumental and I'm so glad that didn't happen. My pal Charlie (USA Gold) had shown me a track he was working on by himself. We ended up finishing the track together and I knew it needed some vocals but I was impatient and wanted to release the song anyways. Luckily, I had met Sharaya at a bar in Silverlake where I frequent karaoke and when I listened to her music I knew she was the one to take it to a whole other level. The original track was called "Neural Highway" but after she added her lyrics, it changed to what it is now. It was an awesome collaboration and I could not be happier with the end product.

J: Do you get to play live much? Do you have any plans to play live?

Z: I play usually once a month, maybe once every two months. I love playing live and I wish I did it more often but I don't have too much time. I'm playing my first show in San Francisco at DNA lounge next month which I can't wait for. If I can get time off from work at some point, I'd love to tour!

J: What all is in the future for yourself and D/A/D?

Z: For now, I'm just focusing on my career in film music. I'd like to release another D/A/D album soon, but I said that back in 2010 and it took me up until last summer to deliver on that. I do have some secret, rather ambitious plans that I'm not ready to talk about yet though, haha!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Interview with Tobias Strahl of Dies Natalis

Dies Natalis is a German folk band that has been making music since 1998. They had been on hiatus since their last recording 2008. Recently, however, the band has been writing and recording with a new album in mind as the ultimate goal. To me, as a fairly new neofolk listener, Dies Natalis is a somewhat enigmatic, mysterious band. Until recently, they had very minimal online presence, outside of a dated Myspace page and a profile on Discogs. But I was entranced by their album Tristan, a full-length recording from 2003. Until the band created a page on FACEBOOK, I had no idea on how to learn more about them.

My friend Jeffrey Cornille gave me Tristan as part of an impressive grab-bag - it was sort of a baptismal group of recordings that helped introduce me to a lot of groups with whom I was unfamiliar. He gave me my first Der Blutharsch recording, my first Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio recording, my first Ain Soph recording, and a bunch of other fantastic goodies. Tristan has been the one that I listen to with the most regularity. I pop it in after I shower before falling asleep. It's soothing to me and has been a constant companion on the nightly path to the land of nod.

I got in touch with them kind of on a whim and Tobias was really friendly. He made sure first that there were no fascist, racist, or otherwise dodgy tendencies in my blog. Being a verifiable racial mutt, I told him that I was just an apolitical fan of music and figured it would be a great fit for the blog. He explained that he had had "special" encounters with other blogs and just wanted to make sure. I appreciated his honesty and candidness.

This is going to be a big year for neofolk with Sol Invictus and Current 93 releasing albums. Dies Natalis, for me, is right up there with those big guns in terms of output and it's my absolute pleasure to feature them on the blog.

Jordan: Who all is in Dies Natalis? When did you guys form a band?

Tobias: The first formation of Dies Natalis had four members. Norbert Strahl (my cousin), Alexander Meier, Mario Krieg an me, Tobias Strahl. As time went by, we had some differences. I think that was quite a normal process. One album just Alex and me recorded (The bright and the pure), on another one Alex was not taking part. As I moved house to another region of Germany, Sylvia Schmidt (she is now a jazz singer in Great Britain) joined for "The Phoenix Contradiction". Alex and me now have started again recoding together the new album which will be called "Men of War". I never took that question very seriously. We are not professionals, we have to work, we move house, we have good and bad days. Meanwhile we all are on an average standard in making music. Who has capacities in time, a sound level of creativity and a minimal ability to play an instrument, is invited to join Dies Natalis. So far, I was the only consistent member of Dies Natalis. At the moment I am enjoying to work with Alexander a lot. He has an enormous creative potential, he is much more professional than I am and he is great in producing and in the studio.

J: Have you guys played in other bands before?

T: Alexander played in a lot of different bands. He has a great spectrum of music he likes and he plays a variety of instruments. I am the more simple-minded one in the band. I play my guitar, a Bodhran (a celtic/britain drum). I only played in an Irish Folk formation called "Auld Mills Inn" with some friends and for some friends at campfires in my vacations.

J: What all have you guys released as a group?

T: We started with a tape back in 1998. It was called as far as I can remember "Ein Wanderer also am Ende seiner Reise". In 1999 we released the first vinyl "Raunen". In 2001 came the first full time album, a cd by the name "Vom Gedanken und der Einnerung". 2003 we released another cd "Tristan". In 2005 came another vinyl by the name of "The bright and the pure". In 2008 we released "The Phoenix Contradiction", another full time cd. Beside that we contributed to a couple of compilations.

J: How would you describe the sound of your music? Does anything in particular inspire your music?

T: I would describe the music we play as folk with a bit of rock and some experimental parts. It is quite simple. We are looking for melodies. No big deal. I come from folk music, definitely. Alexander has, due to his personal preferences, a variety of influences in his ideas reaching from hardcore, punk and metal to movie soundtracks. He listens a lot and he knows much more than he would tell.

J: What sorts of topics and ideas are part of your lyrics? How important are lyrics?

T: Lyrics are most important for us. It is the old question in arts: form and content. If you do not find an appropriate form, content barely matters. If you do not find a controversial content, the beautiful but naked form will get boring soon. Put a nice dinner in a mixer and try to serve the results the women/man you adore on your first evening and you will know how important formalities are. Try to sell a pot of hot water as a soup and you on the other hand will know how important content is. That is the simple philosophy behind our songs. They deal, due to personal experiences, with the topic of war, death, time. But also with the beauty of the world, which lies in the details, in certain moments. The contrast makes the image. But there are in no way invented (in respect to the content). You would feel the lack of credibility very soon.

J: You guys have been on a hiatus for a while but it looks like you're recording again. Why did you guys stop recording for a bit? What made you guys decide to record now?

T: As I said, we are no professionals. We make our living with other things. Alexander is a sound-engineer, I am art historian. He has to produce a lot of different bands and music, I have to research, write and publish. Our own music makes for us a kind of a lifetime project. Our technical skills improve or get worse, our personalities transform, music to us is like a certain diary in some way. For me it was always important to have the people I know and admire in the records. Some artist we know and like made our artworks for the former releases. For the "Phoenix Contradiction" I travelled constantly between Germany and Portugal to record with different friends here and there. If we had a break for a couple of times, it was because everybody needed it. We argued with each other, we were unsatisfied with each other and/or with ourselves, I had deployments to Kosovo and Afghanistan, Alex was touring with some bands, we did something else. In the end, all we did was music in the result as we understand music as a center of gravity in our lives.

J: Did you all play music at all during the hiatus?

T: More or less. That means: Alex more and me less. As i said before, Alex is a musician through and through. I am more of the travelling kind playing sometimes rough-and-ready songs.

J: How do you guys write a song? Are there specific songwriting roles?

T: No, not really. At the moment Alexander is very proactive. He found some lovely tunes on their basis I wrote some lyrics. Sometimes it is the other way round. We have no fixed roles.

J: Are there any plans for you guys to tour?

T: Not yet, no. There is always an obstacle which consists in the complicated relation of time and money. But maybe you can solve that problem

J: When you're recording now, are you doing so with the idea of an album in mind?

T: Of course. Every record of Dies Natalis has a concept. You can dig a while and find something new.

J: Are there any bands or artists that you particularly like right now? Or anything that you guys have been listening to much lately?

T: Yes. From Punk to classic, everything. I adore Calexico, especially "Algiers" which is an incredible album. I relatively late discovered PJ Harvey as a kind of a personal goddess. "Let England shake" is a marvelous album. Johnny Cash is like a constant murmur in the back of my head. A bit Eddie Vedder, a pinch of Manu Chao, to je to, that's it pretty much.

J: What sorts of literature do you guys like?

T: Oh, we don't read too much. Paragraphs don't do well for the brain.
J: What all are your plans for the future?
T: Proceeding with "discovering ourselves" because We've been told repeatedly that there is nothing new for us to discover in men; but it has certainly not been discovered everything what is in men." (André Gide, European Considerations).
J: Anything else you'd like to say?
T: Thank you for your interest in our music and our personal views. Many greetings to you, your readers and all of our friends.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Interview with Nicktape from Coke Bust

I first heard Coke Bust while eating some pizza at Swerp Mansion (while it existed) a while ago. One of the dudes who lived there just put it on and it was awesome. When I was a beer salesman, I used to drive around and listen to Coke Bust's record Lines in the Sand because I always seemed to be angry at bar owners, who are often the scum of the earth and hearing some more anger was really therapeutic for me.

I finally got to see the band last year at the Coach House when they played with Culo, which was a great show. Coke Bust knows how to play a lot of different styles of hardcore, which makes for an exciting pit and also for exciting records. At the show, I got to pick up a tour-only copy of Confined, which was supposed to come out a little bit afterwards and it blew me away. It's a seamless record. But saying that is almost a cheapening of the flow so I'm going to expand upon it a little bit. When I listened to it, I definitely thought that the whole record was recorded in one take. Parts come and go effortlessly, which is something of a rarity in a hardcore record.

I don't know how many times I listened to "Sent in Circles," though. That song blew my fucking mind. And hearing the lyrics saying "we need a fucking change" before ending with "we're sent in fucking circles" made a lot of sense to me. It's a bit of world weary exegesis on pretty much anything. I could apply it to so much that was going on in my life.

In addition, I've become straight edge since the new year, so it had real-life application to me. It's a reminder of what needed to change in my life, so on a personal note, thanks Coke Bust (who are a straight edge band.)

You can check them out on FACEBOOK or see their WEBSITE or listen to them on spotify. But seriously, buy a damn record.

Jordan: Who all is in Coke Bust? When did you guys start? How did you guys know each other? What made you decide to start a band?

Nick: Coke Bust is Me (Nicktape), Jubert (Bass), James (Guitar) and Chris (Drums). Chris and I started the band in 2006, after being friends since about 2002. Our old high school bands used to play together and we grew up in the same suburb of DC. We wanted to start a fast straight edge hardcore band. Two of the members ended up leaving, but they got replaced by James (someone else we grew up playing music with in high school) and Jubert (a younger dude who we saw at lots of shows).

J: Has the lineup changed at all?

N: Yes, we replaced Jeremy and Parsons when they both quit.

J: When you think of Coke Bust, what adjectives would you use to describe the band? Are there any central ideas that end up making it on each song or release?

N: From a musical standpoint, "fast, energetic, independent." Lyrical, "therapeutic." There isn't really a set of rules or central ideas. We just do what feels right, as vague as that sounds.

J: How does a Coke Bust song get made? Is there a central songwriter? Does each person make their own part?

N: Typically, James or Jubert will come to practice with a set of riffs. We'll jam them out and then we will go around the room and say "I like X and Y but maybe we can add Z." Sometimes we trash the songs. Sometimes we end up re-working the songs so much that they sound nothing like they did when they were just a set of riffs. Each person makes their own part, but we are all pretty open to different ideas. For example, Chris (our drummer) wrote a riff. I sometimes suggest ideas for crazy drum shit. Jubert (bass) has written guitar parts, and everyone at some point has given me cool ideas for vocal arrangements. 

J: Similarly, how do you know when a Coke Bust song is done?

N: Once we jam it out and it's done we all kinda just know. There have been some times when we've gone back weeks later and said, "ya know... that one song... I think it could use something." So maybe it's not done until it's recorded? Haha.

J: How has the songwriting process changed throughout Coke Bust's existence? Or rather, has it changed at all?

N: I think it's changed for the better in the past couple of years with James in the band as our guitar player. The song writing process is much more democratic, free and there is kind of an unspoken "don't get your feelings hurt" rule that we sort of have. It works out well. Maybe it's just the fact that we've been doing this for so long?

J: What topics do you like to cover lyrically? Are there any consistent themes in terms of lyrics? (if you think you covered this in the above question, you can skip - i'm just a lyrics dude since I was an english major haha)

N: I just tend to write lyrics about things that are stressing me out or things that I feel like I need to get off my chest. That's really the only inspiration for the lyrics. There might be some constant themes, but ultimately it all just come from my anxiety!

J: You guys have been with Grave Mistake Records for a bit now - how has that been? Have you worked with other labels?

N: We have worked with other labels and I wouldn't say that we've ever really had a bad experience (aside form a tape that came out in Southeast Asia) working with labels. For the most part every label we've ever worked with has been great. Grave Mistake and Refuse Records have both put out multiple releases for us though, and we're very happy with them. I like the fact that when we do a record it's a conversation with a friend who we trust. It doesn't feel "business-y" at all and I like that. 

J: How do you all record your music? I saw that you used a studio in a video about recording the 12" "Confined" - is that typical? What studio is it?

N: We usually demo stuff either ourselves or at a friend's house. Whenever we do a record we go to a studio, though. Degradation, the Vaccine split and Confined were all recorded with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studios in Baltimore, MD. 

J: What was making "Confined" like? Was it any different than other times?

N: I wouldn't say it was much different. We tried pretty hard to make sure that the record flowed in a way that made sense. We wanted to make sure that the record was 100% all killer. We cut a bunch of songs and tried to record the songs like we would play them live. 

J: How was Hopscotch? I know it's kind of a different scene for you guys. Did you all get to see any other bands? How did you like Raleigh in general?

N: Hopscotch was weird, man. I liked playing the DIY pre-show at the record store way more! I enjoyed seeing Broken Prayer. They were cool. Raleigh has always been a great city for us, and I love playing there.

J: I got to see you guys in Chicago with Culo, which was really an amazing show. I thought it was kind of funny, though, that it was Culo since you're a straight edge band and they are like the antithesis of that. How was that?

N: Culo is an awesome band and everyone in Coke Bust is a fan. We like to play with all kinds of different bands. If we only played shows with bands that sounded like Coke Bust and had the same set of ideals I think what we do would get boring really fast. Everyone in our band loves all kinds of music outside of fast, straight edge hardcore. Pentagram, Sabbath, Hendrix, the list goes on. We just like good music. Culo is great. 

J: What all do you guys have lined up for the future?

N: We just got back from a Brazlian tour, but we're headed back to Europe soon to do a Western European tour: England, Scotland, Belgium, Spain, France and Portugal! After that we're going to play Damaged City Fest in DC. Then we will play Rain Fest in Seattle and tour our way down to Central America. We're working on a new record too. I'm stoked. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Interview with Auditor

The first thing I noticed about Brandon Elkins was his magnificent beard. Truly a man's beard. The second thing I noticed was that he frequented some of my favorite Chicago bars/restaurants. The third thing was that he was in an awesome music project called Auditor and was opening up for the Industrial group Youth Code, whose self-titled LP is a record I've been spinning fairly frequently as of recent.

I gave his new album Form Destroyer a listen while doing some journaling, which is something I've started to do lately mostly so I don't forget things. The first thing that you learn about writing/criticism/journalism is to avoid words like "good" or "incredible" or "awesome" because they're vague and commonplace. Well, I come from the school of punk rock and I say write what you feel and fuck elitist music criticism. Form Destroyer is good, awesome, and incredible. It's a hypnotic whirlwind of structured chaos. There is a well-thought form to it, in the sense that Sunn o))) or Earth have form. A sense of rhythm backed by dissonance. Vocals that appear from beyond swirl before completion. Lots of dread. And then there's almost a sense of helplessness - I say almost as opposed to full-on helplessness.

So I guess you could say that I'm a fan. Auditor opens up for Youth Code at Cobra Lounge on February 3 and tickets are available HERE. It's going to be such a rad show and I've already begun hooting and hollering. You can also "like" Auditor's FACEBOOK and listen to the music on their BANDCAMP. Auditor will also play with Crowhurst at Club Rectum in April.

Brandon explains the whole thing a lot better than me so here's what he said.

Jordan: When did you start making music? Have you always made industrial/metal/noise music?

Brandon: I started playing guitar when I was about 13.  Initially I played in punk bands in my little shithole of a home town.  Later on I met my friend Steve Lutes (Kontyx/Mall Security/The Red Falcon Projects) and he introduced me to electronic music production via Reason, Ableton, and any number of synths and drum machines he had.  I started tape-splicing and recording using pedals, just fucking around, and then when I got my first laptop things really picked up.  I recorded a few albums as A Crown of Amaranth, released one on Jason Walton's (Agalloch) now-defunct Audio Savant label and one full-length on Crucial Blast back in like 2003/2004 along with a handful of comp appearances.  So, I've been making noisy, weird stuff for about 10 years now.

J: What artists influenced, inspired, or triggered your interest in the music you make?

B: With Iron Forest, I was really influenced by Author and Punisher and Godflesh.  I wanted to take those heavy, dark machine sounds and add in elements of glitch, IDM, and doom/funeral doom with huge, pitched-down samples and guitars.  Auditor was really influenced by Swans, some of the old noise projects I love like NTT, Luasa Raelon, and Gruntsplatter coupled with listening to a lot of Khanate when I first started the project.  Noisy and fucking heavy, disturbing sounds.

J: What bands/projects have you been in? Have you ever played/made music with other people?

B: Solo projects are/were A Crown of Amaranth, Iron Forest, and Auditor.  I've done one collaboration album with Robert Hunter Osgood/Conversations About The Light called A Crown of Light that came out on Italy's Eibon Records in 2006.  I've also worked with a lot of hilariously-named projects (The Murphy Brown Sound, Jihad Daycamp) whose recordings are probably stashed away on tapes and hard drives somewhere.  I've also been in a few more "conventional" guitar-based bands (Bisson Rheum, Plenum|Void).  More recently, I've been working with the weirdos in Venowl and we put out a limited CDr on Altar of Waste along with playing a live show in July opening for Wreck and Reference.  I also have some more collaborative projects up my sleeve, but not a lot of time to move on them just yet.

J: How did you decide to start Auditor instead of staying with your last incarnation as Iron Forest? What makes them different?

B: Iron Forest has always been a place for my more beat-oriented stuff that I don't really think is as harsh or has the same feel as Auditor.  Auditor was a way for me to deal with some really dark shit that was going on in my head.  Depression is a bitch and, a few years ago, it got to the point where I was honestly scared I was going to hurt/kill myself.  Auditor came out of the whole process of dealing with that and getting it under control (sort of).  So, I guess the difference is that Iron Forest has always felt a little more "whimsical" to me, whereas Auditor is dead-serious about its intent and where it comes from.

J: How has the move to Chicago been? Have you enjoyed the music scene around here?

B: Chicago is the greatest city in the world.  I've made a lot of friends since moving up here in May, and it just gets better all the time.  The only complaints I have are all the goddamn parking tickets I've gotten.  The music scene is great and there are a lot of cool folks that make it worthwhile to go out.

J: Tell me a little bit about the recording/writing process of Form Destroyer. How did you write it? How did you record it? How long did it take?

B: The final version of "Form Destroyer" is actually about the third iteration of the album.  The first few sets of tracks just weren't nasty enough for me, so I scrapped them and started all over.  Any time I work on music I tend to just sit down and start plugging things together.  I've amassed a pretty huge library of samples and sounds over the years, so I like to plug them into Ableton and start experimenting with sounds.  Once I get a base sound set that I like I'll work on the track for a few weeks.  Or, alternatively, I get really drunk and record songs like "Betrayer of Sleep" in one night and never mess with them again.

J: You also had a physical release for the album. What would you say to someone who doesn't know whether to buy the digital album or the physical one? What's the packaging like?

B: The physical release isn't out yet.  It should be done within the next few months.  Leech from Theologian has a great label called ANNIHILVS POWER ELECTRONICS.  When he asked Iron Forest to come out and play the APEX Fest dates early last year I played him some Auditor tracks and we decided he'd release it on his label, which is a huge honor for me having been a fan of his for a long time.  The physical release will be a full-color digipak with pro-CD pressing.  I know we're going to include stuff in a deluxe edition but we haven't decided what yet.

B: I personally only really keep physical copies for the "artifact" properties of the thing.  I want the physical release to look amazing and spent a long time on the design of the packaging, so if people are into that sort of thing then they'll be getting a good product.  The digital edition will include a few remixes from Leech, Mories from Gnaw Their Tongues/Aderlating, and a few others.  Hell, why not buy both?

J: You're opening for Youth Code at Cobra Lounge in February, which is really awesome. How often do you get to play live? How important is the live show for you? What differences are there between a recorded piece and a live piece?

B: Yeah, I'm super excited to be playing that show.  It's crazy to be on such a great bill.  Part of moving up to Chicago was to start getting more exposure for Auditor and playing shows.  I've got this one with Youth Code, Coming, and Surachai and then another show on April 22 at Club Rectum with Crowhurst, Venowl, and Good Will Smith that should be pretty rad.

B: Live shows are weird, to me.  They're a lot of fun, and it's really great to get to play in front of people that enjoy it.  I tend to take my sequenced tracks and turn them into performances beforehand, which is what I'm doing in the next few weeks, so it's not just me pressing play on my laptop

J: What all have you been listening to lately? Anything stand out in particular?

B: I've been listening to: Ruins of Beverast, Wormed, Stomach Earth, Sadgiqacea, El-P, Dawn of MIDI, emptyset, Bon Iver, Theologian, Altar of Plagues, new Torture Chain, and Childish Gambino a lot over the last month.  I spend all day at a desk with headphones on.

J: Are there any stand out restaurants or bars in Chicago that you've enjoyed since moving here?

B: One of the things I love about this city is the food culture.  There's just so much!  I love Boiler Room.  That whole Logan Square area is just exploding with great places to eat and drink lately.  Longman & Eagle was probably one of my best dining experiences ever, and that's over in that same neighborhood.  Also a big fan of Racine Plumbing, Aberdeen Tap, and Headquarters.

J: What else is in the future for Auditor?

B: After the full-length comes out I'm going to be working on a split tape with Derek Rush (Compactor/A Murder of Angels) and a couple of other projects.  This summer I'm going to work on setting up more live shows and working on the next album.  Hopefully I'll be able to get out to the East Coast again for a few dates as well.  I'm also going to continue growing a beard.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Guest Year-End Lists

This is something I've wanted to do for a while mostly to get suggestions of music to listen to, but I figured that if I did that, I may as well share it with people. I asked a bunch of my favorite musicians and music-industry people around if I could get a year-end list from them about their favorite records and other things that happened and here's how it ended up!

Scott Plant of Broken Prayer

Top 10 for 2013 (not including friends’ bands) 2013 rocked, rolled, noised and funked. This is a list of some of the stuff that affected me most this year. I hesitated to do the reissues because there is SO much good new stuff coming out - anyone who says otherwise is a registered dumb - but then I figured, you know, whatever. There are other lists out there. I tend to like novel production and cool sounds and rhythms, and generally in a bummer or headache producing direction. New Stuff: Wolf Eyes - No Answer - Lower Floors Cold cold beats for a bleak bleak record. This feels less like a sound track and more like a collection of songs than their other records, and it is a triumph. A triumph! They just keep getting better. Listen to it on real speakers and let the sonic volcano wash over you. Mutant Video - Missing Fingers Beats, bass, synth, darkness. Here’s the futility of life put into cassette format. Their final release. Framtid - Defeat of Civilization I’m sure this will make many top 10 lists, as it should. Do you like having your head pummelled in by the kaotic hardcore noise of true distortion madness? You should. It’s for fans of that. Reissues: Devo - Hardcore Devo Vol. 1 & 2 Here are the coldest recordings, finally put to vinyl. If you’d like to hear Iggy and the Stooges on the Forbidden Planet, then you will like to hear this collection. Incalculably influential. Carcass - Reek of Putrefaction A disgusted, disgusting record. Isn’t humanity disgusting? Carcass would agree. Funkadelic - Maggot Brain The A side of this record singlehandedly redeems jamming, and has some of the best guitar sounds ever put through a mic. A joyous celebration toward taking down The Man. Rulebreaker: Daylight Robbery - Distant Shores Just a great, sparse rock band with melodies other bands wish they could craft. They don’t get the attention they deserve in the states, but they do from me, so I’m giving it to them.