Who Am I Without Live Music?

Posted in Features on September 17th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

saint vitus bar empty

Like a lot of people, I’ve spent the better part of the last year and a half separate from what I’d previously known as reality. A divergent timeline, splintered off from where it should be. It’s been a long Covid-19 pandemic, and I don’t think it’s going away anytime soon.

Really, I don’t. I see people announcing shows, playing shows, announcing tours, going on tours, and all I can think to myself is, “yeah, stay safe out there.” I’m vaccinated. If and when a booster is offered, I’ll be all over it. But I never stopped wearing a mask and certainly have continued to do so amid the rise of Delta variant numbers and deaths over the last several months. And I haven’t been to a proper, indoor club show since January 2020. Almost 19 months to the day.

I’ve attended outdoor gigs a few times — including just a couple weeks ago — but even for those I’ve largely stayed masked and despite knowing that open-air transmission of the virus is unlikely, I’m still scared. I can admit that, right? I’m scared. Isn’t that what it comes down to?

I’m scared for myself. I’m scared for my mother. For the rest of my family. For my son who’s too young to be vaccine-eligible. I’m scared for my wife, so exceptional in so many ways, getting a breakthrough infection being back at work on her college campus this semester. After all this time of living in this horrible new ‘normal,’ I’m still actively terrorized by the idea that not only could I get sick but I could be responsible for someone else getting sick. I could kill somebody I love by breathing the same air.

Checking case numbers has become a ritual. I look every day. It’s like checking the weather. 72 and sunny; 154,000 cases and 3,415 deaths yesterday. That death toll has been ticking up; case numbers evening out. But as school has started again and winter looms, I have a hard time imagining going out is about to get any easier.

This is true for me, understand. It doesn’t have to be you. You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to feel the same. I live in the American Northeast, in New Jersey. I’ve been attending concerts since before I could go without parental accompaniment, and as an adult, concerts and festivals have become a major part of my every single year. Who am I without that? I asked the question off the cuff earlier this week and I’ve been asking it in my head ever since. This is a piece of my identity, gone.

So many of my best memories are of shows. Alice in Chains at Lollapalooza 1993. Type O Negative at the Birch Hill however many times. Scissorfight and Pelican at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan. More shows at SXSW from 2003-2007 than I could ever hope to remember. The Book of Knots at Gramercy. Neurosis at Roadburn in the Netherlands. Høstsabbat in Norway. Psycho Las Vegas. Maryland Doom Fest. Om, Colour Haze, Sungrazer, Solace, Acid King. Touring with good friends in Kings Destroy. Hell, making those friends in the first place.

It’s a long, long list, and I don’t say that in an attempt to establish imaginary bona fides. I’ve never been cool, will never be cool. I’m trying to tell you it’s a part of who I am. Being in these places at these times has helped shape me. For better or worse, it has made me me. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get that back.

Melodrama is not my interest here. I don’t think I’ve seen my last club show or my last festival. As with many others, I’m making travel plans for 2022 — and missing travel is a big part of this, make no mistake — but even if those come to fruition, how can it be what it was? How can I not be fooling myself into ignoring that underlying fear of disease, even with all reasonable precautions taken?

I have so much in my life that I should be and am grateful for. My wife, my son, our families. My few but treasured friends. The house I live in. The records people send me to write about, and the fact that anybody might see these words at all; the support this site gets and has gotten over the last 12-plus years. So many of the good memories, music-related and otherwise, on which I can reflect. And when I check my privilege, I find it abundant. I have not worked one day at a job during this entire time.

But even amid this, and with hopeful announcements of shows and tours and fests filling my inbox and social media feeds, I feel as if a piece of me has caught this virus and died of it.

Who am I without live music? I am mourning. I have grown older, fatter, greyer, more frustrated and sadder for it. And this is the part of the internet-thinkpiece where usually there’s offered a sliver of hope, but I have none. In my heart of hearts, I believe that even if this virus and all its creepy-fingered variants magically disappeared tomorrow, I’d never be able to enjoy the experience of a live show in the same way again.

I will miss it for as long as I live.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

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Video Interview: Chad Ross of Comet Control Talks Inside the Sun and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on September 16th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

comet control (Photo by Olde Night Rifter)

The third album from not-quite-Toronto’s  Our PhD Expert Professors provide standard http://www.hotel-hirschen-bregenzerwald.at/?how-to-write-a-speech-proposals, Thesis writing service with online guidance and support. We also provide Research Comet Control My Life Essay writing service and Dissertation Typing Service writing Help Dissertation Typing Service Introduction The dissertation is the Inside the Sun (review here), came out on Aug. 24 in a partnership with  Our PhD research Where To Buy Dissertation Uk can help you complete your work fast and according to all the requirements. Get a custom research proposal for PhD. Tee Pee Records that extends back to before  Assignment Provider Australia one of best Write An Essay On Use And Abuse Of Mobile Phones in Australia we write assignment that help to get good marks in exam based on Australian education. Comet Control was a band. It is a record that is both consistent with the band’s two prior outings, 2016’s  Esthetician Business Plan in UK at cheap cost. Our editors proofread your dissertation. Proofreading starts at ?0.010 per word. Ready within 24hrs. Already proofread 30,000+ dissertations. Center of the Maze (review here) and 2014’s self-titled debut (review here), and marked by change, finding upon its release that guitarist/vocalist click sites - Instead of spending time in unproductive attempts, receive qualified help here Compose a timed custom research paper with Chad Ross and bassist  Nicole Ross (née Bibtex Thesis Master service is the place where you can find professionals in any kind of writing. Just tell us what you need, and we will contact you soon. Benefits of Dissertation Help Online. Our team works non-stop to improve its service. We consider clients feedback and implement technical changes to our service using up-to-date technologies. It is how we have managed to remain on Howell) have relocated to Northern Ontario, and working on a home studio there while also parenting a soon-to-be-toddler. Meanwhile, the band has also restructured at least in its studio incarnation, with Essential Essay Help from highly professional staff. Don't lose a chance to order premium http://www.asgerandersen.dk/?scrap-metal-business-plan from trusted writing service! Andrew Moszynski moving from guitar to drums — How do i make my opening home page. Click through to the best answers links to get tips on what information you should include in your response - as well can you dig this for me yahoo as what details to leave can expect to hear at least one - and likely more - of these questions during your next job interview. Youtube channel the rm education youtube channel, which includes how to's and Marco Mozin will handle the task live when/if that becomes a thing again — and  Public Service Announcement Homework - confide your coursework to qualified writers employed in the service Perfectly written and custom academic essays. All sorts of Jay Lemak has taken over on keys. Oh and they built a studio for themselves too, but apparently that’s no big deal. They do it all the time.

Honestly, a new keyboardist would be enough change for most groups on one record — “Well, we’ve got a new keyboardist, so…” — but if you listen to  Can great Dissertation Help Pdf really be condensed down into just 8 steps? Well, whilst it's true that there is a lot that goes into academic writing of any kind, these top takeaways are a great place to start if you want to improve your essay writing. To some, essay writing comes naturally. But for many, knowing how to answer an essay question in a way that will score high marks is something that Inside the Sun, it still sounds very much like  While I was desperately looking for some online writers who would write my assignment for me, some guy on a forum sent me a link to WriteMyPapers.org. How Can I Contact WriteMyPapers.org? I couldn't believe that the only thing I had to do was send them a request with a "http://www.window.de/uploads/tf/index.php?927" request. Comet Control, and that aforementioned consistency comes from the partnership of  Ask: can you Thesis Biology Mcmaster for me? And we are here to help you. ONLINE QUALITATIVE WEBSITE TO DO YOUR Homework. Our homework writing service guarantees that you get the job done fast and that it will be of high quality. It will be valued better, and it will contribute to your better academic reputation. When you are struggling, you might try additional classes or hire personal tutors. Or, you Chad Ross and  Essential Essay Help from highly professional staff. Don't lose a chance to order premium Dissertation Statistical Services Ohio University from trusted writing service! Andrew Moszynski, who’ve been working together since their days in acid explorers Quest for Fire. The foundation of that collab and the writing of both, as well as the pervasive melodicism and songcraft central to the band’s approach means that Inside the Sun is very much a third Comet Control album, and brings with it the sense of manifesting the essential aspects of their sound that one hopes a band who’ve now been at it for eight-plus years would be hitting toward. If I called it one of the year’s best records — it is — would that be enough summary?

Probably not, which is one more reason I wanted to talk to Ross about putting Inside the Sun together. And as we dug into the record, particularly the uptempo opener “Keep on Spinnin'” and the manner in which side B unfolds from there in lush fashion as it does, I grew more curious about the Ross/Moszynski writing as the core of Comet Control, especially as is pertained to their prior work in Quest for Fire, which is, if you listen to the two side-by-side, a different band. Ross discusses the divergent purposes between the two and the growth of Comet Control as its own thing, as well as where it might go in the unknowable future. In the more immediate, he’s also got a new solo record coming out next Spring under the moniker C. Ross, and if you ever dug into the stuff he released as Nordic Nomadic, you know that’s something to look forward to as well. I asked him outright for an early listen. Nothing yet, though he did tip me off to the new Dark Bird, and the Rick White & Eiyn Sof 2019 release, Secret River, Hidden Place, both of which are well worth searching out for the curious.

We spoke in the morning earlier this week, I in the wood paneling, he in the woods. The trees in his background were amazing, and he described going out there with an acoustic guitar and noodling around, which, yeah, made sense. How could you not?

Enjoy:

Comet Control, Inside the Sun Interview with Chad Ross, Sept. 13, 2021

Inside the Sun is available now through Tee Pee Records and streaming in full below. I’ll post more info on the forthcoming C. Ross album as I get it. More at the links.

Comet Control, Inside the Sun (2021)

Comet Control on Facebook

Comet Control on Instagram

Comet Control on Twitter

Comet Control on Bandcamp

Tee Pee Records on Facebook

Tee Pee Records on Instagram

Tee Pee Records on Twitter

Tee Pee Records website

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Blake Conley of Droneroom

Posted in Questionnaire on September 15th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Droneroom Blake Conley

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Blake Conley of Droneroom

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

Well, the easiest way to describe it is instrumental guitar music. It, at this point is predominantly improvised, though before it was composed, and loop-based. This shift happened at the end of a couple of years of hard work and a feeling of having painted myself into a corner. I decided to remove the corner and just see where my brain and fingers would take me if left to their own devices, so to speak. Initially it was all electric guitar based and pedal heavy, but I’ve been attempting to shed as many things as possible to really focus on the root idea and see how deeply I can explore it with the fewest number of extras. This has unexpectedly led me to incorporate more acoustic instrumentation and occasional dips into lap steel even as a means of simplifying

Describe your first musical memory.

Probably riding with my father across the country in an eighteen-wheeler listening to Marty Robbins. Going from Tennessee to California, the twang blaring and nothing, but a road and open landscapes has really seemed to seep into my psyche.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Hmm… I always find the satisfaction of hearing back what you played and feeling like it really landed to be one of the most satisfying. Hearing how it may have changed for the better. Absorbing the full picture after only having the pieces is always one of the best things.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

Um…as a libra, I feel like my beliefs try to remain flexible to different points of view. I really try to never say never on a creative level because there are so many directions music can go and saying you won’t do something is generally what makes you end up doing it.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Hopefully to becoming a more well-rounded player/performer. Any project or performance or interaction with anyone should lead to progress. You learn a new trick or idea. You experience a feeling you may not have before. Maybe it helps reaffirm something you already felt. The idea is always to improve and get further down to the core of your own voice. That doesn’t mean to shed yourself of influences necessarily, but maybe understand better how to work those influences into yourself. Even if improvements or adjustments are minimal or unnoticeable, they are there and should be embraced.

How do you define success?

That’s a funny one. Success for me is just… having something made and hopefully feel like it has been heard. Money is nice, but not necessarily the goal.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

A documentary involving a live birth.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I suppose being in an avant garde country band or a krautrock band…or some combination of that. There is so much music that one could create, and I’d feel amiss if I didn’t at least try to see how what I do fits into that. I’d also love to score a film sometime, but I feel like most instrumental musicians would say that.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

I think it serves several. It can sooth you, it can excite you. I often enjoy music that feels anxious as that can often serve to cancel out my own feelings of anxiety. Music can be the forefront of an experience or work as the background/underpinning to life and its myriad of activities. Books can rearrange your thinking as well as film. And these ideas can then seep back into your music. Art should give you a feeling and that feeling can carry over to everything else in your life

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

For me personally, a relocation. Otherwise just whatever new book, film, or conversation I may stumble into. Every day you can learn something new or feel some way you haven’t before and that is what makes living livable.

https://www.facebook.com/Droneroom
https://www.instagram.com/droneroomnotdrones/
https://droneroom.bandcamp.com/
https://droneroomswc.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SomewherecoldRecords/
https://www.instagram.com/somewherecold16/
https://somewherecoldrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://somewherecold.net/

Droneroom, Negative Libra (2021)

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Video Interview: Allison “Sunny” Faris of Blackwater Holylight on Silence/Motion, Returning to Tour, and More

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Features on September 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

blackwater holylight (Photo by James Rexroad)

Right now it’s looking like Blackwater Holylight‘s Fall tour of Europe alongside Monolord is going to happen. It would not be the soon-to-formerly-be-Portland-Oregon-based outfit’s first run alongside the Swedish trio, but it arrives as a herald for Blackwater Holylight‘s third album, Silence/Motion, and that’s a significant distinguishing factor. Due next month through RidingEasy, the record brings new darkness and flourishes of extremity that coincide with the flowing psychedelia and melody previously established in the band’s sound.

Much has already been made and more surely will of the band — bassist/vocalist Allison “Sunny” Faris (also guitar on the record), guitarist/bassist Mikayla Mayhew, drummer Eliese Dorsay and synthesist Sarah McKenna — working with guest vocalists on Silence/Motion like ALN of Mizmor, who also produced, as well as Bryan Funck of Thou and Mike Paparo of Inter Arma on the record’s opening and closing tracks. I’m not saying that’s not interesting — it sure as shit was something I wanted to talk about in the interview — just also to consider the downward motion of guitar in the suitably titled “Falling Faster,” or the burst in the latter half of “Silence/Motion” itself, the charred-style squibblies in “MDIII” or the bleak post-punk in “Around You.” Yes, “Delusional” is a striking opener with Funck‘s rasp behind Faris‘ clean-sung verse, and “Every Corner” branches into territory Blackwater Holylight have never gone in its consuming second half especially, but there’s no less growth to be heard in the tense synth and guitar of “Who the Hell?” than in the novelty of the company the band are keeping.

I’m going to review the album (I kind of just did; whoops), so I’ll stem the opinion-izing there as much as possible, but in atmosphere and dynamic, Silence/Motion is a pull in a new direction from 2019’s Veils of Winter (review here) and 2018’s self-titled debut (review here), and deserves to be considered in its own light and in terms of what it portends for the band. Apparently new guitarist/backing vocalist Erika Osterhout can scream. Faris talks about wanting to write some death metal. I’d be up for that as interpreted by Blackwater Holylight.

There was, in fact, a lot to talk about, from making the album on a deadline underscored by a pregnancy in the band to working with an outside producer for the first time, to broadening the stylistic reach, to touring, to playing Psycho Las Vegas last month, to the sexual abuse that inspired the title-track, to moving to Los Angeles from Portland — which I think happened last week — to what kind of protein powder Faris puts in her morning shake alongside the peanut butter and banana. Spoiler alert: it is made from the crushed bones of her enemies.

Please enjoy the interview:

Blackwater Holylight, Silence/Motion Interview with Sunny Faris, Sept. 1, 2021

Blackwater Holylight release Silence/Motion Oct. 22 on RidingEasy Records. As of this post, their Fall tour of Europe with Monolord is still a go. Dates follow. Their early-2022 tour dates with All Them Witches are here. Check the links below for updates.

Monolord w/ Blackwater Holylight
Europe 2021:
18/11 DE Oberhausen Kuttempel
19/11 NL Utrecht DB’s
20/11 NL Nijmegen Doornroosje
21/11 BE Antwerp Zappa
22/11 UK Bristol Exchange
23/11 UK Glasgow Stereo
24/11 UK London Underworld
25/11 UK Manchester Soup
26/11 FR Dunkerque 4 Ecluses
27/11 FR Paris Petit Bain
28/11 FR Toulouse Rex
30/11 SP Madrid Caracol
01/12 SP Barcelona Boveda
02/12 FR Annecy Brise Glace
03/12 CH Aarau Kiff
04/12 AT Vienna Arena
05/12 DE Dresden Chemiefabrik
06/12 DE Berlin Zukunft am Ostkreuz
07/12 DE Hamburg Bahnhof St. Pauli
08/12 DK Copenhagen Stengade
09/12 SE Gothenburg Pustervik
10/12 SE Stockholm Debaser Strand
11/12 SE Malmo Babel
12/12 NO Oslo Youngs

Blackwater Holylight, Silence/Motion (2021)

Blackwater Holylight on Facebook

Blackwater Holylight on Instagram

Blackwater Holylight on Bandcamp

RidingEasy Records website

RidingEasy Records on Facebook

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Emil Niklasson of Urtidsdjur

Posted in Questionnaire on September 13th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

Emil Niklasson of Urtidsdjur (Photo by Adam Tonér)

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Emil Niklasson of Urtidsdjur

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I am a member of a collective known as Urtidsdjur, a gathering of music nerds and audio wizards that walk this earth in hopes of making it more beautiful by creating music. In short we play music and has than this as Urtidsdjur since 2017. I played bass at first, but quickly we realized that I shouldn’t since it didn’t sound good. I have been playing music since my early teens and have done so in various different kinds of bands, ranging from Stoner rock to jazz and probably mostly everything in between. Since 2017 my focus is Urtidsdjur. We’re influenced by a lot of different things, Swedish bands and artists from the 1970s like Bo Hansson and Träd, Gräs och Stenar, mixed with Neil Young, Den Stora Vilan and Slowgold just to name a few. Last year we released a record that we recorded in a small chapel on the countryside of Sweden.

Describe your first musical memory.

The first musical memory that I come to think of is a memory from when I was very young, perhaps about five or six years old. I was riding with my father in his old black car, unfortunately I can’t recall which kind of car it was, on a late summer night. I must have been close to fall since it was dark and the stars were shining. I can’t recall where we had been or what we had done, all I remember is that we were riding in his black car, windows rolled down, surrounded by darkness and stars above us. We listened to Rory Gallagher’s brilliant album Public Enemy No. 1 and the music mixed with the sound of insects from the nearby bushes. It must have had a pretty strong impact on me since I still listen to this record today and I still think that it’s brilliant. I think that something about this started my interest in playing music.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

It’s hard to pick one musical memory that stands above the rest of them. Seeing Hellacopters doing their last gig at Debaser 2008 (yeah, they’re playing now again) was emotional since I have been listening to them since I was 14 years old. I saw Anna von Hausswolff in 2019 and it absolutely blew my mind. Playing a gig with Urtidsdjur with one of my legs in plaster, I had broken the leg while playing soccer, stands out as one of the more odd gigs I have done. Seeing Daniel Romano on a Sunday night in October 2017 together with only 20 other people in the crowd was really nice as well. I guess I can go on for a long time on this matter so I’ll just leave it here.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

It does happen every now and then, I try to stay open minded and humble and believe that what I consider to be true does not necessarily have to be what everybody else considers to be true. I am a firm believer in that either you win or you learn and if my beliefs turn out to be false, well then I have learnt something new. At the moment I can’t think of a certain moment or time when it happened but it does happen from time to time.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

I think that it leads to new ideas where one can explore the creating process from a broader perspective and thus leading to more refined art whether it is music, poetry or whatever. It’s a cliché but it fits well with the question, creating is a journey where one doesn’t know what it will end in.

How do you define success?

I think that I define success in many different ways, one is personal success. For example: I finish writing the songs that I’ve been trying to finish for long, I write lyrics that I feel captures what I’m trying to say with a certain song or that Urtidsdjur plays a show where everything fits perfectly. I feel success when playing music becomes an outer body experience and the music sort of just flows through you, you are not playing the music, you just deliver the music that has been there the whole time waiting to be played. I also feel success when someone comes up to me and says: Hey, I heard your music and I really like it. This means that something that we as Urtidsdjur has created has become important for someone else except for us.

Another way of defining success is collective success. For example: When Urtidsdjur finished recording and mixing our album or when we printed the sleeves for the vinyl ourselves. These two types of definitions are closely connected, it’s hard to ignore the importance of every member in a group and it’s hard to ignore that being in a group affects every member of the group.

One easy way of saying this is that every time something is accomplished, you have reached success. Some days it’s just about getting up and other days it can be about running several miles.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

One time when I was at Skatteverket, which is the Swedish IRS, and way before me in line there was a guy that looked a little nervous and slightly baffled. He did his errand, still looking as confused as before. When he walked out of the building he put on a horse head mask and walked away, I followed him for a few blocks but then he turned around a corner and I lost him. All that time he wore that horse head mask. To this day, I’m still thinking of it every now and then and trying to understand what really happened.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’ve been thinking of writing a book, I’ve had that same thought with me for a long time but haven’t done anything in terms of trying to write a script. I love to write, I guess that’s one of the reasons I write lyrics, so eventually I think that I will have to write a book just in order to get it out of my head.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

I consider art to be fundamental to living, without art life would be very dull. Art makes us see things from more than just one perspective.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to seeing friends in person instead of “meeting” them through a screen. Now that more and more people are getting their COVID-19 vaccine it is, at least in Sweden, a bigger chance to start seeing people as we did before the Coronavirus.

https://facebook.com/urtidsdjur/
https://instagram.com/urtidsdjur
https://youtube.com/channel/UCKJjQ4UWAw86O05v2gSJpkg
https://urtidsdjur.bandcamp.com/
https://urtidsdjur.se/

Urtidsdjur, Urtidsdjur (2021)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kris Clayton of Self Hypnosis

Posted in Questionnaire on September 10th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

self hypnosis

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Kris Clayton of Self Hypnosis, Camel of Doom, etc.

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

We self-describe as Progressive Industrial Metal, as those are our biggest influences, but we also incorporate elements of Black, Death, Doom, Sludge, Psychedelic and even more unusual genres (for a metal band) such as Big Beat, Trip Hop. I’ve been playing in Doom bands for 20 years, Greg for 30 (in Esoteric), and Tom is a full-time drummer, teaching and doing session work and so playing in all genres under the sun. We all have diverse tastes and want to create music that is free to take influence from any of them at any time – as long as the final result is something powerful.

Describe your first musical memory.

My first musical memories all revolve around my dad who played prog rock, metal and grunge (I was born in ’88 so that was the style at the time) constantly at home and in the car my whole life, as well as playing the guitar which is what led me to take it up myself due to serious hero worship for my old man. This has led to certain records being so deep down in my psyche that they are almost like a second language. Metallica’s Ride the Lightning probably being the most prominent example – even before I can remember, and before I could walk, I used to crawl over to the speakers, pull myself up and shake my butt any time this record got put on. The earliest concrete memory I can think of is listening to Nirvana in the car on the way to some childhood holiday, probably about 1991/2. When I was 11 some kid at school was playing a tape of Nevermind to other kids and saying it was his band. This got shot down quickly about two seconds into him playing it to me.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

Probably the first time I saw Hawkwind when I was 14. I ate a load of cheap hash in a jam sandwich before I went – the first time I ever tried that too – and I was absolutely baked by the time they hit the stage and it completely blew my mind. I started my first serious band, Camel of Doom, around the same time, and I consider this to be the key moment in my life that led me down the path I am still on to this day. There have been a couple of other similar moments, but that was the first lifechanging one and I can’t help but smile thinking back on it. A Hawkwind fan group I was a part of presented Dave Brock with a book of Hawkwind memories for his birthday a few years back, and I included my story there. Felt great to let such a hero of mine know what a massive effect he had on my life.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

It was only really when I got into my thirties that I managed to shake the belief that I was completely correct if I had worked through something completely logically. I am a computer programmer in my day job, and it is a completely natural profession for me – I fell into it out of university despite studying something completely different. But the real world doesn’t work like mathematics or computer science (things I find much easier than human interaction), and often a completely rational and logical solution doesn’t work. There might be missing data or incomplete assumptions; both sides of an argument can be completely correct; a problem might not have a solution that works for everybody. It has been very beneficial for me to try and be more empathic and express my emotions, whilst encouraging others to do the same, rather than trying to treat everything as though it were a computer program.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Unfortunately, it seems that for the majority of bands it inevitably leads to stagnation as they veer off the path of artistic progression into a cul-de-sac of repetition and painting-by-numbers imitations of their earlier work. And that is if there was ever artistic progression in the first place – playing derivative music that imitates another’s musical style is no progression at all, even if it sells easier.

People do appreciate true artistic progression though, and bands that don’t stand still and continue to redefine themselves tend to have a longer lasting legacy. For example, a band like Neurosis are looked upon with a lot more respect than any of the countless bands that have taken a snapshot of how Neurosis sounded at one point in their career and then repeated that for the rest of their lives. So, I would say it leads to becoming legends rather than being merely a great band.

For me personally, I need to be challenged to be interested, so if I am not progressing and trying to make every thing I do better and more interesting than what came before, then I will just stop. But there is no end goal really, other than continuing to give my life meaning, and keeping me sane(-ish).

How do you define success?

That’s easy, if you are happy and at peace with yourself and what you have done, then you are successful. This definition also has the benefit that I can be successful at least some of the time.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

I thought long and hard about this one, looking for some deeply traumatic vision, but it seems either I am hardened to such things, or else I’ve blanked out those memories. So, I would have to give a slightly less serious answer to this one and say Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy. One of the greatest books ever written, totally trashed. Tolkien didn’t write that book in the same style as Lord of the Rings, and so the movie shouldn’t have been in the same style. Obviously, this probably comes down to the creative bankruptcy of the movie industry who won’t ever change a formula as long as it can keep making money, but it is a shame when they get their hands on something I love so much. My answer about artistic progression (or lack of) is also relevant here.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I’m always pushing to create the perfect album, something like a Dark Side of the Moon, The Downward Spiral, Music for the Jilted Generation, Lateralus, Through Silver In Blood, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennae To Heaven (to name a few I judge to be perfect) – something where the atmosphere, production, songs, lyrics, flow, and everything else just adds up to create something that can stand alone, where even the wrong notes enhance it, and it is impossible to imagine any change that could make it better. It’s ambitious, and likely unachievable, but as long as that carrot is dangling in front of me, I have a reason to keep on going and making new music. Of course, even if I made something that other people thought was this, I am sure that I would find fault in it myself and keep on chasing the unobtainable goal.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To provide escapism, or distraction from reality. This works both for the artist and the consumer. Speaking personally, I have an extremely overactive brain that is difficult to switch off. The only things that really works to settle it down are drugs and art. Drugs tend to become a crutch and don’t achieve anything positive, but working on music genuinely works even better and gives me something tangible as a result at the end. Admittedly for me, the consumption of art is kind of like an aspirin or plaster rather than a shot of oblivion, but I am told by people whose brain chemistry doesn’t hate them quite so much that it can be very effective.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

A few months ago, I would have said being able to go to a football match again, but fortunately I was able to go to one last weekend, for the first time in two years. Right now, I am so desperate to play a live show again it is difficult to look past that… but I would have to say it would be really nice when my wife and I can take a vacation to Italy again – we’ve not been for seven years since our honeymoon, but the pandemic has really caused me to rethink my priorities, and that is something right at the top of the to-do list right now.

https://www.facebook.com/selfhypnosisband/
https://www.selfhypnosisband.com/
https://www.contagionofdespair.com/
www.svartrecords.com
www.facebook.com/svartrecords

Self Hypnosis, Contagion of Despair (2020)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Wojciech Kaluza of Grieving

Posted in Questionnaire on September 8th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

grieving

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Wojciech Kaluza of Grieving

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I like to think of myself as an amateur singer in a number of bands but then again I’m not entirtely sure that defines me as a person. There’s a lot more than just one quality to all of us, don’t you think? But when it comes to singing, it all started with watching music videos as a kid and thinking “Yeah, I could do that!” And over 25 years later, it’s going surprisingly well.

Describe your first musical memory.

It definitely isn’t the first but I do recall my dad buying me Guns ‘n’ Roses tapes when I was a kid, not knowing that in fact he’s creating a monster. :) Back in the ’90’s most of the music we got in Poland was on tapes and these were usually not licensed, meaning that we got all sorts of wacky “albums” such as “Guns N’ Roses: The Best Ballads” and whatnot. Still have some copies back at home. Good times.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I guess I’ve had a few of those but as always, it’s hard to pick just one. Supporting Philip Anselmo on a show in Warsaw and having the man himself watch us from the side of the stage and nod with appreciation would definitely be one of the highlights. Hell, every time I put any of the albums I’ve recorded on my shelf, that’s a rad memory right there.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

I guess in my college years when I was still sort of Catholic and actually believed in God. That changed in the course of maybe two years and I’ve never looked back since. Happy that burden’s off my chest, life without faith and religion is so much more rewarding and fulfilling.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Better art? Or perhaps a better understanding of your abilities? Either way, always bet on progress, you can’t go wrong.

How do you define success?

Being happy with your life. Simple as that.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

Pretty much every Dream Theater video or concert. But to take matters more seriously — I think that the worst thing to see and then wish you didn’t, is your friends or loved ones acting like assholes. That includes myself of course.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

I guess writing a book was always up there somewhere. Definitely a horror novel but I have this unsettling feeling that all the best ideas have already been discovered. Wouldn’t mind recording a proper hardcore album at some point too.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

Give joy. Make us think. Make us feel.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

https://www.facebook.com/Grieving666
https://www.instagram.com/grieving.666/
https://grieving666.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Interstellar-Smoke-Records-101687381255396/
https://interstellarsmokerecords.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/godzovwar/
https://www.instagram.com/godz_ov_war_productions/
https://godzovwar.com/

Grieving, Songs for the Weary (2021)

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The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bence Ambrus of River Flows Reverse, Lemurian Folk Songs & Psychedelic Source Records

Posted in Questionnaire on September 7th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

bence ambrus

The Obelisk Questionnaire is a series of open questions intended to give the answerer an opportunity to explore these ideas and stories from their life as deeply as they choose. Answers can be short or long, and that reveals something in itself, but the most important factor is honesty.

Based on the Proust Questionnaire, the goal over time is to show a diverse range of perspectives as those who take part bring their own points of view to answering the same questions. To see all The Obelisk Questionnaire posts, click here.

Thank you for reading and thanks to all who participate.

The Obelisk Questionnaire: Bence Ambrus of River Flows Reverse, Lemurian Folk Songs & Psychedelic Source Records

How do you define what you do and how did you come to do it?

I’m a simple semi-musician, who is not talented and diligent enough to live from music. This why I started to collect talented musicians from surrounding bands. I organize jam sessions, where all tunes are recorded. I also play on guitar or bass most of the times. When I work I’m a gardener, so in winter times I do my own projects, like River Flows Reverse and the project under my name. In these days I spend hours in a small dirty shed outside the house, surrounded with funny toy-instruments, boar skulls, candles, banjos and a big picture of Alvin Lee.

Describe your first musical memory.

I was 5-6 years old and my father brought me a Mickey Mouse cap for some children’s day or what, then took me to a gig of his friends in next town. I don’t remember the music, but the Mickey-cap, yes, and that I really liked the blues.

Describe your best musical memory to date.

I have a lot, almost all are best. I loved the times when around 2015 we lived on the coasts and hills of Andalusia with my girl Kriszti and my dingo Rozi. We played Western-style street music with a guitar and a mandolin, when we had enough gold we continued to walk through. If we made more, we bought ticket to the ferry to Canarian Islands. Then we continued there. It was even the best time in my life. Cave dwelling, busking, spending time stoned only outside in the mountains and seacoast.

When was a time when a firmly held belief was tested?

It’s always being tested when you look around in the music business and see the bands, shitty pop stars, radio programs, and realize that, this is really the level what the people need, and you are just a freak with false thinking and feelings, and the real music is there in the TV and radio and giant festivals.

Where do you feel artistic progression leads?

Hopefully not back in the ’80s haha.

How do you define success?

If you see there are people who really appreciate and like your work. If there is one guy who says he loved the gig, or if someone who send you an email from the Philippines, that your music has changed his or her life etc. Or when some label ask you if they can print your music to vinyls. These things are enough satisfying for me.

What is something you have seen that you wish you hadn’t?

If you travel on foot with no money, etc., you can see the real face of the world. The most beautiful coasts and mountains, communities, but the other side too. For example, if looking for hidden places to sleep around cities where are less possible that the police or a thief will alarm you, you can find the places where those people used to meet or hide who don’t want you to see them. Suppressed souls on the edge of society. Perverts, prostitutes, killers, thieves. I have seen cabins built by caines with bloody condoms thrown around, 17 year old heroinists who just wanted to have fun in Barcelona, then they stucked on speed and ketamin living in a bush. But the worst thing to see is the youngsters of today (I’m 29). I really feel like 90 percent of them don’t have any sense of life. Only cellphones, Instagram stupid talking taking light drugs. Respect to the exceptions.

Describe something you haven’t created yet that you’d like to create.

To build a worldwide organization to help poor, and talented musicians with good taste. Organize tours, vinyl releases gigs on the beach like Duna Jam, make small festivals. To give this to someone to work with, and then build my own roadhouse style studio-bar-laboratory by a big lake surrounded big olden pine trees, no neighbours. And just live with the loveds and the banjo.

What do you believe is the most essential function of art?

To realize and manifest spiritual contents, projecting symbols of the sub and superconscious. Help the dying soul. This was the original basis of alchemy not to make material gold. To slowly create a symbol from yourself, a vertical quintessence of all arts in the world. This why I really like the original alchemist art, so concrete and straightforward. For me this old knowledge turned into the music of eternal soul. For example an Øresund or Tia Carrera or Causa Sui jam session is real art, fills more this expression then a million-dollar modern copper statue, etc.

Something non-musical that you’re looking forward to?

Of course a yellow ’79 Corvette.

https://www.facebook.com/lemurianfolksongs
https://www.facebook.com/psychedelicsource
https://psychedelicsourcerecords.bandcamp.com/

Psychedelic Source Records, Nagykör? Sessions (2021)

Bence Ambrus, Gardenside Ambient Sessions I (2021)

River Flows Reverse, When River Flows Reverse (2021)

Lemurian Folk Songs, Logos (2020)

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