Interview with TSTI!

TSTI is a bedroom artist who goes by the name of S. Smith, and produces wonderful electronica straight from the convenience of his own home. Mostly featuring an analogue approach to music, with loads of fascination for the 80’s and a lot of influences gathered from that particular decade. He describes his own music as “dark, hazy synthetic pop“, but generally indulges in whatever genre he seems to set his steps upon. Up until now, he’s released some demos, an earlier EP and has since the 12th of November released his latest addition to the family, an album which is titled “evaluations“. Since I reviewed his album earlier, I decided to step things up and ask him some questions about his music and everything in between. Make sure you read this piece and listen to his latest album which can be found at the bottom of this shorter interview.

You’ve currently released your latest album “evaluations” and I read somewhere that it took you ten months before it was completely done. What would you say have been the most fun with the creative process and what’s the hardest thing about it?

– Yes, I started this album right in the beginning of 2012 and finished writing, recording, mixing right around September. When I started, I had no idea it was going to be a full length, have a theme, or anything. I wanted to let the process happen organically. The most fun of the process is to hear the final product. I’m not a traditional song writer, I like to experiment until my experiments show me what a final product could look like, then I go from there. So some songs take a while for me and some are very fast. But it’s been a pleasure to do this on my own time and not stress about it. The hardest thing about it, I’d say is probably mixing, for many reasons. I’m not a professional so I can only do what I can do. I also don’t think a song is ever completed so when do you call it a day with it? Lastly, for me the mixing is a pretty long and pissed off process. I get very frustrated that I’m still working on a song I’ve already finished writing and recording. I want to move onto other things!

What do you think is the difference between your latest album and your earliest one? In what way have you made progress since then and what do you like about the both of them?

– The biggest difference is the first EP sucks, haha. The first EP was basically me being semi-happy with some songs. I didn’t really focus on the bigger picture on the EP, so they are almost like demo’s. The album is much more focused in all aspects, song writing, recoding, and behind one cohesive but dynamic product. Even though I put it together myself, I really wanted the new album to sound like a “real album.”

Don’t you think the task of being a musician can be overwhelming at times, I mean, you spend a lot of time creating your own music in your own room?

– It all depends on what kind of musician you are. For me, I don’t get too overwhelmed. I write pieces in my room during my spare time. I love having the option of running in and recording a melody I heard in my head real quick and then afterwards going on with my day. The most overwhelming process for me is trying to get down all my ideas before I loose them. I’m sure other musicians get overwhelmed about deadlines, “making it”, money, etc. I’m not worried about any of that. I just enjoy creating things.

I wonder what kind of reactions you’ve received on your latest album evaluations from different sources and how have people received your new album in general?

– So far… the people that have heard it and have responded to it, have been really positive about it. I’m sure some people heard it and didn’t like it as well, they just didn’t tell me. But overall and so far, I’m excited about the response.

There’s also an interesting aspect when it comes to your aesthetics, they seem to be bound to the traditional but also the minimalistic. Where have you sought out inspiration from for your covers and the general aesthetic nerve you have?

– For the cover of the album, I wanted to create something that was bold but minimal. I really enjoy early 80’s goth album covers and old 4AD albums and album art. I wanted to pretend the art was created during that time and not get overly fancy with it.

Do you have any favorite albums from the past that might’ve influenced you a little bit more than anything else from now or do you channel your influences from old to new, since you’re focused on the 80’s?

– Oh, so many good oldies! A few that instantly come to mind are Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration” Sister of Mercy’s “First Last and Always” and John Foxx’s “Metamatic”. I’m not sure I’m trying to “channel” them, but they where highly influential albums for me.

When it comes to the limited CD, how was the creative process in the making of it and what did you want your listeners to receive when you thought of making one?

– Well, both CD’s are limited. The first EP is called the “Black Envelope EP” it’s a hand made, hand painted and constructed package. The CD and art comes in a Black Envelope and each has a painted number. I wanted to treat this like an invitation to bigger things coming. For the new album “Evaluations”, I had professionally printed and hand numbered the sleeves. I made a limited run of these, but there might be some exciting news in the near future on more options. I wanted the listener to feel like they had solid album in their hands with this one.

Have you got any favorite blogs that you follow on a regular basis for finding new bands and artists or just for the general content of the blog themselves when it comes to music?

– Not really, I have a ton of them bookmarked that I enjoy but when I’m looking for new music I tend to go to hype machine, search a few artist and let the domino effect of finding blogs, talking about these artist, and checking out the other artists they are mentioning as well. I also use Soundcloud and Instagram to find a ton of really great and unsigned artists.

Since you’re mainly working with analogue equipment, what would you say is the benefit with it and what kind of gear do you have currently?

– The benefit is to a 100% the sound, the emotion it can create and endless possibilities you have with analog equipment, you can totally get lost in creating 1 sound for hours, how would that not be fun? I’m not into clicking and dragging to create sounds, no offense to any readers but it’s just not for me. Currently, I’m using a Moog Voyager, Roland SH-101, Roland Juno106, Roland TR-909 and then a Roland MC-909, which I mostly use as a master clock to sync everything. Throughout my songs you may hear other synths and live instruments though. I’m constantly trading and dabbling with other peoples stuff.

You’ve also got a lot of D.I.Y in you since you release the albums by yourself but have you ever thought of getting signed to a label for releases on vinyl? What have you got planned for the future and will we be seeing anything new next year or are you having any show in the next couple of months?

– Yes and Yes, more news in the near future.

What have you got planned for the future and will we be seeing anything new next year or are you having any show in the next couple of months?

– In the near future may be the question you just asked before. But in the meantime, I’m already 3 songs into the next release. It’s got a theme, a name and I’m really excited about it.

Thank you for letting me ask these questions and thank you for your participation!

– No, thank you! And thank you for taking the time to pay attention to my creations. It’s much appreciated.

Recension: Daniel Gilbert – the Soul of a Fool 7″

En närmast bisarr blandning av själfylld musik och vågade sidosteg. Där den första låten “Led 2” minst sagt har en styrka när det kommer till det musikaliska, men där sångrösten är en stor faktor till varför låtarna inte leder ända fram. Tystnaden mellan partierna av Daniel Gilberts sångröst och musiken är det som känns mest tilltalande. Eftersom att musiken inte lämnar en oberörd och är fylld utav den bästa av världar, så faller just sångrösten på att den låter väldigt märkligt rent generellt. Även om den sjungs med inlevelse, så finns det en viss grad av märklighet som omfamnar helheten. I början av låten så känns detta avlägset, då jag rent visuellt befinner mig på en utav många öar, där jag blickar ut över havet och ser en solnedgång som inte är av denna värld. Rent metaforiskt, så skulle man väl kunna säga att sången är just det som gör att det inte stannar länge i blickfånget. De lugna vågorna bryts upp utav onödigt starka störningar från ett annalkande oväder. Nog för att ord kan ha en rätt så onödigt hård innebörd, men det jag kan ge Gilbert är att man märker att det finns en gnista där någonstans. Den är det enda som behövs för att tända brasan återigen och hänge sig till det lugn som man omges av när man lyssnar på just denna låt. Särskilt i refrängen, så märks det av ännu mer, då brasan håller på att få lite tändvätska på sig. Förhoppningsvis skulle gnistan kunna slå över och även påverka nästa låt.

Som ärthe Smell O’Thunder“, där den märkliga vibben nästan är som bortblåst. Man hade kunnat sitta och lyssna på den själfyllda låten i vad som känns som en evighet. Där introt påminner om en bisarr blandning av indie-pop ambitioner, rent sångmässigt, och helt enkelt en motpol till den dominerande genren som inte borde blandas. Men just denna blandning bär fruktsamhet, då refrängen är det starka kortet återigen. Känns som att plattan bärs upp av bland annat refrängen och musiken i allmänhet, men en viktig ingrediens saknas fortfarande. Trots att det rent sångmässigt har flyttats upp en ribba, tack vare den närvaro som Gilbert lyckas med i just denna låt. En annan dimension som läggs till är den innovativa kören som kan höras allt eftersom, den lyckas väldigt väl med att täcka vissa brister. Musiken har ett otroligt djup och när man dyker ner i oceanen så tornar den musikaliska ambitionen upp i fjärran, för att komma närmre, för att stanna runtomkring och låtsas som ingenting. Det kan låta som en barnlek, men det är inte det. Att man kan få något så brett och närmast fantastiskt att låta busenkelt, då har man gått upp en trappa och måttstocken kan fällas ut för att mäta ambitionen ytterligare. I trappan så fattas ett steg, det steget måste sättas dit och övervinnas – för enbart då kan framgångssagan komma att bli ett lyckligt slut.

Lyssna på plattan här nedanför och beställ den.

Tre snabba till Death By Armborst!

Death By Armborst är en punk’n’roll grupp från Göteborg som ännu inte satt sitt namn på kartan men säkerligen kommer att göra det inom kort. Hittills har de överraskat med sitt självbetitlade släpp och den nyligen släppta låten “Slave State” som kommer att återfinnas på deras uppkommande EP. Eftersom att jag redan intervjuat de tidigare, så tänkte jag ställa några frågor om ett ämne som jag inte vet särskilt mycket om än. Därför bestämde jag mig för att ställa tre snabba frågor till dom, som kretsade kring deras uppkommande släpp. Tidigare har de även medverkat i ett podcastavsnitt av min serie Svensk Punk och Hardcore. Njut av frågorna och rocka loss.

Ni har tidigare varit med i ett avsnitt av min serie Svensk Punk och Hardcore där ni talade lite om er uppkommande platta, men nu verkar ni vara närmre ett släpp och därför undrar jag om ni kan avslöja några nya detaljer?

– Den nya EP:n kommer att innehålla 6 stycken låtar. Skivan är mycket aggressivare än vårt förra släpp. Vi har lagt mer tid den här gången på att skriva och arrangera låtar och är själva mycket nöjda med resultatet. Just nu försöker vi hitta någon som vill hjälpa oss att trycka upp det på vinyl. Om vi inte hittar någon som vill göra det så får vi starta en insamling. Därav är det svårt att säga exakt när materialet kommer att släppas men förhoppningsvis snart.

Hur har det gått när ni spelat in skivan och vem är det som har hjälpt till, har ni använt någon särskilt studio för ändamålet och när kommer den ut?

– Skivan spelades in under en helg i våran polare, Daniel Sanne’s replokal. Den är även mixad av densamme. Mastringen stod Patrick Stacke på Tuff Studios för som också är en nära vän. Alla sex låtar spelades in på en helg och allt är inspelat live för att i så stor utsträckning som möjligt kunna återskapa energin som infinner sig vid en livespelning.

Eftersom att er senaste låt “Slave State” är mer punkig än era tidigare låtar så undrar jag om ni kommer att sadla om totalt och utelämna rocken för punkinfluenserna?

– Vi älskar både punken och Rock n’ Rollen så att något av dem skulle uteslutas tror jag inte. Dock skulle jag säga att den här skivan är både snabbare, punkigare och råare än den förra men man kan fortfarande höra rocknrollinfluenserna genomsyra musiken.

Vet ni någon som kan trycka upp deras uppkommande EP på vinyl? Hör då av er till: dba.music[at]gmail.com

Some questions for Yankee Brutal!

Yankee Brutal is an American melodic hardcore band which has been active since 2011. Born from a fallen but not quite dead local punk scene, where they’ve flourished and grown out of different offensive bands. One of their main focus is their criticism of the American judicial and social systems, which is reflected in their songs and lyrics. The band consists of Wesley (Vocals/Guitar), A.j. (Vocals/Guitar), Mike (Bass/Vocals) and Josh (Drums). Since I heard about them from the popular site and zine Lukinzine, I had to listen to their two songs from the record. Which is titled “The Everlasting Greed“, out on the 16th of November, and can be per-ordered from the Dying Scene Records bandcamp. I digged it and decided to send away some questions about the band. So it became a brief questionnaire of some sort, which I will be keeping up for all you readers that don’t like the wall of text I normally produce. Hope you enjoy it. By the way, Wesley is the one answering the questions.

So you’ve been active since a year back, but what would you say have been your aim with Yankee Brutal and how would you describe yourselves?

– Yeah, we officially started YB in November of 2011, with the goal at that time being getting back into playing punk rock. I personally had some success with my previous band Another Damn Disappointment (Volcom Entertainment), but eventually left the band to pursue my drinking career. Haha. But seriously I quit playing music for half a decade, then woke up one day and thought to myself, what am I doing? Soon after we decided to go in to Mayhemeness Studio’s in our hometown of Sacramento and lay down a full length and started making a game plan to get out on the road, and stay there. I guess if I were to describe the band I’d have to say we’re a working mans band trying to make a life out of doing what we do best.

There’s a sense of you being critical against the American society, but where did that come from originally? Could you explain why you’re targeting it?

– There definitely is criticism in most of our songs. I can’t pinpoint exactly where it all started, but it was a long time ago when our eyes were opened up to everything wrong in our society. I mean, as far as politics over here go, it’s all a facade. We have big business dropping millions of dollars into political campaigns with the aim that who ever they fund will push anything that helps big business separate the margin between the rich and the poor. Risking completely erradicating the middle class. Hence “The Everlasting Greed“. As far as targeting it, I think it’s more along the lines of we write better songs (we feel) about things that are upsetting. It feels more real writing an angry song and I’d hope to enlighten others and instil that same burning passion I have into whoever else will listen.

What would you say are your favorite lyrics that the band have currently produced and who writes the lyrics?

– Personally I like the lyrics in Manifest Treachery the most. More specifically the chorus; “Fight fire with fire, Hate with hate, We fight with hate cause hate does not discriminate”. I (Wesley) write most of the lyrics myself if possible, but often I hit a roadblock and I’ll have to bounce what I have to the band and hear what they come up with. Then go back and often use their rhythms and melodies to reinvent what I already had and build off it all. So really we all have our influence on every aspect of the band.

Could you tell me about the creative process behind your latest album which is being released on Dying Scene Records? Why should people buy this piece of music?

– With “The Everlasting Greed“, we came together really with just 4 or 5 songs I had written over the course of a couple years just for my own amusement, and used them to start the band. Songs like Facedown, Welcome Home, and The Everlasting Greed were in our original practice regiment on day one. Of course they’ve all grown and matured as songs do when you play them over and over again. We used to demo the songs around 3 times each, adding parts, changing little things here ‘n there doing whatever we could imagine to really create music that we were happy with and that we thought others would enjoy mutually. And on that note I would recommend, if you like fast, shreddy, melodic punk. Support what you can, there are so few bands playing any style of punk rock these days, that if you want it to come back around, its going to take a group effort.

Not just from bands, but local scenes, individuals, podcasters. Anything it takes to keep rad music around I personally take part in whenever I can, just to keep it going as long as possible. I’m a firm believer in the “Occupy your local Scene” movement. Without a unified local punk/hardcore scene, it makes it hard for any band in related genres to really do anything. Being in a band is a lot tougher than I think a lot of people would imagine. So in conclusion, if you dig the album, I encourage you to occupy Dying Scene Records’ bandcamp page, and pick a copy up. All procedes are being reinvested in Yankee Brutal tours, merch, our next record and whatever other band expenses come around.

Thank you for answering!

– Hope these answers are sufficient, thanks for the support!

Invisible Guy live over at Death Rock Radio once again!

Yes, once again I’m live over at the wonderful Deathrock Radio. This time around, the mix is three hours long. Tune in!

Track list:

1. The Sisters Of Mercy – More
2. The Fall – Australians In Europe
3. The Chameleons – Less Than Human
4. Stimmen Der Stille – Todeslied
5. Global Infantilists – An Inch Of Nothing
6. Siglo XX – Lines Of Hope
7. Shiva Burlesque – Train Mistery
8. Sardine V – Sabotage
9. Mona Mur Und Die Mieter – Ein Bisschen Frieden
10. Marc Seberg – Sans Mémoire
11. Love Club – Holding Heaven’s Hand
12. Coïtus Int. – Tourist Ghetto
13. The Danse Society – Seen The Light
14. Blood Dead And Sexy – Fingers
15. Corpus Delicti – Dancing Ghost
16. The Sisterhood – Colours
17. The Birthday Party – Nick The Stripper
18. Death Cult – Gods Zoo
19. Bauhaus – Stigmata Martyr
20. The March Violets – Snake Dance
21. Soviet Sex – Walpurgis Night
22. The Sisters Of Mercy – Vision Thing
23. The Flowers For Luci – Chemical
24. The Dancing Did – Wolves Of Worcestershire
25. Die Unbekannten – Don’t Tell Me Stories
26. Marquee Moon – Don’t Go Out Tonight
27. They Fade In Silence – Misery
28. Thieves Cross – Slaughter Hotel
29. Luxembourg – Le Secret De L’ombre
30. The Cultural Decay – Brave New World
31. This Ascension – August Rain
32. Blade Fetish – Fortunato
33. Lycia – Sleepless (Original Version)
34. Bonemen Of Barumba – San Antokio
35. Ausgang – Sick Into You
36. Asmodi Bizarr – Remember Dorian
37. Cyan Revue – Frozen Fields
38. Geisterfahrer – Schatten
39. Fallen Apart – Hey Friend
40. Twisted Nerve – Gargoyle
41. For Against – Loud And Clear
42. Annabelle’s Garden – A Path Towards
43. The Damned – Torture Me
44. 45 Grave – Violent World

Review: Luxury Stranger – Nothing Holy

Pressured by the original waves of post-punk from the 70’s to the 80’s, Luxury Stranger are surely a luxurious piece of music. With a huge emphasis on two different genres, the first song “Nothing Holy” really personifies the incredible mix they’ve managed to produce. As they punch through with the first song on the single, they also bridge the gap of those two genres. Containing a large portion of pretty vocals and engaging music, from times that should’ve come back a long time ago, it also engages with the slowly progression of the song into a whirlwind of total serenity. There’s also a sense of them being what they want to be, they smash the conventions and throw in a post-punk sound that regularly and eagerly re-brands the sense of a post-punk, using a musical time-machine, pitching the futuristic and wayward sound of Luxury Stranger against the traditionalism of ye olde post-punk. Even though grunge might be my eternal anti-pole, it actually brazenly up the sound-scape a notch, to where you can actually hold it accountable for much of the wonderful sounds within it.

With the next track coming up, titled “Ripple“, it gives wailing a whole other implication. The singer sure has a lot of energy, but he also holds on to a somewhat interesting voice. Only thing that is too bad about this single is that the second song really doesn’t hold up to the first one. It starts off well and I’m impressed by the instrumentation and singing, but there’s nothing more to it. The lyrical content ain’t that inspiring either, to be frank. But there’s something enthralling about the song anyway, even though it might not be my favorite on this single. Hopefully the upcoming release will hold onto the key elements that made this single a tad better, and I also hope that it will get developed. I think you should check it out if you can, you should also download it if possible. There’s a lot of potential, but there’s something missing amidst the contrasted genres. Hopefully they’ll find it before they head on.

Pre-order the digital download if you wish or you could buy the physical version over here.

Rättens Krater har en rätt ny musikvideo!

Eftersom att jag är väldigt sent på bollen, så ville jag ta tillfället i akt att lägga ut Rättens Krater här igen. För en månad sedan släppte de en musikvideo till låten “Ikaros Akterseglad” som återfinns på deras sjua som de släppte ännu tidigare. Om ni  inte har någon aning om vilka dessa personer är, så kan jag rekommendera er att kolla igenom min recension av deras släpp. Nu vet jag inte om de har någon sjua kvar, men ni borde sannerligen införskaffa deras platta eftersom att den är något unikt i musiksverige och är något som envar borde ha i sin ägo. Om ni vill köpa den, så kan ni skicka ett mail. Man kan även lyssna på deras skiva på Spotify.