July 5th, 2012
The cancer in Jamaican music
Jamaican music has caught up to the politics of country to be a broken wasteland of noise that is filled with incompetent, narcissistic people who have no allegiance or care to anything but themselves. The thing is that everyone wants to act like this just happened when it didn’t. This cancer of noise has been spreading and slowly eating away at our music for over 15 going on to 20 years.
In the early 90’s when a lot of dancehall acts started interacting with American labels, a lot of the producers, musicians, artists and managers took the money and didn’t invest in quality music but instead short changed the music. Talk to someone like Sly Dunbar and he will tell you about a lot of so called reputable producers/musicians that got free work from their peers, with the idea of reciprocity. They did not credit a lot of their peers that worked on their initial projects and those that did get credit were credited as work for hire; and a lot of favours weren’t returned for the initial free work.
A lot of these so called reputable musician/producers, by the second run, delivered substandard results because they could not get any decent musicians to work with them the second time around. After that, everybody locked themselves off and did almost every aspect of production by themselves, ending a lot great collaborations. Reggae music which could be compared to a game of football was basically turned into a game tennis by selfish and egotistical musicians turned producer who just did not want to pay up front for work for hire or share possible earning with their peers by giving them credit for their free work. Some musicians/producers did not even try again, they just took their lot, bailed on the music, and sat back criticising all day.
The thing that a lot of people don’t realise is that a lot of great Jamaican producers were not necessarily musicians or singers but they were people who felt the music, understood the streets and understood the elements of bring the right people together to create great sounds. Some were engineers, sound system operators and even record retailers. Some musicians criticise Jammys, Germaine, Techniques, Digital B and Music Works because the producers for these labels weren’t musicians for the most part, but these labels consistently put out great music for decades and they weren’t one hit or one decade producers but producers that endured and also ushered in many revolutionary changes in Jamaica music.
Bobby Digital was initially an engineer by profession but in his role as a producer, he still worked with people like Dean Fraser for harmony and vocal arrangements and individual brothers from the Brownie family as musicians. Outside Of Clevie Brownie, Digital has found more success as a producer than the other Brownie brothers and Fraser. The simple fact is that a lot of great music that has come out of Jamaica has been the result of great creative collaborations and not necessarily any one individual; and a part of the downfall has been the selfishness and greed that led a lot of people to isolate themselves so as not to share in the reward that comes from good music but not realising that 100 per cent of crap is still crap. Just pick up a good reggae album from the 70’s to the mid 90’s and look at the musicians credits and the producer credit – then find any album after the mid 90’s with the same producers and look at the difference in musicians credit and think about the results of the both albums.
I remember a producer telling me in the late 80’s that one of the worst things that can happen in the Jamaican music is if deejays rise to the top of musical ladder. You see in Jamaican music, the initial order of importance in music was musicians, singers; then deejays came last. After a while the order changed to singers, musicians and deejays still last. I still remember Red Dragon refusing to sign on to a show because Sanchez was getting paid more than him; granted Sanchez was selling more records but that didn’t matter to Red Dragon. In the very late 80’s to the early 90’s the deejays managed to come out on top and the musicians were relegated to last with the singers in the middle. Now the simple fact is that the deejays were the deafest and most musically illiterate of the three.
The deejays’ musical illiteracy, combined with the loss of competent musical collaboration because of selfishness, basically guaranteed the downfall of Jamaican music. We see the results in the lack of quality music and the promotion of noise as music today. These songs are so bad they can’t even make it to the Harbour View roundabout much less to get on a plane to go anywhere outside of Jamaica. The pinnacle for these songs is getting played at Passa Passa or being acknowledged in a local tabloid.
Until we see a return or rise of competent and visionary producers, in combination with good musicians to guide the deejays and singers to record music that aspires to be more than a forward at Passa Passa, Jamaican music will be stuck in the vast wasteland of irrelevant noise.
Highsnobiety Talks Style With Anwar Carrots
June 8th, 2011
By Anwar Carrots
Though his dreadlocks are now more famous than Anwar himself (listen to Tyler, The Creator’s “Yonkers,”) Anwar Taj Washington (aka Anwar Carrots) is a positive young L.A. resident. As one half of Peas & Carrots International, Anwar manages rapper Casey Veggies, as well as running both the 4948 Traphouse store and the Arrogant Veggies clothing line.
My style is… New York street meets Los Angeles Street Meets London Street.
Top 3 pairs of shoes I own are… Raptor Jordan 7’s (2002 Retro); Wheat 6 Inch Timberlands; and Stussy x Nike “Mysto” All Court Mid.
My favorite sneakers of all time… would have to be Air Force 1’s
A bag I use on a regular basis is… The North Face Exocet 38, I appreciate how many compartments it’s equipped with (accessory pockets); durability; It’s comfortable on my shoulders and how deep the bag is… enough room for a weekend/short trip.
My article of clothing… would have to be my Peas & Carrots International Custom Nike Bespoke jacket I received from Nike Sportswear.
One thing I am saving up for… would have to be the Pendleton x Timberlands. Pendleton is that wave! It’s just something about those Native American Geometric Patterns that capture my eye.
A trend that I am tired of… would have to be the foxtail jump-off. That shit is corny.
Something I never leave my house without… would have to be my Supreme key holder and some chap stcik for this dry ass Los Angeles weather. I am used to humidity.
Favorite look for a female… to me would have to be Erin Wasson meets Vashtie. Combine the two if that makes any sense.
The most stylish city in the World… to me would have to be Paris.
More info: Highsnobiety
LKG Inner View: Anwar Carrots of Peas & Carrots International
May 25th, 2011
By Anwar Carrots
Inner View: Anwar “Carrots” Washington
By: Joseph “J. Hyphen” Poakwa
Photos by I.R.S
As chants from the L.E.P Bogus Boys rang out from the steady house flat screen, our scene was set. 2011 has seen the dominant emergence of younger, and younger men and women with extraordinary talents take over the forefront of Arts and Entertainment. More frequently we have seen names like Collin Tilley, Adele, and Mark Zuckerberg championed for their continual growth and influence in todays society. However, this is no overnight scheme. Brand builders such as these have been cultivating their respective fields for years. Across the board there is one distinct trait, sheer passion for their craft. This new age of entrepreneurs refuses to stop expanding their influence. They refuse to listen to outsiders and critics, and Keep Going. Bubbling down in Los Angeles, California is the life of a youngin’ no different in passion and perspective as the aforementioned names. A tastemaker of sorts for the youth, Anwar “Carrots” Washington, is living out his brand in similar fashion, as he pushes through the crowd and pushes out his dreams with a refusal to quit. Hailing from Trenton, New Jersey, Anwar “Carrots” Washington has been on his journey for some time now. Walking through the city with high hopes and tan Timb boots, Anwar has seen the rise of the Peas and Carrots brand, as well as, the rise of client and friend Casey Veggies to the public eye. With more up his sleeve to come, 20 year old Anwar “Carrots” Washington, is not showing signs of slowing down his grind anytime soon. LKG recently sat down with the young leader to discuss the Peas and carrots brand, Swag Soakin’, and where he’s about to take things.
First, congrats on everything. How do you handle your continuing success?
I want to say thank you to start this off. How do I handle it? You snap out of it. You start having epiphanies about shit, like whoa! Shits Real! I started seeing how people started to treat me now; just the attitude of the people and its like, wow, I must really be poppin’ right now. But, with that I just gotta stay humble. Fuck it! Imma keep doing this shit, its fun to me. Everything I do is fun.
Your brand is very unique. Why Peas & Carrots though?
Coordination, Before, it just started like, it was two things that went together. Inspired by the whole aesthetic of Crooks & Castles as a brand. Those were two things that actually go together, succinct. You just gotta stay consistent with the same shit. Now we are getting older, and Peas and Carrots is more than a million dollar idea. I can go so many avenues with this shit. Now its come to fruition for me that, “Life is like a Garden”. Start small, expand. It was just me and Josh (Joshton “Peas”). The colors are perfect to me. I want orange and green to be like the new navy blue. I never understood that , “It’s the new black” shit. Like what the fuck is that? What does that mean? Then living out here you understand its more Crips out here than any other thing, and the safest color you can wear out this mutha fucka is navy blue. Period [laughs]. You can’t even wear royal blue really.
That must have been real a culture shock. We hear you are from Jersey?
Yeah, a huge culture shock but I had to adapt quick! Born in Trenton, NJ, raised in Orlando. I lived in Orlando for about eleven years. I was back and forth; south, north connection. Every summer I went to my grandmother’s. My grandmother stay on the same street I was raised on [in Trenton]; My uncle their, auntie there. In Florida, my dad didn’t want me growing up in Trenton; its real down there, too real! Trenton ain’t got shit on Camden though. I am not fuckin’ with Camden, but Trenton, you can go there. I still see the same dudes just posted. I lived in the United States Virgin Islands before Los Angeles.
Trenton, to Orlando, to St. Thomas USVI, to LA. What was that like?
I got out here in ’04 from the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas), The day I moved out here I seen a gang of Black P. Stones (BPS) beat up a whole bunch of mexicans! I’m at the park like, “This shit real? Is this a movie?” Beating this nigga ass for no reason at all. I stayed on 25th and Third. This was right in the bloods, like, I looked the shit up on youtube. It was just connecting the dots with everything for me, like this shit is too cliche [laughs]. Literally, the park I was at was right across from my place. The first day there, I went outside in all brown, oblivious that that’ s they enemies; the 30′s. I had on a brown fitted, brown T, brown shorts; outside just playing’ ball. These niggas outside, all black on, red belts, “Aye blood where you from?” I’m like, “I’m from Jersey.” They like, “Oh blood ain’t from round here! You can’t be having’ all that brown on.” I’m just like, word? I had to ask though. Closed mouth don’t get fed you know. I caught on quick; had to get neutral real fast [laughs]. I was here two days, and was like, hell no! I am not getting’ caught up in this shit. You don’t know how to adapt when you go places, you’re fucked. You’ll just be sitting there moping , or not wanting to go outside. Just scared of your environment; scared of your own people. I am not scared of my people at all. I can’t. Shit real out here Mann! Over… it was the greatest move ever! I love Los Angeles, California!
Great mind frame to have. So now you’re in LA, how did you and Casey Veggies start working with one and other?
Started with a few folks I got attached to it (PRiCELE$$, Prep Gang in Los Angeles 2006-2008). Paid my dues, paid my homage, gave my respect, all that shit. Shit grew, and grew. We threw parties, got money, grew. Casey saw us and was like, “Man I’m trying to be apart of that shit.” This nigga is like 13. I said, “Nigga you young my nigga; Finish middle school first at least.” He was like, “Fuck y’all then”. That’s how it was. I was like ok, ok. He said fuck y’all, went and started his own shit; started his own crew. You had Wheels on da bus [W.O.D.B] , and every crew had like a team hat on some click shit. So, it went from that, and I was like wow! I fucks with you just cause you said fuck us. Like fuck us! Shit who the fuck are we. I can’t tell you that can’t be from some shit; well I can if its ours,but at the same time, start your own shit. Everybody has the same opportunity. Everybody can do the same shit. That’s why sky is the limit. That showed me enough. I believe in this nigga just off that. I didn’t know he rapped. Then he was like, “Oh yeah, I rap.” We were like what? You ain’t trying’ to spit. Fuck out of here with that shit [laughs]. A year later, that nigga came back harder. The next summer I heard his shit, I’m like, “Yo, if your gonna do this shit, you can’t play with it.” It went serious for him. We were like 17, he was 14. From then on, Boom! He became Priceless, and his mentality was greater than all these other mutha fuckas out here. A young kid.
That was a bar, that tumblr look from Complex Magazine last week.
Man, you know niggas look at that shit at times like, “Oh Complex, he got that look, whatever.” To me it’s a big fucking deal. I remember Pharrell said in his renegotiation skit on his Gangsta Grillz, “Who do you know?” Places where shits not really poppin and all they have is the internet and TV, they look at that shit totally fuckin’ different, like that shit is wavy! [Peasandcarrotsinternational.tumblr.com]. Appreciate the love everyone shows us on the site. Appreciate the look on Hypebeast too! Blessing to whom spread the word about us to them. You know who you are!
Dope. So what is your affiliation with The Trap House store, because word is that it’s your store?
I did the whole Creative Direction, but it was more of an experiment for me or basically an art project. In my opinion… It worked, shit! G shit, what happened… it was nothing in that store. He was doing that shit with another dude, his homie or whatever. Dude was just giving him all these bullshit ideas like putting a runway inside the shop ! They had some whole other name they were gonna call the shit. We ended up smoking, and I was like “you know what would be tight? A store about the Trap house.” I coordinated every direction and nigga’s just fell in love with the shit. Plus it was a way for me to pay homage to the brand that helped us out with our movement. Open daily 4948 W Pico Blvd.
How did you get involved with Highsnobiety and Hypebeast?
Meeting the editors at trade shows. All it takes is to get up, get out, and do something. You don’t even gotta be all, “I’m so business-y, I got appointments and shit.” Go explore, like fuck, just go. You also have to speak up… closed mouths don’t get fed. You gotta connect & connect the dots.
So you started going out there and niggas just started fucking with you?
Real eyes recognize real lies is how I look at it. Eugene from Hypebeast; Pete over at Highsnobiety; and the folks at Slamxhype… yes to answer that question as well. They started fucking with me. I respect them.
Common Magazine No. 19
May 17th, 2011
By Anwar Carrots
The Common Magazine issue was finally released! Because of the earthquake/tsunami, it had to be postponed a month. The issue has the 8-page interview that I did with you in it. It seems like it went over pretty well as a lot of heads are talking about it out here. The mag is now in over 100 shops over the world including DQM, Shut, and Reed Space in NYC. Go get your issue… Carrots in that muh fucka! hahaha
ON THE WINGS OF A MOONHAWK
CVLT Nation interviews ARIK ROPER
April 18th, 2011
Arik Roper is an awesome human on all levels, plus one of my favorite artists. His work is magical, & at first glance draws you into his cosmic universe. Arik has drawn for some of my favorite bands & then some. I feel pretty lucky to count him as a friend & a peer. It’s our honor at CVLT Nation to have chance to bring you a very special interview with him. So after the jump take a journey into Arik Roper’s mind’s eye…
What uppers Arik…how are you chilling?
Very good, the weather is getting nice and I’m hanging out with my new daughter. Things are good.
At what age did realize you had a passion for art? Did your artwork have a dark vibe even as a child?
I started drawing as early as I can remember. My parents were both artists, and my mother was an illustrator, so I learned a lot from her. When I was 3 we moved to Alaska for a while, where I spent most of my time drawing when it was too cold or dark to do anything outside. It’s always been a natural thing for me, as if that’s what I was made to do.
I don’t think there was any specific dark vibe to my art as a child; I always liked monsters, dinosaurs and weird creatures and all that. I always preferred the fantastic instead of the mundane things. I guess you could say I was drawing from my imagination more than from “real life”.
Did your parents nurture your artistic side?
Yeah, I was encouraged by my parents. They turned me on to a lot of art as I was growing up. My mother taught me some skills and I got to make use of her arsenal of drawing tools and markers. My dad was into underground comics, sci fi, movies, etc. so I got started on that angle at an early age through him. I think they would have been disappointed if I’d turned out to be a lawyer or doctor, or something other than an artist.
What artist inspired you most when you were younger?
I’ve gotten a lot of influences from all areas of art. Different ones from different stages. It’s hard to name just one, but If I had to choose one who really spoke to me I guess it would be Vaughn Bode. I discovered him when I was about 13-14, and was immediately attracted to his style, partly because it reminded me of my own style at the time. I spent many years admiring his linework, color and writing; he was one of those cartoonists who could write quality, thought-provoking content. I was fortunate to become friends with his son Mark, who let me in behind the scenes and showed me some of his father’s private work and told me some stories, so I feel extremely lucky to have that connection to one of my heroes. I don’t think my work today is as obviously influenced by Bode as it was in the 90s, but he was a foundational inspiration to me. In the past years, I’ve been more inspired by classical painting and illustration, and of course graphic design and illustration from the 1960s to early 1980s.
Does the inhaling of THC have an effect on the way you create?
Yes, for me it’s a tool. It serves a very useful purpose when related to creating my art. It gives me two important things: Patience and Perspective. Patience is useful because sometimes when Im working I tend to move quickly to reach a finished state faster, but the THC brings me back to a meditative pace where I can enjoy the more repetitive detail work of a piece of art. As soon as it affects me, I have the patience to slow down and spend more time on something – this could also be called “focus” I guess. In the same way it gives me the other attribute of Perspective – it allows me to see the work from new points of view. This is really useful if I’ve been staring at some piece of work for too long. I can see it with a new mindset thanks to the plant. Definitely a useful tool for my process.
How did you become the one of the go-to artists in doom metal world?
I don’t know if I’d agree I’m the “go-to artist”, I think there are some other dudes who personify doom more than I do, but whatever notoriety I have in that field of heavy music is probably from doing some work for classic bands like Sleep and some other seminal metal bands. I like doing that stuff, but I wouldn’t want to be labeled as only that. I’m into different things, a wide range of styles and subjects. I’m not what I’d call a “dark” person. I like to keep the balance of dark and light in my work, but I’m also an optimistic person.
Can you describe your personal & artistic relationship with bands like High on Fire and Buzzov-en?
Buzzov-en was the first band I really hooked up with in terms of doing consistent art. I met them in 1992 or so. I was into that style of sludge metal, so after a show one night I started to talking to Kirk, and we got along well. I told him I could do a flyer or something for the band. They liked the flyer and from there I started doing shirt designs and later album covers for them. I also met Sleep through them. Fast forward several years to when Tee Pee put out High on Fire’s The Art of Self Defense on vinyl, I did some art for it and Matt Pike and I got back in touch. Since then we just kept working together. He or Des usually calls when they need some new art. I honestly like their music a lot too, so that helps.
How does the fantasy world impact your artwork?
Let me start by saying that I’ve always been interested in consciousness, and what makes up what we call “reality”. I’ve done a lot of thinking and reading about it, and come up with some ideas on the subject. I think the “fantasy” world, or I’ll call it the “imagination”, is something that a person can choose to turn into a reality. It may be a personal reality at first, but if you depict it with art, music or whatever, you can let others in on it, and it starts to become a reality even if it’s a mental reality only. There are many realities, we create them all the time, but the artist has an opportunity to show it to others. So in that way, I think of a lot of my art as existing in a world or universe that a person visits when they view it. Hopefully it will take them there and give them a glimpse of that world. I’m an unapologetic fantasy artist, and an escapist artist. I try to help people escape from the normal, shared world that we all call “reality”. I take them for an imaginary ride.
You live in a city that has almost no natural surroundings, but your artwork has an aspect of nature to it. Does escaping to nature play a part in how you create, or do you imagine it from the city?
The natural world is very inspirational to me. I live in a mostly concrete city, but I always come up with this overgrown natural world for my art. I guess that unbounded natural imagery represents some kind of ideal to me, like nature triumphing over the man-made world. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in the woods, but until I moved to New York I lived in some pretty remote wooded areas growing up. I wonder if my art would change if I lived in the wilderness now. I don’t think that would would lessen my affinity for nature, it would probably only cause me to draw more types of trees and roots and animals since I’d be seeing it all the time. Nature is ultimate teacher. You can learn the way life works from observing the natural rhythms of the world, the way water flows, the way ice crystals grow, the way animals behave, natural cycles of the seasons- that’s the Tao, and it’s all there for us to observe. It’s where we come from and it’s where we return.
What inspired you to create your book Mushroom Magick?
Mushroom Magick was an idea that I and an editor at Abrams books came up with. She wanted to propose a book on hallucinogenic mushrooms to Abrams, and she was pretty sure she could convince them to publish it. She approached me with the idea and of course I was into it. I’d been wanting to do a book like that for years but I didn’t expect a major publisher to go for it. I came up with the basic concept and material and how it would be presented then we went through with the process and it became a reality. It’s a showcase of mushrooms, an homage to them. They’re powerful and mystifying things, and I wanted to convey some of that without making the book too far out; well actually, Abrams didn’t want it to be too far out – I did! But I like the way it turned out as an accessible art book that almost looks likes a children’s book, which is cool because everybody should know that there are mushrooms out there in the world that have this powerful chemical interaction with the mind.
What are three of your favorite heavy records & why?
Tough question. Just to keep it simple, I’ll narrow this down to modern (meaning last 20 years) of heavy music. There are too many old bands that I’d list as my all-time favorites, but for the modern era I can list 3 that have been outstanding favorites of mine. These are off the top of my head, I’d probably list others if I thought about it longer.
Sleep – Dopesmoker: I think this album is one of the most original pieces of music ever recorded. Its’ vision and vibe are truly epic. It tops the genre of the slow and heavy post-Sabbath sound. Nothing has surpassed it.
Melvins – Ozma: I could choose other Melvins albums just as easily as this one, but this was my first I think. The Melvins constructed the ultimate modern heavy sound, and remained outside of any stereotypical image.
Darkthrone – Total Death: I like Darkthrone’s attitude of DIY, back-to-basics rawness, and their commanding vibe comes through strong in their work. Total Death has that Celtic Frost thrash feel, I like that. They do a great job of creating an atmosphere – when you hear them, you know you’re in their world.
Super Rad Human Arik Roper.
Any last words?
Peace, Life and Progress!
CVLT Nation would like to thank Arik Roper for his epic interview & his support!
NEW WEST ARTIST CASEY VEGGIES IS “DREAMING BIG”
April 18th, 2011
By Anwar Carrots
Rap Scholar: Casey Veggies
Representing: Inglewood, California
Mixtape: Sleeping in Class
Real Spit: Casey Veggies is an MC who’s looking to make sure you don’t snooze on him or his talented peers, and MTV News is spotlighting the artist to start off New West Week.
After catching the rhyme bug and getting positive feedback from some tracks he posted on MySpace, Casey released the Customized Greatly, Vol. 1mixtape in 2007. Steadily improving with each new song, Odd Future knew what was up early, with Tyler the Creator throwing a couple of beats on Casey’s sophomore mixtape, Customized Greatly, Vol. 2back in 2009. Last year, he dropped Sleeping in Class, an offering that further reveals the Inglewood, California native to be from the school of fresh beats and rhymes.
“I didn’t really want Sleeping in Class … for people to think, ‘Oh he’s sleeping in class.’ That’s ignorant,” Casey told Mixtape Daily. ”Really, it was like a sub-meaning and it meant that I was sleeping on everything that everyone else was telling me was the truth and what was right to do. That’s class, that’s the teacher talking to you. I was sleeping on that and I chose my own route. I chose to do what I wanted to do. So that means I’m sleeping, I’m dreaming big and I’m doing my thing.”
We weren’t kidding about Casey being a student of the game, literally. While making a name for himself as an artist to watch from the West side of the map, the Inglewood High School senior made the honor roll with a 3.5 GPA. Commend the man.
CVLT Nation captured LOCRIAN
April 8th, 2011
CVLT Nation has had the honor to interview one our favorite bands, Locrian. To us this group of musicians transform sound into sonic cathedrals. This interview takes an in-depth journey into how they create the way they do. The only way to do them justice is let them speak for themselves. After the jump check out this totally superdelic Locrian interview…
You seem to take small sounds & expand them into bigger soundscapes…does this occur organically or do you do it consciously?
André: That’s a nice compliment. I think it happens both ways sometimes. We tend to start out smaller since it gives us more room to expand.
On the song “Triumph of Elimination” you have this haunting vocal mixed in a way that in sounds as if it’s being sung from the bottom of an ice cave. What effect did you want this vocal to have on the listener?
Terence: I think, most importantly, I listen to try and change textures. To try and make something I am interested in that is evocative of something else. I tend to always go towards more cavernous sounds, lots of reverb to try and effect the vocals, make them distant or larger than they are. I guess I just want them to sound like they’re in some sort of space.
When I listen to your new album The Crystal World I find that many of the songs have a balance between harmonic sounds & chaotic sounds. Is it important for Locrian to compose your songs that way?
André: I don’t think that a balance between harmony and chaos is essential, but it’s definitely something that happens. One of the ways that you can be creative is to change how elements are put together. I think by taking this approach it’s led us to take our music in some unexpected places, which is always essential to how we play music.
Terence: It really is about contrast, we tend to think about our own expectations and how to flip them. How a song can start off harsh and then become melodic or be a drone that suddenly has a beat.
What was your inspiration for the song “Elevations and Depths”?
André: We wrote that track entirely in the studio. We started with the twelve string guitar part that you hear at the beginning. The rest came about very naturally. I think we approached the rest of the song like we were trying to tell a story. By trying to do this is where we came up with the rest of the parts.
Terence: Yeah it just flowed, like we had this idea of like a mountain between two valleys, the softer acoustic and vocal intro that changes to the more intense dirge and evolves to a massive acoustic drone. Again it was all about contrasts and trying to do what we do in a different way, i.e. all acoustic at the end so that is only acoustic guitar, accordion and layers of violin with very little effects.
What is your outlook on these four sounds/concepts & what input do they have on what you create: feedback, drone, space & repetition?
André: I think that all of those concepts are tactics that we might use in order to create the sound that we are going for. Feedback can add an element of chaos and unpredictability to a track; droning and repetition can push the listener into a more trace-like state; and space is essential since it adds to the dynamics of the music.
Terence: We tend to use feedback and drones a lot, but we also try and stray away from the whole feedback drone sub-genres. I think actually space is what helps us, we’re always talking about the space something creates or the void is makes. Repetition is important, I think that is something I think about a lot with certain lines in a song. But I borrow it from Minimalism and krautrock I guess.
For me Locrian is very powerful & very emotive – how does this translate when you are performing live?
André: Thanks very much. Performing live is an emotional experience for me. When we play live recently, we have a certain amount of structure to the music that we’re playing, but there’s always an element of unpredictability.
Terence: I am never sure how it comes across. I have a lot of buttons to push and trying to remember to sing or scream kind of dominates my brain. And I always have to make sure I am listening to what my bandmates are doing because really we never know when something ends or another track begins.
André: Unpredictability is something that’s fun to play with. For instance, that’s one of the reasons why we like analog equipment and tapes. Although it’s a pain to use old analog equipment, there’s an element of surprise involved with the sound of this equipment that you can’t really produce digitally.
Terence: Like having your tape delay not work right as your about to go on. Or a Moog not want to tune.
Was there a place you wanted to go in The Crystal World that you had not gone before?
André: For one, this was our first recording with Steven. As much as some people categorize us as being a collaborative project, it’s really just been Terence and I for 90% of the time that Locrian performed before this record. We invited Steven to have equal input to the two of us in the creative process. So the percussion is definitely one thing that brought the record to new places for us.
I think that we took our time with “The Crystal World” more than we had with any other release.
Terence: I think it allowed us to do two things, create a narrative and also generate a long form response with disc 2. Both things we have wanted to do.
Locrian possess a shamanic & meditative energy at times, where do think this comes from?
André: A lot of our music is created intuitively and in order to do that we need to enter this trance-like state. The music becomes something that comes out and it becomes our job to shape it. I think that might be why it has a meditative quality. By the way, that’s very kind of you to say that our music has a shamanic and meditative quality to it.
Would you say you have a group of musical peers around you that inspire you & if so who are they?
André: Of course I’m inspired by a lot of our musical contemporaries. A lot of the stuff on Bloodlust! and Utech Records. We’re working on projects with two of our contemporaries that I respect a lot. We have a one-sided LP with Horseback coming out soon. In June, we will be recording a collaborative album with Mamiffer/House of Low Culture-Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner. I feel really honored since I think that Mamiffer, House of Low Culture, and Horseback are some of the most exciting projects around.
Chicago has a bunch of really inspiring projects as well: Anatomy of Habit, Neil Jendon, Sun Splitter, and of course Steven’s groups like Pan-American and Haptic.
Although I do listen to a ton of metal and experimental music, I do have to regularly cleanse my musical palate with pop music though.
Terence: Definitely. We’re very fortunate to be in contact with some great bands, musicians from many genres. Like a lot of the Weird Records stuff that Pieter is putting out like Martial Canterel and Staccato du Mal gets my interest since I am a synth nerd. But also the underground black metal of Ash Borer and Velnias. I’d have to say locally Anatomy of Habit are perhaps one of my favorites for their intensity and sound and after them I’d put in a few like Del Ray, Oakeater, Monument. I’ve been really into this duo called Light Asylum from NYC, dark synth tones with like a super strong female vocalist.
Photo by Rik Garrett
What was the moment in space & time that you guys got together to start Locrian?
André: Terence and I started Locrian a little over five years ago. I guess we first practiced in a shitty practice space that I had on Chicago’s west side.
Terence: Had our first show in 2005, where we recorded our first CDR, at The Mutiny. And from there we just kind of went where we were invited. I would say our first serious recording was the “Plague Journal” 7″ for BloodLust! From then on things got more serious and we figured out a lot about what we wanted to do.
It could be anything, but what’s the most enjoyable part about being in this band?
André: I definitely like getting to be able to do the things that I’m interested in: being able to release music that we’re proud of in the format of our choice. I also like getting to meet musicians that I respect and other interesting people. I try to learn from every experience and I think that I’ve learned a lot from the experiences that I’ve had in this project.
Terence: The creative outlet, working with people I respect who bring interesting creative ideas to the table.
It seems that visual art (ex. your videos, lighting during your performances, album covers) is an extension of your music, could you explain how?
André: We try to make this a total experience and we are constantly working to push that for ourselves.
Terence: I am a visual artist so I spend a lot of time thinking about how things look, from the stage to the album covers. I work with a lot of other visual artists and to and tap people who I think are interesting, regardless of their status, to work with us. I think overall I am interested in the entire thing. Even though we live in this digitally mediated world where album covers tend to be after thoughts for the most part I often times buy albums because of their covers or check out a band because they made a video that appealed to me.
Obsidian Facades from Terence Hannum on Vimeo.
Any closing thoughts for the CVLT Nation readers?
André: Thanks for the support and thanks for writing about this kind of music.
CVLT Nation would like to Locrian & Utech Records for all of their support.
ALL Photos by Lenny Gilmore except where noted.
SOURCE:CVLT Nation WEBZINE
Thank You Rob Hepler
March 29th, 2011
By Anwar Carrots
Thank you Rob Hepler for the opportunity! Check him out: The Hundreds (Rob)