Q: It’s been a long time since the first YPC album. Are you working on new material at the moment?
A: Off and on, although more off than on, lately. My day job is actually a night job, and it gets tough to think or be creative when your brain and body are going directly against what should be happening. Sleeping during the day and never seeing the sun kinda fucks with your rhythms…
Q: I understand that there is another completed album ready to go called Total Information Awareness. Will you put that out later this year?
A: There is. Like A Place For Everything, it’s an old album that was never really released to the general public. It was one of those things that I made and then just kinda hoarded out of… I dunno… anything from procrastination to insecurity. Total Information Awareness will be getting a few tweaks in the next little while, but should be out by summer.
Q: A Place for Everything feels really unified, can you describe the album as a whole for people who are not familiar with your music?
A: Well, since it was my first album in a studio setting (The Freeware Years was all done with, yes, free music making programs I’d found, like Buzz, Hammerhead, etc.), Zeke Mason produced it and helped me along with the process. For example, he decided we should record drum samples for me, but not traditional drums. So a kick drum was a Doc Marten boot getting hit with a drumstick and tuned down, a snare was made from TV static, and so on. I still have those samples somewhere, I should dig them up, see if I can modify them and reuse them…
Q: How was the recording process for this album? Can you describe your approach to creating these songs?
A: The process was entirely experimental! I think I joined Dumbass about a year before doing this album, and prior to that my music experience was a couple piano lessons when I was under 10 and playing saxophone in elementary school band. I kept the sax up a bit here and there, and it showed up on some of the later Dumbass albums, but it was later stolen by a degenerate pervert named Johnny Devious, a member of the infamous Mr Spooky Band. Never forgave him for that..
Anyway, when I joined Dumbass at Zeke’s request it was to play guitar. I told him I didn’t know how, to which his reply was “It’s okay, I’ll teach you what you need to know!”. So when I sat down to start making APFE it was a totally clean slate. I hadn’t written anything, there were no plans, I just wanted to make a thing. It was an experiment in guitar, in sampling, in noise… Zeke was there with suggestions the whole time, edits, ideas for sounds, and he played some keyboard (at one point, on track 4- “Shattered”, they aren’t named anywhere but on my computer- we’re playing the same keyboard at the same time!). So it was just a big… fun thing to try and do, and when it was done I was really proud of it.
Q: The tagline: “Soundtracks for films that don’t exist” has been associated with YPC since the early days and seems incredibly apt. When writing do you think in terms of sound-scapes, or moods, or narratives?
A: I didn’t at the start. Like I said, I was just trying to experiment with sounds. But I’ve always been a lover of cinema, and directed a few short films in film school. I used a lot of my own music in them. I’ve always loved a well made music video, like what Rammstein have done, or some Queens of the Stone Age, or Depeche Mode. They kind of flip the idea, making a visual-track to fit the song instead of a soundtrack. Music can make or break a movie. Look at “The Devil’s Rejects”, Rob Zombie obviously has good taste in music, but he was so haphazard in placing it in the movie, with the exception of the gorgeous end credit sequence with Terry Reid’s “Seed of Memory” playing.
Q: Does Total Information Awareness differ a lot from A Place for Everything?
A: Yes. I had Zeke Mason producing again, and playing guitar, some vocals, etc on it, but this time it was mostly programmed beforehand, exported, and the audio files brought into the studio for the extra tracks to be layered on.
Q: When was the last time you listened to The Freeware Years?
A: Oh man, every year or so I’ll drag a couple songs out! It’s very primitive, compared to later stuff, and especially compared to what we were doing in Dumbass! I’d call it “grade 2” to Dumbass’s “University”!
Q: If you were to make a video for one of your own songs how would you approach it?
A: It would have to be entirely visual! There’s no lyrics to tell a story, so I’d have to rely on the visual element for any kind of narrative, if I wanted one… The Nine Inch Nails video for their song “Help Me I Am In Hell” is a good example of matching the mood of an instrumental.
Q: How do you see the overall trajectory of your work? What will people see when they have 3 albums and maybe even some new material on top of that?
A: I’m not exactly sure. I’m hoping to get some new stuff off the ground soon. I’ve had good response from music I’ve done for the movie “Easter Bunny Bloodbath” and web-series “Hibachi In The Rain”, and I wouldn’t mind doing more film-score work. I’m hoping to get to do some work with Christopher Henderson of Vancouver band Ultravillian sometime soon, I want to get him to record some vocals for me, but he’ll be busy with his own stuff for the near future, I think!
I would very much like to get a week to record just WHATEVER with Zeke Mason, it’s been far too long since we worked together. Looks like a trip to the passport office is in order. I just hope I don’t get flagged at customs for my association with Mr Spooky and his pack of filth-mongers. Talented as they are, they still scare me…