Dark and obscure music blog/zine since 2006 [ Post-Industrial / Ambient / IDM ]
contact: woundsoftheearth@gmail.com

| news | reviews | interviews | recommendations | releases | articles | about |

Monday, April 18, 2011

Galvanax Interview

Interview with DJGX of  industrial/idm/ambient project Galvanax.

more info: here

Firstly, can you give us a brief history of your project?

Oh boy... as brief as I can tell it, Galvanax started as a collaboration between myself and Skot Ruscitto of Pittsburgh industrial rock band 8 Gauge Syringe sometime in 2004, I believe. We'd named the project Galvatron and intended it to be a fun project focusing on Transformers characters (titles like "Starscream," "Octane," etc.), but Skot wasn't able to devote a lot of time to it. As well, I was concerned about the copyrights that might be involved so I changed the name to Galvanax, which suited the more experimental nature of what I wanted to do - far away from the conventional EBM and industrial that was (and still is) going on. I'd also wanted to involve other collaborators on different tracks, similar to how groups like Download worked.
Since then, I've worked on and off on various demos and remixes, all very different in style, just trying to find a sound and style that I could define as Galvanax. In late 2009, I began working on a focused set of tracks that I hope to become a six-track EP. The EP is nearing completion, and I hope to release it by summer of 2011 on Anything Industries.

What inspires you to write music? What draws you to the medium of industrial/ambient music?

I honestly can't remember a time in my life when music wasn't there - whether it was watching Amadeus with my parents, listening to my father's vinyl record and tape collection or mucking about on his Casio keyboard while he played guitar, or watching videos on MTV with my older sister, music has always been in my life. Honestly, I think that's what inspires me most... just as virtue is its own reward, music is its own inspiration. I know that sounds pretentious, but I love music so much - not just industrial/ambient, but literally all kinds - that it is just a genuine desire to keep music going, to keep music alive, to make good music. When I hear a good song or a good piece of music, I immediately feel a surge of energy and I want to try to recreate that... not to literally copy or cover it, but that sense of excitement. If I can make myself, and most especially make other people, feel that... it keeps me going.

As for what draws me to industrial/ambient music... I suppose it's the intrigue of making music through non-musical means. The idea of finding beauty and form in dissonance and noise is fascinating to me. I'm never opposed to conventional styles - I am a guitarist after all - but there is a thrill that comes from finding new ways to do things. Industrial/ambient music is some of the most experimental music out there, and not that more conventional music bores me, but... most of it does.

You mention being attracted to many kinds of music. Are you looking to work in a set style (albeit, perhaps, a broad one) with Galvanax releases, or do you think you'll work in different genres with varied output?

 I've often referred to Galvanax as a solo electronic project, but electronic music is very broad because there are different styles of electronic - ambient, industrial, EBM, techno, noise, what have you. While I would like to think that Galvanax can have a specific sound, it's more to do with the style and attitude of the project, the sense of exploration. For instance, the six-track EP I mentioned has a little bit of industrial, drum & bass, IDM, ambient, and perhaps some other elements, so it will be a varied set of songs, but I'd like to think it's a cohesive set so that every track sounds like the same artist. That said, I see no reason not to develop and explore other areas on future releases, but as long as there's a sense of continuity so that it doesn't sound too schizophrenic, then I am satisfied. I'm already planning a four-track EP of compositions that will be more a mix of dark ambient and classical, but it will still be very distinctly electronic - it won't be too dissimilar to the track I contributed to the third Wounds compilation.
I do have other projects that are even more removed from Galvanax; I have an industrial rock band with my best friend called Bygone Era and an as yet unnamed rock project that I'm still putting together.
Listening to and playing so many styles of music, it would be insane to contain it all into a single project, but as far as Galvanax is concerned, I would say that as long as the "feel" is coherent and consistent, then that's the style.

Your track for the compilation is the dark ambient piece “My Thousand Other Forms”. Can you give us a bit on insight on what inspired this track, how you composed it, etc.? 

An originally untitled and longer form of the track started a year or two ago with the intent that it be part of a different compilation of tracks to be inspired by the Mad Arab Abdul Al-Hazared, the author of the Necronomicon in H.P. Lovecraft's fiction. Being a Lovecraft fan, I jumped at the chance to do a track for this compilation, and as I am a friend and fan of The Unquiet Void - who around that time had released the second of an intended trilogy of albums based on Lovecraft - I had hoped to collaborate with him on the track. Unfortunately, it never happened, but I kept the track because I hoped to do something with it eventually.
Ultimately, I decided to trim the track down to the essential elements of that creepy and almost epic bass line that dominates the second half of the song. Something about that bass line and the synth tone on the impOSCar gave me chills (and it continues to do so). I decided that it would be made even more interesting with some e-bow guitars to mirror the bass line and add some depth; it would also be a different use of guitar as opposed to the traditional power chord mentality, though that had crossed my mind to employ.
Also, since it was inspired by Lovecraft's work, I thought about the one element of Lovecraft that I thought of the most - Nyarlathotep, the messenger, deceiver. Given the tumultuous state of the world right now (as is said in the story, "To a season of political and social upheaval was added a strange and brooding apprehension of hideous physical danger," "a daemoniac alteration in the sequence of the seasons," "the world and perhaps the universe had passed from the control of known gods or forces to that of gods or forces which were unknown"), Nyarlathotep lingers with me more than any of Lovecraft's other creations. Through this association came the marching/tribal drums (which I played live via a USB keyboard), as well as the track
title. There's a lot going on in that track that is actually played live - most of the programmed sequences are from that original bass line.
The pads are a combination of a couple of freeware VSTs called DSK Brass and DSK Strings - both have some pretty decent approximations of orchestra brass and strings, and with a few effects can create some exceptionally cool and atmospheric effects as I think can be heard on the track.

As for the samples of demonic growls and grunts, that's all me doing various things: screaming, choking, breathing, growling, and then filtered through various effects, primarily pitch-shifting and distortion. Unfortunately, I didn't have Nyarlathotep there to help me with that. Hehe.

Tell us a bit about your studio. What gear are you using, what is your favorite gear, etc.?

It really has varied over time. I've used AcidPro and FruityLoops for a number of years, and still do when working on remixes and demos for new compositions. Both are surprisingly versatile programs once you get into them. Recently, I've begun to learn Reason and Ableton Live to incorporate those more. My main recording and keyboard interface is a Line6 KB37, which is a damn fine piece of equipment that has given me some great sound and recording capabilities. I've used a lot of VST synths, and so most of my work up to now has been on softsynths. My favorites are the GMedia impOSCar and the MiniMonsta - both are amazingly fat-sounding and wonderful approximations of their original synth models (I find the MiniMonsta to be closer to the original MiniMoog than Arturia's version). Lately, I've fallen in love with the ToxicIII synth, although it's been discontinued in favor of the Biohazard.
The first Galvanax EP will see me bringing in my Korg MS2000B and my Roland GR-1 guitar synthesizer, so it will be nice to mix up the hardware and software.
Honestly, I have no set method other than to simply start with a synth or a guitar and start playing to see what comes to me. I tend to use a wide palette of sounds because they are available to me, but in keeping with the exploratory nature of Galvanax, I try to avoid presets as much as possible, no matter the instrument or effect.
It's always been my philosophy that it's never the gear you use as much as how you use what you have available to you at your utmost abilities. I'm hardly a good producer and mixing for me is a trial and error process, but I know a good sound when I hear it, and I'd like to think that my education and tastes have given me a sense of how to write a decent track. As long as I can do that, it doesn't matter what I make music on. The tools are only an extension of what's in the heart and mind of the artist.

What can we expect in the future from Galvanax?

As I've mentioned, I am currently working on finishing up a debut six-track EP, which I hope to have released in 2011 on Anything Industries. It will feature some production and performance contributions from Tony Smith (of mindFluxFuneral and Cyanotic), Jayme Bass (of Skullduggery), Medic (head of Anything Industries), and Chris Cozort (of Iammynewt and Aphotic Audio). After that, I plan on completing the four-track dark ambient EP before the year is out. By 2012, I hope to be well into production of a full-length album, which will likely feature an even more diverse group of collaborators, including vocalists, although it will probably be more in the vein of operatic or chorale-like accompaniments and spoken word. Musically, I expect and hope the full-length to go even further into the territories explored on the two EPs, mixing rhythmic ambience, dark atmospheres, and industrial textures, but in a way that is cohesive and stimulating. Of course, all of that is really up to the listeners' opinions.
I'm also currently working on remixes and session work (as a guitarist) for Retrogramme, KLANK, White Shadow, and Everpresent to name a few. I contributed guitars to a Retrogramme track, "Share the Cancer," which I'm told is slated to appear on the second Electronic Saviors compilation.
I also would like to possibly take Galvanax live in the foreseeable future, preferably with a live partner to make for a more dynamic performance. All of that depends on a number of factors, and my priorities now are to finish the EP and remixes first.

No comments: