more info: Bugs Crawling Out Of People
Firstly, give us a brief history of Death of Self.
Well I think Death of Self came about mainly because of my frustration with my failed attempts in other bands. I really wanted to have complete control over the creative process, and more importantly, the content and subject matter. So I began writing music under the name Death of Self sometime in 2006. During the first several years I spent a lot of time experimenting with different techniques and sounds, which would lead to the release of the EP titled “Mind Fuck” and the extended EP “Atrophy”. It was at this point that I decided to get more serious, and I would eventually catch the attention of the Canadian label, bugs crawling out of people.
So the name – Death of Self, why is it important to extinguish the self?
The name Death of Self comes from the desire to see the world from a perspective unaltered by the “self” or the ego. It is human nature to let fear, prejudices, insecurities, etc. get in the way and I feel like this is major contributor to the lack of progress of mankind. We have been stuck in a rut for quite some time now, and my goal with Death of Self has been to counteract that.
Is this more of a personal goal – to improve yourself through the cultivation of Death of Self, or an attempt to open the eyes of the masses? To what extent do you feel underground music has the ability to effect or influence people into becoming aware of/taking action to fix the plights of the human disposition? Is it possible for humans to evolve beyond these current problems?
I would say it's definitely both, although I think the personal aspect comes first.
It's hard to say how much of an impact it will have. I want to say the people who are into the music in the general underground genre tend to be more open minded or would be more receptive to it, but I'm not sure that is a true statement. I guess reaching a large audience has never been all that important to me. Even if I only get one person to connect with my music then I'm happy.
This is a tough question, I have been asking myself this for a while now. I think it is possible, but certainly not with the way things currently are. Short of some kind of catastrophic event that wipes out the vast majority of the planet's population, I unfortunately just don't see it happening. I feel like at some point we hit a fork in the road and went the wrong way. And now instead of technology advancing us, it holds us back. Instead of critical thinking we have religion. Instead of working towards a common goal, we fight with each other constantly. So I guess I feel like we need to hit the metaphorical reset button and try again.
What inspires you to make music? What draws you to the medium of industrial?
All the horrible things I see happening around me, and the fact that they are generally ignored or tolerated by most people. As I said before, I really want to get people to wake up and see that we have basically enslaved ourselves. And maybe if enough people realize what is going on, we can work towards a solution. Also, I think making music is not only my way of trying to get people to open their eyes, but it's also to vent my frustration with these things. Secondarily, I draw a lot of inspiration from movies and shows, which is probably why I end up using so many samples.
I think it's a number of things that draw me to this genre. Mostly I really enjoy sound manipulation and and using sounds that would not normally be considered musical.
Tell us a bit about your forthcoming album “Embracing The Things We Hate About Ourselves”. What inspired this album? How did the process of crafting it differ from your previous release “Atrophy”?
This album is inspired by my journey of self discovery and the things I learned about myself. I don't want to say much more than that since I feel like an album like this is very much open to interpretation based on the listeners experiences.
I have generally approached the writing process with an open mind. I usually have a general idea of what the song is going to be about and how I want it to feel, and just let it evolve from there. The actual writing experience on the other hand was very different since I had learned a lot from my previous releases and had acquired quite a bit of new gear. “Embracing the Things We Hate About Ourselves” is also a very personal album with a cohesive theme where “Atrophy” was much more outwardly directed and was more of just a collection of songs that I had written than an actual album.
On this album you have a track with it-clings called “More Interactions With People”. Being familiar with his work, I can hazard a pretty good guess as to the subject matter of this track. Tell us about this track, how the collab process went, and so forth.
This track was a lot fun for a couple of reasons. First of all I'm just a big fan of it-clings and his glorious rants. Second, the writing process for me was totally reversed. Generally my vocals come last so they are kind of worked around everything else, but on this track the vocals came first. So it was really interesting to write from a different perspective.
I saw Bugs Crawling Out Of People post about a digital single / remix album (?) to accompany this release. What can you tell us about that?
It's going to be a 6 track remix CD titled “Accepting the Truth” which will be a free digital only release. There is no official release date yet but I will say it should be out very soon! I'm pretty excited about it - all the remixes turned out really well and they are all very different from one another. It's always interesting hearing other artist's interpretations of my music.
Tell us a bit about your studio. What are your favorite pieces of gear / techniques / etc?
My studio has come a long way since I started and is still evolving. Currently I am running Sonar X1 and using mostly softsynths, which have their good and bad points. For me the biggest drawback is not having actual buttons to push or knobs to turn, but I do have my eyes on one or two control surfaces which should help a lot. I have also built a couple DIY synths which can be kind of fun and you can get some pretty interesting sounds out of them. My favorite piece of gear? That's a hard one, I would have to say both the Mackie Big Knob and the Mackie Control Universal Pro are amazing and significantly reduce the amount of time my hand is on the mouse. But my favorite piece of gear would have to be the Native Instruments Maschine.
What is in the future for Death of Self?
Some live shows hopefully, I'm currently trying to figure out the best way to approach that since it is new territory for me. There will definitely be more Death of Self to come, I already have a few ideas about the next album. I am also hoping to experiment more with field recording on the next album. And in the meantime there is always the possibility for some Death of Self remixes.