Interview with prolific musician Osman Arabi, also known by the monikers Xardas, 20.SV, Shamanic Death Trance, Seeker.
more info: http://www.osmanarabi.com/
Firstly, can you give us a brief history of your project?
Well, the idea of using my real name emerged while recording the Burning Sigils album back in 2007. As far as I am concerned, giving a name for a certain project is heavily related to the whole sound/nature/concept of the project itself, so when the concept was based on an extremely personal matter it felt natural to use my real name for it.
What inspires you to make music? What draws you to the medium of ambient / noise music?
My understanding of “inspiration” is the moment my unconscious takes over, it’s in that specific moment that I record. I’d say 90% of the time I’m not even aware of what I’m doing (without being under the influence of any substance). It’s about being in a specific mind-state to be able to do what I do and channel what is in me.
As far as the medium is concerned, that was never a question; I do not work that way. I’ve been listening to metal music ever since I was ten years old and it constitutes 95% of what I listen to since then. When I started 20.SV and Seeker back in 2000 I wasn’t even aware of ambient , noise, death industrial, power electronics, harsh noise or dark ambient etc… I record what I hear in my head, that’s how it has been and how it will always be. Actually it is when I’ve started getting those reviews and e-mails from supporters that I’ve learnt about those genres and categories.
To highlight an important point regarding the noise thing, a little bit of history must be shared…
It all started with Jesse, the founder of Cthulhic Dawn Productions back in 2003. When we first got in touch he introduced me to his project (Terrorgoat) and I was blown away by it and by the very fact that there is someone else out there doing something similar to what I’ve been doing alone for years. I told him about 20.SV (the project didn’t even have a name back then - never knew that there are people who might actually listen to this kind of stuff in the first place) and sent him the Acid Vomit demo. We never promoted nor stated that 20.SV is noise nor dark ambient or death industrial or gave it any definition. Hell, 20.SV is certainly not noise and I do not do noise. Making harsh frequencies/sounds doesn’t mean the work is just some noise, I’d say this is a shortcut to thinking and an insult to what I do. A lot of people started labeling 20.SV and the other projects on Cthulhic Dawn Productions as Black Noize and started promoting our works as such, which made us react aggressively to this term. Even to this day a lot of people have no idea what I do and what is that I do or how I do it or what it truly is. You have to see the reactions on people’s faces after a performance of mine and hear their comments or even read the silly descriptions they include on the flyers of my performances… they’re clueless yet they try hard to label the outcome.
Your track for the compilation ["IV: Eridanus Supervoid"] is “Snakes, Lizards And Shamans”. Can you give us a bit of insight on what inspired the track, how you composed it, etc?
That track…. Don’t know where to start. Everything about it was unusual… what I felt while working on it and after finishing the work was something that I was completely unfamiliar with. I don’t know what “inspired” it, as I said in my previous answer it’s all about a specific mind state that I am in, something that I cannot express in words and I don’t like explaining it.
I had several label owners asking me if I can make an entire album like that and my answer was always the same: if the same mind state occurred and the same energy was received then we have an “album”, but to sit and consciously do more tracks like it just to have something to release is out of the question.
I don’t force the course of work nor plan it or even explain it.
Tell us a bit about your studio. What gear are you using, what is your favorite gear/techniques/etc ?
Gear listing is pointless in my opinion; it’s about what you have in mind in terms of sound, how you do it is really of no value at all. I always do my best to avoid answering this question as I know a lot of people think that the only way to do things is by obtaining the same equipment someone lists, which contradicts my approach to what I do and what I believe in. For example I never used a midi controller, but kept seeing a lot of artists using it and was encouraged by many to buy one, so I foolishly did. After few hours of trying it out I felt the need to throw it out of the window. It really got on my nerves, what a retarded and mind limiting piece of junk. It just doesn’t fit with the way I work, which a lot of people still find hard to believe.
I don’t have a favorite gear; I use whatever I have to create the sound that I am after. Whenever I manage to have some extra cash I try to improve my equipment. Two months ago, I finally managed to buy a Les Paul. Took me over 15 years to be able to do so… no idea how long it will take me to improve the rest of my tools.
My techniques are a never ending process of work and improvement that I will never share. Every day I wake up and find myself to be more stupid than the day before.
You have several other projects including 20.SV, Seeker, and Shamanic Death Trance. Tell us a bit about those and how you go about creating works for each; do you focus on each specifically or write for them simultaneously?
This question was the reason for taking several months to send my answers.
It’s really hard to explain this… I don’t know if I should or if I can. I, myself, have no idea how I work.
It’s been a long learning process for me. I have to monitor my different state of minds and the sounds/energy I get from each to know which ones are similar as each mind state got its own different effects on me and with a different outcome. It’s like shifting personalities or transforming.
Telling you about each project is as pointless as those countless occult/magic books that try hard to put into words something that can only be experienced.
Do you have anything planned in the future for the Osman Arabi moniker?
No, nothing planned at all.