interrupting an enjoyable evening now am I?
No, Not at all -- I'm just finishing up work for the night.
Oh I guess you're like me being industrial/industrious
all the time.
It's a long time since I've been referred to as "industrial,"
but I do seem to be constantly working on something, even if
it's not readily apparent when looking at my actual release schedule.
Funny thing is that years ago when I worked in a factory as
a lab technician, my aim was to move on and not have to live
the 9-5 life, but, now that my life has moved on and I've left
all that behind, there's no great difference when it comes to
the basic principals of working, what I do now is similar on
many levels, the work ethic remains the same, and ironically,
my hours are longer than 9-5!
All very "industrial" I'm sure...
So what exactly do you do for employment? It
seems you've lucked out and work with sound all the time.
I wouldn't exactly say that I "lucked out." It is a job, and
it gets just as tiring and tedious as any other.
I sit around all day and create different sounds for movie scores.
(All very glamorous I'm sure) I work for my old friend Graeme
Revell (founder member of SPK ), who's a successful
motion picture composer, it's my job to provide him with an ever
fresh library of sounds.
I'd be lying if I said that I don't enjoy it, but at the same
time there are occasions when I'm working on sounds for a particularly
uninspiring movie, that's when it gets difficult, at those times
I invariably create distractions such as writing email, making
coffee, watching TV, etc. --things that one can't necessarily
do at a regular 9-5 job, so there obviously are benefits!
It sounds great!
It pays the bills. A lot of the time I'm working on movies which
aren't too good and it can get quite dull, for example Mighty
Morphin Power Rangers, Streetfighter, and No Escape . We're talking
Hollywood here, not high art.
At the same time there are other more interesting projects,
particularly from the perspective of sound, such as Strange Days
, From Dusk Till Dawn and the two Crow movies.
So do you do anything besides work? (Audio projects
Certainly! I see friends and make attempts to be sociable --
it's important to get one's priorities right. I consider my friends
to be my true family, and real life does take a precedent.
I read a lot, and to unwind after too much time in front of
the computer I like to watch movies, from so-called "art"
movies through to typical Hollywood junk
I'm a laser disc nut, being something of a purist when it comes
to things like proper aspect ratios, director's cut's etc.
Of course I do listen to music a lot, I'm a perfectionist and
have invested a lot of time and money in a quality playback system
(it's a guy thing).
Thing is, when it comes to doing something other than work,
I'm in the privileged position that the sound design work that
I do is exactly what I'd be doing in my free time, and when I
think about it, it's a bizarre concept to get paid to do what
I'd be doing anyway.
It can be worrying at times, particularly when there's a particularly
hectic deadline and I'll be working on sounds for a movie score
for days on end. When it's over I'll immediately go on to work
on sounds for one of my own projects, I try to walk away from
it once in a while, and do something else.
What computer programs do you use?
My main tool is my trusty Macintosh ,
with Digidesign hardware
and software. The main piece of software that I use is Digidesign's
Sound Designer , together with a collection of plug-ins that
makes it a very powerful sound manipulation tool.
What was your childhood like?
My childhood? Interesting question... Does it matter in the
context of this interview? Well, I presume it was a normal childhood,
at least from any subjective viewpoint. I was born I grew up
and now I'm older and not necessarily wiser (laugh...)
Is there anything that inspired you
in your childhood?
Since growing up is an ongoing process of learning, inspiration
and disappointment, it's difficult to think of specific key moments
or items of inspiration. I'm Welsh and, quite logically, grew
up in Wales, in a very rural place with a population of 4,500,
(so you get to know everybody), at the edge of the Snowdonia
national park. My first language is Welsh - I always speak it
with relatives, and used to at school and at work, though now
I've moved on to speak English almost exclusively.
I always felt like an outsider in a small community without
specifically knowing why, and felt a need to move out and on
to other things.
A pivotal moment had to be the discovery of books and reading,
realizing that there was a whole new world of knowledge out there,
that was quite inspirational.
Sound, as opposed to just music, has been a part of my consciousness
as far back as I can remember.
The singular important event related to the fact that I'm dyslexic (try
spelling that one if you are), which went unrecognized until
my mid teens, as such I was downgraded in school, then an English
teacher recognized my dyslexia and it was subsequently taken
into account in grading my schoolwork. This resulted in my suddenly
finding that I was intelligent after all, (although this might
be open to debate).
This one teacher was responsible for my getting high grades
in school, for supporting and encouraging my self expression
and also cultivating my thirst for the new, this was a pivotal
period and I wish I'd had the chance to thank her.
Of course I'm still dyslexic, which is no big deal, the only
time it's a pain is when I'm working on business letters when
it can look rather unprofessional! Rest assured that my spelling
checker is well used.
Well, what inspires Lustmord now?
Influences are constantly shifting. I'm pretty much a hard core
skeptic, question everything! I'm of the opinion that we happen
to live on a very insignificant little planet at the edge of
a very insignificant galaxy, in a universe which if it has any
meaning at all, will always be beyond our meager comprehension.
The more popular world view that we're somehow important within
the vast scheme of things doesn't convince me.
I don't feel any need to believe in any ideology, be it the
existence of a god, or the truth of science, to me it seems patently
obvious that universal truths will remain unknown, which is interesting
in itself. The unknown interests me much more than the rather
mundane known. The uncertainty of knowledge is actually quite
So you use these influences in a positive
What do you think of the noise/Dark Ambient scene?
What do I think of it? Hmmm... I don't really think anything
of it. Noise has been utilized as both a dynamic and subtle element
of music so often in the past... I don't see (or hear) anything
interesting in blindly repeating things that have been done before.
It's much better to build on past work. The so-called noise/dark
ambient scene seems bound both by imitation and limitation, it
doesn't interest me.
Dark Ambient is a term that's been applied to my work, but I
don't really see it as being specifically dark. Sure I can see
how someone can come up with such a view but I see the sound
I produce as being really more about depth with an emotional
content, rather than darkness.
It's all a question of perspective I suppose. If people just
see darkness then they're missing the point.
What I'm trying to do is create a sense of place that can only
exist within and through the music.
I'm trying to bring the place to the listener, rather than taking
the listener to the place.
What kind of music do you like?
Any favorite live bands?
My tastes are very eclectic and my music collection is extensive.
The music I particularly enjoy listening too, such as Dub from
the 70's, Martin Denny , Kraftwerk , etc. tends to be slower
in rhythm and have an emphasis on a sense of space between the
notes rather than just a wall of notes. Although it may not be
readily apparent when listening to Lustmord , these along with
things like Hip-Hop rhythms would be my direct musical influences.
As for live bands, I don't go to gigs anymore, mostly because
I've been spoilt over the years -- too many tours and guest lists,
it really isn't the same having to pay to get in and stand around
in front of the stage, besides I really don't enjoy the live
music experience anymore.
In the past I used to enjoy The Clash and particularly Throbbing
Gristle live, but these were more of a sociological phenomenon
and a place to meet rather than the traditional live "rock"
The only concerts that I'd go out of my way to see these days
would be anything put on by the On-U
Sound label ( Tackhead , Dub Syndicate etc.). Now that I
live in LA, I only go when a friend is performing, or I might
visit a techno club if a friend is DJ'ing.
There is some good music out there, well I have my own record
label so obviously I like music.
How is your label Side Effects
Just fine thanks!
I release things that I think should be made available, and
that I'd like to own myself, so its success isn't really based
on the same things that a lot of other labels would be concerned
about. I'm doing it for the love of it, as corny as that might
sound. I realize I'm not going to make any money doing it. You
really need a day job if you're doing this, either that, or make
a conscious effort to make the music commercial, which obviously
isn't what this is about.
Having said that, Side Effects is doing fine,
sales are healthy and provide the finances necessary to fund
future developments, and there are quite a few interesting releases
I'd like to make it clear, that although I have fun running
the label, it is taken very seriously, and there's a very real
desire to release quality material.
How do you compare the older Lustmord
field recordings in real natural caverns with awesome organic
reverbs to the newer more electronic approach and digital reverbs?
A hell of a lot easier to produce! (laughs)
The older material was an attempt to capture the essence of
specific locations, and incorporate that elusive quality into
the greater whole of the Lustmord sound, although the logistics
involved were often a nightmare, with results often disappointing
sonically, the process itself was a very important reason for
attempting it in the first place.
Later as digital audio became more affordable it became easier
at first, to set up a quality portable system, and later to produce
the effects I was trying to achieve in the studio with software,
rather than with physical locations.
All those field recordings became a logistical nightmare, and
since Lustmord has always been about sound, it's the finished
result that's the main objective rather than the means of collection,
however the source sounds do play a very important part in the
overall meaning, both subjectively and symbolically.
It's something that was tried and applied, and now I have moved
on to use a different approach.
How big is your studio?
It's compact -- which is the way I prefer it, everything
is at arm's length.
I'm not one of those "gear" type of people, although over the
years I seem to have picked up a lot of knowledge about recording
equipment, for me it's just a means to an end, and doesn't absorb
to much of my interest other than finding out what's the best
for the job.
Outside of the Mac, I have a few synths -- about five or six,
and prefer those that don't try to emulate real instruments,
my favorite being the EMS Synthi A that I've
had since the beginning.
Then there are various effects processors, my favorite at the
moment being the Eventide H3000
Like I said I use Digidesign's Sound Designer software as my
main tool since it's perfect for the kind of extensive sound
manipulation that I indulge in.
I consider the studio itself as my main instrument, which of
course makes it difficult to re-create the process for a live
So do you favor digital audio to analog?
While there's so much more that can be done with digital to
improve it, such as a higher sampling rate, and converters are
definitely a weak link, overall I still prefer it to analog.
On early recordings the digital recorders were very primitive.
It's still developing. Analog and digital both have their plus'
and minus.' Sure if you have a really good and unfortunately
very expensive reel to reel analog machine with Dolby
SR then the quality is much better than domestic digital,
but when such an analog recording is transferred to vinyl then
those benefits are diminished, and all the clicks and rumbling
negates any benefit.
I still think that digital recordings sound superior. Nobody
can convince me that a piece of black plastic with a needle being
scratched through it can sound better than even current digital.
Analog looks better on paper but as far as the sound once it's
been transferred from tape onto vinyl ....Of course I do accept
that an analog master tape can sound superior to digital, but
if were talking about a domestic product, then digital is superior.
Are you aware of people using your discs
as music for making love?
(laughs)Yes, it's been mentioned, what prompted that question?
Well, my girlfriend asked me to
ask you about it because she had an invitation to have sex
by a guy from the O.T.O. by him asking if she wanted to go
listen to Lustmord and have sex!
(More laughter)-That's great at least people are being ...er...creative
with it. That's the whole point of Lustmord. It's meant for you
to immerse yourself in the sound and draw your own conclusions
as to the meaning of it all. I give hints here and there, both
within the sound and in the album sleeves, but in the end it's
up to you the way you utilize it. I only hope that if she took
up the offer that the sound helped make the earth move for her!
So you have a set idea what you're trying to accomplish
when you record or mix a track?
Oh come-on... You don't ever stumble
upon a sound and say "hey that's cool-I think I'll turn it
into this! record it and see what happens...?"
Yes- of course that does happen, I'd be a liar if I said otherwise,
there is always the element of stumbling onto something so to
speak but I do have a very specific plan of the sounds I create
and their context in the overall piece.
So there's a definite meaning behind
Yes, there's the immediate level together with more covert elements
constantly evolving underneath and hidden subtexts just to keep
it interesting. Some are really specific and others are deliberately
kept vague. It doesn't really mean that I want to make a big
deal as to what those things are though.
Now that I've got to the bottom
of the Lustmord theory and approach do you wish to have any
Kids, Don't try this at home !