Dark Side of the Moon Noise Making [2010-04-24]Griz+zlor is the dark, uncompromising yet creative one man Harsh Noise wall project of Philadelphia based Paul Dever (also of Failure Of A Great Machine, Cursed Aether & earthspace noise). The project has been active since 2005 & since then has released a respected & rewarding body of work in the Harsh Wall noise genre. Paul kindly agreed to give M[M] an email interview
m[m] First off what got you interested in making noise & what was the first noise record you heard?
Paul Merzbow's Pulse Demon was the first album I heard, and it just blew my mind at the time. I think though it was Aube that actually inspired me to start creating.
m[m] You talk about Aube been your influence on you starting to make sound- what album or track was it in particular? And do you enjoy the more noisy or ambient side of his work?
Paul I don't know what track or album it was in particular, I know I had quite a few early ones like: Flood Gate, Chain Reaction, set on, and Howling Obsession. But also I guess I should mention as far as my noise work goes F.O.A.G.M. started recording first before. so it's really no wonder how our methodology evolved. Anyway back to Aube I don't really discriminate between his ambient or noisier side. it's just inspiring to hear him take regular everyday sounds and take them to far away places. build and layer. I think it was that simplicity that really blew my mind... but I was really high on noise at that point in my life, I just kept getting disappointed with all the bands I had been listening to around that came out with albums I found boring or uninspiring. that's what drove me to noise, the fact that I was looking for something new to fill that old void.
m[m] Tell us a bit about where the name Griz+zlor comes from? & why did you choose it? Also is it you first project?
Paul well, it's the first project that has gone anywhere, and that is probably my fault entirely. The root of the name (grizzy) came from a heavy rock band (think early clutch, or scissorfight) I was in that never blossomed, but as stupid as it may sound now, I just considered grizzlor a future tense version. I eventually added the + sign mainly for aesthetics.
Musically the griz+zlor project started around '99 or '00, originally conceived as a one man grind project. Again never really did anything with it.
I had also originally wanted the bands name to evolve with each release, loosely based of movies. Like griz+zlor 2.0, griz+zlor 2000, valley of the griz+zlor, etc.
so when I got into noise I just continued to use the name for lack of better choice
m[m] You mentioned that Griz+zlor started life as a Grind project- do you still have any recordings left from this period & if so would you ever consider releasing them? And have you ever thought of doing more grind or metal based material again?
Paul I always had this amazing super power to be real with myself. I am not really that good at playing stringed instruments, any old pre-noise griz+zlor material is long gone, and would NEVER see the light of day.
If I were to do more grind or metal based material again, it wouldn't be as the griz+zlor, it would be something new. To tell the truth I would like to scratch that itch again, most especially I could see me doing a noisier doom related project.
but if I wasn't happy with what I was doing, I just wouldn't continue, no matter who else I was working with
m[m] Griz+zlor has been active since 2005 with your first release in 2006 - how do you feel your sound & focus has changed over this time & are you still ultlizing any of the equipment you started the project off with? And has Griz+zlor sound always been HNW based?
Paul The griz+zlor project has always been about evolution. so while my infantile first recordings weren't hnw, it becomes clearer with each subsequent release that this is where I was heading. Once I started being more conscious of the shifting textures within my noise, I stopped having happy accidents and started to have a clear path. Equipment wise my sound has always been based around the big muff pi, and more often than not my first muff is still the primary muff in my setup. I know it'll sound ridiculous, but I own about 50 muffs/clones/muff a-likes or muff based pedals.
m[m] Whatís your local noise scene like & are you the only HNW act locally?
Paul I don't really know to tell you the truth, Iíve been to a few shows with acts Iíve wanted to see, but I don't really socialize/network when I do go out.
I think I am the only how act locally, I haven't met anyone else over the internet from this area, but again I don't really socialize.
m[m] one of your other projects Cursed Aether is based on moon worship & you only record tracks during a full moon- how did the idea for this project come about & what interests you about the moon circles?
Paul I think it was more of a subconscious thing, but once I decided to continue exploring the idea of nocturnal life (originally explore with nocturnal beasts) it just made sense to apply a framework, different to the griz+zlor material. cursed aether has no evolution, just simple/minimal hnw lines, little to no movement, little to no artwork.
As far as my interest in lunar activity, I just noticed years ago that I feel better during the full moon cycle. Not to mention it's a really striking image that I don't think many really pay attention to, or maybe just take for granted. on a clear night here you can see with the naked eye it's intricacies, it's surface texture. to me that just screams natural hnw.
m[m] what kind of source material do you use to make your Ďwallsí? And what has been the most effective & what has been the most difficult to utilize?
Paul I can be all over the place with sources, I really don't stick to one thing all the time. Iíve used white noise generators, I like the squarewave parade's pollen a lot, if I ever go on tour this is most likely the unit Iíd take because of it's small imprint, I also like eric archer's drone commander, though I criminally under use it. It's just capable of so much more. lately Iíve returned to using tapes as a source. Iíve used a contact mic'd statue for my statue series. Iíd put the contact mic on the inside and run a grinder or electronic sander on the outside. I like to use a paper jogger to automate my shaker box; I can get some real nice texture out of that.
All in all though, you can't for the most part even tell what I use as a source.
m[m] Youíve done some quite fancy ltd edition in the past- any plans to do something like this again?
Paul I have quite a few ideas, but with the special edition stuff, it usually takes time to put together. Despite the time needed to put them together, I enjoy doing them. but there will definitely be more special editions in the future.
m[m] And you have a few titles that are long out of print like Ouroboros Personal Edition- any thoughts on reissuing theses at some point?
Paul that is the only release I did where I don't have the masters to, so that one is a no. As regards reissues in general it's not on my list of things to do right now, maybe in the future if there is enough demand...
m[m] I note from Discogs you had a project called Failure Of A Great Machine with Piezo Mofo & you did a recording based purely on the sound of a beard trimmer- how did this intriguing idea come about & whoís beard did you cut or trim to make the track?
Paul f.o.a.g.m. is an entirely different process, we're more of a mixed bag. If I had to compare us to anyone stylistically, Iíd say we're akin to jazzkammer, only because you never know what you're gonna get with us sound wise. f.o.a.g.m. concentrates more on source and process than actual output. I guess I should mention that piezo (real name Dan) is a longtime friend of mine, so working with him is real easy, we're very much alike, but our differences compliment each other instead of clashing. that recording was done live at our first ever performance, so once we got a show to play, we started working out roughly what we were gonna use. first thing is always first, so we needed to come up with a source first. now I can't remember if this was our first choice or not, but for earlier recordings we used a projector, and a blender, and one of those party balls. so we didn't want to tread on ground we already had. once we came up with the clippers, we worked out the idea to make this visually appealing, and what's better than a little performance art. it was Danís beard for that performance, but I gave up mine for the last "practice" session...
m[m] Have you any more work planned with Failure Of A Great Machine? And is this the only project youíve performed live with?
Paul Nothing in the immediate future, Dan has another band he's working with right now, plus he moved a little further away from me, but I wouldn't say we're finished.
I have played one show as the griz+zlor, but I don't fore see anymore in the immediate future. Iíve always seen noise as more an art form, and feel adding the extra element of the live show puts the sound at danger, so until I work something out, I don't think it's gonna happen... plus I don't network locally, that's also a big drawback.
m[m] Have you done any other collaborative projects ? and is there anyone youíd like to collaborate with?
Paul I have one released with Jute Gyte on his label Jeshimoth (http://www.jeshimoth.com/catalog/) we are slowly working on a follow up under the moniker of the first album's title (colossus of white tar). one of the best (?) reviews I got came from this disc. from vital weekly - "too much merzbow on an off day".
Iím also in the process of a collaboration with infirmary to be released through Small Doses- in it's final form it'll be a trilogy.
I currently don't have anything else planned, but Iíd really work with anyone given the opportunity, and the time.
As far as other hnw/hn artists Iím sure Iíll get round to collaborating with them all at some point, but the standouts are: concrete threat, the cherry point, kakerlak, vomir, Richard Ramirez, & the Rita (we both share a love for the muff)... honestly this list could go on forever.
m[m] What influences & triggers you to make ĎWallsí? and how often do you record material?
Paul The only trigger I need, is just the sheer desire to listen and create. I record at least once a week; I create at least 4 hours a week, sometimes as high as 25 hours. The sad part of this is Iím probably extremely too picky. Only like 1 hour out a month MIGHT be kept. This is actually the root of me being so slow getting out my recordings. but after a week of listening to the results, if Iím not too psyched about it still, I just forget it.
m[m] Do you feel your ĎWallsí are ever influenced by books , films or art in general? If so what type of thing?
Paul My influencing factors are like my sound sources, they can change so often, so it's not like all my work is giallo based or whatever.
As far as movies, Iíve always been more of a mindless action fan than horror, but then I have 2 versions of cursed tape floating around, which is influenced by the movie ringu (and the horrible American remake the ring). The only way it survives is by being copied. lately I have an obsession with 70's era trashy horror comics a-la creepy, and vampirella, so I would expect something based off of that at some point. I also started to re-read the collected works of H.P. Lovecraft, so maybe some cthulhu walls are in order... so basically influences come from everywhere... everything.
m[m] You record a huge amount of material- what happens to the stuff you donít use do you store it away for latter use or just bin it?
Paul Just bin it usually. Iím toying with the idea of posting them for download, but personally Iím not a download music type person. if I download something I hardly ever end up listening to it. I like to hold the artwork/case in my hand and search the entire idea that's being presented to me. because of that I generally don't offer my stuff for download too often.
m[m] Are you interested in other forms of sound & music? If so what kind of stuff?
Paul I grew up on punk/hardcore/metal, so I still love a lot of the older bands (Danzig, Misfits, Converge, Black Flag, Clutch, Scissorfight, Entombed, & Godflesh just thumbing through my shirt drawer).
I really love slow & heavy crawling doom, I think aesthetically it has a lot in common with hnw. (big khanate fan, Capture & Release I think is epic, not too keen on that final disc though)
I like the noiser end of black metal as well as some of the real early bands. I don't think I could ever tire of listening to that first Bethlehem-all that said I don't really buy much of anything but noise these days though.
m[m] Whatís next for Griz+zlor & youíre other projects?
Paul With griz+zlor I have a lot of loose ends to tie up, uncompleted projects Iíd like to finish. A small series of non-hnw harsh noise tapes, some recordings for other labels, a vhs release.
Cursed Aether has a few recordings hanging around- that I hope to put out at some point
The first DVR material Iíd also like to get out there, I think it's pretty solid cassette tape based drone work.
And the first H.B. work needs to see the light of day as well. I don't want to say it's Power electronics., it's more of noise with vocals, and I think it'll push some boundaries as far as intent/content but not in a direction you might think.
and a few other surprises along the way...
m[m] You mention you want to put about a VHS tape- what do you want to put on it?
Paul It's 8 hours of continuous hnw, the audio has been done for a while. I just need to work out the visuals, which is a lot tougher to also fit the material.
it'd be great to just record a white noise screen, but our vcr's over here won't pick it up, I just get this solid blue screen... and I don't like blue to be honest
m[m] Can you tell us a bit more about the VHS? Is the eight Hours of HNW one long unmoving wall or is it made-up of several walls? And when do you hope to have the VHS ready?
Paul well, it's not entirely unmoving, there's definitely a slow shift to it. and I did use two separate setups and faded between the two, just to keep it interesting. the main problem holding up the vhs has been the visuals. Iím kinda clueless as what to show during the actual noise. I had a few ideas that didn't pan out well. so it's kind of in limbo right now.
Thanks to Paul for his time & effort with the interview & supplying the pictures too. The Griz+zlor blog is here