Seared, Yet Creative [2010-09-07]Canadian based Gomeisa is one of the most creative, thought provoking and respected names in today’s Harsh Noise Wall scene. The projects all the work of Winnipeg based Cole Peters whose racked up an impressive 14 releases with the project since it started in 2009. Cole kindly agreed to give M[M] interview via email.
m[m]What are some of your earliest musical memoires & what first got you interested in more extreme sound?
Cole I have musical memories going back to when I was 3 or 4 – nothing notable, though; mostly rocking out to Peter Gabriel's album "So" or U2's "The Joshua Tree." My parents actually had a very eclectic taste in music, so I was exposed to a fairly wide range of artists from an early age.
Cole I suppose some of my first truly monumental memories of music would be discovering Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" or records on ECM (a record label that put out a ton of experimental jazz in the 70's and 80's). I went through many phases of music worship in high school – from your generic rock'n'roll to techno, punk, hip hop… I actually spent a couple years after high school on a local hip hop label, as a turntablist and making instrumental beats along the lines of DJ Shadow's work. It was only when I went to college that I really became interested in art rock bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Set Fire to Flames, which got me interested in drones, field recordings, alternative methods of creating sound. It wasn't long after that I became interested in more pure drone or noise-oriented groups like Ajilvsga, Robedoor, and the almighty Double Leopards, as well as Sonic Youth's SYR series (SYR4 was a huge stepping stone towards my interest in avant-garde sounds). It was really listening to Ajilvsga that was my first real experience of 'extreme' sound – I remember listening to 'Soulless Mechanisms and Magical Formulae' and being totally blown away by the sheer, raw power that they were blasting out. From there, it was a fairly natural progression to harsh noise and HNW (though I still maintain a huge interest in less-harsh noise and drone). Was that a long enough answer?
m[m]Did you put out an albums or singles in your Hip-Hop period? And have you
ever thought of doing a noise Hip-Hop Hybrid project?
Cole I put out a couple sampler CDRs and a couple EPs of instrumental pieces, but nothing serious. I quit the label just before I was supposed to be releasing a full-length CD, so it never saw the light of day.
I don't think I'd ever do a noise/hip-hop hybrid, to be honest
m[m]Interesting you mention Miles Davis, I'm a huge fan too- what are you favourite recordings and why? And have you ever fancied doing jazz based
Cole Bitches Brew definitely has a special place in my collection. Really amazing compositions. I can't claim to be a devoted Miles fan, but he was definitely a revolutionary force. Kind of Blue, while stylistically different, is really enjoyable, too. I'll have to do more research and get back to you!
As for jazz-based music… maybe free jazz along the lines of some of Thurston Moore's work outside of Sonic Youth (Piece for Jetsun Dolma is just amazing)… but it would be a matter of finding the time. I can hardly find enough time to listen to everything I'd like to!
m[m] How did Gomeisa first come about, what's the origins of the name & was it your first sonic/ noise project?
Cole Gomeisa originally materialized as an outlet for my recordings that were becoming heavier, denser guitar-drone pieces. Prior to Gomeisa, I was doing psychedelic folk and abstract guitar recordings under the name 'Elixirs' for a couple years, strictly as free online downloads. With Gomeisa, I actually began putting out CDRs and focusing more gradually on a heavier sound; over the course of the first few releases, the project shifted to guitar drone, to noisy guitar drone, and finally by the sixth release, it was straight into harsh noise.
Cole The name was chosen fairly randomly. It's the name of a star in the Canis Minor constellation. It's an Arabic word meaning 'the weeping sister' (or something to that effect, depending on the translation). It really doesn't have much personal meaning, to be honest – I just liked the sound and the look of it.
m[m]The first release I heard & reviewed by Gomeisa was the excellent 'Gauze of Blackened Veils'- which had a very brutal backwoods take on HNW. Since then, with each new release you seem to have altered & changed your sound utilizing dark ambient textures, more Harsh noise textures and latterly more locked 'walls' of tone- how important is this progression to you? and were will we hear the project going next?
Cole Progression in sound seems to be a constant for me. I'm always finding new sources of inspiration, though for the past number of years there has always been a constant of being obsessed with drones or continuous sound (like HNW). I love HNW but I also know it won't be my only focus in terms of what I record. The Gomeisa 'project' will most likely continue to focus on walls and very harsh noise, while other projects may materialize as methods of looking at other styles of sound.
m[m] Following on from the above question do you think you'll ever return to the backwood nastiness of 'Gauze of Blackened Veils'?
Cole It's something I've actually been thinking about a lot lately – doing another album or tape or whatever utilizing a more 'active' approach to walls like on GOBV. There's a track or two on an upcoming box set I've just finished that harkens back to that sound a bit; I'm sure something more dedicated to that style will surface sooner or later.
m[m] What did your early recordings like Birth-Giver & Broken Om sound like & is there any chance you'll reissue theses?
Cole "Birth-Giver" was mostly guitar drone worship with a some early (and maybe too-obvious) Double Leopards influence; "Broken Om" was a little more chaotic, dense guitar drone that evolved into some harsher compositions near the end. While I appreciate the releases for what they were, I doubt that I will give them the official reissue treatment, they're just too far and away from my current sound. If anyone is interested enough, I've seen them posted on a few music blogs – you can probably still find them online.
m[m] Has your equipment and way you compose sound changed since your early recordings?
Cole Very much so. The initial Gomeisa setup was my guitar running through a ton of delay and reverb, at most one distortion pedal. Lots of eBow and resonance. Now I'm working with an entirely different setup – at present, an Effector 13 Never Drive, Audible Disease Convulsion CN-2, DOD Grunge & Death Metal, a bass EQ and a stereo delay pedal, scrap metal from railroad tracks, metal shaker boxes, feedback loops, tape loops, microphones, etc… it's hardly the same setup as when I began, to say the least.
m[m] You've often used quite profound & literal influences for your later work such as the 'The Sixth Hour' which uses Franz Kafka story for it's theme- are there any other writers work you'd like to use as themes in future?
Cole I'm hugely influenced by literature. I've been trying for a long time to do some recordings based on Bruno Schulz's work, but I haven't really succeeded with anything yet – he was an absolutely astounding writer, and to produce something in homage to his work, well, I think it definitely has to be able to reflect his material in a certain way that I haven't been able to as of yet. I've read a little of Kierkegaard's work and enjoyed it, as well. There are always works I'm coming across that inspire me sonically, so I'm sure there will be some evidence of that again before long.
m[m] I believe you've preformed live a few times now- what is your set-up like live? Do you use any projections or wear a mask or disguise when playing live?
Cole I've performed live twice now (last night being my second time, actually). Thus far, I haven't employed any props or anything. I like the idea of masks, but for my own work, it's not really a fit. I prefer to just focus on the sounds and to be 'forthcoming' with the fact that they are 'my' sounds – I have no desire to hide my face when performing, though for people like Romain (Vomir), it works very well. My work is always very personal, and so to remove the 'person' from that when playing live would be counter to the work's intentions. I would love to use projections or other visuals, though, but haven't been able to work it out as of yet.
m[m] Recently you formed the HNW only label Stasis- how did this come about?
Cole I've been co-running the noise/drone label Prairie Fire with my good friend Chris Jacques (White Dog) since January of 2010. We both love the work we've put out, but we each also have side interests that don't always fit in the realm of Prairie Fire (for myself, HNW and extreme noise minimalism, for Chris, well… he would just call his interests 'weird' – lots of psych rock, garage space jams, etc). So, we decided that to supplement the work on Prairie Fire, we would each start a label focusing on our own musical obsessions. He started Dub Ditch Picnic, I started Stasis, and the rest is (a relatively short) history. I'm actually going to be widening the focus of Stasis in the future – not hugely, but I'd like to focus on extreme minimalist sounds in addition to HNW. The two almost go hand-in-hand, so it won't be a huge stylistic juxtaposition by any means.
m[m] one of your first releases on the label is the excellent compilation DVD Stasis 001- what gave you the idea to release on DVD? And when can we expect vol2? And any contributors line-up for it yet?
Cole I really wanted to start things off right on Stasis, and I couldn't think of a better way to do that than asking my favourite acts to help me out by forming a compilation of works. There were a few people who didn't make it on that I would've liked to include, but of course there will always be room for a second volume, or doing individual releases with them. The DVDr is truly a representation of what I consider to be some of the best HNW acts out there (aside from a lot of them being truly great friends – even if we only connect online). It really had to be on DVD, as there's five hours of material, and I just wasn't prepared (financially or in terms of time commitment) to release a multi-CDr compilation. As for volume 2… who knows! There are no plans at the moment, but I would say it's possible that another edition could be out in the next year or so.
m[m] what's you local noise/ experimental scene like & are there any other local HNW acts?
Cole Our local noise scene in Winnipeg is small, but it's gradually gaining steam. Fletcher Pratt is a local noise artist who runs Midori Records (and now Midori Electronics), and he organizes a fairly regular series of noise shows. Chris and myself held a Prairie Fire launch party this past April, but we don't often have time to organize shows ourselves – though we play as many as we can. There's a new art gallery and 'outsider' music venue that started up recently (Freud's Bathhouse & Diner – it's neither a bathhouse nor a diner), and the owners are really great about hosting noise/experimental music shows. Since they started up, there have been a few more shows than usual, which has been fantastic. People keep coming out of the woodwork here, the more tapes we put out and the more shows we play. It's great to see, and I hope it continues. People tend to be very supportive of what we do, even if it's a limited audience.
Cole There aren't really any other HNW acts locally, but people here don't really discriminate about the various styles of noise – we're pretty much all enthusiastic about noise and experimental music as a whole. It's generally a very supportive community.
m[m] What's next for Gomeisa & Stasis release wise?
Cole For Gomeisa, there are a few things coming up. Absence just dropped an 8-way HNW split that I contributed to – there's a fantastic lineup of artists on it. I also just finished working on a 4xCS box set – I won't share the label or release details at this point as I'm not sure of the label's preference on that. Suffice it to say that it is massive and definitely a definitive work for me. There are one or two other releases that I'll be contributing to, but honestly, after recording this box set, I'm almost to the point of exhaustion with Gomeisa. I've begun work on another project entitled Death Poems, which will focus on extreme minimalism, quieter textures and more 'haunted' sounds that I will work on in the mean time. Gomeisa will not be on hiatus by any means, but it is certainly time for a little respite. There are still so many themes and ideas I'd like to explore within the Gomeisa framework.
There are also a couple releases forthcoming from Museums of Sleep, my collaborative project with Andreas Brandal. We have a CDr that will be out on Richard Ramirez's "H Series" label at some point, and we're currently working on a double-CDr that will eventually surface on Stasis. I love working on Museums – Andreas is a huge pleasure to work with, and the material we develop together is always surprising and, I think, very unique. We've also talked about doing a cassette box set, so perhaps that will surface next year.
Cole As for Stasis, I'm working on producing the next batch of releases right now, and it's going to be an insane batch when it finally drops. Stasis is unfortunately relegated to my spare time and demands a fair bit of financial outlay – at the moment, time and extra funds are things I don't have a lot of, so the label has to move at whatever pace it is allowed to. I'm hoping for the new batch of releases to be out by late September. It will include works by Skönhet, Suncarcass and Mass Graves. Further down the line, there are concrete plans for a couple box sets. I'll wait to announce the artists involved, but I truly feel they will be no less than definitive works for both parties, if not for harsh noise in general.
m[m] How far away are you from putting out your first release with Death Poems project & can you explain the project a bit more? Is it going to be more
ambient or maybe field recording based?
Cole It will be a couple months before a Death Poems release surfaces, I think. There isn't going to be a definitive 'sound' to the project – I might do one release entirely composed of barely-audible field recordings and then do another release that is entirely abrasive and chaotic. For me it will just be a way to create minimalist pieces mostly outside of the HNW form. There are many directions Death Poems could go in, and I really won't know until I start recording.
m[m] How did you Museums of Sleep project come about with Andreas Brandal, and how do you think it differs from your work with Gomeisa?
Cole Andreas was actually the first person to ever contact me with interest in my noise. We did a trade and were both really excited about each other's recordings. I was just getting into really harsh, wall-like noise at the time, and when I heard his work as Hour of the Wolf and Flesh Coffin, I was totally floored. Andreas' recordings don't get nearly enough credit as far as I'm concerned – his works, in whatever project he's working on, are always so incredibly and intricately detailed, beyond really any other projects I've heard. At any rate, over the course of a few emails, we both agreed that it would be a good idea to collaborate, which resulted in the first Museums of Sleep tape on Prairie Fire. We each recorded a solo track for the A side, and meshed two walls together (one by each of us) into one track for the B side. This has been our basic mode of operation since then. Once of us will record a track, send it to the other, and that person will add to it as he feels is just. Sometimes the pieces change hugely, sometimes it's subtler additions that are made. Either way, I absolutely love working on the project with him and hope that we can eventually meet up for a live session – it would be a real treat.
Cole The project differs from my work as Gomeisa in that, well – I feel my work with Gomeisa is usually a little claustrophobic in sound - really focused and overwhelming. With MOS, I feel that we always end up with something a little more expansive and vast, yet nonetheless harsh and monolithic. It's kind of like crawling through a mine shaft with Gomeisa vs. surveying a train wreck or a star collapsing with Museums of Sleep. Weird analogy maybe, but it works for me.
m[m] Have you got plans to do some shows in the US and maybe Europe one day?
Cole I would love to. I was supposed to be playing at the Eyes Behind the Wall HNW Festival this past week, but airfare and accommodations just weren't in my budget, unfortunately. Richard also asked me to play at Dead Audio Fest, but the same situation prevents me from going. Hopefully within a year or so, once student loans are paid off, and my fiancé and I are a little more settled, travel to the US will be a more viable option. I'd love to play some shows in Texas, or even travel up to Peoria to meet up with Infirmary, Is and Fatale (who I speak with frequently – lovely people, all of them). Europe would be a dream, especially given the chance to meet up with some good friends like Andreas (strange times we live in, when such connections can be made without meeting someone in person). Sadly, Europe is hugely expensive in terms of airfare from Canada right now, and while my day job finances my life well enough, it's not to the point where I can drop a few thousand dollars on personal travel like that. I do intend to make it across the pond eventually, but it will have to wait for now.
m[m] You've clearly got very wide musical tastes- list ten of your favourite albums across genres & explain why they are?
Cole I can't possibly list my top ten. My favourites change often and cycle back and forth, and ten is a small number for the amount of music/noise I listen to. Here are ten of my favourites; but I will say there are many, many others. In no particular order:
Charalambides - "Unknown Spin"
This is the ultimate Charalambides album, as far as I'm concerned. I mean, almost their entire catalogue is gold, but this is on another plateau. It's infectious and possessed and totally transcendent, like a fever. This album completely wrapped my head around itself when I first heard it.
Hototogisu - "Chimärendämmerung"
Besides having the absolute best album name ever, this recording is monumental. I feel like there's absolutely nothing to grasp onto, and yet I keep going back to try. It's loud and distorted and dissonant, but it's also trance-inducing, and in a weird way, absolutely placid. It's like a glass-calm lake that's hiding a volcano underneath it or something… I don't even know how to break it down. It's just thrilling.
Lech Jankowski - everything this man has ever recorded is thrilling. 'Pause In Shadow' is one of his only available recordings right now. It's a fantastic document of some of his best work.
Set Fire to Flames - "Telegraphs in Negative/Mouths Trapped in Static"
There is not a single moment on this double album that doesn't send shivers down my spine. There are so many amazing textures and sounds on this album, and the musical portions are absolutely heart-wrenching. The whole album is possessed by a sense of loss and displacement, disconnection and tragedy. Perfect.
Sonic Youth - SYR4: "Goodbye 20th Century" - see interview.
Cole Double Leopards - "A Pebble In Thousands of Unmapped Revolutions" / "A Hole Is True" / "Urban Concussion"
I cannot decide on a single Double Leopards album as my favourite. All of these releases go beyond the world of drone and psychedelia and tap into something much larger. Or much, much smaller – who knows? If there was one group I would ever want to see live, it would be Double Leopards. These recordings have a way of infiltrating your head and lingering there for days after listening. When I first heard "A Pebble…" I literally did not know what I was hearing or what to do with it. I just sat there, slack-jawed and tranced. "A Hole…" is so masterful – it takes a few listens to really dive into (or at least, it did for me), but every listen reveals a new secret or layer. And "Urban Concussion" – I don't know, you just don't get more bad-ass than Urban Concussion. Plus the artwork (it's a picture disc) is just perfect.
Vomir - "Proanomie"
If there was one HNW release (that I've heard thus far), this is it. This release for me, this is HNW taken to its most logical and extreme end (though, I'm still waiting to hear L'homme Saturé, which I feel might top it; but I have to wait for a new turntable to find out…). I don't even need to explain this one. It is a milestone.
Concrete Threat - Harsh Noise Death box set
I mean, six tapes of Concrete Threat?? Karl and CT hit the nail on the head with this box. Totally obliterating; CT are masters of their craft, for certain. I can't even say any more. It's overwhelming.
Thanks to Cole for his time & efforts with the interview. Gomeisa can be found here http://www.stasishnw.com/gomeisa