'walls' for the larger lady [2011-07-20]Gluttoness is Fairfax USA based HNW project who has both an original sound & theme to their work- the projects sound is a mixture of HNW, Harsh noise, ambient/ progressive HNW, and subtle power electronics/ vocal textures. And the projects main obsession is large women or BBW. Behind the project is LM and he also runs the great HNW Graveyard which offers people access to out of print HNW titles(with the label/artists blessing). LM kindly agreed to give M[m] an email interview discussing both Gluttoness & the HNW Graveyard.
m[m]What first attracted you to the HNW form & is there any particular track or album that influence you to start making your own HNW?
LM I'd been a kind of casual, on and off listener of Harsh Noise since I was a teenager, but it was only within the past two years or so that I discovered and fell in love with HNW sounds. I just kind of stumbled upon it initially through noise-oriented mp3 blogs, just browsing through and sampling stuff. Some of the first releases I heard that really made HNW "click" for me were Werewolf Jerusalem's Mother, May I Go Out to Kill? and Masked Spider of the Fist and Vomir's No Entertainment. Some "HNW-like" albums (which might not be considered "true" HNW albums by other listeners or their creators) that were big influences for me were Evenings' Coma Descending and Ascities' Fluid Excess.
LM As far as what attracted me to the sound itself, I think it has a bit to do with my music (meaning non-noise) listening habits. I've learned this may be a bit of a cliche among HNW artists, but I'm a big metalhead at heart. In particular, I grew up loving a lot of Sludge bands like Grief, Noothgrush, Melvins, Eyehategod, Buzzoven and I've been really into Drone Doom / Experimental Doom stuff for the past decade, bands like Khanate, Monarch!, Otesanek, The Goslings, Asva, Moss and Boris. All these bands, at their heart, often seem to be in search of a sort of ultimate sonic "heaviness." Sunn O))) really pushed this concept a step further by stripping away the drums and burying (or removing) the vocals. Harsh Noise Wall seems to be the ultimate endpoint of all this. Strip away all conventional instruments and leave the distortion, slow the tempo down until it reaches absolute zero. Heaviness distilled to its purest essence.
m[m]Tell us a bit about how Gluttoness came about & is it your first sonic project?
LM Gluttoness is hardly my first project, I began playing bass guitar at age 12 and started my first band (which was a failed attempt to fuse Mr. Bungle and Eyehategod without the use of any guitars. It sounded just as baffling as you're probably imagining) just a couple years later. Over the years I've played in a few Death Metal, Thrash, and Punk bands until I finished college and moved to Virginia, where my social network is now significantly smaller and my musical interests have become even more obscure. Right around the time I finished up school, a friend gave me a pirated copy of Reason and I realized quickly that solo electronics were my true calling. I always had trouble working in band settings, either feeling like I was just "along for the ride" or like my visions never materialized. It appealed to my inner sonic control freak. Since then, I've released material in all sorts of genres under various aliases. I won't disclose the names of my other projects here, as I like to keep them mutually exclusive, but I've released work in Speedcore, Drone, Power Electronics, Minimal / Glitch Techno, and even retro Synth Pop over the past several years.
LM For me, creating is a sort of compulsion or obsession itself. When I first heard HNW, I was amazed. I had no idea how those sounds were created. My own first wall was created entirely by accident. I was messing around with some Harsh Noise recordings and decided to rip a digital recording from my computer onto cassette and back in to the computer to "dirty up" the sound. After ripping the cassette and applying some digital distortion, the part of the cassette before the recording actually started, just blank tape, yeilded this deliciously crunchy static wall. I was floored. To this day old, worn-out, erased cassettes are my favorite sound source for walls.
m[m]What equipment do you use to create your ‘walls’ & has it changed or altered since you started the project?
LM I'm always trying out different setups, chains and sound sources but Gluttoness is primarily based on guitar and bass effects pedals like most HNW projects, I guess. I have two Trogotronic synthesizers (created by W.T. Nelson of Bastard Noise), models 665 and 666, and they find their way into almost all my recordings. For sound sources I use radio static, erased cassettes, field recordings of precipitation and thunder, and some prepared recordings like a tape of layered free jazz recordings or another one I made of a woman eating ice cream cones. I also use a homemade contact mic sometimes, rubbing and scraping it on various surfaces. I have a large drum I made from goatskin and a metal barrel that I hope to build an upside down stand for and then throw various items into. My equipment has changed in the sense that I keep accumulating more of it, but for now I've resolved not to purchase anything new until I feel like I've mastered the equipment I have 100%.
m[m]How often do you record walls? And what percentage do you keep?
LM I get out my gear and practice/experiment at least once a week, sometimes more often. I don't hit record unless I think I've come upon something really good. That said, I think maybe 10% of what I record is released. When I think I have recordings that are release-worthy, I generally burn them to disc and drive around listening to them for a bit to decide if they've really "made the cut" so to speak. Quality control is pretty important to me as an artist. I've noticed that's true for most of the subset of harsh noise wallers when compared to the noise scene in general. It's a good thing, too, because making a wall is easy as hell, but making a GOOD wall is actually rather difficult.
m[m]Much of your work with Gluttoness is based around your obsession with large women, when where you first aware you were a BBW addict?
LM Haha, I knew this question was coming. I wish I had a more interesting answer, but I've had a fetish for big women since I was first interested in girls at all. It's just a part of who I am, I really can't explain it.
I do think the imagery suits the project quite well, however. The sounds I'm striving for, and the sound of a lot of HNW in general, are engulfing, smothering and suffocating and as previously mentioned "heavy." Also, on my more ambient tracks, I'm looking for sounds that are thick and lush. So big girls have made for a good muse, I guess.
m[m] Do you ever record walls while watching BBW movies? And would you like to soundtrack one?
LM No, I don't think I've worked on walls while watching a BBW movie, but that's not a bad idea! I tend to tap more into my internal memory and imagination for inspiration while exploring sounds. I've been talking with Matt (of Sex Complex, Heartstrung and a couple other projects), who books a lot of noise shows in the DC / Virginia area, about putting together a Gluttoness performance. When it happens, it will probably include some video elements. I just need to work out some logistics.
m[m]Your second releases “What Thy Wilt” seemed to move away from BBW obsession- can you tell us a bit about the themes behind this release?
LM I have to sheepishly admit it came from a quote on an internet forum. Djordje, who does the excellent HNW project Gigant, wrote "Do what thy wilt shall be the whole of the wall" or something similar, I forget the context of the discussion now. It's a play on the motto of Aleister Crowley, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Djordje's quote summed up nicely how I felt about the debate of HNW purism/conservatism vs. experimentation/progression, which is often discussed among fans and artists.
LM Also, I identified myself as Satanist for quite a few years of my younger life. I no longer feel the need to identify myself in that way, but while working on the release I revisited the Satanic Bible and some writings and interviews of members of the Church of Satan. I found that most (but not quite all) of the philosophy still holds up as true and sound for me. I know I am basically a hedonist at heart. So it was nice to do a release that touched on those themes and aesthetics, as trite as they may seem to a lot of people. Less than a year later I saw another self-release by a Doom Metal band with basically identical cover art. Damn you, Wikimedia Commons! In light of this, I probably won't do any more Satanic themed releases unless I feel like I have a fresh take on it.
m[m]Most of you HNW tracks are of the shorter to mid length variety- why is this and do you think you’d ever attempt a single long wall?
LM As much as I love HNW, sometimes it's a battle between me and my attention span. I know some people claim you need a half an hour or an hour to be fully immersed in a wall, but for me I find maybe twenty minutes is my limit before I want to hear something else. Hopefully admitting this doesn't make me some kind of "HNW poser." When I listen to sound and music it's usually what I call "active listening," meaning I sit down and focus on it without any other distractions. This makes longer pieces harder to get through, particularly of the unchanging, static variety. If I'm doing something else like reading, writing, or surfing the internet longer pieces are fine, but I don't really "hear" them fully. Also, if each one of my walls filled all 80 minutes of a cd-r I wouldn't have been able to release as many walls as I've wanted.
LM A word to Gluttoness listeners: if you think my five-minute track of unchanging HNW should have lasted for an hour, there is a repeat button on your ipod!
m[m]You recently took part in the Infinity series of releases on Uk Sweet solitude, and you offered up a collection of seven ambient tracks- what attracted you to the ambient side of HNW & do you think you’ll do anymore?
LM Absolutely I will be doing more! The "Ambient Noise Wall" movement is probably the most exciting thing going on in noise for me right now. It's not an official sub-sub-sub-genre just yet, but there have been a lot of groundbreaking releases that fit the bill. Stuff by Sleep, Small Hours, Lungwash,even the most recent Sköhnet tape (although that's more properly "minimal wall" [take note of a new sub-sub-sub genre: MNW!] in my opinion) have been some of the most enjoyable releases I've heard this year. I enjoy the real harsh, in-your-face assaults as well, but it's also great to sit back, relax and get lost in those ambient pieces. Some are almost like a sort of sonic brain massage.
m[m] At the start of 2011 you started the HNW Graveyard- which offers free download-ble copies of out of print HNW items. How did this come about?
LM Well, as mentioned before, I discovered HNW primarily with the aid of online mp3 blogs. I don't think a lot of people want to shell out cash for a style of music/sound that they haven't heard and aren't sure they will like (especially one as radical as HNW). Even if you did decide to buy one HNW release to try it out, how do you choose which one? Maybe you end up with a crap release that paints an inaccurate picture of the genre as a whole. In this sense, I think that mp3 blogs are very useful for exploring the more obscure and extreme ends of the sound and music spectrum, without putting your hard-earned cash at risk.
LM However, I decided to try to do the HNW Graveyard in a slightly different spirit than the average mp3 blog. Again, this idea stemmed from a message board (maybe I spend a bit too much time online). I was reading a thread where the original poster, the owner of a small record label, was completely incensed with an mp3 blog that had posted a rip of one of his records. He was so angry that he wanted help compiling a list of known mp3 bloggers so that he could refuse to sell them his releases in the future! This led to a debate about if mp3 blogs were detrimental to the profits (or maybe I should say "investments." No one is getting rich on noise) of small labels and the morality of posting rips of others' work online without their knowledge or permission. Both sides made a lot of valid points and a lot of labels and artists pointed out that they had no problem with having their work posted. The HNW Graveyard is my attempt at what seems like an obvious solution: just ASK the labels and artists first, the labels especially.
LM Of course introducing new people to HNW isn't the blog's only function. In the HNW "scene," as with most noise, releases come out often and disappear quickly. In HNW in particular, it's very rare to see a release with an edition greater than 50. Some people find this frustrating or maybe embarassing or something, but for me it's part of the fun. When a release comes out in an edition of just ten copies, a lot of people who want to hear it end up missing out. So having it available on the blog lets more fans hear the release. Also, I can't imagine anyone having the money to buy every single HNW release that ever comes out. Most of us are artists and weirdos, the kind of people not likely to be pulling in six figures (although I'm sure there are some exceptions somewhere) and most HNW projects are rather prolific.
m[m]Whats been your most popular downloaded title thus far?
LM Well, I don't know how to track the actual link clicks on the blog, but based on traffic sources and page views it is undoubtedly Vomir's Claustration 6 cd-r set, which is only natural as it is the only release on the blog thus far that I didn't secure permission for or even upload myself. That one was courtesy of Andrew of A View From Nihil (an absolutely top-tier HNW project).
m[m]What next release wise for Gluttoness?
LM Well, in the immeadiate future I have releases finished and pending at Anarchofreaksproduction (a 3" cd-r) and another at Sweet Solitude (a cd-r and dvd-r set). I'm particularly excited about the dvd-r release. It's my first attempt at a music video so it may look a bit amateur, but I put months of work into it. A lot of the video was created by making visual loops with a stop-motion animation program, and I ended up very pleased with those. Also, I have a short net release that should be available from the Smell the Stench net label sometime soon. Beyond that, I always have tons of future plans for the project but I usually only get around to doing a small portion of what I think up, so who knows?
m[m]Can you tell us a bit more about the video you’ve done & what’s it theme?
LM Actually, I think I've said too much! I don't want to give away all the details. You'll have to wait for the official release on Sweet Solitude! However, I'm sure most people familiar with the project can take a guess at the general "theme."
LM Finally, I'd like to take minute to thank you Roger, not only for this interview, but for all of your hard work supporting the fledgling HNW scene! It's really cool to see interviews with somewhat unknown wallers alongside the likes of Merzbow. You won't see that in too many places besides Musique Machine.
Thanks to LM for his time, efforts & great pictures. Gluttoness’s blog can be found here: http://gluttonesshnw.blogspot.com/ & the HNW graveyard blog is here: http://harshnoisewall.blogspot.com/Roger Batty