A Noisey Clown [2013-07-22]
I once mused, does anyone “really” enjoy the sound of microphone feedback? To Sean Beard of the Rochester, NY based power electronics project Waves Crashing Piano Chords, the answer is an emphatic “yes!” WCPC eschews the noise intelligentsia and their gear wizardry, in favor of an almost primitive approach to power electronics; bludgeoning his audiences with little but a microphone and piercing feedback. Oh, did I mention he’s a Juggalo? Yes, the colloquial badge of honor worn by disciples of the Insane Clown Posse and the culture they spawned. I always assumed WPCP’s Juggalo angle was just an ironic statement, but that’s not the case. Sean’s been “down with the clown” since 97’ and has been incorporating Juggalo elements into his own work. I’ve been wanting to pick his brain for a while now, so I appreciate Sean taking the time to share some of his insights
m[m]:What was your entrance way into noise/power electronics?
Sean Power electronics is a great outlet for a big perverted ninja like me! I thought that Yoko Ono/John Lennon noise album was real cool as a kid! Especially the second one with "Cambridge 1969". Also AC/DC's "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution", that song kicks ass! It's got a real dirty feel to it. I am a big fan of the early 80's Come Organisation and Broken Flag era of power electronics as well! The kind of tapes that made you feel like a real evil motherfucker listening to full blast in your bedroom while your parents were out getting groceries for an hour. I feel nu-metal and GG Allin helped a lot as well. I think my true entranceway into noise was the first time I masturbated to "New Britain". I have bad anger issues.
m[m]:When did WCPC start and was this your first project?
Sean Waves Crashing Piano Chords started in 2005, though I started dabbling with noise in 2000. I consider WCPC to be my first serious project, yes.
m[m]:I had read you almost lost a leg after your first performance? What happened?
Sean Oo, baby! I've never been scolded so hard in my life! The video is on Youtube. He really added to the show, but I hear he still hates me! I really appreciate his ignorance, and I sent him a letter once thanking him for making my first show something special, but he just called me nuts! I tore all the ligaments in my left knee that night, and I was bedridden for six months. The stage wasn't that tall, I must have just landed awkward. The best part is the sound that comes over the PA when I land, there's no explanation for that sound!
m[m]:Who was this guy...the venue owner?
Sean He was in a band that was performing that night. I think he could tell when I started setting up that I wasn't on the show. I still don't know why he tried to sue me! I think he might be a bully.
m[m]:I didn’t realize you crashed the show?
Sean Yeah, it was an all metalcore show. I used to crash shows a lot when I started.
m[m]:So where did the Waves Crashing Piano Chords moniker come from?
Sean It’s a secret! It's the worst band name ever though, I must admit.
m[m]:It sounds like a late 90’s emo band name.
Sean I agree! It helps out when trying to get on non-noise related shows though.
m[m]:With WCPC, your approach to noise/power electronics seems very minimalist, largely made up of vocals and feedback. Was this a conscious decision on your part?
Sean Yeah, it's just what I want to do. I like the pain endurance of it, and there's something about those high pitched frequencies that really turns me on. I have been "playing the feedback" since I started. Not having dorks ask me about my "gear" after every performance is just an added bonus! I never fooled around with the gear wizard shit, it's just not for me. For the most part I find that shit boring to see live, and not offensive at all.
m[m]:You've recently done some collaborative work with Tanner Garza. Despite his work in Black Leather Jesus, his solo work is grounded in ambient noise. How did this collaboration come about? Do plan more collaborative work in the future?
Sean He asked me! I am real proud of that cassette and to have worked with Tanner! I was so nervous I puked and masturbated, luckily I recorded it, and the rest is history! Honestly if I do more collaborative work in the future I hope it is with Tanner again. Especially live!
m[m]:You've been self-described as Juggalo power electronics. Is this with a heavy dose of irony or are you seriously into Juggalo culture?
Sean I have been down with the clown since 1997, and it's no joke. I enjoy that it alienates the elitists, and a lot of the lyrical themes are in a sense of the same moral intent that ICP use in their music and is as equally misunderstood by the majority of people who listen. I'm not a cool dude, and I am not hip, and a lot of the people I see in the noise scene at the moment come off as real cool table individuals. I want nothing to do with it.
m[m]:GQ Magazine recently voted Insane Clown Posse as the "worst rappers of all time". In all seriousness, what do you find compelling about ICP?
Sean What a compliment! What isn't compelling about ICP? They are a positive message disguised as bad! What a couple of clown geniuses! If it wasn't for ICP I would have killed someone when I was a kid I am sure. ICP's albums have this whole "look, I know you want to kill people for all the evil you see inside them, but don't because you're a good person". Also I don't listen to hip-hop much, but I don't think horrorcore is for your average hip-hop fan, just like I don't think WCPC is for your average noise fan. What's GQ anyways? They sound like a bunch of bullies!
m[m]:Was the Juggalo angle always part of WCPC from it's inception? Do you ever feel perceived as a novelty act?
Sean I don't really care too much! I appreciate each perception for what it is. I love finding out people hate it, as much as I love finding out they like it. I love exposing ignorance from this new generation of fake PC hardcore kids trying to be overly tolerant to get little girls going through their soap box phase into bed. What kind of overly tolerant person HATES rapping clowns? Sounds like projected hatred to me! I wanted to do the juggalo thing since the beginning, and finally got the balls around 2011.
m[m]:Through WCPC have you ever "persuaded" an esteemed member of the noise community to give them a second glance?
Sean Lots! Most notable is Lawrence Patti of Foot and Mouth Disease, that dude's a juggalo for life now!
m[m]:Conversely, have you ever played to a Juggalo audience before and perhaps brought them around to noise?
Sean When I go to ICP concerts I am pretty well recognized. A lot of people want pictures with me, and tell me what I do is "insane", and that they are afraid to come see it. A few 'los and 'lettes come to local shows pretty regularly, and sometimes they even sport the face paint and wear fake beards! I wouldn't say I have brought them around to noise so much as they just like what I do a lot. It's fam.
m[m]:Another project you're involved with is H8-Track Stereo. What is H8track? A label? A duplication service? Why the attraction to 8 tracks?
Sean I'd love to see an 8-track revival! I guess it's just nostalgic for me because my parents listened to them when I was a kid. They're a classy format, and they sound amazing, honest!
H8-Track Stereo is mainly a duplication service. All the cartridges are rebuilt from old ones with new splice/foam pad, and all that essential stuff. It's a long process, and each tape takes hours to complete. I have a few players for sale as well since finding ones in non-cartridge ruining condition is kind of tough these days. It's progressing into a label.
m[m]:You’ve put out quite a few releases on Sounding Session. How’d you hook up with Quentin Rhys (Wet Dream Asphyxiation/Sounding Session)?
Sean Quentin is a down ass Juggalo! We met at an ICP concert back in like 2002 when I was down on his end of the states. He's a crazy mother fucker I tell ya, he only drinks diet flavors of Faygo!!
m[m]:I would’ve never guessed it!
Sean He's not only one of my best friends and fam, but he's one of my favorite artists as well. Dude's great.
m[m]:What does WCPC have coming up on the horizon?
Sean Up next is a VHS tape release!
Thanks again to Sean for taking part in the interview!
Waves Crashing Piano Chords - Selected Discography:
Live Collaboration At H8-Track Stereo 6/23/13 w/ MPHIAT (2013) - 8 Track (H8-Track Stereo)
A Collection of Songs (2013) - 8 Track (H8-Track Stereo)
split w/ Pentu (2013) - 6” lathe (Abusive Noise)
de Sade collaboration w/ Tanner Garza (2013) - c10 (Forever Escaping Boredom)
Fuck Art (2013) - Anti-record (Sounding Session)
I Don’t Care if I Die (2013) - 5” lathe (Sounding Session)
split w/ Foot and Mouth Disease (2012) - LP (CONTINUUM)
split w/ Swallowing Bile (2012) - 6” lathe (Sounding Session)
split w/ Rosy Palms (2012) - 6” lathe (Sounding Session)
It Turns Me On Because It Shouldn’t (2012) - 8 Track (Self-released)
Contact: https://www.facebook.com/wavescrashingpianochordsHal Harmon