Of Madness, Pain & Satanic Praise [2014-03-05]Columbia Missouri based Nighttime In The Abyss are a dense, dark & disorientating sonic project that are difficult to put under one genre label. It’s clearly influenced by blacked noise, power electronics, disturbing spoken word, black metal, and dark ambience- but really you can’t label this project- you just have to experience it!. The project was started in October 2012 by one Alocer Christus( real name Christopher Ropes), and has so far amassed around 7 or so releases on various underground experimental labels. Christopher kindly agreed to give M[m] an email interview, and what follows is a fascinating trip into the world of this most disturbing & unique of projects.
m[m]:Tell us a bit about some of your earliest musical memoires, and do you think any of these made you want to start making your own sonic works? Christopher My earliest music was, of course, children's music. On vinyl, because I was born in 1972. But everything changed when I was 4 in '76 and went with my parents to visit my mom's dad's house. He was not big on kids so I was stuck in one of his daughter's bedroom with nothing to do, until she came in and put a record on the turntable. That record turned out to be KISS - “Destroyer.” After that, I honestly did not listen to much else for about 8 or 9 years. There were more KISS albums, of course, but I listened to almost no other bands except for, um, embarrassment here, remember, this was the 70s, the occasional Disco song like “Celebration” and “Stayin' Alive.” Then, when I was about 11, 12, albums like “Pyromania,” “Shout at the Devil,” and “Piece of Mind” started coming out and my horizons broadened dramatically from there, at least as far as metal went. I was still something of a metal elitist for a long time after that, though!
As far as making my own music, obviously very little from that time survived in the actual sound of my music, although a part of me is ever-chasing the elusive dream of causing someone to feel an emotion as strongly as the guitar solo in “Detroit Rock City” makes me feel sorrow and yearning. But there is no question that my early forays into heavy metal and hard rock instilled in me a lifelong love of music and a deep and almost desperate desire to create my own. Like I'm sure some other folks who create noise-based music felt, I discovered music like this and decided I had to start creating my own because A. It felt like true Art, pure sound, moments of genius arising out of textures and effects and things of that nature that traditional music never really even attempted to let you hear, and B. I had no talent with any instruments so I thought this would be something I could do! Sad, I know, but I think my sense of how to put a piece of music together, make noise sound “composed,” rather than just thrown together, perhaps compensates a bit for me lacking in the talent to play an instrument.
m[m]:How did Nighttime in The Abyss come about? And is it your first sonic project? Christopher Nighttime in the Abyss started in Fall of 2012. It is my first ever project, yes. The story of how it came about it complicated, so I will try to simplify it and boil it down to its essentials.
2012 was one of the worst years of my life. My father was dying of lung cancer and numerous strokes, strokes that had caused him to have vascular dementia and lose an awful lot of what made him the man he was. He was shuffling in and out of hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, and our apartment. I'd been living with him for years, because I wanted to stay near him during his illness. He was sick with cancer and numerous other problems for a long time, and I never knew when his end would come. My mother's had been unexpected and I didn't even get a last chance to talk to her, so I felt I wanted to avoid those kinds of regrets with my father.
At the same time, there was a woman who entered my life, and helped destroy my marriage though, to be fair, it was a marriage I probably should never have been in in the first place. She toyed with my already fragile emotions, and the combination of her betraying me and my father passing away drove me to a serious suicide attempt. I spent some time in a psychiatric ward in a hospital, something I am VERY familiar with, and then I was let out and decided I was going to change my life, or else I was going to end up dead. I started getting help for my mental illness issues, I cut the bitch who seemed to want to destroy me out of my life, I stopped drinking as much as I had been, an awful lot of things. When autumn rolled around, I realized I'd been writing a great deal of lyrics that had no music. I started listening to some old Black Noise projects that had inspired me so much when I first heard them nearly a decade before and decided that's what I wanted to do. And I just started it. Figured out a free recording program, wrote a bunch of lyrics, and started messing around with stuff until I was happy with it. I actually only recorded one song at that time that did not make it onto an album. A hideous experiment called “Love.” It was the first thing I ever attempted, so I am forgiving myself for its existence. But after that, everything I created went on either Breath of Nightmares or Amongst the Dead, both of which Dipsomaniac, run by a good friend of mine, Dustin (AKA Izedis from Enbilulugugal) released digitally.
m[m]:What do you see as the meaning of the projects name & how did you select it? Christopher As many people are probably already aware from looking at my Bandcamp page, the original name was actually Torture Cult. I had that name selected for my future musical project at least 8 or 9 years prior to actually creating the music. But after recording Breath of Nightmares, I did some research and discovered there was a black metal band with that name, so I decided to change it.
I practice a form of Satanism. I was actually practising a different, and much darker and more traditionally what you'd call “evil,” form of Satanism around the time I started the project. So, I decided I wanted something to reflect that, even just a little. Something no one at the time had, though if you look now, I see there's a band called “Night in the Abyss” out there, that I don't recall seeing when I was researching this name. Ah well. Anyway, I am also, completely unashamedly, a big Dungeons & Dragons player. My brother, Eric, and I had been playing a lot lately, and it got me thinking about the plane, “the Abyss,” in the game. Of course, the Abyss, the whole symbolism and name, are a huge thing in Satanic and occult circles as well. And then, I just made the step to, “the darkest time in the darkest and most terrifying place would be...” Of course. “Nighttime.” Thus, Nighttime in the Abyss. And that name has guided me through everything else I've created since. There are a myriad of different themes running through my work, but they all hold in common the fact that I drag them out of the darkest times in the darkest places inside myself.
m[m]:What does the meaning of the symbol that you often use along side the projects name?
Christopher Ah, I wondered if anyone would ask me about that! It is the old goetic symbol for the demon/spirit Alloces, whose name is also tattooed on my left forearm. My very first true occult experience that I worked to make happen, rather than just happening to me, was an attempt to contact this being. I won’t tell the general public exactly what happened, that’s between myself, the members of my brotherhood, and the people closest to me but, suffice it to say, it was a powerful and life-altering experience.
m[m]:What the origin of Alocer Christus- the pseudonym you use for your Nighttime in the Abyss? Christopher Alocer is simply another form of the name Alloces. Kind of my “patron demonic spirit,” if you want to put it that way, though that’s oversimplifying and misleading. And Christus is a Latin variant of Christ. So, Demonic Savior/Messiah, and I just realized, while responding to this question, that I did almost exactly the same thing in a spiritual way that Marilyn Manson and his first band did with their pseudonyms in a pop cultural way. I’m now almost regretting my choice in pseudonyms! But I still like it and the meaning it has for me, so I’ll most likely keep it!
m[m]:As your a practising Satanist- how do you think this effects/ influences your work?
Christopher Well, the variety of Satanism I practice, the group I am a member of refers to as the “Path of Ascension.” It is stripped of much of the negativity and/or selfishness found in other Satanic paths. Our guiding principles are such things as Love, though not as understood in either a sentimental or a modern Christian fashion. It’s rather difficult to explain and I don’t wish to do it or my brotherhood any disservices by attempting to go into it in great detail and possibly give misleading information. However, it has been an extremely positive force in my life, a force of change and spiritual awakening and learning true compassion and understanding and wisdom. I still have a long way to go on my journey, but I will get there someday, in some lifetime.
Christopher It affects my work in a number of ways. My work is permeated by my beliefs. Some of it is quite blatant, such as the album “Fosforos” or, from the days when I was travelling a much darker and more negative path, the album “Seducing Diabolism” that came out last year. Some of it, however, is a lot more subtle. My “Loser Manifesto” album arose out of the realization that while I enjoy a great many dark and violent Power Electronics projects, that I could not get behind much of their philosophical basis, that the search for pleasure, at any cost, was the ultimate guiding factor in life. The fact is, I do believe that some kind of Love, a spiritual Love, again very different from modern “Church” concepts of Love, is what guides me and should guide others, if they could only see it. And that the absence of that Love can only lead to great harm, to oneself and the world. That album is semi-autobiographical, many of the occurrences are either directly mirrored in real events from my life or are abstracted metaphors for things that really happened. And I was a shell of a person at that point. I lacked any concept of Love, all I had was a burning and twisted Lust for possessing a woman I knew, and hatred of all womankind and, really, humankind, for letting me down in so many ways. So, I took that madness I went through, that actually resulted in a very real and very close to successful suicide attempt, and I made that the basis for a commentary both on mental illness and the depths it can bring on to and the fact that the thought of violence against anyone, particularly women, such a popular theme in Power Electronics, is the result of an aborted spirituality and emotional life, resulting in the soul being too weak to stand upright on its own and instead seeking to drag others it views as threatening to its safety down to its own level of filth, despair, and suffering. The wounds that soul feels, it wishes to inflict on Woman, the ultimate act of supreme degeneracy of the Spirit. In that way, all my work is, in a sense, religious music.
m[m]:Your project has a fairly unique feel & mix of elements bringing together morphed spoken word, bayed/ demonic voices, unsettling drone matter, disorientation ‘n’ psychedelic subtle noise elements, etc. How did you settle on this mix, & has the project sounded like this from the start? Christopher The project has definitely developed over time, but most of the core elements were already there. The very earliest material sounded a lot more like the Finnish project Terrorgoat, however, a project that was one of the most, if not the most, significant influences on me starting my project.
While I won't categorize myself as a great innovator, one tiny thing that my project has in common with a number of great innovators is that my sound was decided upon through necessity. I had no money for all the gear that most artists use and had to use cheap or free stuff: free audio software, cheap keyboard, distorted vocals, distorted found sounds and random noises made by anything I could find around the house. That kind of thing. More and better gear in the future is one of my main goals for the project, to help me grow my sound and develop it. However, I do feel that my limitations forced me to be creative.
m[m]:You talk about utilizing distorted found sounds & creating sounds from items in making the projects sound- could you lists the type of things you’ve used in the past? And do you ever add in field recordings into your work?
Christopher I have added something akin to field recordings into a double CD set that I hope to have released on Altar of Waste at some point in the future. I was intending it to be released as a “solo” work under the name of my Nighttime in the Abyss pseudonym, “Alocer Christus.” However, I may just have Cory Strand release it as a Nighttime in the Abyss work, possibly in the box set. It is almost entirely the audio portion of video recordings of an ex of mine, a woman I loved dearly and was with for almost five years who ended up committing suicide, and a pet bird I had at the time, who also died, and them together, her talking to the bird and the bird whistling and chattering in response. I took those recordings and, except for some very minor vocal additions of my own, every single sound in those two discs, which are just two disc long tracks, is a more or less distorted version of what was on those videos.
Christopher As for objects I’ve used: Coins, soda cans, knives, sticks, supremely distorted samples from other artists’ music made unrecognizable, cups and glasses, bottles, really anything that can make a sound at all is a potential source of noise making for me and can find its way into my music.
m[m]:You talk about adding more gear to your set-up in the future- what kind of thing would you like to add in to your sound? Christopher Well, I’d really really like a Korg mini-synth next. But, of course, other bigger synths, maybe some kind of drum machine, the usual assortment of pedals. I don’t really need or desire a particularly complicated set-up, I’ve made due with a lousy keyboard that I do not even own anymore and my own voice, along with those objects I’ve distorted, for quite some time now. I think I’ve honed my creativity well enough to make almost endless use out of a fairly basic but real gear set-up. Honestly, at this point in my life, I don’t have the finances to fund a massive gear collection. But, there will definitely be more stuff in the future. And one more thing I’d like. A better recording program. One that is not just a freebie internet thing that makes everything sound like I recorded it in a garage on a tape deck!
m[m]:could you tell us a little bit about how you go about composing/ constructing your work? and I’m guess the texts you use for each piece comes first when you are creating a track? Christopher My lyrics almost always come first, in tracks that have real words. However, in tracks that are mostly without lyrics or even sometimes with lyrics, I have been known to improvise if the direction a track is taking calls forth some words from my mind.
Composing and constructing is usually, though not always, a two step process. First, I normally spend a lot of time alone and taking long walks and thinking about the lyrics I've written and the kinds of sound I wish to accompany those lyrics. I usually have to have at least a good idea of how a track will begin and certain other key moments before I sit down to record.
The recording process itself can take a long, long time, or be very quick. It depends on a number of things: length of the track, how I feel about it while I am working on it, my level of distraction, the complexity of the track, etc. But generally, I sit down and I begin with whatever I decided upon earlier, and just add elements and layers from there. It is very organic. My tracks grow, as opposed to being “written” or “composed.” I listen to every single second of each track over and over and over, adding what I feel is necessary at any given moment to give it the feeling I'm aiming for and, if there are lyrics, that will best accompany those lyrics. At heart, I'm a lyricist, in many ways. I write the words I write for a reason, they are not just there to fill up space. Every word means something to me. So the music has to be intimately tied to that meaning for me to be satisfied with it. And then, when I'm done combing over every inch of the track, I give it at least one more listen on headphones to see what I think of the entirety of it and if anything needs to be added. Possibly not the most professional method for approaching my art, but it works for me.
m[m]:The first release Nighttime in The Abyss I heard was People For the Ethical Treatment of Abominations, and this was a mix of reversed self-help tape recordings(self unhinge tapes maybe?), recordings from some strange & deranged séance , and the sounds of an unsettled mind swimming through it’s own hell. Could you tell us a little bit about the concept behind this release? Christopher Well, the recordings are actually a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals public service message and the Rosary being said at a Roman Catholic funeral. I used these two because both are connected with death and, together, they tie the death of humans together with the death of animals and, in my mind at least, call into question whether there is a difference. I want to stress, as I say in my liner notes, that this release is NOT about animal rights, pro or con. While animals are very important to me and I do believe they should have rights, I admit I am still a meat eater. Vegetarianism is an option I've considered before and may attempt at some point in the future. But I am not attempting to address that issue at all in this work. It is a work celebrating Death Itself. While it is clearly a rather disturbed and disturbing sounding work, this is more a reflection of our attitudes and fears about death rather than about the nature of death. I don't believe death is a terrible and fearful thing, nor do I believe death is the end for any living being. I believe death is a temporary relief from the prison of material life. And I also believe we start that process over again and again. Many lives, many deaths. Where it all leads to, who knows? I have my thoughts, but they are no more valid (or less valid) than anyone else's.
And yes, despite these beliefs, I also fear death to some extent. It is natural. Our material selves fear the spiritualizing influence of death, the freedom of death, and the uncertainty of what precisely comes after. Even feeling deeply that I will live again in some way does not lessen the uncertainty about what manner of life that will be. So, yes, there is fear for me as well and some of that seeps into the work also.
m[m]:Clearly the projects sound is mixing together elements of lots of different dark & disturbing genres, such as black metal, blacked noise, unwell ambience, melted religious music, dark theatrical sonics, and beyond. Please select ten albums that have influenced you & explain why they have? Christopher While I certainly can't pick a top 10 albums, that would melt my feeble brain, or list these albums in any kind of order, I will do my best:
1. KISS – Destroyer: As stated previously, this is the album that started my love affair with music. Indispensable in my entire musical journey.
2. Blue Oyster Cult – Imaginos: Contains two songs, “In the Presence of Another World” and “The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein's Castle at Weisseria,” that are, in some ways, more Nighttime in the Abyss compositions than any of my work.
3. Metallica – Master of Puppets: Not to be cliché here, but this really did start my obsession with music that was more extreme, more intense. I wouldn't be where I am today without this.
4. Terrorgoat – All the early cassette only releases: I basically wanted to be this project when I started out. I think I did bring my own elements to the table, definitely, but there wouldn't be a mature Nighttime in the Abyss sound if it hadn't first passed through my experimentation on “Breath of Nightmares” with trying to find new directions to take what was essentially the old Terrorgoat sound. Anything you can find by this project is worthwhile. I still think the USA's Crucial Blast has some available. For overseas individuals, try looking up Cthulhic Dawn productions, Jesse's own label.
5. Nebiros (UK) – Under the Yellow Silken Veil: Wow. Just wow. Some of the most evil and disturbing stuff I've ever heard and it was all so insanely minimalistic. Very effective. I got this in a trade with Jesse of Terrorgoat, a dubbed copy, because all the originals were sold out. Everything Nebiros did was very limited edition. And this one apparently came packaged really nice too. But I've meditated to this album and it's hard to keep my eyes closed the entire time, it gets so freaky.
6. Deathspell Omega – Si monvmentvm reqvires, circvmspice: I love the music on this album, but it was really all about the lyrics for me here, in terms of personal inspiration. I read them and realized lyrics about Satan could be intelligent, not moronic, and wanted to do the same thing. I've never reached quite the philosophical heights DSO does, but I think I've added more poetry to Satanic lyrics than is usually present.
7. Mutiilation – Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul: Atmosphere. Atmosphere and suffering. That's what came out of this and seeped into my music, hopefully.
8. Sutcliffe Jugend – The Victim as Beauty: The most brutal homicide ever set to “music.” The thing I like about this one is that it shows that Power Electronics can actually be composed music and not just random hellish electronics blare.
9. Immaculate:Grotesque – Territory: This is Harsh Noise that actually expresses real emotions, deep feelings, something that is not easy to do with Harsh Noise and proved inspirational to me.
10. Abruptum – In Umbra Malitae Ambulabo, in Aeternum in Triumpho Tenebrarum: When I started out, I considered myself pure Black Noise and without this band, that wouldn't even be a thing. The first album I got by them and still my favorite.
11. . Celtic Frost - "Into The Pandemonium": This album was actually my first Celtic Frost album. I didn't really know what to expect. I'm not sure that I'd go so far as to call this their best, that honor I would probably give to "To Mega Therion." But this one is the most special to me. It opened me to the possibilities of music, how many vastly different approaches could be taken on even one album. I respected the hell out of them for taking so many chances, even ones that seem like kinda bad ideas in retrospect, like "One in their Pride." And this started an obsession with them and all of Tom G.'s work for the entire rest of my life since I first checked it out in I think it was 1987. That was the release date, right? Too lazy to Google it. Hah! So there's my 10, I mean 11, inspirational albums
m[m]:Why do you think KISS - “Destroyer.” had such an impact on you & what other Kiss albums do you enjoy?
Christopher I think the main impact “Destroyer” had on me was opening my eyes and ears to the fact that there was something other than “Puff the Magic Dragon” and my mom’s Elvis collection out there in the music world. Don’t get me wrong, I like Elvis plenty and there’s even a fair bit of folk music I can enjoy now and again, though not so much “Puff the Magic Dragon” anymore. But this was driving, powerful, hard-rocking, intense at the time stuff. And, again, I just have to mention that guitar solo in “Detroit Rock City.” To me if feels so sad, so full of longing and yearning. And I’ve spent the majority of my life feeling that way. As a matter of fact, I was listening to that song one night while talking to the lady in my life, who I very deeply love, and she asked me what that solo made me feel like I was yearning for. I thought about it, I thought about the loneliness I’ve always felt and that was mirrored in that solo, and I said to her, “This.” It was pretty amazing, the fact that this yearning since 1976 finally seemed to have found some satisfaction in 2014, in the form of a person who is my best friend, my love, and also the biggest fan of my work. It touched her, but that realization maybe meant more to me even than it did to her.
Christopher As far as what other KISS albums I enjoy, I enjoy all of the first six very much, with their accompanying live albums, and I enjoy a lot of other scattered tracks from later in their career. I know there are a few albums by them I really have to check out and listen to more intently, such as “Creatures of the Night,” but I have been busy with so many other things, and listening to so many other things that just mean more to me right now than KISS albums I never got the chance to check out before, that I haven’t had much opportunity.
m[m]:Other than music/ noise- what else do you think influences the projects focus?
Christopher As I said, most definitely my spiritual beliefs and my Satanism. But also, just anything I experience in life finds its way into it. My emotional states and the many strange things I find myself contemplating. Definitely my various legitimately diagnosed mental illnesses add something! Books and visual art, such as paintings, are a HUGE inspiration. In fact, I’ll let you in on something I’ve not told many people before. I suppose now, anyone who likes my music will know this. But the title, “The Loser Manifesto: Notes from Dirt,” is a direct allusion to Dostoevsky’s “Notes From Underground,” and, in fact, the structure of the narrative in that album’s lyrics is also influenced and patterned after that book’s. I’m currently reading a couple of books by Cormac McCarthy, The Road as well as Blood Meridian, and I am POSITIVE those will find their way into my work. Also, films inspire me, but I haven’t dived too deeply into what some people do, which is my own re-imagining of a film’s soundtrack. If Cory Strand still plans to release this, I have done some tracks for a Blue Velvet themed box set he was intending to release that would be along those lines, but that is all, other than two very short tracks I recorded for an old-style Slasher film tribute compilation. One of them was based on the original Black Christmas and one on the brilliant Dario Argento’s Tenebre.
m[m]:You talk about two tracks you’ve done for a Slasher film tribute compilation- when is this compilation due out? Christopher http://staticwallrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/slasher That is the link to where those tracks can be found along with 12 other slasher films of the 70s and 80s tribute tracks. Each artist selected a movie from that era, and used a sample from their favorite scene from that movie to introduce their track and, if I recall, they were free to do anything they wanted after that, though I do believe there were time constraints. It is a free download, and I’d also like to mention that my friends Betty with her project PHANTASM NOCTURNES, Dustin and his Static Goat project, Owen Michael Davis and his self-named project, Lackthrow, and Ignis Venificio Tenebris’s project Infirmary all contribute excellent tracks, as can be expected from each of them, to this project. Since the download is free, if you like what I do or what any of these other artists do, I recommend checking it out! Or, if you’ve never heard of any of us, but just love Slasher films from the golden age of 70s and 80s cinema!
Christopher One last thing on this subject. I used my Alocer Christus pseudonym briefly as a “solo” project, though how a solo artist can have a solo project apart from his other project, I’m not sure. But anyway, I contributed both a Nighttime in the Abyss as well as an Alocer Christus track to this compilation. Now, though, I think I am abandoning the Alocer Christus project, as Nighttime in the Abyss is meant to convey the entirety of my soul, and I don’t need to have another project to do that. Nighttime is the be all and end all, the Alpha and Omega, of who I am musically at this stage in my life. I’d certainly be willing to collaborate at some point with another artist under a different moniker, because then it would not just be my own soul being conveyed. Until then or something in me and my life changes, it’ll remain NitA.
m[m]:On your split release with Skjelver(We Who Writhe In Blood And Desperation) you do a radical & unrecognisable cover of Fields Of The Nephilim -And There Will Your Heart Be Also- tells us a little bit about why you covered this song? Christopher My impression of this song when I first heard it and really paid attention to the lyrics was that it was about someone who either was going to, or was at least willing to, commit suicide to be with a loved one who had died. That could be an incorrect interpretation but, even so, it stuck with me and I related to that sentiment a great deal, and decided when I was doing a depressive split with Magn of Skjelver to attempt my first ever cover song, of a song that had been very importatnt to me for about 15 years. I hope people familiar with the brilliant and profound original either enjoy it or forgive me for what I've done to it!
m[m]:I believe your working on a box set for Altar Of waste, which will take in a disc of Leonard Cohen covers- what attracts you to Mr Cohen’s work? and what tracks are you hoping to cover? Christopher Taking into account Leonard Cohen's lyrics, his melodies, and his world-weary, beaten often but never utterly crushed voice, there is no more purely emotional work or purely poetical work in music, for me. I think I have managed to make my own Noise somewhat poetic and emotional, so I was curious to see what melding my style with his songs would be like. As with the aforementioned Fields of the Nephilim track, expect there to be some radical departures from the original pieces of music.
As far as what tracks I'd like to cover, I know a few. “Hallelujah,” yes, another cover of that, but I'm pretty sure mine will be the first blackened noise cover. “If It Be Your Will.” “Sisters of Mercy.” “The Stranger Song.” “One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong.” “Teachers.” “Famous Blue Raincoat.” “Take This Waltz.” Beyond those, I'm not sure. Maybe a few others, if I have room for them on the disc.
m[m]:Still on the subject of the Altar Of Waste Box set- can you tell us what will be on the other discs? Christopher Well, Cory Strand and I have worked out some of the contents. He is a great label owner to work with. He has trust in his artists and gives them all absolute freedom to do as they wish. He'd like to release my first two albums, “Breath of Nightmares” and “Amongst the Dead” in physical releases for the first time in this box, as well as my personal favorite and most meaningful to me of my works, “Fosforos: A Blazing Black Star.” I have a track for track Noise re-interpretation of the album “Live in Leipzig” by Mayhem planned, called tentatively “Live in Dead's Grave.” There is a possible disc, a concept disc, about my odyssey through various mental hospitals, but I'm not entirely sure that one will be completed at this point. Also my contributions to various splits will be in there. And I have a plan to have another covers album in there, but only in a few of the boxes, so a first come, first served kind of deal, of Mutiilation covers.
m[m]:What other new material is out recently or is in the works?
Christopher Along with “Fosforos,” which is available for free on my Bandcamp, I did an album of remixes for the band PTAHIL, also available on my Bandcamp, as well as theirs. Forthcoming from Occult Supremacy Productions is “The Loser Manifesto: Notes From Dirt,” which could almost be seen as my answer to “The Victim as Beauty.” It deals a great deal with madness and emotional degradation, as well as the question of whether there is actually any strength or truth in violence, particularly violence against women. My conclusion is that no, there is not. It is always born of weakness, insecurity, and falsehood. The victim may, in fact, be beauty, but not because of their victimization; because of their soul. The killer’s soul, on the other hand, is all ugliness and lies manifested in a degenerate shell of a human being
m[m]: Talking about one of the of your more recent releases “The Loser Manifesto: Notes From Dirt,” At times this release uses multiple layers of vocals- how do you go about balancing them all & do you have to be in certainly mood or frame of mind for the more disturbing vocal voices/sounds? Christopher I sometimes hear the effect I want to achieve with the layered vocals, or I look at the words I’ve written and know that they call for some kind of specific delivery or vocal atmosphere. But other times, I simply listen, over and over and over again, to the track as I’m recording it, each little segment of it, multiple times, and I realize that something feels missing at key moments. It could be a drone ending feels empty, it could be that there is a part where I want a “more is more” feeling and want to keep adding more layers and complexity to that part of the track, so I go back and add what seems to be aching to get inserted there, I get a specific feeling from those points in a track, that demand something specific be done there. If any listeners do feel that they end up being well-balanced, I feel like I have raw instinct rather than any conscious decision-making to thank for it.
Christopher And honestly, regarding the mood or frame of mind for the particularly intense/psychotic/horrific/disturbed voices and sounds, I am a deeply disturbed individual. My two suicide attempts, numerous psychiatric inpatient stays, scars all over my body, bouts of severe alcoholism (thankfully in my past now,) lifelong visits to psychiatrists and psychologists, heavy doses of psychiatric medications, and countless life tragedies, including the suicide of someone I was very deeply in love with and involved with romantically for almost 5 years attest to the fact that I am a troubled person, in more ways than one. And far more troubled than even the most insane of my musical accomplishments suggest. I am doing so much better now, I feel better than I think I have ever consistently felt before in my life. I have my new love to thank for this in part, as well as simply growing up. My mental health issues are not the result of immaturity, but they did cause a great deal of immaturity. And while maturation is not a cure for any true psychiatric ailment, it does help one learn how to deal better and it also involves making sure that all the things one needs to have accomplished get accomplished, because tasks mounting up that one doesn’t feel capable of completing is a massive source of stress and low self-esteem, worsening anxiety, depression, and even psychotic symptoms. It’s best to try to fight back against the illnesses and their tendency to freeze you at one point in your development and force yourself to grow up because your recovery is just so much harder when you’re lacking maturity. But even in this new happy and grown up attitude, I can revisit the worst things in me at any moment. It’s like finding a coin under the couch cushion. You just lift it up and peer underneath. That’s my madness, hidden underneath that happiness but every bit as real as the coin that is unseen underneath the cushion until it is lifted. It is and will always be there for me to draw on, even if I never have another serious episode again for the rest of my life. It doesn’t go away, it doesn’t get cured, it just gets treated, and hopefully pushed to the back of your mind.
m[m]: “The Loser Manifesto: Notes From Dirt,” has quite a lot of layers of text in it’s make-up. Will the label be releasing full written text with the release?
Christopher I honestly do not know if the label will be able to afford a booklet with lyrics/text for the release. I’ve talked to Dustin Redington, owner of Occult Supremacy Productions as well as mastermind behind Crown of Bone, Tenebrious, Ropes of our Fathers, and many other great projects, and he said at one point he’d like to but I believe he has announced that, at some point, the label will be permanently closed down, and I don’t know if he has the resources for that. However, I would really like to make those lyrics available because I’m so very proud of them. I think they contain a lot of insight into both complete and utter mental degeneracy as well as the message about the feebleness of violence. I’m thinking of asking Dustin if it would be possible to include my e-mail address in the booklet, as well as on the Bandcamp site where it is streaming right now, along with the message that if folks who enjoy the album want to know the lyrics, they can e-mail me directly for them and I’ll send them in a .doc or .pdf file.
m[m]:Have you ever performed live with the project, and if not is this something you would be interested in doing in the future?
Christopher I have not performed live yet, but I’d certainly like to. If I could give a shout out to a friend of mine in this American Noise Community, Daniel Suffering’s Whorid project would be a dream come true to perform with for me. Also Derek Rush and Bryin Dall’s A Murder of Angels, rapidly becoming one of my very favorite Dark Ambient projects, would also be a dream gig to perform with. I feel I am a long way away, in terms of gear and the quality of material I’d like to offer people, from being able to achieve this dream, but I am going to work on making it happen.
Thanks to Christopher for his time & efforts with the interview. Both People For the Ethical Treatment of Abominations & We Who Writhe In Blood And Desperation( the Nighttime In The Abyss /Skjelver split) are available from Altar Of Waste records here. The Loser Manifesto: Notes From Dirt is out now as a digital release on Occult Supremacy Productions, with a physical release to follow in the near future- you can hear/download the release here And the projects bandcamp can be found hereRoger Batty