Walled Noise For Many Sonic Seasons [2021-04-15]
Dosis Letalis stands as one of the more respected & known projects of the second wave of walled noise. Since forming, just over five years ago, Dosis Letalis has put out over one hundred and fifty releases, with the projects sound moving between more straight ’n’ intense wall-craft, and more experimental fare. Behind the project is Serbian born Nemanja Nikolić, who moved from his homeland to France a few years back. I caught up with Nemanja for an email interview, and below you’ll find a lengthy and far-reaching interview discussing Dosis Letalis five-year existence, the project's set-up, many collaborations he's been involved with, and much more.
M[m]: The Dosis Letalis project has recently reached its 5th anniversary- did you envisage it lasting this long when it first started? And how do you feel the projects mission statement- be it sonically or thematically altered over the last five years?
Nemanja Yeah, it was the 5th anniversary of Dosis in October! That's not so much, but to me, it seems like it's been an eternity! . Oh, I don't believe I was thinking about projects longevity back when I started it, and I don't know, even tho I don't see myself ever stopping with this.
Nemanja Mission statement ?
Well, thematically it's basically still mostly anti-establishment based, even tho I stand out more and more from my usual themes. DL's focus was always more on the sound, anyways. And sonically... Well, lately I've shifted towards more dynamic territory, unlike the monolithic nature of the project's past.
The idea with Dosis Letalis is you'll never know what you’ll get from release-to-release: super harsh stuff, weirdly structured ANW, some gentle lowercase crackle, or any of variations of those, and I guess we can call that a project's mission statement. Though, for now, my focus is mostly on harsher dynamic walls, and it's maybe safe to say that Dosis is no longer just a purely monolithic project.
M[m]: What attracts you to anti-establishment themes?
Nemanja Just the state of the world and the reality of our time...
It's sickening to see politicians, governments and corporations exploiting and manipulating people, and playing with people's lives for their own selfish interests.
Everyone could live in peace, work less and have more, only if the bastards in power weren't so greedy, and busy with turning us against each other... If people could see past their differences, stop fighting because of their race and religion, and unite against our oppressors, things could change.
I guess knowing this but not be able to do something about it, makes me wanna cover these sort of themes, it's that rage and sorrow the drive the thematical force for Dosis Letalis.
M[m]: How has your set-up changed/ developed over the project's existence? And are you still using any of your kit from when you started?
Nemanja Oh, it changed significantly, I have much more gear available nowadays... I never stopped investing in gear, and even tho it was going slower than I would have liked it, we can say my set-up is always evolving. And yeah, I still use lots of my older pedals.
At the very start of the project, I was using digital means to create thick walls of noise. I guess I was too eager to start making walls after discovering this genre, I couldn't wait to get a decent starting set-up. Which wasn't easy, considering Serbian standards and low salary. But from day one I started saving for analogue gear, and after a while, I got a mixer and a few inexpensive pedals. Guess all material from 2015 was digital. After that, I went through many different recording stages, from using digital sounds as a source for analogue recordings to mixing different layers of analogue walls in the pc to recording walls on my mp3, and reusing those again as a source.
After that, it was purely one take analogue fuckery, without overdubs or any kind of software use. And as of the last year, I mostly use a contact mic, or pure feedback as a source, and I stopped using the computer's program for recording the audio, wife's Zoom r8 came in handy, and I use it in combination with my old Behringer mixer, which has further changed the way I record and how my walls sound.
M[m]: You mention using digital sounds as a source- please discuss other sources you’ve used for wall creating in the past, and what have been some of your most bizarre/ odd sources?
Nemanja Well, as I mentioned, digital sources were from the period in the past when I still didn't have lots of gear available... Nowadays, it's mostly a contact mic, which is hardly something odd.
I guess the stylophone, that Charlotte recently got as a present, is the most original sound source I used haha.
Besides that, in the past, I was occasionally using some field recordings or recordings of different home sounds... wish I can say I worked with many other different and unusual sources and homemade instruments, but sadly, I (still) didn't. Who knows what the future holds, tho
M[m]: Throughout the projects existences it’s release have seen to fairly even balance between the more straight ’n’ intense wall-craft, and more experimental fare- which has gone to light, to more extreme. Do you think this balance is important to the project's longevity? And at what point do to you feel experimenting with the wall noise form goes too far?
Nemanja Sure it is! I have a lot of different creative paths I can follow, which keeps things from being stale or sounding too similar. Too far? Well, I guess until it stops being a wall! And I certainly have a few releases that are far on the border...I still haven't shared it with the world, but I guess my rhythmic wall project is the furthest from the usual wall I've done. Tho, in my opinion, the hypnotic nature of minimal trance/techno goes hand in hand with the hypnotic nature of the wall noise.
M[m]: A few years back you moved from Serbia to France- do you feel this has changed your outlook on creating wall-noise and has your recording set-up changed since the move?
Nemanja That actually happened at the end of 2019, so it wasn't that long ago!
For people who might not know, my wife Charlotte has been making walls longer than me haha, and she is behind one of the best HNW projects ever, Naughty and now continues to do excellent walls under Exquise Esquisse!
So when I moved in with her, here in France, our set-ups doubled overnight!!
Besides the already mentioned recording interface Zoom r8, I must admit I started using the majority of her pedals, with honourable mentions to Boss RV6 reverb, and EQD Bit Commander. So yeah, the moving definitely changed and shaped my sound further!
M[m]: Any plans to do any more collaborative releases between you & Charlotte ?
Nemanja That possibly always exists, if we're talking about Exquise Esquisse and Dosis Letalis working together on a release.
And if we're talking about our collaborative project - Naughty Angel Raptures is definitely still active and there will be more from it in the future.
M[m]: Talking of collaborative projects you've now done a few, please discuss each of these & give us a little update on where each stands?
Nemanja Okay, I'll try not to forget any, during the years I,ve formed more than a few, with various friends that I made along the way.
I must first say that I'm really proud of my collaborative projects and that they are very dear to me, probably even more than the Dosis itself.
Naughty Angel Raptures
The very first, and definitely the most important collab I, ve ever done, its importance and influence on my life are huge. N.A.R. is a collaboration with then my friend - now my wife Charlotte Thevenin. I was always admiring Charlotte's work, how good, deep and immersive her walls are. Naughty, (her now-defunct HNW project) was and still is my favourite within the genre. And so, through the mutual admiration for our wall-craft, Naughty Angel Raptures started, and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, that would years later grow into something else, even more beautiful.
The idea was to mix Charlotte's hypnotic, bass-heavy walls, with mine, more textural ones. We describe N.A.R. as "passionate HNW for lovers", which pretty much explains the project's thematic. So far we put out three releases, absolutely gorgeous debut tape came out on Altar of Waste in 2016, the second was after quite some time, but very well worth the wait - double tape in 2019 through Static Dreams (sonically it may be my favourite), and the latest release was last year's reel-to-reel on Void Singularity Records. All the label heads did a great job with these releases.
In the meantime, Charlotte and I got married and started living together here in France, so the recording of new material is definitely easier and faster. So y'all can expect more from us.
The Climate Refugees
The Climate Refugees is a collaboration with the two long-running noise-making gentlemen, Peter Keller and Ben Rehling. They have both been making noise since the '90s, and after a pause, they returned with HNW projects, one of my favourites: Condo Horro and See Through Buildings. Even tho they have been in noise game almost more than I'm alive, as far as HNW goes, I consider them my contemporaries.
After working together on a split (the very first split I did, together with A Raja's Mesh Men), we formed TCR. The project is thematically strong, based on the people that are so severely hit by climate change that they were forced to move from their homes and migrate. The debut was a beautiful tape released through Altar of Waste, and that's one mighty tape, I don't mind saying. The second album has been in the works for years, haha, but I hope it will be finished and see the light on the day, and hopefully, more will follow.
Nikolić, Pakhomov and van der Veen
This is another one of my favourite collabs because it's with two of my very best noise friends, Sergey Pakhomov of Train Cemetery and many other great projects, and Casper van der Veen of mighty Uitgeschakeld. Self-titled debut tape was released in 2018 by a label with one of the strongest HNW catalogues in my opinion - Lost Light Records, making it even more special. Those are some harsh, unforgiving walls, really proud of this one. The status of the project is definitely still active, and soon we'll start working on the second album.
Collaborative project with two of my UK friends, Clive Henry and James Shearman. The idea of this collaboration is to showcase a process of building a wall where the tape starts with an individual wall (or one might say a brick) from each of us and finishes with an architectural wall we constructed with said bricks. The debut was a 3-tape set released by one of my favourite labels that are currently operating within the scene, Geräuschmanufaktur. We honestly couldn't imagine a better label for this job, our friend Jan Warnke did an absolutely astounding job with these and even wrote an architectural wall manifesto. I can't wait until we get around to constructing another release for this project.
Is collab with dear friends Monica Isabel Sanchez (Tissa Mawartyassari) and Clive Henry (that guy again! xxo) themed on mass manipulation through media. Debut "Your Opinion" came out in 2019 through Lost Light Records. So far we haven't discussed another release, but I have no reason to think it won't happen.
Ah, this is a special one!
Piano and walls, beautiful combination if you ask me. Collab between my dear friend Erika Yume Hayashi and me. Another debut that was released by great Geräuschmanufaktur! It's been a while since Eri stopped doing noise, so I wouldn't count on hearing more from this project.
This is one of the most recent ones, only Casper and me. Nothing fancy, just loud, straightforward walls to get lost in. Debut tape was released last year on Marbe Negre. More will come.
Sound Research Center
This is Sergey and me, doing some pretty weird-ass walls. All three previous releases were digital-only. I guess more can happen...
Is a project with my good friend Jott from How I Met Lauren. It's a war-themed noise /ambient / HNW mix-up. So far we only had one release, digital-only in 2017 on Big Pharma Records. We were just talking about working on a new one a few days ago, hope it will happen.
Red Forest Project
Is collab with my friend John McVay from Go As DeatH. We described it as "nuclear disaster noise". The only release was tape on Grey Matter Productions in 2016. I haven't talked with John in a while, but we're both still around, so who knows...
This is one of my first collabs, with Zachary of No123Noise. Debut tape was on Craneal Fracture Records in 2016, the next two parts were digital-only releases. Not sure about the status of this project, cos Zach is taking a break from noise.
Is a collaboration between Cory Strand's Eugene Critchley and my DL. Sonically it's a mix of Cory's bleak, bass-heavy walls, and my crackles. Always liked this combination! Thematically it was focused on political and social pessimism. There were two releases so far (both through Altar of Waste), and they will probably remain the only ones.
Is my collab with Lurker Bias's boss, Alexander Adams. Debut tape was a part of LB's Neon Wall series. I hope Alex and me will continue with this project.
This was a 3-way collab with Zach from No123Noise and Brandon from Sloth. The only release was a tape on Ominous a few years back. Those were solid walls in my opinion, but I don't see this project returning. I already mentioned Identity Market, my upcoming collab with Chuck Steak, but I must hype it more because those walls came out really mighty. Can't wait to share them with everyone!.
M[m]: Dosis Letalis discography is moving past the 150 release mark- I know it’s going to be difficult, but please select say ten or so release that stand out & explain why for each?
Nemanja Wow, this is a tough one, but I'll try.
Crackling Worship series - A couple of hours of crackles. Probably my most known and influential work, that even inspired a couple of projects to start crackling.
Smisao ivota je Sloboda - One of my favourite and most relaxing crackle recordings, released on tape by the great Lurker Bias label.
Quiet Immersion (and Soothing Immersion) - My lowercase noise wall works, released only through my Bandcamp page, these are my one smoothest and gentle works, and also the most played on my Bandcamp. If you need something to relax, play this.
Bizarre Activity Inside The Dream Factory - Another one of my lowercase works, this time in the real spirit of lowercase, made by manipulating the pieces of paper.And what makes it even more special, is that was a part of the first batch of tatō, 3inch CDR label specialized in releasing lowercase walls in unique packaging run by my brother in arms Peter Keller (Condo Horro, Bacillus)
Mass Media - One of my favourite ANW works, for a couple of reasons. It had the honour of being the very first Reason Arts release/tape. I think people's response to this one was great. And if I remember right, it was the album of the month here, on your Musique Machine, Roger.
Confronting the Inhuman - My most unique and evil textures, ANW disc released by Breaching Static.
Tight Squeeze - One of those releases that showcase DL's harsher and more brutal side. Really pleased with the textures on this one, if my memory serves me right, crucial for this tone was dying battery in my old DOD Metal X. Tape released by Supreme Final Ecstacy.
Righteous Indignation - This release shows another side of my wall-craft, short, abrupt static bursts through periods of crackle. Quite unique imo, bonus on being it released through awesome Deathbed Tapes. Follow up (Righteous Indignation II) came out through SGFF Records.
No Input - This CDR is recorded using the no-input mixer method, with small help of three pedals, that helped regulate the feedback. Released not so long ago through Imploding Sounds.
Qu'est-ce Qu'il Se Passe Ici - One of the first recordings released that follows the project's new dynamic direction. This came out on the brotherly Serbian label, Librarion, making it even more special!
M[m]: Your work has been released on a few formats now- what stands as your favourite & why?
Nemanja By now, I’ve put releases on various formats (not as near as many as my friend Brandon Wald from Support Unit / Black Ring Rituals tho, who must have settled the world's record in releasing on obscure formats). From lathe cuts, to reel to reel and 8 track cartridges, I think Naughty Angel Raptures reel that came out the last year on Tom Rushton's Void Singularity Records is one of my favourites.
Also Dosis Letalis 8 track cartridge on Ouroboros Ltd (sub-label of Black Ring Rituals). That being said, my favourite format remains a cassette tape.
M[m]: You’ve remained active & positive in your promotion wall noise scene over the years- for your work & others. How do you feel the scene has changed since you started, and what do you see as the plus & negatives in the scene as it stands today?
Nemanja Well, lots of the people who's projects I love, and that have started about the same time as me are still here, and still doing the great stuff, some eventually under different aliases. Wall elders still rock, and some of the older wallers have returned, so that's a positive thing, too!
I have noticed tho, that the younger generation of wallers aren’t interested in having their sounds released on physical formats, at least not as we were. I guess that would be a negative thing- the loss of interest in physical formats.
M[m]: Over the years the project has done more than a few splits- which have you been most proud of? And is there anyone your keen to do one with now?
Nemanja Another tough one!
Well, I remember back when I wanted to work with Phyllomedusa (one of my favourite gore artists, who occasionally does a really mighty hybrid of wall and gore/grind stuff, and even pure wall sometimes)
I sent a mail, introducing myself, thinking this guy has never heard of me and my project, but it actually turned out that the Big Frog was frequently checking out my Bandcamp page and new releases, so that made me proud!. He also did a wonderful job with releasing our split, on pro-pressed CDs in the beautiful digipack he designed!
I was also proud of working with Sam (The Rita) on a release, and I think it's a really solid, coherent split. Happy it was out on such a nice label too (Foul Pray)
Split with Support Unit came out great, thematically (our projects have strong connectivity regarding themes), sonically (walls are totally different but work well as a pair) and visually (Austin from Gathering Wool did a great job on those).
I must mention the six way split with Train Cemetery, Condo Horro, Rien, Uitgeschakeld and Shumoizolyatsya, because those are some of my favourite wall projects (and people)
What makes me especially happy is when people use some of their best material for working with me, for example, Niku Daruma, Support Unit and Pain Chain sides of ours splits are some of my favourite works I heard from them.
Lots of splits I consider as of crowning of the friendship, like the ones with Uitgeschakeld/Cosmic Silence, Bullshit Market, See Through Buildings, Visitation, Lost Graves, Bruising Pattern, Chuck Steak, Greathumour, Screenslaver, Spreaders, and all the others I'm forgetting!!
You asked about the splits, but the same goes for collabs with Train Cemetery, She Walks Crooked, ruiner., Benjamin Joseph, Bonechurch/Melinoe, Endless Chasm, Charles Razeur, Placenta Lyposuction, etc
Basically, all the splits or collabs I did were a sign of respect and admiration to the people and their projects, so no offence if I'm forgetting anyone!
And about the projects, I would like to work with in the future : with all of my favourite ones that I didn't worked before, ha !
M[m]: What has sonically impressed by in the last few months- be it walled noise or otherwise?
Nemanja Ah, a bunch of things! That's what happens when you have lots of friends who do cool stuff! Risking of not being objective, but I don't care, my wife's latest tape (she now records under Exquise Esquisse alias) that came out last year on Ominous was superb. Such deep, enchanting walls, like only she, can do so good. All the Runway releases that came out recently are amazing, such a great project! Been enjoying the various Sean Ramirez-Matzus's projects (Thin Mountain, Thewhitehorse, under his own name), also Scarlet Diva's and Chuck Steak's works! Polwach from Perpetual Abjection makes really solid walls under Unsignified Death. My brother Sergey Pakhomov has been quietly uploading new stuff on his Bandcamp, and everything is excellent as usual. The Rita / Vomir split sounds great, also anything else The Rita released recently, lots of people prefer Sam's older stuff, but I find his newer, more nuanced/subtle works, to be really solid. From not wall-noise stuff, I've been digging the latest Closer Bones, Moonbeam Terror, Scathing, Death Cult Ritual, Greathumour, and basically everything Rush Falknor and Pain Chain did, also new Ragk stuff is always welcomed to my ears. New Developer CD from Hostile 1 is awesome! My friend Logan Threedouble is doing some really interesting stuff as Junkyard Burial and under the personal name. Also happy that Bacillus is back from being dormant for so long, latest recordings are great, but again, so is everything that Peter does. The same goes for En Nihil, which's back in the game after some time, and it seems like it's more productive than ever. Casper and Johan recently did Radical Vitality / JSH split tape, and it sounds solid. Jackson Kovalchik's JHK project rules hard, specially Greasy Deals tape I recently acquired from him, also been enjoying his gore noise project Coagulative Necrosis, and while we're at the gorenoise, the recent stuff I heard from R. Mason's LYSERGIC RITES OF SADOPRIEST is sick.
M[m]: Please discuss what you're working on at the moment, and what can we expect sonically?
Nemanja I'm looking forward to y'all hearing a split with Mo*Te, it's finished and scheduled to be released on one awesome label.
Jackson and I are preparing JHK/Dosis split tape, and it's gonna be a sick one.
I've been slacking on finishing collaboration with my friend Patrick from Modern Tapes and his great Veralthen project, that's gonna be some weird stuff!
I'm preparing HNW covers of old French chansons, it will be in collaboration with some close friends!
Also, have a massive series of highly reverberating evocative crackles, and as soon as I think of a way of presenting and releasing them, they'll be out.
There are some other splits and collabs that are finished for some time, just waiting to find a good home, like split with Clive Henry, and collab with Placenta Lyposuction.
M[m]: When the whole Covid thing finally clears away- do you think you’d like to play live? and if so any ideas on how you’d present the project in a live format?
Nemanja Oh sure, I'd love to play live, and now that I'm living in France that seems a lot more possible! I'm hoping to have an invite to play on some of the shows when this whole covid thing passes. As for ideas, I guess I would go with my dynamic set-up and do some loud and harsh, ripping walls.
Thanks to Nemanja for his time & efforts with the interview- head here to check out the projects Bandcamp here https://dosisletalis.bandcamp.comRoger Batty