Monday, 14 April 2014


How did this all come together for you and what is your vision?

:  I've been working on music and conceptual art for a long time, but only in the last couple years have I really felt like I've finally solidified around a cohesive vision and found where I belong. Vandalaze began in 2011 as a sort of catch all for the various ideas and sounds I was beginning to craft. Rather than create a confusing different side project for each idea, I just put it all under that moniker. In the last couple years my focus musically has been in exploring the weirder pop/industrial influences of the 1980’s; as well as creating a parallel vision immersed in textural landscapes and soundtracks for non existent films I liken it to a museum that houses many different paintings and artifacts. One room may be the furtive ground of American surrealism and 80’s wacky Italian pop art. While another may be obsidian sculptures in a marble hall. I'm still influenced by the museum scene from Ferris Bueller.

So you just started your own label Slimetrax tell us more about your plan with this..

I've been a fan of all the “post 2010” internet genres and the intense meshwork of new DIY vinyl/tape/download labels that have popped up online but wanted to create a label that was a mix of the old and new vibe. Part Wax Trax, part Hippos In Tanks.Truly an inspiring age, where we’re seeing such a huge resurrection of cassettes as well as even zines and other DIY product. However I wanted to create a label that didn't turn a cold shoulder to glass mastered compact discs, yet also embraced vinyl, cassette and even 3d printed/USB releases. The idea is to create a unique, limited product for people wanting a physical collector item along with downloads.The label will be both a platform for myself and other acts I feel represent the “new weird” as I call it. Or the new ooze. Regardless of arbitrary ‘genre’ tags. Even though I’m mostly based in electronic, I’d gladly release a say, mostly no wave inspired rock band if I felt they captured the weird creative zeitgeist. I come from industrial/post-punk, and definitely am a fan of all the new industrial/minimal/postpunk/punk vinyl and tape labels that have sprung up...but I am also a fan of all the so-called “Vaporwave”, post-witch, tumblr and generally more colorful net labels. So I wanted to bring that more playful fun vibe. I really love some of the trippy art of vapor/tumblr acts as well as classic 80’s LP artwork by Yello, Cabaret Voltaire, Pere Ubu, Japan, etc. I’m extremely excited to create some unique various artist compilations with exclusive tracks, as well as pull from the late 80’s/90’s format of bringing some of these into a physical CD form(besides downloads)

Can you name a few artist, and labels that you are interested in?

: It definitely was discovering newer acts and movements in the recent indie underground that made me realize my years in the industrial music scene and making tracks could be seen in a new light, for a newer audience. Discovering newer acts like White Car, Tense, Gatekeeper, Holly Herndon and Oneohtrix Point Never really wowed me with the uniqueness of what they were tapping into. I also love the more recent LA EBM influenced acts like High Functioning Flesh and Youth Code. I can’t think of any I don’t care for. I definitely mentally filter out most of the mainstream, though I’m always excited when bands or artists I’m into reach into the mainstream (like Future Islands) Label wise I really like Burger Records, Hippos In Tanks, DKA Records, Desire, Dais, Not Not Fun, Hundebiss, 1080p and various vapor/tape/witch labels. I also am definitely inspired by DIS magazine as well as classic labels like Nettwerk, Some Bizarre and Wax Trax.

What are some other things you have planned in the next while..
: In promotion of the full length “Dreamorex” album this summer, I’m doing a few in-store mini performances/video installations at some smaller gallery/boutique shops in California and New York. It’ll be basically me showcasing some art pieces/paintings I’ve made revolving around the concept album, as well as a comic zine and the album itself plus performing a few songs. I’ll have my slime-o-vision tv grid setup. Also talking to some people about putting on and performing some crazy multimedia underground warehouse parties. Like, very tumblr meta weirdo vibe meets cyberpunk meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Also have more music videos I’m working on with another 2d animation one.
Tell us more about what you've been working on…

: Well first I have the “So Real” maxi single EP I’m debuted on my new label Slimetrax. It’s a glass mastered factory pressed CD maxi remix single like the stuff they used to exessively release in the 90’s. I know CD’s and especially single CDs are faux paus in the indie underground, but I love stuff like that. I’m also releasing a 5 track late 80’s/early 90’s cyberpunk themed industrial EP digipack with some CD-Rom content. The full 11-track debut album “Dreamorex” is coming out this summer on both vinyl and CD form. The artwork for it will be about as far from what one thinks as an ‘industrial’ release, as I’m using fun Keith Haring/Pee Wee’s Playhouse inspired hand drawn art. It’s definitely what I would call “mutant slimepop”, inspired by Cabaret Voltaire, Yello, 80’s Devo, 90’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Art of Noise, and various funk-dustrial wax trax stuff. I envision the idea behind “Dreamorex” as a sort of mind palace. A black marbled museum in a desert where each room represents a memory or idea. The stark images of the sand filled rooms in a house within the abandoned city of Kolmanskop, Namibia comes to mind.


A lot of this is filtered through what I see as a kind of alternate late 80’s that didn't quite exist, but very well could in another timeline. Though I’m also equally influenced by textural soundscapes and some of the more cerebral forms of techno going on (like the artist Actress) Definitely one aspect I’m trying to curate and craft. I also am very interested in the idea of museums. sound rooms. textural landscapes. and a general journey into the subconscious. Then another part of me likes the hard cyberpunk aesthetic of the 80's/early 90's.  

Give us some of the concepts that inspire your work?

:  As we grow older, memories from the past become more faint, so it’s almost an idea or sense than a literal movie you can recall. One of the lines in my song “House Of Two Oceans” goes We are the passion and the movie screen. The song is about living in two worlds...the world we occupy where we are not where we wish to be and can only yearn for a more idealized life. And then a second ‘House’ we occupy where we can dream and swim within that idealized reality. That line in particular sums up the project in all incarnations, as well as the themes. That sort of duality, which is central. As much as so many things have faded away (such as the ritual of going to the video rental store, arcades, book stores, etc) in society, we still collectively hold the theatrical film going experience as a holy communion. So within that framework, I think back to being a kid going to the cinema and living vicariously through the projected screen. The backbone of my concept album and current focus is in a way crafting a magic from the 1980’s that was perhaps glimpsed or hinted, and certainly in no way being exploited or put through the post millennial nostalgia marketing machine

Your video So Real was 5 months in the making, was done on a 10 dollar budget and it was shot entirely in a shopping mall… Tells us more!

: Yeah the “So Real” music video took me almost five months to make, filming in both Portland Oregon and here in California. I’ve long had an almost religious obsession with malls, especially having grown up in the 1980’s and having spent quite a lot of time there. Malls are this strange hauntological non-time culture bubbles, or what I would call America’s most beloved megachurch. My first single off the album is titled “So Real”, so I liked the idea of mannequins and the overall fakeness of the mall as backdrop to the song’s theme. The song is about the growing banality of surrealism that is our daily touch screen Truman Show panopticon as well as wishing for a life we wish we were living. It’s so close, so real. So for the video I thought, “Well there’s nothing more symbolic of this than America’s mega church ritual called the shopping mall experience”.  I’m using post color corrections inspired by a lot of the purple neon pastel image themes currently popular in the tumblr 80’s cyberpunk underground. It’s the perfect time to haphazardly mix seemingly random cultural pastiches into the new.

What are your thoughts on the future of technology and the effect it will have on culture?

: I’ve always been obsessed with “cyberpunk” themes in entertainment media, be it books/films/music/etc. I love Max Headroom as that’s kind of a go-to point between cyberpunk and 80’s pop art (it’s inspiring to see tumblr embracing this motif) So yeah I have always loved stuff like Neuromancer, Akira, Gunhed, Tetsuo, Hackers, The Matrix, Blade Runner, Cyberpunk 2020, etc. But now it’s strange...we live in a world that, while cosmetically things have not changed in the last decade; yet in a boiling frog way “cyberpunk” technology has slowly been weaved all around us. And not to sound to Morpheus/Agent Smith-like...but I strongly feel society has gotten locked in a Truman Show like panopticon without even realizing it. Fashion wise you can go to any Walmart and people seem frozen in the late 90’s/early 2000’s fashion wise with the rest of millennial society stuck in a 2007 Brooklyn holding pattern. Yet technology has completely augmented and changed everything. Even the mechanics of language and thought patterns seem extremely informed by the post 2010 smart phone/facebook/sociasl networking connectivity. I can’t remember the last time I went for a walk and didn’t see college kids walking without smart phone in hand. Yet it is also exciting to see things come out that were once considered sci fi. Slim see through touch screens, bendable slim touch screens, mind controlled cybernetc arm prosthetics, virtual reality now a mainstream commercial reality, self dissolving medical repair bots, flying cars...all things being prototyped and coming out in the next few years. Of course my favorite new tech is the advent of 3D printers. Always wanted to make my own line of plastic Muscle Men/Battle Beasts! There’s also the scary end of technology...the real life skynet. NSA/Prism dovetailing off cloud networking, pattern recognition taken to Scanner Darkly levels, drone assassinations, predator robots...Google just purchased the Pentagon DARPA’s main robotics division(Boston Dynamics) Technology wise, I love the ability to be able to instantly upload a music video, song, or art piece and have it instantly seen by random people and reshared everywhere. Just the idea of inspiring people you’ll never meet who might get something out of your work on various levels even you didn’t intend.
What are you thoughts on modern pop music?

: I’m actually surprised that the mainstream hasn't mined the post 2010 post weird internet scenes, other than a few aesthetic or sound appropriations. For the most part ultra mainstream pop music sounds as stale as it did in the late 90’s and 2000’s. I do feel grateful that when I was growing up as a teenager, that the mainstream at least offered acts like Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Bjork and Marilyn Manson. I see nothing approaching arty or interesting in the mainstream.

Who are your all time favorite cult-pop icons?

: Jim Henson, Pee Wee Herman, David Byrne, Bill Hicks, Max Headroom, Grace Jones, Leigh Bowery, Keith Haring, Weird Al, Mark Mothersbaugh, Duggie Fields, Andy Warhol, David Lynch, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, ALF, Patrick Nagel, etc.

What have been some of the things that had most influence you other than music?
: Visiting museums. Paintings and art (Particularly the works of Edward Hopper, Rene Magritte, Ettore Sottsass/Natalie du Pasquier and the Memphis Group, Fortunato Depero, Keith Haring, etc) Staying up late watching MTV’s Liquid Television and 120 Minutes, or other late night programming like Night Flight. Visually arresting films (such as Barry Levinson’s Toys or anything by Akira Kurasawa) Definitely dreams and barely remembered memory impressions. Thumbing through old catalogs. Growing up as a kid in the 80’s and early 90’s (especially the oddball kid’s show themes and wacky food product commercials)

What things from the 80’s do you wish you could bring back today?

: Coin operated joystick arcade cabinets. For practical use, definitely finger-less gloves.


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