Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Local wizard Watabou tells us about who he is, what he does, and why he likes Ke$ha.
photographs courtesy of michael john bedra
Where are you from?
I'm from Ann Arbor. I don't currently live in town (I live half an hour out in the expanse of Hamburg Township), though I lived and spent most of my childhood in Ann Arbor, and feel that as time goes by I've only developed a stronger social connection with its scene.
Performing is something I just recently started paying attention to as an avenue for more applied creativity as opposed to just a recital of tunes. I tend to try and expand on my compositions to give room for more variation that can be specific to each performance, which is a lot more of a long term thing than I initially anticipated. I typically try and relate compassion to every aspect of my performance though, and I oftentimes talk a lot more than the audience feels necessary to try and thoroughly explain my actions.
I've been trying to develop the ability to play for the audience, essentially, though right now I just tend to universalize and bring what I know I'm totally capable of, and occasionally experiment with new concepts.I'm playing around with a lot of things in my own time though, namely electronic improvisation, and hope to add plenty of new elements to my live performance within the very near future.
“I oftentimes talk a lot more than the audience feels necessary to try and thoroughly explain my actions.”
What style would you say you perform in?
Positive electronics. I think that's as specific as I can get without negating something or insinuating something else. This project has gone through a lot of different phases regarding style, and will probably go through a number of changes in the future.
The only real guidelines I create while writing music for this project are that it has to be an externalization of myself- which is pretty easy to maintain given that Watabou's a solo project- and that it's electronic.
I feel like I'm frequently pigeonholed into categories like "breakcore" or "cybergrind", but I also feel like there are aspects of my music that separate me from typical artists that perform those styles.
What are some of your biggest musical influences?
Wolves In The Throne Room. They're a newer black metal band from Oregon. These guys inspire me musically and more generally as people.Their music is really intense, and while it seems.....
I recently caught Violet Void play a show at Mac’s Bar on Lansing’s east side. Afterwards, I had the honor of hitting up Darrin “Violet” Williams, the vocal half of the duo, for a short chat.
Violet Void, an industrial outfit consisting of Violet, and his partner in crime, the aptly-named Void, have been playing since last February, 2011.
Though Darrin has been a musician, as he describes, his entire life.
“I was in a lot of punk bands growing up. Was listening to a lot of crust punk at the time. Political and religious themes. The crust punk scene really influenced what we’re doing.”
Darrin has been listening to Industrial music for only two years now, but already he has a firm grasp of its feeling and sound. Violet considers his group’s style as old school 80s to 90s industrial. Not that EBM is bad, but he prefers the old-school approach....
TO READ THE ENITRE ARTICLE, PURCHASE BRAINRAPE ISSUE #2 AT YOUR LOCAL RECORD STORE (Where applicable). It will be posted in its entirety November 1, 2011.
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
I’ve seen Caleb “Ketchum” McPherson at shows, watched him DJ a number of times, and ran into him at parties. But I’d never truly had the time to sit down and talk to him about his music, his persona, and what truly made him tick. I was lucky enough to catch up with him at a birthday party at the House of Gypsies in East Lansing, where he told me about his top six musical influences, why he doesn’t charge shit for his beats, and what we as Mid-Michiganders should do to better the scene brewing up the Midwest.
McPherson somewhat resembles a young Adrian Brody, only cooler, with more swag and sex appeal. At only 19 years of age, he has accomplished more as an artist than many beyond his years hope to achieve. Some may know him as Crackula, spinning Fidget House, Drum and Bass, Breakcore and a little Dubstep to “accentuate shit” around town. But we want to know more about his other side—the darker side—the mad scientist, Kessenchu.
“My forte is Kessenchu. He is my soul coming out into an artistic form,” said the young artist. As Kessenchu, McPherson creates a manic fusion of Digital Hardcore, Gabber-punk, and Chiptune. Chiptune?
“We are a growing community influenced by dorks growing up playing the NES saying, ‘dude I love the soundtrack to Super Mario Bros. How did they compose that music?’ This is how you do it. We took that, we ran with it. We started making our own 8-bit soundtracks.”
For over two years from the ripe old age of 17 ½, Kessenchu’s been making his own music.
“That’s my life dude,” he said. “I don’t give a fuck about anything else. This is what I spend my time doing. I make music. I research it, I find shit that I like, and I talk about it because it excites me. And I can only concentrate on what I am excited about.”
His style, in his opinion, is hard-style techno speeded up to 180 bpm. It’s somewhat gabber, somewhat chiptune, some Nintendo games mixed in, some 16-bit as well, with a little Glitch and breakcore to round it all out.
“All of my tracks are speeded up to 180,” said Kessenchu. “That is a secret I’m willing to share. I use distorted kicks overdriven and pitch-bent to different melodies. I usually start at the note C5. I’ll give that secret away as well."
“If someone can mimic my style I will feel fucking honored. Like a serial killer.
“Overall, if I had to give myself a genre name, I would consider myself hardcore gabber-chip. We’re hyphenating shit here, that’s how deep it goes.”
Despite his entrepreneurial attitude, Kessenchu is in the habit of giving away his work for little more than… nothing at all.
“I have tons of recordings on Facebook. I should probably charge people, but I give out shit for free,” said Kessenchu. “I’m to the point where I have about 1000 downloads on the internet that I should at least start charging for physical copies.”
Like all members of the growing digital hardcore scene, Kessenchu draws a great deal of influence from Berlin group Atari Teenage Riot who have just recently re-united and will be performing in our neck of the tundra come late September. They were the first digital hardcore band with such hits as “Revolution Action” and “Death of a President DIY.”
“They’re all about overthrowing the government,” said Kessenchu. “Just awesome guys. Aqua meets angry street punk.”
Another major influence for Kessenchu is digital hardcore band Realicide from Cincinnati Ohio.
“They’ve got a distorted kickdrum approach comin’ at you just like, ‘[makes frantic drum noise with mouth].’ It’s like aggressive drum beats—bass in your face—and they’re screaming over it.
“It’s like a hardcore street punk attack with hardcore techno beats blasting you at the same time.
“The thing that appealed to me most about them is their approach. They’re like, ‘this is what we have to work with. We have these drum machines, these synthesizers, these tape decks… and what we have to say.’ The point is they have a message—what they feel in their soul—and they want to put that out. I saw them at (the now departed) Magdalena’s tea house, and they blew the skin off my face.”
Besides Realicide and Atari Teenage Riot, Kessenchu also cites Watabou, Yatagarasu, : ( …pronounced ‘Colin Openbracket,’ Dental Work and Bubblegum Octopus as major influences. But his number one musical hero would have to be Xrin Arms.
“He’s the big brother I never had. I was lost in life and I found this dude. He was this Cybergrind artist. I connected with him and he inspired me to just go out there with everything I have, make a persona for myself and go all the way no matter the fuck it takes. This is what I have to do to distinguish myself as an artist. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I didn’t meet him. That’s why he’s number one. He changed the course of my life.”
Kessenchu will be performing his regular set August 12 at Mental Spaghettifest outside of Traverse city—exact location undisclosed for legal reasons. The festival will feature the greatest breakcore and Noise artists in the area.
“No cops, no complaints, and we’re going to reinvent the fucking nature.”
“My name is Kessenchu. I am from the 517. And I would like to encourage everyone to pay special attention to what’s going on in the greater Lansing area because we have come to a conclusion that we need to express ourselves or we’re going to crash and burn and die like the rest of the filth in the area. No one wants to be that person. No one wants to be in the dying part of society. We all want to part of something that’s going to contribute to something revolutionary. We want to be a part of something that’s new. AND YOU CAN BE TOO. So network. Talk to people. Connect with us because we want to hear what you have to say. Because we want to make this new machine what YOU want it to be. Visit nomnomtunes.tumblr.com. Contact me—Caleb Ketchum—on Facebook if you want to get out there, if you want to be a part of the scene. We’re accepting anyone right now.” ▲