Thursday, March 10, 2011

Interview - WATERPOWER

[0] What did you find within Noise and P.E. which grabbed your attention? How long have you been listening to Noise?

I first came across noise music about 10 years ago back in the days of Hotline clients/servers. Like many others, Merzbow was my gateway drug. The obscurity and aesthetics that I heard and saw was what drove me in. It wouldn't be till about 4 years later that I'd start attending shows seeing Chicago acts like Panicsville and Mark Solotroff at venues such as Enemy- amongst other places- that I started to really appreciate noise (and at that point venturing into power electronics) to the point that I wanted to participate in the genre.

[1] How did Waterpower start, and when did it start?

WP was born out of failures and frustrations early last year. Preparation began in early February though the first release (Clo Goelach's Cold Womb of the Grave) didn't come to fruition till a month later. I had been putting out some noise/noise rock stuff under the label name Wheaton Records and it just wasn't working out. No one cared, the artwork always sucked, and I wasn't feeling comfortable with what I was doing. I think the biggest issue I've always had and I think many other start-ups experience is that if you're not part of a group, play often, or in general make your presence known outside of forums and blogs, it's hard to get recognized. There seems to me to be very few labels that have grown into a level of notoriety that aren't backed by a well known entity behind them, which was something I've never had, or honestly even reached for. I suppose the difference with WATERPOWER and previous initiatives is just trying to get some known names in the mix of lesser known artists (which is my priority). Of course, even with that game plan nothing seems to go quite as planned, but I couldn't be happier with everything that's happened since day zero.

[2] I believe somewhere during the late 70's there was a "roughie flick" called Waterpower which featured the great Jamie Gillis. Is this where you got your name?


[3] Why did you choose the name "Waterpower", and does it embody what the Label is about? Does each and every release on Waterpower have to substantiate the quintessence of the label itself, meet a certain criteria, or is everyone free to do whatever they want?

When choosing a name, I knew I wanted something that could be recognized and misinterpreted at the same time- a name that when recognized could resonate certain feelings/thoughts while simultaneously maintaining a sense of ambiguity that isn't so up front. There were very few other names I had considered, but none of which followed the latter criteria. WATERPOWER is a name that can seem rather harmless or possibly out of place, but is still a very appropriate name when known.

There was originally talk of having a first release that would have followed in the footsteps of the name, but it never happened. To make matters worse, Gillis actually died about a week after these discussions. Since then, no release has needed to follow any guidelines, or anything of the sort. I do have planned releases that will give further homages to the cinematic masterpiece, but they will be fairly far down the line.

[4] Do you do all of the artwork for the labels releases? For the most part each one looks like they may have been made from the same fingers.

For the most part, artwork is all done, or at least laid out by myself. I'm very thankful for artists giving me free range when it comes to artwork/layout design- it's allowed me to maintain some continuity. It's not to say I'll never stray from the style, but it's just happened that way.

[5] Besides the split between Pale Tongues & Watcher, everything you have put out is in cassette format. Do you appreciate this format or is it just easier to work with? Would you be opposed to doing another CD or possibly wax in the future?

Rarely do I purchase CDrs, so I figure if I don't like the medium, why would I want to be the one to put it out? The PT/WATCHER split was more of an experiment, and one that now steers me in a different direction. I want to do CDs, and I definitely will start. Not to get too ahead of myself, but I would say by this upcoming summer, WATERPOWER will be releasing both tapes and CDs. Vinyl would of course be the ultimate goal, but it's just not feasible at the moment. I do however plan on doing a few private lathe cuts in the future as well- I suppose that's as close to vinyl as it will get for some time.

[6] For myself and others I have talked with, it is hard to tell, especially given the modest cover art and buried vocals, what you guys are writing about on the cassette Deeper Wells. Was there anything on that cassette, in particular, that you two were trying to disseminate or advertise? What type of atmosphere, if any, were you attempting to develop with that specific tape?

The other half of DW- Nick- had everything to do with vocals and lyrical content. He actually sat down and wrote out a couple of songs, but I don't think they ever came out in their planned form. We never really discussed it, but for the most part, I think it was on-the-fly pent-up aggression and anxiety of experiences/feelings we both have, though, I can't speak entirely for him. Personal current issues plus an overwhelming sense of locational and social anxieties was the overall theme I'd say. Though it may be tacky, we're comfortable referencing ourselves as "nowhere power electronics" as we were both located in rural, east-central Illinois upon recording. We may have to drop the "nowhere" as future recordings would most likely happen in Chicagoland area.

[7] Tell me about your other project. Anything new on the horizon for WATCHER?

WATCHER was a solo project of mine a year ago that I was never really happy with. I have no plans on making music under the name WATCHER ever again, though, my most recent project- American Roulette- is relatively close in certain ways. An AR release and possible show are planned at the moment, but I don't anticipate anything not being privately done- it's just not "there" yet.

[8] You seem to have quite a few video ad's for upcoming release, and some releases actually come with a video themselves. Have you ever taken classes for video editing or did you teach yourself? Will we be seeing more videos on upcoming titles?

I try to take the opportunity to make a video at every chance I get. I don't even care if it doesn't seem fitting- I'll at least try it. I wish I took classes in this stuff. In my mind I have the idea of making some sort of VHS sub-label to further create.

[9] What is your favorite instrument/sound source/pedal/computer software/etc when creating music? In other words; what type of gear do you use to create your sound and what's your favorite?

The only reoccurring element in everything I do is my RE150 Space Echo. I wouldn't sell it to save (or even end) the world. I will probably request that my ashes be placed in the tape tank.

[10] Currently, what are some Noise/Power Electronics acts that you have been listening to? Does any of it have an influence on your own music?

Most of what I hear has been through trades which I often do with RONF- I really dig the output from over there. Lots of Vomir as well.

[11] What do you think of the current state of Power Electronics and Noise?

[no comment]

[12] What are the future plans for Waterpower?

While I do enjoy doing tapes, my arms are open wide to CDs, and I look forward to going in that direction.

[13] Thank you for doing the interview. This last spot is yours if you want to say anything.

I appreciate the opportunity to talk, thanks.

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