Saturday, July 23, 2011

Interview - Custodian

Visit Custodian:

[PURESTENCH : What is the history of Custodian? What was your creative influence when you started Custodian and has that influence changed at all since the beginning? ]

Custodian was an on and off "bedroom" project for many years. I started experimenting in 97 which was shortly after I was introduced to noise recordings via a relapse records catalog, but I didn't release anything until 2008 mainly because I was busy pursuing various other projects. My sound is heavily rooted in mid-ninties Japanese and American noise. Here and there my P.E and death/industrial side creeps in but not very often. I don't see my influences changing much/at all as far as what I do with Custodian.

[PURESTENCH : Is there anything specific that you want the listener to comprehend and take away from your sound?

It's not predetermined but I always go into the same headspace when I work on/listen to my tracks. If anyone can catch the same sense of unrest/bleak vibe that I hear while I'm recording thats great.

[PURESTENCH : What was your favorite live show and why? Do you know exactly how many shows you have played live altogether? ]
So far my sets with Deathjenk (Grainbelt/Gnawed/Custodian collab), and my collab with Gnawed recently stand out as favorites. I like what they do, and what they do works well with what I do. As Custodian I've yet to have a favorite set. I was pleased with my lasT 3 sets but it always can be better. I've played a lot of shows thanks to having the Borg Ward here in Milwaukee. It's a very active location for local and touring acts...usually there's several gigs a month. I've also played out of state fests/one offs and a midwest tour so I am pretty active live.

[PURESTENCH : You released a good deal of material in 2010, 7 to be exact. Which was your favorite? How was it working with that many labels in the small stretch of one year? ]

It went pretty smoothly last year actually. I thought "Toil and Waste" and "Excruciation of Routine" came out really good. I was generally happy with my sound and kept mostly up to date with what I was having to get done. This year I have almost just as much lined up but I've been spending most of my time trying to refine sounds and approach so I'm way behind. I also lost 2 25 minute releases in a computer crash a few months back so that put me back a few steps as well.

[PURESTENCH : What are some of your favorite labels? ]

Phage, New Forces, Fusty Cunt, Skeleton Dust, Maniacal Hatred, Factotum, Pitchphase, Malignant, classic Relapse/Release and Cold Meat Industry. I know I'm drawing a blank on tons of others...

[PURESTENCH : Is there any one artist that has influenced you and has had an impact on you and your music more than any other? ]

It'd be almost impossible to single it down to one artist. Although I can trace everything I've done with Custodian or otherwise back to DEVO in one way or another.

[PURESTENCH : Your new split with Mania just hit the market. How did that come about? Wasn't it initially suppose to be a collaboration? ]

Bill over at No Visible Scars is responsible for the whole thing coming together. My memory is a little sketchy but I believe we came into contact through a trade, and somewhere in our exchange of emails he brought up him wanting to work with Mania eventually. I think it was shortly after that he pitched the idea of a split/collab tape with Mania. Then it got changed to vinyl, which obviously I'd be stoked with.

Initially there was going to be solo tracks and collab tracks. In regards to cover art, titles, etc it was just much easier to do solo sides though.

[PURESTENCH : In all honesty, if Noise/P.E. was to get huge and you were offered a million dollars to put out a record on Interscope of something and it would get constant spin on MTV and Fuse would you do it even if they told you that you would have to change your sound, the "scene" would definitely label you as a "sellout" and you would be taking a very personal and intimate style for a lot of the fans and exposing that to a lot of people who only care about trends. ]

Theres no way anyone could tone it down enough to make harsh noise accessible to a larger audience. If I were offered unreasonable amounts of money to do Custodian AS IS, why not.

[PURESTENCH : What is your favorite format to release your material on and why? ]

I personally like 3"cds/cdrs. I like size, look, and playing time of them. They appeal to my minimalist side. I also really like c10's but not alot of labels want to bother with them.

[PURESTENCH : What gear of yours could you not go without? Is there a consistent "instrument" for Custodian? ]

The piece that has been the most consistant though would be either one of my two korg pandoras. I've used one on everything I've done and would have a hard time going without it.

[PURESTENCH : Is there any symbolic ideologies in your artwork? How important is artwork to your music and do you create all of the art for your material? ]

The first 4 were titled only with roman numerals and the images
only were used because I felt they fit the sound well. The last several releases though had more going on with art/title relationship. The visuals are somewhat representative of the titles, but for the most part the title has a more personal meaning that I'm obscuring though an associated image. The titles are only important only in a way that they may give the listener a little guidance into the intent of the recording.

Besides II and IV I've come up with all the artwork as far as choice of image, fonts, etc. I do not have Photoshop however so I take the ideas to a friends house and he then puts it all together for me.

[PURESTENCH : The current American Noise and Power Electronics scene(s); what do you think of them? ]

I don't really have any rants to go on about what I think is making or breaking the scene. Nothing really annoys me because I can choose to ignore, or support it. That, and I've honestly only been paying attention to the midwest... So many good acts and labels it's kept me more than interested and entertained.

[PURESTENCH : If there is anything else you would like to add please do so...]

Thanks for the interview/interest! Keep your eyes out for the LP.


  1. i really love what you've done with Purestench- it provides for some enlightening reading. If I remember correctly, you have some kind of involvement with the Philia Review? I was following it constantly until it became members only. how does one become a member- any insight? thanks!

  2. There is no actual invite, I am the only one who can see it. PR is pretty much dead just like the Funeral Stench. I am focusing more on reviewing and interviewing the bands I like rather than ripping and uploading their material. However, if you are looking for something I have no problem sharing what I do have on my HD so let me know what you may be looking for.

    Thanks for the nice words too, I don't get many comments on here so every few that I do push me to give up more stuff.