Okay, that’s not entirely true. I have the language. I can talk about what a particular song means to me, or I can talk about what that drummer is doing on the hi-hat that makes you know it’s them. Music history is an easy one – I’ve devoured all the rock bios, read all the critical analysis, seen all the interviews. I eat, sleep and breathe music. So why does it feel hard to talk about?
Not to sound all new-age about it, but music is elemental. Larger than life. When I was a kid, like most kids, I was into superheroes. The bright colors, the high stakes, the every moment of a story that meant something important to the larger narrative. As I grew up, music was the only “adult” thing that felt that exciting, that vital, that universal and yet intensely personal.
My band Vazum‘s new album Vampyre Villa has a variety of moods and styles which people have picked up on. It floats between deathrock, shoegaze, goth, and post-punk which is why we call ourselves a deathgaze band. We’re interested in combining the rawness of deathrock with the depth of shoegaze.
We are the goth rockers, Black Angel, from Los Angeles (even though I hail from 80’s England) and have just released an extended version of our debut album “The Widow.” Initially released in October 2019, some may think this is a little quick for an extended version. But while the first version was awesome, something wasn’t quite right.
It was mastered for the “headphone and streaming” generation, and it just didn’t have the bollocks it needed for a Goth/Post-punk album – not the ones I grew up listening to. I should have gone with my gut, I shouldn’t have catered to this popular way of mastering songs, should have stuck to my guns. So now I’m doing it again. And I couldn’t just re-release it, so we thought let’s just make it longer and more impressive, so fans have a reason to want it.
The ambition of Syrenomelia is to find back the strangeness, the dirtiness, the emotion and passion which characterised the alternative rock music between the 60ties and late 90ties – defying the industrialised and genre-focussed ways of making music that have been so ubiquitous in the last 20 years.
I started playing with bands in 1997, and all I cared about was playing live, seeing people see and hear me. I wasn’t concerned with whether they liked it or hated it, so long as they felt something. Here we are, 20-something years later, and not much has changed for me, but the rest of the world is a different animal entirely.
When I’m playing or listening to music time stands still, and the outside world doesn’t exist. My imagination runs free. That’s what I most enjoy about being a musician. I like to spend time alone which gives me plenty of time to write songs, but then performing in front of an audience is an entirely different thing.
Satyr Syndicate Records is my project to re-record and master much of the music I have written. On the website, I play the part of Hermes, the messenger god. Hermes gives updates on how the excavations are going. Sometimes, there is drama with the bands. For example, there was a socialist funk band, called Smashpattern, who only put out a single EP, and then tragically disappeared into the jungles fighting for liberation. Satyr Syndicate is the group of satyrs who write, record and perform the songs. They represent various moods or genres. There is also the imagery of excavation and of Hades. Since I am re-recording, I am excavating stuff that was done long ago, like an archeological dig. Hades represents the other-world or sub-conscious, from which the music comes. Gravedigging in reverse.
The shortest version of this story is I drove 8 hours to watch my dad die and then wrote a song about other things. Also here is a picture of my mom’s dog and I. It seems to make that first sentence sting a little less.
One cold November evening, the rats escaped. My future bandmate and current roommate Claire and I scrambled to get the rats back into their cage, still half asleep. Now that they knew how to get out, though, it was only a matter of time before it happened again. And happen again it did. After a few nights of rude awakenings, I realized that to stop the rats, I would need to become something else. A worthy adversary. And thus Bad Rat was born.