Boundless, the music project of Xon, member of the too early gone UT-based Electro/Industrial cult-band Symbiont, returns with a complete new studio album entitled “Mentis Vici Omnis”. It has been a long time after Xon’s last album “Perpetual”, which has been released in 2002 in collaboration between Xon’s very own Backscatter and the NM-based DSBP label. A lot of time in between filled with a lot of rumors, but we like to bring light and clearance to the current status of this promising music project with this interview.
Chain D.L.K.: Xon, nearly 7 years after the release of “Perpetual” now to your new current album “Mentis Vici Omnis” is a long period. What has happened in between? It looks a bit that Boundless needed to take a backseat of your Cadillac…
Boundless: First of all I’d like to thank you for the opportunity of this interview and to be heard. It definitely has been a long time in between Boundless releases, far too long for my personal taste to be honest. My personal lifeis the main reason behind such a long delay. Since the release of “Perpetual” I have gotten married, had 2 kids, found out I had another child who was 6 at the time, moved over a dozen times, had to pay over $100.000,00USD in medical bills, and needless to say work quite a bit of extra overtime. Besides all that, I had only been able to work very slowly on new Boundless material and keeping any kind of solid focus was near impossible, so I took on numerous “one-off” projects here and there including remixes, collaborations and production work with many different artists. I have also had to divide my time due to keeping Backscatter running (label and studio side of things) and have been upgrading and perfecting my studio setup and equipment at Backscatter throughout this time as well as the website and am now very happy with the current technology we have here.
Chain D.L.K.: With “Mentis Vici Omnis” you’ve chosen a special Latin language title. What do you like describe with “Mind Conquers All”?
Boundless: During the long hiatus between Boundless releases, due to severe stress, depression and “self -medication”, there were times I was not able to work on music at all, not my choice, but as my personal responsibilities dictated. “Mentis Vici Omnis” is a summation what I had come to realize during some ofthe darkest times of my life. I could curl up in the fatal position and the everything overwhelm me or I could look deeper within myself and find a way to mentally conquer my demons, Latin just seemed to be a uniquely poetic way to put it.
Chain D.L.K.: A lot of prominent collaborations with acts like Funker Vogt, Arzt + Pfusch or with Frank M. Spinath (Seabound) you could arrange through the years to help you out with different parts of production. How could you hire them? And how did a collaboration effort technically happen, let’s take “Seduction” featuring Frank M. Spinath and Lost Signal for example?
Boundless: In between both albums, I had recorded over 100 songs or song ideas that could have potentially been used for “Mentis Vici Omnis”. They were all pretty random and inconsistent ranging from Hellectro to Classic to Synthpop. I was really quite torn on which ones to use, but I knew I wanted to keep it diverse as I get extremely bored listening to CDs that sound like one-long-TBM-song. So, I made a secret page on the Backscatter website that had about 40 of my favorite demos with the intent of asking friends and associates their opinion on which ones to pursue. I received a lot of positive and negative feedback, which is what I was looking for. I also sent the link to the secret page to a few bands that I know and a few that I didn’t, but whom I respected, thought they’d like the tracks and possibly like to collaborate on one with me. Originally I had a few responses from bands that said they would like to work on some tracks with me, (I won’t mention names here) but all ended up dropping out of the project. Luckily, a few others I had written got back to me a bit later and expressed interest in collaborating with me on the project after listening to the demos. The ones I’m talking about are the ones that ended up on the disc. As far as “hiring” them, fortunately, money was never discussed as they were all very interested in the music itself, so it was a mutual respect thing and not for the money. I was very happy and appreciative to all the artists I collaborated with on the disc, they were all very cool to talk to and veryprofessional musicians, I have the utmost respect for them all. “Seduction” was the only one that was done slightly different, initially Charles (Lost Signal) expressed interest in working on a demo I had called “Death Dance.” We communicated back and forth and he ended up reworking the instrumental parts of the song and while that was happening I heard back from Frank (Seabound) and he expressed interest in the same track, so when Charles had finished his part, I sent Frank the updated version of the track and he wrote new lyrics and vocal parts and came up with the new title of the song based on the lyrics. It was interesting because I was trying to keep everything as secretive as possible but spilled the beans toward the end of production so Frank didn’t know Charles had a part of it and vice verse. So when I told them both that there was a 3-way collaboration, Frank was about to visit the city that Charles lived in on the latest US Seabound tour (with Iris). They thought it was very cool when they both met and had a chance to talk about the collaboration and were both very happy with the results.
Chain D.L.K.: “Perpetual” was already a calmer version to the latest Symbiont tracks, but “Mentis Vici Omnis” surprises with more diversity but also with a generally step away from those harsh EBM-like tunes of your earlier days. Is this another quite intentional evolution of your composing process?
Boundless: Probably, at least for Boundless. I have other outlets to get my aggression out now. Currently, I have been working with K.J. Cazier of LSD/PCP on our new project called Stygian. This project is just as heavy if not more so than Symbiont, but more in a Godflesh-way, if that makes sense. There are still some Boundless songs that have heavy vocals or undertones, but they are far fewer than in the past. I try to grow and progress musically over time rather than do the same hard stuff and there are so many more styles and moods to capture, aggression is just one of the many moods of human nature. I really try to focus on intelligently combining the full range of human emotion and wide spectrum of musical styles and fuse them together in my own interpretation.
Chain D.L.K.: Your new album surprises with a hidden final track, which is “Grace Of God”, a track already known from that limited and special packaged release “Geist” together with Little Sap Dungeon. Why this special reanimation of this title and why did you decide to hide it?
Boundless: This was decided based on the incredible feedback I received after “Geist” was released as well as feedback received on it’s release on Thee Art Of’s “Ostara” Compilation (2006) and even more on the Boundless MySpace-page. I just wanted to make the track available once more because of it’s popularity and due to the fact that it’s quite rare now.
Chain D.L.K.: The collaboration with Dr. A-Funz of the Danish Electro/Industrial cult-act Arzt + Pfusch seems to have some deeper influence of you, since you guys are collaborating for a new mutual project entitled Twisted Avatar. What do we have to expect?
Boundless: Yes, Dr. A-Funz is an awesomely talented guy. We have been in touch since 2001 when he did some production work (mixing & mastering) of some Symbiont tracks, namely “Always and Forever”, “Latent Affliction” and the Symbiont remix of the Assemblage 23 track “Document”. Hopefully I didn’t forget one??He also was a good mentor to J. Cameron & myself as far as moral support and production tips, which really helped us at the time. He even offered to rework the entire “Ology” album by Symbiont for it’s re-release, but wedidn’t really want to push him into that as it would have been ridiculously time consuming and we didn’t want to over stay our welcome so to speak. He was one that I asked to collaborate with me on a track because he had been so great in the past and he quickly agreed. I really loved what he did to “Crepesculum”, as it was made even darker and the natural, clean instrumentation he added really made the track shine. After this collaboration, we just continued casually talking back and forth via email and he eventually told me about a secret project he had been working on that was just instrumental demos at the time and he had been looking for a vocalist for the project. He sent me a couple links to some demos he had up and he also told me he was looking for “clean” vocals only, no distortion or hard effects! I offered to send him a few “auditions” as I had been working on improving my “singing” voice and decided to try to take on this project as a personal challenge. He liked ( probably barely, he-he…) the few vocal demos I sent and we decided to move forward and see what happened. So far, it’s turning out great! He sent me all the instrumentals and I have been writing all the lyrics and recording vocals and sending them to him online. He has done some very labor-intensive production work to the vocals as he gets them. The result is quite unique and a very interesting listen. You can check out a few demos we have up at our fledgling MySpace page here: www.myspace.com/twistedavatar
Chain D.L.K.: Backscatter is still your label and home-base. In the last years you’ve decided to cooperate with Kevin of Little Sap Dungeon and his Dungeon-Recordings label to join mutual interests. How did this happen and is the Backscatter/Dungeon-Recordings label ready to take the course into an uncertain future? The CD format seems to die a long and slow death as it seems…
Boundless: Kevin and I met through a mutual friend Jillian Lee (and mutual band-mate who worked with both of us for a while on our separate projects) in 2001. We did a few shows together early on and partied together and later that year I released the first Backscatter compilation (a double-CD) called “Electraglow” which featured mostly talent from Salt Lake City and some other national acts and also featured tracks from Kevin’s projects Little Sap Dungeon and Perception Cleanse Perception. In 2003, Kevin came to me with the idea of doing another (mostly) local compilation with the focus being promotion of one track from each various projects’ upcoming release. This compilation basically sparked our label collaborations from then on out. Backscatter and Dungeon are still (somewhat) separate entities as they each have independent releases and the Dungeon/Backscatter cooperative has basically only been in effect on projects we work on together, such as:Soundwave Assassins 1, 2 & 3 comps, LSD & PCP albums (excluding the first 2 LSD albums before we met) and pretty much anything else we’ll work on together in the future like our new project Stygian. We are both on the same page when we work on projects and each fill in the gaps for each other so to speak, fuck that sounded gay… In the future, we are both going to utilize digital downloads and the like for sales and promotion, but we both fell pretty strong about creating the whole physical package after putting so much time, money and energy into creating certain works. On that note, we are both really into creating totally new packaging ideas using unconventional materials to push the concept that much further.
Chain D.L.K.: How is it with live gigs, even if you’re a one-man-act? Any chances to see you storming the stages? Any live musicians and touring plans you can already confirm?
Boundless: I have slowed down considerably in the “live” department over the last few years. Honestly, I would much rather be in the studio than on stage. Not to say I don’t enjoy it, because there is nothing in this world that compares to that energy and adrenaline of performing live. There just haven’t been that many great opportunities where I live to play good shows and promoters around the globe aren’t exactly breaking down my door withinvites to play abroad, heh. I would really love to play some European festivals where it is appreciated more, there isn’t much demand for electronic music in most of the U.S. Boundless live is usually myself singing and playing keys and one other guy doing the rest of the keys. In the past, I have had a guitarist, dual drummers and female/guest vocalists for certain songs. Most recently in April 2009, we played with Funker Vogt and Nolongerhuman but there are no more planned gigs yet, some promoters in Europe or Asia, we’re available! 😉
Chain D.L.K.: Your daily life besides being a musician. Please fill in details, relations, hobbies, and further interests…
Boundless: I am the fucking Iron Chef! I love to cook and eat gourmet of all types. Some of my favorites are seafood, Asian, confections, spicy foods and a nice pale ale to wash it all down. I have cooked for a few bands that have come through Salt Lake City including members of like Imperative Reaction, Mlada Fronta, Xingu Hill, Pulse Legion, Tamarin, Mimetic, Mono No Aware, Proyecto Mirage, Lexincrypt, M-Tronic (label), System Syn, etc. I’m pretty introverted and keep to myself, don’t get out too much because I’m usually working on music or art projects. I like fishing too quite a bit when I can get out, there are a lot of lakes and rivers around here and there’s some great fish in them, sometimes I bring some soy sauce and a knife and eat fresh sashimi right off the pole, good shit!
Chain D.L.K.: Please let us know about your upcoming plans, some new releases you like to confirm here? I hope we don’t have to wait another 5 years until you’ll bring out a next album…
Boundless: Right now, I have too many unfinished projects on my plate that I NEED to finish up, currently part of the list goes like this: Twisted Avatar with Dr. A-Funz, Stygian with K.J. Cazier, Empyreus with my friend Omar (from Namibia), writing a screenplay, doing some video editing and promotion for the new LSD/PCP 4-Disc box set (there is a new Boundless remix on there too), constantly upgrading the Backscatter studio, and after all that’s done, then…and only then, can I start on the next Boundless CD… ok, I’ll be working on new Boundless material in between, I can’t help it 😉
Chain D.L.K.: Some final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Boundless: Filesharing (read: Filestealing) is a slippery slope and a nasty trend that shows no signs of going out of style anytime soon, given this, I would like to make a suggestion to people that fancy downloading music and not paying for it, just my opinion… If you just can’t part with your money and are hellbent on stealing music from artists you admire and respect, at least pay them the smallest bit of respect to write them and tell them about how their music has impacted you, what you like about it or write them a review or something! Artists of every variety love to hear feedback and constructive criticisms about their art, it actually makes them grow and progress. So, if you’re not going to pay them MONEY for their years of hard work and dedication to their craft, at least pay them RESPECT! I’ll get off my soapbox now and would just like to thank Marc for the excellent questions and attention to detail in trying to tie together the details of past and future projects and artistic relationships I have been involved with. A personal and sincere thank you to everyone out there that has showninterest, bought CD’s and merchandising, spun our stuff, come to shows and supported Boundless over the years!www.backscatter.biz
Visit Boundless on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Jean Mason]