Intricate dark classical electronics from the president of the unique and interest grabbing Flesh Made Word Records. Enjoy and check out his split with the nightmarish Antigen Shift, as well as all releases on FMW. They are quite interesting and variable, I have some reviews of them on the site. Enjoy!
Chain D.L.K.: First off tell us a bit about your prior musical background.
Detritus: Prior to Detritus I was involved with a different musical project, producing more metal orientated material, with which I recorded two albums.
Chain D.L.K.: You also run a record label as well as Detritus…Tell us a bit about Flesh Made Word Records, how it got started and the origins of the interesting and unique name.
Detritus: I had been meaning to start a record label for quite some time, and the timing just felt right. I was releasing my own first recording, ‘Sense/Martyr’, and taking this to the next step felt like a natural evolution. Fleshmadeword was a title of a track written with my previous project. The name is a biblical inversion insinuating the socially constructed nature of Christ and Truth as political devices that warrant particular belief systems while de-authorising others.
Chain D.L.K.: Was the label started as a way to do your music on your own terms or did you always have the intent on adding other artists?
Detritus: Once I had decided to begin Fleshmadeword, it was always my purpose to release the music of others also.
Chain D.L.K.: Who would you say is your personal favorite on the label (besides Detritus of course!), and how did you get in touch with them and meet them?
Detritus: Mmm… don’t think I can reasonably answer that. Each artist I have released is very different to the other, so any favourite would be transitory and change according to my mood at the time (think I got out of that one?)
Chain D.L.K.: Now on to the band… How did the project start off and where did the name Detritus come from?
Detritus: As things became less active with my previous project, I wanted to start producing music that was further influenced by what I was listening to at that time. I wrote the four tracks that make up ‘Martyr’ in a week and, although very formative and uncertain sounding, these formed the basis as to how I wanted Detritus to progress. I can’t honestly remember how I chose the name…. I think it was mentioned somewhere and struck me as a name I liked, so the choice was rather arbitrary rather than fuelled by any deep, symbolic meaning.
Chain D.L.K.: There are a lot of different influences mixed into your work, including a strong classical element of arrangement. Are you classically trained in any way?
Detritus: I received classical training as a vocalist many years ago, but the classical influence has been there in all the instruments I have ever played.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you inspired by the neo-classical works of today such as Black Tape For A Blue Girl, or are you more rooted in darker, more Wagnerian classical?
Detritus: I find a great deal of contemporary neo-classical music to be very tedious and pompous, based on a distanced and contrived emulation. This is of course not the case with all artists, but I enjoy very little of it. I prefer Gorecki, Part etc.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you put together the song piece by piece, where you record a certain part and complete it when you wake up, or do you do the whole song straight through on the spur of the moment?
Detritus: I piece my tracks together very slowly, using bits of rhythm, melody, or texture I have recorded or manipulated elsewhere. I don’t record directly into the track as I prefer this more craft like approach. I enjoy the way that bits I have recorded or manipulated independently suddenly coincide without prior intention.
Chain D.L.K.: Would you ever consider putting vocals in the music, such as an alto singer or even a soprano singer for a bit of an ethereal feel like most neo-classical artists do?
Detritus: I have considered adding vocals, but would rather steer away from the generic ethereal approach unless it was an integral part of the track, rather than stuck in to try and sound neo-classical. As it currently stands, I won’t be adding vocals.
Chain D.L.K.: What effect does the music have instrumentally versus having vocals in the songs as well? Is there more room for the sounds to carry themselves that way?
Detritus: If I were to add vocals I would need to create, or leave, a space for them within the track (in my material at least). The way my tracks are written make them more self contained I think.
Chain D.L.K.: On the split CD with Antigen Shift (a Flesh Made Word artist as well), how would you describe to those who’ve never heard either group the difference between the two?
Detritus: I think Nick’s stuff (Antigen Shift) comes from a very different approach to mine, in most respects. I know that he likes to improvise with his tracks, whereas I like the slow crafting approach. Also, his material is a lot noisier than mine and more heavily compressed to produce a sound that is harder and more aggressive. I think this comes about, at least in part, as a result of our divergent recording styles. When I record or improvise a section ‘off-line’ these can often come across as much more aggressive than how they eventually sound in the finished track. In this way composing is cathartic on several levels, both in the immediacy of recording, and in the more controlled crafting, or grafting, of these sections into a more gestalt sound.
Chain D.L.K.: Was the idea to split the CD an idea to dually market the two groups (the traditional method in the industry) at the same time or to show more of a relationship between the music of the two?
Detritus: I think both. Also, both myself and Nick were working on full length albums so could not commit to an individual, full-length release each.
Chain D.L.K.: I’m guessing the title ‘Conjugate’ would have to do with that relationship of sound?
Chain D.L.K.: Describe a visual image that one would get listening to the songs of yours on “Conjugate”. Is it one of those things where people can gain multiple images with each listen in their minds?
Detritus: I’m not really much of a ‘visual’ person, so can’t offer anything I’m afraid. I don’t really associate visuals with music. Sorry.
Chain D.L.K.: I’m wondering also, speaking of visuals, how you came up with the art on the cover and what it is.
Detritus: The design for ‘Conjugate’ was done by my wife, who is a graphic artist. It is not meant to signify anything specific, but is more a texture than anything else.
Chain D.L.K.: When piecing together a song, do you sometimes go “Well I’m in a drum and bass mood today, ” for example, and add it in as the mood progresses?
Detritus: Not really in any overt sense, although of course my mood has a major impact on the development of the track. I do have times when I am much more interested in mixing and dealing with the mechanics of a track, than composition itself.
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any equipment you strongly rely on besides of course a keyboard?
Chain D.L.K.: What would you say is the best keyboard for orchestral arrangements when you do them? And do you use a manual button drum machine or a electronic drum kit, or both?
Detritus: To be honest I’m not much of an equipment guru, and use only a very basic midi controller. I sometimes record drums through this, or sometimes through a step sequencer, depending on how I feel.
Chain D.L.K.: Where do some of the voice samples come from? Do you use any sampled sounds on the CD or are they purely synth driven?
Detritus: The voices are taken from various sampled sources, and I play with them a lot, and combine them from different sources to produce an original section.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice the song titles, such as “Equilibrium” have a lot to do with states of being. Is that the purpose behind the CD, kind of a quadrology of the human character?
Detritus: Yes, it is a major drive behind what I do, but is not intended as a mutually exclusive topology of the human character, but rather as an exploration of those things which our culture deems important as to what it is makes a person. I am extremely interested in psychology (it is what I do by ‘trade’), but mostly a more postmodern / post-structuralist take on how certain forms of being are warranted over others.
Chain D.L.K.: What is in store for both Detritus and FMW in the near future, besides world domination and unlocking the secrets to the universe?
Detritus: I’m currently working on my first full length album for Ad Noiseam, which will be released sometime mid-2003. Fleshmadeword will be extremely active in 2003 with cd releases by Chaos As Shelter, Freeze Etch, Cordell Klier, and a compilation, as well as a cdr release by Liar’s Rosebush. As the year progresses I have no doubt that this will grow… After that… Once the album is complete I will be starting some other collaborative projects, which will be great.
Chain D.L.K.: Ok, fun goofy question before we go here…Ok, pretend there is a Shepherd’s Pie and a Heineken at the edge of a cliff. But there is a donkey guarding it who could well kick the intruder into the rocks below. But on the other end you are trapped by the ugly kid from “About A Boy”, whose ugliness melts anyone who dares escape. What would you do?
Detritus: Ok. I’m not interested in the Shepherd’s Pie (I’m vegetarian) or the Heineken (I hate larger – very much an ‘ale’ kind of guy). So the solution is simple. I wait for a strong gust of wind to scoop me into the sky (by about 20 feet), then the ugliness of said child will melt the donkey into a oleaginous mess. The kid is tempted by the pie and lager, and whilst attempting to grasp them into his sticky fingers, slips on the remains of the donkey and falls over the cliff. The wind then subsides (obviously), lowering me gently, and gracefully, to the ground. Finally, I kick the shepherd’s pie and Heineken over the cliff both as a political statement and as a sign of indignation to the foul beasts who had previously threatened to torment me.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words before we go, or any questions for me?
Detritus: Thanks a lot for the interview, I appreciate it.
Visit Detritus on the web at:
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton] [proofreading by Erica Breyer]