An Interview with Clint Carney of System Syn
Sunday, September 5, 2010
By: Cristy Zuazua and Claire Mixson
Created in 1997 by Renaissance man Clint Carney, the eletro-industrial System Syn has been a force unto itself in the industrial scene for years. Chatting post-show with Carney at the Triton Festival in Brooklyn, New York, the band’s creator shares his favorite touring memories, upcoming projects, and his view of the apocalypse.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve been working on music since 1997. What inspired you to start making music as opposed to listening to it?
Clint Carney: I’ve been serious about it for a long time. I was with a few smaller bands when I was younger, and when I started System Syn in 1997, I decided, okay, I’m just going to focus on this band. So I took it seriously from there, but it still took a number of years to get going, to the point where anyone else would take it seriously.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s your most vivid tour memory?
Clint Carney: We got kind of lucky – we’ve played shows for some high-profile bands. Los Angeles [is] an area that all the bands go through, so we got lucky opening up for some bigger bands. Our first actual tour was when I’d joined Imperative Reaction as a keyboard player, so we went out and did a System Syn/Imperative Reaction tour where I kind of did double duty. By that point, Imperative Reaction was big enough to where we lucked out with the first tour […] We’ve done plenty of shows throughout the United States where we’re playing to five or ten people before, but most of our touring has been opening for bigger bands, so I have the good fortune of stealing other people’s crowns.
Chain D.L.K.: You just joined God Module and are currently working with Imperative Reaction – where does System Syn factor into the creative process?
Clint Carney: System Syn is my main project – that’s the one I write all the music and do all the recording work for. Imperative Reaction is just a live band for me; I do some work on the albums, but not a whole lot. And with God Module, I’ve just joined it now, so I am going to work on the new album, but I don’t know to what extent, because I haven’t done fuckall yet. But I will be working on it in some capacity.
Chain D.L.K.: You have a lot of projects going on – you don’t really sleep much, do you?
Clint Carney: I slept two hours last night, no joke […] I don’t really have much spare time – I paint, and I make music, and I tattoo. I guess if I had to say any one thing that’s a time waster is that I’m on Facebook all the time, but usually I’m only on there when I’d doing something else. I just have it on in the background, waiting for my delinquent friends to hit me up and chat. I read a lot – more than anything else.
Chain D.L.K.: What do you read?
Clint Carney: Anything and everything. I usually read somewhere between one to two hundred books a year […] I like horror, fiction… I read some true crime stuff. I actually read textbooks sometimes, too, because I’m a dork.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you have a favorite venue that you’ve played?
Clint Carney: I really liked the House of Blues in Chicago – that’s probably my favorite place. It’s got this crazy, three-story balcony in there… it’s got cool art… that’s the main thing I like.
Chain D.L.K.: Your artwork is on the cover of the new System Syn album. Does your inspiration for art and music come from the same source?
Clint Carney: I just paint… when it occurs to me to paint. A lot of times I work from photos. I’ll set up photo shoots with models and have a general concept of what I want to paint in advance, but sometimes I just go off the top of my head. The artwork that I did for the last Sym album was definitely inspired by the music, but outside of that, they’re kind of separate entities. I have weird shit floating around in my head, so sometimes it comes out on canvas and sometimes it comes out on albums.
[Adam Vex walks by; Clint Carney stops him.]
Clint Carney: This is Adam Vex, of System Syn and Imperative Reaction – man, you’re on tape! [To Adam] Adam, if you could turn into any one animal and fuck another animal, what would you turn into and why?
Adam Vex: Let’s just say it’s a crow with a giant cock… I would probably have to screw a gazelle or something. ‘Cause they’re fast as fuck, so you know you have to be awesome to catch one.
Clint Carney: That is an excellent answer.
Adam Vex: Now you have to answer your question.
Chain D.L.K.: Soooo…. what’s next for System Syn?
Clint Carney: I’m going to release a single for the song, “Chemical” which will come out later this year, hopefully. Got some good remixes lined up 16 Volt and [Sounds of Mass Production] have already turned in some mixes – I can’t announce all of the bands because not everyone has turned in their remixes yet.
Chain D.L.K.: If you could start over in any genre that isn’t goth/industrial, what would it be and why?
Clint Carney: I would probably just do punk, because I’m not a real musician – it’s like industrial and punk are the two genres for fake musicians. [laughs] Those are the two genres I love the best.
Chain D.L.K.: Is there any specific song or lyric you wrote that you constantly remember? Is there a story behind it?
Clint Carney: Well, I have lyrics I’m definitely embarrassed by.
Chain D.L.K.: Such as?
Clint Carney: Everything I wrote before we got signed […] but I’m pretty fond of a lot of the lyrics I’ve written for stuff that’s still out there, but I don’t really have a favorite. I just write what I’m feeling at the time, and at the time, it seems very important to me, and sometimes it’s not later and sometimes it still is.
Chain D.L.K.: To fuel our morbid curiosity, let’s say it’s the end of the world. How do you hope it happens?
Clint Carney: I would probably say, giant tuna fish coming from space. Giant tuna fish destroy the world, and then I am happy. That’s all.
Visit artist on the web at: http://www.systemsyn.com