I started playing with sound when I was a child. I didn't know what I was doing. I had really bad OCD when I was a kid. When I look back now I sort of laugh because it was sort of fucked up. I had no idea how unusual I was when I was a kid. I would never hear the end of it though. I was forced into therapy and constantly hospitalized. I had traits of Asperger syndrome, but not enough to diagnose me. Everything I did was natural to me and what I wanted to do. Just like anyone else. It was unfortunate at the time that everything I did was unusual. I was living in my own world. My Mom wanted me to be a kid. I stole her cassette tapes and put scotch tape over the tabs and recorded what I thought to be funny clips of AM radio commercials. It was sort of like a collage. I had a really dry and dark sense of humor and later I would record darker parts of the news on AM radio over my Mom's cassette tapes. Reports of murder, health updates, rape and so on. Around 9 years old I used a microphone with a boombox to record static in between channels on AM radio. I would then dub the tape adding angry tangents I recorded through a microphone. I intercepted local phone calls on my walkie talkies and recorded phone conversations as well. I would then dub the recorded conversations onto another tape in intervals while I spoke between them. When I think about all of this now I understand how unusual all of this was, but I was so into this at the time. I didn't care about anything else. I would stay up all night doing this and then sleep all day in school. When I was about 14 I discovered Negativland and realized that this was an actual thing. I was excited. Around 15 I took guitar lessons and "music therapy". I was given a dead relatives broken acoustic guitar and that was my best friend for about a year and then I became obsessed with my journal and poetry. When I was 20 or 21 I was dating someone who was in multiple bands and a solo musician as well. I was in a bad place in my life and wound up living with him. I didn't go outside much at the time. I was in a horrible place. He had a gigantic home studio and I spent 10-24 hours a day experimenting with his hardware and software. I accumulated hundreds of individual tracks and he talked me into recording an actual song. I spent about a year in that house and almost never left. We broke up and I moved into a warehouse in the ghetto of Chicago. There were about 20 others living there. Most were musicians. I started a sort of crossover punk band. We recorded 4 tracks and played 3 or 4 shows. The CD-R we handed out was the 4 tracks we recorded, but we didn't play those songs live. We played 5 other tracks which were blackened death metal. It was so weird. 2 entirely different sounds. The tracks we recorded were about a minute each and more punk than metal. The tracks we played live were 4-9 minutes each and were black metal. We started using the name Zog. We all had serious, serious problems and everything ended as quick as it began. It was so bad it felt unreal. I lost my mind and started doing my own shit. At that point music was all I had. It was my therapist, my everything.
Are you familiar with other forms of art?
I really admire Nancy Spero and Leon Golub, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, Tony Oursler, Mike Kelly, Bill Viola, Joe Coleman, Aldo Tamberllini, Jordan Belson, Günter Brus, David Lynch, Delia Derbyshire and Steven Stapleton.
Which artists inspired you growing up?
I grew up when Nirvana and Hootie and the Blowfish were all over the place. When I did tape collages I had no idea that actually existed. The type of music I wanted to create was completely unrelated to the music I heard at that point. I think I was influenced by the need to purge. I did that naturally and felt like I had no choice but to continue doing it. When I started experimenting again I was really into Godflesh. "Psychological Warfare" was a test for me. I wanted to achieve a sound like Godflesh completely on my own. I did that to determine my own capabilities and decide where I could go with music. I really don't have any musical influences. I think that is why every release is a completely different genre if they even fall into a genre. I do know I have never done a 100% electronic track. I always use real drums or a guitar somewhere. I guess I guess some vocalists have inspired me, but I haven't yet produced anything with that in mind. Chino Moreno is definitely one. I only like a couple Deftones tracks, but I love his voice and style. I would love to produce something with a similar vocal style if I record again in the future. I did cover "Mascara", but did that all myself and had to sequence the drums and that sort of ruined the track. I've wanted to cover "Hello" by Babes in Toyland as well. I've done many tracks naturally and unaware. "The Sixth Era" is a great example. I was recording tape loops and playing with samples and didn't even realize what I actually produced something until I saved the file in Logic.
Who are your influences? Who do you listen to?
I don't have many "favorite" bands or music. I mostly listen to individual tracks by different artists. I enjoy Nurse with Wound, Flying Saucer Attack, Barry Adamson, Catherine Wheel's "Ferment" album, Deutsch Nepal, Massive Attack, Boduf Songs, Negativland, Steve Roach Sparklehorse, Unkle, Yo La Tengo, Zoviet France, Illusion of Safety, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Oscillation, To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie, Thorofon, Tribes of Neurot, Anti-Cimex, Discharge and Blut Aus Nord.
What do you think about the music industry and underground scene?
I don't really have anything positive to say about the music industry. Mainstream music is more ridiculous than it ever was and it's getting worse every day. I stopped listening to the radio in 1999. The "Underground" scene is just as bad now. You have really small labels charging $15-40 for LP's. Some don't bother with distributors so if you live in America and you're into a band on a Finland label and want to buy their album you pay more for shipping than you do for the album. It's retarded. You have some musicians recording albums in hours with zero quality and releasing limited edition albums every other day. Everyone is trying to sound like Throbbing Gristle or Animal Collective or The Cure. Noisers are attempting the same shock value Whitehouse used in the early 80's, album artwork with religious symbols and runes inappropriately plastered all over the place. Every industrial band uses words like "blue", "machine", "sector", "plastic", "insanity", "infection" and "virus" in their song titles. Ambient noise "musicians" piling compression over a field recording of traffic and releasing that with a lock of dog hair in a cassette tape or floppy disc. This new "straight edge" pro-vegan liberal egalitarian power electronics scene hypocritically screaming diatribes of hate in their music. A lot of the underground now seems to be about a scene and there are many. I haven't seen or heard much visceral, meaningful stuff in awhile. Maybe the internet is ruining it all. I don't know. I think the net-label scene is punk as fuck. I think most small labels are full of the same shit as major labels now but with a smaller market. I don't buy records for this reason. I could go on for hours so i'll just shit the fuck up now.
Why do you give your music away for free?
I give my music away because i'm not a musician. This isn't my job. I'm not an entertainer. I want anyone's money. I felt very uncomfortable with every dollar I made. I produced these songs for catharsis, but made them audible and available for anyone who would listen. If someone gets something out of the tracks, great. They all came from my heart (whatever is left of it).
Do you release hard copies?
Yes, There were a few physical releases. "Psychological Warfare" was initially released on 7" vinyl because a friend of mine insisted and paid for it, "Rites of Zen" and the split with Sequences were released on CD. I have no idea what I was thinking when I released "Rites of Zen". The Sequences split was released on CD because it was a collaborative effort and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Name 3 successful artists you would like to work with.
I can't even imagine that, but David Lynch I guess. I am not a big fan of Lydia Lunch's music, but I really, really admire her outlook and think we could destroy the world together.
Are you working on new material?
I am working on an experimental film and composing the score as well. Aside from that I am not releasing music at this time. I still record tracks on occasion, but don't plan on releasing anything.
Are you touring?
I haven't played a show in years. I've considered starting a live-only punk band, but I've had a lot of horrible experiences depending on and working with others and so I haven't.