When I sent the invitation to The Ceremonial Dagger to do this piece and create an exclusive mix (his fucking first ever right here bitches) for I VACATION IN YOUR HELL, I knew it was going to be pretty fucking special, but what he gave me is like Bath Salts-laced DMT pâté served on a Devil’s Breath cracker. So what we have is all original artwork, he even made you a case/label you can download and print to make a physical CDR for this fucking MASTERPIECE of a mix, did I mention he requested tracks from some amazing artist friends of his who submitted incredibly mind-blowing work for this. This just blew the last gasket of my left-brain. The Ceremonial Dagger is a pioneering artist, and this piece is a celebration of his important contribution to the shit that we all just take for granted cause it’s always existed for us. Honestly, this mix unfolds like a really amazing album, and should be treated as such, so download the art and create it in your physical experience as a part of your music collection. The last shit I’m going to say about this is, if you are like me and like to dance over the edge into darkness, touch the source for no other reason than to just understand what it is, and to simply just know, THEN YOU MUST GET THIS FUCKING AMAZING SHIT RIGHT HERE, EXPERIENCE THIS FIRST HANDDDDDDDD!!!!!!
EXCLUSIVE IVIYH FREE MIXTAPE DOWNLOAD: The Ceremonial Dagger – Secret Wars Volume 1(RIGHT CLICK SAVE LINKED FILE DWNLD)
OR STREAM/DOWNLOAD FROM:
Here’s a handsome guide to all of the artists with clickable links to their other music and sites:
SECRET WARS vol 1 for IVIYH (clickable links to artists)
I know you’ve been around quite a while; can you give our readers a history of your work as a visual artist and in music?
I’ve been around since early 1974, but sometimes it feels even longer. I have been involved with art and music my entire life, but no formal or educational background in either. I have lived a pretty unstable life and was raised in an environment where art and music wasn’t considered something you do outside of a hobby. I have always dedicated much of my time to creating, but as I’ve grown older I have become really obsessive with it, to the point I really have no other hobbies at all.
One of my favorite albums from the last few years is Ghost Triangulations; can you tell me about making that record?
Prior to 2010 I had grown a bit disgruntled with playing live or trying to promote anything I had worked on to the point I was a bit of a hermit artistically. I had been online friends with Chris and Tammy from I†† for a couple of years, and one day he emailed me telling me about some of music he had been listening to. He sent me some links to acts like Mater Suspiria Vision and for the first time in years I was excited about new music. There was some interesting art and video on people’s myspace pages and soundcloud had a group of open minded, friendly producers. I started working on new tracks using a mix of dark ambient and sometimes adding a few of my beats at half tempo. I became contacts with Silver Strain. He started BLACK BUS RECORDS and I was one of the first people he invited to the roster. After the first couple of releases I suppose I started to feel a bit intimidated by the quality of production and wanted to focus for a bit and really find my own sound. I also didn’t want to release an e.p. so Ghost Triangulation essentially is my “best of” for 2011.
I’ve been very impressed with the video work you’ve done, where do you draw inspiration from visually for these projects? Also, in general, what artists inspire you?
I acquired a Videonics MX-1 video mixer early in the millennium and was doing some experimental VJ sets with local artists from time to time. The idea of being able to layer video is very fascinating to me. I have always been a huge fan of cult movies and had a modest collection of horror and science fiction, so typically this is what I mixed. After being exposed what M.S.V. and Silver Strain were doing I really wanted to find a way to personalize my style. They both do some really incredible work and honestly video wasn’t a strong area for me, but I really wanted to help with including strong visuals to the music. That’s when I decided I would start focusing on the animation. I began by chopping and mixing video clips and editing each frame in photoshop. It is a nightmare, but slowly I am learning new ways to make the workflow less painful and time consuming. When I made “Azoth” for I†† it took nearly 3 months as opposed to Bat Haus’s “He With Claws” which was only about a month of tedious work.
Generally I have felt strongly influenced by surrealist artists such as Max Ernst and Alberto Giacometti as well as most of the modern “pop-surrealist” and “low-brow” artists.
I’ve been hearing about the music scene in Houston for years, what is it like to be an electronic artist there, what is the scene like these days?
I honestly just don’t know. I actually live about 30 miles south of Houston, and these days I just don’t get much of a chance to get into town. There are a few people I have met online that are nearby I would love to work with and create art with, but things have been rather hectic lately. I am a hermit. I have a cave where I hide and work on my art and music, and nearly all of my social interactions are online. Typically people who follow my work are sprinkled all over the world, so it is hard to make a public appearance where more than a couple of people might actually care what I am doing. I am simply too old to drag equipment out in public to play a show to a room of uninterested people. I think the closest thing to a “scene” I have come near was 2012 SXSW CVRRENTS showcase where I was able to meet and interact with some really great and talented people. Unless there is an event of some caliber, I just prefer not to leave the studio.
What is your favorite piece of music you’ve created?
Ugh, really I have no idea. Tracks are always open ended with me, I try to take the best pieces or elements of the formula and apply them in the next one. I suppose all of my collaborations are my favorites, tracks made with TheWayPeopleStare, MAHR, and Stefania Vanzetti are all tracks I am particularly fond of. I have also been taking in quite a few remixes, which is something I never did. It has been an interesting challenge.
Have you been to a psychic, can you tell me about that experience if so?
Oh no, never, or at least not in the traditional sense of the word, which to me is synonymous with conman for the most part. Im not saying that parapsychological phenomena has never existed, but obviously it doesn’t happen with enough accurate consistency that I would pay for it or even believe that it is controllable. I think it is perfectly feasible to say people may experience instances of it, but I think it is uncommon and most people are not going to have control over it.
Have you had an experience with the supernatural that you’d be willing to share?
I’ve had some unique and bizarre experiences over the years. I have felt odd sensations and seen things that seem unexplainable. I’ve had conversations with Tibetan monks about things that completely blew my mind. I don’t know if anything is truly super natural. We label things that because we don’t understand it. I think generally man is only beginning to define what the nature of things really is. There is still so much about the mechanics of the universe that science is just beginning to get a glimpse of, so many things we only have a minuscule grasp on with our limited perceptions.
If I were to vacation in your hell what should I expect to find there? What should I pack for the trip?
Bring a spliff or two, I imagine they will be hard to come by there. For me hell would be a suppression of thought and individuality. Endless stress, turmoil, and restlessness filled with deceptions to keep you controlled and manipulated into doing the biddings of people who smile while they hate you. You know, like working for a major corporation or having to vote for puppet leaders in a country going to shit.
What is your astrological sign, does it describe you?
Capricorn (♑) / Ox. Yes, I would have to say that both are pretty accurate on for me. I don’t have many friends, but the ones I have are close. Otherwise I consider it a charade, and I don’t have time for games. In relation to music and art, I’m not a particularly gifted or talented person, but my tenacity and persistence has kept me in the game. I’ve often felt so frustrated and dead in the water that I wished I could just give up and waste my days playing video games or some shit, but then a few hours later I’m back at it.
Some are saying this is the greatest era to exist as a musician, others say it’s the worst, what has your experience been like?
For me, the only thing that could be better would be having some food to eat. I remember when having 100 megs of sampler space sounded completely astronomical, where as today I have a terabyte drive overflowing with sounds. Production tools and DAWs have made it possible to bring musical visions out that have never been possible in the history of music. We do things every day that the most sophisticated studios in world couldn’t do 30 years ago. The only thing holding back music today is the human brain’s ability to create it.
It’s hard to make a buck, but I think historically artists have always had to suffer that. It is especially difficult if you are trying to make sincere or experimental music. Some people play a laptop, have no merchandise, and expect to make money by the same standards that strangled the mainstream industry. Nobody really give a shit about your art or music except for you. If by the odd chance people start to enjoy what you do, well then good for you. There is a ton of very talented artist in the world right now though. If you expect to profit from it, well that is going to take some serious patience, planning, and an iron guts because if it was easy everyone would do it.
Is there a piece of music that you’d describe as perfect?
Yes, an endless amount. I seldom listen to music these days due to time constraints, but throughout the 90s and 00’s I was a rabid fan and music hoarder. I wouldn’t say collector though, because I didn’t necessarily focus on the value or rarity of the music. I moved from several different styles and genres and literally owned around 1500 cds and a few hundred vinyls. Different music was perfect soundtracks to different times and activities in life. Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew” is pretty fucking perfect though if that’s a better short answer.
In your experience do things happen for a reason, have you ever had a glimpse at what people call fate, or are we just playing jazz?
You never know till the end. The most horrible and chaotic things in my life had me thinking that everything in the universe is nothing more than a dirty sanchez on my face, and all while everyone in the world points and laughs, but at the end those things made me who I am and I’ve never wanted to be anything else. Maybe fate brought me here, maybe I’m just a sadist and bring it all on myself. It is hard to say.
At this point, in the world as fucked up as it is, what would be perfection for you? Where would you find it?
Well the world is fucked, but it always has been and always will be. The problems change names, but they are always there. Some things get worse and some things get better. I don’t think there has been a generation at all in the last 10,000 years that wasn’t completely convinced the world was ending tomorrow. And really for many of them it did.
All any of us can do is find something that really brings us happiness, something that makes us feel like we are not completely lost and insane, something that makes us feel like the world is not ending right this very second. And when you find whatever that may be, you fuck the shit out of it like there is no tomorrow.
Directed and Animated by The Ceremonial Dagger:
Art / Merchandise: http://society6.com/TheCeremonialDagger