Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Interview with Aleister X

In truely unique fashion, the shaded white-faced Aleister X steps onto the scene while making his way to the ring like a he has risen from the grave. But he's not here to put up a fight, he's here to bring the party and celebrate the joy of performance art. Yes, he is music but it's just that little extra dose of unpretentious coolness that makes Aleister X stand out in a crowd. Weird to some, awesome to many. But what the hell is he all about? Not only does his name refer to one of the greatest occultists of all times... and what did it take for him to get from Brixton to Kingston via Brooklyn? Read along and find some answers to these questions because Playmaker is pleased to present to you, ALEISTER X!

PLAYMAKER - Where did you come from, where do you go?
ALEISTER X - This music comes from dark, cold, cramped, clammy, empty rooms with no windows, no doors, connected by long, narrow corridors that lead to other rooms.  The kinds of rooms where every bummer, every hissy fit, every burnt bridge, every stab-in-the-back, every slag, every nicked idea, every double-cross, every stolen dream, every single cunty bummer lurks.  This was the beginning, and the darkness was overwhelming.  The songs from the “Wicked Wicks” ep came out of these environments in many places.  The tracks were recorded in 72 hours in a Kingston studio with Sonny Midnite producing.  Musically, the vibe was transcendence of extreme negativity through triumphant trance loops.  We used a lot of samples.  We pulled a lot of psychy sounding vibes without copping psych riffs. The main thing was to counter the rather harsh and super negative lyrical content with soaring, trippy, and triumphant jams. That’s still a big part of it for now. A couple years back I decided to go for a more accessible overall sound that is composed of real time, played instrumental tracks instead of samples.  I thought about it for a while and set down to writing and recording an albums worth of demo songs.  At that point Andrew W.K. had already done a couple of cracking remixes of what was then just, Aleister tracks.  He had already brought me into the studio with the Lee Perry, “Repentence” sessions (more on that in a bit).  It was agreed we would produce an albums worth of new material that would encompass many exciting styles of music and feature a much fuller sound than the previous rather lo-fi recordings. We have achieved that goal. The future for Aleister X will move towards specific and more complex projects.  Concept musical releases, a rock/disco operetta, and mutli-media performance and appearances.  
PM - Your music sound like mixture of various styles. It's truely unique! Can you shine a light on the process of songwriting?
AX - First off, thank you very much. The mixing of styles is something very deep in me.  Music is all I have.  It’s what I am.  I just live for every kind of good sound I hear.  Everything else is nothing.  Even the music is nothing, really.  And it is everywhere and everything.  Everything I am.  That, and my jerseys and cloaks.  When I write, I always begin with a plan, a sound I want to go for.  I take riffs from anywhere.  I make riffs and beats out of nothing, totally off-grid, from scratch, track-by-track, in real time.  The whole song.  I start with beats and make up riffs to suit.  Or start with a riff.  I love working with producers like Andrew W.K. and DJ Sonny Midnite, they have totally different approaches and are always flowing.  It helps with my terribly negative attitude, especially in the studio. 
PM - What bands or side-projects does the man behind Aleister X participates in and how was it to be working with Lee Scratch Perry?
AX - For sideprojects I tend to keep a low profile.  I play a lot of guitar alone in my room.  All the time.  This comes in handy for the guitar work I do for hire under other names.  Ive got DJ names I do rare DJ appearances as, and do some other stuff under even more names, but that’s not what I want to talk about here because it’s time to talk about LEE “SCRATCH’ PERRY!!!! First of all, Lee Perry is the ultimate originator master producer.  It really all starts with Lee Perry.  Working with Lee was like a dream.  I mean it literally.  The dream was true.  It was my dream come true.  I have not and will never be the same.  Lee Perry is a dream.  He is the studio.  The institute.  The Magic Present.  Red Ninja.  Inspector Gadget.  The Upsetter.  West Minster Perry.  My life after those 4 days in the studio with Lee Perry and Andrew has been a dream.  It really opened me up to becoming more outgoing and have a more positive outlook.  Bless you Lee Perry, and thank you Andrew W.K. for this blessing.  
PM - How do you relate to Magick and such, seeing your name could be inspired to Crowley?
AX - I relate to magick as I do most things.  On a very personal/universal level.  Skeptical speculations and change.  Forever Is Nothing.  Mirrors.  Beyond.  Constant.  Everything. I didn’t know that the spelling of the name, Aleister, was created by Crowley himself, unique to the man.  I found out years later by an expert.  Certainly, I have had an interest in the man and his work for many years, but that’s not what Aleister X is all about.  Well, maybe a little bit. 
PM - If there would be one person, past or present you'd be stuck in a desert, who'd it be?!
AX - I rather fancy stuck with the twist from “Twilight”.  I’m all about the present these days mate! Kira Sedgewick?  6 harajuku chix!  That’s where my head’s at these days man.
PM - When is your album due?!
AX - First we’re doing three 12” ep’s in row,  The first could be out in a month or two.  Two more will follow.  These will be vinyl only releases with digital downloading through various outlets.  The album will collect the three ep’s and another ep’s worth and bonus tracks.  It’s all coming soon and coming by Skyscraper Music Maker through Cargo UK.
PM - Do you DJ?!
AX - Yes. Sometimes even as Aleister X if the money’s right.  I use real records and cd’s, rarely mp3’s and never Serrato or the like.  I may use Abelton in the future for live Aleister X Soundsystem type shows.
PM - Do you spend much time buying gear or collecting old analog synths?
AX - No, I hate most old gear. I prefer the latest digital everything, brand new shining gear, the latest shredder guitars, brand new drum machines.  I use have some.  I do like old guitar pedals, and have some vintage outboard gear for the studio.  I haven’t the room to collect gear for 20,000 years.
PM - What movies/soundtracks have influenced and inspired you?!
- “The Shining”
- “Blade Runner”
- “Rockers”
- “Suicide Club”
- “Psychomania”
- “The Bicycle Thief”
PM - Do you prefer playing live or recording?
AX - I have no preference.  They are both part of the process.
PM - Can you live of your music or do you have a "proper" job?

AX - Ive had just about every odd job there is.  Nothing “proper” to be sure.  These days, more and more I’m living on music, and I dabble in antiques dealing when convenient. 

PM - What is the last record you bought?
AX - I haven’t bought a record from a proper shop in ages.  I get a lot of cool old stuff from charity shops and such.  Like this one:

PM - Any last words?
AX - So yeah, thanks a lot then.  It was good to share these things with you and your readers.  Keep up the good work here and all that you do.  I hope everything goes great for everyone out there.  Really great.  There’s just this last thing:
Do the meditation excersize before  drinking lots of diet coke in the 20 oz and 1 liter sizes (with caffeine) in the plastic bottles only.  Along with a double-quarter-pounder/with cheese meal at McDonald's only.  Always meditate 30 mins to an hour before eating.  Try to eat at least one meal a day for a while.  Go back to my web site periodically to see if you can start to feel the magic after reading a few paragraphs.

Playmaker thanks Aleister X for this awesome interview + We're pleased to share three Aleister X songs with you!

Aleister X - The Git
Aleister X - DYI
Aleister X - Bangers n Beans