Welcome to Abandoned Hope Zine. How are you doing today?
J > I'm good, thank you.
First, can you introduce Circuit Wound to readers?
J > Circuit Wound is an experimental noise project based out of Los Angeles, California with subject matter based on the various frustrations with modern society and life in a very large city like this. It's my outlet for venting these frustrations. Sonically, it is textured harsh noise mixed with electro-acoustic and feedback ambience, sometimes other experimental sounds are interjected as well.
What was "the thing" that made you start Circuit Wound in 1999? How much your sound has evolved from those days?
J > It started as general curiousity, I first heard harsh noise back in the late 90's and was just so dumbfounded on how and why these artists created these sounds. The more I explored and experimented, the more I loved it, and it just went on from there. The early recordings were very raw and spontaneous, all "hit record and go" without very much preplanning or post-editing. Since around 2005 or so, I have learned to use the musician side of me for noise applications and have started composing songs like a songwriter would write a normal, more musical song. You know, like writing things out, tweaking and editing until everything is just right. It takes alot longer, but its worth it in the end.
How much appearance of your releases means to you? Do you think that good looking packaging makes music "better" or more interesting?
J > Appearance is very important to me, obviously the music is the most important and always comes first, but if your going to release something to the public, your going to have to have it visually represent what you are trying to express with your music. The artwork on my releases vary between my urban decay style of photography and digital psychedelic visuals, depends on my mood at the time of the release itself, but I feel that both of these things accurately represent my music.
You have done many live shows in past years. What we can expect from Circuit Wound's live shows? How much your live equipment and sound changes between live shows?
J > My live shows are composed much like my recordings, and I try to recreate what I do on recordings in my live shows and vice versa, I rehearse constantly in the weeks before a show to make sure that everything is perfect. They usually start off with quiet ambience and build up from there. As far as equipment goes, very little, if anything at all, changes between shows, I have been fortunate enough to find a setup that is perfect for whatever I want to do, quiet parts, harsh parts, and anything in between, but still enough to diversify my performances so that they are still different from each other. It is even the same setup as when I record, which is just a small chain of 6 effects pedals and a mixer.
They Thrive In Complacency (tape, 2010) has track “b1”. If I have understood right, this track has been recorded without electricity. How this was possible?
J > Correct, no electricity was used at all. For this special performance I went extremely minimal with my equipment and only used a spring reverb tank plugged into a small battery powered portable amplifier. I used an electric toothbrush on the springs themselves to create a heavy resonant ambience. That show was probably one of my favorites that I have ever done, It was close to 20 different experimental artists and groups all performing without electricity in the abandon cages of the former Los Angeles Zoo. It was great to see the different ideas people came up with to play without electricity, people used everything from simple battery powered effects, to using a big car battery to power their gear, to just an acoustic guitar. There was no bullshit either, no egos, no who's playing in what order, or who's "headlining" or anything. I don't even think anyone had a merch table setup either.
Next, lets discuss about future of Circuit Wound. Where do you see Circuit Wound in the year 2020?
J > Oh man, who knows, I just hope I still have enough original and creative ideas to still have the project going by then. And if so, I hope people will still be interested in listening to them by then as well. Noise has progressed alot in the past 10 years, so I am optimistic for the next 10.
You have also other projects, "Wire Werewolves" and "Bacteria Cult". Can you tell something from these projects? How active these projects are in 2010? New releases coming soon?
J > Wire Werewolves is a metal band, we're heavily inspired by Black, Death, and Doom Metal, but also electronics and noise are very prevalent in our sound as well. Also, we make a very blatant use of Drum Machines, Analog Synthesizers, Tapes, Junk Metal, and Distortion to incorporate an Industrial sound. Our purpose is to sonically interpret our various horror influences from film, books, and art.
Bacteria Cult is a 4 piece experimental group who's sound is very strange and psychedelic. I don't know how to describe it really, but I guess the closest comparisons would be the trippy audio collage stuff like Nurse With Wound or the various groups within the LAFMS. It is all very free form and improvised and no rules or limitations are set on what we want to sound like.
I'm very excited about what these groups have in the works for the future, with Wire Werewolves, we just completed the recordings for a split/collaboration with Dark Ambient/Industrial artist Luasa Raelon called "Coil of the Pale Mist", and we have a full length called "From Beyond What Shadows Bring" that we have been working on for about 4 years now that is near completion as well. For Bacteria Cult, we have a split 7" with a great local noise group called Actuary, and a 3-way split CD with Blue Sabbath Black Cheer and Juhyo that should also be amazing.
Any new projects in mind?
J > I'm part of a new group called Missing Man Formation that is musically VERY different from anything I have done before, I will go into more details at a further date because all the material is still in the writing stages so I don't really want to prematurely describe it at this point. But other than that I am always very into collaborating with many different types of artists so hopefully some more projects will develop soon.
Sentient Recordings is your own record label. This is basically Circuit Wound's own record label, right? Was it hard to find record labels to release your material or why did you start your own label?
J > Correct, it is primarily the home for CW. It is not always hard to find other labels to release my stuff, interest always rises and falls, but sometimes there is just the desire to do things myself. I enjoy doing it. Plus I wanted to start the label to help in the release of a few artists that I thought were very good and deserved the attention.
Sentient Recordings has some other interesting acts as well. How do you choose what you want to release?
J > Well, so far, the only other artists that are part of the Sentient collective are friends of mine, people whom I've known for years, but also who happen to make music that I enjoy listening to as well, and I would be listening to even if I didn't know these people. This "friends only" rule is the policy for the time being, but I might change that in the future. There are musically no rules as to what I will release, in other words, Sentient Recordings is not a Noise label, or a Metal label, or a Rock label, etc., etc., its all of the above. If it is good, passionate, unique, original music, whatever form that may take, I would be interested in releasing it.
Thanks for the interview.
J > No, thank you! And thanks to anyone interested.