— Your press release says: "Occult A/V represents the first(ish) foray into strictly electronic music by someone who really has no clue what he's doing." Can you talk a bit more about that? What was your background when you decided to plunge into electronica?
— Since, I guess, middle school, I've played in rock bands, punk bands, hardcore, things like that, primarily as a guitarist and occasional bass player. But all that music was largely guitar-based. In 2016, I started Foxxxy Mulder with Kori Hensell, which was initially conceived as a shoegaze project—but, since we didn't have the means to record actual drums, we used midi drums for all of our releases. So, in a sense, I guess you could say my use of midi drums (and the occasional midi keyboard) was my first foray into electronic music, but the approach was very different. I guess you could say I was still writing "guitar songs" and then using midi to fill in where I needed it.
However, shortly after the pandemic started, my partner and I moved to a new apartment, which was a bit smaller than our previous apartment, and around that time both of our jobs became fully remote. The result has been that I don't really have a dedicated space or even a dedicated time in which I can make noise—so everything I do has shifted to things that can be done quietly and on headphones. That shift prompted me to buy my first analog synthesizer, a Korg Minilogue, and to begin experimenting with synthesis. The first track I wrote with that synthesizer was "Recovered Memories," off my EP What Was Forgotten Is Now Alive. So, for a while, I was writing music mostly with this synthesizer, trying to mold and shape different tones and textures, and supplementing it with the midi drums in Logic, as I had with previous projects. The emphasis on texture was definitely something that I learned from shoegaze, but was now able to do in new ways through synthesis.
Anyway, after learning about synthesis and manipulating waveforms and things like that, I ended up getting my first drum machine, a very simple Arturia Microbrute, and those two instruments became my primary setup. Those two instruments were the foundation of pretty much all my Occult A/V releases up to this point. However, I also started learning about sampling and taking a much deeper dive into that side of things—and, at least with my forthcoming release, sampling becomes a pretty central component.
So, anyway, the whole electronic thing has really been a product of the pandemic and the new constraints that it placed on me. One thing that has always interested me is the way that musical innovation tends to emerge from constraints, and that's certainly been the case for me. In fact, that's kinda where the title Nightworks comes from—I pretty much made all these records in the middle of the night because that was the only time I could get some space to myself to write and experiment.