First off, I want to apologize to everyone who I was suppose to do a review/interview for and kind of just fell off the face of the earth. Not only has my life changed personally, I wrote all of my reviews/interviews on my now-destroyed phone. Luckily, I have this and another interview available and will post them accordingly. I am also saying that I will not be open to do reviews/interviews for the foreseeable future. I have no way of playing the material to review and no drive to write anything adequate for your music. I hope you enjoy this interview and keep doing you and I will do the same...
1. First off, your current release "Romanian Abattoirs" was certainly one of my favorite releases that I came across last year. Do you find yourself surprised that you are still receiving great praise on the album?
Romanian Abattoirs is my favorite piece of music I have ever created. I have never felt more attached and elbows deep in the creative process. I put every bit of my heart and soul into that record and I still feel 100% happy with it to this day. It is the first album that I produced myself in my home studio (with some vocal recording and editing tech help from Zach Guttowsky and Per Nilsson.) I spent the better part of three years, conceptualizing, writing, recording and piecing this beast together. I had slowly been integrating more industrial and textural sounds (i.e. adding synthesizers and such) into tracks on releases, but then decided on taking a sink or swim chance and just decided I was going to do whatever I wanted to, regardless of what comrades or listeners were expecting from me, so I just went with my gut. I decided on releasing the album myself (along with fellow USA-based experimental label Fusty Cunt, run by Jim Haras of the mighty Deterge) and figured that no one in the scene was going to get it, like it, or accept it. But, something told me that I knew this was the right move and that I had something special. It was released, sold like crazy (much to my surprise), and was widely well received. I started getting dozens and dozens of emails from buyers everyday, people from all over the world who purchased the album and telling me that it was a fresh step for the US scene and a breath of fresh air, but they didn't expect it to be so matured. That was worth it's wait in gold and to this day, I still get a lot of praise from it. It fully gave me the confidence as an experimental artist, as well as the natural musician that I am, to keep trusting my instincts and take risks that would represent RU-486 in it's current sonic state. I never expected to sell almost 500 copies of this CD. I literally expected it to bomb.The latest full length I am finishing up is going to blow away RA and has even more surprises and sound experimentation.
2. You have a new album coming out soon called "Empower The Sentient". Could you shed some light on this and will this be a continuation of where Romanian left off?
Where Romanian Abattoirs was a very dark and personal record, Empower the Sentient embodies the being that I am today. It is the most structured RU-486 album and definitely my best work, in my opinion. I felt so strangled keeping the project within the confines of the noise and experimental scenes. I always knew I wanted to do something on my own, different from what others were doing. I am a musician first, so composing and writing “songs” is what I am best at. I still love noise and experimental music to my core, but I prefer to listen rather than to participate these days. RA was it's own monster, whereas Empower the Sentient embraces all of the changes I have made in my current stages of life and also deals with a multitude of subjects such as animal rights, animal cruelty, humanity's descent into modern technological warfare, the defiant and awkward balance of man versus machine, machines and animals bought and sold as slaves and also discusses the knowledge I have learned from seeing this world consistently and slowly decay in front of my eyes. This album means more to me than anything I have ever recorded, and features some guest appearances that I will reveal as the album nears it's completion. Expect a lot more beat oriented, tightly composed and well oiled machine.
3. You run a label called Destructive Industries. What do you look for when you release something and do you still enjoy pushing artists into peoples ears?
I have ran and solely operated Destructive Industries since late 2005. I started the label out of my bedroom once my black metal band got fucked over by the first record label we were signed to. We put so much effort and blood and sweat into the album which was released, only to have the label rip us off and not fulfill all contractual obligations on their part, when we wrote, produced and recorded everything ourselves, saving the label tons of money, only to have them make a bunch of money off of our music and our album's master was sabotoged by a piece of shit heroin user named Blake Judd. This whole scenario, among many other issues in the metal scene, and other future bad dealings with record labels left me bitter and jaded so I decided to open up my own label to release my solo work and Octagon and various projects, thought it quickly became something that I wanted to run releasing other artists whom were those I already respected but also searching through massive amounts of demo tapes people would send me until I would find gems in the huge stacks and then release them to the world. I am super proud to have worked with so many amazing artists and bands such as Jarboe (ex-SWANS), Richard Ramirez, Rudolf Eb.er, Thurston Moore, Grinning Death's Head, Lussuria and many more. However, as the years went on and on, I found myself becoming less interested in doing releases for other artists, as I really only have the time to focus on RU-486 these days, so, now it is merely a means to focus on RU-486 and release albums in a proper format that can be spread as far as possible to as many who will listen.
4. You are a vegan. Have you ever received any flac for this in the experimental scene?
I receive flac from a lot of different people for being a vegan and hardcore animal rights enthusiast. In 2013, I was in the worst health I had ever been in. I weighed 200+ pounds (which for me, was insane considering my size), I wore glasses, took tons of medication for high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, digestive issues, you name it. I was depressed and miserable. I had always felt a strong connection to animals and to the earth ever since I can remember as a child. I always felt an overwhelmingly sensitive connection to animals and was always angered by reading and hearing of people doing cruel and inhumane things to them. I started realizing that veganism embodied everything I felt as a person, but maybe was too wrapped up in my own ego to admit, although, I knew deep down that I wanted to focus on becoming as healthy as I could be and also fight for animal welfare. Plus, I wanted to find inner peace. Although it may sound cheesy, I realized that I needed to focus my main energies on fighting for their cause and to keep on bettering myself inside and out. Within four months of becoming vegan, my weight started to drop off (in a great way), my vision got better, I became ten times more energetic, I started seeing the positive sides of things, I stopped taking all of the medication I was on and it has only been uphill from there. Things are constantly improving and only getting better. Point being, I stopped being a shitty human being and actually did something with myself for the better, so certain idiots in the “scene” attacked me for it, claiming all sorts of nonsense. It's quite alright though, as they don't even realize how much that just fuels me to keep striving to better my life and my music. I get tons of dirty looks and comments said to me when I am seen wearing my PETA or animal rights shirts (even tonight at dinner, a couple assholes talked shit to me because of a shirt). I think those who criticize secretly wish they had the will to change themselves for the better but they won't because they simply are not able to let go of the lies that the meat and dairy industry have brainwashed them with. That being said, I am not against carnists. Most of my friends are not vegan at all. There is a significant difference between someone who chooses to be a carnivore and someone who is inherently cruel and heartless who inflicts pain and suffering on living beings for pure selfish gain.
5. As a fellow Houstonian, could you tell the outsiders what the experimental scene is like?
Houston has had quite a rich history of varying experimental music, some of which hides in the bowels of the city, other kinds more noteworthy and some more easy to seek out. There are tons of extremely creative and great individuals making really lush and textural sounds. I am lucky to lay alongside a large group of talented folks in the long running 20+ year Houston group known as Black Leather Jesus, which is my only real connection in making harsh noise these days. Some of the best experimental shows you will see here pop up in all sorts of places such as record stores like Vinal Edge and Sound Exchange, art spaces, cheaply rented warehouses, abandoned buildings with a generator hooked up to a car to power the sound and more. It's always exciting and always moving in various grooves. It's just a shame that parts of the scene are so overlooked and others are more focused on.
6. Rewinding back to your new album, will your new material have outside artists collaborating with you?
Without revealing too many cards, as some things are still being discussed with various individuals, I am beyond proud to say that I got to collaborate with a man that I look up to and have tremendous respect for, Gary Yourofsky. He runs the organization called A.D.A.P.T.T. He is an animal rights spokesperson and activist who travels all over the world educating people about animal welfare, veganism and helps to reveal the atrocities that industries all over the globe are creating. I wrote to him, while he had no idea about me or my music, and reached out to him to try to collaborate together and help spread the word through both of our mediums. The result turned out to be my favorite RU-486 track to date, and I feel his contribution both poetically and moving his powerful delivery really hone in on what this album is about. This is action that needs to happen, the banding of different spectrums working together to help make a change.
7. What influences you to continue producing music after all of these years?
Hmm, that's a very broad question with an even broader answer. It used to be anger, stress, hatred, self loathing, pent up aggression and a general disdain for humanity that drove me to create. These days, my sole intention of creating is to spread a message. I feel I have learned so much in the past year, as I changed my entire lifestyle. I have broadened my horizons to such lengths that I see no wall in sight. I still love music more than anything. It will always be
number one in my heart. I am 34 years old (and 35 this year) and I feel like I am 21 all over again. The difference between those years and now, is that I prioritize more properly these days. I spend way less time in toxic situations with even more toxic and negative people. I don't have anyone trying to pull me in the wrong direction of distract me from my goals. I expelled a lot of negative people from my life and they are not missed. I no longer associate with anyone who will bring me down or be a rain cloud over my path. I feel there are a lot of people out there who care about animal welfare but simply do not know the extent of which the atrocities reach. I feel the need to help spread information, videos, news stories about the horrible and inhumane factory farming, meat, dairy and fur industries, as well as the most unnecessary practice of vivisection. Slaughterhouses are the new Holocaust and I refuse to stand by and not spread the word about their heinous and intended mass genocide of the animal kingdom. It is raping our planet, wiping out species, creating speciesism amongst human beings as well, teaching others that it's ok to love one and eat the other, that it's not ok to love a pig or a cow the same way you would love a family pet. It is no less bigoted and unjust than human racism.
8. You are also in Tellurian Fields and the infamous Octagon. Will there be more material we can expect to listen to in the future?
Tellurian Fields released one C-20 on my sub label of Destructive Industries entitled Nama Karoo and will have a full length album, which I am currently finishing at a snail's pace, called
“Sistema Ox Bel Ha” (Mayan for “the three paths to water”). Octagon, however, has been done for a long time now. I have tons of music recorded from the past 4 years that will see the light of day, including a completely finished full length album which features ex-GORGOROTH vocalist Pest on all lead vocals entitled “Truest Offensive Gesture.” More details on it's release later on. There will be some other mini cassette releases of new material I recorded myself coming out soon-ish on Destructive Industries, so stay tuned for that.
9. What have you currently been listening to that other should follow?
Probably too much music, but I do a lot of back peddling when it comes to older influences. Lately, I have been jamming a lot of old school 90's hip hop; Public Enemy, Eazy-E, N.W.A., Onyx, Bone, Ice Cube.
Always been into the Locust, saw Justin Pearson's new band Retox here in Houston not too long ago, jamming them and his other band All Leather a lot.
Lots of black and death metal, ambient, industrial, opera, score, grindcore. BEH, the list goes on. I could write a book just on what I play on a daily basis. However, my workout playlist on my iPod has all the secrets. I love so many kinds of music, it's like a rolodex jukebox.
10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank you for the interview. I am glad you sent me more intuitive questions than most people do. This was actually a fun interview to do. I would like to share some links with the readers.
-The world's leading animal rights activist spokesperson Gary Yourofsky's organization:
-A very key and important animal welfare organization that specializes in helping to prevent and protect further victimization of domestic creatures:
-One of the world's most important faceless heroes. I applaud them in all of their efforts through the years of risking everything to save animal lives and disrupting the inane and violent practice of vivisection:
Be on the lookout for new material from RU-486 (Destructive Industries), Octagon (Petite Soles), and Tellurian Fields (Perfect Hue).
The title track "Empower The Sentient" can be listened to here: EMPOWER