Let’s start with your latest recording. When you look back at it now what kind of feelings do you have for it?
-My latest completed recording is a new album called Scathed, which is on its way out through DIY label Darker Days Ahead on June 2nd. I performed and recorded all of it, creating between six and twelve different instruments or layers per song, so I feel that the devastated auditory landscapes and waves of homicidal dementia I was aiming for were attained. I do however, as with every release post-completion, envision countless other ways things could have been executed, but I work on so much new GRIDFAILURE material at any one time I never have much time to sit and dwell on anything that’s already released; I’m already working on something else.
I am fascinated by band names. What was it that made you settle on the one you have and what does it mean to you?
-GRIDFAILURE bears much duality, as do most of the songs, album titles, and other elements of the outfit. It is representative of primitive beginnings; starting over following an apocalyptic event. It is likely an inevitable element of our not-distant future; something that may cause such an apocalypse or widespread downfall of humanity. It is the endpoint in a human’s mode of thinking; the point where one wishes the end to crash in and end everything, either for humanity in general, or simply oneself. But no matter which way GRIDFAILURE is implied, the resulting outcome will undoubtedly be something horrific and greatly feared. Struggle for survival.
What does it mean to you that there are people out there that actually appreciate and look forward to what you are doing?
-GRIDFAILURE is not even a year-and-a-half old as of now, as I formed the outfit in February of 2016, while I was still recording/performing with Theologian, so my legion of diehard supporters means everything to me. Any bit of fanfare, press coverage, or any other reactions from the outside world are incredibly appreciated. I enjoy reading the descriptive passages and other wordage writers have used to describe what they envision or feel when listening to the music. I’m also incredibly honored to work with the other contributors who have taken part in this outfit in one way or another; folks I greatly respect and listen to as a fan are taking part in recording with this outfit and it’s both humbling and exciting. Some bands/musicians with whom I’ve worked with from a publicity standpoint have taken part in these records, and that has brought some intense and diverse outside musical influences into some of these songs, which have resulted in incredible tones and movements I’d have never been able to attain on my own.
Some of the allies I’m collaborating with include Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, ex-Melvins, ex-Clown Alley), Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Ionophore, Cardinal Wyrm), Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin), Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, Abigail Williams, Chrome Waves), Clayton Bartholomew (Mountaineer, ex-Secrets Of The Sky, ex-Lycus), Jason Walton (Agalloch, Snares Of Sixes), Benjamin Levitt (Megalophobe), David Rodgers (Godhunter), Christian Molenaar (Those Darn Gnomes), Alexei Korolev (The Company Corvette), BJ Allen (Full Scale Riot), and so many more, with much more to come. I’ve even incorporated lots of family members into the mix, some of whom do not even play music in any way, just trying to get a human feel out of what is delivered and incorporate the humans I enjoy into this thing. One of the most odd and incredible new GRIDFAILURE happenings is the recent inclusion of mighty trumpet slayer Mac Gollehon — who has played on over 200 Gold and Platinum albums, including albums by Miles Davis, Blondie, Onyx, David Bowie, Madonna, and way too many others to mention – who has already recorded a wide array of material for the cause; Mac is featured on the GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE collaborative Dendritic album and will appear on the majority of GRIDFAILURE’s planned/underway albums.
How important is image to the band? What impression do you want the fans to get of the band?
-The “band” is just myself, not a crew of musicians, and I do everything without any outside label support system or requirements, so I handle all photos, artwork, layouts, and visual aspects of the project as of now. On the split cassette with Never Presence Forever, I and that artist both contributed photography and layout elements, and on the GRIDFAILURE & MEGALOPHOBE Dendritic collaborative album we just released in late April for Earth Day/Science Day/Earth Day, a fine cohort of Benjamin Levitt (MEGALOPHOBE) named Emily Vanderpol (Infinity Things Studios) created the all art and layout for the cassette..
I am a huge fan of LP art work. How important is it to have the right art work for your album?
-Delivery of intent is the most important aspect of any art form. Perception and result are in the opinion and consequent reaction of the consumer. I had no idea what to expect of this project when I formed it as my first solo musical venture, but the artwork had to be ominous and somewhat abstract or otherworldly. I have always been into hand-drawn art, but wanted to twist reality in different ways with GRIDFAILURE, so I began tweaking, editing, layering, impurifying my own photography in ways that seemed to fit the vibe or theme of said release – or just looked like somebody smashed a tumor onto paper and added a logo – and that has been the general approach on all my releases so far. Having no funding or outside label support, I cannot make a physical version of every single release yet, so some of the records only have as much artwork as a digitized internet cubicle will allow, but when I get to design physical product it’s a definite bonus, and I unquestionably put a lot of effort into creating the final look of each release, no matter the format. I’ll have physical versions of every one of my records created eventually, and will be ramping up the production on some of it immediately, as the outfit is about to begin constructing the live set and taking GRIDFAILURE to the stage, basement, gutter, morgue, right down the street from where you are now.
We live in a superficial world today where you don’t exist if you are not on Youtube and Facebook. Has social media been only beneficial in socializing with the fans or is there a down side to it too?
-So far, the only downside of social media is not having time to gather endless more fans/followers. As of now the outfit is not playing shows yet, it’s basically a one-human-operation, and it is operating on a strictly DIY attack format, so for GRIDFAILURE, social media is a lifeline of sorts. Even if a review doesn’t result in a record sale, or a new “follow” on Facebook doesn’t put you into a new traffic bracket, I look at each reaction as an acknowledgement that at least somebody is ingesting and reacting to my output.
When you play in a band does it feel like you are a part of a massive community? That you belong to something that gives meaning to your life?
-Absolutely. Simply attending a show or concert and standing on the sidelines, you’re still taking part in something important. Moving to the front of the club to cheer and sing along and stagedive to an artist you support is magical for yourself and the performer. Although GRIDFAILURE is only now on the verge of taking the live performance from notes to actions, I’ve played many shows with a list of former outfits I’ve formed or played with over the years, and it is an incredible rush. Creators and consumers of music, merch, and all forms of art are very important to society; the industry, promoters, funders, artists, fans, and media surrounding any art form create sort of an environment or existence of their own, feeding each other/feeding off each other/creating each other…
When you are in the middle of it do you notice what state our beloved music scene is in? Is the scene healthy or does it suffer from some ailment?
-I don’t think anything is in jeopardy. Just because the mainstream is commercializing corporate festival events and watering things down on one end, I see more underground bands and artists than ever rising up with their own art.
How much of a touring band are you guys? How hard is it to get gigs outside of your borders?
-GRIDFAILURE and MEGALOPHOBE are about to begin performing live together; we are aligning our first live test of both acts separately and unified. I could be doing experimental/drone/solo sets now, but I want to be able to recreate some of my existing songs live, many of which feature a full backline or band-like delivery. So that’s where I’m at; reconstructing a studio experiment into a somewhat harnessed display; collaborators, loop pedals, samplers, drum machines, and all kinds of things are in play.
What will the future bring?
-The mentioned live performance aspect of the band is really going to be the most significant factor this project will have seen since its genesis. I am creating new physical versions of several of the currently digital-only titles I have out, and I always have a lot of music on the burner. Completing the Teeth Collection album is my current priority, as I’ve been working on it in random processes for over a year. However, I’ve got the Drought Stick double-disc record more than halfway completed, and overall, I’ve got like five albums, a long line of random/unplaced recordings, several fully collaborative albums/releases, and much more in many different levels of construction/priority, all happening at once. I work on several directly GRIDFAILURE-related projects every day; usually something visual, something on a recording/editing level, and something on a learning level. So long as this lunatic fringe government doesn’t ban music, art, the internet, food, air, trees, freedom, and other things we currently enjoy, GRIDFAILURE wants to come wreck your shit.