Interview: Inside the hallucinatory and haunted world of True Love.

True Love, much like Convulsing, is another one man band that I have reviewed here on Esoterica Codex  last year. Completely summoned forth by sole musician/creator Raii himself, True Love is a band that should be listened to with the lights off and a bottle of anti-psychotics within your grasp. Raii just released a killer split with Whitewurm on Canada’s very own Les Fleurs du Mal Productions. After not only being turned onto and intrigued by both of his two 2016 demos,(“Hate Through Meditation,” and “Pray For Perpetual Violence“) and currently being blown away by said same mentioned split, I decided to get in touch with this maniac and ask him a few questions, not even prepared for some of the bit of the off-the-padded-walls answers that they would receive. Read on!

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  1. Give a brief description of what True Love is in your words. Why in particular the name True Love? Is there more meaning behind it or is the band name a “what you see/hear is what you get” type of statement? 

    True Love is my vehicle for draining the deepest, ugliest, most hate and fear filled caverns of my mind…a audible anxiety attack. I chose this name because in my mind it is the ultimate level of consciousness that the pain of man is created by trying to achieve…absolutely Nothing to do with romance but rather the holy grail that man may never get to, the death of the ego and the human experience. And the start of complete immortal euphoria. 

  2. There are so many different types of black metal currently being played/performed/made as far as the genre goes, how would you describe your sound to a first time listener? 

    Wuss Rock.

  3. People tend to associate you with other current one man black metal bands such as Mare Cognitum, Palace Of Worms, Ecferus etc. How do you feel about this? Do you feel you are in any sort of league with these other individuals of isolation? 

    They do? Well I enjoy Ecferus quite a bit so i will gladly take the compliment. 

  4. Your music sounds like it’s very raw and very unorthodox. It doesn’t sound pre-thought of in a contrived notion. What kind of environment are you in when you are creating/writing music and lyrics? 

    Usually in the middle of the night, always alone and often whilst battling high anxiety or weird episodes of hallucinations to be honest… True Love has been a result of and also a continuous cause of strange personal situations and episodes.true_love_-_meditating_through_illusion_pro-mc_large

  5. Being from Reno, Nevada and seeing how that is a bit isolated from the likes of other major music scenes, do you think being located there has added to the quality of your music? 

    Not at all to be honest, I mean I don’t play out anyway but I’m not huge fan of the music “scene” here or am really even apart of it at all anymore, there are a handful of bands here I’m a fan of but there’s quite a bit of bro metal and bar rock and EDM and just plain weird shit…but everyone’s on their own path who am I to say what’s good or not…not many touring bands come through either..I don’t think many people here have even heard of True Love…there’s a few guys here and there that I see from time to time kind of mention True Love which I am very grateful for but ultimately I’m nobody in this city nor do I really feel like I’m apart of it. 

  6. Let’s go into a bit of your personal history; how did you get into Metal music and how did you discover black metal? 

    I got into metal and that mostly being Metallica when I was a really little kid because of my older family members getting me into it, it’s been the one constant obsession that’s lasted my entire life…as for kvlt, when I was 11 or 12 I was failing a math class at my school and a kid in my class would wear this long sleeve faded black shirt EVERY fucking day that had red pentagrams down the sleeves and these scary pro wrestling looking guys on it sticking their tongues out with weapons and shit that said Emperor on the front and back…I was so intrigued… I ended up asking about it and he gave to me and insisted that I read a copy of “Lords Of Chaos” and it was the coolest shit I ever saw…the quotes and clippings on the back “after the murder of a complete stranger,” “I had to knock the knife out of his head” etc… I was blown away…,these were the days of cd burning and Napster haha so I got to get a LITTLE bit of music in my hands here and there and it was so extreme, so terrifying, so important… I ended up buying a used copy of A metal blade comp cd called “Blackened” maybe volume 2 I think? that had “Thus Spake The Nightspirit” on it at a local venue store front and the obsession is still growing for me to this day. 

  7. What are some of your personal influences?Musically I love classic Heavy Metal and NWOBHM and quite a bit of the second wave of kvlt, I love the Pest-era of Gorgoroth but I also love a lot of the shit from around the world especially the French Black Metal scene that has come out the last 10 to 15 years I’d say…. I haven’t come to close to achieving what I want yet but my personal fear and horror is something I try and want to put into True Love. I have an obsession with getting scared and I ultimately want to figure out how to make my music horrifying but like I said I’m no where near that yet.

     

  8. What led you to creating True Love and have you done anything musically prior to True Love? 

    I wanted to do something solo in black metal since I was about 15 …infact on my first demo there is a song called the final drought and I actually wrote the first riff when I was 15…I just never knew how to record and it was always an ambition in the back of my mind… I worked in a funeral home a few years back as a crematory operator and body removal specialist and I would often fantasize in those days about putting what my mind was comprehending of those experiences onto tape and into music and one day back in 2014 I just decided that the band I was in at the time just wasn’t doing enough for my expressions needs and I wanted to make something darker and more extreme so I finally started writing with the idea of doing everything myself. 

  9. What are some of the general themes that your lyrics touch upon? Are they based on personal experiences or are they based on personal beliefs meaning those who follow a more left hand path? 

    Supernatural experiences both positive and negative, complete paralyzing fear, hate, and the positivity of self reliance and the strength of being an outsider, the power of LSD, the immortality of a spirit. 

  10. Is there any sort of ideology that you personally hold and try to convey within your music and lyrics? 

    I believe that the worship of anything is self dooming, and that this human experience is a mere fragment of reality…”time” is a complete illusion and everyone and everything is one single entity that has been masked as separation to control true barbaric and heathen freedom… it’s complicated obviously…I don’t think I have it all figured out or anything but I don’t tend to share this mindset with many people… infact I think I’ll always be confused as long as I’m a human haha.
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  11. You just recently put out a split with another one-man USBM band, Whitewurm, which was released through Les Fleurs du Mal Productions. Your song features a rather pulse-y noise-esque intro. Is this something that you are going to be bringing more to the table with your music as far as adding more textures to your already evolving sound as an artist? 

    Ahh yeah the Cliff Burton “Orion” intro worship…absolutely. I have many ambitions to fuck around with as many sounds and new instruments I can get my hands on. 

  12. How did you get in touch with Les Feurs du Mal Productions and how was it like working with them? 

    I reached out to them after I heard the Olkoth tape… and it has been excellent working with LFDM….they have brought True Love over seas and I encourage any up and coming black or death metal bands to reach out to them! 

  13. Speaking of evolution, looking in hindsight from your perspective, how well do you see yourself in terms of just putting out 2 demos from last year in terms of the riffs? I noticed on some of the riffs on “To Pray for Perpetual Violence” that they tend to have a very subtle progressive edge to them whereas “Meditating Through Illusion” comes across as a very straight-forward style of black metal. How far do you see yourself in taking  your music and progressing with it while still keeping it pretty unorthodox and raw?Well first off thank you for taking your time to listen to those demos… I would love to push True Love into many types of song writings and arrangements and I suppose as I progress as a musician I’ll do what I can with what skill I do or do not have… but for me the stranger or more abrasive the better.

     

  14. How has the reaction been so far as far as your music goes and in such short of a time? I know Cvltnation.com covering your releases must have added to the online traffic and attention. 

    Yes Cvltnation has absolutely helped me get my music heard, as for reaction I really don’t know you know…being that I don’t play live and not too many people know who I am it’s kind of mysterious… there’s so much music being pushed out daily that I’m just happy someone somewhere has listened at all to my music, but I started out just recording these songs and not even telling anyone for the first year and a half…it was just a means of an outlet so I’ll continue to kind of do this for my own psyche and if anyone cares that’s great. 

  15. Are there any other artists that you would like to collaborate with in the future as far as splits go? Are there any other current artists that you give praise to and would like to urge the listener to go out and seek?
    Dude there are tons of bands I’d love to work with on a split release, very happy to have this
    Whitewurm split coming out, got a release with Hag Graef from Florida coming next and I recorded a set of songs for a split with a band from the U.K. Called Thy Dying Light last year that will hopefully see a release sometime this year… and as for current artists I would encourage people to right now go out there and buy the first thing you see at your record store that you’ve either never heard of that simply looks cool or check out a band you’ve been hearing other people freak out about or go back and try to listen to every release you can from Sabbath to now… that’s what I’m doing anyway… there’s so much fucking music out there, I want to completely drown myself in it. I’m obsessed. And I love hearing new bands and I freak out when I finally get around to checking out older bands that I’ve heard of for years and they blow my mind…. right now I’m really into Whoredome Rife from Norway and Tod Huetet Uebel from Portugal and Necropole, Curved Blade, Ordinance… I could go on and on… I feel like North America is doing really strongly right now too. 
  16. Are there any plans yet for a full length yet? 

    Oh yes, there are some things to get out of me first but my mind is set on it. 

  17. What else do you have in store for those that listen to your music? 

    Much more hallucinations. 

  18. If you had one word to describe the future of True Love, what would it be?
    Haunted.
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Exclusive Interview with Brendan Sloan of Australia’s one man band Convulsing.

Having already reviewed this up-and-coming artist from the land down under, which you can find here, let us waste no time in getting to know the one man artist from the land down under, Brendan Sloan a.k.a. mastermind/creator of Sydney, Australia’s very own Convulsing.

Question: Give us a brief description of what to exactly call your music. Some people think it would be “black metal”, other think it falls along the lines of “death metal”, etc. If you can use one word to perfectly describe what Convulsing is, what would it be and why?

Answer: “Oh shit. I struggled to do this when I was tagging it for release and I still struggle. I guess I’ll cheat and say “genre-confused”. Hahaha. If that doesn’t count, I guess “Extreme” in a very literal sense of the word. My problem has always been that my tastes are so broad, and my songs so varied in mood, that I never finished anything consistent. Errata is as close as I’ve come but it’s still a total cluster of influences and you can surely hear that.  It’s not quite as schizophrenic as something like what Pete Peterson is doing, or Toehider, or Mr Bungle etc. but still difficult to pin down.”

Question: There seems to be a certain sound that comes from the southern hemisphere of the globe that has already reached forth it’s slimy tentacles from the likes of Portal and Ulcerate, where as before this new take on technical death metal of Gorguts/older death metal bands, it was dominated almost strictly by the likes of Destroyer 666, Bestial Warlust, Sadistik Execution, and the likes. Now it seems to have it’s non-Euclidian geometric influence being noticed on a global scale. What is your take on this and do you think it has something to do with the environment/weather of Australia?  

Answer: “There’s definitely an emergence of “Australian sound” lately, but I don’t think it’s as tied to the weather as stuff from Scandinavia, say. In our case I think it’s our own scene trying to find its voice, I guess? All the major real estate has been occupied already in years past, so we’re trying to find something new and abstract to say in the room that’s left. The other thing I’ve noticed is a lot of are all around the same age (I’m 26, most are older) but we all grew up with the internet and exposure to a huge amount of music. We didn’t have to listen to the same Carcass album for 2 months until we were allowed to buy something else. Fire up the dial-up and go look for more. I remember the first time I heard Gorguts was a shitty low-res play through of Inverted and an interview with Luc on Guitar.com. Like.. 2004? 2005? Blew the doors off. Now it’s a decade later and everything I and everyone else have been exposed to is working its way into the music we write. I guess it’s like when you mix a bunch of colors together but it all comes out pitch black in the end.”

Question: What are some of your personal influences and give us a background of your musical upbringing. Have you been in any bands prior to starting and recording Convulsing?

Answer: “I‘ve been playing guitar for about 16 years, but I’ve been fucking around musically my whole life. My Grandmother (whom I dedicated the album to) owned an old Technics organ until she died and I was glued to it for most of my early years messing around. She’s probably responsible for my entire musical life up to this point. Between 11-14 I played woodwind in a concert band, but I never actually listened to the music after I left rehearsing. I’d have Slipknot on my discman while I waited outside. Eventually I realized that you can’t riff that way on a flute or a sax, so I bought a shit guitar and taught myself the songs I loved. I’ve done it that way ever since. From 15 on I’ve done pretty much nothing but listen to, talk about, or play music.
My trajectory was kind of weird, though. In rough order: Will Smith (first album I ever bought, on cassette, when i was 6) to Chemical Brothers, to Slipknot/Nu-metal, to At The Gates/In Flames/Dark Tranquility, to Cannibal Corpse, then Opeth, then Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree through Opeth‘s studio doc, then Katatonia, then Edge Of Sanity because Swanö made their early discography, to Dream Theater through an internet cover, Pain Of Salvation, to Nasum, to Xasthur/Leviathan…. By that point I was going in all directions at once. My obsession with the Guitar pulled me into Jazz and Fusion guys like Holdsworth, James Muller, Pat Metheny, Greg Howe, but at the same time my tastes in Metal were getting more and more extreme. I’ve heard thousands of albums from and I still feel like I’ve missed out on so much.

As far as my own work goes, I wrote and recorded stuff on my own for 10 years before I joined Dumbsaint in 2014, but I never properly did anything with it or put a band together. Convulsing happened when I realized that and forced myself to stop wasting time. Dumbsaint had a few months off while our bassist went overseas, and so I put all of my energy into finishing something entirely my own at last. No old riffs, no old thoughts. Everything is of the moment, and the lyrics are exactly how I was feeling when I wrote them. That’s a longer story, though.

That’s the best I can do and it’s probably still too long, feel free to chop, haha. I have so, so much musical history because that’s all I’ve ever done. No real personal relationships outside my job, or wherever I was studying, or my band. Just music all the fucking time. Single player activity.”

Question: What was the primary motivation of you creating Convulsing? Where there any certain circumstances or reason that made you want to venture on your own?

Answer: I guess I just slowly came to realize that I wasn’t going anywhere. My job was (and is) extremely stressful for a few serious reasons and made me feel completely insignificant and unvalued. My “real” band was slowing down for an extended period so I couldn’t rely on that for a purpose. I felt like I was stuck doing the same shit every day with nothing to show for it. My Grandmother also died in October of 2015, so I was faced with that question of mortality. She never really saw what I was doing or what she was responsible for. In the end I made an album an outlet for all that, and here we are.”

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Question: You just recently released a digital-only album on Bandcamp titled “Errata.” How is the reaction to it going so far?

Answer: Unbelievable, to be honest. The only time I’ve publicly posted about it was the day it was released, and only to people I was connected to on Facebook. There was no fanfare. “Hey, I made an album this year. Here it is”. Everything since then has been completely fucked. It was front-page best-selling on Bandcamp for about 2 weeks, guys like Heavy Blog, NoCleanSinging, even Trevor Strnad of Black Dahlia Murder have talked about it completely unprovoked. I’ve been contacted by people whose albums I’ve been listening to for over a decade to tell me they found it and loved it. I’m speechless, and I can’t thank everyone enough for taking the time to listen and share it around. Yourself, too. So far I’ve managed to respond to every single message I’ve received about it and I intend to keep it that way.”

Question: If you had the option of working with a label to putting out a physical copy of “Errata”, which label would it be and why exactly that specific record label?

Answer: More than a few have contacted me, and I’ve so far said no. Not because I don’t value their interest on what they’ve done (some of them are pretty serious players and I own dozens of their releases), but because I don’t really want this project to be marketed that way. It’s free/PWYW for that reason: no barriers. it also gives me a direct connection with anyone who does choose to support me financially and I can respond.

I’m working with Breathe Plastic on a tape purely for artistic reasons. There’s something precious about that format and the way it’s presented. It’s also how I was first exposed to music and I’m probably the last of the generate that remembers when they were still ubiquitous. Armand puts so much time and effort into everything he does, and I’m honored that he was one of the first to contact me about it, so I couldn’t say no.

That said, if by some miracle Adam of Gilead came to me about a vinyl or something it’d be difficult to turn him down. Absolutely love that guy and his entire operation. So much passion. Again, not diminishing anyone else. There are so many people working with just as much passion in the scene and I’m privileged that some of them have reached out.”


Question: Well, you already kinda answered the next question, but to those of us that are curious and wondering, when should we expect a physical copy of “Errata”? Or is that not yet confirmed?

Answer:Sometime next month I think for the tapes. It’s on the way. I’m not sure how many he plans to make, but we’re finalizing the artwork and so forth now. A nice thing to have on the shelf whether you can play it or not.”

Question: What are some of the lyrical themes of “Errata”? Any specific song that should be noted as far as lyrical topic(s) goes?

Answer: “It varies, and kind of speaks for itself when you read the booklet, but mostly just the disappointment and frustration I was feeling throughout a lot of 2016. The first and last tracks are good examples of that. The others focus on self-reflection and battling against your own faults in various ways. The two outliers are the Porcupine Tree cover and Severed Hemispheres. The former is kind of an examination of the self through the lens of an LSD trip, and the latter I wrote after watching a CGPGrey video about split brain phenomena. It’s from a slightly more “death metal” perspective of self inflicted brain trauma, though. Musically I also tried to play with that idea, so there’s lots of counterpoint and independence in the parts and weird panning shit at the end to mimic what it’d be like”

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Question: To readers who have not looked at it, even though his name is mentioned on your official Bandcamp page, who was it that did the artwork and how did you come about to working with the gentleman Josh Skinner? Personally I think it’s pretty fucking sick and it’s somewhat similar to artist Justin Bartlett.

Answer:Yeah, Josh Skinner. He has such an intense and frantic style, truly unique. I’ve never actually met him even though he’s also based in Sydney, but I became connected through my other band. He was working on some art for our most recently that was ultimately not used (we changed concept), but I really liked it. When it came time to find something to represent Errata it came straight back to mind, so I wrote to him to ask if I could use part of it. The cover artwork is maybe 20/25% of the larger piece it’s taken from, all hand sketches and pointillism. Pretty remarkable stuff. His online presence is pretty minimal, but you can find him on Instagram at @dusoodoo. He’s doing a lot of work with paint at the moment, as opposed to pens/ink, and it’s getting pretty fucking wild.”

Question: All in all is Convulsing a bedroom-type band or do you (possibly) see yourself gathering up an ensemble of playing actually playing shows? Is that something you would like to see yourself doing one day?

Answer: “The possibility is there, but it’s unlikely for now. It started out as something I was doing with two other people, but I have difficulty writing with other people’s skillset in mind. It sounds arrogant, but I really do write difficult parts that expect a lot of the player to perform. Rather than burden other people with trying to learn it I just did it all myself. If I ever play it live it’ll be because somebody decided the challenge was worth it (particularly my stupid drum parts). For now it’ll stay in the bedroom I reckon. While not quite as complex, my work in Dumbsaint gives me all the stage time I need so I’m content.”

Question: One last thing I wanted to discuss about “Eratta” was the choice of song cover “The Sky Moves Sideways” originally done by Porcupine Tree which amidst all the chaos and twists and turns of the songs that it’s squeezed between, is a stand-out and sounds almost nothing like the original. Almost like a snippet of the original that is over half an hour long (38:18 to be exact). What made you want to cover this particular song?

Answer: Steven is a master. That main three chord motif is so evocative it’s almost alien. So much mood with so little. His body of work is hugely influential on me, and that’s probably my favorite out of his earlier work. Lyrically beautiful, musically simple, emotionally complex. My cover happened completely by accident while warming up to re-track guitars for Invocat, but I liked the result so much that I decided I’d chuck it in there. I feel the original inhabits a similar space to the one I was in when I wrote my record, and wanted to pay respect to Steven’s impact on my life in a small way. If he ever hears it I hope it’s not too offensive, haha.”

Question: I don’t know if you have read much into my blog, but I do discuss politics. Said politics are those that are generally the “rules” that tend to govern the underground in an unspoken manner. Seeing how the change of said ideas, rules, politics are particularly coming from higher-up and more well-known Metal-based websites/blogs and even magazine, I’m curious to know what’s your take on the current climate of the underground? Do you feel it’s dangerous, exciting, or needed? I think it’s more interesting to hear the ideas coming from the perspective of the musician and their stance rather than someone who is going about it in a total witch-hunt-type fashion just for the sake of clickbait and virtue.

Answer: “I feel like we’re at the intersection of the old and the new. We have a lot of problems in our ‘scene’ that have been baked in (violence against women, racism, misogyny, homophobia/transphobia…) and anyone who denies that is kidding themselves. We’re at a point now where we’re forced to come to terms with that, and there’s been a lot of clashing between the old and the new over these issues. Completely necessary.  It’s also undeniable that extreme music attracts extreme people, but I don’t give a shit what your excuse is, it’s time to grow up I don’t give a shit what your excuse is, it’s time to grow up. Personally I’m extremely socially liberal and vehement in my distaste for violence and hatred on the basis of any of those issues I listed. It’s fine to use Metal as an outlet for hatred (people in general are awful, life in general is painful), but don’t inject your fucking neanderthal views on sex, gender, race etc. into it. Hate people for what they do to you, not what they are or what they might do. There’s no place for cavemen anymore. We don’t need you.

By the same token, I also think it’s possible to separate art from artist. I’m never going to tell anyone to stop listening to something, or stop creating. Personal objections to the arist themselves are separate. Not all Arghoslent fans are racists, not all Burzum fans, not all Grand Belial’s Key fans, not all Graveland fans etc. Others disagree.”

I definitely agree with the idea of the underground coming to an intersection for sure. Even though that more or less has been part of this weird global culture we’ve all coagulated in, one must remember that as times change so do ideas.

Answer:Each of those bands have also created something beautiful. Why deny that? It’s all just melodies when you boil it down.”

Pretty much. Take the music for what it is; simply music.

Answer: “It’s a complicated issue and I don’t think I’m going to offer any good solution to it. Just don’t be a dickhead, I guess.”

Exactly! Treat others with respect and keep an open-mind.That’s really all I have at the moment. Last question: Any closing statements?

Answer: “I’m grateful that you’ve asked for my thoughts, and humbled by everyone that has supported me so far. All I want people to do is keep listening to music, I don’t care if it’s mine. There’s so much incredible creativity out there that deserves your attention. Support it any way you can, and add to it if possible. If you’re reading this and you make music, send me your shit!”

Convulsing’s “Errata” digital album can be heard on their official Bandcamp page. Go and support and spread the word about Brendan Sloan. And keep your eyes and ears out for the physical release.