feature :: Burning Emptiness Interview by Royce Icon
This is an email interview conducted with DDN, operator of the Burning Emptiness Inc. label/ mastermind of various kickass projects (Tin.RP, Moon, This is not red paint and plenty others).
Icon: The releases put out by Burning Emptiness Inc. are all pretty unique. What do you look for when you add a band to the label? Is there a specific aesthetic that you try to look for?
DDN: There definetely is a specific aesthetic. That's why we chose a uniform design and packaging for the releases, but it's going to be very difficult for me to explain what this aesthetic is. What I look for when trying to add a band to the label is quality: good music, pure and simple; music that stands up on its own without the need of an extensive press kit or a 20 pages booklet to explain how it was made and why it's interesting. In fact, we try to release stuff we would like to buy.
Icon: You use computers and guitars a lot in your projects, do you prefer one
instrument to the other, or are they equal?
DDN: not really guitars and computers, that's too much of a shortcut! Hardware instruments (guitars, a lot yes but also bass guitars, theremins, grooveboxes, analogue beatboxes, hardware synths, etc.) and software instruments as well as a recording/mixing software for the multi-input soundcard. This setup I just told you about was the one found in professional studios just five years ago, now anyone can have them at home... Computers bring convenience: I use lots of emulations of analogue synths (especially for MooN) and if I was to have all the ones I use in their hardware version, my house wouldn't be big enough for them -not to mention the price of course. Real instruments also bring convenience: virtual guitars and basses aren't very convincing to me so I/we play them. Nothing opposes hardware and 'virtual' instruments, no matter what the tool is, the only important thing is music.
Icon: Your music covers a wide range of sound, do you have a specific method for
creating it? a place where the creative process usually starts?
DDN: as I don't play in all the projects we release, I'll just speak about the ones I play in (Tin.RP, MooN, this is not red paint, Pressure, DDN). The creative process starts nowhere special, it just starts. Sometimes inspiration comes from getting a new instrument like a synth or a new effect plugin (that's typical of MooN, the latest Korg Legacy suite was really inspirational), from watching a movie or a TV series (again, typical of MooN, space 1999 has inspired dozens of songs), reading or hearing poetry (that's typical of Tin.RP), hearing something weird on the news (Tin.RP again -like hearing 20% people wasted 80% of the planet's ressources), reading a book (both Tin.RP -orwell's books are a great source of inspiration- and MooN -lots of science fiction). Pressure songs usually come as a reaction to the overdose of metal, hardcore, sludge, doom I sometimes inflict myself ;-) This is not red paint, being all played, improvised and recorded live with hardware just happens -I plug everything in and play.
Icon: What are some of your influences (musically and otherwise)?
DDN: musically, telling you about my influences would require about three years. So I'll just give you five names (self imposed restrictions enhance creativity ;-) Flying Saucer Attack, Pansonic, Carcass, Klaus Schultze, Robert Ayler. Ask me again in ten seconds and I'll give you completely different answers.Labels I have deep respect for are Drone Records, RRR, Reality Impaired, Fencing Flatworm. besides music, I think my influences are quite wide too. Another row of five names: Orwell, Faulkner, Sôseki, Murnau and of course Mr Vincent Price my old time favourite.
Icon: Do any of your projects preform live? What are your feelings about electronic/experimental music live?
DDN: In fact I perform live as Tin.RP/this is not red paint and we try hard to find people willing to hear us play as MooN (no success so far ;-) Experimental music live has become exceptionally boring so I try not to add to the laptop/pushbutton scene. I use 'visual' gear on stage like theremin, unplugged jacks, wires, etc. and I play in total darkness but for the frontal lamp I wear and the 'flower light bulb' that tops my parasite machine.
Icon: Most of the releases on BE are limited. What are your feelings on limited
releases? Is it a matter of practicality, or a desire to keep the music more personal?
DDN: I don't really know, it's like it has to be that way. The 77 copies of a release (since#20) last for about one year which I find fits perfectly.
Icon: What do you feel about the noise/experimental “scene”?
DDN: is there one? What I see is lots of wannabe electronica assholes pretending they're the new Whitehouse. There are quite a lot of genuine artists around here but I don't (and they probably don't either) feel they belong to a scene... What's common between The Telescopes, The Ultra Milkmaids, Trombone/Margrave Ruediger, [.], Tin.RP etc. apart from being friends to one another?
Icon: How long have you been making music?
DDN: 17 years now.
Icon: Were you involved in any projects before the ones on BE? If so, what did they sound like/what were they called?
DDN: yep, I started singing and playing the bass 'seriously' in a noisecore act back in 1990. Was called Wisdom. Was pretty lame at first but in the end sounded real interesting (bass, guitar, clarinet, beatbox, metal percussions, etc. -a bit like a hardcore version of the dog faced hermans). This is not red paint started in 1995 as a 'recorded one take to mono tape' noise project, some gloomy afternoon when all the effect pedals of the band lied unattended...
Icon: Thanks for doing this (admittidly inept) interview. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
DDN: I don't talk much most of the time so I think I said enough for a few months now.