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For my first interview of 2015, I talk with Newaxeyes. We’ve become friends recently, and I wanted to share their mindset and energy both on the site, and at our monthly “Disco Droppings Presents” where they will headline this week. The band has donated some gif previews of their visuals, which you’ll see spread throughout the feature. Alright, let’s drop in..

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DD Whatsup Newaxeyes. I feel we have been drawn together for a reason. I connected with your diverse style, and willingness to push things. Happy to have you headlining “Disco Droppings Presents” at Kremwerk on the 19th.

NWXYS Thanks very much for having us. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.

 

DD It’s definitely been a trip for me, spending more time with your music. You guys have mentioned trances, how do altered perceptions play a role in your art?

NWXYS We generally seek to create sounds that reach the listener at a sort of pre-intellectual level, so that there’s less interference going on and the music can be taken in more directly. When we are at our best is when we feel more or less “entranced” and when we are letting the music happen in its own way, without the constant real-time analysis that can be poisonous to a piece.

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DD We’ve both been placed on a variety of music bills, where have been your favorite environments so far?

NWXYS We love to play with hip-hop beats people, psychedelic rock bands, modern composition types, performance art groups, harsh noisers, you name it. From the outset, we have always wanted to fluidly interact with a broad spectrum of styles and genres to carve our own chameleonic sound, so we’ve been happy to be invited to very disparate sorts of bills. Even better is that we tend to be received well by diverse audiences, maybe offering something atypical and challenging to the environment.

 

DD In addition to the music, I’m intrigued by your visual element. Tyler’s Instagram for example, definitely see an eye for catching things. And the logos and artwork you use work super well. Is this a group effort or do certain members of the band focus here?

NWXYS We all met more or less through our time at Cornish College of the Arts (Bret wasn’t a student but it sometimes felt like he might as well have been). Will was the only music student – Tyler was a photo/video art major and Jordan was in for graphic design. So it’s very natural for us to shape a visual aesthetic concurrently with the music. We’re lucky in that between the four of us we have the skill set to handle pretty much every aspect of the project. Tyler creates the majority of the photography and makes our videos. Jordan makes the logos, website, and most posters.

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DD Where have your most impactful inspirations for Newaxeyes come from?

NWXYS It’s all over the place. When we started out, we were listening to a lot of Oneohtrix Point Never, Death Grips and Demdike Stare – electronic-oriented stuff that tends to be simultaneously physical and cerebral. But we all have such eclectic tastes and personal influences that it would be difficult to answer generally. From a non-musical standpoint, we are all fascinated by data, the societal effects of the Internet, and forces of power and influence hidden from public view.

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DD Lastly, how would you describe your upcoming live set alongside Sphyramid, Raveghost, Dream Beat, David Comito and I?

NWXYS We have this super inconvenient habit of writing new material and reshaping old stuff until pretty much the day of the show, so that’s a bit hard to answer. We’ll be playing some bangers though. Being that it’s Kremwerk and Disco Droppings, we’ll possibly lean more heavily on dirty dark dance vibes.

 

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- Jimi Jaxon

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We are counting down to the next “Disco Droppings Presents” at Kremwerk. I’ve got performing artist Goodwin here to talk about his musical shenanigans. A personal favorite from the Motor night, you can see his live Techno set this Thursday. It’s a pleasure to join forces..

 

DD So with music, you started out more experimental. What drew you to Techno?

G So the strange but true story of my musical progression is that I was actually really into electronic music in high school during the 90s “electronica” wave. I started out buying stuff related to the Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, etc. and progressed to some amazing (and some totally crap) compilations that really opened my mind. From there I fell in as resident nerd in a group of much cooler kids who were DJing at my friend’s house and just getting deep on all kinds of shit. I found jungle/drum & bass pretty quickly after that, and amassed a decent collection of 12″s while working and was still living at home with my folks. But by the time I moved to Seattle I had gotten a lot more interested in punk and hardcore music. Mainly because as someone underage I could legitimately participate in it and it was really pro-youth empowerment. And those elements were really absent from the, at that point, heavily commercialized Bay Area rave scene, or at least my experience of it. By the time I got to Seattle that sort of naturally led me to start volunteering at The Vera Project, and from there helping my friends do experimental pop, noise, and free jazz shows. So at that point my musical education started all over again, which was fantastic.

A lot of factors drew me back to House and Techno as I got more and more into playing experimental music. A few of my peers had been making “noise” music that referenced a lot of stuff in the Chain Reaction and Raster-Noton universes and while I love that music, it wasn’t the exact territory I wanted to tread in. Around this time re-discovered a cache of mp3s on my hard drive of stuff like Mr. Fingers, Model 500, Ron Hood, Frankie Knuckles, and Phuture and it all really drew me in all over again. And from there, these funny coincidences kept happening that kind of drew me further and further into dance music again.

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DD I see I see. We’ve both been encouraged by Dave Segal over at The Stranger. Your Ramparts EP was described by him as “tonally and melodically advanced”, quite the compliment! What’s an influence that you would give that same description?

 

G A really foundational influence for me is Juan Atkins, especially the Model 500 stuff. I think of any major influence of “GOODWIN” that’s probably who pops into my head the most as someone that phrase would apply to. So many of his songs hit it home for me even after so many years of listening to them. On songs like “Night Drive” or “No UFOs” especially, it’s really the totality of those songs that strike me. For me, every element in those songs is a hook and that’s always been impressive to me. There’s so much craft there. Other folks that I can think of right now are probably artists like Fela Kuti, Meredith Monk, Talking Heads, Steve Reich, Kraftwerk, and Curtis Mayfield. For me an important part to GOODWIN is making music that’s rhythmically dense with lots of interlocking melodic parts, and I definitely think about those folks a lot in that context.

 

DD Love it. I first saw you play at the Motor night in Seattle. Kremwerk hosts, and that vibe is one of my favorites currently in the club. What do you enjoy most about Motor? For people unaware, maybe you could also give a quick summary of the monthly..

 

G For sure. MOTOR is a monthly club night and label based in Seattle that was founded by Sam Melancon in 2012 and is now run by Sam and a collective of folks. I can’t speak for Sam, really, but MOTOR more or less evolved out of a tendency in the last few years for artists with backgrounds in experimental or drone or psychedelic music to flirt with rhythms from house, techno, italo, and other dance musics. I think what I like the most about MOTOR is how broad its scope of music is, and just how deep of trippers the general audience is. It’s people who are fucking enthusiastic about good somewhat strange dance music. I have to give it up to Sam and crew for just making a space for folks to come in and play in Seattle and be well received and have shit be done right.

 

DD So, going into performing, what’s your live setup consist of?

G It’s been pretty consistent lately, though I just had my laptop take over sequencing and drum duties for my ailing MPC. But generally it’s MPC or laptop on drums and sequences and then a Roland TB-303 clone I built, a Volca Keys, a Yamaha TX81Z, and then lots of FX boxes, both pedal and rack. Mixing and EQ and FX routing plays a big role in my live sets because things like delays can help add that rhythmic density that I talked about that earlier and modulation FX add that cosmic element a bit.

DD Well I am very excited to have you at the next Disco Droppings Presents. Till then!

G Hey thank YOU, man.

 

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- Jimi Jaxon

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Whatsup everybody, Jimi Jaxon here! Disco Droppings won’t be ending the year quietly. Got interviews on the way with some superb characters. Encouraging collaboration, elevated consciousness and the rebellious spirit. For those unaware, this site now hosts a monthly at Kremwerk, fittingly called “Disco Droppings Presents”. Now third Thursdays, I bring the energy of the site to the club, with varied attitude and quality as the unifying theme. Next week, you can see 3 brilliant Krissy Downing pieces alongside musical performances from Goodwin, WMD, Mascara, Greyspot and myself. Lightlinked will also be VJ’in. RSVP here

Today, we go deep into the subconscious with surrealist painter & musician, Krissy Downing. This is a first for site, and perfect timing I feel. And, jump..

DD Well I first heard about you through True Love Art Gallery in Seattle. I’ve been doing shows with them since opening night, and it’s truly one of my favorite places in the city. What was your experience like at the latest “Misfits & Mutants” opening? You have quite a few pieces there, of different feels and I was really intrigued.

KD True Love is the best (most professional? fancy?) place I’ve gotten to show my paintings since I moved here. I dig the whole atmosphere there. The people there are so nice, laid back, smart, cool. I feel like it was a major accomplishment landing that opportunity with them, and the opening was a lot of fun. A lot of my core group of pals didn’t make it for whatever reason, but I met a bunch of new friends.

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DD My favorite was called “Uprooted” I believe. What was the theme behind that one?

KD That’s a good question. I like to hear how others interpret my pieces, because my approach is so loose, almost subconscious. I literally just started painting the tree into him without thinking about it. It usually starts with looking at the composition and thinking very technically “where is there blank space?”, “what kind of lines do I need to add to change focus or add balance?”, and then random stuff like that happens :].

It’s very similar to how I write music.

Loose and improvisational.

DD I think this is an interesting mindset to bring onto Disco Droppings. More focused on the subconscious. Are you ever surprised at what comes out of you, when pulling from these dream like spaces?

KD Not really anymore. I’ve been at it so long that I just expect unusual things to materialize. I love it. Sometimes the stranger the better. I love feeling confident in just letting go and not succumbing to an inner critic…telling me that what I’m creating is too whacky. It’s very freeing.

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DD I bet:) So you started out drawing in this free form way as a child with your father. Did you later learn about Surrealism and see the connection?

KD Yes, it’s funny I didn’t even really make the connection with how I approach Surrealism until recently …basically until I was thinking of what to say to explain things for a video. I had never really tried to explain it before that. My art, writing and music have always been weird/absurd/surreal…I think just because of my sense of humor and a very strong desire (I’ve had since I was a baby) to rebel against conformity and to try to shed light on unusual perspectives. That’s a great question by the way. All these are great!

DD Thank you! I’ve had lots of practice:]].

From what I’ve researched, Surrealism points to Freud’s dream theories as a main emphasis. How much importance do you place on what comes up in your dreams?

KD When I was younger, I used to be able to control my dreams whenever I was at the point close to waking up. And I would conjure up these fascinating 3D images and just study them, …spin them around and examine their textures, colors, how they moved… And then when I did wake up I’d try to sketch them out (I was much worse at drawing back then so I couldn’t quite get the drawings to convey the dreams precisely). I think that helped motivate me to keep drawing as I was growing up. I really wanted to be able to show other people the super weird creatures objects and worlds I could see in my dreams.

I haven’t had the same ability for several years now, so I tend not to think about my dreams as much. But it was a big influence in shaping my whole art journey :]. 

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DD That’s fascinating! And lastly with music, what are some of your strongest inspirations?

KD This is going to be an odd answer. My strongest inspiration for pursuing music goes back to my innate rebellious nature. My family was very poor but my parents made sure I was always in a good school (which meant full of snobby wealthy kids and snobby teachers) And one day in 6th grade I was told outright by my orchestra teacher “You will never be as good as an Asian kid at the violin.” –OH MAN did that spark a fire in me. I spent every moment of free time practicing. We couldn’t afford lessons so I would use a tape recorder to record things off the TV (like the theme song to Masterpiece Theater, or the violin part from Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush”…heh) and then just practice and practice until I made my violin sound just like them! So that was my main inspiration. Some of my favorite musical influences are also kind of rebellious: Modest Mouse, Dresden Dolls, Cat Power, Rasputina… or just insanely brilliant: Dvorak, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Holst…Beatles, Metallica …Young the Giant

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- Jimi Jaxon

 

Yu.Yu.Hakusho.full.851951I can say that no other series has impacted me as greatly as Yu Yu Hakusho. I’m a little late to the party, but when I attach it’s fast and powerful. Since watching those 112 “Ghost Files”, written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi, I think about some element daily. Whether it be the characters, or some theme reflected in my reality. I’m not gonna’ analyze it all right here, in case you haven’t watched the show, but there’s one connection I will give away.

There’s a fighting technique in Yu Yu called The Spirit Gun. It takes spiritual energy and concentrates it into the user’s hand. Powered up, it’s blasted through one’s finger tips. I think about all my thoughts and actions as having spiritual energy. My spirit gun represents this condensed fire, including all my efforts over the years as an artist. I visualize shooting this energy out into the universe, and honing my craft for greater impact. This series has encouraged me to take this power seriously, aiming to use it for the greatest good.

To uplift and challenge humanity, encouraging the evolution of consciousness.

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- Jimi Jaxon 

 

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