logo by Christophe Szpajdel
Was the use of dextromethorphan an influence of the Atropine material? I read belladonna (along with hemlock, datura..) was used in the recording.
Anything with the VC name is meant specifically for upper plateau DXM doses, always.
Beyond the use of deliriants and dissociatives, what is the process for creating your ambient pieces? Do you utilize instruments or rely more on field recordings? How much is digital manipulation a factor? Bloodscents, for instance, seems as if there was an acoustic instrument present in the recording, whereas Bete Noir has a much more spatial, atmospheric and droning feel.
I rarely ever use live instruments to create the more brooding type of ambient pieces. Those are mostly bizarre forrays into sound manipulation. I like using bizarre sources and methods, even if audially they have little significance. It's mostly a personal deal, just the idea that I know flicking Jade Edouard onto a heated coin, recording the "sizzle" and sampling it as an open hi-hat. Things like that are things I love.
At least some of the upcoming release was recorded in 2003, before the recording of your official debut. Do you feel such a long duration of recording affects the fluidity of the work?
It would've had I tried precariously releasing "P aa", which had an almost pop sensibility to it and spit in the face of the minimalism VC was known for. I think "Atropine" is very fitting under the VC namesake and seemed like an appropriate, if not obfuscating (at least for one very vocal forum user here), last note.
I was struck by the large variation in the track lengths of Atropine. Ambient music, in my experience, seems to lend itself more towards longer, drawn out compositions. How do the shorter sections compare to the longer ones?
The shorter tracks are there for deja vu instances on 4th plateau DXM experiences. The track fours on each disc, the monsters, those are the meat of "Atropine". They're my zone out pieces, though I actually prefer listening to the album sober.
How did Velvet Cacoon and d.Marvin of Veinke come to collaborate? Has his input been a factor at all on other releases where he is not credited?
I've known Dan since he was like 12 or 13. The guy is supergenius. He turned me onto Swans "Great Annihilator" album and we began talking quite a bit, realizing we had a lot in common from music to pharmacology. He and I put our heads together and netted ourselves a good chunk of change. We're both very fortunate, and retired! I basically sit around all day playing guitar or riding my bike. He's helped VC in terms of concept.. usually when I went too far into psychedelia and sugar he balanced things with drugs and grit.
Out of curiousity, where did you draw your sampled material from, such as those inserted on 'How the Last Day...' and the interlude in Fire Bloomed From Frost? The strings in The Fullmoon Corridor? The whispering in Flouvonne?
I barely remember the Last Day thing, but I think some parts were sampled from a rare but exquisite French import called "Natacha Tertone - Le grand déballage". Flouvonne is a shhhhhhhhecret.
Is there any symbolism or meaning behind the track 'Genevieve'? I recall one message board poster referencing a connection to a Perry Blake song of the same name as a juxtaposition of Blake's suggestive lyrics and Velvet Cacoon's published stances on asexuality.
'Tis a shame I can't find it, but when we signed to FMP and were putting "Genevieve" together, the inner panel was originally quite a long bit of prose about what "Genevieve" was but I thought it was too much info for a debut and wanted to keep the focus on the tunes instead so we just printed "dextromethorphan". I don't really know how to say this and sound cool doing it, but for the sake of honesty: Genevieve was a ghost I saw on lsd when I was a kid and it was a pretty fucking crazy experience that basically changed me in a very profound way.
Although you stated there was no more recorded material, did a full CD-r version of Genevieve ever exist? Still would be interested to hear it.
Yep about a dozen exist, or existed. I have none of that. I actually don't own a single CD or vinyl from VC. Jon sends me that stuff but I give them away or drop them off at local record shops. The cd-r of "Genevieve" was the same as the FMP version except the title track was different (we had it on our site), "Laudanum" was sans drums, and "Kismet" was the "King Deluxe" sample at the end of "Laudanum" but as a standalone track.
Do you still ever visit Maryland? There was an Italian interview where you mentioned staying on the Chesapeake. I'm from Annapolis myself.
Yes I love, love, love Maryland. It knocks the wind out of me each time I visit there. I know of Annapolis but only like to spend time in St. Michaels. This is a very endearing little place and if you've ever been there you know what I mean. It's full of nothing but old rich folks (both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have houses there), fucking achingly beautiful scenery, deer everywhere, looming forests, ethereal smells, gentle Chesapeake bays and alcoves all over, lots of memories of sitting on the docks, feet in the water, eating blue crab with grenache and Old Bay seasoning. Can't even explain it. I'm still young enough to prefer life in the city but when I do decide to settle things down, It'll be in St. Michaels.
Do you foresee carrying any lyrical and thematic aspects of Velvet Cacoon over to your next project or would you rather bury them for good?
Yeah, I don't think you can really get rid of the inner dialogue and verbal core... it's embedded deep in your framework, not something you can ditch if you get bored. I have an unusual interest in wordplay. On the subject of this, many people noticed a pretty blatant "feminine" quality to VC, which was intentional from song titles, fonts/artwork, passive attitude, themes of water, rain, oceans, relaxation, sleep (or drowsiness, dizziness), decadence, royalty, etc. For some people bm is about Satan, beer (ha!), suicidal thoughts, whatever. For me it's just laying in bed, lazy nights, headphones, rain (of which we get a lot of where I live), being chilled out basically. I wanted VC to have that same rainy day quality, something to nuzzle up to. It's not like tomorrow I'll suddenly be singing about Thor or national socialism.
Finally, will there be any way to stay abreast of post-VC projects
Yes. I'm not sure how, but I can't seem to do anything without everyone knowing about it sooner or later. I know any attempt to obscure what I do will be foiled regardless. That's one thing about the internet, your privacy is crumbled up and pissed on the day you enter the "public arena" in any way. I'm a very private person by nature and people wanting to know things about me weirds me out for whatever reason. I guess it seems hypocritical that I even answer this. Maybe it's a subconscious way of throwing red meat to the dogs in hopes of placating curiosity.
1. Does the song Kismet (track 3 on the Genevieve CD-r) actually exist?
Yes, it is the outro to "Laudanum"
2. There was a that teaser mp3 version of the song Genevieve from the CD-r version, was there actually a whole CD-r version of the album?
Indeed there was, but it was mostly just different artwork.
3. If so, can I get the tracks, or any alternate or extended version of other songs (I gather there is an alternate version of Laudanum that a few people may have)? Even in a zip format like the "fleurmilk" tracks from the unfinished album.
I don't even have them myself.
4. Was Miranda Lehman in on the whole thing? I just get the feeling she was.
Awww my dear Miranda, she was in on nothing. Her response to my temerity was indeed authentic, but about a year or so later she contacted me and seemed to, in retrospect, have a better idea of what we were doing. We've spoken since then and everything is fine between us. I'll keep the details private, but I will say she is a marvelous little soul, just a pure delight in every sense. And who knows, maybe one day soon something will surface w/ both of us.
What guitar did you use on "P aa"? What methods do you use to play?
I used a Gretsch White Falcon for it. As for the method, I fingerpicked the entire album. Using a fingerpicking style with a semi-hollow guitar creates a really fat and dark sound, the notes are more muted and bassy and create a warm, rounded, smooth, wide, almost sleepy & murky distortion. I think sound is waaaaaaay more effective when you make your listener think they hearing a note as opposed to beating them over the head with it. To me, people almost have to guess how VC sounds. Many notes sound more like an illusion to me. On bass, I obviously tuned everything down quite low and used a custom tuning for each of the songs, so good luck tabbing 'em. Each string alternates being tuned further up and further down than usual, each took a while to get right based on open chord foundation. I use a custom made program written by a friend; it can be tweaked to virtually any sound and it runs through a Macbook. Every VC recording was done on Macs. Also, all reverbs are natural spring reverbs for maximum blur.