d.A. Sebasstian Interview
WITH THE RELEASE OF dEGENERATE, THEIR THIRD CD ON CLEOPATRA, KILL SWITCH... KLICK HAVE BECOME SYNONYMOUS WITH BOTH SEATTLE AND THE ENTIRE ELECTRO-INDUSTRIAL SCENE. DESPITE SEATTLE'S GRUNGE SPAWNING, LATTE DRINKING REPUTATION, d.A .(DEVIN ALEXANDER) SEBASSTIAN'S ELECTRONIC WIZARDRY WILL MOVE YOUR BODY AS WELL AS YOUR MIND.
Outburn - How does the Kill Switch...Klick studio sound differ from a live performance?
d.A. - On stage it's Mike Ditmore on drums, Jeremy Moss on bass, and me singing, playing slambar, percussion, and other mischievous things. But in the studio, it's just me with occasional guest musicians. Things go faster when I work alone... I've been doing it that way for so long now, it would be hard to imagine it any other way. The studio sound is like a blueprint...the live sound is more aggressive, more haphazard. There's a certain energy playing live that pushes the music, you know the audience and adrenaline factor. Mistakes get made, but when we're on stage we don't try for this anal perfection...we are conveying feelings and attitude.
Outburn - Tell ma about the develnnment of deGenerate.
d.A. - We had been performing some of the songs like "Sides Bottom" and "Shitkicker" since last year, so it felt good getting those songs out as well as experimenting with a few new directions, deGenerate is heavy and dark, but still has a groove...which being a bassist is important to me. Eric and Dara from Faith and Disease contributed to the song "Eventually" which is the most ambient cut on the disc. And I mixed deGenerate on headphones...so I was able to pay close attention to detail. There's a lot of little parts floating in and out and odd panning effects.
Outburn - Your newsletter is called "No Guitar" and it's also written on all of your releases. Have you got something against guitars?
d.A. - I hate them! I really feel the guitar is the most overused instrument of all time, and that' why I don't use them. I can play guitar as well as most rhythm players...so it's not an envious thing. I just refuse to own one. I've also had many fights with guitarists...l hate that Malmsteenesque "I can play faster than you" shit. That's not about music...that's about someone's ego.
Outburn - But a lot of the instrumentation on deGenerate sounds like guitar.
d.A. - If my bass or slambar ends up sounding a bit like a guitar when they are put through a distortion pedal that's just the way it is. I am not trying to imitate guitarists...that's a dead end street.
Outburn - Since your cover of "Dark Entries" is on Cleopatra's tribute CD, has Bauhaus been a major influence?
d.A. - Yeah, Bauhaus is still one of my favorite bands. In the early 80's I was a Punk and it was Bauhaus, Killing Joke, and PiL that showed me that there was musical life after Punk. Bauhaus was so artistic yet heavy at the same time. Peter Murphy was such a crooner in the vein of Bowie. I really believe he helped bring back that style of singing. I don't know if I did "Dark Entries" any justice, but I sincerely tried.
Outburn - Besides other musicians, is there anything else that influences your song writing?
d.A. - I read a lot. I'm right in the middle of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. I like the Cyber-punk stuff...I'm a big fan of Bruce Sterling and William Gibson. For the type of music I do, it seems an obvious influence. I also like Kerouac, especially his poetry. I have Buddhist tendencies and his Scripture of the Golden Eternity is a constant source of inspiration. I also do constructive sculpture, using pieces of plastic junk and PVC pipe. It's not so much an influence as another creative outlet. Sometimes when the music isn't flowing, I'll work on a sculpture...it's like Liquid Drano; it flushes me out.
Outburn - The new song "Meth" is obviously about drug abuse. Is that from your own personal experiences?
d.A. - I am a recovered alcoholic and have done my time with meth amphetamine and other controlled substances. "Meth" was specifically about the paranoid aspects of the drug and the spiritual substitute any addiction can be. I used to live for malt liquor and speed. I would basically push myself into a paranoiac stupor. The more you do meth, the harder it becomes to stop. I've had many friends turn into total freaks through excessive, prolonged use...and they stay that way forever, It's such a waste of what could be a productive life. I'm not preaching. .1 know people are curious and have to find things out for themselves, but there is something to be said for sobriety. I've been sober for over 5 years. and curiously enough, as soon as I got a handle on my addictions, Kill Switch...Klick came together, my music started flowing, and I realized my life wasn't the fucking mess I always thought it was.
Outburn - I've heard your side project One Minute Endless. How did that come about?
d.A. - I had accumulated many un-Kill Switch...Klick pieces. After some thought, I decided to put them on a disc with a few new songs written especially for One Minute Endless. Most of it is a collection of left over tracks...so there's a certain lack of focus, but it gives it a particular flavor. The best thing about One Minute Endless was that after I decided to put it out on my own label, writing the new songs was very liberating. I didn't feel the pressure of creating a release for an audience other than myself.
Outburn - So what's in the musical future for you?
d.A. - I heard Jaz from Killing Joke is writing symphonies now...so I guess anything is possible. I do have some mild classical aspirations. I would like to write at least one symphony before I die, but I'm way too busy with Kill Switch...Klick to think about it now. Both "Mania and "The Transient Ballet from One Minute Endless were classical piano experiments...and I intend to write more when I have the time.