interview with Rust Worship


Your name and age

Paul Haney, 27 



Frederick, MD

How long have you been doing your project?

Since 2007

Why did you pick Rust Worship as the name of the band?

I think the name was created using random word association, and I like that it seemed to describe my fascination with "grotesque" and "decayed" sounds.

Has has your music evolved since you first started? How?

My first Rust Worship tape, from my first improv sessions with a cheap practice amp and some borrowed pedals from my friends, was created primarily from improvising strange vocal patterns and delayed, processed feedback sonics, in addition to a piece where I simply beat a distorted guitar with a microphone sans effects. Very, very amateur. My first live performance (also 2007, I think) under the name was much more layered and dense (featuring my first use of vinyl for instance). Soon after, the project took a hiatus briefly as I had just joined Towering Heroic Dudes and wished to focus on that; my time spent in that outfit greatly helped in the development of my solo work as Rust Worship. My subsequent focus on manipulated tapes, vinyl, and other sources into a more composed, but still improvised, collage has reached a point that I find to be much more practiced and mature.

What are the main themes or topics for your work?

Nothing concrete at the moment. All song titles/themes are created afterwards; my performances/sessions are dependent on the sound sources, environment, and other such factors.

Describe your music/art. How do you describe your music to people?

I like to create what I would describe as overwhelming and surreal walls of non-musical sound and unrecognizable sonics. Or I'd just call it noise/drone if I'm feeling really lazy.
What music did you grow up listening to?

I pretty much listened to exclusively hip-hop, with smatterings of 90's radio alt-rock/grunge, until the age of 15 or 16. Got into classic indie rock and punk soon after and had noise ruin my brain sometime during college. 


What's the first song you remember listening to or that sticks in your mind?

Ray Parker Jr.'s "Ghostbusters." First album I owned was the soundtrack to the film. I was 3 I think.

What are you currently listening to that you're really into?

Too much: Illusion Of Safety, Burmese, Robert Turman, Conrad Schnitzler, Ellen Fullman, Sadat X, Nocturnal Emissions, SPK, Heldon, Arthur Russell, Metalux, Soft Machine, Work/Death, Gregory Isaacs, Klaus Schulze, Sonny Sharrock, Blood Stereo, Teenage Jesus & The Jerks

Who are your influences in general, musically and artistically?

I wouldn't even know where to begin. I guess for Rust Worship, I tend to draw a lot of direct influence from early 80's industrial drone and sound collage (i.e. Maurizio Bianchi, Nurse With Wound, Hafler Trio, Organum), tape music along the lines of Howard Stelzer, Pauline Oliveros, and Jason Lescalleet, Christian Marclay' and Emil Beaulieau's vinyl abuse, and 80's noise icons like The Haters and The New Blockaders.

What got you into making harsh noise in the first place?

I just loved the complete catharsis and chaos of the sounds, and it all seemed a very fitting way to let out a lot of the angst brought about by the abuses of the Bush Administration and the general uncertainty, fear, and confusion associated with the 2000's.

Are your sounds deliberately composed, is your work abstract, or a combination of both?

I tend to favor spur-of-the-moment improvisation when I play live. I have tape sources and vinyl sources set aside and prepared, but other than that, I like to let come what may.

Do you rehearse or plan your performance in any way, either in your heads, on paper or in a studio, or do you just wing it when it comes to performing and recording?

See above. My tape sources are usually field recordings, but I do often prepare simple synth/guitar/feedback sources that are good for manipulating via the format in the live setting.

Could you briefly describe you music-making process?

I try to get lost in the sounds being created. Immerse myself in them completely. A sort-of hypnotic focus is key. 

Where do you record?
I try to record the vast majority of my live sets. Otherwise, wherever I can and whoever will have me.

Do you have a home studio setup?

Not at the moment, but it's a great idea.

Are you prolific?
Not as much as I'd like to be? But I might soon change that.

Are you constantly cranking out new stuff or does it take time to get it right and done?

I usually like to release my live recordings, as I tend to favor the nature of performance in terms of having my work represented. I do some post-editing at times, but it's often very minimal, and I try not to get too caught up into that so I can avoid nitpicking and second guessing.

Are your live performances structured in any way or are they freeform?

A little of this, a little of that

Are you subject to any kind of brand loyalty or will you play with whatever you come across/what is available?

Whatever I find that fits. I'm a slave to delay pedals though. Love those things.

Favorite piece of gear?
My handheld, varispeed tape recorder is very essential. Couldn't do without it.

Where have you performed?
Mostly in NY, especially Brooklyn, but I've made treks out to Chicago and CT. I hope to hit the west coast at some point in the future.

What are your favorite and least favorite venues?

Much love to the Silent Barn; great space with great folks helping it live and breathe. Just played Red Light District in Far Rockaway for the first time, and it was fantastic.

Most embarrassing experience? Most awesome?

In Towering Heroic Dudes, we played a show at Death By Audio where a lot of my gear seemd to be failing me. That set ended up being released by Phase! Records in Greece, and I grew to actually love that set once on record. So in the end, it all evened out; no harm, no foul. Also played a pretty crazy show some years back in upstate New York with Neil Vendrick and myself representing Towering Heroic Dudes. The show was set up by my good friend Wendy, who went to Bard at the time, in the attic of a book shop/residential space in the middle of the woods; by the time Neil and I went on late into the night, we were pretty drunk and were having noticeable trouble getting our gear going; someone in another band even started playing the guitar I was setting up, just adding to the confusion. 


Are you involved in any other groups or projects that you'd like to mention?
Currently playing saxophone in a free jazz trio called Goblin War Trio with Jesse of Grasshopper and Josh of OPPONENTS. Working on an classic industrial project with my girlfriend Ceci Moss (Cellular Chaos, Mi Or And The Pedestals). We hope to get that up and running in the coming months.


Where do you live now?


Do you have a day job? What is it?

Office drone.

Have any hobbies like stamp collecting or knitting?

Just listening to records and doing my record label. I also dig watching movies and fine dining.

Do you play any other instruments ?

Saxophone. Since the age of 10. Yes, I was a band geek.

Do you collect anything or are you a minimalist?

I collect tons of CDs, tapes, and records. It creates a pretty intense amount of clutter. 

Do you watch TV or listen to the radio at all? Any favorite shows or broadcasts?

Huge fan of Mr. Show, Kids In The Hall, Arrested Development, Black Adder, The Office (the British one), 30 Rock, The Simpsons, etc., etc. Also loving Twin Peaks, and I plan on starting The Wire soon because I am immensely embarrassed for not having seen it yet.

Been to any good shows lately?

Ellen Fullman at Issue Project Room was incredible, very moving. Loved Blood Stereo when they were in town a few months ago. Caught Rapoon (Robin, formerly of Zoviet France) recently in Bushwick and was blown away.

Describe a day in the life of Paul Haney.

Wake up, work, listen to some records, get dinner and drinks with my girlfriend, either catch a show or watch a movie, sleep, repeat

What does your family think of your art and do they support you? Do they have any idea what you do or what your project sounds like?

My family is incredible supportive, even though the music I create is an acquired taste. I'm very thankful they're cool with me etching out an existence as a noise-making weirdo in New York.

Any advice for people who are starting out creating music/noise/art?

Do it. Don't hold back. Don't follow trends for the sake of following trends. Be supportive of others. Avoid "scene" drama/bullshit. Don't burn bridges. And most importantly, integrity is an incredible virtue; don't lose hold of yours.

Any upcoming shows? New recordings? Projects?

Upcoming releases on Tape Drift, 905 Tapes, Anarchymoon, and Prison Tatt. Putting out great records by artists I respect and admire via my label Obsolete Units ( Playing End Tymes Festival in Brooklyn.

Any parting words or pearls of wisdom you'd like to share with whoever's reading this interview?

I'm still mad at the MTA for shutting down the L Train all last weekend. For fuck's sake, guys.