METRONO.ME interview with Adam Morosky aka Timeghost  01/26/2012

Your name and age

My name is Adam Morosky, I'm 28.

Birthplace and present location

I'm from Eastern Connecticut but now live in Providence.

How long have you been doing your project?

To be simple, the first gig was in 2008, the first tour was in 2009, then the first tape came in 2010.  Otherwise, I feel like I've always been working on these ideas and a lot of what I do with Timeghost is tied into experiences I had when I was much younger.  Certain memories seeded these ideas, from sneaking into abandoned factories as a kid, to meditating with my father, first punk shows, hallucinations and sexual experiences, etc.  It all contributed in a way.

Has your music evolved since you first started? How?

I hope so!  It's completely central to the project.  Part of the purpose of doing this is to be experimenting with new arrangements, observing what is unique about each time I play, and trying as hard as possible to be present in the moment.  If I had to analyze my development, I'd say that I was much more into irony and performance art at the early shows.  The project has gotten much more serious and dedicated. Balance is the key.

What are the main themes or topics for your work?

Everything is rooted in cyclical structure.  Life, death, energy, evolution, generations, the way our brains work, the cosmic to the sub-atomic scale: all of these things inhabit their own cycles.  Events of significance occur when cycles synchronize or collide with one another.  The term Zeitgeist originates from German Romanticism, referring to invisible structures that shape the experience of the daily life of a given generation.  In the beginning this was merely a compositional departure for the sound and it has since become infused with observing, writing, producing, and living within the discipline of a band.  I write about history, exploitation, eroticism, control, and the conflict between the Will and the Void.

How do you describe your music to people?

I struggle with descriptions.  It's relative to who's asking and how long I want to be talking.  When I want to be brief I call it Industrial Noise, because most people can imagine what that means.  If I have more time I go into explaining a bit about analog electronics and the ways that I hook up my synthesizer to my body.  If people don't get the picture, I usually say it's dark electronic music.

What music did you grow up listening to?

I had lots of tapes when I was little.  My parents listened to a lot of classic rock and my Father got into New Age and Eastern music because of a guru he followed.  My mother is a post-modern sculptor and was into Bowie, Lou Reed, and Roxy Music.  When I was little, I held my tape recorder up to the TV while I played video games, and later on I'd listen to the tapes while I rode my bike around.  Those were the first tapes I chose to listen to out of my own free will.
My first love was Metal.  I liked G'n'R, Metallica, Anthrax, Sepultura, Slayer, and Ministry the most.  I got into hardcore and thought all other music was pointless until I was 16 and heard the "Duckstab" EP by The Residents.  It blew my mind so wide open that I brought it home and made my family listen to it.  After that I've been obsessed with obscure music and I've been broke ever since.  Thanks a lot, Homer.

Who are your influences in general, musically and artistically?

Too many to name, but the Residents were the first true bizarre lifestyle band I got into.  Their work permeated every aspect of their life and I still strive for that kind of commitment.  After picking up books by ReSearch Publications I started to stray a lot more too.  I saw their Modern Primitives book when I worked at a tattoo parlor in High School and got into Genesis P. Orridge and Anton LaVey.  My mother had the Angry Women book and I found out about Lydia Lunch and Swans.  Around the same time I brought home a Harry Partch/John Cage split LP from the public library.  Both were tremendous influences on my life: total vanguard, queer gurus.  As for bands, This Heat still resonates strongly with me.  They were my gateway band into discovering Rock in Opposition, Krautrock, early Industrial music, and Musique Concrete.  Moving to Providence totally changed my life too.  Fort Thunder and Dynasty were a big part of that, and all of their "side projects" ended up guiding my output pretty heavily.  The strong pull of the occult is very real in Providence as well.  I also appreciate Viennese Aktionism, Pataphysics, optical illusions, meditation, magick, fetishism/pornography, German literature, NoWave, Greek philosophy, comix, Sci-Fi, shamanism, hypnotism, E-stim, Survivalism, etc.

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

As a teenager, I played in hardcore bands that always used the Metal Zone pedal.  One day I unplugged the guitar, stuck the cable in my mouth, and got a surprising amount of pleasure from just fucking with the middle frequency pot.  A drummer named Jay Curland that I played with in High School got me into some Japanese groups and soon I found out there was a long history.

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

Both.  I have pre-recorded material that I mix with live synth and vocals.  When I get bored of improvising I can fall back on the pre-determined scores, and vice versa.  I like having a direction but feeling like I can change it whenever excitement is lacking.  The recordings that I mix in at shows are sometimes just recorded improvisations themselves.

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

Playing shows is the best practice.  At home I mostly work on new material, most of which is never used.  Eventually I would love to work with graphic scores.  I have used videos and light installations to govern the direction of improvising.  Sometimes it's interpretive and sometimes I plant sensors directly on the light sources.  A bunch of my songs  were composed as a part of a choreographed movement through the building I lived in.  I had to choose how long parts would last in order for me to execute the music, move through the space, and not get cut short by the tape ending.  I would like to use architectural space as a method of composing again.  There is relief in restriction.

Could you briefly describe you music-making process?

Stick it in.  Turn the lights off.  Start slow.  Burn up.  Finish hard.

Where do you record?

Anywhere I can plug in.  I have a mobile recorder.  I like spaces with unique acoustics.  I've recorded in this concrete, underground water cistern that was below a warehouse space where I used to live/book shows.  The reverberations boasted 6-10 seconds of decay depending on moisture.  There are stalactites in the space, fungi that look like arteries, and black mold all over the walls.  It's a pain in the ass to bring gear down there because in order to access the space you have to descend a 20 foot ladder within a tight concrete tube.  The reverb makes it all worth it though.  I'll probably break back in just to record there in the future.

Do you have a home studio setup?

I just got evicted but I think a better studio will come my way.

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

I wish I was more prolific, but I think working slowly is a crucial part of this project.  I've been building a database of recordings for years that I come back and mine from time to time.  I like the idea of sounds coexisting that originate from the same source but were created years apart.  Some of these elements are small but sometimes guide larger pieces.  One of my mentors, Peer Bode got me into this idea through the work of Conrad Schnitzler, early member of Kluster and Tangerine Dream who recently died.  Schnitzler would collect a wealth of field recordings and tapes of improvisations and then show up to gigs and just do live mixes of his tapes, prototypical DJ style.  Upon hearing this stuff for the first time it blew me away.  The Residents also had this thing called the Theory of Obscurity, which involved using bits of tapes only after the performer forgets when they were originally recorded.  This kind of exercise can be really rewarding by divorcing your emotional attachment from the recording and listening to it as if someone else had made it.

What made you choose the particular pedals/effects/instruments you have now? I'm particularly interested in your modular synth.

Since synchronicity is central to the project, I've found it satisfying and exciting to synchronize analog synthesizers to my body directly.  When two different processes inform one another and create chaotic feedback it feels beyond ancient/totally cosmic.  Riding a wave of the celestial ocean.  I chose the analog synth option because it seems the most directly connected to these ideas as opposed to a code-based computer program that can yield similar or more customizable results.  For me, my project is less about results.  It's about working within limitation; choosing a path and trusting it as your disciplinarian.

If possible, tell about of your favorite/most used modules.  How is the modular integrated into the light setup? Do you own/use any other synth

I perform with all of my gear pretty much.  As the modular system grows, I'd like to leave my Micromoog at home because it's my favorite piece and is a bit cumbersome.  Right now, my Doepfer modular rack consists of two voltage controlled oscillators, one low frequency oscillator, a filter, voltage controlled amplifier, envelope generator, trigger delay, ring modulator, and the light>CV source is my most unique/favorite module.  That allows me to convert ambient light into voltage that controls pitch, volume, and effects.  When it's combined with my light organ circuit that I built, it creates pretty insane feedback modulations between the synth and my strobe lights.  Some people find this to be entrancing.  There are tons of kits that you can order to control lights with audio but more than half of them are scams or pieces of shit, so beware.  I've seen plenty of people using controlled lighting as a gimmick these days, but mine is totally crucial to generate the sounds I'm working with.  I found out about the one I use by working with special effects guys on a movie once.

Any other favorite pedals or music items you're into? Anything you're looking to acquire?

Trying to get away from using pedals.  I fried nearly all of mine in a failed project.  If anyone has any rack effects they want to sell me for cheap, get in touch.  This year I'm hoping to build up a MIDI setup that I can program on my PC and then play shows with my Roland PMA5, a leather-bound palm pilot, sequencer/synth/drum machine.  It has potential but is a pain in the ass to program with a plastic stylus.

Where have you performed?

I've toured up and down the East Coast 4 times.  I toured Western Europe with Lazy Magnet and Jeff Zagers in 2009.  I've played The International Noise Conference in Miami twice.  I played the Bazaar/Wiley Fest up in Maine twice.  I play in Providence too much.  I've been playing in Massachusetts a bit more.  Hoping to play more in New York and find good places to play in other Northeastern states that I haven't played in yet.

What are your favorite and least favorite venues?

I love to play in Maine at Wiley Fest and Quarantine/Hook and Thorn.  Red Light District in Far Rockaway is always a blast.  I never forget a show at America in Baltimore.  Shows at Soft Approach were fun and Operatheq in Providence is the best.  INC at Churchill's is always worth checking out if you can swing it financially.  I like to play shows with great bands.  I like an audience that doesn't feel stifled or shy and is actually listening.  I like to get paid enough to break even on costs, and preferably more of course.  Every show I play as a volunteer, is an investment in that audience.  If nothing comes out of that contact, we all lose valuable time out of our lives.  Those are the shows I try to avoid.

Where do you live now?

I plan on staying in Providence for a while because it's full of amazing people and momentum is strong lately.  I'll be moving into a new studio/venue as soon as I can.

Do you have a day job? What is it?

I freelance as a welder, carpenter, and printmaker.  Occasionally I do tattoos at home, and I always try to bring my gear on the road.  So book a show/tattoo together, I'm affordable.  I used to be a film projectionist and I've worked on some film production crews.  For a while I paid my rent by selling beer at shows.  I teach a welding class twice a year.

Do you play any other instruments ?

I'm most musical when I play bass guitar.  That was the first instrument I played in a band and I would pick it up again sometime if the opportunity presents itself.

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

Friends in Boston turned me on to Haus Arafna recently, excellent German minimal synth/power electronics.  I'm surprised it's taken me this long to find them.  I picked up the Sleep Chamber 4 LP box from Vinyl on Demand, a re-release of tapes from their finest era.  I've been listening to some older Steve Thomsen retrospectives that are tirelessly entertaining.  Tom Cameron's "Music to Wash the Dishes By" has been inspiring, especially since I've been getting into biofeedback rigs. 
As for the "Best of 2011", I've heard advance copies of the new LP's by Taboo and Ancestral Diet, I highly recommend tracking these down.  John Mannion's "Slice Through or / in Glass Metal" is insane.  Releases on Providence's Gross Domestic Product label and Price Tapes are consistently good.  I had the pleasure of playing with Thee Source ov Fawnation recently and I've been repeatedly listening to their tape "I missed you Black Diamond".  Hot Releases re-pressed Ashrae Fax's classic "Static Crash" on LP at long last, and I hope Ryan gets the chance to release more of their back catalog.  Track down the Meager Sunlight/Skeleton Warrior split, Rind LP, Mark Lord's "Tachyon Firing Squad", "Lagan Qord" by Terrors, and perhaps some day Bernard Herman's new record will see a proper release, it's incredible.

Where do you go to discover new sounds/music?

I go to Analog Underground and Armageddon Shop in Providence, and I ask them what's fresh just like at a deli.  My favorite blogs are Mutant Sounds and Music Blog of Saltyka and his Friends, very thorough and rarely disappointing.  Otherwise, I go on tour,  I go out and play/book/attend shows, and I trade with friends.

Been to any good shows lately?

New Year's Party at RLD got 2012 off to a good start.

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

You can start small.  Gear is only an extension of your body and brain so: less gear=more YOU.  Be patient and push through obstacles.  I've made my best work after feeling like I wanted to quit, so discouragement isn't the end.  Find your peers and support them.  Find your elders and connect with them.  If your environment is stifling your creativity, go on tour or move.  Trust your instincts, even if you can't put them to words.  Listen to others, decide for yourself.

Any upcoming shows? New recordings? Projects?

I'm playing on Valentine's Day in Olneyville with Taboo, Ancestral Diet, Human Beast, and ^.  I'm skipping INC this year in lieu of making it to Savage Weekend in May.  New Timeghost Live-CDR out now, and will be available for download at CVSS.BLOG.COM soon.  I'm long overdue for new tapes, I'll have some more out this year and they'll be announced on the blog.  Testing some new equipment, booking an Eastern European tour later in the year, and preparing a video release and box set 7" compilation with some close comrades.

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

It's time to get to work.  Get off the internet and do the thing that you've been wanting to do.

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