INTERVIEW: Steven Wymer of BENTWITHLIGHT and TACTIL VISION


AUTOreverse #14 – SUMMER 2011
INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN WYMER aka
BENTWITHLIGHT aka
TACTIL VISION by Ian C Stewart
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’RE FEELING MOUTHY ABOUT AT THE MOMENT?
Not at the moment: there is a saying that I remember: “The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion”. Presently, just trying my eyes and ears open, observing my surroundings…but I am interested in seeing what the next phase of the internet brings, say, with Virtual Reality.

LET’S DISCUSS THAT MOST GROUND-BREAKING SUBJECT OF YOUR MUSICAL INFLUENCES.
My first LP was actually Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, I bought it at K-Mart. My older step-sister gave me her old record player with some Fleetwood Mac and still today, I remark on the early 70s pop music – Elton John and the like that comes to mind, perhaps fallout from the 60s. My mom liked the Moody Blues pretty well so that kinda was my early musical experiences…In high school I guess it was Skinny Puppy and some metal like Metallica. It wasn’t really until I was on my own and overseas that I discovered Einstuerzende Neubauten and the various industrial bands that I was introduced to after listening to a lot of indie rock before Nirvana hit it big – Sonic Youth..


WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR MUSIC HEADING?
This is a tough one because I have found that the music takes you on a journey…. But I would like to have a band with various skills and influences; basically like Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd – coming from amorphous, psychedelic origins and having followed several years of steady music and great live shows. I guess I can relate to them musically, with the blues and jazz and different aspects in there but still rolling it all in one. The difference being I do not die, of course….

BENTWITHLIGHT “BLUDD”

WHAT MUSIC SOFTWARE DO YOU USE, IF ANY?
Do not use any software, really. I messed around with Audiomulch a bit. Was just asked this recently, but everything is done on an ASR10 keyboard as far as composition with various old gear. The way the electrons work in analog just seems more natural I suppose…it is a very basic setup with layers and layers of resampling and re-recording; which works for me. I like the tactile, physical approach which is more like therapy than necessity – connecting the energies of the mind with the body. My good friend Shaun asked me way back “Yeah, but can you do it live?” and I have kept that in mind, still even recording live – it is all about the moment.

IS THERE ANY OTHER MUSIC SOFTWARE YOU PLAN ON GETTING?
Well, I could see myself with a full-fledged ProTools or whatever setup; basically it would help more with editing and sound sculpture. I am used to not making music with my eyes in front of a screen though and that corresponds with what I feel overall – that visual is really the most unreliable.

WHAT’S IN YOUR HOME STUDIO SETUP?
I haven’t obtained any real studio gear for the last ten years or so aside from the Monotron or small things, a Kaoss pad….a sampling workstation, old analog keyboards, a couple compressors and FX – the bare minimum. I guess a Euro-centric studio, a Marshall mini-stack. Being over there changed the way I viewed things. It’s not the tools but the user. I just found for myself too much stuff can get in the way; the less I have to work with, the more creative I have to be.

DO YOU WRITE SONGS ON KEYBOARD OR GUITAR?
Once I learned programming, everything revolved around the rhythm and beat, but the more I worked around a guitar, it opened things up. But I naturally gravitate towards percussion.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR LATEST RELEASE.
“Artifacts” was basically jam-based, a lot of credit goes to Jim Dooley for providing quality full-length drum tracks. But once having learned a little more guitar, I really wanted to get away from the programming. At that time, I was living up north, pretty out of touch with what was going on and connected with a bass player and we just jammed out to Jim’s tracks right to two track. Basically, trying to get as live and improv as possible. So it was kind of a reset musically and getting to the basics, really showing ugliness and beauty juxtaposed. But it is close to my heart because it has an honest approach and when someone plays music with me it’s almost like a full-blown relationship where everything comes out.

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SONGWRITING METHODS?
I always wrote poetry and stuff, so on one side is a pile of random scribbles and the other is music. So I guess it all has to do with the timing and accumulating various elements – like an alchemist and when everything comes together right you have magic. It certainly is not prefabricated.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START MAKING MUSIC OF YOUR OWN?
Maybe it was being an only child. Maybe it was pride- ha ha….seriously though, in the beginning it was a type of therapy or self-discovery. After awhile, though, you realize the true magic is when you connect with others and I suppose even the most isolated artist is really trying to connect with others in whatever way that is possible.

ARE YOU ACTIVE IN YOUR LOCAL MUSIC SCENE?
I am just getting my bearings again in the local Columbus scene again actually, but having help from my bro Jeff Chenault certainly helped, so I got connected with him again and working with The Fuse Factory’s Frequency Fridays (plug, plug). I have always felt so comfortable and welcomed in CBus – it really is a great place to be an artist or musician. I am also excited that the ECC’s Mark Gunderson is back because he has always been welcoming and a source of inspiration. Even for me, it surprises me how sociable the scene is for the most part and if you want to contribute there are people who are there to support you. So, yes, I feel the love!

WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH ON NEW MUSIC?
Well, obviously cEvin Key of Subconscious and Dave Wright of Not Breathing- those guys continue to inspire me, really being in the future of electronic music. I suppose Justin Broadrick and Mick Harris would definitely be awesome too! But realistically, I collab with peeps on SC and those i meet through the web – anyone who wants to put in the time. And of course, close mates.

WHAT OTHER BANDS ARE YOU EXCITED BY?
So many – especially the unsigned artists and DIYers like myself….was most excited by Meshuggah as of late. DJ Textbeak introduces me to the various Witchhouse bands and that turns me on because they seem to be in a world of their own, really discarding the whole genre mess altogether.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU, MUSICALLY SPEAKING?
I guess it is finding others to write, record and perform with, since that is the next challenge, to learn to mesh individual energies and to be less in control. Listening and learning about music that I would not normally consider, like the blues or even classical still present themselves with inspiration – so I guess really getting beyond the technology and down to the basic raw emotion is always musically challenging.

http://www.5AMconductions.com

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