FAX MACHINE ANTHEMS
ONE-ON-ONE WITH CURTIS: SUPERDESTROYER
How awesome was last month's One-on-one with Curtis? We certainly hope you enjoyed that one as much as we did. And if so, here is some good news for you: his second interview for Wilbur & Moore Records is another dose of well-have-I-ever-goodness. This time he sits down with an artist who is somewhat of an enigma - Superdestroyer from Columbus, OH, and from Lonely Ghost Records.
Can you explain a little behind the lore of Superdestroyer, if there is such a thing? (Origins)
"It's not super interesting. There are some things that made me decided to really dive into music instead of pushing it off to a future date in perpetuity. I decided that I didn't want to die asking what if about things and so I started trying to start doing all the things I've always thought about but would never follow through on."
What does your typical recording process look like? Does it change often?
"There's a lot of similarities across each album, but it changes up some too. Generally I record in blocks of a few days back to back and I'll try to sketch out most of an album. So usually between 70-85% of an album is recorded in just the first few days of writing. I write as I go and then just play until I land on things I like. Sometimes that is hugely challenging, if it takes 100 attempts to play correctly (which happens a lot), but I like writing as I go. I think it lets me stay creative and just try ideas. I like to try to pick different instruments to begin writing with on different songs also.
But I think the order I go in, and maybe even the revision process changes up a lot. Sometimes I scrap whole songs, other times I'll re-record a song part by part, but sometimes I don't change a song at all after day 1. I have spent a lot more time revising on each album. I think it's because as I improve as a musician, I am more able to purposefully make bigger changes without making it all fall apart."
What’s the favourite instrument you own? Why is it your fave?
"My Microkorg or my Kaossilator. In both cases it's just because they're versatile and endlessly fun. The microkorg is just a really great synth. I recorded a few of the songs on SoakedInSynth with just the microkorg and the drums because my M50 broke. It really always has great sounds and textures.
The kaossilator is a looping synthesizer and it's great for making your own loops and creating songs in a way that is both boundless and constraining simultaneously. It's another instrument that feels sort of like playing with musical Legos. Both instruments inspire a lot of creativity. However the drums have also been climbing the ladder of favourites."
With the new record, what was the major influence?
"2010s synth pop, Hall and Oats radio haha. Punk and emo of course. Downtempo electronics. It's always a mix. I was listening to a lot of Sleigh Bells, Passion Pit, New Order, MGMT, Hall and Oates, King Krule. A lot of synth driven and synth heavy music."
How would you say this record differs from your previous work?
"I went full synth haha. Honestly it's closer to the first songs I ever made, way before Superdestroyer. But I think it's mostly the more ambient and fully electronic sound that separates it from the others. In a lot of ways I think it just sounds like a Superdestroyer album."
What can people expect from the project going forward?
"Just the same old chaos as always. As far as the next LP, I have a lot of ideas and they're just now starting to really become anything. But I will probably release a mixtape late this year that has some unreleased songs, some remixes, alternative versions, instrumentals. I'm excited for that."
You also run a label, what’s the best/worst part of that? Do you prefer being an artist or a facilitator?
"The best part is definitely getting to work with the bands and see the way they evolve over time. It's wild to think about how much growth everyone has had. It's really incredible to see and get to be a small part of. The worst part is probably shipping. It's expensive and time consuming and pretty tedious. We've also had some bad luck in general with shipping and merch. It can be stressful. But Shane (the other owner) does the accounting and I promise you that is the absolute worst. That's definitely not in my wheelhouse."
What’s the most interesting scar on your body?
"I have a heart-shaped scar on my hand from when I fell off a bike trying to bomb down a hill without brakes haha. I had scars on my face from that too, but they're gone now. I got one recently that always makes me think of Superdestroyer because it looks like the S on my first album. It's such a lame story. My cat got scared last year and scratched me really badly because the buzzer for the dryer went off. It's all very fitting I suppose. Sort of weird but mundane."
What non music thing do you do to have fun or take care of yourself?
"Well I used to be really into sports and training and stuff. In high school I always played a sport each season. And then once I got to college I eventually switched to weight lifting. i was a power lifter for a few years and then I switched over to Ninja Warrior Training. I tore my ab a while back and gave myself a lot of nerve damage in my stomach and just kind of fucked myself up all around. I still exercise but not like that anymore haha."
Any favorite books/ movies?
"Movies: Uncut Gems, The Thing, Eternal Sunshine, Parasite
Books: a lot of the books I've read over the past decade pertain to school. Lots of theory and peer-reviewed articles. Not very thrilling. But I did read Chaos which poses an argument that the CIA is inadvertently responsible for the Manson family. I always take conspiracy with a huge grain of salt, I'm not a conspiracy theorist generally, but there was a lot there that sounded convincing and the book doesn't claim the CIA did it intentionally to have them commit murder, moreso that the acid experimentation fucked people up because our government was negligent and willing to experiment on citizens. That seems likely or at least plausible. I also read "The Report On Unidentified Flying Objects" which is something I think is really interesting. This soft disclosure stuff is a mind fuck. On one hand it's like… whoa the government said these UFOs aren't theirs. But on the other hand, if the government says it, you shouldn't trust it."
What’s your biggest piece of advice or words of wisdom for anyone just starting out, or for the community as a whole?
"For people just starting out: embrace criticism, seek it out, and don't hold anything you made as precious. It will hold you back. But don't let the criticism doubt yourself either. People always make bad music before they make good music. You just gotta stick with it and be willing to try new things. It will be worth it.
As far as the community, I'd say people just need to remember to support each other and prop each other up. If an artist can get 50 people to share their music, that can make a gigantic difference. If everyone helps each other out, it's a lot more fun and people can go a lot further. There's always room for more music."