Over the course of a dozen releases for labels such as Celebrate Psi-Phenomen and Last Visible Dog, among others, seht has burrowed out his own niche. Few in the oft-convoluted world of drone music do it better. In addition to soaking your skull with sound, he is also an accomplished visual artist and writer. And after this interview, I'm fairly certain he's considering a career in stand-up comedy. Or not. Interview was conducted via email in March and April of 2006.
Good question. I was in a pretty shit band in high school. That’s not so interesting, though - most everyone is. What’s much more remarkable is that when we competed in the National Secondary Schools “Rock Quest” band competition in 1990, we narrowly lost the regional semi-final to an act called No Time For Talking; the guitarist for this group of ‘orrible and unabashed Husker Dü rip-off merchants (as we referred to them that cold and fateful night) was none other than future high-priestess of the global noise-drone cult, Master Campbell “Birchville Cat Motel and so on” Kneale. No Time For Talking went on to win the national final, and achieve a modest fame. Fuckers.
Yes, I’ve always lived here. I’m not much of a one for travel, me. And sorry to fuck up your theory, but Antony “Nether Dawn and so on” Milton is from a small town in the deep south of the South Island, not un-adjacent to Dunedin, and known principally for being cold and full of retards. Campbell Kneale is from a slightly larger town at the top of the South Island known principally for wine production, implausible annual-sunshine-hours statistics, and German hippies. CJA is from the Far North, known principally for being fucked up. And mostly full of retards.
Good question. Me and CJ would probably be the drunkest, and shed all phoney geographic-based alliances to team up and beat the crap out of CK and AM. One of whom is a hippie, anyway. Though I might be tempted to pull CJ’s hair at some point, and not own up.
To be completely frank with you, I’m not really sure what New Zealand is. Nor am I really sure I know what living is either. So in answer to your otherwise fine question: fucked if I know.
I think the only person who should be regarded as an expert on living in New Zealand is my friend Douglas Bagnall, and everyone should immediately go and watch his film “Random Geographical Survey of New Zealand” on his really cool and wonderfully lo-fi website
. Do NOT forget to read his funding application
for the film project, either; it is quite possibly the funniest thing ever.
The thing which is mostly wrong with people is that they have opinions which differ to mine. That is to say, the thing wrong with most people is that they’re wrong. You’re actually lucky you and I agree on most things. Otherwise I’d have to shoot you.
I have a lot of love for Chris Moon and LVD; he’s released a lot of really incredible and essential music. Yah, so the first I ever heard of the label was about the year 2000, when Campbell Kneale played me Eso Steel’s awesome “INA” album (that actually changed my life) (I’m serious). Then I got to contribute a track to the Celebrate Psi Phenomenon retrospective compilation. And after I played AM and CK the demo of my “Voice of the Taniwha” album they both, independently, assured me that Chris’ bark is FAR worse then his bite, and encouraged me to send it to him to release. Yada yada, I did, he did, and Bob’s your uncle.
Subsequently he has let me design the new LVD label logo, and we both discovered a mutual admiration for the writer Russell Hoban. So far, though, he’s ‘‘resisted all my advances and attempts to make sweet love to him. In fact, my album on LVD sold so well that Chris has recently resisted all my attempts to communicate with him at all; presumably he is far too busy filling orders.
That’s a bit of a mixed bag, isn’t it. I thought “Disintegration Loops”, and “Red Score in Tile”, were well ‘ard. I did have my suspicions surrounding his tendencies to be boring, though, and I’m now officially over him - that video which surfaced on the internet of him in the 80s as “Billy Jeans” Basinski or whatever the hell it was - playing sub-Grover Washington sax over a DX-7 demonstration backing tape - was enough to push me over the edge. So... might just have to have a word with my people and get them to change it to “Like William Basinski, except not shite, and doesn’t take shirt off at gigs” or something.
God I wish I still had the link to that video, though. It’s really surreal and quite a lot like David Lynch had come up with the whole thing.
I’m appalled. Without going to the trouble of looking up that URL, I assume that it instead means turning things into cans of fucken disgusting stodgy worm-shaped stools swimming around in odd-tasting orange mud? How annoyingly confusing. That’s easily as annoying as the new phones at work, which I today discovered have the cool feature of adjusting the mouthpiece gain at the same time as you’re adjusting the earpiece volume. So all these people who have been spending a moment getting the volume right in their ears now discover no-one can hear them when they ring them up. Right-on design there, fellers. Fucking Germans. (The phones are made by a German company whose name is a homonym of “semens”.) Great question, too.
Yes, in that sense it’s quite clever, though I’d hesitate to use the term “psychedelic” for its unfortunate connotations to hippies. My music employs a lot of the brain-washing and thought-control techniques I picked up from watching The Ipcress File
when I was fourteen. The devilishly clever bit is that the message contained in my music, behind my music, the “sub-musical payload” if you will, is nothing more than to brainwash the listener into thinking it’s really, really, really, incredibly fucking good. So far it’s worked a treat.
To that let me just say, “Get your people to get in touch with my people.”
In all seriousness, though, there is always a deliberate attempt by seht to alter mind states. My primary audience numbers just one: me. I make music for me; I’m deliberately trying to self-induce mental states of reduced outward responsiveness through deployment of hypnotic and soporific sounds, tones, notes, chords, keys, progressions, rhythms, all that stuff. It’s an endlessly pleasant surprise and an honour that so many other people seem to enjoy my music too; mainly because they can’t ALL be on the same drugs as I. Then again I suppose that could be due to the satanic back-masking.
I’ve also learnt the hard way not to unleash anything on the wider public that I haven’t already test-driven many times already. For example, I’ve listened to my album “The Green Morning” literally hundreds of times in the last twelve months, and it’s still as effective on me as when I first made it. Often I can’t listen all the way through without having my brain tied in a reef-knot. (This is a very much not-unacceptable result).
What the fuck? Of course I like bread. Who doesn’t? I like sandwiches, and bread pudding, too. And fried bread. And pigs-in-a-blanket.
Well, Set (can also be spelt Seth) was an Egyptian god. It is said that the ancient Hebrews saw the markings of Set and were scared by his unnatural abilities in his depictions. And pretty much kacked their dacks, according to unofficial accounts. And it’s where the name Satan comes from, too.
Much more recently, The TEMPLE OF SET is an occult society established in 1975 by Michael Aquino and others who left the Church of Satan because of disagreements with its founder. The “Setianism” which they profess comprises magical, philosophical and religious concepts related to the god Set. There is also a type of Gnosticism called Sethianism, after the third child of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis in the Christian bible.
If I tell you any more, I’m-a have to shoot you, and you know (above) I’m already looking for an excuse. All this crap is quite well summarized in a bunch of Wikipedia articles
Well for one thing, I feel that guy from Students of Decay
jogs far too much; it’s clearly a sign that his mind is filled with vile, dank, yucky thoughts of which he is desperate to rid himself.
Good question. Has anyone even heard of The Stumps? (Perhaps we should really release a fucking album or something, already.) And there’s number of impediments to a fully-fledged The Stumps tour of the USA; foremost is that none of us are legally allowed to drive a car, so we’d need to make friends with someone who really, really likes driving. High up on the list is also the problem that none of us have a very real conception of how fucking huge your country is, and how long it takes to get from one gig to the next. I can barely stand being in a car or van for more than about 4 hours a day; fuck my luck, as they say.
But do you really think the US is ready for The Stumps? Australia is only just now starting to become ready for The Stumps, and they’re hardly world leaders at anything useful (except sport, apparently). I think a much better idea would be for the US to come to The Stumps, with its mind open and willing to be blown. There’s easily room for all of you; can you make sure you bring Mädchen Amick when you come?
I don’t know about that; it kinda sounds to me like you’re putting up your hand to be our tour driver. “Sir.. sir.. me, sir.. oh please sir, me sir” etc.
Ohm was a pretty great band in the 90s in Dunedin involving James Kirk (from Sandoz Lab Techs, Gate, and recently the Dead C), Campbell Kneale, and notorious transient Stefan Neville (also/now Pumice). So this one time Stefan was in Wellington; whenever this happens we (me, AM, James and CK) normally all try to get together to do something with him. On this occasion we got drunk at my place, loaded up on carbs, and went rolling bums. When we’d tired of that, we went to my studio and played incredibly fucking loud music for about an hour.
The Stumps won, of course, dipshit. The Stumps never lose. At anything. We dished out a fucking lesson to Ohm that they won’t forget in a hurry, let me tell you. And although James, being a member of both outfits, was a bit sore the next day, it was a very clean fight. The only bloodbath was a couple of years earlier in the very same shed, where a minor-league drug-dealer was bludgeoned to death with a hammer by a couple of Wellington’s more high-profile career criminals, and then melted in a vat of industrial cleaning chemicals. Probably. Hence the title of the album.
I haven’t got a clue how it ended up on Paha Porvari, although it was probably my doing. Or it might have been Antony’s. Do you really want to know? I mean, I can probably find out. Tell you what, though, dude needs to send some more artist-comps already.
Not at all. I’m not at all embarrassed to confess that I don’t really like it. I’m much more of a Bad News fan, me. In fact I’m going to have to go and listen to “Warriors of Ghenghis Khan” right now.
(much later) I also resent the implication that being in The Stumps resembles being in Spinal Tap in any way, shape or form. Or Bad News.
You can’t really dance to it, but you sure as hell can nod out.
Well, it’s funny you should ask - we’ve been wondering when somebody was going to notice. Stefan and I sorted out a deal between us a while ago; we had a word to the people in charge, and came to an arrangement - a kinda divide-and-conquer strategy, crossed with one of those crossroads-midnight sign-soul-away contracts-with-the-devil type things. Stefan got the looks, personality, talent, women, globe-trotting, and awesome bands with other legends of New Zealand music such as Clayton Noone, GFrenzy, and Chris Knox. I got... hang on a minute...
I’ve been stiffed. I’ve been gypped. I’ve been fucking robbed. I’m not happy about this. You haven’t heard the last of this, you can be sure of that.
Oh yeah. Ok, well here’s an excerpt from my autobiography (work in progress) (really an automatic-writing exercise) which I thought was possibly appropriate:
the drunkard knows. taxi radio squall. taxi radio squall. set full squelch. mother calls to daughter, -come inside dear, it’s time for your cartoon.
dinner with the tv family. they laugh. we laugh. tears come. we run dry, charge glasses. audio: clink+hum.
the tape on the end of my brush will paint the sounds i hear in my head. my soundtrack to your film is almost done. soon i will learn to fly.
I might talk a lot of shit, but I live for this music thing. It’s about the only thing I’m any good at, and it continues to enable me to go places and meet and get drunk with new people - people who inspire me to grow and improve. And I’ve only just started.
If anyone reading this knows the URL for the “Billy Jeans” Basinski video, please get in touch with seht via Foxy Digitalis
-- Brad Rose (2 July, 2006)