Hell-o all and here we go, starting the week with something special, a Metalectro Special that is, and an interview that due to some internet connection problems we didn’t get to post yesterday, so we thought we would start the day with it. As for who the artist interviewed is, he’s one we have been trying to get a hold of for a while now and we finally managed to get him to speak to us! Celldweller is no doubt an artist with a unique style and character in his music and it so happens to fit very well with our taste and Metalectro standards. So, after all those times he has been featured here with his music, now it’s time for the man behind Celldweller to make an appearence too and let us know what’s going on upon the Celldweller “black star”.
01. Hi Klayton, great to have you on Metalectro, would you mind introducing yourself and telling us a few words about the man behind Celldweller?
Thanks for the interview! I’m Klayton and I’m the man behind Celldweller. Sorry, I’ve apparently run out of words already.
02. Detroit, a city that has been musically associated with techno in electronic music. How did you manage to avoid getting sucked into the whole Detroit techno scene and come up with this hybrid Celldweller style & sound?
I don’t rely on a local sound or scene to define what I create as an artist. I was born and raised in New York and even then, the musical climate of the area I lived in did very little to influence my sound. I am not a “scene” guy. I don’t care about who is doing what and what styles are popular. I’m genre-agnostic. The idea that I would have to compartmentalize my music into a specific genre bores me to death. The important question is “Do you like it??” The unimportant question is “Does it fit into this genre??” So all that being said, I loved the idea of soaking up some of the techno vibe of Detroit, but I barely leave my studio, so that hasn’t really mattered.
03. Your music combines different elements and genres. Heavy Metal guitars and vocals, melodic parts, dubstep wobbles, drum & bass rhythms and almost everything one can imagine. How would you describe it and if you had to put a “tag” on it what would that be?
04. Before Celldweller you were playing in Circle Of Dust, an industrial metal band. Did this play any role in developing Celldweller’s sound as we know it today?
Well much like Celldweller, Circle of Dust wasn’t a “Band.” It was just me creating whatever it was that inspired me. It was labeled industrial, but again, even that early stuff was not constrained by genre. I did whatever I wanted. Unfortunately I had no formal training in production and recording, so I was learning as I went along. I die inside a tiny bit each time someone brings up those early albums because I think they sound awful, but life is a journey and those albums certainly were the training ground that helped me form into the artist I am now.
05. You just recently released a Deluxe Edition of your first album as a 10 year anniversary album. Did you expect Celldweller to grow so much back at the beginning?
Absolutely not. I have always, and still do operate under the assumption that nobody really knows who I am and that nobody is listening. I try to keep my head clear of feeling like too many people are listening and expecting something specific from me. I’ve seen how artists and actors have allowed that influence change who they are or what they create and that is the kiss of death, IMHO. I’d rather just keep doing what I’ve always done – whatever I want. That’s why my fans are with me and I would not insult them or myself by jumping on a musical bandwagon or changing my sound just because I begin to believe the hype that people are expecting a certain thing from me.
Like delivering a baby I’ve been carrying for 10 years. Well, just for the record, I’ve never been pregnant. But if I had been, this is how I’d imagine it would feel. A song like “Uncrowned” was written in 1999 or 2000 for my debut album but I ran out of time and never finished it. Going back in with not only a new perspective, but with different production abilities than I had 10 years ago, let me finally deliver that baby, and let the fans hold it, kiss it and change it’s diapers. Or maybe give it up for adoption if they didn’t like it.
07. “Wish Upon A Blackstar” was a great album by all mean in my opinion. Is it true that initially there were lot more tracks in it but you decided to narrow it down and leave some of them out?
Thank you. Yes, although I didn’t narrow it down to make the album shorter. In fact I almost had to cut a song off the disc because it wouldn’t all fit on a compact disc. I originally cut songs out because I approached the album unlike any one before it. I demo-ed a LOT of songs. Then picked the ones that I could live with, along with some input from my friend and co-producer Grant Mohrman. So many of the songs that didn’t make it were cut because we felt like they weren’t the strongest songs. A number of them have been released as demos for fans to have. “Gift For You” was originally cut from the album, but after some time I decided i wanted that song on the album and reworked it until it sounded like what I was hearing in my head.
08. What is next for Celldweller? Any release plans, tour dates, new klash-ups coming anytime soon? Give the readers something to look forward to…
There is so much going on, that it is hard for me to remember it all. So much of what I’ve been working on is in progress or done, but just not released. So there is a lot of stuff already done. Ill list some things i am currently working on, not to sound overly important but to shed some light onto why it takes me so damned long for me to finish a track. Here is an abbreviated list of some of the things I’m working on:
A brand new Celldweller album.
Working on the new “Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Vol 03” (My film / tv / video game oriented music.)
I am scoring the “Blackstar” novel. I wanted to create music to accompany the book, sort of like scoring a movie, but it’s up to you to create the visuals. I have almost 60 minutes of the score already done.
Finalizing my first Sample library for producers & remixers.
Finalizing 2 music videos that are in the works from “Wish Upon a Blackstar”.
Co-Writing a horror movie with a friend that we are aiming to get funded, filmed and released.
Continuing to A&R and sign artists to my 2 labels: FiXT and Subterra.
Days are filled with scattered meetings regarding my company FiXT in relation to the multiple things we do. (Publicity, online retail store, film/tv/video game licensing, merchandising, YouTube monetization, etc.)
10. Do you have any music in films? Is writing for film and tv something that you’re interested in?
I do. I have quite a few placements in film, trailers, tv shows & video games. Actually scoring film is somewhere I am eventually heading. I’ve always created my music with visuals in my head, so the audio/visual aspect to film has always appealed to me.
11. Lately we’ve witnessed the birth of Trap music and many new subgenres.Celebrities and pop artists try to start careers as EDM Djs and join what many call the “EDM circus”. Do you agree with those who believe it to be a bubble that is going to burst pretty soon and that all this exposure will lead to the decline of the whole EDM music scene soon?
I hope so. I can’t really say I pay too much attention to it, but just like every other genre that is filled with copy-cats and people more interested in status and fitting in a genre over just making good art – it’s bound to die. I was doing a radio show for awhile where I was DJ-ING tracks that I thought were cool etc. but I started getting so entirely bored of everybody making the same sounding music, from the biggest EDM artists all the way down. I finally just pulled the plug on the show. I’m not a DJ. Never have been and never will be. Thankfully I was over caring about scrounging for EDM tracks to play on my show before trap really hit. It’s definitely not my cup of tea.
13. If you could collaborate and spend a day in the studio with any artist/producer who would that be and why?
Wow, good question. I’ve always wanted to work with Flood. He produced some of my favorite albums of the 80’s & 90’s and doing a track with him has ever been on my wish list.
14. Do you use samples and what’s your opinion on sampling and copyright?
Well if you mean “samples” as in “sample libraries” then yes I do. If you mean “sound bytes from movies or off other people’s albums” then no, not for commercial use. If I use movie clips, it’s only for a track I’d give away for free. Copyright law keepers have gone militant, and there really isn’t an excuse anymore to sample something without permission. Someone is gonna sue your ass. Ask the Harlem Shake guy.
15. How hard is it really for an electronic music artist to earn his/her living from music nowadays?
I won’t lie – its not an easy thing. That’s a great thing though because we have more tools at our disposal. The people making it and succeeding on some level are HARD WORKERS. The concept of sitting around for someone to do something for you and make you a rock star is delusional. If you want it, you can have it but you will suffer and starve and when you get any level of success, it will be so much more meaningful to you!
16. Are you involved in any other projects at the moment or do you only write/produce as Celldweller?
I vowed when I decided to be Celldweller that I would never do another project outside of it. I stuck to that for a long time…. And then I blew it. I lived through the 80’s and as a kid loved “New Wave”. I just wasn’t talented enough to make it. Jump forward to 2012 and I’m finally sneaking in some 80’s production on my score to my “Blackstar” novel. A few months later, Varien sent FiXT some new tracks he was working on with an 80’s vibe to it. I liked the tracks a lot and planned on signing it. He asked me to sing on a track and the more I listened to the tracks the more this crazy idea crept into my head – “do a whole project with him if he’s open to this project being a “band.” He was down and Scandroid was born. The first single “Salvation Code” is available as a free download.
17. What would you say is your biggest music achievement/highlight so far and what your worst/most embarrassing moment?
Biggest musical achievement hasn’t happened yet. I’ll come back to this question on my 100th birthday. Unfortunately, the same applies to my worst moment.
18. How does Celldweller like spending his time when not in the studio producing music? Any interesting hobbies we should know about?
I am quite possibly the most boring musician you could meet. No drugs. No drinking. No parties and social gatherings. I walk out to the mailbox every few days to check for mail, watch a movie once in awhile and take an honest-to-goodness vacation about every 5 years.. I LOVE my job, so I am constantly engaged in it, by it and am completely unapologetic for it. All I really want to do is make good art and help other great artists bring their great into the world In a bigger way. All of my hobbies relate directly to this concept. When I watch movies, I’m studying. Observing, looking, listening. When I read, I’m studying. When I surf the web reading articles or watching content on YouTube, I’m studying. Good content in = good content out.
19. What’s your opinion about Metalectro as a blog and sound?
Refreshing. It’s great to have resources like Metalectro that are all about just good music. Keeping your ear to the ground and not being constrained by a specific genre.
20. A message to our readers?
A simple “Thank You!” For actually reading this. In our twitter world filled with short text and 6 second videos, less and less people take time to read more than 140 characters. Thanks for reading my 1,000.
And in case any of you are still Celldweller hungry and didn’t have enough yet (which we hope is the case with all of you) make sure to check out his “Fall 2013 DJ Mix”, available as a free download too and featuring some great tracks by the likes of Figure, Bassnectar, Tim Ismag, Drivepilot and Josh Money, as well as some legendary klash-ups by Celldweller to go alongside many of his own tracks! Enjoy!!!