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The Story of #WEATNU

“It takes years for an idea to culminate and become something more than mindless thinking. Every diamond is created due to a great amount of pressure. I’m a musician, I write Electronic / Avant-garde, Left-field music. It is certainly in its own category.”

Coming from the roots of Industrial / Experimental and EBM, Ambient, Dub, and eventually those roots became an urge to write my own music, and I didn’t know what I was doing or how to go about doing it electronically.

I had been writing guitar music prior to that from 1992–1998, then getting into writing Electronic music that summer. Music has been with me since 1983, when my Mother first put on, Wham or Hall & Oats, H2O record, or when I heard the album, The Ghostbusters on tape, and being captivated by The Thompson Twins — In the Name of Love. When the Internet had its start in 1997 for me, I found myself seeking out music that moved me differently than terrestrial radio, as during this time, radio was dying out and becoming something of a mainstream money maker. MTV was still going strong in its post-grunge era.

One night, I started looking on Yahoo for internet radio stations, Realplayer had its share of the obscure, even at its low bitrate quality, but I didn’t care, the music is what moved me. It wasn’t long until I found a website called Radio Free Underground, they shut down in 2000, sadly. They played many genres I’d not heard, other than the experimental stuff I discovered through MTV’s The AMP. Goth being one of them, including PsyTrance, Techno, Electro, Electronica, Industrial, Darkwave, and more. The days when true discovery felt like you found something, and it was yours, it felt personal.

I remember first hearing Industrial from a NIN tape a friend gave me during school in 1992, then he gave me a recording of Ministry’s Psalm 69. By the time 1997 rolled around, I was hooked on darker underground music. After being subjected to the more obscure underground, including the MOD scene of 1995, given to me through floppy discs from friends, AMIGA-like computer music, Trackers, Fasttracker, iPlay, S3M, FT2 and so forth.

From the collection of all this, I started developing a great love for “The Underground”, and noticed from my experimenting with Electronic music, deeply in 2000 that Electronic wasn’t that huge yet, though, radio and modern music was still very pop-driven, and rock based. It wasn’t until 2003 and 2005 where I started really hearing the Electronic influence in artists, such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Underworld, The Orb and Orbital.

The Severed Heads years…

I was actually heavily influenced from my early days of electronic music writing from Severed Heads, an Aussie artist, named Tom Ellard. For years after 1998 I didn’t have the Internet, I had to go to local university computer labs to use the Internet, usually every night for months on end. During the time of my depth into making electronic in 2000 through tracker software, Fasttracker II, I found myself looking up Severed Heads, who I was introduced to from a boss at my job Eureka Pizza in Springdale, AR.

I no longer felt like mainstream music was important as it once was, I had a drive to do different things. In that computer lab, I came across a website called groovetech.com, and this was my introduction into DnB, Dub, Experimental, Techno, Sampling, from some of the greatest DJs to ever be broadcast through camera, across the world.

Each night I was engrossed in watching these DJs spin for hours. The music was catchy, bouncy and addictive. Even to this day if you look up those podcasts on YouTube, you hear something special just starting to happen. The beginning of what electronic music was, and why it’s so important today.

Years pass…

My love of electronic music continued, in writing it alone, allowing only my family and at the time, during my marriage, my wife and her friends. Also in 2001 I didn’t have the Internet, but I still continued when I could, go to the local library to use it. By the time I got the Internet again, it was around 2010, and I began to think, “what if I upload this music I’ve been doing all these years, and let others listen?” It was through Soundcloud then Bandcamp, and YouTube, I started doing this. Friends on Facebook would tell me I should let others listen, I was reluctant of course, because it was so personal to me.

From venturing forth into various groups online, uploading music and speaking and promoting on twitter, I came to realize that unknown artists were being ignored, or even unheard. That it took a great deal of effort to even get people to listen. Of course during the early days of SoundCloud, people would listen to you more, due to the lack of algorithms.

The power of Social Media.

From the urge to get my own music heard and having a hard time doing it, it started building up in me by 2012–2013 that something needed to be done, something big, a huge idea, and since social media was just getting popular, I thought, “Why not, I want to make waves and create a storm even if I fail doing so. People on social media are making things happen, so why can’t I?” I thought.

During those days, it was hard to find any kind of help to get your music heard. Net-labels were elite and only allowed a certain type of music in, EDM was so big that people were making 200 grand per night when they played; completely ignoring The Underground scene. I wondered, why The Underground and experimental music was no longer around? What happened to it, was it hidden, did it die out? No… From meeting people on Twitter and other places, SoundCloud, YouTube and forums I found it was very much alive.

Great music is hidden.

There were others doing this, there were people like myself with the drive to be heard. Help groups, and Internet radio started popping up, like Bluetown Electronica on Facebook, Revival Synth, one guy who has been running his group well before #WEATNU started. Tracy Perry (Expansion of Presence) who has helped many indie artists for years and years, and continues to do so. Dr. Bones, an avid lover of The Underground scene from Canada, and so and so on. This was during 2013–2014.

I started thinking, “why is it so hard just to belong to a simple label, one without the rules many other mainstream ones cause to you endure? One that we all needed.” I said in my heart, “I will create an organization that will allow others to go up the ladder with me for free, and all of us will be helped.” I wanted to hold everyone on my shoulders; ALL of the indie scene on my back. I must have been crazy for thinking it. Something was burning deep inside of my soul, something I couldn’t stand any longer. I thought, “what if I create a SoundCloud group like others were doing?”, so one day out of the blue I made one called “We are the New Underground“, after having an in-depth conversation with a friend of mine through Facebook, namely, Nessi Holt who writes for a blog called Carpe Carmina. I remember telling her, “you know what! We are the New Underground“, and she said, “Yes!! We are.” Nessi Holt, did an extensive interview with me in 2015 on #WEATNU, she’s helped countless indie artists for many years, including working with RKC Radio.

The start of a new era…

After making the group, 100s poured in, during the first two weeks, it was so hard to help them all that I had to get others to help filter artists into the group. It was a phenomenon, I was hooked from the rush of helping these artists be heard. Starting to post each one who got in, onto Twitter, with their twitter @names attached so others could find that artist, making sure the legwork had been done. The platform and machine of #WEATNU had begun.

It came to me that we needed more than just a group on SoundCloud and during this time, summer of 2014, We are the New Underground was just a name. Before long, the acronym #WEATNU was born. I noticed that a lot of hash tags brought attention to a brand or groups. December of that year, WEATNU Records was born, where the artists who found us were offered a means to be part of a label, where their music mattered, and where people would appreciate them with good results.

People felt the need to be heard.

Most of all, they would at least be heard. Sometime around Summer of 2014 WEATNU [OUR] Online Underground Radio was born, and a machine was created to help the underground. People started contacting me, wanting to make a difference. Soon DJCJ of RadioCoolio, an Internet radio personality in Canada, who also helps indie artists be heard, contacted my E-mail and Facebook, and wanted to promo and spread the word.

Roofy, another artist, who spent an entire year spreading the word about #WEATNU caused others to find us as well. Including Ivan of AMNIOTIC — By 2015, in the same year, Brian Diamond who at the time was just starting Shadows & Mirrors, and is now a label owner of Electric Dream Records, also came our way to help spread the word, as he and AMNIOTIC both wanted to help the community find our artists. During this era, UK artist Craig Manga, of Manga Bros, who later went on to form (Black Box Recordings) befriended our movement and spoke highly to many of those whom he followed, which helped further our cause. His friend, Mark Forster, was a force unmatched, as he loved the underground and its artists and #WEATNU, by helping them on ArtistSignal, he will be greatly missed as he passed away some years ago.

A publication was created.

Our magazine was helping artists be heard, shows on Mixcloud were uploaded from interviews I conducted with new artists weekly, live radio with artists and new songs, showcasing them weekly as well. Special shows on our Internet radio and many other things would happen to become what #WEATNU was developing into. A driving force, a movement that was needed, that wouldn’t stop. By 2016, over 400 artists from all over the world had graced their presence with us.

A new chapter begins

The rush was intense, and it was exhausting. It was time to stop working so hard, but I still had the drive. Our magazine went away that year, radio shut down in the Summer, but the label continued pumping out new music, but slowly. It wasn’t until 2018 where I had a conversation with a new friend, who joined us that year, and she told me “you get what you put in.” So taking that advice, I ran with it, pushing hard once again but, using what I learned before and pushed the label to become what I had envisioned years ago.

2018 – 2019

Our label started releasing finally to streaming platforms, including our already releasing music through Bandcamp since 2014. WEANTU Records was being noticed, once again, restored and still a great passion of mine, even after all these challenges. The radio also returned in November of 2018. Streaming of course helped greatly, but newer artists by 2018 started finding us, and The Underground was still being served. With a dream, a vision and a little fire, anything can be accomplished. Artists who have been helped and brought to the light from this effort , are as follows, and these are just a handful – AMNIOTIC, Bleepeater, Whettman Chelmets, Adryelle, Lie Craze, Dead Scrimshaw, Amattik, AR89, Belial Pelegrim, Bufinjer, Jazzykat, DigitalSlumberParty, Jessica Grant, Fluffytails, B. Hasemeyer, Bedtime for Robots, Lemonade Kid, Meter Bridge, Nurse Predator, The Aircrash Bureau!, Sound Engraver.

The magazine returns

One night, as I was going through old site snapshots on waybackmachine, I looked up our old magazine, which use to be at weatnu-magazine.com and a flood of nostalgia filled me. Reading the articles, reviews, and interviews that many people had written, including myself, I thought it was time to bring the magazine back. I started working on a new magazine website, the one you are reading now. The artist needed a voice, not just their music to be heard, but why they do what they do. Publications are important to fans as well as artists. I was pleased to have this final part of the #WEATNU machine return, and this time, it would remain, just like its radio. With all parts together once more, Radio, label and magazine, things felt complete and it is my hope they all further the cause of the Independent artist.

The label itself has signed over 100 artists since 2014, many of which are still with us. With the radio returning, WEATNU [OUR] continues to help artists outside the label as well, be heard. With its 24/7 streaming radio, 365 days a year, and free to join. Showcasing many of these types of genres, while encompassing the electronic array.

The dream continues

WEATNU Records has taken in numerous genres and sub-genres over the years, such as Electronic, Electronica, Experimental, Industrial, Indiepop, Indie rock, Electro-pop, Synth-pop, Vaporwave, Trip-hop, Lo-fi, Instrumental Hip-hop, Synthwave, Darkwave, Ambient, Dark Ambient, Alt-rock, post-rock and so on, and we continue to allow The Underground artist to join. With the driving force of the unknown artist, we still have many people who support us behind the scenes. Many of whom are unnamed, but are greatly appreciated for letting others know what we do.

#WEATNU continues to help artists yearly, and that passion never dies. From 2014 and beyond, We are the New Underground is the heart of The Digital Underground, a beacon of hope for the artist who just wants to be noticed, without needing to sacrifice their hopes and dreams. We continue to help them. I hope this story of how we started influences you, and gives you hope that if you dream it, it will happen. We are the New Underground 10.10.2019 (originally published through Medium.com)

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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WEATNU Records: Year one

For an entire year WEATNU has been building a large group of artists on it’s label WEATNU Records. You’ve heard many of them throughout the months. Now you can hear them all together on the same album. Showcasing 74 amazing electronic artists, including punk and post-punk, dream-pop, nu jazz swing. You can buy this great piece of underground history for 9.80 USD. Complete with a wide variety of styles from all over the world. WEATNU Records continues to take in the greatest of hidden talent. All artists receive 70% per sale. WEATNU believes in fair pay to the artist.

Purchase on Bandcamp

<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 350px; height: 470px;” src=”https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3474610779/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/” width=”300″ height=”150″ seamless=””>WEATNU Records: Year One by WEATNU RECORDS</iframe>


#WEATNU Digital Magazine

Dec 2015

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Interview with Jazzykat

“Jazzykat’s world of music is infused with multi-genres, electronica, experimental, soul, chillout and synthpop. Her wide range of ‘eclectic moods’ come together to form the sound that we have been hearing for many months on WEATNU [OUR]. Along with her career as a solo musician, it was finally time to bring her words in text-form to the light here on #WEATNU DM.”

Corbin: First and foremost I would like to thank you for taking the time to let me interview you Kathryn.

Jazzy: It’s my pleasure.

Corbin: I understand you have a new album coming out. What is the name going to be?

Jazzy: World Upside Down

Corbin: I’ve grown accustomed to you innovative style. Is this album jumping these boundaries?

Jazzy: I made an album a while back named Eclectic Moods, and that pretty much sums up what to expect from me each time I release something new. Each song will always be different, I keep the music interesting that way.

Corbin: Since listening to your interview with Almark, I have been wondering when we may hear some Jazzy vocals?

Jazzy: If you mean will I ever sing on a song? No, I don’t foresee that happening.
I put so much thought and feeling in each song, I just don’t feel the need to sing. I can sing but even if I’m listening to Electronic music in private, I prefer instrumentals.

Corbin: Not even a little vocoder?

Jazzy: I’ve never used one. I’m afraid you’ll have to settle for the versatility of my songs. I will say that this new album has four new songs and six singles. I have wandered into some new territories in each song, such as, Nu Disco, New Wave, Electronica and Techno.
I do remember a song called Sunset Bay I made years ago, and I introduced the song in a sultry ladies DJ voice, resembling The Fog movie.

Corbin: If you could come across a link for that, what a treat to hear your voice!

Jazzy: I’ll get with Almark, see what we can do. Didn’t you hear me speaking in the interview with him?

Corbin: Of course! That’s what spawned the question.

Jazzy: Oh, you liked that hummm
I do have an Oklahoma accent.

Corbin: Accents help to build character across the microphone. Being from the South myself I often wonder if it comes across in my own vocals. Your voice is also quite unique.

Jazzy: In my younger days I played piano bars all over Tulsa, played at the Camelot Inn for several years, singing some of the songs that people requested, and I did enjoy singing.

Corbin: So what changed?

Jazzy: I found Electronic Music and fell in love because it came at a time when there was a lull in good music. I was burned out on classic rock and Synthpop had dissolved so when I first heard Moby, Dzihan and Kamien, The Dining Rooms, Thievery Corporation, I knew that I wanted to do what they were doing.
Actually, my son encouraged me because of my musical ability and although I was new to computers, I began to play around with Ableton. Learned it very easily and went on from there.

Corbin: The first time I heard Porcelian by Moby I was in awe! It really changed my outlook on the whole band scene. Since your last voice interview with WEATNU you have been quite busy and even started your own Chillout/Electronic group on Facebook. What started this ball rolling?

Jazzy: Because I know how it feels to have an all consuming fire inside to be really good at Electronic music, practice makes perfect and although I don’t need stardom, a few fans would be nice. I wanted Electronic musicians to feel important and I know how it feels to be totally ignored after you have spent months working on a project that you think is YOU. I can’t be someone else because of my deep seeded desire to make good music and besides, if I never make a dime, it’s a challenge and it’s fun to hear the end product.
Our motto in The Electronic/Chillout Musician’s Circle came from my heart to every musician that I have in my Circle “Everyone needs praise – it keeps us motivated.”
I belong to twelve musical groups and none of them do promotion like I do in the Circle. They need to want to be in the Circle and mostly they just want to be HEARD.

Corbin: Your member numbers are growing astronomically, care to comment on this feat?

Jazzy: I’ve noticed that too, I guess I would have to say “word of mouth,” some of the musicians, especially the ones in Europe must be trying to make the Circle a “household word,” that’s okay.

Corbin: Very much so! Does it encompass a lot of your time to oversee this group?

Jazzy: I have made an organized system so I can keep track of their names, the songs that person uploads, the albums, the videos and the links they have included so I can refer the public to their outside music.

Corbin: I often wonder what artists do for work, as it subconsciously fuels their creative essence. I am an auto technician by day, what is your livelihood?

Jazzy: I am a retired legal secretary and musician.

Corbin: So with the new album almost complete, aside from its promotion what is the next move for Jazzykat?

Jazzy: Let me offer you some information about my musical endeavors. I have made five albums and one EP through Weatnu and in answer to your question I will continue to make Electronic music and learn and use new genres in my albums and singles. On albums such as, Vanilla Crunch, and Think about your Future on Weatnu Records.

Corbin: Very good! Keep them coming. I read your article on Thom Yorke here in #WEATNU Digital Magazine. Are you going to be writing some more articles in the near future? How about any collaborations coming up?

Jazzy: Yes, indeed, I really enjoy doing those articles. I will be doing new articles about Electronic Pioneers and I have been debating about something new in the magazine, I think I will also start a new article regarding 80’s Synthpop Superstars, that should be interesting.
Since the ever popular Glory Be, we’ll call it, I haven’t given it much thought. With the Circle promotions and making new music I probably wouldn’t have time.

Corbin: Yes MDS is a super huge project!! Do you think the Chillout/Electronic group will get together for something like that venture?

Jazzy: We are so new, it’s really hard to say right now.

Corbin: I listen to everything WEATNU had to offer as a moderator for our soundcloud account. When I play your music at work, people instantly turn their heads, and yet there are vocals to speak of. What you bring to the WEATNU movement is quite unique. Do you feel that your music influences others or is it your persona? Or both?

Jazzy: All I do is pour out the beats I love, the percussion, which gives that song an edge of surprise, or whatever you indeed want the song to sound like. The chords you play, the sequences are very important while keeping it lively. The kick is a vital important asset today and the melodies are just as important.  I really want people to enjoy my music and hopefully they feel that desire when they hear them…I hope so!
When I begin a new song, it must be different, in most respects, a catchy bass intro, merging with a good-sounding kick, maybe some fx and go from there, as they say, “it’s your thing….do what you wanna do.”

Corbin: Great reference! Your albums are such an “easy listen” not to be confused with the genre “easy listening”. I put on Bufinger‘s album and had an entire dashboard and heater core out of a vehicle in 2 hours. I’m listening to you now and taking my time with a rather large job I’m doing now. I don’t have to change the channel or turn it down as people come by trying to communicate with me. That is something very unique about your music, its flow and architecture. Care to elaborate?

Jazzy: I would really like to try something heavier, but so far the song Eccentric Minds is probably the heaviest I have done. In fact, I have included it in the new album.
In answer to your last question, I will say that has to do with Almark’s mastering. He’s very particular about the audio sound in the music he is working on.

Corbin: Your songs seem to cover a wide range of musical influences. Are there a couple of genres in particular that you feel have shaped the course of your music career?

Jazzy: In the sixties, R&B, Pop, Funk, Soul and Jazz. The seventies had Marvin Gaye, Huey Lewis, The GAP Band from Tulsa, James Brown, The Doobies and The Commodores. Jazz was still popular with Dave Brubeck and others. Hall & Oates, Led Zeppelin and Disco were popular, and there was a huge variety of genres to choose from. I liked all of these.
I guess my music has been influenced by all these genres and now they are mixed with Electronic, Experimental, Dance, Techno, and now NewWave, NuDisco and Electronica.

Corbin: Besides your DAW of choice, what other instruments do you use regularly in your recordings?

Jazzy: Along with Ableton, I use an Axiom Air MIDI Keyboard with Nexus software which gives me a wide variety of beats, pads and instruments, such as piano, bass and drum pads, mixed in with fx sounds. I am now composing new songs with more keyboard beats, and melodies. I also play the accordian and the ukelele, haha just kidding.

Corbin: I must say Kathryn it has been a real pleasure being able to get a better understanding on what makes your music so unique. Is there anything else you would care to comment on?

Jazzy: Please buy my new album. That’s It! Thanks Corbin for your support.

Follow Jazzykat on Twitter.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Interview by Corbin Roof

Intro by Almark

Pre-order Jazzykat’s latest album ‘World Upside Down’ On Weatnu Records.

4 Brand new songs appear on this album.

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Interview with Tom Ellard

Industrial/Dance Pioneer,
Tom Ellard formally of “Severed
Heads” speaks on new album “Rhine”

What new things have you been cooking up in the synth factory, namely
Rhine?

Tom Ellard: I’ve spent too many years meeting deadlines; the music industry, advertising, academic. The push for the last few years has been to escape that. Obviously there’s still a lot of things in life that have to be delivered on time, but this is not the best way to make music. Instead, there’s a lot of things going on here that don’t have a set purpose, until they insist on being realized by their own impatience. RHINE is a name I borrowed from a different project that had failed, and said OK this unexpected thing is now RHINE, what does that mean? What do I do with this?

What has changed on this album?

Tom Ellard: I’m not able to know what is meant here – changed from Barbara Island? That’s like a magazine that has run since 2006. It has a certain style and appears every 4 years (that’s the design). So different from Op3? That was almost krautrock. I am not sure what my centroid is supposed to be. Maybe RHINE is exactly that.

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Vocals on Rhine: the lyrics have always been a trip to me.
Are there hidden meanings to your songs?

Tom Ellard: There is not so much things hidden in the lyrics as I don’t try to make them universal. Like I might have a personal experience, and I could translate that into a generalized experience so that everyone could recognize it, but I don’t see the advantage in doing that. I will just talk about something that I have in mind and if you have something else in mind then that’s fine, it’s not a documentary. Sometimes there might be a bit of play where I will use some words by which a few people will catch the meaning and enjoy the discovery. It’s always designed to entertain on a few levels. Like Bridge To Everything has some allusions to Scientology, and the bit about having your head shaved is a reference to Narconon. So you might think I’m talking about that, but then it’s really about the extras in George Lucas’ THX 1138, and that leads to something else.

Is there a story behind Rhine?

Tom Ellard: There is no single narrative. There are different narratives mingled together. My original RHINE project was about forming synthetic solids by using high pressure sound waves.
That alluded to JB Rhine, the American psychic researcher. He thought he was discovering psychic powers in his lab but I have a different theory about that which is too complex to explain here. But while I was working on RHINE, I was recording music for relaxation and that in itself is a result of the experiment, that something was formed even if not the expected result. It’s not that complex, it’s like living on a beach and calling an album BEACH.

Rhine feels like a Sevs album and taking a left turn from familiar ground, poppy and strange once again, what
brought you back into this territory? It’s as if you’ve rebooted your sound and started over, yet there is plenty to
digest.

Tom Ellard: It’s more like having been a professional athlete at one stage, retiring and reaching a point where you can have a fun run without being reminded of all the crap. I have moved on from that. It got tedious, and I would never let things go back to that way of working – you must have the next record ready by June and there will be three remixes required etc… I don’t need to go back that way.

How are you creating music these days, mostly analog, less DAW? That deep bass in this album, is that the SH101?

Tom Ellard: It’s whole mix of things over more than two years and I honestly couldn’t pick out everything. The early tracks were sequenced and then I might go back and play it manually instead. Then listen to them together, keep that cut that. It’s not done according to principle, it’s what works. Like there is a snare drum sound on Fingers which I did over and over again on every damn thing I had to try get what I wanted – there’s a multitude of different white noise bangs on the multitrack of which maybe #12 and #7 might have been the final choice. Some of the later tracks like “Department” are obviously based around one or two devices that do something well. The MS2000 does the warbles, the bass is a Fantom and the melodies are an SY77. Because that’s what worked. In the past I might have owned two keyboards, so it was all of a type. That’s not the case any more.

Do you compose from start to finish. Or record the drums first.

Tom Ellard: Usually it’s melody. Could be on piano. Then start developing lines in response to that. In the more complex tracks, the drums were the last thing and might have gone through many versions over the two years. Like “oh that’s too heavy”, “that’s too fiddly”, “that’s just sludge” , followed by leaving it alone for three or so months to get a perspective. Simple drums are the start but usually don’t survive to the end, because I get tired of them after a couple of bars. The vocals were right at the end. They had to be done on two Mondays between 10am and 12pm, so they were really cranked out as quick as possible.

Still recording to tape at times, or just mix-down through DAW?

Tom Ellard: If tape makes sense. If it’s an affectation then no, what’s the point? Not everything sounds better on tape. Some tracks you might bounce a particular set of sounds to tape, see if that makes them move away from the rest of the sounds. The end section of “Lolly” has a ridiculous number of layers, including some tape. But all of this technology is just tools.

The album was recorded in the terse tapes, is that right, from past Severed Heads albums?

Tom Ellard: It’s just where the gear is camped at any moment. It has moved about and sometimes it was in a suitcase. Really it refers to a working space. There are still things here that were here in 1979, if that is necessary for the definition.

<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;” src=”https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=1902038632/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/” width=”300″ height=”150″ seamless=””>The Illustrated Family Doctor by Severed Heads</iframe>

Considering your work in the past with the “The Illustrated Family Doctor” in composing music for the entire
film. Do you see more film works in your future?

Tom Ellard: Australia is a small population, smaller than New York, or Tokyo. There are fewer opportunities here, and they are starkly there or not there. For a few years I had lots of synch work. Then I had none. It may come back, who knows? I could move to Los Angeles if I really wanted that, Australians tend to move, but I am not so worried. These days I have a completely different career, this is what fate has decided. It might decide again.

Are you working on new games, videos at this time?

Tom Ellard: There is both a prequel and sequel to HH in early development, and both are critical solutions of problems in the first game. It’s not too bad for something that one person programmed over a year, but I think I would very much like to change the “computer game” look of the game to be more photographic. This is not easy. I am taking spherical photographs at the moment and trying figure out a way to move smoothly between them. There’s not the right look yet. This sort of thing will require a few years. There is also a storyline which must now be made into a “bible” , so that it is consistent across all three titles.

I noticed your latest montage of art regarding the new video to Rhine, excellent work.You’re also teaching these days?

Tom Ellard: I am the Program Director of the Media Arts degree at UNSW Australia. That means a lot of management, course design, financial planning etc. etc. that add up to a fair amount of stress. When we’re at full speed, there’s no time for music, video, anything.

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From reading your the albums PDF, I can tell that the Internet is leading you back from the past into a new light of music lovers and fans, your thoughts?

Tom Ellard: We made an album in 1985 called “Clifford Darling Please Don’t” Live In The Past. It’s being re-issued in 2015. That says everything I could hope to say.

Can we hope for more Ellard releases in the future? Sorry, I’m so use to thinking of your music as Severed Heads, I can’t seem to get it out on my own head.

Tom Ellard: There will be stuff. The word “release” is little bit old fashioned. It’ll be less frumpy than that. It could be under different names, because stability causes cancer. There will not be any new Severed Heads music, the joy is gone from that.

Do you plan on digging up the old bones and the head of your past moniker and go on a tour once again, this time for Rhine?

In our agreement with Gary Numan it was pledged that Severed Heads would not play any gigs in Australia after Adelaide. We have kept this promise, because Gary is an angry god.

What makes Gary Numan an angry god? 

Tom Ellard: Actually we told the Numan crew at our final show that we were retiring and they gave us a farewell card which he’d also signed. Once after that we performed in the same city (which was OK because we said Adelaide was our last show, and it was technically). But really it was a funny device to stop a cycle of farewells, which it did. A few calls after that were just “Gary says no”.

If not the absence of a head, then your own head will do. Are you planning to do some touring in the name of Ellard then?

Tom Ellard: I am happy just to do the occasional appearance.

Puzzles on Rhine, a map too boot, all very interesting, those videos that were cryptic, have been leading up this haven’t they?

Tom Ellard: There is a consistent line of clues between HH, Barbara Channel, 3 and RHINE. So far I have seen no decodes, so the game goes on. There is also a connection with the coma-tone that was introduced by Co Kla Coma, (however for legal reasons, that signal is no longer available.) This all adds up to a overarching narrative, for the entertainment of the people that have followed it over the years. Entertainment can take longer.

What inspires you to write music? Don’t worry, a thesis isn’t needed for such as vague question.

Tom Ellard: It is necessary to my happiness, and that’s really all there is. No one else has to listen, but hiding it is pretentious.

I have to know what’s the story behind the dog on your twitter account, and the chicken? – laughs

Tom Ellard: The chicken was from my account on Linked In. I made an account as A. Chicken, so it would say “A Chicken wishes to connect with you” on Linked In. I had many people around the world that wanted to link with a chicken, but then LI closed the account. That gave me the position to refuse to use LI, because they don’t understand the importance of self parody. The dog is just a stupid looking dog.

What motivated you to release “Rhine” on USB, nothing unusual since you’ve done similar things in the past with MiniDisc etc?

Tom Ellard: It’s by far the most effective physical media container at the moment. I had to make sure it was as inexpensive as possible, while still providing a pleasing keepsake. My audience are not all wealthy. Even cassettes cost more now. Bandcamp might go off-line some day, but USB should be around for another decade.

You like to call these releases pop albums, yet this isn’t modern pop at all, but it’s own sound, interesting as always.

Tom Ellard: It’s the opposite of difficult music, then I guess.

Do you hope that others create their own sound instead of the same copy paste musicians we all seem to run into these days?

Tom Ellard: To be honest, electronic music is all nostalgia now. That’s why I’m working in game design, because it’s like electronic music was once – difficult and needing new ideas.
But if a band wants to be Tangerine Dream, OK, that’s fine. Just don’t be too lazy.

[Almark] Just wanted to say, I have a friend who sampled the drums to Pilot in Hell, as he tells me, many years ago.

Are you currently listening to new artists these days, no not pop of course, electronic, possibly abstract music?

Tom Ellard: For no particularly good reason, I am not listening to music much at all at the moment. This sounds like a critique, it’s not, it’s just that right now there’s so much data coming at me that any silence is pretty damn good. Or early 20th century jazz – jug and washboard. That’s good too.

Seeking any record labels these days, or sticking with the non-label life?

Tom Ellard: I have three labels currently, all are re-issue labels but they keep me busy. Then I get people that want to be a label for new releases and that’s cool, but it’s really about money, and if you’re not good with money then you shouldn’t be doing it – I know that from personal experience. It took about 1 million dollars of marketing to get NIN up and popular. Getting new music up is very heavy lifting. Keep it simple, keep it low cost, less worry.

Your thoughts on “We are the New Underground.” Do you think it will help future artists come to the light who are making music in the dark?

Tom Ellard: I don’t know what the underground is. No one really knows, and there is a lot of discussion going on about that. It’s a paradox, because if you know about it, it’s not underground. If you are completely unknown, maybe that’s it? But that’s not what people really want, they want to be known. So, the words have to be the right words, or you never get what you really wanted. A new underground would be something that was invisible that response to something else that was invisible.

If someone were to walk around in your head, what would they find?

Tom Ellard – Wurst

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