In two weeks time three colossal talents of the international breakcore scene will begin winding their way across the United States on a whirlwind tour that’s somehow been crammed into the shortest month of the year.
The HARD DATA caught up with end.user to get the low down on what you can expect when the combined chaos of these mischief makers touches down near you….
Monsters of MashUp Tour Dates: featuring end.user, Shitmat, and Bong-Ra: Feb. 16th – Star Theater - Portland, OR Feb. 17th – Wire - Berwyn, IL Feb. 18th – The Black Box - Denver, CO Feb. 19th – Rathskeller Restaurant - Indianapolis, IN Feb. 22nd – Churchill's Pub - Miami, FL Feb. 24th – Zeba Bar - Washington, DC Feb. 25th – ION Night Club - Philadelphia, PA featuring only end.user and Shitmat: Feb. 26th – AS220 - Providence, RI
Monsters of MashUp is a pretty crazy line-up. You and Bong-Ra have been label mates for years at Ad Noiseam, but how did Shitmat get into the mix?
Jason and I met in person during 2004 while I was staying in Berlin after my first Ad Noiseam release came out. It was around the time that breakcore generally started to get a lot of attention in Europe. Jason introduced me to Henry (Shitmat) and he came up with the idea for the first Monsters of MashUp tour. We ended up doing 10 or 11 shows in 18 days all over Europe. It was hectic to say the least – but we survived
What sort of madness does this all-star breakcore tour plan to unleash?
Well I think we have 8 shows in 10 days. They are also pretty far apart from each other geographically, so I think we have a lot of early mornings / long flights. I’d like to say we’ll try to be responsible and not have too much fun, and get a ton of sleep to show up fresh at each gig – but knowing us I’m going to say bullshit. We’ll do what we can to throw down as hard as possible each night and make sure we make it to the next gig. Besides surviving, I think some ‘breakcore bingo’ hosted by Shitmat was on the schedule.
Oh, I should mention that we have a handler traveling with us to make sure we are where we need to be on time, and there is an ‘Anvil’ type documentary being made about all of this. Someone must have lost a bet and will be traveling with us documenting all of it.
Tell us about the new album, Enter to Exit.
It took way too long to finish, but in a way that’s good. I almost released it ahead of time, and in all honesty it wasn’t ready. I took an extra year pretty much and ditched a couple of tracks while letting a few others find themselves. In the end it’s a bit melancholy compared to some stuff, maybe more in line with Calling the Vultures, but it was something I went through and put out there, so I’m really glad I’m happy with the final result. I don’t feel like I put something out there that I’m not 100% about. It’s full of emotions I’d say; the good with the bad.
Are there any plans to refine and release the tracks you ditched, or have those been abandoned?
One of them was a vocal track which stuck out a bit too much from the rest, so I’m planning on finishing that & having a couple of remixes from other artists for an EP. The other tracks that were leftover will either find homes on compilations or free downloads, I’m sure… although sometimes I revisit things months / a year later and see them in a totally new way. So we’ll see.
Your early releases on Sonic Terror have popped up on Bandcamp recently. How does it feel to revisit that material after more than a decade?
It’s weird in a way to listen to that stuff these days, mainly because back then I really worked so fast that I didn’t have time to think too much on any element that was going into a tune. It was just like ‘oh shit, this is happening now,’ meanwhile an entirely new thought was being introduced. Lots of chaos, lots of not-giving-a-fuck. I think the older any musician gets, they sort of consider what they’re doing *while* they’re doing it – as opposed to looking at it after the fact. Sometimes I hear these old tracks and I’m really shocked that I put some of these elements together and they worked out in the end. I’m sort of inspired by it, in a way. Stop thinking too much and just do what feels right.
How did the Sonic Terror crew initially come together?
Sonic Terror has gone through a few iterations. It started around ’99 in Indianapolis, a year or so after I started doing the end.user shows. I was living with a guy in Indy – Adam/DJ Incubus and we used ithe name mostly for live gigs. Then, when I moved back to Cincinnati I met up with Scott (Line47) and we started putting out vinyl pretty much straight away. We would sleeve the records ourselves, and we ran it out of our houses. It was very DIY but we just did it because we loved it. It’s been years since then and now Carl (N.L.I.C.) have decided to pick it back up again and offer an outlet to our friends & people who are making weird/noisy breakbeats.
For a while it seemed like Milwaukee was a sort of nucleus for the Midwest breakcore scene that revolved around barn parties and the Addict and Distort labels. In a lot of ways Sonic Terror heralded the emergence of the post-Barn era. Was there a scene for what you were doing, or was it just a community of like-minded producers that drew inspiration from one another?
I was always a fan of what was going on up in Milwaukee. When i was in Indy I went to a few parties, and was super into Drop Bass Netowrk (Ghetto Safari) & Addict stuff. I met a few people in those days, but it wasn’t until Doormouse started to come through Cincy and Scott & I would host those parties that I got to really know those guys and feel like there was any sort of connection. That shit got pretty crazy. I remember one weekend alone I had Dan Doormouse, Aaron Funk, Baseck, Otto Von Schirach, and Chris c64 staying at my house. It may have even been the same time Knifehandchop & Belladonnakillz were there. We sort of had this breakcore stronghold in northern Kentucky that was situated between a Waffle House and a drive through liquor store. What could go wrong?
What are your indispensable tools for production, and what can people expect from your current live set?
I write everything in Renoise. I use pieces of hardware when I’m around them, but always bounce it to audio and cut that up in Renoise. I’ve always loved trackers as long as i can remember, and I hate writing music in anything else, although sometimes I’m forced to (and I do use Ableton for live shows) I will always prefer writing in a tracker.
As far as my live shows are looking now, it seems to be a mix of really old tracks mashed up with unfinished pieces & remixes from more vocal based tracks over the years. It’s always hard to mix tracks that were made 10-15 years apart because of the differences in sound quality – but as long as it’s loud, there’s enough low end and the highs don’t pierce your brain, I’m a happy guy.