Fascinating days these are, where a figure like RxRy can thrive in the dark, letting sounds and images swirl into visible persona. His true identity is known by some, and isn’t nearly as protected as others may think. He is simply an artist who prefers a low profile, not for benefit of hyperbole, but rather the idea that we can be transported by art without having to look it square in the eye. The objective here is to give a glimpse at his world of operation, somewhat personally, but more so musically.
In a way, this all began last January, when S&S unknowingly became a vehicle for RxRy; one he could regularly share creations and words through. With each of his emails came a progression, another ‘drownstep’ mission, and a somehow natural corresponding post. That unspoken bond was occasionally helped along by a “thanks” or “cheers” or “I haven’t seen the ocean in ages, tell her hello next time” via Gchat, until recent longer exchanges came about. Together we decided that it might work best to publish the very transcripts from those late night sessions (figuratively referred to as “the shadows”). Note: they have been structured and cleaned up a bit for easier reading. And there’s a new song somewhere in there…
DS: For me, your music is a welcome mental departure, not sure I have any other listening experience quite like it. What is it for you?
RX: That is very flattering. It just means a lot to me that my music can mean a lot to people. Because it means a lot to me. At this point I don’t know what I’d do without it, like this security blanket. A space to float in.
DS: A double life?
RX: There is a single life, but the music is apart of it.
DS: How was it when that space hit reality, at your only live performance [South by Southwest 2010]?
RX: Nothing against the people I met or played with, or who put on the event I played, but SXSW was a mistake. I had very little control over what happened, and it was reckless. Outside at noon. The sound was awful. Not to sound like a prima donna, but it just wasn’t what I wanted.
DS: Doesn’t sound ideal. What would be?
RX: Dark rooms and loud speakers. Just pitch black. Or give everyone headphones. And blindfolds. A collective experience in isolation. In an alleyway or abandoned building, but with HUGE speakers, in the middle of the night, or even a whole tour outside, in fields around the country, ending at like 5-6am when the sun is coming up. I like the idea of being outside, but in this environment where you have to take notice of this dramatic shift that happens every single day — the nuance of a sunrise. It would be important for it to feel exploratory for the audience. I don’t want people to just sit and watch me play as dude interacting with a computer. I want people to explore the environment or, if that isn’t an option, to take a walk inside themselves. I make music for walking and thinking. I do that all the time. It’s how I listen to cuts and demos.
I remember when I saw My Bloody Valentine, there was a dude at the door handing out earplugs and it made me really excited. Like, what is this going to be?! I have this tangible warning that this is going to be a rough show. That was awesome. I want that.
DS: Would you stay private on the tour like Daft Punk or something?
RX: Outside of the setting, I think my methods at SXSW could totally work. It’s a choice to be unseen, but not like a project, a must never been identified thing. I would be making this music anyway… it just kind of turned into this weird conceptual monster that I try to understand and maintain. There is something about the value of a character that I think is important, that has been forgotten. Daft punk knows. Die Antwoord knows. Bowie knew for a while. Alice Cooper. Gwar. All these dudes. It’s so personal now. Like, “let me tweet about my day”, who cares? Write a song about it. Let it talk.
DS: I’ll follow Wavves’ twitter because he’s entertaining in ways that don’t matter to his music so much. Whereas you live in my headphones and in galaxies that I’d like to think exist, far away from that stuff. So how thought out was your concept, like before the first album?
RX: The idea of Rx is kind of long running. Maybe a month or so before and I had been toying with ideas musically. I latched onto a few things and just ran with it while I was sick and trapped in my house for a month. I had 6 days of straight time alone and made a set of songs that felt cohesive to me then. Now, it sounds really rushed. Something really clicked between RxRy and VAEIOUWLS for me.
DS: I can hear it, but still listen to the first one quite a bit.
RX: A lot of people say that. I think it has kind of a primacy effect appeal. It was first, so people pay attention to it more, because it was kind of viral. I think that is part of the reason why I turned away from it a little bit, because that was the least of my intentions. I was convinced to post the songs in the first place by people who listened to them, I was like, “alright, I will send it to a few people and make a myspace.”
DS: Your myspace struck me right away. All the artwork. It fits well. Seems you are behind it all? And the videos too?
RX: Thanks. Yes. It is an outlet I didn’t know I needed until I had it. These songs come from weird heavy absences and caverns, they’re important to me. The art is honest, and part of it.
DS: I think I understand what you mean about honesty. I see cover art come through that feels forced, and sometimes the package ends up being all looks.
RX: Totally. I am generally turned off by blog culture. But I only exist because of blog culture. I live in a dangerous place. It is like suburban angst. I do like bloggers though, especially for their sense of loyalty. There are a lot of good people out there.
Can I ask you a question or two? Do you get colors? Do you get landscapes? What is it for you?
DS: Yeah I get places (your art can be suggestive), sometimes just darkness, other times like a chameleon to where I am mentally, there’s this crushing or throbbing present in most tracks, like a pulse, an anchor. Or a vacuum.
RX: Iridescence. That’s how it feels to me too. Not every track has a vacuum, but most have an anchor.
DS: Where would you like listeners to go with your music?
RX: I am really into the idea of places of safety, even if it is just an illusion. I think a place to feel safe is important. This all started because I was sick and wanted to feel better, so I made music that made me feel better. Part of the illness I had was this terrible anxiety and depression, it was a thyroid/chemical thing.
It is your choice to print this or not, but I am a Believer. Not really devout or anything, but definitely a believer. And this is really spiritual music for me. It is kind of my worship music. That is part of why it is wordless, because I have no words to express how I feel about those Ideas. All those words have been exhausted.
Another question for you, you’re the first to get your ears around the new album [called Omega or Ω]. Are any tracks jumping out at you?
DS: “Obtvse Boqœt Conc¨ssion”.
RX: It’s a song for fireworks: one of my favorite things in the whole world. The sonic and visual elements combined, the explosion and the ripple and hiss and fade. The bass blast in the chest to a sizzle and crackle… neck hair standing on ends. Shit, I love them.
DS: Another, “Iµaginary Minœral D’Posit”.
RX: Mineral Deposit is an ode to one of my favorite bands, 1 Mile North. It is kind of sideways, because it doesn’t sound anything like them after the fact, but they were all I was thinking about. I love their pacing. They vanished a few years back. If you read this 1 Mile North, PLEASE COME BACK.
DS: And of course, “Aertigo Lapsees”.
RX: I was a ‘nodder’ growing up, a kid with a backpack and headphones walking around nodding. I woke up the day after working on that track and was like, “why is my neck so sore?” I originally dedicated the song to “the nodders”, but figured they would get it.
DS: Your song titles have a certain styling, even the way they’re typed or coded. Explain.
RX: I like how malleable the alphabet is, it should be taken advantage of more often, played with. And part of the music is that it’s (usually) devoid of words or vocals and I want the titles to reflect that a little bit, to be open to interpretation, some of it is just me playing around, I think the more transparent songs have more transparent titles (in retrospect) like, convertible babes, that song…. (regrets). I thought it was kind of obvious that an album called “vowels” was kind of a backlash and that is why I did it, so those song titles for me are really the ones in parenthesis. There are a ton of vowels in the titles from the first album, yet everyone started talking about this dude with no vowels, I was like, here are my vowels.
DS: You’ve addressed those kinds of public perceptions in your own way, sometimes more directly, like the “Not Noah” photo in response to a rumor [that you were Noah Lennox of Animal Collective].
RX: Shit. I was caught up in my own scandal. I still kinda wish I heard something from him though. That would have been awesome. I secretly wonder if he ever listened to it. That blows my mind. It freaked me out a little when I got wind of that rumor, I was like, “what have I started?”. It got to me. I just sat pent up in my room stewing while I watched it unfold. I decided to step away from it but like I said, I realized it was viral and wanted to fix it.
DS: Last one, why did you do an interview?
RX: Good question. I wanted to limit some misconceptions I feared would inhibit the fun of all this for everyone. You ever heard of Tony Cliffton? Great Comedian.