Interview conducted by Kurt from Food Desert Recordings who put together big comps for good charities. Check out Hallucinogenic Bulb’s track from the recent compilation Let No Man Pass Judgement…. below.
2022 was a very busy year! You collaborated on numerous releases, toured with Jenn Taiga, and got featured by hate5six last year. What are your plans for 2023?
I didn’t actually tour with Jenn Taiga, but I did make the flyer for that tour AND I played the Philly date (alongside The Council on American Regicide, who fucking rule), which was one of my favorite shows in recent memory.
For 2023, I’m just now starting to get the ball rolling on some new releases, and I also want to play more shows outside of Philly (in fact, by the time this interview goes up, I’ll have already played in New Haven, CT for the first time with the one and only L’Eclipse Nue). After 7 years of this project I finally mostly figured out how to stay productive and keep things moving without completely burning myself out, and I plan to keep that going. There’s not a whole lot I can talk about specifically project-wise right now, so stay tuned as things start to come together!
You were among the first artists to contribute songs supporting both the trans community and a woman’s right to an abortion. Why do you think these are such important causes to support?
No rich old fuck should be able to decide what someone does with their body or how they live their life. The folks fighting that fight at places like WRAAP and Equality Texas are also way smarter than me – I’m just some dude who wants to help in whatever way I can.
What bands/artists inspire you the most? And of those bands/artists, which (if any) of their influences do you feel are reflected in your music?
Portal and Demilich were the biggest inspirations for the project (when I started taking it more seriously, at least). My musical world was way smaller in 2016 when I started, and I wanted to make stuff that was just as crushing and otherworldly and as weird as those bands with the tools I had lying around at the time (which was just a computer and some coding skills, really). More recently, it’s tougher to point to one thing or project specifically, especially since I’ve learned a lot of tricks from all the people I’ve worked with over the years (especially the collaborations with Lambeth and Wormtooth). But also I guess if I had to pick one, Fire-Toolz. I still fucking love Demilich though!
What was the first piece of gear you purchased?
Depends on what we’re counting as gear – I’ve had the afterglow Xbox 360 controller I play live with since I was 14 (my parents bought it for me in like 2009), and I bought the laptop I’d eventually use for the first few years of Hallucinogenic Bulb for my senior year of college in 2016. The first piece(s) of real gear I purchased were a DOD compressor pedal and a cheap volume pedal, which I bought to use for a doom band I played bass in briefly in 2017. I parted ways with the band after a few months, but eventually found use for all that stuff in Hallucinogenic Bulb, too.
When you perform live, what gear do you use? And what is your favorite piece?
The three major pieces of my setup are my pedalboard, laptop, and controller. I’ll change up what’s on my pedalboard based on what I’m feeling for any particular show or project but I’ll usually have a little tiny 7-key synth running into everything – usually a delay pedal, a distortion pedal, a pitchshifter/harmoinizer, a bitcrusher, and my favorite, my glitch/stutter pedal (which randomly glitches out my signal based on some settings I can mess with).
All that’s going into my laptop, which is running a special noise machine I wrote using the Unity game engine (same thing that powers Hearthstone and tons of indie games) where I can further mangle the sound using Unity’s sound stuff. I also have a sampler built into the Unity project, and I can play specific sounds (that I load into it and decide on before a gig) by pressing certain buttons on my Xbox controller. My other favorite piece of gear is a set of Christmas lights I throw over my pedalboard during shows. They look really cool and also help me see what knobs I’m turning during a set, which is kind of important!