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Adam Pask (P45K) - interview (2006)
2006-07-10 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz and Brian Backlash | e-mail interview
Brian: When did you first start writing music?
Adam: Well I used to mess around on an old friend's PC running a dodgy version of Fruity Loops, and just kept mixing on it 'til I loaded up too many sounds and crashed it. Every time. So I decided then that I wanted to get into doing it in a more serious way, but didn't have the knowledge or funds to go about it back then, so I didn't really start writing music until mid-2005. I'd been really wanting to make music and see if I were any good, but never really had the time or equipment. I've always written lyrics for songs, [which hardly anyone's ever seen... yet]. I may make more lyrical songs in the future, but it's not my focus right now.

I've spent most of my life so far creating visual art and writing, rather than music and noise - biomechanical art has always been my thing, but music has always been my greatest love. I knew eventually I'd get into it in some form or another, I just wasn't quite sure how until last year :)

What's the most satisfying aspect to creating music?
That's a tough one, there are a few... I'd have to say accomplishing a track and still liking it after playing it over and over a million times in the creation process. More satisfying though is the feeback from others. I love to know people are getting into my sounds, and understanding what I'm trying to do and say with each track... as they're instrumental pieces for the most part, it's hard to know if people know where I'm coming from with my track titles, whether what I felt when making the track comes out or whether it sounds like 'just another song' to other people. I try to put everything I can into a track at a particular time, in terms of sounds and feelings.

I've deleted so many songs over the last year, as I just don't think they are all that great, but the ones I put out there for people to hear, and the tracks I'm putting on recordings are songs I'm proud of creating.

I love to know what people think about when playing my music. That's why I need to get my album finished and sent out there soon!

NINa: I can hear a substantial influence of Charlie Clouser's music for your general style. I noticed you make a characteristic leitimotive for a song and later it's your own invention to build it upside down. It's what gives that special feel to your music, of course. Have you been properly trained as a musician, or are you self taught?
Ooh Charlie Clouser - thank you for even thinking of my sound in a similar context as Charlie Clouser! He, along with the various other members of the evolving formations of the NIN collective have been my first and foremost inspirations over the years, along with hundreds of other amazing musicians and noisemakers.

I'm totally self taught. I learned the keyboard when I was a child for a short time, and I love to drum and mess around with other instruments whenever I get the chance, but I've never actually learned how to play music professionally. I basically just listen to the sounds, and work that way. If it sounds right, I'll keep it. If it sounds wrong, I'll alter it or get rid of it... but if it sounds really wrong, I'll keep it and find some strange use for it somewhere in the current songs or a future track down the line. I love the fact that you can create a song from all the sounds that others would throw away, or wouldn't consider to be music.

I find that to be the most meaningful and creative type of music - something that isn't scared to be different or unplayable on the radio or in clubs, or a track that's not afraid to tackle real issues in a realistic and truthful manner, without prettying it up. I like my sounds to be dark and dirty, as they too can be beautiful in their own twisted way. Just like everything else, it all comes down to the individual, and what each person likes or dislikes, and how differently each person interprets the same piece of music in a different light. Some people may like my music, some people will hate it - as long as they have an opinion is what matters to me.

Brian: A lot of your music has very subdued beats with layers of more aggressively melodic intensity sprinkled on top. When you sit down to begin writing a song, do you know exactly what you're going to do, or do the songs write themselves, so to speak?
Adam: Sometimes I have a plan, or a concept. When I created my first songs, they were very structured, which worked well for a few, but not so well for others. I've come to be flexible with that. Some songs start off with a plan, where I'll create the basic beats, [i love starting off with big bassy basic dance or rock beats, and then really screw them up and layer the hell out of them], or I'll maybe start with a bassline or whatever, and then I'll work around that and build it all up into a song. With other tracks, I'll just go and load up a couple of hundred sounds, instruments, beats, and then play around and experiment [and then delete many more so I don't crash my system!], over time a strange kind of coherence will begin to emerge between certain parts, while other areas won't work, so I'll discard them. So yes, lately, more songs do tend to write themselves.

Once a song is compiled into the computer in it's various parts and stages, I love to sit and spend hours upon hours in one session mixing, remixing, deconstructing and reconstructing a track until I think there's some kind of life evolving within it. If it's lifeless and too clinical, I won't keep it for long. I'll tear it apart and try to rebuild it. Or just delete it completely! I think that unpredictable nature suits me better as well. I've never been one for strict rules!

Brian: How will this new side project differ from your current work as Pask?
Myself and Renee of Tank Angel have decided to go for more of an electronic, earthy filmscore approach. Having her vocals combined with my sounds really adds a unique and distinctly strong feminine element to my dark and dirty songs, which transforms the overall tone and emotion of the music. I don't write any of the lyrics for the songs, and I'm always surprised and amazed with how she interprets my music vocally. Her voice also gives me a different perspective on the songs, and I try to build more elements of my music to co-exist with her voice. I think Renee's style is so unique, and feel lucky to have the opportunity to be working with her on this project. I think it's going to be a great recording!

NINa: 'Where Life Ends This Begins'. What did you mean with such an apocalyptic title?
Well the concept for the album initially sprung from the screenplay I've been writing for a couple of years, which deals with life, death, life beyond death, and the evolution of humanity through technology.

I extended these concepts over to my music, as they have always been of great interest for me, and the older I get, the more interesting, and terrifying, these ideas become. The album is a personal account, in sound as opposed to words, about how I feel humans, as a species and as individuals, are losing whatever it was that made us human.

We're slowly evolving into machines, be it by becoming corporate slaves, mindless and only reacting to the information being fed to us by the media outlets, or by becoming nothing but ignorant slaves, blindly killing each other in the names of gods that may or may not exist.

We're also becoming so dependant on machines in this digital era that it's soon going to be too hard to tell where humanity stops and technology begins. I think it's inevitable that in humanity's search for immortality, we're bound to become biomechanical beings over the course of the next few hundred years... if we last that long.

"Where Life Ends This Begins" also relates to our loss of humanity, and evolution into a new biomechanical species, and inevtably our demise at our own hands... Andastly, the concept of life beyond physical death. When our body dies, our soul may rise up and take on a new form of life unknown to us now. When we die, our next stage in life may begin... where life ends a new experience begins... or at least we can hope.

NINa: Your music develops in many interesting directions. There is one song, besides many others, which killed me from the very first rehearsal. I'm trying to ask why didn't you include 'Coma' on the Where Life Ends This Begins album?
Ah yes, that's one of my favourites as well. The reason I didn't include it was simply because I didn't feel it quite fit in with the rest of the tracks at the time, due to sound quality issues, [and the loss of the original project file, which has now been rebuilt], but in hindsight, and subsequent tweaks and edits, t think it may make a reappearance on the final version of the album. I would love to include it. I've actually deleted a couple of other tracks that didn't sit too well with me to make room for it and one or two new ones as well...

Brian: You're preparing to self-release your debut disc 'Where Life Ends This Begins' thru your band's profile on Myspace. Is this distribution method preferable to you, or would you still prefer to be signed to label?
I like the immediacy, ease, and creative freedom of self-releasing my album through my myspace page, but I would also love to be signed to a label which appreciates the strange nature of my sounds, and wouldn't want me to alter the way I create to suit their own ambitions sales or image wise. That said, being signed to a label would be great for getting my music out there and heard by many more of the people who would like my music!

Brian: With the song "Axis of Ignorance" you take a rather direct stab at the criminality of the current American President. It's debatable if samples from Bush's speeches are becoming cliche; do you think it's important to show Bush in a particular light?
I do. In search of truth in these matters, it's getting harder and harder for the everyday person like you or I to find the real story behind the newscasts. When corporations like those owned by the murdoch's or the packer's have vested interests in the media, they will create the news themselves... or the versions they want us to see. Censorship in the media needs to be regulated somehow, but as it stands it's just not happening. Corporations and politicians tell us what we can and can't see, do or hear. They're even trying to censor free speech on the Internet now. For example, it you google the words 'human rights' in China, 'no search found' is the only response you'll get. There are many more instances like this, but I urge people to just open their minds and don't just accept what they see on TV. there's so much more being kept from us to keep us safe from... what? ... ourselves?

If world news, and our own voices are censored on TV and in newspapers by the mutinationals who have vested interests in certain sides of politics, then music created outside of large record companies influence and the internet is one of the last places we can go to get our voices heard.

I agree that a lot of people are using Bush samples in their tracks at the moment, but I think it's a cliche only if the band or group is trying to sound cool or whatever by doing so - kinda like a punk band covering a pop song to get guaranteed radio play, or vice versa. I do think that even if it is becoming cliche, the need is there for people to show their anger at this state of affairs concerning the Bush regime and the human rights abuses being committed by the us forces worldwide - and the apparent lack of guilt, or even acknowledgement of these abuses even in the face of actual footage and hard evidence.

In terms of myself using these samples, I chose to use direct quotes from Bush and Rumsfeld, without editing them, to show the true nature of the people in control of most of the world. They can show that themselves so much better than I... I've actually remixed this track to cut down on the frequency of the samples, so it's not so repetitive. I've chosen to have the samples there in the right places, but to focus more on the music and the shift from the mechanical americanised elements of the first half, to the bigger more aggressive arabic influenced music and beats of the second half, to set up the tone of the song through samples, but then concentrate on creating a sonic battlefield atmosphere. The new version will be featured on a new us compilation later in the year titled 'One Nation Under Surveillance', alongside some great well known artists.

Brian: When are planning to release "Where Life Ends this Begins"?
Hopefully around the end of this year or sooner if I can manage it. I was hoping to have it released by now, but instead of releasing a half-complete sounding CD, I've decided to do it as well as I possibly can with the equipment I've got, and have sent the tracks off to Justin of Transient Defect for mastering and once I'm happy with the final versions of the tracks, I'll be getting the cd's professionally pressed, packaged and ready for release as soon as humanly possible!

Will you be having shows to promote the disc?
I would like to but I have no band as I'm the sole member of Pask, and I don't think me hovering in the dark over a laptop would be a very inspring or rockin' show. If I can get a band together and work it all out, a tour would be great, but at this stage there are no plans for that. However, I am planning on music videos for both projects to get the word out about us hopefully on tv music shows, webcasts and the like, but a band may happen in the near future if things go my way...

Brian: Your music has an organic feel to it. What do you use in the studio?
Not a great deal right now actually. I mainly work with acidpro5 software and a few plugins, and record sounds from all over the place, and find material from the internet, out in the street or the forests, creating stuff from scratch at home and various other places.

I construct and deconstruct all my sounds from base elements of instruments, sounds, noises and voices, and try to make them sound as different as I can through the processes of mixing and recording. I have many vocal elements, but prefer to destroy them and rebuild them as sounds or partial musical peices to weave into the larger sections of my tracks.

It's a very experimental thing for me, as I'm quite inexperienced still, and work with very limited equipment compared to most artists. I just try to make the most with what I've got really. I'm hoping to expand my studio and build my collection of equipment so I can create bigger and better sounds as my experience gradually grows - and that's why I love remixing for other artists. I love testing myself to see if can create something worthy of other bands, so far things have been great, and I haven't been bashed for ruining someone's song! :)

I'll always prefer the dirty rustic nature of my music as opposed to a crystal clear clinical sound of certain artists [which I do respect, but the style isn't for me]. I first decided to create music that I wanted to hear, but never heard said music on the radio, and thought I'll make it myself instead. I though that if other people like what I do, that's great. But I'm not going to change my style or begin making ringtones anytime soon just to make more money or gain the popularity of the kids!

NINa: Do you have a favorite film soundtrack or film score you enjoy listening to?
I have quite a few as I love good films, almost as much as good music... My favourites would have to be Oliver Stone's 'Natural Born Killers', it has so many different styles and eras of music from Bob Dylan to Trent Reznor to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and Reznor has masterfully mixed the album including the soundbites of the film into a coherent and killer sonic experience.

I also love David Lynch's 'The Elephant Man', and 'Lost Highway' for similar reasons as 'NBK', with a great eclectic mix of artists and sounds and masterful mixing and production - and the unmistakeable 'highway' scores of angelo badalamenti. My other favourites are Danny Elfman's 'Edward Scissorhands' score, and Juno Reactor's work on the 'Matrix' trilogy and the soundtracks of Rob Zombie, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino - they just rock.

My most recent favourite has to be singer songwriter Nick Cave and Warren Ellis' score to the film 'The Proposition'. It's just so morbidly beautiful, and suits the visual landscape and tone of the film perfectly.

I don't know if this counts as it was a PC game soundtrack- but Chris Vrenna's score for 'American McGee's Alice' is outstanding. A beautifully eerie soundtrack. Great to listen to at 3 in the morning when doing whatever it is you do at three in the morning...

NINa: Have you ever contacted any movie producer to suggest him making a score?
Not as yet, as I wanted to release my own album first and approach film industry people once they had a copy of my finished works to begin with. I have become friends with an up and coming australian filmmaker, musician and music video director, and we've been in talks about a possible co-production for a short film and music videos etc. I'm looking forward to these collaborations, as we have similar ideas about what films, music vids and scores should be...

Brian: You have a huge range of influences to your music - everything from Rammstein and 1,000 Homo Djs to Jimi Hendrix and Sinead O'Connor. What makes music an inspirational device for you?
Well if I like it, I love it. if I don't I won't bother with it at all. when I like a song, I'll buy the whole album, and usually like every track on it - usually the tracks that are overlooked by most other people I find to be the best ones...

Inspiration from a song comes when there is just something I can't explain or understand in a track, and I have to try and work out what that is, and moreso the emotion and the way certain artitsts put all they've got into a track and it shows in the music. If it evokes a sense of happiness, dread, love, depression, anger or whatever, then I know the track is great, and it's something to work towards in my own music, because when that happens, triggering a feeling in the listener, the music becomes more than 'just a song'.

I don't try to make music to sound like traditional songs, with the usual framework. The form of the song is created on its own. some are more traditional, but most end up the way they were supposed to sound, without a thought as to whether people will accept them or not. I just make the sounds I want to make. The sounds that interest me personally. If I ever lose interest I'll stop doing it, rather than putting out shitty albums. I love music too much though, and there are endless combinations of sounds in the world when you don't just limit yourself to conventional musical instruments. As long as I love music, I'll keep making noise. I try to capture how I feel about something with sounds, and that's what all these great artists who inspire me have managed to do. It's something I aspire to do myself in my own way.

NINa: What is in your opinion the main feature for a musician to value his success: big money, worldwide fame, self evolvement or maybe constant inflow of the chicks? ;)
Self evolution and continuity of great and hopefully greater sounding work over the years to come. Staying true to your goals and ideals. Not watering anything down unless you beleive in yourself that you should.

Money would help a lot but it doen't guarantee great musical success... just look at Axl Rose for the proof of that - an already successful artist who's had numerous record execs throw millions upon millions at him over the last decade for his 'chinese democracy' album, and nothing of any worth has come out of it. Unless the ideas and passion for the music is there, money won't do much at all except make life a little easier... but the constant inflow of chicks is a great indicator that you're doing something right. If you do something right or wrong they'll be the first to let you know in no uncertain terms!

Brian: Not many experimental/industrial bands from Australia make a blip on the radar in the United States. Is there a cohesive electronic music scene in Australia?
I'm sure there is, but I'm nowhere to be seen on it, lol. It seems Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have many great artists with unique qualities and awesome sounds, but I've only been in contact with a few myself. I've always been an outsider on most scenes, and maybe that's why my music is so damn wierd. I just haven't been around anyone enough to be influenced soundwise.

In terms of international radars, I think the rise of internet self promotion and places like Myspace and Vampirefreaks are going to be great for getting the word out about industrial bands internationally. It's working for me, and I've only been around for less than a year and online for less than six months, from first demo to debut album, so I'm sure the more established and perfected artists will have no problems in the near future. Well I hope so anyway. We just have to get over this whole hiphop and emo culture that's infecting the world of late, and bring the real music - live, electronic, or a combination - back to the forefront like in the mid-nineties. It was going so well, and then it just seemed to get buried under the constant sea of commercial shit, and wannabe pop-punk bands emulating blink 182. hopefully an industrial uprising isn't too far away!

Who would you consider to be your contemporaries down under?
I'm not really sure. I'm not the most social of creatures these days! I do love the work of Snog. Black Lung, Tank Angel, Transient Defect, Empty, Flood of Rain, Puzahki, Dizzy Gotheca, Angelspit, Angel Theory, and The Dirty Three for their haunting gothic acoustic works.

NINa: What is the top shit Australian music nowadays?
I think it all comes down to personal taste, and I really dig all of the abovementioned artists. I quit listening to the radio a while ago, and the music TV shows mainly focus on hiphop and emo now so I find all my music and connections through places like myspace these days, actually, that's how all my remixes for other people have come about as well.

My top aussie album of the moment has to be the 'Open Aeon' EP from Sydney band Empty. It's getting a thorough thrashing on my stereo lately! I love all things Snog also - they'll always be my perennial favourite!

Brian: You're working in a side project with vocalist Renee from Tank Angel, a fellow Australian electronic band. How long have the two of you been collaborating, and how soon will you be releasing 'The Seeds of Dissent'?
We've only been working together for a month or two, and we're planning on having a release around the end of the year, but it may take longer as we both want to have a good selection of tracks, and none that sound rushed or incomplete. We're planning a video shoot for the final version of the single 'Spectral' as well, which should be great!

Brian: Will you be doing any remixes to accompany the upcoming debut?
Yeah I'm working on some myself, along with some tracks that didn't make it onto the album, and maybe having some guest remixers as well! If I can get it sorted in time, I'd like to release it as a double album, with a remix disc added as well, similar to the nin 'still' add-on disc. Hopefully I can work something out to that effect. I'll be uploading all the songs on Mypace at various times as well, so material that doesn't get a release can still get heard/downloaded.

What artists would you be interesting in re-interpreting your work?
Snog, Transient Defect, Empty, Flood of Rain, Halo in Reverse, Nude, Evestus, KMFDM, Pig, Tweaker, Trent Reznor, and Aphex Twin. I respect them all as people and artists.

NINa: If you have a chance to spend some time with Trent Reznor, what would you talk to him about?
I'd like to ask why 'With Teeth' sounds incomplete, when compared to the epic natures of 'spiral' and 'the fragile'. I may not get a chance to ask anything else, hahaha! In all truthfulness, I'd just like to get some insight as to how he works in the studio, and what processes he goes through in creating the stranger sides to his work. I'd really like to just sit and watch him at work as opposed to asking him questions about everything. I'd have too many. Just watching and studying would be a better way to learn I think. I'd also have to ask him something about Courtney Love, just to see how quickly he throws a punch at me!

NINa: I recall Tazmania from the geography books as a wide green land. Are there any places in your country you would recommend to see?
Yeah, anywhere outide of the cities and suburbs. I love nature and wildlife. The Simpson Desert is amazing - so desolate and depressing, yet so beautiful at the same time. If you're careful, you can hand-feed wild dingo's in the desert too, but they're very timid. It's great when they trust you enough to get close to you! [for the record, I don't believe a dingo has ever eaten anybody's baby, lol.]

The northern territory is great to visit, as it's wide open space of land and sky, and so much indigenous culture to be found. The closer to the city you get, the less in touch with the real australia you become. Getting into the natural world is the only way to really experience Australia.

The dandenong ranges in Victoria [where I grew up] are gorgeous as well. Very green with an abundance of wildlife and beautiful forestry everywhere, and lots of hippies of all ages with plenty of tasty weed to smoke! :)

NINa: Imagine you were still alive 1000 years from now. Looking back on the history of the Earth, what events would you pay attention to the most?
The industrial age and the first stages of the destruction of everything we know and love. I'd be trying to find some way to go back and destroy the human race before the 20th century begins :)

Doing this would ensure that the Earth and every other creature will survive our pointless and destructive nature. We've almost erased all life around us for just a couple of hundred years of mining, slavery and greed, and nothing more. The world deserved better than what we've done to it. If we could become extinct before we destroy everything, maybe a newer, better species would evolve to take our place with a better sense of equilibrium with the world around it. We need to evolve, but it's not going to happen soon enough. Millions of years of a planet's life is being destroyed in a couple of hundred years, all because of one organism - the human being. I don't believe we, as a species, really deserve to be here. On second thoughts, maybe that was my point with 'Where Life Ends This Begins'.


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