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Celldweller (Klayton) - interview (2007)
2007-05-30 | Katarzyna NINa Gůrnisiewicz and Brian Backlash | e-mail interview
NINa: What projects you were into youíve found personally the most successful so far? Which demanded the most devotion, hard work and creativity?

Klayton: Success is a subjective thing. I donít particularly rate ďsuccessĒ by the number of units sold of a disc or the greatest response from the media or listening audience. I am much more moved by how I feel a piece of work turns out as a whole and if it has effectively captured the emotion I wanted to convey. Most everything I write is cathartic and I am constantly purging demons through my music and lyrics. Success for me is when Iíve crushed one more of those demons under the weight of a finished track. So to answer the original question, the most successful project Iíve had so far is the 2nd Celldweller disc which I am currently recording. How cool is that? It hasnít sold one single unit and itís the most successful body of work Iíve created to date.

Brian Backlash: Youíve been working on Celldweller for a number of years now, and that project is what has solidified your reputation in the underground. Does it frustrate you when people (like us) ask you about your previous projects?

Frustration isnít the right word. Maybe ďembarrassĒ is more appropriate. I donít like to talk much about previous projects because I am a different person now than I was then, and I donít feel like it effectively represents me where I am at in life presently. I usually avoid it as much as possible but am grateful that there are people who even care about older projects. Without them I would be probably be serving them their morning coffee at a restaurant instead of making music. So although I donít love to talk about my past for the most part, I humbly offer my gratitude for sticking around and helping me continue to do what I do.

NINa: You can call Celldweller your own project, even tho youíve worked with other musicians from time to time. Is Celldweller a solo project because you havenít found anyone to follow your vision, or do you want to be credited solely to prove that one man can do everything from music recording to packaging, website and merchandising?

Well Celldweller is my own project as were most of the previous ones Iíve done. I certainly have nothing to prove and I donít do anything that I do with anyone else in mind. Maybe itís sad to say, but I simply donít care enough about anyone elseís opinion to let it affect my life or my art. I am simply not a guy who likes to debate my ideas and it is a personal challenge for me to play every instrument and put together full tracks. I truly love that part of the job. There are certain things Iíve done over the course of my career like websites, artwork etc. that I am sure someone else would be far more qualified to do. I am not a patient guy and I donít like to ask for help, so if nobody is around to do what needs to be done, then Iím going to figure out how to do it. For instance, I edited the ďSwitchbackĒ video myself because I couldnít find anyone I trusted or who had the ability to do it. So I learned Final Cut Pro and editing the damned thing myself. To be honest, I hope to never have to do that again Ė Iíd much rather let someone who is great at their craft make me look a lot better than I have the ability to.

Brian Backlash: You first began your career in the early 90ís when bands like Ministry reigned supreme, and their influence seems evident in your early work. Was it hard initially to stand out among other heavy industrial bands of the period? Did the ďmeaner harder fasterĒ approach to music eventually turn you off?

Again, I wasnít really creating my music to stand out. It never even entered my mind. I simply wanted to create content that moved me and excited me. The mere usage of sound Ė not even instrumentation, but noise and dialog was enough to keep me creating. I wish I could go back to that time, because it was all so fresh and the possibilities seemed endless, although I was pretty restricted technologically. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

NINa: Iím interested in Argyle Park the most because it was one of the best industrial metal or even coldwave bands of the 90ís. You released only one album called Misguided, with help of such guys like Buka, Foetus or Tommy Victor from Prong. Were there any more songs unreleased which you didnít include to the album?

No, everything that was on that disc is all there was. That was actually the very first project I did after I quit my day job. I got a really small advance from my label and I quit my job and went full tilt into it, never thinking I would be able to sustain the ability to do music full time. I just wanted it badly enough that I took the risk. It was an extremely exciting time for me Ė I didnít care about anything but making that disc and that was all I did for 4 months straight. Hooray for me.

Brian Backlash: I imagine youíve listened to a ridiculous amount of music over the course of your life, as well as played more of it than most people Iíll ever meet. Do you still get those mind blowing moments when you first hear an incredible song or record for the first time? Does it ever get harder to enjoy new or different music, for any reason?

That is a great question and ironically I just had this conversation with my manager last week. Things have changed and I donít know if itís me or just the industry itself. I distinctly remember many occasions where I would hear a new artist or CD that would instantly move me. That is rare anymore. I still seek it out, but part of the problem is that I spend so much time making music these days, I have little time to listen. It kinda sucks actually but those occasional gems I find here and there keep me inspired. Iíve been mostly going back to older stuff and reacquainting myself with it.

NINa: In your lyrics you discuss the matter of love, but even as the ďSwitchbackĒ video shows, love cannot be consumed nor successful. There are always some barriers it seems. Whatís your view about it? Is it something people really need, or is it just the creation of writers youíve brainwashed us over millenia into believing we need it? Or maybe is it more about chemistry and sex?

Hmmm, very poigniant question and not one easily answered. Had you asked this question a few years ago I might have simply written off the concept of Ďtrue and unconditional loveí and I donít even mean that in just a guy/girl way. I do think we are intrinsically built to seek it and to return it. I can distinctly say that based on just my childhood, I experienced both unconditional love from my parents but also learned from the world around me that most time the word is abused and used to manipulate. I have learned the hard way that I had to keep a very tight circle of family and friends around me and everyone else is ultimately on the outside. Maybe I would have grown up to love everyone and become a hippie and live on a commune, but that isnít what I learned from the world. It taught me to keep people at arms length and trust no one til they earn it from you. Damn Adam and Eve for chowing on that fruit in the GardenÖ

NINa: You seem to be very devoted to what you do, no matter which band or segent of your history we consider. Do you have much of a private life or are you more a workaholic?

I am fortunate that I do what it is that I love, so by nature I am a workaholic. There is also the element that nobody will care as much about your art as you do, so that has always driven me to control as many things as I could. I am forcing myself to let some of that go. Iíd probably output three times as much music if I let other people deal with the other aspects of my career. Itís liberating actually and I am fortunate to be surrounded by some good people. Iím hoping to get at least one day off this year. Maybe Iíll got to an amusement park and ride the roller coasters til I vomit. Fun, fun, fun.

Brian Backlash: Are your creative endeavours limited strictly to the music world, or do you work on other kinds of art purely for pleasure?

I loved learning Photoshop and using that as another creative outlet. The problem was when I HAD to do it because there was nobody else to do it, that I started to resent it. I donít have much time these days to create images although I crap one out now and again. The same goes for video. I love to creatively edit video to my music, but itís so time consuming that i donít have much time to do it at this point.

NINa: Iím a Fallout videogame fan. The songs ďStay With Me (Unlikely)Ē and ďThe Last FirstbornĒ from your debut CD were used in Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel by Interplay. Do you like the postapocalyptic idea of Fallout and did the magic of the game take you into its atmosphere?

Iím sorry to say that Iíve never seen it and I donít even know what the game is about. I donít own a single gaming console and I havenít even seen many movies my music has been in. Part of the reason I never allowed myself to get into gaming is that I knew if I started, I would obsess over it and lose tons of time to games that I should be spending on making art. It was a good business decision although Iím sure Iím missing out on quite a bit of fun.

Brian Backlash: The music industry is notoriously tough. Whatís helped you survive after all this time?

Mostly stupidity. Iíve been too dumb to quit when there have been innumerous times in my career when it would have made sense to. Thank God Iím dumb, because itís finally paid off.

Brian Backlash: What do you think is the most positive thing happening in the music world today?

Freedom from the Major Record label regime. Itís all about Power to the People now. We can and do control so much more of our own success and you can succeed without the manipulative and cut-throat agendas of the traditional label mold. Letís hear it for the internet and MP3 technology!

NINa: Youíve begun running a production label. What are your plans regarding FIXT?

There are many plans for FIXT, but it would take a lot of time to type it out. To catch up on details or even get involved, visit FixtMusic.Com.

Brian Backlash: Could you give us some advice? Whatís the number one thing to keep in mind when making a record?

THE most important thing to keep in mind while making a record is always, always, always be sure you check the sheets before sleeping in someone elseís bed. When I was making the first Celldweller disc I was piss broke and I had to sleep wherever I could find a place to. Someone offered a place for me to stay one night and I was so exhausted I crashed without doing a thorough inspection of the sheets. Unfortunately for me, I woke up the next morning to discover I had been sleeping in his accumulated dried-up ejaculate deposits. Apparently he had been unloading his nutsac on the sheets and just leaving it there. Needless to say, we had a new respect and bond for each other after that incident. Oh, and I never slept in his bed again, regardless of how tired I was.

NINa: Iíd like to read an autobiography of Klayton. Would you ever consider writing down some memoirs, or writing another kind of book?

Iíve got lots of them out already and another more comprehensive and in depth one in the works. Read the lyrics to my songs and youíve got my autobiography. The next Celldweller disc is the next book, but unfortunately Harry Potter does not make an appearance. I couldnít find a way to work him inÖ

NINa: Do you think that working solo results in greater success than working with other people and sharing tasks?

There is certainly no right or wrong way to do this. I can only speak for myself and be accountable for the path Iíve chosen. In my personal life I spent most of my time alone, so naturally I preferred to create alone as well. Truth be told, I am much harder on myself than I would be if there was someone else involved. There is nobody else by me to take the blame if the stuff sucks so I need to be sure Iím doing everything I can to make sure the final product represents me the best it can. Plus it makes it easier for the listening audience because they only have one guy to send hate mail to if they donít like it.

Thanks for taking time to put this interview together and having me be part of your mag.

Celldweller at Myspace | official website

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