LA producer Shivastep (formerly Spectacles) makes beautifully sinister, skittery pieces of sound that draw from a variety of genres including juke and witch house. After seeing his latest self-titled video, we knew had to wrangle him into our 10 x 4 series. This is that.
1. Is any aspect of fame important, and if yes, why?
Really the only positive attribute would be the ability to exert a large scale influence. In a culture of all these asinine shit idols some counteraction would be nice.
2. An album that changed the way you thought?
Sheeeeit, theres been so many. I came up on punk and then psychedelic rock so there were tons as a teenager finding all these new worlds. But there’s a few albums that I call transcendent for how they really make a statement about the human condition and you can almost feel something infinite in the music. I think that creativity and inspiration are a kind of channeling and music is as close of an expression of that as we can get. It is why music is so universal and why it can move you so deeply.
Along those lines, Modest Mouse‘s The Moon and Antarctica was one of the first that was hugely influential. It resonated deeply with me at the age when I was first exploring (mentally and chemically haha) the nature of existence, the universe, our society and my place in the vastness of it all. Love‘s Forever Changes and Radiohead‘s Kid A are like that and the latter got me interested in electronic textures. Then I heard Aphex Twin‘s Selected Ambient Works 85-92 and couldn’t believe the beauty and complexity. After diving into so many styles of music, electronic stuff was the final frontier, like how do you make those amazing sounds?? I havent looked back since.
3. What does underground and mainstream mean to you?
Nothing, haha. It all comes down to purity of expression and you are more likely to find that in the underground. It’s difficult to have real mainstream art due to the financial pressures involved at that scale.
4. Should music be free?
I think it should be free to listen to music. The entertainment industry made a lot of money by unfair pricing and by holding content hostage. You pay and then find out what you bought and it is a ridiculous model that the internet made obsolete but that is still being held on to. I see the decline in the industry is more like a balancing, and I feel that people will naturally support artists that make an impact on them. But now they have to make that impact first rather than being paid regardless. I personally have found many artists by listening to their music for free and then going on to buy the vinyl or go and see them live or spread the word about them to friends, things that I would never had done if i was forced to pay $15 to even hear their music. Artists do need to be properly compensated to be able to create though and things are still evolving but the industry’s resistance to the new environment is definitely preventing that process.
5. Better show: Buffy or X-Files?
Early X-Files. When I was like ten it was terrifying and exciting. My parents forbid me from watching it so you know I was all over that shit. The first one I watched was the liver harvesting mutant and I was hooked instantly. I fucking loved the theme song too.
6. What defines your music-making process?
Loss of self. The good ideas are the ones that are just there when you let go.
7. A film or book that greatly influenced your music?
Aldous Huxley‘s works have been a tremendous source of inspiration (esp. Brave New World/Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell/The Island). Be Here Now. Chuck Palahniuk‘s books.
8. Your current favorite song?
The past week its been Salva‘s remix of RL Grime‘s ‘Grapes Alla Vodka’. So fuckin’ dirty and deep.
9. Are you interested in politics?
I can’t help but be interested in the state of the world but I have to avoid day-to-day politics or I become enraged. Politics are kinda like LA freeways, you need them but they run like shit and piss you off beyond belief. We’re stuck in horrible traffic and it feels like there isn’t shit we can do about it. Soon enough though, something’s gonna give.
10. One thing you can’t live without?
My wife Lindsey.
Published June 04, 2012.