Interview: Russell Haswell

Your upcoming performance at South London Gallery will feature the use of “phase scope projections”. Similarly, last year’s Acid nO!se Synthesis was designed to be experienced alongside a phase scope/oscilloscope. What does this visual element bring to the experience for you?

Direct correlation between sound and image… the sound makes the image, but I steer the sound in response to the image and visa versa! To create some kind of real-time synthesthetic collision!

How does the sound’s interaction with this visual element affect the way you approach your sound making, if at all?

By exploring the infinite (Lissajous) patterns generated by the combinations of complex wave shapes. Steering towards more unusual and previously unseen lobes. “Pulling shapes” as Jeremy Clarkson would say!

Let’s talk about FACTUAL – your upcoming solo record on Editions Mego. “BLACK METAL INSTRUMENTAL INTRO DEMO” is inspired by your experiences at black metal gigs in Europe and the UK. Are there any particular gigs, artists or aspects of black music that came to mind when creating this piece?

I recall seeing the progressive death metal band Nocturnus, live, in Birmingham in the late 80s, and many of their tracks started with keyboard and drums, which was kind of unique back then. I was away from Coventry when Euronomous was there. But in the 90s I was seeing Gehenna, Marduk, Mayhem, and Immortal. I think, it was mid/late 90s when I took Peter Rehberg and Florian Hecker to see Impaled Nazarene (somewhere on the outskirts of Vienna, in some dank pissy basement venue), there were only a few people attending, it was a great night. I later bumped into Mika Luttinen a few times when I was living on an island in Helsinki, Finland, called Suomenlinna. Anyway, I used to take the icebreaker ferry into town, and like I said, I bumped into Mika and had chats and drinks on a couple of occasions while living there. Besides all this, I played with Kjetil Manheim (the original Mayhem drummer) as a trio with Lasse Marhaug, in Oslo, which resulted in a kind of Black Noise! However, in the end, “B.M.I.I.D.” is an instrumental waiting for a vocal contribution. Its worth noting, the track was recorded a few days after spending some time with Atilla Csihar, in Aldeburgh, while he was performing in a contemporary opera. Just before recording the track, I had in mind, a mix of the general production techniques of Abruptum and “The Vortex Void of Inhumanity (intro)” from Mayhem’s Wolf’s Lair Abyss.

“KILLER SNAKEHEAD” and “RAVE NIHILATION” explore the “logical interplay” between Japanoise and techno. What compelled you to explore this link?

That question has already been answered in the accompanying text to a pod cast I made recently =

In addition, the track “URBAN nO!se” has some flavor of Grime.

Is there anything particular about the recording from Sheffield’s Channing Hall that compelled you to include it on FACTUAL?

Yes. It was recorded live in a room with an audience! I think Big Black’s Atomizer was the first vinyl LP I had, which included a live track at the end. In later years it became quite common for CD releases of albums to include a live track at the end! I particularly like the Incapacitants albums with a long “studio” track followed by a long “live” track!

Is there any particular listening environment that you feel works particularly well for FACTUAL?

I haven’t tried it but, in a 2011 Lincoln car, with a THX II Certified Audio system, and an ELP Laser Turntable!

What is it that appeals to you about recording your music in single takes?

It’s real. Maybe I enjoy watching improvisers live, too much. I prefer 2 channel editing, or playlist editing, as opposed to using a DAW for over-dubbing, layering and arranging.

You’ve also got an upcoming collaborative performance as Concrete Fence at the upcoming Blackest Ever Black night at Corsica studios. The other member of this collaboration is being kept under wraps, but is there anything further you can tell us about this project? How did it come about?

Firstly, it’s not an attempt at being mysterious. Its just issues with booking agents and contracts, nothing to do with me! I’m sworn to silence.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Most evenings I’m listening to bats in my garden, as Chris Watson lent me his Bat Detector.

Other than the performances talked about above, what’s next for you and your music?

Collaborating with Pain Jerk. Finishing a remix for Corrupted. The forthcoming releases: a solo 7″ (iDEAL), and CD collaboration with Yasunao Tone (Editions Mego).

Cafe Oto event page for the performance at South London Gallery –

FACTUAL release page on Editions Mego –

Russell Haswell’s website –