As a reformed raver with a desire for music of consequence, I like it when electronic musicians avoid nostalgia and derivation, instead reaching for a fresher and more strenuously relevant expression. Pictureplane’s music does such, seeming to have barreled from the collective subconscious of a world in which global warming, overpopulation, and some other scary truths have created an atmosphere of terror and anxiety. In his review of Dark Rift, Matthew Richardson calls Pictureplane’s debut album “despondent dance pop” -- and given the climate, despondency could be a relevant mode. In talking to Travis Egedy, the man who is Pictureplane, it's clear that his music shares similar traits with his mind: rigorous, weird, and original.
Could you talk about the concepts behind Dark Rift?
The conceptual elements deal a lot with the evolution of consciousness and the expansion of what it means to be human. A lot of it has to do with 2012. It’s about entering into a new phase of awareness and waking up. The Dark Rift is an actual area of finite stars in the centermost plane within our galaxy and the Milky Way, and on the grand cosmic cycle of our planet Earth, we travel through the Dark Rift every 26,000 years. It’s a great shift within our planet. All of that went into the songs, and it’s just about people coming back to what’s really, truly important, such as human emotion and consciousness.
So you see 2012 as being a dramatic shift for humanity?
I’d like it to be, because something needs to happen. We can’t keep going this way. People are so bogged down with unnecessary stress and terribleness projected onto them from the world and society, and it’s so backward. Human beings are beautiful creatures, and we have so much to offer, and I’d like to see a full shift happen -- a collapse. That’s what I’d like to see 2012 as.
Is your music political?
It’s political in the sense that it’s advocating natural order, anti-establishment, the embracing of community from a grass-roots level, and just helping individuals find themselves. Generally, individuals are oppressed and beat down and discouraged from finding who they are. Creating culture from the underground up is really important.
Let's talk pop culture. What are your thoughts on the death of Michael Jackson?
You can’t fuck with Michael Jackson. Just the fact that he was so eccentric is amazing in itself. The dude was just a crazy genius. Why not be weird? He couldn’t help it. I love weirdos. I love freaks. I wish more people would truly get wrapped up in themselves and just do what they felt is necessary. I don’t know. I’m just saying. He’s an enigma.
You mentioned somewhere online that you just saw Lil Wayne in concert. How was that?
He was great, but the whole spectacle of it all was really stupid. They had all these screens behind him playing the most bizarre, terrible Flash animation of rotating bubbles and stars and hearts and stuff. It was just really basic shitty visuals. And also, he played with a rock band, so every song was a rock version. It was so weird. But he was really charismatic, obviously, and running around and acting really funny, and he's obviously a brilliant dude.
How was his banter?
His banter consisted basically of how he's making money and that he was excited and that he would be nothing without the fans. He kept saying that over and over and over again.
Are there any mainstream artists you’re into right now?
R. Kelly. Although mainstream is this term that doesn’t mean anything anymore. Mainstream artists are just concerned with indie culture now, and vice versa. People have Jay-Z on their iPod and then, you know, Lightning Bolt as the next song. But I really do like the new Jay-Z song with Rihanna and Kanye West, “Run This Town.”
What are you reading right now?
I am reading The Industrial Culture Handbook, which is from 1983. It’s a collection of interviews with industrial bands of the day, like Throbbing Gristle, with all of this philosophy about the collapse of society, and very visual elements of death and destruction and embracing the dark. Also Kenneth McKenna, Genesis P-Orridge and Joaquin Bey’s essays on logical anarchism. He’s one of my favorite poets -- or maybe he’s more of a theorist -- and he writes philosophical essays on anarchism that are really important. Like, poetic destruction of state.
Do you consider yourself an anarchist?
What does that mean for you?
The definition of an anarchist is more about personal ideology and what that means to you. You can walk down the street as an anarchist, and that’s fine. It’s about instead of choosing to succumb or submit to what is given to you, creating your own world.
Can you work at Apple Computers as an anarchist?
Anarchists still need money to survive.
That’s true. How do you survive?
Pictureplane Incorporated. That’s what I’m trying to do.
If you continue to become more popular, will this affect the music you make?
I’m not too concerned with that, necessarily. I am kind of making pop music, but I don’t consider it to be anything except the stuff I am making. It is very personal. There’s no difference between what I am doing sonically and just drawing in a sketch book. So if people like it, that’s very neat -- but it maybe makes sense that they like it because it’s really honest.