Monday, 25 April 2016

Artist Interview: Harsh Noise Movement

Harsh Noise Movement (together with HNM Records) is both an entity releasing music of its own and the music of others. Located on Bandcamp, its the place to go for varying styles of music but with a core of, as it says on the label, harsh noise. This harsh noise is typical of Harsh Noise Movement itself (for example, on the recently released album Harshhorse). However, other albums on the account wander off into other styles but always with an emphasis on improvisation, lack of boundaries by mainstream standards and a "don't give a fuck" attitude. It is no compromise music. I caught up with Harsh Noise Movement to put a few questions and what follows is the answers I got back.

1. Can you give us some background about Harsh Noise Movement and how you come to be making Harsh Noise music?

Well, I have been doing Noise / Experimental work since the early 90's. Recording on cassettes, which were just left in my personal possession. These were various sound collages and synth noises edited together to make various tracks. Unfortunately, these have been lost over the years, which is a shame because there was so much good work included. Harsh Noise Movement started off as a one off remix project cassette in 2013. Remixing the likes of Merzbow, Heroin And Your Veins, Death Grips etc. These remixes, apart from one Merzbow remix project, have been deleted or lost. I decided to keep using the Harsh Noise Movement moniker for all my work, along with a few aliases for work that doesn't fit in with the HNM 'sound'.

I first decided to make Harsh Noise, because of my fascination with various Japanese Noise artists such as Incapacitants, Merzbow, Masonna etc. I first came across Merzbow in 1992, when I heard one of his early cassettes and then became hypnotised by the noises I was hearing. I have always, from as far back as I can remember, always been into the whole DIY Punk thing, but as time went on, I became bored with the same unoriginal sounds and needed something fresh and exciting. Sounds that challenge the listener.

2. What were your musical influences growing up and which stay with you today?

I grew up in 1970's Britain with Punk being a constant soundtrack for me. Bands like Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, X-ray Spex etc were always exciting to my ears and the whole anti-establishment stance of the UK Punk scene was something that drew me towards it. Then in the early 1980's it was Dead Kennedys, Crass, Joy Division and DC Hardcore that really captured my attention. 

Dadaism is also an influence, and my work has already been dedicated to Dadaism, in Colombia.  The track '391' on "The Danger of Being Subjective" (the split album with Wayne Rex & Ross Taylor) is named after the Dada periodical published by Francis Picabia. So, there are a lot of varying influences that can be found in the noise I create.

The Beatles were also a band that really affected me as a kid. It doesn't have to be a particular genre, if I like it thats all that matters. It's always been that way fir me, but Punk really did draw my attention the most.

Influences that stay with me today are Alice Donut, Dead Kennedys, Pistols, Crass (especially Reality Asylum) and the Japanese Noise artists I stated in my answer to the first question.

3. What is your music for and what is it about?

My noise is a way to convey aural anarchy to its listener and to destroy conventional delusions that occupy today's popular music. It is about free thinking and bringing back the whole DIY aspect that Punk started out with but gradually morphed into the unoriginal pop fueled nonsense it is today. You could say it is a statement against the corporate bullshit that litters conventional listening today. The type of trash that brainwashes young people into thinking that there is only one way of sounding and rejecting the more adventurous ways of making music. It is also about complete artistic freedom. Do what you want to do. Be original and uncompromising, no matter what you are told is or what isn't the norm.

4. Tell us something about your musical process. How do you get from idea to finished project? What equipment and instruments do you use?

I use an array of equipment, from microphone, various pedals, synths, to even guitar, along with Ableton to make my noise. I usually make short blasts of noise along with a few long blasts. Then I use the laptop to slice up the various snatches of noise and tones, then overlay it with a continuous wall of noise. I will also add samples relevant to the title of the piece I am working on. I will always have the title of the piece in mind before I even start to make the noise so I can find a sample that is mildly amusing (or at least amusing to me) that will fit the mood and add a little dark humour to the finished work. If I'm feeling lazy though, I will just let a blast of harsh noise wall continue for a good 7 minutes or so, but even then, I will hear something in the continuing noise that makes it be a necessary act.

5. A lot of your music and titles that I see running across your Twitter feed are quite provocative and "in your face". What about this aspect of what you do appeals to you? Are you trying to make any point from this, political or otherwise? I ask as I notice that noise music often has artistic or political points to make. Do you have any point to make through the music you do?

Titles of my tracks are usually thought of before I even start a piece of work. Sometimes I will be watching the TV and an old movie will pop up and that will inspire me. This happened with the track 'Lee Van Cleef' and other tracks named after classic actors. This is also a part of free improvisation. Sometime random titles with no meaning other than coming up with something that is dark in theme to match the mood of the piece. I have always been fascinated with the macabre and unsavory topics. I think this reflects in my work and what I name my tracks. 

There will be times when someone I heard mentioned pisses me off and then I will pick a title that reflects badly or insults that person. An example being my track 'Anton LaVey Was A Fucking Posing Cunt', because at the time I was pissed off with the fact that silly youngsters were still looking up to him, even though he was just some guy that obviously loved the attention and milked it.

As for political points, I wouldn't say that there are any political points behind what I name the tracks. There could be one day, but at the moment it is usually just from various things I see and think of from day to day. I tend to avoid political nonsense.

6. Where do you want to go with your music?

It would be nice to have more people interested in the sounds I make. My intention is to make even more challenging sounds. Things that make people really analyse what is going on behind the noise wall. To find different tones, voices, even melodies, trapped in the vortex. I want to make my noise harsher and more difficult. My aim is to fuck with people's brains more, and also with HNM Records, to give artists a chance to get their material out there.

It doesn't matter to me if 2 or 2 million people hear and like my noise. 2 people are just as important as 2 million, and as long as people are willing to listen, then I am willing to be making my noises.

You can catch up with the music of Harsh Noise Movement and the releases of HNM Records, at  or contact on Twitter @NoiseMuzik

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