Music for escape artists.

Music for escape artists. | Evocative music from the Underworld, the Otherworld and The Abyss.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Interview with JR Robinson of Wrekmeister Harmonies

What were you doing before starting Wrekmeister Harmonies; and what inspired you to start the project?

I pumped gas, worked in a hardware store, drove a milk truck, was a stagehand in a theatre for a while….read some books, watched films, walked around a whole lot. 

You have performed live in many interesting places. Do you have a favorite location to date; and what would be your ideal location for a live performance?

Favorite location to date was this church in Bruges that had a pond inside. Maybe it was a reflecting pool but it wasn’t deep. I think the ideal place would be in a dark alley of a crowded night market on some side street in Taipei. 

I have seen that you play the guitar, do you play any other instruments and do you have a preferred instrument for your compositions?

Guitars seem to work best.  

Your music has a very organic sound and progression. Do you use the natural world as inspiration for your compositions?

Not really. I recently went camping and had zero inspiration. To be honest I hadn’t slept in a tent in about twenty years so the expectations were very low. 

Your bio on Bandcamp states; "Lightness fades into darkness, while innocence succumbs to the evils of the modern world". What do you think are the major evils of the modern world?

I’m sorry to report that upon waking on any given day it seems like I’m confronted with a multitude of major evils, probably just like you. It’s how you deal with them that matters. 

Even though you use different musicians and ideas, the end result is always identifiable as Wrekmeister Harmonies. Is texture important in your music?

I think so. I try very hard to have different layers and textures that attempt to communicate various emotions, with or without words. Sometimes it works out. 

In your compositions, is there any wiggle room for the musicians to improvise or is it strict adherence to the composition? 

The best thing about collaborating is allowing space for improvisation. Trying to maintain too much control of the situation would not be very productive. 

You seem to have a certain way with people as you get to collaborate with so many great and sometimes elusive artists, have you ever had any conflict working with others?

I had a job tending bar once and the boss was always drunk. It seemed like every day there was some sort of conflict with that guy. What a pain in the ass….always criticizing and once he called me on my day off about some completely inane bullshit. I had to quit. That was a real drag because I really needed that job but in the end it was for the best. Artistically speaking I’ve had no conflicts and I’m very grateful for that… although Thierry Amar would sometimes give me a hard time about not being interested in playing along to a click track while recording Light Falls. But when that happened I would  just pay attention to his dog Oscar who he brought along to the sessions and pretend like I didn’t hear him. 

I have seen the documentary you did for VICE; 'One Man Metal' and I found it to be fascinating. You are probably one of only a handful of people who have ever gained access to the inner worlds of those three musical projects; Leviathan, Xasthur and Striborg. Is there anything you can tell us that stood out about each encounter with these artists that we did not get to see in the documentary?

Surprisingly Wrest was the most normal. Malefic was always threatening legal action. Sin Nanna seemed genuinely lonely. Personally, I needed about a month to regain some semblance of emotional balance after completing the project. 

Was it you that got a tattoo of Leviathan’s; Howl Mockery At The Cross album cover from Wrest himself?


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