We had a blast last night at the Underground Rock Shop releasing this long-time-coming artifact and I am now well pleased to be making it publicly available. Order it through the bandcamp, or email me at centipedefarmer at gmail to make other arrangements.
So I gather you’ve been active in this realm of noise/avant-garde music for some time, and yet I think most folks in my area haven’t yet heard of you — I myself didn’t really know of you until reading a review of
I very much appreciate this opportunity. I did an interview on ChainDLK so you know. I think it’s on the side bar of www.nopartofit.com.
I’ve been active since 2000 or so. My idea of making music has always been eschewed and it came to be that most people think noise is a more appropriate term for it, not to mention that I learned about noise in 2003 and became very enthusiastic about it since then. I have tried my damnedest to make real music and I just can’t do it. It bores me, there needs to be some kind of madness and fire to it. I took a piano class a few years ago. Still don’t feel like I’ve written a real song that actually wasn’t knocked up by rabid jackals.
I have a free form radio show that’s been active for over 5 years and I’ve been writing/doing interviews with people for over 5 years. I was doing zines in my late teens and that continued and evolved into hiding small run xerox zines in the middle of books at bookstores and the regular/occasional print/publication/blog/run-on sentences. I spent several years booking weekly noise/freeform events and throwing odd parties. Now I am focusing on finishing so many things that still don’t feel finished. And warding off many a distraction.
I’ve never played in Iowa, although I did like Iowa City when I was there. I liked their zine shop, cobblestone streets, and a number of other things. I felt like a terrible, vulgar person for thinking the thoughts that I did in this climate, where everyone was very nice and seemingly free from bitterness and cynicism, etc. I’d gone a long time without sleep. We were supposed to sleep in a tent in my friend’s back yard (with the chickens), but I think it was too hot or something. We were walking around and I think we spent a long time skipping rocks across a lake somewhere. Some very nice woman let us sleep at her house, because she saw me lying on the sidewalk talking gibberish. I told her I would marry her. We ended up drinking a lot with college kids, I guess we were there for almost a week, and I feel like we had some of our instruments with us, so we were trying to play a show, but couldn’t find a place. I think this was 2001 or so. I think my friends and I initially went to collaborate with our friend Isaac who’d been living with his uncle on a ranch in the outskirts. My memory is not so good.
I haven’t been able to get a tour date in Iowa when I’ve tried up to this point, but I think Public Space One carried some of my cassettes at one point?
You reside in or around Chicago generally?
Yep, never lived in any other state.
I have some things you’ve recorded as Arvo Zylo. Are you also part of any groups?
Blood Rhythms is generally a collaborative umbrella, but I’ve done sets solo under that moniker as well. I used to put together ensembles. It started out as just getting as many people to play brass/wind instruments at the same time in a kind of drone, even if they didn’t know how to play, no notes, just blowing drones. I particularly like the sound of people who don’t know how to play brass. Taken out of context, it sometimes sounds like a wind tunnel or a speeding train. That evolved into more tribal/industrial live performances with appliances and multiple percussionists, tape loops, modified guitar, scrap metal, etc. I was very happy where it went. It’s not ruled out to do something like that again, but I had specific ideas and wasn’t into just jamming so it’s tough to get people on board for that on a regular basis, unless I can put my money where my mouth is.
As I said before,
I’ve seen 3:33 on clocks on an extremely regular basis for over ten years. The first track was used (originally it was 17 minutes) for my second show ever. I spent 27 hours writing that piece in an abandoned house in candlelight. It was infested with rats and roaches, and there was no gas or electricity, except for one outlet in the (flooded) basement. I was in a 2nd floor closet, and I ran extension cords all the way up from the basement to program it on my sequencer. This is where I decided to do tracks for several hours straight, then show up to a show and just sit there and hit play. For this piece I sat on stage and read “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, completely exhausted. I don’t think anyone knew how long I’d been awake, and probably thought I was just jamming some of my greatest hits or something. But I was probably somewhat inspired by what I’d read about Chris Burden in Bizarre magazine in 1999. He would enclose himself underneath the floors of art galleries. So people would walk around an empty gallery, but the art was starving himself underneath their feet. “333” is written entirely with a single sequencer. I started with pieces I’d done during fits of extreme insomnia. I used to go 3-4 days before I could even sleep 2 hours sometimes. I’d sit with cranberry juice, vodka, water, coffee, beer, and/or sometimes absinthe. Usually at least 4 different drinks, and I’d just keep going on my sequencer until I had to go to work or the show was beginning. I eventually got it to a point where it was a finished album after 6 or so years. Clayton Counts sat with me every day for about a week mastering it to my specifications. I still think it’s perfect as it is. A lot of it was destroying presets and using malfunctions, so some noise reviewers will say that it’s not industrial enough or that it goes nowhere, but I think it goes somewhere. Each concept leads into the next.
Insomnia seems to be a recurring theme here. Besides your mentions of it in this conversation so far, your radio show is called The Delirious Insomniac, and I think it airs pretty late at night. Is it something you’ve dealt with most of your life, and are you still currently? Do you give it a role in your creative process itself or as inspiration?
I started practicing Vedic meditation in 2011, and my sleep troubles have been considerably diminished, although I never say that I’m “cured” yet, because then I will go 3 days without sleep. Many people say that they have insomnia, I say now that I’m a recovering insomniac, but people who sleep 2-4 hours a day are not that much of an insomniac by comparison. I used to go 3 days before I could sleep 2-4 hours, and then another 3 days, and so forth, sometimes worse. I used to sleep 10 hours a week at best for long stretches. All my life I have been keen to go to sleep at 5AM or so. In high school I would catch up on weekends. When I got out of high school, I stopped mentally being able to catch up on weekends, and it became a very dangerous kind of insomnia.
I had a soul radio show with a friend of mine, Eric Lab Rat, and there was an open shift after us, it had been open for some time, and sometimes, I’d play whatever I wanted after our show was over. Apparently one night I was at a bar, and there was an internet cafe around the corner. I guess I got drunk and emailed the station manager at the time, and proposed to her that I do a show called “The Delirious Insomniac Freeform Radio Show”, with a specific emphasis on traversing several different genres in one episode. I saw the email saying “sure” and I was very surprised because I didn’t remember writing the email. Right now “Delirious Insomniac” has taken on a new life with me being there once a month and my friends filling in the reigns the rest of the time. Most of the time, they are depriving themselves of sleep, so I guess I don’t really need to change the name of the show, although I have a lot of ideas for other names.
The inspiration can be as if it is god given sometimes when you’ve been awake for a very long time, but you can’t really call upon it on purpose. Occult people have talked about it as a form of “transcendence” or what have you. Sometimes, I’d say that’s definitely the case. More often though, it’s about fighting the feelings of unfocused thoughts, grogginess, and anxiety. I think I’ve done some of my best work in a bizarre moment of clarity after days of being manic and unproductive.
Check out Arvo’s doings at www.nopartofit.com
After accidentally blowing off a couple people seeking to send me releases because I didn’t want to answer until I could answer thoughtfully and then got busy with other shit instead and forgot about it, and feeling overwhelmed with the Centipede Farm release backlog for like well over a year now, I must make this announcement.
The Centipede Farm is not accepting submissions until further notice. If ever.
“The Centipede Farm” started out as just a name that came out of an internal joke about my old house in Waterloo. I used it as the name of this website and started doing some music blogging, reviewing various stuff. Then I started using it as a label name to put on homemade releases of my own music. So as far as being a label goes, The Centipede Farm’s original mission was to put out my own stuff. Maybe some other stuff, if I decided to.
My interests shifted, I got back into more experimental music and started networking with a lot of awesome artists online. Pretty soon a few were asking if I’d put tapes out. I was glad to because they were making awesome stuff. It snowballed and I found even more artists to get excited about making tapes for. And it has been a pretty cool ride that way for quite a while now.
But along the way, I stopped working on my own stuff. Every time I found some time to work on some music, it constantly ended up being someone else’s: there was always another J-card to lay out, more tapes to dub and assemble and fold and mail to people and try to promote a little. And more and more emails from interesting artists inquiring if I’d be up for putting out their stuff too, and I’m not good at saying no to people especially when I like what they’re doing. As a result of all this, the output of Distant Trains and my other projects suffered. There was less and less of it and increasingly what I did put together was rushed and not as good as I felt I could do if only I could have given it more attention. This has been eating at me for well over a year now. So I’m taking this step for the sake of my own art, because if I don’t, the combined demands of The Centipede Farm and my jobby-job and fambly are going to continue to squeeze it out of the picture and I’ll only feel more and more frustrated about doing stuff for the label when I ought to be excited about it.
If you’re an artist I’ve already worked with before, I intend to keep working with you as much as feasible. Otherwise though, let’s be frank, I’m online checking out experimental and noise artists so much just to have stuff to listen to at work that at this point if I want to release something, I can name a half dozen artists off the top of my head who I’d gladly ask myself. Plus I’d like to swing the label towards more focus on artists from Iowa and the Midwest and others I’ve actually met in person.
The double-cassette Iowa compilation that’s been in the works forever, “All Iowa Noise Insurgency: The Early Years” is inches away from a release and I’m so relieved and excited for that. If the covers get printed, Perfect Villain’s tape will be out this weekend when they play here in Des Moines (that’s been the plan but I’m already super anxious about how short on time it is now). I’ll also be putting out a tape of some legendary previously-unreleased jams by Des Moines ambient electronica duo Blutiger Fluss. And I think there may be one or two others I’ve declared intent to do. After that though, if anyone messages me on Facebook asking if I might do a tape for them, I’m just going to link them to this post. Meanwhile, I’m going to get my head back in the writing and playing and recording, and then we’ll just see where the Centipede Farm goes from there.
Thanks to everybody.
AK-CHAMEL – “FUCKING WITH SPIRITS” C-42 These Texas black-shamanic freak-folk-rock psychedelic warriors are really going places and we centipedes are honored that they chose to involve us on this leg of their journey. A lot of “Fucking With Spirits” could be mistaken for field recordings of the rituals of isolated, undiscovered tribes; on closer listening you notice the loops and collage going on. File next to Big Drum in your “postmodern spiritual music for Zen chaotes” section. $5
MOULTTRIGGER – “GAMME MAJEUR” C-60 You can’t go wrong with Moulttrigger. Hypnotic rhythmic delay-loop industrial crunch-and-sample noise that refuses to take itself overseriously. Always evolving, always great. $5
Between all my online activities and other things going on, it can be easy to forget that I have this website. Luckily I just noticed it again because I have stuff to tell you about.
For starters, Zeitgeist IV will be going on at the Des Moines Social Club this coming Saturday starting early-afternoonish. Like, holy kinda-legit! Plus we actually got Cock ESP this time! My duo with Matt Crowe, Cancer Lake, is also playing. It’s going to be killer!
If all goes well I will actually finally have the compilation done that I’ve been hacking away at for well over a year. It’s to be called All Iowa Noise Insurgency: The Early Years and contain 23 artists over two 47-minute cassette tapes in an audiobook case with a booklet. It’s coming down to the wire as far as getting the printing done so I can’t promise, but I will go ahead and claim that I’ll at least have the new Moulttrigger tape out by then. It’s called “Gamme Majeur.” And very soon I will also have that Ak’Chamel “Fucking With Spirits” tape out too, as well as something from a new Sara Goodman (mascara/Nyhos) project called Perfect Villain.
DISTANT TRAINS/I LIKE YOU GO HOME split C-60 Chuck is all over the map as usual bringing in electronic noise jamming, experimental psychedelic jazz with tape-scratching, and feedback-and-field-recording collage. ILYGH harshes it up with more of them mighty fine emo power electronics. $5
GET THESE DIRECT FROM I LIKE YOU GO HOME ON THE BOAR/I LIKE YOU GO HOME TOUR TO SUX BY SUXWEST 4. LANDING IN DES MOINES AT THE FREMONT ON MARCH 12
ADSW “FIXTURES” C-45 Awesome sonic voyage at the hands of a quartet featuring the always great Bryan Day (Public Eyesore Records, Eloine) with three other fellows you might know but I don’t yet (Jeffrey Alexander, Dylan Shearer, Paul Winstanley). Anyone who digs Bryan’s activities will certainly not be disappointed. $4
HIYOHIYOIPSENIYO – “LA DINAMO TURGENT MOU ELS PRÍAPS DE FOC” C-62 This is amazing — one of those totally out of nowhere things. 30 tracks of quick-cut glitchy beaty electronic madness. There is so much going on here I can’t even explain so just give it a listen and check out the video. $5
All right! Nobody bought anything during the Black Weekend Sale because nobody buys anything from me anyway. Haha! Oh man I’m going to be drowning in my own unmoved inventory one of these days. On the upside, Tabs Out included the Roadside Picnic and Abortus Fever tapes in the Top 100 Tapes of 2013. And I still have plenty of copies!
However, I am all out of the Distant Trains/Big Drum tape. Matt Reis of Developer got my last one in a trade. Totally worth it, Developer and factotum tapes rule.
I move slowly, in spurts, on this label and I apologize if I made you forget about me. Here’s the cool stuff I’m working on now that I think I will have out soon:
- hiyohiyoipseniyo “la dinamo turgent mou els príaps de foc” C-62 — I barely know anything about this guy except I’ve seen him around on Facebook for a long time not, and this tape is some amazing cut-up madness
- Nundata/Social Drift split C-40 — Serbian HNW maestro meets the UK’s most intellectually restless purveyor of literary noise
- Crowhurst + Breakdancing Ronald Reagan — this inspired harsh collaboration on cassette!
- All Iowa Noise Insurgency 2xC-47 compilation — Yes, this has been maaaaany months in the making but it’s gonna be worth it. My most ambitious project to date. After this I’m probably gonna let this operation take a long nap.
- Lost Trail/Kamrar split C-62 — I couldn’t help myself, I proposed this idea in a fit of inspiration because I love both these cassette-loving duos and think they will pair up awesomely.
There are other things I’ve been sitting on, like I know I was going to do a couple of CD-R releases that Sara from mascara proposed but she never got me any audio for the poetry one and maybe the whole thing is forgotten by now.
Oh! And there’s this. Previously available only on cassette (and I have three of them left, I was mostly giving them away as an extra with orders and at shows), a collection of all Distant Trains compilation tracks from 2010 through 2013. Go download it on bandcamp at least!
And, I just received three copies of the Sete Star Sept/Ketnakutak split tape on Quagmire/No Bread Records. I’m keeping one and selling the other two at $4 plus usual shipping, or trade. It is awesome. If you like berzerk two-piece noisegrind this will make you real happy. I’m not putting it up on the storenvy or even the catalog page since I’ve only got two, but whatever, just email me at centipedefarmer at gmail and we’ll get you one. I also have larger, folded-up versions of the artwork you can like hang up as posters or something, I’ll throw those in too.
Oh, and Frank Goshit sent me two copies of his “Idiophone” CD-R, so I’ll part with one of them, make me an offer. I haven’t listened to it yet but the cover appears to be a drawing of him playing a handbell. It’s sure to please.
Working off the theme of the Distant Trains tape “Black Weekend” (Bob Bucko Jr declares it “uncompromising”!), this Black Weekend — Friday November 29 through Sunday December 1 — order from me directly by email & paypal (because I’m too lazy to be bothered setting this sale up in Bandcamp and Storenvy and so on) and take $1 off per item. Starts midnight Central time at the start of Friday and ends midnight Central time at the end of Sunday. Visit the catalog page to see what I’ve got and take your pick. Boom.