Sunday, October 18, 2015

Interview with musician PSIVAMP by Dave Wolff

Interview with musician PSIVAMP

Explain to the readers how your project PsiVamp began and what you set out to accomplish with it. What influenced you musically and visually, and what equipment did you have to work with when you started the project.
The concept and evolution of the music behind the name "PsiVamp" started when I was much younger. Having an older brother of seventeen years I was exposed to quite a wide assortment of music, and also playing violin and the electronic keyboards since middle school; I grew up with an appreciation to music to fit my mood and activities... Ultimately I appreciated music that would enhance an emotion, increase energy, or even calm me in troubled times. I have always been influenced by the classics of Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons Project, Led Zeppelin, etc by their writing styles but I also find inspiration in Juno Reactor, Combichrist, KMFDM, etc. Later in years I started to produce more of a mainstream type sound and was approached by Matt Hazelton with SYA (no longer active). The music I was producing was just for friends that went to raves but Matt saw a different and bigger potential. He instructed me what I was supposed to do to get my music out and how to better produce my sound. So I released a test CD named "The Darkness Within" and soon after I was hit by lightning and my music took a much darker turn. Not having a stage name yet I saw the potential of how when I was on stage and when I was writing music that I was exchanging energies with the audience. They give I take, and vice a versa. Hence the name "PsiVamp" was born. Starting out all I had was a laptop and two simple Yamaha keyboards. Matt H. loaned me a modulator so I could use the midi ports. So my sound was not as complex when I started out. Now while on stage, I have two midi controllers, two laptops... Sometime I incorporate live instruments such as violins, guitars, and drums. I am a visual person so I am always heavy into lighting effects and sometimes projectors. The music should be an "experience" and I try to bring that to light when I perform.

When you were influenced by bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, how easily did this fit with your inspiration by bands like Juno Reactor and KMFDM? Assuming your songwriting was a natural process, do you feel you’re offering something musically original?
The influence is a better fit with Juno Reactor due to the writing styles and how it makes you feel. As for the KMFDM influence it is how I may convey it. Much like the classics, an emotion or story was presented through the music through a buildup or "layers" of writing. The Alan Parsons Project is probably the best example of this. My songwriting is the stereotypical process of jotting things down and building off of life experiences and emotional events. Even sometimes the events of others around me. I am not sure if you would consider my music original in this context as I believe no one is musically original, but rather how we convey our stories is to create an original experience. I like to try new ways to express myself without giving up who I am... Maybe in this way I am offering something musically original.

I remember hearing KMFDM in the nineties; are they still active today? I’m not familiar with Juno Reactor; what do they sound like?
KMFDM are still around in multiple ways. They still tour, but have side projects as well. I have never caught a live show of KMFDM but did see Pigface play, a collaboration project including Levi from My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult. Juno Reactor has an interesting music style that I would describe as a spiritual journey on the dance floor. The newer music is more eclectic but the older was a nice blend of beats and fluid movements.

What do you like about KMFDM and Juno Reactor is that they cannot be easily categorized?
Never thought of it that way, and I had to sit here and itemize all of the groups I like. With your question came the realization that I follow music in this manner due to the fact that I really don't like labels (aka genres). I realize we need them in this day in age for categorizing but doesn't mean I am a fan. So to answer your question, I like music that cannot be labeled and crosses boundaries.
When did you first get the idea of conveying your own experiences through your music?
Aren't we all expressing ourselves through one medium or another? I have experienced quite a bit in my life that I don't generally share through casual conversation but I do find it easier to do so in a song. In all fairness, I also like to relay stories told by others in the song. Life experiences are included where I try to recreate the feeling that I had during that time. Yes, I believe we all do in one fashion or another, so I don't look at this as a unique item, but rather a case of admission. So in simplest terms... On day one.

Do the songs in which you convey your own experiences and others’ experiences make them easily felt?
I would seriously hope for this effect, and would expect it. However just as much as an artist may paint a painting with a thought/emotion in mind, the person viewing the final piece may translate it and feel/see something completely different. The final outcome of stirring emotion and thought was achieved. Then there are those that will only see "pretty colors" in the painting, just as much as those that will only hear "the beat" in the songs.

Even if the listener perceives something other than what you intended, do you still feel your song made an impression?
It is a conversation of thoughts, emotions, experiences that have no boundaries of language. Ultimately it is an exchange of energies. Hence the PsiVamp experience concept.

How important is diversity in musical expression in this day and age, in which the music industry is oversaturated with reconstituted, paint by numbers pop and generic TV programming? Is PsiVamp a conscious effort to promote open mindedness and change? If so, how far do you think you can go toward achieving it?
Music should be as individual as much as we are in this world and others. It drives me crazy when I hear the same thing being shoved down people's throats... No variance and diverse approach, almost like the powers that be want us all to be mindless drones just accepting of what is presented to us. The same approach is from television reality programs. Painting, writing music, writing, stories/poems, your belief system, all the way down to how you express yourself through tattoos, clothing, etc should be as unique as your individual thoughts, not the thoughts dictated to you. Even though I am inspired by many music artists, events, stories, etc I like to think that I am expressing my music in my own way. I have heard many times that I should change to "this style" or "that style" and I would become more popular. If I did this then the songs would no longer be from me and I would slide right into that mindless drone environment I so hate. Very few of my songs have words for the primary reason I want people to "think" and see with more that their physical eyes. When I write or even perform, I see my music as a ritual of sorts that open up a world. I want to push the boundaries in my writing and performances by creating a sensation that the individual is not just listening to the music, but is in the song. I always tell my fans that they are every note of every song and that is from the heart. So how to achieve the promotion of open mindedness? Promote listening without our ears, and seeing without our eyes. The music should be felt, not just listened to... And the overall outcome should be an emotion that promotes thought.

It seems people today are discouraged more than ever to be individuals in favor of following the majority and doing what’s “popular.” Uniqueness is looked down upon and conformity rewarded more than ever. Can this change for the better if enough people stepped out so to speak?
I am looking at this answer as geographic. Recently I have moved to Saskatchewan, Canada and have found that people "stepping out" is a bit more socially accepted rather than where I grew up (Southern United States). I believe that some people do "step out" based on the acceptability of the society around them. However the vast majority hide in fear due to acceptable standards laid out through peer pressure, religious tethers, professional restrictions, or even family pressure. So to answer your question without continuing a rant... I do believe things could change if people "stepped out" more forcing a "real normality" and hopefully it will consume the backwards mentality that has held so many people back.

Why do you think you have been pressured by some people to change your style of music into something more accepted?
Have you ever sat down at the dinner table and heard someone say, “this is really good, have you ever thought about adding this to when you cook that?" It's pretty much the same concept... The people that bring it up the most are fans or people I have worked with in the industry that would like to see me "succeed". As far as I am concerned, I have already succeeded because I am doing what I enjoy and I can share my stories with so many people. I will always be looking for new ways to express my stories (or others) through learning new techniques, but I will never give up who I am or how I tell the story.

How long has it taken you to develop a style of music that can be felt as you described it? How much of this exists in the songs you are presently creating?
I have to chuckle a bit at this. Mostly because I am still, after all this time; I feel like I am still developing. Much like evolving, I am always learning and growing in the creative process. This process still and will always exist in the songs I am creating.

What is the atmosphere like at a typical PsiVamp performance, when all its different elements are gathered together? How does the name PsiVamp represent your work?
I find each and every show as unique as the next one. Not as far as my performance (even though each one is performed differently) but the crowds that come. When I started out I was "targeting" one type of crowd for my shows. As the years went on I noticed a more diverse crowd coming. I am happy to say that not one type of genre came but a good variety mixed crowd was at my shows. The overall theme and "feeling" is a party environment, that for the two hour performance each and every one on the dance floor could be themselves, find their own "world" and live it how they chose. I pour energy into the crowd through lights and sound and in return they give energy back into the performance through dance and reactions. Their eyes tell the story and the motions of their bodies release the energy and excitement. That is how the PsiVamp on stage plays out. I give them the canvas and they paint with the colours of their choice.

How much of a diversified audience has been attending your shows of late? Is it most important that your shows are developing naturally instead of you trying to “branch out”?
Shows of late are null and void. Since my recent move to Canada, I cannot do any shows until my permanent residency comes in. However I can refer to my last show which the diversified audience was abundant. If I was to use stereotypical genre labels, I could say ravers, goths, rivet heads, vampyres, festival kids, and street dancers. If I was to label otherwise... varied races, sex, and orientation. Music should be a neutral ground where everyone gets along and can, for one night put aside their differences and unite on a dance floor. Well that may be just my own personal view from the stage anyway. If I understand the last part of the question concerning "branching out" vs "naturally" I choose naturally. Only to the extent of not giving up who I am and what I represent in the songs, BUT I would be willing to "branch out" only in the translation of expanding the show to create a larger and more personal experience. I had considered doing festivals at one time, but since I enjoy playing live, I do not really fit into the DJ category. Recently I was offered to play in New Orleans for Bad Things on Halloween. Due to transporting all of my gear I may consider DJing my set, but I am feeling so conflicted about this as I take great pride in giving such a personal involvement in my performance with each and every note played. Yet I am still seriously considering it.

What were the reasons you moved from the southern U.S. to Saskatchewan, Canada? How is the local club scene?
I am engaged to an amazing Canadian woman. Given the circumstances around our two lives, it was better for me to move to Canada rather than her to move to the States. The club scene is fairly alive around here but doesn't seem to appeal to the dark underground scene I am used to. I think there is a strong market for it, so if one doesn't eventually develop while I am waiting on my permanent residency I may create one down the road. There are however opportunities through festivals and neighboring provinces. But once again I cannot explore these opportunities quite yet.

How soon do you expect to start exploring the market in Saskatchewan? What neighboring provinces do you think would be interested in you?
I am looking at 2016 (if my permanent residency is complete) to start exploring venues and possible show locations. However I will always be exploring and researching the area for possibilities. There are several locations in Saskatchewan, but I see potential in Alberta, Manitoba, and I still see a few locations in Ontario still active. This evaluation is as of current, and we all know how the scene changes, so who really knows by next year. I will just have to keep my eyes open until then.

Have you ever visited New Orleans while still living in the States? If so, where would you most like to perform regularly?
Actually New Orleans has always been my second home. Aside having friends in NOLA that I consider family, I have performed there numerous times. Out of all of the locations in NOLA I have performed, I cannot place one location over another as I just love the energy of the city. There are a few places I have not performed yet and are on my wish list like the House Of Blues or one of the Parish events. Of course I still love the underground events the most.

Can you recall some of your most memorable performances in NOLA? How many artists were you acquainted with there?
They are all quite memorable, but the one that stands out the most is when I was asked to play for Endless Night in 2004. I played for three nights right on Bourbon Street. Although it was a great deal of work, the crowd in NOLA was fantastic. The promoter (at the time) was Sean Randall with Alpha Omega Entertainment; amazing to work with. Later Sean took me under his wing with other shows and we became good friends. When you refer to local artists of NOLA I am still close with DJ Lore who is amazing, not only as a DJ but remixes and production. Last year (2014) DJ Lore and the Bad Things Ball on Halloween night was nice enough to support the release of my last CD "Asylum" by throwing a CD release party during their event on Halloween night.

How much promotional work does Sean Randall and Alpha Omega Entertainment do in NOLA?
Sean doesn't do much in promotions anymore due to time restraints, but even to this day I know I can look to him for support in many ways. His faith in the PsiVamp experience has always been very supportive and over the years we have developed a great friendship that I treasure.

In what ways has Sean Randall shown support for PsiVamp over the years?
Mostly the friendly support. He is a library of information of who to contact and he always has great suggestions. He has introduced me to some wonderful people in the music industry like Nocturne, members of KMFDM, Levi from My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Attrition, Marilyn Manson and so many more. Regrettably with the recent move we haven't talked too much, but I am always thinking of him and how he is doing.

What local venues in NOLA feature the most interesting acts these days? Are you familiar with an act known as Moonhoar that often performs over there? They’re a pair of bellydancers who perform to death metal.
I am not familiar with those performers, but sounds like I will have to check them out. Venues come and go in NOLA just as much as anywhere else, but one that comes to mind outside of the Masquerade and the House Of Blues, is Nyctophilia. Nyctophilia is more of the underground scene and crosses boundaries to truly entertain.

How would you describe what usually goes on at Nyctophilia? How does this club compare the other clubs you mentioned?
Nyctophilia is the representation of the underground and that I am proud they are still going strong. So many underground clubs are closing that it makes me happy to see some still alive and well. One of their previous large acts was Combichrist. I didn't make it down while I was in Atlanta but I heard it was a great show and also my local favorite, DJ Lore performed as well.

How do you go about deciding when to compose your music with electronic equipment and two compose with traditional equipment? Does the mixture vary from song to song? How much trial and error do you usually experience while writing?
I am going to start with the last part... There is so much trial and error, and sometimes more error than success. I have so many songs that I rejected or songs that I will only play live because it is the feeling I am trying to create. It is very important to me to build a theme on a CD and performing live (which are two different worlds). So in order to create an individual story to each song I sometimes need to reach out to other musicians for their talents like Jamie (Synchro Nine Factor), or Jasmine Vampette (Vampette), John Omen, and solo singers like Wylf and Anu. I am always shopping for more ways to express the "story" or present the "ritual" in the way I feel like the emotions should build or should I say the energies should flow. This process is the key ingredient in finding the right instrument, person, or equipment. My roots never change, but the style may vary depending on how I need to convey the message.

Where and how did you become acquainted with the musicians and vocalists you are working with? Do their styles mesh well with the direction in which you are taking your music?
All of the musicians I work with are from previous shows. We may be from different genres but we mesh well due to the like-minded focus we have with music. These are all talented individuals and flexible, so they can take a concept and run with it. Of course we have fun with it too. On the CD "Into The Sky" I did a song called "The Mesh" and it is made up of outtakes of us recording. Normally when I record I do a lot of start and stop recording, but this time I just left it on throughout the whole session.

How do you choose which songs are released on CD by you and which are added to your set list when you perform?
I like music to flow like a story in any arrangement I do. I view CD's like a book and when I select songs, the story must flow and unfold. However with a show, well a show is usually a themed experience so the music needs to match the mood and energy of the theme as well as enhance the themed experience. If I do a show based on horror movies, I will play music that enhances the environment that makes it fun, but also like they are part of a movie.

What music do you play when performing a show based on horror movies? Which movies have you based shows on?
I usually create songs that can only be heard at the live shows, such as songs circled around the Exorcist movies or one of my favourites the Hellraiser movies. I also like writing songs circled around movies like Prophecy, Underworld, the Omen, and the all-time favourite Nightmare Before Christmas. As far as themed shows, I have done the before mentioned and even ones oriented around movies like Harry Potter, Queen of the Damned, The Riddick series, etc. Pretty much whatever I can blend best into the environment where I am performing. Since my most popular time is Halloween, the horror movies seem to be the most popular with a bit of a cybergoth twist.

What inspired you to base your songs on The Exorcist and Hellraiser? How closely do the songs fit those movies?
The specific songs that I did to represent these two movies at shows were called Exorpsi and the Cenobite Stomp. The Exorcist track I did was more of a tribute to Mike Oldfield with his Tubular Bells, which everyone relates to the Exorcist soundtrack. Of course I am a fan of the movie so I inserted specific tracks from the movie series. So aside from the concept of a possible hidden world experienced through the concept of Legion I was more inspired (personally) by Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells". Now for the movie Hellraiser... I love the concept of the Cenobites, especially one line "Pinhead" states, "we are angels to some and demons to others" which I am a firm believer in perceptions that people place on their own fears to be able to label what they consider evil or good. I am not talking about the actions that could be considered "morally" wrong but more of the appearances or actions that may "step outside" the norm of today's society. Historically society has placed "good" and "evil" labels on many historical/mythological/religious beings/items to suit a control over the mass populous in order to create a controlled or even in some cases an ignorant gathering of minds. The concept of the Cenobites in this movie represent to me a break away from the horrors that society brings and facing the reality of the world in which we live in and beyond and placing the "perceptions" in your own eyes, not in the hands of someone else's controlled fears. The songs are exactly what they are. I feel they capture the concepts of the movies, but isn't it ultimately up to the listener to decide?

Many closed-minded, judgmental people tend to equate a difference in musical and fashion tastes with immoral acts, forgetting that people who “fit in” can be far more immoral than people who “look different” (i.e. the West Memphis Three being falsely accused of murder and the incident in which Sophie Lancaster was fatally assaulted because she was a Goth). Is this just another form of the same stereotype? Why do you think this is?
People are so afraid of what doesn't fit into their "norm", that the very second it startles them they immediately label it as either evil or "infringing on them". I say the last statement because I witnessed this recently and was shocked, that even here in Canada people act this way. I suppose it is everywhere, and until people can get past their own fears, it will never end. I believe they are closed-minded due to either their own fears (which are usually initiated from an outside influence) or that they are so simple minded, that they cannot see beyond the lines they have drawn and are comfortable with that... Just don't cross their lines because their simple minds cannot handle the change and the disruption of their supposed "perfect" universe. Feeling without the touch and seeing without the eyes might be a good start for them.

What most speaks to you about the other horror films you mentioned drawing influence from?
I like the concept of veils of what can and cannot be seen and the perceptions that people make when presented with the evidence that they exist. I watch paranormal shows and watch investigators scream "it's a demon" and feel sorry for their ignorance of how they label it in such a way just because they too scared to understand it. If a person can get past the concept of what scares them and start asking "real" questions then the veil is thinned and they can open their eyes. Basically I like all movies that make you think and ask, "what if" and "why".

Discuss some other movies you have seen that raise questions as you described. Do you prefer originals or remakes?
At this moment, titles are escaping me... But I am more of a fan of originals, however if a remake can create a good story with effects overkill, then I am good with it.

What paranormal themed programs do you most often watch? How do you discern the honest shows from those that just sensationalize?
I love Haunted Australia, Ghost Hunters, and various documentaries on ufology, mythology, ancient aliens, earth mysteries, and astronomy. I have tried to watch some of the other paranormal shows but I cannot get past the "performance" and one (which I will leave their name alone) that is always encountering a "demon" while the host poses for the camera. They may be decent researchers, but I think they have gotten caught up with the media hype and lost their roots. I also like to listen in on radio shows like Coast To Coast, and a local favorite is Jeff Richard's Paranormal Talk radio here in Regina, Saskatchewan. To answer your last part of the question, the one group I don't want to mention is SO sensationalized it's ridiculous but for the most part, who can really tell? It's really up to the individual to seek their own answers and not just take the word of what they see or hear. However the shows that spend too much time with the "I do this", “I am this", in other words so stuck on the ego and like to advertise it; they lose me right away.

Are there any specific episodes of Haunted Australia and Ghost Hunters that stand out the most in your recollection? Do you watch any Youtube channels on the subject matter listed above?
I am very avid against the use of EMF being put into an environment, primarily due to the health risks and the interruption of brain waves that can cause a sense of disconnection and hallucinations. On Haunted Australia they placed a bunch of EMF pumps in an area and when one of the investigators started getting headaches they shut them down. To me that proves why investigators should NOT use them. If they want to benefit from something like that, they should use a Ghost Amp. That's a heck of a lot safer and you get the same if not better results. On Ghost Hunters they were investigating a slave quarter house in New Orleans and even though (at the time) they never caught anything, after review they noticed that a candle stick was moving. Not in real time... They sped up the film and saw it transitioning across the end table. The evidence was cool, but I liked that they looked at everything before saying there was nothing. I am such a Youtube geek... But I really don't stay locked into one channel over another. I do like looking at the P.A.S.T. channel but for the most part I will keep clicking on the suggested videos until my eyeballs bleed.

Did you research any of the harmful effects of EMF use after watching Haunted Australia? What did you find? Alyson Ford (P.A.S.T. Saskatchewan) told me about the Ghost Amp when I interviewed her for Autoeroticasphyxium. Did you see this instrument used firsthand?
Alyson is my fiancé and I do quite a bit of research for her and support her and the ghost amp. I have a rather extensive education in the electronics and communication field (compliments of the United States Air Force) and know the frequency risks of EMF as well as other bands. 50-60 Hz can be harmful in high dosages and prolonged exposure cause not only physical effects but also interruptions of brain wave frequencies that can cause paranoia and hallucinations. How can you justify an experience if you have induced an EMF field that can cause an artificial experience? This is information I have known for many years but recently I have done more research into the frequency allocation effects to help Alyson with the Ghost Amp and to help with P.A.S.T. Investigations. I have seen the ghost amp used first hand and know that it is a safe approach to attracting additional activities. Furthermore I have tested it while the P.A.S.T. Group were investigating and noticed a drain on the DC voltage, backing up the evidence they caught at the time.

There are quite a few paranormal myths and legends here in Long Island, including one of a girl (Mary Hatchett) who haunts Sweet Hollow Road in Suffolk County. Are you familiar with it, or would you be interested in learning more?
I am always interested in paranormal stories as well as all things supernatural (been studying the occult/supernatural since I was a child). The Mary Hatchett story sounds familiar but I am not absolutely sure I remember it or I may have the wrong one all together, but I will look it up to make sure.

How many full length releases do you have out at present? Are they on physical CDs or digital files or both?
I have released seven CD's on both physical and DD. Also I have released one single which was a cover of "Rhythm Is A Dancer" from the 90's hit from Snap. Aside from the CD's and single, I have a side project called Alchemy Prophet (only two CD's released) which has more of a metaphysical approach.

2001 The Darkness Within
2002 The Kindred
2003 Doppelgänger
2005 NeckroLust
2007 Necrogravercon
2009 The Shadowlore Chronicles
2014 Into The Sky
2015 Asylum

How would you describe the progression on your albums from 2001 to 2015? Was there any new equipment you used to record and produce your work with on each subsequent recording?
The progression would best defined as a learning experience. The releases changed as I needed to convey the stories, and who wants to hear the story conveyed the same way every time? I would experiment and I would use these opportunities to learn a different technique each time while keeping to my roots. Yes I keep my usual suspects (keyboards, midi controllers, etc) but I have put a pedal on a violin, or even on one of my keyboards to get the effect I was looking for. When I can't find a way of creating the sound, I reach out to local artists to help create this "feeling" I am looking for.

What additional equipment would you consider using for your recordings that you haven’t composed with yet?
Oh wow, I have a long list! I really want a full orchestra, also since I have a love for bagpipes I would like to see how I could incorporate that into a PsiVamp song... or two. I also have a love for international traditional instruments and would like to bring them into the picture. That would be even more fun live, but sometimes hard to coordinate I would imagine. Aside from the before mentioned instruments, I also love that raw sound from a good old wood grained synthesizer. A love for gadgets drives me to these new midi controllers that are out, and I would love to test a few, but I tend to focus more on the sound rather than flash and bang of the new equipment that is currently out, especially for a CD release.

What international traditional instruments were you thinking of recording with? What sounds can you get from a wood grained synthesizer?
The old "wood grained synthesizer" is a classic sound and with it you had a more customizable sound, however they are very outdated. I have to admit, I still like classic sounds. Being able to choose a sawtooth waveform in a bass environment just gives the music a dirty feel and such a classic industrial sound. Granted we can do that now with computers easily, but I can recreate a classic reed organ on the computer, but nothing beats the real thing. International instruments... There are quite a few, so I am sure I will miss some, but here are a few: Algaita, talking drums, mbira, kora, Zheng, Tsuri-daiko, bagpipes, dulcimer, didgeridoo, harpsichord, tabla' and so much more. A great deal of the names, I can't remember but I recognize them all the same. I would also like Tibetan throat singing, and recently I learned of Inuit throat singing, which is really fascinating to me.

Do your recordings have a certain running concept the titles are supposed to represent?
I would guess that the overall concept is that I want the listener to feel what emotion or environment that the title conveys. So yes they have a running concept. An emotion to have the listener create their own storyboard. What I really like is when the person doesn't know what the title means, they look it up and read, and while reading the information they listen to the song. One of my critiques said, "my music was a listener's own soundtrack to whatever story they wanted to create". Later I used this quote as a slogan for the music as "your personal soundtrack".

Did any particular release receive more favorable reviews than others? Which of your releases has gotten the most enthusiastic response this far?
I was having this discussion the other day. The most favorable reviews from fans has been Asylum and Neckrogravercon, but from publications has been Into The Sky and Neckrogravercon. The most enthusiastic response was the last two. I think they were tied as Into the Sky was a CD after I took a break from writing and this was my return. There was quite a bit of buzz about it. The release of Asylum was more of a grassroots and darker, which appealed to my classic fans.

Which songs from your eight full lengths are regular staples on your set list, or does your set list vary from show to show?
The set list does vary from show to show but there are always the usuals. Helsing Tribute, Gematria Domain, Invoked, The Seven Sisters, Connections, and a few more. But I rotate depending on the length of the show and the overall effect I am trying to create.

How do you go about writing lyrics so they fit the music in your compositions?
Rather that telling the whole story (in the songs that have lyrics) I like to narrow it down to specific phrases that capture the essence of the story. The lyrics I may write out initially could very well end up as a short story if it wasn't careful. I look through it for key phrases and elements that capture the feeling and leave the listener building their own imagery.

How much more effective is including a few simple phrases in your songs?
I personally think it is very effective, only in the aspect of not telling the complete story and letting the listeners build their own. The songs seem to get a better response and there seems to be more imagination involved from the listener.

How long have you been doing Alchemy Prophet? Describe the two recordings you released under Alchemy Project and how they differed from your PsiVamp recordings?
I have always like writing relaxing music pieces but had never put them into a CD format until recently. The first release came out seven years ago and did fairly well in the States. Then I released a new one this year called Manifest. If I would use a genre classification I would say New Age/easy listening. This would be music you could do an opening ritual to, or have playing in the background while cleaning. As with the PsiVamp music, all of these describe something either I believe, experience, or feel. As a brief example, on the first CD Formulae I had a song called The Hermit. It's a simple song that describes me through an instrumental piece. On Manifest that came out this year, there is a song called Stars, which is based on how my fiancé described how her and her father would look at the stars at night. So I tried to recreate the events of those nights in an instrumental piece. There two concepts (Alchemy Prophet and PsiVamp) are really not too different, just that the Alchemy Prophet is a slower pace, more relaxing but hopefully stirs just as much thought and visualization.

Is your writing process for Alchemy Prophet generally the same as for PsiVamp or are there some differences?
I like looking the two styles as PsiVamp music is to raise energies and Alchemy Prophet to Raise Awareness. They are written similar ways based on life experiences, but the Alchemy Prophet music is more written from an eclectic point of view. So overall the writing process is the same with a different thought process.

Would you ever consider a split release for both your projects sometime in the future?
I have but more than this I am considering doing a bit of crossing over. Recently I wrote a song called "In Cairo" based on my experiences in Egypt. The interesting part is that I wrote it in two different formats. One under Alchemy Prophet and the other as PsiVamp, so I decided to shorten the Alchemy Prophet version (which is more of a symphonic piece) to create a lead in to the more upbeat song. I am thinking of doing this more frequently on the new CD.

Do you have any other special projects in mind you want to tell the readers about?
Aside from what I already mentioned with the new CD, am looking at setting up a venue in Saskatchewan (once my permanent residency comes in) to help foster the underground scene. It's always alive and well here, it just has nowhere to go.

-Dave Wolff

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