Interview with ALEISTER X; New album “Half Speed Mastered” coming out 2/19 on STEEV MIKE Records NOW! @aleisterx @andrewwk
I’m not sure what to make of ALEISTER X yet, but, after a random email for his new video, “LAX (Lexipro Girls,)” the guy definitely has my attention. Playing like the soundtrack to coming down off heavy narcotics in an enjoyably bad dream, the song combines a strange blend of mellow EDM bounce, loose Hip-Hop rhyming, Goth-Punk-Gangsta aesthetic, and a the self-destructive tendencies of Industrial. How could you not want to check it out?
Darkly comical, the video opens with an animated disclaimer letting his viewers know he doesn’t have any STD’s, and that’ll relieve many a groupie he is certain to have both now and in the near future. He’s an admitted “cheeky bugger,” and we need these types in the music business… It helps shake things up a bit and takes our eyes away from the typical.
I caught up with Aleister X via email to talk about his new album, Half Speed Mastered, on Andrew WK’s label STEEV MIKE Records, his over-the-top lifestyle, his craziest party experience to date, and whether we will actually see him at SXSW this year (let’s hope.)
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! You wear a Lakers jersey, post videos from Bed-Stuy on YouTube, and talk with a British accent. So tell us, who is Aleister X (besides just another fucked up guy,) and where are you from?
A- Turns out the “Lakers” jersey is a fake. I’ve been informed that no Lakers jersey ever had “Los Angeles” on the front (or back). I thought that shit was legit “Showtime Era.” I got it at a stall in Santee Alley in DTLA. She said it was genuine, and it was a good value.
The “just another fucked-up guy” bit I nicked from Bob Saget on Howard Stern. He goes, “Bob Saget here. You probably remember me as Danny Tanner on “Full House,” but now I’m just another fucked-up guy.” So, I guess you can say Aleister X is just a big dream with a little guy. He’s come from the past to live in the future, where all times blend and get messed-about.
I’m working on perfecting a SoCal accent. I can also do Japanese, German, Russian, Southern and Philadelphia/ South Jersey/Baltimore American accents.
G- See what you can learn if you just ask? I’m still working out American English, so you’ve got a one (seven) up on me.
How long have you been performing as Aleister X, and when did you first get started in the biz? What inspires you to write your songs?
A- Aleister X has been performing since 2000, and in public since 2005. For years, I used to just skulk/perform in front of a mirror in a sublet “room” with no windows or doors, in a converted garage of mostly extremely narrow hallways. Back then, jadedness and bitter envy inspired my songs. Since then, I have broadened my inspirations to include muses, and imagination. Making myself laugh also inspires me.
G- I, too, spent considerable time behind closed doors, mostly imitating Ronnie James Dio . Glad one of us took it to the next level 😉
Your songs are very intriguing and they honestly took me a minute to grasp. How do you come up with your tunes, and what would you say your writing process is like?
A- Thank you for saying that. That’s very kind. Most people say it takes days/weeks to grasp. I always start with the music first because it just comes to me from the airs and waters. I get so many ideas when I shower, I’ll take like 3 showers a day mouthing all these beats and lines. A lot of times I have to run out, towel-off, and immediately fire up the Pro Tools to get something down. I always write the basic music first, lyrics after.
For dance music, rap, funky shit, you have to start with the drumbeat, then bass line, and then everything else. For all other music it doesn’t matter what you do first. This is a rule. All my music comes together intuitively, and then I have to write lyrics. The lyrics are the thinking part, the hard part. Gotta sit down and think. I use rhyming dictionaries and research shit. I’m always writing and recording.
G- Interesting. Well, if you ever write a grindcore song, i’ll assume you got shampoo in your eye.
Let’s talk about Half Speed Mastered for a minute… Where did you record the album, who was behind the boards for the mix, and how long did it take you to get a product you were happy with in the end?
A- Half-Speed Mastered was recorded at Black Skull Recording Studio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEVY1JfVz_U
I produced the songs on this album from 2010-12. I have a fuck-load of material collecting e-dust, waiting to be lost in some future hard drive crash. Even storage in The Cloud can crash. It’s like “get that shit out before shit crashes!” Anyway, I mixed the songs to a point, and then Andrew W.K. did a final mix on them. It never takes long to get a final product I’m happy with.
G- Dig that, and can you give us a few examples of any bands or artists in particular that influence your style? Who do you typically like to listen to, and are there any acts you think we should know about?
A- Just about everything I’ve ever heard and liked influences my style. Music is the center of my creative world as an artist, and entertainer; the keystone and cornerstone of my entertainer’s arch. I love music so much that even artists I don’t like have influenced me. Jay Z, Kanye, Drake, the nu uptown/BX hip hop acts, the nu crews of MCs doin’ stuff today, anything having anything to do with so-called “Witch House,” bands that sound like The Walkmen, Maroon 5, or bands with that ‘80s synth pop sound, whatever…I could go on and on. Just because I don’t care for these sounds, I can’t deny their influences on culture in general.
These are artists who obviously care about what they’re doing. I can relate to that. That shit is out there in the world and the world is responding to it. The same world I’m getting fucked-up in and doing MY thing in. It’s all influence all the time, otherwise you’re just aping. I go to the corner store, I’m on the street, driving the Avenues, in-town, I’m on the block keeping it real. Shit is just out there; it’s in the airs. What can I say?
Anyway, lately I’ve been listening to Fu Manchu, Scooter, KISS, pre-Hagar Van Halen, Juicy J, Baby Metal, AC/DC, AWK, Kool Keith, Styx, Bad Company, Foreigner, Thirstin Howl III, ZZ Top, Wavves, Bardo Pond, TV Baby, Jailbait, Current 93, Matt Sweeney’s cover of Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” from the soundtrack to, “Spun” (credited to “Djali Zwan), Carlton Melton, and whatever’s on Hot 97 (though I tune 97% of the 25 minute current song sequence they’re playing endlessly at any given time…that shit soaks in though).
G- Nice mix… I like it! So, in an entertainingly confusing YouTube post last year, you stated that you were not at SXSW, though you were featured to perform and were seen all about with your label boss, AWK… Will you be making the trip to Austin this year, and who will you be sharing the stage with if you are?
A- Cool, you really know what you’re talking about and have done research. I commend you on your journalism! Last year I WAS down there. I opened up the big Fool’s Gold/I Heart Comics/Check Yo Pony Tail/(and some other big deal) Showcase at 12 Noon. And I closed a Panache Showcase at like 3AM. I think the hoax I perpetrated the year before had more of an impact than those real “shows.”
Either way, I was HONORED to be included in those listings and associated with all those happening people. Thank you FRANKI CHAN and MICHELLE CABLE, and, of course, ANDREW W.K.
This year, it looks like I’ll have to perp another hoax. I’m not on a label that does shit like that (CMJ/SX,et al). I would love to go down there and do some shit this year if anyone wants to add me to a showcase/party/after party/hotel lobby/hotel room hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.
G- I hope that happens, preferably late at night as i’ll most likely be blitzed along with everyone else on 6th Street. And you certainly seem to enjoy getting “seriously fucked up,” as constantly mentioned on your social media feeds. How does Aleister X party down, and do you favor any particular beverage or substance to set your day/night off proper?
A- I do enjoy getting fucked-up. Seriously fucked-up, totally fucked-up, really fucked-up, pretty fucked-up…it just depends on the levels. Most importantly, I really enjoy letting my feeds know this. Followers can use these statements as information. It’s pretty cool. I’ve also been contemplating trying out getting “a nice buzz goin.” Throw that into the mix, you know. I also really enjoy “chilling,” and updating feeds accordingly.
For beverages, I prefer ones with alcohol. For substances, Aleister X prefers ones that are real drugs; not fake ones.
G- You hear that, folks? No Diet Pepsi or bath salts. Would you say you have a favorite song you have ever written? If you were to give 1 song to someone who’d never heard your music before, to make a new fan, what track would you offer them and why?
A- Will these potential new fans be high and/or drunk? Let’s just say they are for the sake of this question. Will they be Internet Trolls and/or 13-28 yr old career haters? If they’re religious extremists, it will be problematic. They also need to be able to have a laugh. Hmmm, this is a hard one. Ok, play it safe, “Bangers And Beans.” It’s the one the most people like, I think.
G- Hahaha right on. I should’ve narrowed it down to “dyslexic teenage serial killers who want to adopt.”
Do you look up to any particular musician or musical act on the market today?How about an Aleister X inspired tour? If you could curate a feasible 3-band dream lineup, who would you want to go on tour with?
A- I look up to so many musicians on the market today. I don’t let my personal tastes dictate that. That’s respect. I have that for ANYBODY in the game doin shit.
This is a dream line-up that would be KILLER. Rammstein, Scooter, AWK, Aleister X. If either Rammstein or Scooter aren’t available then Hot Snakes or Rocket From The Crypt. If they’re not available, Turbonegro. If Andrew’s not available, Kool Keith. If I’m not available, a lot of Scooter and/or Rocket From The Crypt fans will be stoked.
G- Hahahahaha awesome! That bill’d be SICK! And, in what will surely be a wild one, can you tell our readers what the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date was? Where did it happen and what was it like?
A- Calgary, Alberta has always been good to me. The last show I played there, AWK’s Big Party at Legion #1 for Sled Island Fest was pretty crazy. The kids up front were all stroking my bare legs, up my inner thighs trying to get at my stuff. I was poppin a serious disco rod, and it really felt like these young adults were just gonna have their way with me. In fact, I’m almost certain I got seriously stroked for a few seconds, I almost just stopped playing to succumb to a full tug job in front of the sold-out festival crowd. It was a wild, magical night for sure.
G- Yowsers! I, uhh, ummm, ok. Well done, sir!
To finish up today, as an artist on the rise in the music game, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
A- If you want to make it in music, stay away from anything really original, unless you d.g.a.f. about being poor. Wait a minute; stay AWAY from music unless you’re in the part of it that sells clothing and gear with it. You will be poor even if you’re good, and lots of people like you.
Instead, work on inventing a time machine, or at least figure out how to travel back in time. Try ’92 – ’98 for indie rock and post-punk, ’76-’80 for AOR and Disco, and ’95-2000 for Hip Hop and Rap. Unless you’re cool with being broke a lot. GOOD LUCK!