Calvin Markus, from Dead Times (a band which has been previously featured here, and one of my favorites of the 2000s – see also the reviews on Midnight Glass and Voidism, Vol. 1 + Graves House split cassette), took the time to answer some interview questions for A Future in Noise. I think that Dead Times is making some of the most cool and important music (as well asart works, literature, and film!) of any band around right now, independent and otherwise, so I would strongly put forth to the reader that this is a band to keep an eye and ear out for now and the future. On to the interview!:A Future in Noise: When and how was Dead Times formed?Calvin Markus (Dead Times): Dead Times was formed sometime in 2008. I was walking home from somewhere and Travis called me and asked if I wanted to start a project. We both came from radically different bands, genre wise. He played drums in an indie/folk band. I played guitar and sang in a metal/rock/punk/odd-time/I don’t know band. We started this project knowing we didn’t want it to be like anything we had done before, we really didn’t want to become “just another band” or even worse “just another local band”. So we became an on-going project, not necessarily a band. I’m hesitant to call us band because a band sounds so official, so relationship based, so planned and structured. We want to be free and loose, natural and comfortable.
AFIN: When did “voidism” become integrated into your work? What are the concept’s origins and principles?
CM: Well, the initial creation of Voidism came at the early stages of A Loose Portrait of Body, which was a book of experimental poetry, illustrations and music that we released ourselves. The book covered, very subjectively, the collapse of the ego, of form, of structure and the pervasion of emptiness. Writing it was one of those times where I felt incredibly connected to an obscure source of creativity, like I was tuning into some cosmic frequency. Voidism’s principles and origins, on the surface level, are something close to that. Tuning into that stillness and transferring it into art. Defining the movement concretely isn’t simple. A set definition would be to put Voidism in a cage, it would tie it down, there would be no room for growth. Outside of it’s philosophical atmosphere, Voidism is simply about bringing important artists and musicians together to try and create refreshing, intriguing and powerful work. Dead Times and Voidism are both important artistic outlets in my life, both projects flow throughout one another.
AFIN: How did the Voidism art and music compilation come about?
CM: A small group of individuals, including myself, established it in July. It was the first volume of hopefully many, many more.
AFIN: What’s the artistic and musical inspiration behind your upcoming Black Pine Circle EP?
CM: There was no particular or deliberate inspiration for these songs. They happened naturally. We write and record songs very fast. They fit together well. They’re best friends and deserved an EP.
AFIN: What are some of the biggest inspirations for the work of Dead Times, art-wise, literature-wise, and music-wise?
CM: That’s a good question. I think my biggest inspiration for anything artistic I do is the feeling that I should be doing all of these projects. By that I mean, if I don’t finish or actualize all of the ideas I have then my emotional welfare is severely threatened. Ideas are loud. They don’t sit quietly in obscure corners of my mind, they demand my attention. There’s definitely bands, musicians, filmmakers and so on that inspire what Dead Times does but they aren’t the sole reason for our endeavors. I have a really specific taste for art forms and to try and capture these aesthetics, to create things that I believe in and truly like is definitely inspiring. I read a quote in high school on a tacky poster hanging in some classroom that read something along the lines of “write the book you’ve always wanted to read”. I now realize that I have subconsciously (or consciously) integrated that attitude into all of my creativity.
AFIN: Any contemporary 2000s artists’/musicians’ work that you admire?
CM: Absolutely. To name a few: Black Eyes, Daughters, Past Lives, and Justin Timberlake.
AFIN: Where do you see Dead Times headed in the future?
CM: In reality, I have no idea where we’ll be in the future because I never thought we’d even get to the level we’re at now. Doors are always opening. Opportunities are always arising. These doors ceaselessly opening and closing can get a bit obnoxious, can lead you to feel like you’re merely wandering around with no direction. Dead Times isn’t just another door in this seemingly endless metaphorical hallway. Dead Times is a hole torn through the roof. You have to learn how to hold hands with disappointment, turn loss into gain, find success through failure, and work with what you have at the best of your potential. This is musical enlightenment. The future is bright as long as you hold the light.
Look out for the new Dead Times release Black Pine Circle EP on October 30th on Matte Black Editions!
Dead Times on MySpace Music | on Last.fm (lots of free downloadables – check out “Mirrors in Reverse” and “Wet Static / Elliot Sellers”)
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