Previously interviewed here at A Future in Noise in October, 2009, Calvin Markus (from Dead Times) has kindly granted us the opportunity for another Q&A session! Their latest release I Love Myself and I Want to Live, currently available as an AFIN exclusive, is discussed within as well as Markus’ solo soundtrack album on Vulpiano Records Three Days of Sound…:
—-A Future in Noise: How have you and Dead Times changed since our last interview (music-wise and/or otherwise)?Calvin Markus (Dead Times): Not long after that interview, we went through an unseen inner collapse. Travis and I didn’t even talk about Dead Times for awhile. We did other things. This was most likely because a lot was promised to us that never happened. I think we felt like a lot of our efforts weren’t going anywhere. Dead Times has made no profit. We have only lost money throughout this project. The only form of payment we get is from people enjoying our music and telling us that they do. We are in a stage of rebuilding. We haven’t given up. We need to keep getting better. Continuity, progression, and honesty is what matters. We are making music for the sake of music.AFIN: What is the main inspiration behind making I Love Myself and I Want to Live?CM: The inspiration came from wanting to turn a depression into something positive. I started drafting the framework for it in an art history class I was taking last semester. It’s all I could think about. I wanted to make an album that was uniquely enjoyable and life-affirming. I felt that Dead Times had covered a lot of dark, obscure, and moody territories with our previous releases and it was time to offer something new. The idea was that the album would start out in the depths of despair and gradually climb up until it reached a pinnacle of joy. I consider the album a “how to” guide on handling an existential crisis. Creating meaning for yourself even when existence seems firmly rooted in meaninglessness. Taking responsibility for your life, finding your passions and becoming an individual. There are no religious or spiritual undertones to it. It’s elegant and concrete. The title of the album is a direct play on the Nirvana song “I Hate Myself And I Want To Die”.AFIN: What was the recording process on the new album? Everything seems to sound very crisp and professional, while maintaining your unique sound.CM: The crisp and professional sound is due to Robby Fronzo producing and engineering it. We recorded most of the album at his home studio. We also recorded in the basement of a barn and a racquetball court.AFIN: Your previous solo release was the soundtrack to Three Days of Sound – how did making this soundtrack come about?CM: Elliott Sellers, the creator of the film, used to play drums for Job For A Cowboy. Josh, the manager of my previous band was once the manager for JFAC. Josh introduced us once Elliott and I weren’t playing in our bands anymore. We jammed a couple times but never started any official projects. Elliott played drums on a Dead Times song called “Wet Static” that was released last year. Soon enough Elliott ended up moving to Hollywood to go to film school. He made “Three Days of Sound” and asked me to do the music for it. I feel really lucky about all of that. He’s one of the most motivated and creative people I’ve ever met.AFIN: What was the experience of doing a film soundtrack like?CM: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and hope I get to do again in the future. This particular soundtrack was an intense experience. I was working 3-8 hours a day on it for about a month. It was stressful but awesome and worthwhile. Hopefully the film will be out later this year.AFIN: Is there anything in particular you’re hoping listeners gain out of I Love Myself and I Want to Live in particular, and your music in general?