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RUBBER CITY NOISE INTERVIEW

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Curt Brown 
(Black Unicorn, Cane Swords, Mousecop, Wyld Stallyns, Baingan Bharta, Black Van,The Black Eyed Keys)


First Release & Info:


CB: Rubber City Noise was founded in 2010 by Karl Vorndran and myself as an arts space and record label in Akron, Ohio. The first release was the cassette Cane Swords Big Warmup in the Mouth of Eternity (http://rubbercitynoise.bandcamp.com/album/big-warmup-in-the-mouth-of-eternity), released in February of 2011. The RCN collective quickly grew around that time to include fellow Akron artists Ram Youssefi, J. Bryan Parks, and Joshua Novak. Currently we throw shows downtown Akron at our space, the RCNCAVE (& abroad) and release music on a variety of formats (cassette, vinyl, CD, digital). 


Projects:


CB: All five of us are involved in a crazy amount of projects in a range of mediums (there's at least 15 different projects just between the RCN dewds). We are also all constantly collaborating w/ each other and other artists & musicians in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere.


 Inspiration:


CB: Our collective energy can be a huge inspiration in itself, and being involved in something like this with four of my best friends really keeps the forward momentum. Also inspiring is the diverse and eclectic range of music and art that we are exposed to through running an arts space. Not to mention the incredibly supportive and talented Northeast Ohio arts community.


 RCNCAVE


CB: The Rubber City Noise Center fr Audio/Visual Exploration (RCNCAVE or Cave) is our headquarters in downtown Akron. We host monthly events there and have been fortunate to take part is some really great shows. We also use the space as a studio, practice spot, etc. Everything is real eclectic around here and this helps us avoid things like genre pigeonholing and the like. We are a DIY space that wouldn't exist without our core group and the dedicated community in Akron and NEO. 



Karl Vorndran
 (Cane Swords, XXX Super Arcade, Doomchrist, Together at Last, The Black Eyed Keys)


 What inspires you musically and aesthetically?


KV: All types of sounds peak my interest from time to time. More specifically, rhythmic oscillations such the buzz of refrigerators, rotating fans, and rattles from old machinery resonate with me personally. My personal aesthetic stems from my performance art related to the struggle/balance between structure in chaos in both nature and contemporary life. My fascination is rooted in how technology is increasingly automating everyday life while my instincts want to resist order and repetition.


What do you look for in an artist to be on the label? 


KV: First, we look at local talent and try to get their music out there. Next, we like to release stuff from projects/artists/bands who have played shows with us or performed at our performance space the CAVE.


 Were you involved before RCN in any other projects/ventures?


KV: I was involved in punk bands in high school, did performance art in collage, and got into synthesizers and experimental music when I lived in San Francisco, and started RCN when I moved back to Ohio.



 Tell us about the RCN Center and about the shows you organise there...


KV: We are starting the 4th year of the CAVE which is one block west of downtown Akron. We have the second floor of a giant falling apart warehouse with a quadraphonic PA system where we host all types of weird art, music, and performance.


 What's the music scene like in Akron ? 


KV: It's pretty weird and all over the place. There is a good around of other modular synth users making strange music. There are also a few good rock bands that make you forget about the bullshit usually associated with local rock. We are also very close with the Cleveland experimental music community as well.


Do you have any tales to tale about the RCN center, weird ,funny or otherwise?


KV: I was apart of an experimental Xmas play where I was naked, covered in fake blood, and serving cookies to the audience.


What acts/labels can you recommend?Anyone you think deserves wider recognition...


KV: Acts: Perispirit, Superstorms, Trouble Books, Skin Graft, 9 Volt Haunted House, Collapsed Arc, KBD and Travelogue.
Labels: Experimedia ran by our friend Jeremy Bible is the best distro/ label around. I can't say enough good about what he releases and does. Makenoise Records has the Shared System 7" series of modular synth recordings that is fantastic.


What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future? 


KV: I am currently working full time at Earthquaker Devices building effects pedals. In February I will be recording "Cathartic Automation," the follow up to my debut solo album "Thawing"





J. Bryan Parks (HolyKindOf, Zurvan, Black Van, Thieves, Together at Last, Van Faang Family Trio, The Black Eyed Keys)


 What was the first release on RCN? 


JBP: Cane Swords- big warm up in the mouth of eternity (cassette)


 How did you get involved with RCN? What projects do you have?


JBP:  I originally got involved in RCN via Zurvan, a Zoroastrian themed drone project i have with (now) fellow CAVE member- Ram Yousseffi. we had been doing this project for somewhere around 7 years by now, roughly? it started a little noisier, & doomed, sludgier, etc.. & kind of evolved naturally into a DEEP meditative experience. i really like where its gone, & that we waited in playing out live until after all the dust settled, & we found our niche. It wasn't really foresight, so much as we didn't think anyone else was into this kind of stuff, & luckily- i had known Karl, from many years before & heard he had started this thing called the Center For Audio & Visual Experimentation & my eyes & ears perked up & i immediately immersed myself. We played the 2nd show ever, & we haven't left since. 

I also have a solo project called HolyKindOf. (soundcloud.com/Holykindof) which i've been trying to finish up a record for for almost 10 years, scrapped about 7 so far, under different names & in different subgenera & finally landed on this, which i *think* is done. maybe. i've sent it out to a few labels, so it will eventually be "done" when its released i guess.. I've been Incredibly lucky… like beyond words, with playing shows with this one, thanks to Jeremy Bible & Experimedia. (where i work, part time) & have been able to open for Duane Pitre, Eleh, pitreleh, jozef van wissem, bestial mouth, & others… that has been an immensely rewarding & encouraging set of experiences.


I also have some one-off projects with other members of the CAVE- karl & i have played 2 or 3 times as Together At Last (guitar & modular synth), Josh & I as Thieves (even opened for mark Hossler, m.c. Schmidt, wobbly, Dimuzio, INCREDIBLE) its a stolen sample/concrete/mashed up weirdness thing? lot of manipulated tape loops, a lot of stolen vocals, etc…
And then of course, we have The Black Eyed Keys, our semi psych/stoner/kraut rock type supergroup, with all the members of the CAVE, which is a personal favorite of mine (i play bass) It's a lot of fun, & one of the few times we all get together & jam, usually no practice, just book a show & go for it. Good energy, lots of fun.


What inspires you musically and aesthetically? What do you look for in an artist to be on the label? 


JBP: total cliche, but- Inspiration can come from anywhere. film, art, everyday sounds, anything. i like using field recordings a lot, & i love bizarre films & very soundtrack oriented music, so it could literally just be insects outside while im watching a movie that might spark something. a lot of the time its mostly just mood. i can never force creativity, it has to be a heightened sense i have or something that MAKES me feel a certain emotion, & that will be my reaction. I also like the idea of mixed media, so i've been leaning a little heavier into creating avant/experimental film, & trying to pick back up the paintbrush & finish this series. 

In terms of what i look for in an artist for the label- nothing in particular, im pretty open to anything, i mean, we've done folkier stuff, metal, noise, modular, drone, all sorts of stuff… it just has to be good. Make me feel something. make me jealous i didn't record it first. something that when i put on headphones, its deep & rich in texture. i like hearing new things every time i listen. i like hidden gems i may have missed the first time.


Were you involved before RCN in any other  projects/ventures?


JBP: not in any other labels or spaces, per se, i had (have) a big house in akron called the Ghost Mansion, that always had a good rotation of musicians either coming over & playing or living there, so there were a good amount of 'bands' or projects i was in beforehand. 


Tell us about the RCN Center and about the shows you organise there...


JBP: its a nice big warehouse type space. It gets really cold in the winter, but i think we (the greater Northeast Ohio community) have cultivated a really amazing energy there, that we can have a packed house in the middle of a blizzard. its an open space, both physically & creatively, & we've been able to host any & every type of subgenera & major genre of experimental & even some more- dare i say- 'mainstream' music. 


 What's the music scene like in Akron ?


JBP: its got a decent crowd, i think. Good rock music. healthy punk, metal, & otherwise 'rock' crowds, even a prewar blues/folk type subculture, in places. i personally don't see a whole lot of the EDM scene, but i know its there, more in the outskirts of akron, than downtown or west akron, where we are. we have a reasonable response & support from akron, certainly some die hards, but i would think most of our support actually comes from cleveland (being a much larger city, & all…)
But I would overall say we have mostly heavier rock bands. & theres no shortage of bands who think they're the Black Keys (black keys are from akron) But, to be fair- i may not give the best representation, i'm a bit of a hermit.


 Do you have any tales to tale about the RCN center, weird ,funny or otherwise?


JBP: Loose Lips Sink Ships.. none off the top of my head that don't immediately incriminate myself. We have a lot of fun. Its a good crew, & the rest of The Boys have a great sense of humor.


 What acts/labels can you recommend?Anyone you think deserves wider recognition...


JBP: My Immediate thought of who didn't get enough recognition- Josh's Faangface tape. I thought that record was amazing & should have sold out immediately. Mistake By The Lake & Hanson Records are 2 local favorite labels, they've been killing it lately. as for my all time favorite- Anything from Miasmah Records or Sonic Pieces, i will buy blindly, but they aren't really struggling i don't think- that stuff sells out pretty quick. Also, (& it may seem biased)- Experimedia. I'm constantly impressed. Pretty much anything he gets his hands on…its gunna be a good idea.


What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?


JBP: Currently doing some final tweaking on my debut for HolyKindOf & shopping around for labels. & working on a follow up release for the spring of next year, for a label in france (i'm not sure if i can mention until the ink dries, but it may actually come out before the *first* album is out.) 

As for the future, just keep on keeping on with the CAVE & RCN, try to keep growing. I'm kind of slowly working on putting together more abstract film stuff, so maybe we'll see that come to fruition eventually. 




--


Ram Youssefi(Dolph Lundgren, Zurvan, Sludgethrone, Doomchrist, Van Faang Family Trio, The Black Eyed Keys)





  Black Forest discovered the sounds of BLACK UNICORN two years ago ,which in turn led them to discover the inspired world of Akron Ohio's RUBBER CITY NOISE ..Black Forest Spoke to label Founders CURT BROWN and KARL VORNDRAN and label artists J.BRYAN PARKS and RAM YOUSSEFI about the label, inspiration and the RCN CAVE ,a creative space run by RCN Themselves...
 ©BLACK FOREST 2014
TO OBTAIN RCN RELEASES:  http://rubbercitynoise.bandcamp.com/
 First RCN release:


RY: The first RCN release was Big Warmup In The Mouth Of Eternity, a cassette by Cane Swords, who is made up of RCN co-founders Karl Vorndran and Curt Brown. Its been long since sold out,and rightly so. Killer debut and the perfect way to introduce the label to the rest of the world. It came in tandem with the first RCN Infinity series release Shit Gold, also by Cane Swords. An awesome companion piece, the limited edition cassette came in a gold spray-painted case. The limited limited editions came housed in their own cassette players (boomboxes,walkmen, etc.).


Are yourselves involved musically: 
    
RY: Yes, all 5 members are involved in the label and appear on it. The first fistful of releases were still handled by Curt and Karl. We didn't all jump in immediately. We all started pitching in around the Andrew Weathers/Ancient Ocean split batch, which also included the Mike Shiflet/Joe Panzner split and Karl Vorndran's solo debut Thawing. So far the label has put out everybody's solo venture except HolyKindoOf (James Bryan Parks solo project), which will be coming out soon. Every member has their own solo project and duos and trios between them. So in total there's at least a dozen projects between the five of us. There's the five piece synth-psyche freakout called The Black Eyed Keys. Cane swords who is comprised of Curt Brown and Karl Vorndran. Zurvan is the deeeeeeep meditative drone configuration of James Bryan Parks and Ram Youssefi. XXX Super Arcade is Josh Novak and Karl's drum, bass, and synth crazed rock beast. Faangface is Josh Novak's solo weirdness project. Curt Brown does Black Unicorn, and Bryan's solo project is HolyKindOf. Curt and Josh perform as Mousecop, Karl and Ram play dooooooom under the Doomchrist moniker, and Ram's solo doom-noise aural assault is known as Dolph Lundgren. There's also The Van Faang Family Trio (Faangface and Zurvan), Together At Last (HolyKindOf and Karl Vorndran), Thieves (James Bryan Parks and Josh Novak), Black Van (Black Unicorn and Zurvan), and more in the works! 


Inspiration musically/aesthetically, what do you look for in an artist:
   
RY:  What personally inspires me musically and aesthetically varies from project to project. Zurvan has a very specific goal in mind when performing and recording. The intention with our music is to create an organic, living, breathing sonic experience that physically affects the listener. The idea of a sound or frequency range that actually creates a change or alters the listener and that sound can manipulate matter inspires me. The branch of physics studying cymatics fucking fascinates me. It's about being able to create visual representations of soundwaves or other vibrations through matter. In the same respect, one can also essentially control matter through sound and vibrations. These patterns start to emerge according to frequency modulation, the higher the frequency - the more intricate the pattern. And there's different patterns corresponding with varying waveforms and substances used. So the inspiration for Zurvan is to sonically transport and manipulate the listener's mind and body to another dimension or state of being. Meditation is always strongly encouraged. We know we have a good show when even we leave our bodies. 
The artists we decide to put out really depends on what we got going on at the moment. It could be some cool guy we've heard of or some dude who sends us a demo. If it's good, we'll put it out. We do have to be a little picky though, we all have to be proud of putting our name on it at the end of the day.


Other projects before RCN:
   RY: Before I was involved with RCN, I played in a few bands. Nothing big, played a couple shows, but nothing that really took off. I've been jamming with Bryan for years before we started Zurvan.


 RCN and shows you organize:

   RY: The Rubber City Noise Center For Audio/Visual Experimentation (or the RCNCAVE) started back in 2011 as a practice space and workshop for Karl. He was working on handmade electronics back in the day. Curt really took to the label thing. They operated the first incarnation of the CAVE, holding a once a month open house. It was a cool spot for music and art. They soon outgrew that location and it was time to search for a new place to call the CAVE. The space we occupy now is an old school/storage building, and we hold shows at least once a month and have a small gallery space. We've had artists from all over, even had some world renowned people come through. We try to do something special every show, make it a little different for the audience all the time.


Music scene in Akron
   RY:  The music scene in Akron is pretty cool. There's a lot more going on than you think. Punk, metal, rock bands as well as electronic, experimental, and all sorts of music is coming out of Akron.


 Tales to tell of the CAVE
   RY:  Summer of last year we were doing curated shows by each of the RCN members. My show's theme was rituals. So I got the privilege of booking my favorite acts from around town and watching them perform. Each act was to have an emphasis on a ritual, whether magick or otherwise. To this day, it was still one of my favorite shows we've ever had. It opened with Murderous Vision and Cunting Daughters playing together as The Utter Darkness After A Dying Flame, then moved into an absolutely stunning performance from our good friends Dark Matter White Fire. The next set was from my very good friend Black Mayonnaise. There was something very peculiar about that performance. One half of Cunting Daughters was taking pictures during the Black Mayonnaise set, and a big aesthetic feature of his live performances are the fog machine spewing out copious amounts of this smoke. It almost seems industrial grade with the dense smoke screen it creates. Anyway, she was taking pictures of the fog filling the room and the crowd. In a series of pictures, a shadowy human like figure appeared and disappeared in the smoke. She took a bunch of pictures after to try to capture it again, but it was gone. I have the pictures, pretty interesting.


 Acts/Labels to recommend. Anyone deserves wider recognition:
   RY:  I'm really into heavier stuff along with the noisier side of things. The acts I could recommend are kind of all over the place. I fucking love Acid Mothers Temple, Earth, Sunn O))), THOU, Sleep. Some stuff I can't stop listening to lately would have to be Monarch, Indian, The Secret, Primitive Man, Grouper, I could go on and on. I listen to a ton of black metal and off the wall jazz too, like Throne Of Katarsis, Xasthur, Leviathan, Horna, Watain, Ornette Coleman, Late Coltrane, Crazier Miles Davis, Sun Ra, and some Eric Dolphy. Some of my favorite labels would have to be Profound Lore, I buy virtually everything from Southern Lord, Experimedia, run by our buddy Jeremy Bible, is an exceptional label, and I really like the stuff Ideologic Organ is putting out.


 Current work and future plans:
   RY: As of right now musically, I'm working on a new Zurvan release. I'm very meticulous about the caliber of material we release, so it takes me a little longer than usual to settle on something to put out. I just finished the Dolph Lundgren debut, it's called Pain Bliss End. And it hurts to listen to, absolutely perfect. With the label, there's some releases on the horizon, but no real time frame on dates. As far as the CAVE goes, we're going to keep it going. Might need to do a little light reorganizing, but it will continue on.
BELOW: Selection of performances from the RCN
cave...
RUBBER CITY NOISE