As I noted in my review of the Black Acuity Suddenly Diagonal album, Seij minus aC is truly a special artist. The musical dynamics of sole-member hAj spread from very minute in technical detail to abstraction both conceptually and formally.
You can read the review here… https://noisebeneaththesnow.com/2017/08/18/seij-minus-ac-black-acuity-suddenly-diagonal-album-review-ebmindustrialjapan/
We are taking an active and aggressive effort to promote Seij minus aC both in the USA and worldwide. One of the steps includes conducting an initial interview which we will post as far and wide as possible.
Seij minus aC is an electronic artist not like any you have seen nor will you see again. Period. We’d like to thank hAj for his time…..
Could you please explain the meaning behind the name “Seij minus aC” and how is it pronounced?
The name Seij minus aÇ is meant to be “a negative dimension immanent in silence”.
It is based on a Japanese word “seijaku” which means silence. “Minus” is an English word I took to represent an imaginary space of a negative number dimension which is a realm of beyond 0 which embraces -3 dimensional space, -4 dimensional, etc. I split “seijaku” in 2 pieces, inserted “minus” in to the middle, and played with the appearance of the last “ku” part. There is no logic but I was thinking “Ç” would visually have a potential of depicting emptiness. The pronunciation is as “sage minus us” (/seɪdʒˈmaɪ.nəs.əs/).
Please give us a brief history of the project if possible.
Seij minus aÇ is my solo project. It was back in the late 90’s when I discovered that the PC and software based DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) environment would be a prospect to my long term needs and interests and started playing around with it.
The first album came out in 2002 and the same year I had a chance to perform in Wave Gotik Treffen in Germany. I had a long blank and eventually had the 2nd album out in 2015. Then I had chances on having appearances on German and Russian magazines.
Are you involved with any side projects?
No. I haven’t had a good enough motivation to collaborate with anyone to put out collective results. I’m currently writing a remix for a German band called X-O-Planet though if that matters to this question.
Your first album was released in 2002 and your second in 2015. Why the long time in between?
This is embarrassing but I had lot of problems back then since around in the year of 2004. I was not doing well in everything including my (real) career path, got broke, lost some gears, had problems with my parents, had bad psychological conditions, started to have physical illness. Then it took a while to somewhat recover in every aspect. I guess I was just unfortunate. And also being a full-time employee in this nation of “economic-animals” Japan means you have a lot of chances to having to waste your time by overtime work instead of spending good amount of your private time doing your music. Oh plus I’m very very slow in writing my music.
I managed to resume my musical actions and started working on the 2nd album around 2009. I was eventually ready with my new original tracks around 2013. Then my label had to take some time to arrange other musicians to provide remixes when they were not busy with other things.
Talk a bit about the development from the first to the second release.
The 2nd is perhaps musically more mature but less accidental and random in creation than the 1st. I think the 2nd is more structured and controlled in composition and lyrics writings. It has more definite and planned theme and concept. It involves motivation of composition and lyrics writing that are influenced by physical experiences like visits to shrines and temples with certain feelings and atmosphere. Leaning toward more to danceability as opposed to the 1st which involved lots of irregular signatures and tempo changes. It has a lot more of digital artworks involved.
What current plans do you have for new material? Surely not a 15 year wait I hope. :o)
15 years from now for another album would be way too long and waste of my life time. Maybe hopefully get it out by 2020? At this moment my tentative aim for the theme for the next album is to involve more of somethings abstract and symbolic. Maybe beyond conceivable matters regarding to humanity and astronomy. Maybe I will have less focus on human legacy, grief, death and civilization catastrophes, etc. 1 thing among many of my interest to familiarize with is more of math and the supernatural knowledge with my limited understandings.
Another thing is that I might want to have less numbers of songs in Japanese. The 2nd album has 6 out of 10 original tracks with vocal sung Japanese. I don’t know. This is just my assumption but I might have gone a bit too exotic in a sense of aiming toward having a good appeal internationally? Well this is unless I happen to get an amount good feedback from now on. I may want to include some tracks that are more danceable than any tracks from the latest 2nd album. This would be for me a new challenge and hopefully I’ll be good at it.
Let’s take the track “Lapis Lazuli” off of the second album and your pick off of the first album. Provide some details if possible in what these songs are about.
Here is the song description;
“Lapis lazuli” is a song based on an encounter with an imaginary piece of lapis lazuli which shows its vision. The piece shows an insight of itself contributing to the instant destruction of a world, the subject of judgment, by the enormous harsh thrusts of its blue thunder crashing upon. It also describes expected subsequent actions, taken by other entities, such as a postmortem of the destruction aftermath. It says it is ready for executing its contribution once it acknowledges that it has to. Nevertheless, it strongly prays for the permanency of the situation where it has no need of breaking its silence. It takes no pleasure in making such contributions.
Could you describe your studio set-up?
It is currently Mac Pro (Mid 2010) customized with 2 x 3.46 GHz 6-Core CPU and 32GB RAM, Logic Pro X, RME Audio Fireface 800, Alesis Monitor One + RA-100 (more than 20 years old!), TASCAM AV-P25R MKII, AAS Tassman 4, Loomer Aspect, Zero-G SoundSense AMBIOSIS and several other old software sampler library products. I suppose my set-up is relatively small. I have no real hardware synthesizer. By the way this Mac Pro is what I only purchased recently. For the production of the latest 2nd album which came out in 2015 I was instead using an old MacBook. A lot less power with a much smaller screen which made all the work harder than they could have been with what I have now.
A lot of your music is well-layered and complex. 1. How much is improvised while in the studio and how much is prepared? & 2. Do you deal with time signatures other than traditional 4/4 time?
1. Everything on both the albums, except my voice, was sequenced on DAW. This “everything” includes the sound effects for my vocal, also. No instrument was played by hand.
2. I did with the 1st album in which I had undefined signatures for the 1st and 2nd tracks. I had irregular(?) signatures in the middle parts of the 9th and 10th tracks where they are, say, kind of like 6.5 and 7.5(?). I used tempo changes on some of the tracks on both the 1st and 2nd albums.
Considering the following options; what is most important for you as an electronic artist… 1. that the music is dancable. 2. to infiltrate someone’s mind.
The #2 is more important than the #1 but I suppose the #1 still has its meaning. I would be more than happy to have good feedback and appreciations of what I do from people in general. But honestly popularity and acceptance have not really been the strongest motive for what I do. I care about making what satisfies my own feelings and expectations regardless of if people like it so much or not.
I desire my music to exist in this time-space in the 1st place. I hope it has good impacts and influences to the time-space as if it helps it to evolve and get purified. It is difficult for me to explain but this is my intuition of understanding why I do it.
I know this sounds as if I’m out of mind but I have been hoping I reach a point of where what I make is good enough for getting appreciations by someones and somethings that are beyond the capability and intelligence of our humanity assuming they do actually exist. I’m not saying I know they do exist. But for example they are extraterrestrials with highly advanced civilizations, some kind of invisible spiritual beings that have more sophisticated capabilities of perceiving the Universe and so on.
Another thing is that I hope my music would hold values that are consistent in a timeless manner. In other words I hope what I make could be something appreciated by some listeners hundreds or 1000 years later or even listeners hundreds or 1000 years before.
The minds of people in general were not exactly the very 1st targets for projecting the impact of my music against. I suppose I would otherwise go easy by attempts of making something that obviously follows conventional existing styles or something more catchy.
Anyhow, now you see I was not exactly taking effort of impressing people around easily.
But still, humanity is part of this time-space thus I know having it exist would naturally mean that it infiltrates people’s mind. So my answer to this question is the #2.
I think dance-ability has potentials of making music concise and helping people familiarize and digest music easier. I took a bit of dance-ability approach with the 2nd album compared to the 1st.
What countries have you received the best feedback from?
As far as I was informed so far I think it’s Germany so far. I believe this has something to do with the fact that my label is from Germany who have the best connections and communications with the German speaking regions although I hear that it’s still not too easy to find audience with good acceptance and appreciations there. I need better better situations with advertisements and promotions in Japan.
Many many years from now, a very distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old house. Inside the box they find your albums and something to play them on. What do you want this person to know about your work and the legacy of Seij minus ac… just from listening to your music?
As I mentioned in the previous answer, I have been concerned about getting appreciated in the hundreds of years later. I hope my music still sounds good to them but not like anything cheap and out of date. It’s hard to tell specifically what kind of good aspects I want them to realize. I suppose people in the rather distant future may have their points of judgement and artistic sense more or less different from now. J.S. Bach is someone of about 300 years ago. I know I’m definitely way far behind the level of his creativity and sophistication and not as talented as he. But I take effort of creating something that does not sound and look too bad in the future.