Interview With Harsh Noise Artist CHRISTWOUND

a2249476059_16Christwound is indeed a force to be reckoned with in the harsh noise underground.  It’s sole mastermind, Jordan L is the creative brain behind the project and hails from West Virginia, USA. 

According to Bandcamp: “Chirstwound is a one man operation focusing on a visual and audio experience submerged in the macabre and noise realm. Based out of the depraved wasteland of West Virginia.” 

The latest release is a cassette/digital format called A Lost Body, Unseen Sacrifice.  We’d like to thank Christwound for the interview.

Could you give us a background on Christwound, the meaning behind the name and tell us about your foundation in noise?

Being a guitar player in the bands Left Behind and Skincarver I always had a fascination with feedback, playing as loud as I could through as many amps and cabs as possible. Which led me into the noise side of aggressive/heavy music early on. First finding other bands that also explored combining noise in their music. Then discovering through that, the world of noise/drone music with artists such as Sunn O))) and Merzbow. After years of digging deeper into the sub genre I began further experimenting with noise independently, doing some releases under another name. Christwound developed as me wanting a fresh start after having a better understanding of want to wanted to do as an artist/musician outside of the bands I play for.

The name is tied to my work as a collage/mixed media artist which has a heavy use of religious imagery contrasted with gore and abstract idealism. The name comes from, obviously, the holy wounds of Christ and stigmata. It is no way religious conceptually for me, more of the bastardization of religious imagery and idols. 

What artists and/or works do you cite as your most influential?

I’m very influenced by a wide range of musicians but most notably bands that incorporate noise into their music such as: Full Of Hell, The Body, Godflesh (all of Justin Broadrick’s projects), and Sunn O)). As far as noise artists I’m always finding new musicians with influential/inspiring work. Limbs Bin, Purgist, Goth Girl, Author & Punisher, Facialmess, and Prurient are all artist I feel I have pulled influence from. 

The new release is a digital/ltd. cassette called A Lost Body, Unseen Sacrifice.  What’s the idea behind the title and what do you want noise fans to know of this release?

The album’s title and concept itself actually uses a few different metaphors to portray the main idea of losing yourself to internal and external sacrifices dealt by life. The depiction of this is abstract merger of two main ideas. Firstly, by the track titles it’s probably easy to tell that I’m making reference to someone’s remains never being found. This is a personification of ones self being lost. Secondly, In some books of the Bible there are theories for the explanation of Jesus’ body missing from its tomb. I did so as a representation for sacrifice, tied into the first mentioned concept and with my artist name. A collage-like combination of concepts that represent the over all theme of sacrifice, being unknown to those around you and dealing with the frustration that causes. 

What’s more important to you as an artist: a visceral creation/reaction or evoking some sense of imagery or imagination?

I think both are important to me. My music at surface value is a visceral assault on the listener meant to shock the senses, but at the same time I like to create an experience. It’s bleak, punishing, and distorted soundscape I want listeners totally submerged in. For this album I created a visual for the album to aid in achieving this. 

I’ve often argued that some of the reasons people are attracted to noise as an art form are based upon the use of dynamics-often in the same track: harsh vs. delicate, loud vs. soft and so on.  What can you add to this if you agree and what other reasons do you feel people are attracted to noise?

I’d say people are attracted to noise for different reasons, for being a smaller sub genre there is very diverse sounding music in it. At the root noise music is and has always been about pushing boundaries and breaking traditional rules of what music is. Like anti-art anti-music movements before it, the data movement, abstract art, punk, no wave, black metal – it is a backlash to normality and established standards. That may be the underlying mentally that attracts people to noise. This gives creators a freedom of expression and listeners an art like appreciation for the music. My main attraction personally, other than enjoying the soundscapes and tonality of the music, is the physical limitation that are pushed by artists to create unheard sounds. 

It would almost seem from listening to your work that you partially use manipulated sounds but then some that appear hands-free after you turn on the tools.  How accurate is that assessment?

This is accurate and I’ll touch on this more in a later answer. There are aspects of my setup that run through the music almost untouched. I try to create a textured score-like background to layer over and build on. I like having the solid wall like consistency to build dynamics off of. Then I use keyboard, drum machines and minimal vocals to create intense shifts in the dynamics. Which is something you mentioned before. I believe in music what makes something “heavy” is really, psychologically, the suspense created by those dynamic shifts. The build up and drop, the impact, the way things hit are what make things hit hard sonically. 

It would almost appear from your demo in 2017 that you had more of a structured, Author Vs. Punisher type sound with more overdriven bass and high-end frequencies.  Whereas now, it’s more of a static avalanche, if you will?  Were there any conscious decisions along the way to make these types of transitions?

“A Lost Body, Unseen Sacrifice” and “Bloodmachine” are vastly different as far as the way they sound and the way I recorded them. For simple reasons honestly. As a solo artist I feel like I have the ability to do whatever I want musically. At the point in time of “Bloodmachine”, I broke a computer that held a lot of my music, several albums, software and recording capabilities. However, at the same time I was beginning to play live shows. I was experimenting with a sampler and seeing what I could build and layer outside of tracking in DAW. I also simplified a lot of things to transition into playing live as Christwound. The same background textures were there, but I wanted to have a more contained live setup.

I wrote that album as a less aggressive, more impact and soundscape oriented album. I am happy with what I did on that release however it differed from my original goal of making the most intense and aggressive, grind inspired noise music I could. With the new release I tried to get back to that, I brought back the drum machine and used a sampling keyboard in tandem to voice harsh blast like attacks. I wanted to turn up the intensity. 

Can you take us inside the hardware and software within your studio?

My setup is fairly simple, for live and studio. I run an oscillator synth, into a fuzz with two built in oscillators to have a textural background. Over top of that with one hand I play a Casio SK-1 with harsh static samples run into a delay and distortion pedal. With the other hand I play an old boss drum machine also running into distortion before it hits the mixer. I use a loop station pedal to trigger samples made from field recordings I’ve made of random things.

Vocals, are rendered almost inaudible; I do them through a DOD Death Metal pedal I circuit bent to self oscillate. All of this runs to a mixer and is EQ’s and level adjusted there prior to performance. For live this runs to the house sound, for recording I run line out to a cheap interface and I record everything one take into Audacity (embarrassing). Then I honestly don’t do any post mixing or mastering. It’s raw, that’s how it sounds going in and that’s the sound that comes out. 

Have you ever experimented with binaural wave frequencies?

I think binaural beats are fascinating, in high school I was way more into music production and recording. I would mess around a lot trying to create binaural frequencies and beats out of them. It isn’t something I’ve worked into this project because i think it would require more than what I do with the hardware I use. 

What plans do  you have for the foreseeable months?

I stay extremely busy, playing in two other touring bands while also working as an artist and raising two kids. For Christwound I have 3-4 splits I plan on doing and some live shows this summer. I want to continue to put out releases as often as I can and play more shows to get my name out there! 

Situation:  You’ve been charged with creating a soundtrack to the apocalypse.  You can perform it at any location you choose and utilize any tools at your disposal.  What types of hardware and software do you choose?

I’d harness the last breaths of the political and financial elites and simply blast that through some Taiwanese HM- 2.

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