#040 – Wednesday, March 16, 2016: with guest, Bill Converse (Producer/DJ)
Immersed in the early days of the 90’s midwest rave scene, Bill Converse began DJing at a young age in Lansing, Michigan. Since moving to Texas in 1998, he has experimented with analog techniques in varied studio bunkers and developed a cult following as a producer and DJ, by committing himself to his passion for music. Bill’s sets are at once engaging, subversive, and relentlessly sincere.
Having self-released various tapes in the past, Bill saw his debut release on the prolific Dark Entries imprint earlier this year. Early techno, noise, ambient, tape, and paranormal processing are all part of his uncanny sound palette.
Cease to Exist is pleased to welcome Bill to the program with a Q&A, followed by a spiritually-charged and personal mix comprising of mad expressions of music.
Firstly, can you talk about this mix you made for us?
This mix is a collection of rare and obscure titles, music I don’t always like to blend. Some of these tracks need to be heard in their entirety. It’s more of a personal mix; something to listen to closely. I also took the opportunity to play some tracks that I think deserve to be heard and for people to look into further, if they want to.
There’s a few spiritual, cult-related songs; has that been an on-going theme for you lately? I really enjoy them. They’re very meditative.
Yes, I love music that is spiritually-charged or is conducive to meditation. It doesn’t have to be or anything, but I think music does by nature. Unfortunately, there’s so much of it that only boils down to background music, filler or propaganda. I think a lot of people take for granted how effective you can be and how much you can really do with ideas in music, it’s endless. The kinds of records here represent what I feel are very genuine and mad expressions of music.
Do you do any spiritual practices? Or are these specific records you play to put yourself in a certain zone? I’ll usually play Alice Coltrane, La Monte Young or Djivan Gasparyan, just to clear my space, get in the right mental zone, things like that…
I practice meditation, sitting on occasion, but by and large in my studio, being mindful of what I’m doing as I’m doing it; attempting to be as grounded and as focused as possible while I’m working on stuff, otherwise I’m a total scatter-brain and generally not happy with what I’ll come up with. I do like Buddhism and I like magic, so fusing all that together via music just makes sense to me.
It’s wild how much music can affect mind and space, in the best way.
It is, and it’s crazy just how much that’s taken for granted.
Therefore, would you say that meditation has affected your creative process in terms of helping it evolve or advance in any specific way?
I’d say it has. My process became a meditation of sorts and now it’s all more of a practice in itself if that makes any sense? It’s artistically kind of a feedback off the two things. I don’t think I’ve changed as much as I have refined what it is that I’m doing and what I’ve been doing over the years. I can also remember periods of time while I was specifically trying not to refine myself, but do to the opposite. Break old habits and wash my clothes.
You’re gearing up to play some shows during SXSW this week, one being our annual day show at the store tomorrow. Where else are you playing?
I just got a show playing for Red Light Radio tonight, playing live for Holodeck, a NTS Radio showcase and a house party.
I have to say that I’m honored you took the time to make this mix for us; I know you’ve been busy and done a handful of mixes lately, which is no surprise considering your recent release on Dark Entries — Congrats by the way! That’s a big deal and a huge impetus, I’m sure.
Yeah, the release has helped me get things rolling, big time. I couldn’t be happier about everything.
What made you decide on releasing Meditations/Industry (an assortment of previous material originally released as a cassette on Obsolete Future), as opposed to presenting all new material?
Josh Cheon at Dark Entries liked it and he contacted Conor [Walker] and I about reissuing it, I said YES, without a shadow of a doubt, lets do it. So we worked on making it fit onto an LP rather than it’s original length of 90 minutes. The next album we do will be all new material and I feel like it’s some of my best work to date.
Your fans—myself included—will look forward to it!
Allow me to dig further…You moved to Texas from the Midwest when you were 15, right?
I moved down here because my dad got a job here in Austin. If I could have had my way I never would have left E. Lansing; however, moving down here did allow me to really branch out musically and get into a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have had I stayed in Lansing, ie: drumming in a West African dance ensemble, doing Texas shit, etc…
Walk us through an intimate day in your life….
I wake up next to my man—he’s a big old nasty man and I love him. I go to work where I cook the same food I’ve been cooking for 4 years now (I’m very proud to say I just quit and fuck that place!), then I get off of work and head straight over to my studio and try to get as much done as possible until I have to pick up my man from work; after that, we go home, cook some more; he watches tv and I get on the computer. Of course, we’re in love too.
What is the biggest challenge about being human and how do you navigate through that challenge?
The most difficult thing is how relentlessly and fast everything is changing around us and inside of us, it’s impossible to keep up with it all, so I try letting it go and making fun of it. Or it’s also fun trying to draw ridiculous conclusions about the nature of reality and pretend they’re real; you know, as a joke.
A record you never tire of?
Hard question….off the top of my head: Blackman – A Day Of Atonment — it’s one of the records I’ve had the longest; got my copy when I was a kid.
What are you listening to?
Mix by Traxx, Mick Wills, Farley Jackmaster Funk, lot’s of IntergalacticFM.
What are you reading?
Machig Labdron and the Foundations Of Chod by Jerome Edou
Last movie you watched?
The Shape Of Things To Come – H.G. Wells
If you could collaborate with any artist, past/present, who would it be?
That’s a secret until it happens.
What’s else is in the works for you this year?
Lots of DJing. Releasing several singles hopefully, and finishing up some large projects.
01. Lamas & Monks – Offering To The Savior Gompo ………………. (Tibetan Ritual Music Chanted And Played By Lamas And Monks, Lyrichord, 1967)
02. Wicked Witch – Erratic Behavior ………………. (Chaos 1978-86, Infinity Records, 198?)
03. Unknown Artist – Untitled ………………. (WYWH, Light Sounds Dark, 2014)
04. The Caravan – Somewhere in Arabia ………………. (Somewhere in Arabia 12″, Target Records, 1987)
05. Pitch – What Am I Going to do for Fun ………………. (What Am I Going to do for Fun, On/Off Records, 1982)
06. Black Dice – Night Flight ………………. (Creatures of Comfort, DFA, 2014)
07. Unknown Artist – Ideas Of Reference And The Luna Sea ………………. (Ideas Of Reference And The Luna Sea, Light Sounds Dark, 2015)
08. Igor Wakhévitch – Rituel De Guerre Des Esprits De La Terre ………………. (Hathor, Atlantic, 1973)
09. Brute Force And His Drum – Weird And Wonderful ………………. (Weird And Wonderful, Copperfield, 1974)
10. Roberto De Simone – La Gatta Cenerentola II° Coro Delle Lavandaie: I Danieli E Voci Femminili ………………. (La Gatta Cenerentola II° Coro Delle Lavandaie / Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel, EMI, 1976)
11. Aby Ngana Diop – Liital ………………. (Littal, Awesome Tapes From Africa, 2014)
12. Carlos Perón – Et ………………. (Dirty Songs, Dark Entries, 2015)
13. J.T. Stewart – Krill ………………. (Krill, Indesche Buurt, 2012)
14. Esplendor Geometrico – ¡Mas Luz! (Versión) ………………. (Syncotron, Hymen Records, 1998)
15. Church Universal And Triumphant Inc. Featuring Elizabeth Clare Prophet – Video Shorts With Two Announcements (Excerpt) ………………. (The Sounds Of American Doomsday Cults, Faithways International, 2002)
16. Rich La Bonté – White Magician ………………. (Mayan Canals, Flatdisk, 1981)
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