We spent a good time of our youth staying in the same neighborhood, spending days waiting for friends at malls, catching shows and crashing at friends’ houses. Meta, more endearingly known as Ian among his loved ones, shares with us the follies of youth, his introduction to abstract sounds and of course, the process and stories behind his latest release, Suture.
Interview first published on 1 August 2018.
You are a proud father of a handsome boy and dutifully living as a responsible adult. A very respectable distance covered from where we were years ago. When was the last time you caught yourself being surprised by your own age?
Maybe the last time was Kaiser graduating from his swimming module. Or when I realised I had been working at the same place for over 8 years now. Never did I had a job that long. But yes, there are moments every now and then when I don’t believe I am doing what I do now. I never knew I could be a responsible adult but I hope I am now.
Do tell us about the music projects you’ve been involved with thus far.
In the earlier days, I took over Din’s bass duties for October Dagger. Those were amazing times. I was also part of the We, the Divers trio. That went on for a couple of years. We had 2 CDs recorded. I did a cassette release for Old House Doctrine first issue 2 years ago I think. I used the XBLFRM moniker (side note: too much moniker, according to no.1). Recently was Meta. I may have done vocal duties for a band before all these too, right?
As far as i can remember, I’ve always had this impression that you’ve always been a fan of electronic music. Tell us about the route taken that led to your interest in the left side of this field.
Most of it would be influenced by my friends but I should say it was my uncle (pak busu) who got me interested in music when I was young. He was into the whole rave thing during my secondary school days, always leaving the house in his Adidas tracksuit zipped up whatever the weather was. I hung out with him at home listening to Orbital, Sunscreem and Opus III.
I listened to hardcore punk music in my teens as well, you know this. We went to watch a lot of our friends perform on stage, almost every weekend. We had fun. It was only later on in life that I started to really listen and delve into electronic music. I was more interested to find out about the instruments and equipments that they used in their music. Started to read up about drum machines and groove boxes, before i stumbled upon the world of DIY noise boxes and the whole drone thing that came along with it. Even for October Dagger we tried to use additional noise for whatever empty spots we find during recording.
During the We, the Divers days Redwan, Bren and I really explored electronic music.
What’s analog and digital? Don’t care lah. Just play.
We listened to a lot of Black Dice, Supersilent, Pan Sonic and a lot of Japanese noise/drone music so that weighs a lot in my electronic music influence. We gathered all our instruments and equipments and recorded whatever we played. The tracks would span over 15 minutes each and that provided me the space and time to slowly find out what and how I want electronic equipment to work for me. We had a laptop running Live, a microkorg, a guitar, a bass guitar, a casiotone, a few cheap mics, half a dozen pedals shared by the three of us and a huge mixer to connect all of these. It was damn fun lah.
It was only when I got married that I can actually settle down, compose my thoughts on what gears I would want to use. I slowly bought them, careful not to blow out my finances. These gears can be very expensive.
Talk to us about Suture. How did that come about in naming this release?
To be honest, it was just a direct translation for stitching the loops or sounds that I used for the release. Not that I wanted to use the word before I made the music. I read about a medical procedure that happened in history and came across the word Suture.
- a stitch or row of stitches holding together the edges of a wound or surgical incision.
“sutures are removed on the 5th to 7th day after the operation”
- a seam-like immovable junction between two bones, such as those of the skull.
- stitch up (a wound or incision) with a suture.
- “the small incision was sutured”
That was courtesy of someone’s good friend- Google.com. Seems to really fit in the process I took for the release of Suture.
What was the direction, processes and influences that lead to to this release?
It was a straightforward process for Suture. I had some samples that I wanted to further manipulate through an equipment that I had just acquired. That was it.
Meta first performed live at 100 bands festival 2018 and during the last few minutes of the set, I managed to improvise a loop set/bank that became the basis of stitching for Suture.
Stitch 1.0 and 1.1 was done way before the last two was created. More or less influenced or pressured by different moments in 2018. I wanted to make music after a serious bout of shows we had for Old House in 2017. Mixed Signals influenced most of Stitch 1.0 and 1.1 while Stitch 1.2 and 1.3 was about continuing the series. Mixed Signals was quite a series of shows, right? You did the visuals for most of the nights. We even had Circuitrip go all out industrial and grind one time. I heard someone got too drunk to techno that night (this must be published in verbatim, inclusive of this phrase). Short lived for 2017 but definitely not out in 2018. So it definitely felt like everything can be sutured sterile again.
As for every artist feature, we ask the artist to put out a playlist for us. Any particular track that you want to talk tell us more about?
I really like KPLR, from Santa Cruz. They had an earlier all cassette only releases before they had 2 vinyl releases – Tek no Muzik 12” on Crazy Iris and a later self titled 12” on Digitalis, mastered by Brad Rose himself. I couldn’t find any spotify links for the playlist so I will just include a Boomkat link for the self titled release. Can listen on the site: https://boomkat.com/products/kplr
Listen to Cirkuit Syntax
I like how unpolished and ringing they sound. I won’t deny that they have an influence on how I create and develop my loops and tracks. It’s not overly complex but these mechanical rhythms do sound monotonous at times and that is the point when I try to be more creative and improvise. These guys have killer frequencies on beatless tracks. What sounds like an automatic malfunction actually fits together. I also won’t deny that the rest of the tracks may sound the same. Sama-sama.
The suture is now.
Peace/Please – A Meta curated playlist
- Roly Porter – In System
- Grischa Lichtenberger – Degrid Skt
- Rafael Anton Irisarri – Persistence
- Esplendor Geométrico – Isolektra
- Maurizio Bianchi – Untitled 2
- Monoton – Shortwavetransmission
- Second Woman – 800438ul8
- Haraam – The Truth of Divine Love
- Emptyset – Function
- Belief Defect – Disembarking Horizon
- Scheich in China – A2
- KPLR – “18.S.S.”
- Black Rain – Data River