Jan 2014 03

Seamus Bradd’s first release as The .Invalid hasn’t even exhausted its initial post-release momentum, but already his infectious mélange of crisp electro and pounding industrial seems to circulate through the scene and invigorate the audience. ReGen wastes no time and assaults him with questions both serious and cynical in hopes of learning who exactly is the engineer and the soul of this year’s surprise hit debut.
 
The .Invalid

 

An InterView with Séamus Bradd of The .Invalid

By Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

Although The Aesthetics of Failure is merely a beginning for The .Invalid, the band’s Scottish mastermind is hardly a newcomer to the arcane industrial game, having spent some time with Dayve Yates’ EBM act Cease2Xist. It is, however, the first opportunity to hear Séamus Bradd’s own creative zest, manifested through the digital imprint of his concise and melodic musical vision. Instantly picked up by Death Watch Asia and destined to set new records for the label’s sales, The .Invalid heralds new and exciting things not only for the British scene but expectedly for the entirety of the industrial nation. With so much pressure and so much hope for the continuous revival of the genre, The .Invalid landed on the front line of the struggle and while the initial success was certainly a flawless blitzkrieg, truly inspiring things are still on Bradd’s horizon.

 

In order to shed a little light on the genesis of The .Invalid, would you care to tell us how your solo project came to be? How much of it grew out of your partnership with Dayve Yates under his Cease2Xist banner and how much was defined by your inner voices?

Bradd: It actually started a good while before Dayve and I ever got talking. Ever since my teens when I’d picked up a bunch of tracker software, I’d been bouncing between various bands, projects, and pseudonyms. Fun fact: I almost got kicked out of music school for nearly destroying a vintage bass amp by trying to run a computer through it. (Laughs)
Anyway, I was in my early 20’s when I found myself having flunked college twice, sofa-surfing in between working shifts. Boredom got the better of me and I started messing about with a copy of Reaper I had installed on my laptop. That’s how ‘Cry Wolf,’ ‘Breaksequence,’ ‘Quantify,’ and ‘Beyond My Reach’ got written. Then I just kept going. A few years down the line, I’d made a lot of new friends, caught the attention of Jamie at Death Watch Asia, and released an album working alongside a whole bunch of my musical heroes.
So yeah, the last few years have been pretty incredible!

The .Invalid doesn’t adhere to any EBM templates. The debut album embraced both the bouncing electro and more restrained, melancholy melodies. Did you ever feel that operating within the realm of industrial music restrains your creativity and doesn’t allow you to explore certain ideas?

Bradd: Well yeah, absolutely. By the very definition, you’re limiting yourself if you do that. Although having creative focus is also incredibly important, giving yourself too much creative breadth can actually be really unhelpful in its own way. There’s nothing worse than having a blank slate because the sheer amount of choices you have can be debilitating.
On the contrary though, looking back on the album, I feel like it adhered a little too much to the standard EBM template. Although it’s always easy saying that shit in retrospect. (Laughs)

Your live shows proved that you’re not afraid of being close to your listeners, and unlike some industrial artists, you do not hide behind a laptop. How does it feel to present your music in front of the live audience and be able to feed off the reaction?

Bradd: People come to a gig to see a performance. So many solo industrial shows are just disaffected dudes perched behind laptops – no emotional engagement, no energy, fucking boring! I started writing music because I wanted to engage with people, to take whatever bullshit emotions were chewing me up at the time and turn them into something positive that other people could relate to; not to put up a laptop-sized barrier between myself and the audience and chug out faceless noise music. That whole thing just reeks of creative cowardice to me.
There was a time when I’d gotten really sick of going to industrial shows for a while and I ended up at a lot of local hardcore gigs that my friends had dragged me along to. Compared to so many industrial shows, these tiny gigs were just fucking visceral. You’d have like 30-50 kids all hyped as fuck before the band had even started playing. The next thing you know, there’s a wall of feedback, and the lead singer’s already off the stage, plunged into the audience, screaming in some poor kid’s face like what he has to say will literally be the most important, profound thing he’s ever said. And that totally changed my outlook on doing music. You can’t go back to disaffected dudes behind MacBooks after seeing that.

You will be a part of the Resistanz lineup for the next year, playing with some of the biggest genre artists in the world during one of the biggest industrial festivals in Europe. Scared, exhilarated, ready to face the challenge? And also where do you plan to tour afterwards and what artists would you hope to tour with?

Bradd: It’s still sinking in! Again, musical heroes everywhere! I’m really looking forward to meeting the guys from Die Sektor and Nitro/Noise as they’ve all been incredibly supportive thus far, and Scott Denman is my freaking idol for synth programming. That, and seeing Apoptygma Berzerk play almost 11 years after first hearing Harmonizer and having my fate sealed is going to be a total trip. Oh, and Assemblage 23 as well, although more I’m just terrified of singing for half an hour in front of such a gigantic audience!
As for subsequent plans, there are lots in the works, but nothing I can divulge right now, sorry!

The industrial scene often seems to permeate with images of its own demise. Still, your first record was embraced by musicians and fans alike via social media immediately upon (or even before) its release. What are your thoughts regarding this death defying bond of the industrial aficionados? Do you feel like you’re a part of some greater, larger community?

Bradd: I’ve met a lot of freaking lovely people through my music, which is one of the things for which I’m most grateful out of anything that music’s afforded me. Although on a personal level, I make an effort to surround myself with people with a positive outlook on things.

The discussion regarding the condition of the scene at large generally seems to preoccupy a lot of people with some stakes in the genre. Do you ever give this any thought and do you have any personal conclusions?

Bradd: I gave up worrying about that shit. Music certainly isn’t going out of vogue. If industrial’s left with no audience and I lose interest, I’ll probably just go do something else. Life’s too big to get so caught up in these things. Go out, have fun, dance, be happy, eat nice food, fall in love, etc. All these things are infinitely more important than the state of a scene!

The .Invalid’s debut release broke the record of preorders for your label. Were you aware at the time that you are setting a new milestone?

Bradd: (Laughs) Fuck no! That was a total shock to me! Every so often, I’d get woken up by a personal message from Jamie saying that the album had just broke another milestone for the label and I would be totally awestruck. I still have a bit of trouble getting my head around the idea.

The Aesthetics of Failure received a lot of praise. How does that make you feel now that everyone is expecting an equally intense follow up?

Bradd: There’s certainly a fair bit of pressure I’ve put on myself to come up with a worthy follow-up. I’ve spent the last few months hating every little thing I”e tried to do musically, either because it sticks way too closely to what I’ve already done, or it just straight sucks. I’m glad it received praise like it did, although as far as I can tell, most of the webzines out there passed on it altogether. Either way, I think there comes a time after you’ve completed a big work like that and it’s really difficult to listen back to. All these things are telling me I should probably go about any sophomore album a bit differently, but it’s all very early days.

The year 2013 is over. If you were to recount personal musical highlights of the past 12 months, what would they be?

Bradd: 2013 has been such a vintage year for music in general that it’s really difficult to even pick a highlight reel. At a pinch, probably Altered State by Tesseract, Hollow Worlds by Comaduster, Augment by Erra, Tension Strategies by Blush Response, I Am an Exit by Born Gold, (-)Existence by Die Sektor, Echogenetic by Front Line Assembly, Sunbather by Deafheaven. Tons more that I haven’t got around to listening to yet too – Burials by AFI, for example. ∆AIMON’s self-titled is sounding incredible, and Jay Ruin’s new Ruinizer project is dropping a debut soon, which is going to rip so many faces. I’m sure there’s a ton I’m forgetting too, but you get the idea. It’s been an incredible year for music!

Where do you want to take your solo act now? Did you already set a destination for The .Invalid for the year 2014 and beyond? Do you wish to continue with The .Invalid or do you have other ideas and formats in mind that could help you express yourself?

Bradd: I actually have no freaking clue. I’m terrible at any kind of forward planning; most likely, lots of indecision. (Laughs) What a cop-out answer. Sorry.

 

The .Invalid Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-invalid/140272809329178
The .Invalid Bandcamp http://theinvalid.bandcamp.com

 

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