IT’S “20 QUESTIONS WITH CROSS” DAY!
The artist I’m going to interview today shouldn’t be new to you. I had him on an interview about horror films, about one or two months ago.
Back then I introduced him as one of my favorite YouTubers. Whilst everybody tries to find an already existing video to sit down and comment on it, this dude uploads his own content. He considers himself as relatively boring but, in this interview we’re gonna talk about how many inspirational things he got out there, lately, as a master of spoken word and much more.
I’m talking about J.
Cross – In the first interview, the first question I asked you was to tell us something about you and God! You kept it all a secret. (Laughs)
Other than doing other bands’ album reviews and film reviews you have this talent of coming up with great lines.
Back then, you had like… two or three spoken word poetry videos uploaded on your YouTube channel.
When did you seriously think of working on spoken word poetry?
J/Void – I am a bit of an aggressively private person at times. Information, details and ideas are there. Just run through a filter.
I used to write a long time ago. I had a number of notebooks that were a collection of disjointed thoughts. Periodically I would write over time. Some of it was lost in moves. Others just ruined. So I stopped for a while. I resumed it last year but the writing just sat there. One night when I wanted to make a video I had nothing in mind so I read off a little of it. Since then I’ve been expanding it. It has since become very cathartic.
Cross – Your first spoken word poetry release (on Bandcamp) came out October 1st this year. Called “Empty Words: Chapter One”. Why that title? And what happened that made you realize and decide to get them out there as an “album”?
J/Void – They were going to sit there on my YouTube but I decided that I wanted to release it as a series of albums. The idea behind the naming of it “Empty Words” comes from the idea that what I was writing was coming from different perspectives not just my own. And anyone that was to read or listen to it may interpret it however they want. If at all. Something only has value if you ascribe to it.
Cross – There you go, you ended that one with a great line.
As I have mentioned it to you in one of our conversations… I can find great lines in each one of them but the number 12, “They Don’t Write Obituaries for Man at the Bottom of the Bottle” is one of my favorites. How did you come up with it?
J/Void – The whole work is a collective idea around those people that don’t stand out. The large portion of the population that is trapped within a life of monotony. Like many, there are those that turn to substance abuse. There aren’t a lot of people out there willing to understand what causes people to go down that route. When a person dies, one that lived an uneventful life and more than likely died from complications related to alcoholism then people dismiss them. The same people that look down on those under those circumstances are the same that will celebrate the lives of a celebrity when they die.
Cross – You weren’t content with just one spoken word release for this month. You got another one right, after the first one: “Empty Words: Chapter Two”, which came out seven days after the first one and ain’t as log as the first release. Weren’t they finished at the time you decided to get out there the first release or, you couldn’t include more than 15 in Chapter One?
J/Void – I have more that I will continue to release. That’s why they are simply listed as chapters. I’m not sure how many there will be in this series. The second one was released shortly after the first because when I was going through the rest of what I had and saw that I had enough for another release. When I feel like I have enough recorded I will put out another chapter.
Cross – Cool!
The last one of Chapter Two “Your Hard Work is Vital to My Success, My Value is Greater than Your Understanding” sounds like you were just getting some frustration out of you and you never worked on them lines before. Is that what happened? Just trying to get to know a bit more on your writing process.
J/Void – That is one that has a large number of meanings behind it. It applies to aspects of my life as well as possibly a lot of others. Anything from working for a large corporation, oppressive patriotism or simply being exploited by family or friends. It was a bit of me getting out my frustration but attempting to do so from the manipulators point of view. And in some cases I feel like those attempting to control others with a grand vision in mind don’t have the capacity to figure out all the details that go into it. Nations fail, ideas fail, religions fail and people fail. Ego driven manipulation.
Cross – Have you ever thought of publishing them in one singular book or a couple books?
J/Void – I would like to. Everything that I have recorded is written down. If I were to put out a book it may vary from the original writings just as they vary from the videos. It’s art and is open to alterations.
Cross – If that ever happens I’ll get me a copy.
Now, no matter how many times we talked about art and whatever projects we were working on, I would have never thought you did invest time in writing music. That came as such a great surprise to me when you released your first post-industrial noise album “Sign of Life is Repetition” with your one man band Void, which came out September 21st, this year, obviously. Tell us something about that. When did this other passion of yours start?
J/Void – I have always been very passionate about music. I unfortunately never had the talent to play an instrument. But it never stopped me from screwing around with things here and there. When I was a kid it was common for games to have a sound test menu. Select the individual sounds and try to create a rhythm out of it. Learned a lot about sampling and multi tracking as I got older. Then I started to use an app to record and alter what I wanted. After creating stuff for a while I said f*ck it and decided to start putting it out.
Cross – I’m glad you did. The music you make ain’t the kind I listen to but, it’s always a good thing to widen the frame in which we feel comfortable in. Be open to new stuff.
Why did you decide to call the band Void?
J/Void – I didn’t really have a name. But I figured that a lot of what I’m making is meant for interpersonal interpretation. Just as well as the idea of a void. It can be whatever you’d like it to be or nothing at all.
Cross – Your second album with Void, “Void of Time and Space” sounds more melodious than the first one, in comparison. Did your gear change or did the inspiration change?
J/Void – I think the change there was simply just me getting more comfortable whith what I’m doing and how I’m going to work on expanding it.
Cross – Your next release “Innovator of Internal Violence” has such sound that it could give one a real bad anxiety. The last track, it gives one the feeling like if somebody is drilling a hole into their skull. I noticed Obsession, as a word, is used in at least, three songs in this album. Any particular reason?
J/Void – That was written over the course of a week or so. Though two of them I had the idea of for a long time. I was dealing with a lot of stress and I was also in a lot of pain. I wanted to convey that as much as I could. Obsession is used three times intentionally. It’s both to represent my own obsessive nature and my obsession of three different numbers. One of them being the number 3. Just as well it fits a lot of the ideas that I have that are circular and run in repetitious cycles.
Cross – Interesting.
We’re both Eyehategod fans and Mike IX has had a huge impact on both of us. You got to make an alternation of their first song on their “Dopesick” album, (one of my favorite of theirs) “My Name is God (I Hate You)”. Why did you pick that song?
J/Void – I wanted to use that song because it is abrasive and uneven. From the opening of broken glass and Mike screaming. It’s different and violent, one of the first songs of theirs I had heard. Stood out I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome though. I may attempt to revisit it later on but I’m not sure.
Cross – I liked it. But I guess an artist is kinda never fully content with the result of their work. In a way is how we keep growing, artistically.
Your last full album “Long Term Side Effects are not Currently Known”… How do you come up with these titles?
J/Void – Some of the album titles are responses to my reflection of the period. The overall theme that’s there.
Cross – Does the cover art have any particular meaning?
J/Void – Closest visual representation I could think of at the time.
Cross – The sound in this album, at least to me, is “Eraser Head” all over the place. What did J want to reach with that sound?
J/Void – I didn’t really think that was intentional but I can see where you could easily make the connection.
Cross – The album ends with “You’ll Never Find Out”. Is that about you or does it have a larger meaning?
J/Void – Both the opening tack “You’ll never know” and the closing track “You’ll never find out” are connected. There is a deeper meaning to them but that’s just for me. I wanted to leave that open because there are things out there that we all keep to ourselves and will never unveil.
Cross – That’s fine by me.
After your last album, you got two singular releases. As a matter of fact you started your Bandcamp with a singular release: “I’m Your Number One Fan”. Why wasn’t that included in any of Void’s albums?
J/Void – I wanted it to be on its own. Just a stand alone single for the time being. I may take that along with a handful of other tracks and compile them. But that is 20 minutes long. It would fit better as part of a split or a side of a 7”
Cross – You’ve been really productive these past months. Are you working on more spoken word poetry? What about new music?
J/Void – I have a number of things written just not recorded. And some ideas I need to concentrate on as well. In addition to that I just finished an album that I’ll also be releasing a separate single with alternate versions of the track because I’ve been messing with it quite a bit. Part of a different album being worked on but that will take time. And a few other various ideas that are bouncing around.
Cross – You recently made a film review about “A Serbian Film”, (loved your take on that one) and “Suburbia”. Are you working on any other one, film reviews that is?
J/Void – Those end up being harder. I rarely have time to sit down and watch a movie. I have a stack that I would like to do but time is a factor.
Cross – I know you liked to draw before and I think you mentioned in some of our conversations that you would like to get back to it. How is that going? Would we have the privilege to get to see a sketch or something in the near future?
J/Void – Unfortunately not well. All the testing I’ve been undergoing have fucked my arm up even more so I haven’t had an opportunity to get back to that. All in due time though.
Cross – Anything else you would like to add J?
J/Void – I have a special mix that will be released on Halloween as well as a single for my next album. I had to cut a track down for time and then started mixing different versions of it.
Also, I wanted to say support independent artists and labels. The work that they do often goes unnoticed. There are an incredible number of artists out there that are working full time as well as trying to create and release various forms of art to express themselves.
Cross – Thanks for the time J, a pleasure!