photo : Adrian Onsen
interview : Mike Kieffer
Hangedman is a music contributor for Auxiliary Magazine and a DJ, broadcaster, and subculture pundit who has done the college radio circuit in Ontario, Canada, since the awesome eighties. Currently he is the host of the weekly live global broadcast “Machina” every Wednesday evening on eve-radio.com which features a variety of scene commentary, guests, and music focused on the underground. In his hometown, Toronto, he is partner of Subterra, Toronto’s bi-monthly IDM and dark electro night.
What do you do at Auxiliary Magazine?
Music is the word. I write reviews of new albums and the odd interview with artists I admire. I’ve got a broad spectrum of musical tastes and experience so I thought I would serve the community by lending my voice.
How did you join the magazine?
I’ve always been involved with music news and marketing via broadcasting with college radio. It was Edwin Somnambulist of ISN Radio who turned me on to Auxiliary Magazine for the first time and for holiday gifts I picked up a couple of printed copies for presents from Plastik Wrap in Toronto. Via these fine people, their friends linked to my friends and next thing you know we’re throwing an Auxiliary promo party here in Toronto. I designed the poster for that first event, (I think it was back in June 2010), I met Jennifer and all the awesome people responsible for the magazine so when the call went out looking for talent, I felt my broadcast, marketing, and music knowledge would fit, so I applied.
What moment in your life turned you into a music junkie?
My musical identity was formed when I was about 14. As a kid, coming from a musical family I was exposed to a lot of music but did not really identify with any of it and sort of just went along with what everyone else was listening to which was pretty boring pop stuff from the 80s (dating myself). Then a friend of mine made me a mixed cassette tape of all kinds of postpunk electronic and goth stuff, things like Sousixe and the Banshees, Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus, and that kind of stuff. It was pretty mixed up really but I think the real moment on that tape was when I heard “Deadlines” by Skinny Puppy. Everything changed in that moment much to my parent’s frustration.
You have the power of time travel, what one live performance past or future would you attend?
Whoa good question. You know I wouldn’t choose any modern music at all. I’d choose to back to the year 1653 for Jean-Baptiste Lully’s production of Ballet de la Nuit. This was the production where Louis XIV of France danced the role of Apollo and epitomizes a time when art and politics were intertwined completely. I know it seems an odd choice for a guy who loves modern electronic based music now, but the fascination with music and its social political influence on people is something I’m really into. Besides the fashion back then was pure eye candy. I think I could really rock a periwig and nosegay. If I were to choose a more modern performance I think it would have to be one of Test Department’s theatrical performances of Brith Gof Gododdin.
What music related things do you do outside of Auxiliary?
The core of my music life revolves around my radio show. I’ve been doing a weekly live broadcast on eve-radio.com for nearly five years running. Eve online is a high quality cut-throat massive multiplayer game that takes place in a hyper-tech dystopian future. Eve Radio is a supplemental unofficial 7/24 live radio station that caters to this particular game but also geek culture at large. But it’s a sci-fi game primarily and so the music I play fits well into the virtual world. As it’s a three hour live show there’s a lot of live listener engagement. I try to cover as much ground in what I call “subculture” music which ranges from industrial/EBM to other more obscure genres of music. It’s a bit all over the map but as half the audience are often “gamers” and not really familiar with the music I play. I’d say at any given time a quarter of the audience I’m broadcasting to are tuning in because it’s there and the music I play fits so well with the sci-fi theme but they are new to the genres at large. It’s a great way to expose people to subculture music! Aside from that another large portion of my life is dedicated to club DJing here in Toronto, which I enjoy very much. I also have a couple of solo music projects in the laboratory and play the bagpipes. I’d say three quarters of my life has some sort of musical connection at any given time.
Do you think the fashion drives the music or the music drives the fashion?
It’s definitely a symbiotic relationship but in the modern era I’d have to say I think it’s the music that drives the fashion ever so slightly more than the other way around. Take steampunk for example, a fashion movement that is hugely popular but has not derived from a musical movement. I’ve often felt steampunk takes on this sort of cartoonish aspect as a result. However look at fashion identities that come from musical foundations. Metal, punks, goths, sure they could stand on their own now in a fashion sense, but they could never have flown free without their musical support base. One could argue these subcultures are just as cartooney as steampunk but I say nay. Despite being on the fringes of society, most musical based subcultures can walk the streets with pride because their music speaks for them as well as their fashion identity.
What band is your all-time favorite? Guilty pleasure? Most hated?
Because Skinny Puppy rocked my world they remain up their with my own personal top ten if not number one. But in truth, all-time favorite is ever changing depending on what I’m listening to a lot at any given time. As far as a guilty pleasure goes I do love music written before 1800. I also love military marching band music. I also love stuff with cowbell, I also love Super Tramp. [laughs] I’ve got pretty broad tastes. Hated music? I always tell my listeners that there is no such thing as bad music. If someone takes the time and effort to put something into a musical project they should be commended for that effort no matter what form it takes. It’s just a courtesy we as human beings should show to the artist and art form of music. It’s often bothered me when a person blurts out “that band sucks!” or “that type of music sucks!”. I’ve found that even though there may be a particular style of music that isn’t necessarily my thing, the beauty of music and the infinite possibilities of music make it so that I may not like say something like “new country” but I may find myself tapping my toe to a new country tune as I drive down a lonely road purely based on the mood, setting, and fabric of the music itself in that point in time. That’s a long way of saying I don’t hate any music, I always listen to everything with an open mind.
When you are at the clubs, what does it take to get you on the dance floor?
It’s quite often straight to the dance floor for me. Sometimes I might be distracted by the bar on the way.