Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cystem 32 - Children of the Techno Industrial Wilderness

Cystem 32 is a musical duo composed of two unique and creative personalities that are "The Voice" and Safiok Brains.  If one were to take a look at their MySpace profile, one could see them defining their music as experimental/industrial, or the better still hitherto unknown (and you just gotta hear for yourself) category of: other. They define their music as odd yet even; asymmetrical yet symmetrical, disconnected yet together, odd yet even, jagged yet straight, or experimental with just the right hint of satire, just to name a few... They are two halves that make a whole, and without them (they write) the world would cease. And they're never complete...they are what scientists can only refer to as an inverted black hole.

Originaly named the band started as Faltered Reaction; compromised of only one member; Safiok Brains, in one room, with one computer, and one vision. Safiok Brains, always one to be inspired, wrote a few instrumentals back in 2007. After searching and searching for new members that could share the same vision, he came across "The Voice" which ended his search for what he believed to be the perfect second member to the group. Prior to his work with Cystem 32, "The Voice" wrote a song that later become Circle Of Doves while he was doing his own college radio shows on the fantasy radio station 84.5 Missing Link radio. After their first show together on August 22nd, 2008 at The Wallflower Gallery, both members decided to continue making highly inspirational and truly unique music.

Their music is something else, and their live shows are worth seeing...they write. I, myself, have yet to attend one of these happenings in person, but I'm definitely inspired to go see them perform. And I encourage you all out there to do the same, for the band has already chosen a possible time of death for their act, which be sometime in the fall of 2010. So chances are if we haven't slipped into some time warp as of late, you can all still get a chance to experience music that as no name, as they put it. Below is an interview that I conducted with this duo recently, and for the sake of rational continuity here, I will be referred to as "PS:" while the group's name shall be abbreviated "C32:" with the occasional response from "The Voice" being listed as "TV:" and Safiok Brains being referred to as "SB:" So with that being said, on with the interview...

PS: How did Cystem 32 come about and where does the name come from?

TV: I would describe Cystem 32 as a child born into poverty; strong, hardy, and full of potential for success. My friend and I formed this project as an effort to reinvent the contemporary musical sphere and comment on specific social personalities. The name, "Cystem 32," comes from the name of the computer software folder and largely reflects our unique and domineering style of music, including the industrialized "C."

SB: Well our name, Cystem 32 stems a lot from the focus of a computer file, early industrial works, such as tape sampling, our use of "not instruments", and Dada-like approach to everything we do. The system 32 file is buried deep within the disk drive and if that file gets, oh I don't know...deleted? Then your computer is vanquished and unable to function anymore. Hence our slogan "without us your world would cease" because it is true, computers do control and dictate our lives.


PS: So the variation on the spelling of system to cystem is in no way a reference to the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by any chance, right?

C32: While we are very familiar with Basquiat, there is no reference to him whatsoever in our name.

PS: And as a follow up to that question, how influenced would you say your music is by art in general?

C32: Completely. From our outfits, to our music, to our theatrical performance, our group is entirely composed of art.

PS: What does Safiok mean exactly?

C32: It is the key to unlocking the mysteries inside of all us. One day, we stumbled upon a Spacemaker in an abandoned hotel when we were doing a photo shoot to promote our next album. The pencil box said Saflok Brains on it. We quickly altered the name and decided it would fit best for our backup singer/synth player.

PS: What are your musical influences?

TV: My musical influences relate mostly to my desire to express myself in vocal performance. The explosive voices of Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, and Muse.

SB: My own influences are Throbbing Gristle, Monte Cazazza, Science, Sex, Machinery, Synthesized creations and the ever impending argument (which might rarely cause a debate) of "Is it noise, or is it music?"

PS: Describe your experiences playing in the city. Do you feel that there are enough outlets out there (meaning venues) to express yourselves?

TV: No. Playing in the city exposes us to a wide range of music and their for helps us create a new style. There are not enough venues in our area.

SB: The venues here are lacking, and I think that it's safe to say for the rest of the world. Most people don't seem interested...scratch that---willing to want to hear what we have to say. Our experiences in the city only help us get out their to the select group of people that like our style.

PS: How would you say that the internet social network has had its affect on your music personally and/or creatively? Do you feel as though it creates a disconnect between you and your audience since they could be listening at home and not bother to come to the shows, or is that right there the very essence of what you're trying to define with your music...(i.e. the disconnect that comes about as a result of technology and all its self indulgent gadgetry?

C32: No, it does not take away from live playing. While we are trying to send a message, we are also trying to entertain and the internet is a very accessible way to do so.

PS: So what do you have to say? Meaning, what message are you trying to convey through your music?

C32: What were trying to say is that there is more than you think.

PS: Do you feel any sense of indifference towards what you're presenting on stage, or has doing your act over and over helped to win over your fan base?

C32: Not indifference. The more we play, the more surprised we are by the audiences reaction...even more so than they are when they see us play.

PS: Do you regard Florida as a hometown where you can make it or do you both as artists feel that touring outside of the state is necessary to draw attention to what you’re doing?

TV: Touring outside the nation would make it easier to achieve fame but it is not necessary.

SB: I agree, touring would be nice and I would like to expose people to a live Cystem 32 show, but with the internet it makes it somewhat easier at getting our name out there, only we just need to be advertised.

PS: In your own words, what is a live show featuring the music of Cystem 32 like?

TV: Different, a lot of fun for us and the audience. Its exceptional.

SB: Our shows often leave people who don't know us confused and intrigued. People seem to think we do some heavy narcotics.

PS: How long have each of you been involved in music?

TV: Well Cystem 32 has been around for about ten months, but my interest in music has gone back to as far as I can remember.

SB: I've been interested in music ever since I played video games. Sound has always captivated me and what better way to express it by making something few people here in Miami have heard.

PS: Is the select group of people that you mentioned; the ones that you are getting through---are they fellow musicians as well? The reason I'm asking this is because I'm trying to see if your sound is favored more by musicians that know and understand the mechanics of what it is you're trying to do and present on stage. In this instance, would you say that it's easier to play to fellow musicians than it is to an audience with a taste for music appreciation?

C32: Quite often it is fellow musicians that appreciate our form of expression. Occasionally, we also find the "enlightened" audience that sees us for who we really are.

PS: Do you regard your music as an art form or as more of just a basic mode of sonic expression?

TV: It has elements of both in it.

SB: It's all for you to figure out. That I can say.

PS: Do you consider yourselves to be more like musicians or DJ’s?

TV: Musicians. Absolutely, because DJ's don't make music and we do. They don't make their own music.

PS: What instruments do you play then?

C32: This is all we play. "The Voice" & Safiok Brains each play the same instruments while taking turns in live performances except "The Voice" plays guitar and does singing, while Safiok Brains does the backup singing. Overall, our arsenal includes: samples, synthesizers, guitar pedals, tape recorders, GameBoy programs, GameBoys, backing tracks, metal popcorn cans, & singing. The only thing we have not tried out live yet are our metal popcorn cans.

SB: Musicians, not stars but musicians.

Cystem 32 Image

PS: Describe the preparation involved behind the stage personas of "The Voice" and Safiok Brains...how did they evolve as the essential characters behind your stage act?

TV: Preparation for my stage persona, "The Voice" requires much mental preparation and embodiment. My practice in a local acting class helps this process. "The Voice" was born because he was asked to be born, unconsciously by disruption in society. He serves to represent a mode which many a person in today's world would conform to.

SB: Preparation requires discipline, on a daily basis. Acting classes have help me out in characterizing. Safiok Brains came from every dark thought or thing unimaginable to man that he conjures in his subconscious. We as a society are not stable, this character represents the darkness that inhibits the world that most kids have forgotten about due to the millennium and how this millennium ends up taking the 1980's and redoing it in every aspect possible for example the clothes, fashion, movies, and music. They all come back in full swing. Unfortunately the millennium only brought cliches and shows that everything has been done already and theirs an unnecessary need to do it over again and make it seem different. But deep down, inside the character, Safiok Brains and myself both know it's all been done before.

PS: And as follow up to the very last answer you gave me in regards to preparation (Safiok's answer specifically, that is) Do you feel what you're doing has already been done before? And if not, then...what would you say you're doing differently when it comes to performing, songwriting, or just the creating the music in general?

C32: It has been done before. Take a look at the industrial revolution of 1976. Throbbing Gristle made the genre and it was embraced by Monte Cazazza, SPK, Non, Nurse with Wound, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, etc., etc. We are only able to rediscover these "lost elements" (and its true, Throbbing Gristle now a days are so distant, people don't consider them to be the pioneers of industrial music) because we are at a 50/50 with knowing what industrial music is originally comprised of and we recreate it and share it with the rest of the world. We are okay with this.

PS: Also, besides MySpace, do you guys have a website where you sell your music, either per track or as an whole CD package?

C32: We currently do not have a website to sell music. The only times we sell music is during our live performances.

Well, there you have it, folks... Cystem 32; children of the techno industrial wilderness, and legends in their own time. This has been P.S. Elliott (AKA: Dr. Gonzo XXVII) reporting for the disassociated press, that is... The Gnoyze Guitar Mods & More Web Blog.

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