This is the second of a 5 part series of interviews with Gus Watkins (featuring KPT this month), a local music artist. He is a member of five different bands, all with different members, all of whom are releasing a CD over the course of their collective residency at Gamut Gallery this summer and fall. They’re calling the series of shows Genrebeast.
The Genrebest manifesto is as follows: We believe music is about art movement, not genre; community, not scene; playing, not partying.
Together, Gus and KPT form DEATHDANCE who will perform June 11, which is also the closing night of “Ineffable: a collaborative exhibition of mixed media and photography between artist Ramses Alarcon Sanchez and 11 local photographers that examines perception and explores the transcendental.”
Q. What is DEATHDANCE and how did you come together?
Gus: KPT and I performed on the same bill some time back in 2013, and then ended up deciding to go tour together. We figured we should have some music to tour together on, so we came up with the first DEATHDANCE album as a kind of split. And it sparked a lot of creative ideas and energy, so I knew even when we were touring on the first one that we had to come back and do more. There’s already more in the works, too.
KPT: Hopefully it’s what it implies. Dark-influenced dance music. I think we just started out with a mutual appreciation of our talents and drive. We both wanted to perform together more. We just needed a reason to do that and to truly grab people.
Q. How did you discover the “dark EDM” genre and what led you to creating it yourself?
Gus: I’m creatively restless, and I always want to try new stuff. I fell in love with techno, electronica, and industrial stuff when I was a kid, but I grew up rural and kind of sheltered, so I didn’t really realize there was a “scene” or a “community” of electronic music until I was way older. I just do what I do. Genres are weird, but you gotta call it something! So, dark EDM it is.
KPT: What I create grew out of a love of both electronica and industrial along with an affinity for darker subject matter. Never really “discovered” it, although it’s been cool to find out about others doing similar things after the fact. Mixing more of the EDM sound or traditional dance elements in with really heavy, almost industrial stuff.
Q. What’s the typical genesis of a song? Does one person usually lay the groundwork and then you build from there, or something else?
KPT: It’s gone both ways with who starts at this point and we’ll pass things back and forth a few times. Me adding the harder beat-driven dance elements, Gus with the hooky melodics and vocals. The finality, however, is that Gus takes and gives the songs what they need as far as the pop element goes.
Q. Since you first met, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about each other?
KPT: It’s been 3 years and within that time, I don’t think either of us has done anything to piss the other off. Pretty damn impressive. Haha. It’s nice that we can both essentially trust the other to know what they’re doing for their part in this project. No reservations regarding the other’s input/skillsets.
Gus: Dude loves Beyoncé. It’s incredible.
Q. If you could perform at any venue in the world, where would you perform and why?
KPT: As long as the energy is right, fill the place up and I’m happy. The darker and more underground, the better.
Gus: How are the acoustics in the Large Hadron Collider?
Q. Tell me everything you know about Ramses Alarcon Sanchez.
KPT: I honestly think he’s got a baby hawk for a pet.
Q. Gamut Gallery will celebrate it’s 4th birthday at this show. What’s one of your own favorite birthday memories?
Gus: Some friends threw a surprise birthday party for me last year. They know I’m kind of jumpy, so instead of yelling at me when I came in, they all just stared wordlessly at me when I entered the room. It was brilliant, and surreal. I was completely stunned. Luckily someone had the presence of mind to hand me a beer, and I clutched on to that thing for dear life. There’s probably a metaphor in there somewhere.
Hopefully it’s as obvious to you as it is to me that Gus and KPT are two smart, cool, talented fellows. Many thanks to both of them for lending me their time on this. Click here to purchase tickets to DEATHDANCE’s show on June 11: rap act RP Hooks, deep house and techno from Berndt and Ryote of Kajunga Records, and soulful grunge-folk from Half Tramp. Plus, a live performance piece meets acoustic act from our friends Qassandra & Apollo, comedy courtesy of the new cable access show “And Now It’s”, and a live VJ feed from Omen projected onto our backyard patio. Also, because Gamut just loves to go out on a limb, well be showcasing an experimental twist on live body painting – live mannequin painting. Weve invited some of our favorite local artists (including Repo, Erin Sayer, Greta Claire, Benjamin Wuest, Jacob Eidem, Alex Gregory and more) to dissemble mannequins and paint/draw/embellish their signature styles onto a limb/body part. At the end of the night, the adorned limbs will sold as memorandums in an auction to support future programming at Gamut Gallery.
July 30: Patch
September 2: Qaanaaq
October 29: ACTN
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