Freshly signed to No Pain In Pop, LA-based lo-fi ambientindie kid Vinyl Williams releases his debut album, Lemniscate, next month. When not pushing his brand of transcendental shoegaze into strange new directions, the 22-year-old art-student creates psychedelic spacecollages adorned with religious iconography. He even made one especially for the November art issue. Listen to his recent EP below, click through the gallery and buy the vinyl if you'd like it. Thanks VW!
Dazed: What role does art play in your music?
Vinyl Williams: The same role teal would play in turquoise - they're simultaneous and almost completely interrelated. The visual artwork and music seem to act as synesthetic expressions of the same planet, via different sensory canals.
Dazed: Which came first?
Vinyl Williams: Both came at around age 5 - but I didn't take visual art very seriously until just a couple years ago. I couldn't take music seriously until I quit piano at age 10, and discovered drums. Hitting things harder really made an impact on my future. Before this shift in priorities I would have much rather been a roller coaster designer.
DD: Is Vinyl Williams performance art? How so?
Vinyl Williams: I'm not sure. An ultimate goal of mine is to affect people beneficially. So, in a way it's becoming a theraputic practice, but the esoteric elements such as the sensory overload and religious simultaneity make it more of a performance. We're beginning to use props, such as pieces of altars made of palm tree parts, gold spheres, numerous other strange objects to provide an exotic entrancement for the audience, a hypnotic atmosphere filled with arbitrary and other-worldly zones.
DD: What do you make of performance art? Inspiring or pretentious?
Vinyl Williams: Good performance art usually provides an intense amount of paradoxes...and doesn't take itself too seriously, or else it inevitably becomes so aware of itself that accessing it is just impossible. This is just my subjective opinion but I guess all interviews are just riddled with those! Also, my definition of the word "good" usually includes being surprised, and stimulated. So far in life I've found the most stimulating things are the most inexpicable paradoxical moments, where language and rationality are devoid. Just the raw experience is the most miraculous thing. Actually, this kind of experience, or sensation, seems to be more of the "art" than the tangible piece of artwork.
Dazed: How long have you been making music under that name?
Vinyl Williams: It's been about 4 years now.
Dazed: Do you find yourself writing music to complement your art, or vice versa?
Vinyl Williams: I find myself not knowing what the hell I'm doing, DAZED AND CONFUSED, really. And when I encounter the result of such an irrational approach, (a finished collage or a completed song) I'm seriously surprised at my own work. Titles of songs sometimes drive the conception of artwork, and vice versa. I created a collage in August 2010 titled "Follow In Your Dreams" which influenced the creation of the last track off of the upcoming release "Lemniscate" which has the same title - just titles alone can emmit various ideas within a geographic part of a world I've never even visited.
Dazed: If you had to describe your music to a deaf person, what three pictures would you use?
Vinyl Williams: Maybe I would show an enlarged version of this Egyptian pendant, which is intended to heal. A photo of the crystal pyramid, beneath the bermuda triangle. And maybe some work by Mati Klawein. Or even my own collages would fit perfectly, I just wouldn't want to overload a deaf person with me, me, me.
Dazed: What sites do you raid for artistic inspiration?
Vinyl Williams: The internet depletes my inspiration most of the time. I try to spend less and less time on it. Sometimes I'll google image search artists I love, like Paul Laffoley. If I discover amazing images on the internet I usually store them on the front page of my new label site http://salonislam.com
Dazed: What music do you listen to while creating your art?
Vinyl Williams: Lately, space lounge waiting room music! Like KWJAZ, James Ferraro, Matrix Metals, Good Amount, Tim Hecker, Michael Stearns, Klaus Schultz, and onwards.
Dazed: You're a big fan of collage – can you name three collage artists that have inspired your work and write a sentence on each please.
Vinyl Williams: Scott Toxic influenced me more than anybody...he's a wondrous artist I met in Utah with a deep purpose of exposing the uncanny elements of Mormonism and extra-sensory worlds.
Amélie Chunleau (commonly known as Tetradia) is such a beauty in every way...her collages can be seen at tetradia.tumblr.com - for me, she solidified the compositional values needed to make good alluring collage art.
Charles Wilkin is one of the most talented mixed media / collage artists I've ever known. He curated an exhibition in New York City on October 21, 2011 and was thoughtful enough to involve a piece of mine.
Dazed: Your art work has a religious edge, what fascinated you about cults/religion?
Vinyl Williams: I've grown up in dense religious environments, throughout every era of my life. From age 0 - 8 I was enrolled in Jewish private schools near Los Angeles, which went beyond just the history of Judaism. I was very involved in Hasidic rituals, Jewish orthadox practice, went to synagogue from time to time, etc. From age 8 - 20 I lived in Utah which exposed me to the strange religious beliefs of Mormons and also of 50 separate sects of Christianity. Naturally a person must respond to such an acute culture shock, but it has to converge in the mind before it can leap into something like an artwork. Whenever I've visited Israel over the past few years, it has brought together these various religious phenomenon into a connected idea of what my essential purpose is - which is to create harmony. This is a direct response to the religious dissonance experienced throughout my life.
Dazed: If you were to set up a cult, what would be the entry requirements?
Vinyl Williams: The only requirement would be that we practice WHITE MAGIC only! Or, if there's such a thing as turquoise magic or gold magic, those are okay too.
Dazed: You like to create these sprawling worlds – what do you think LA will look like in 50 years?
Vinyl Williams: Oh God... well palm trees only have a 150 year life span, so being an approximate 100 year old city at this present moment, I suppose the whole LA landscape would turn from tropical to abyssmal.
Dazed: Your art and music has a spaced out, glitchy edge to it – do you feel part of the hideously named Tumblr wave? If not, where do you see yourself in the wider spectrum of pop culture?
Vinyl Williams: I'm not sure. I don't spend time on Tumblr, and it's not up to me to decide where I fit on such a large spectrum of cultural exchange. Most ultimately I'd love to be a vital component of holistic medicine, which leaves out the pure subjectivity of questions like "is it art?" or "is it good?" - I'd rather make something undeniable, something that feels good rather than carries a fundamental meaning. Something you don't have to think about but something you feel, and the feeling is positive.
Dazed: What have you got coming up next?
Vinyl Williams: Shows w/ Django Django in San Fransisco at The Independent, and in Los Angeles at The Echo! September 25 & 26. We're releasing our first "Vinyl on vinyl" on November 12th! I'm also planning on driving a thousand miles down to Guatamala in December to visit the temple of Tacal. More adventures to come. ^_~