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Black Mold

We catch up with illustrator and noisenik Chad Van Gaalen's alter ego to find out the inspiration behind Metal Spider Web #2

Several years of early hours basement bound sessions have gone into creating Snow Blindness Is Crystal Antz, the forthcoming album from Black Mold, electronic alter ego of Canadian songsmith and illustrator Chad Van Gaaalen. Simultaneously channelling the the spirit of a stoned Aphex Twin and the ghostly classicism of Michael Nyman the record displays an utterly unique aesthetic matched only by the strange, morphing animations Gaalen created for the debut single "Metal Spider Web #2". Over a crackly phone connection to Calgary we caught up with Gaalen to discuss alter egos, artistic inspiration and the magical contemplation of death...

DazedDigital: Where did the inspiration come from for Black Mold?
Balck Mold:
Black Mold is a project I have been working on in some form from as far back as I can remember. The moment I first got a multi-track cassette recorder I began to create the sound pieces I had in my mind.

DD: Do you think visually when writing music?
I do think visually, but often just to trigger ideas. They are really just loose references, nothing that really determines the outcome.

DD: If someone had you up against a wall and said, you can only draw or make music from now on, which would you rather do? 
Draw. Nothing is more satisfying to me than visual art; sculpture would actually be my first choice. Music came a lot later in my life than visual art – I am still less comfortable making it, and also less skilled. Visual art is second nature to me, but I still have to put quite a lot of energy into understanding how to approach sound, which is also really exciting because there is still that mystery.

DD:Can you talk us through the inspiration for the Metal Spider Web #2 animation?
The video for metal spiderwebs really has everything and nothing to do with anything. It is a stream of consciousness...

DD:Which illustrators and artists would you say have most inspired you?
Robert Crumb, Sally Cruikshank, John Cage, David Hockney... not to mention my dad and my daughter.

DD: Why the alter ego of Black Mold? 
Well, I have been doing the weirdo sound/noise stuff much longer than the song stuff, it's just that the song stuff became popular. I just thought I had to give the noisier stuff a proper home, I've tried on the last couple records to include  piano and electro songs and I think it was just breaking the flow of the songs and making the records drag a bit.

DD: Which electronic artists do you most admire and why?
Bruce Haack, because he blurred some lines between children's music and avant DIY, which is crazy awesome; Delia Derbyshire, because she is a female synth pioneer that was sneaking into the studio at night to record insano shit: HJ Roedelius and D Moebius; plus Eno – ambient perfection without pretension.

DD: Some of your songs as Chad deal in some pretty heavy metaphysical ideas, what does death mean for you?
Death is something that I am always trying to understand and relate to but never will. That is what is really exciting to me, because it then becomes anything I want it to be. The impossibillty of death is the most magical part of the contemplation.

Snow Blindness Is Crystal Antz is out October 19 on Flemish Eye Recordings