Talk Show Host: 020: Brant Showers

Brant Showers is a busy man right now. Touring with one band, working on new material for his main act, and just this week putting out a debut album under his solo moniker.

Fresh from a European tour with Bestial Mouths, I caught up with Brant over e-mail to discuss what’s going on in all three projects. Photos come from my own live shots of ΔAIMON at Cold Waves III. Brant, you’ve just completed a European tour with Bestial Mouths. How did it go?

Brant Showers: The tour went great. It was interesting to step into an existing project with its own already well-established fanbase and aesthetic, but the reception to the new incarnation and live show was extremely favourable. We visited some amazing cities and meet some incredible people, so all in all it was a great experience to have been a part of. I must admit I’ve lost track a little here – how long have you been part of Bestial Mouths?

Brant Showers: Heh no worries, I was only recently recruited for the purpose of the tour and upcoming festival shows. That’s partly why the response to the new line-up and our take on previously written material was so rewarding. In a lot of ways, we were taking a bit of a risk in re-developing the band and songs for the tour. Thankfully though, everyone seemed to really appreciate the new dynamic and direction we took the project.

Cold Waves III: Chicago: 26/27-Sep 2014: ΔAIMON You also have your own new(ish) project in SØLVE – with the first album The Negative out this coming week. What saw you strike out on your own?

Brant Showers: Initially I started the SØLVE project back in 2013 as a place to work through personal issues with ritualism and alchemical motifs. I self-released an EP for free without much intention of making it into a larger scale project, but people seemed really receptive to it. When I started working on a new release, Syco from Chrysalide and Chris Shortt both approached me about working with the French label audiotrauma. Their support was what really incentivized me to take the SØLVE project further and explore more with what I could do with it. As the pieces for the album started coming together, the project shifted to a much more urgent and important form of expression for me. You’re probably best known to readers of for your work in ΔAIMON – is there more to come from this project?

Brant Showers: Absolutely! I’ll always be extremely committed to the ΔAIMON project with my wife, Nancy. This past year ΔAIMON has been on a sort of pseudo-hiatus due to conflicts with time and energy, but we have an amazing new album in the works that I’m really excited about. We’ve always approached ΔAIMON on its own terms so if it ever feels like we’re forcing it too much, it’s best for us to take a step back and wait for the inspiration to strike again. We do plan on returning our focus to it very soon though. I first came across your work thanks to your cover of SwansA Screw (Holy Money) with ΔAIMON. Covers of Swans material are few and far between – was this a particular challenge, and was Michael Gira’s work a big influence on you?

Brant Showers: The cover we did of A Screw (Holy Money) was the second track we ever recorded together (with AMEN being the first) so at the time it was a way for us to develop the ΔAIMON sound. We never expected anyone outside of our immediate friends to even hear it, so there wasn’t much attention paid to how it would be received by Swans fans or otherwise. That said, Swans have always inspired my creative output, including ΔAIMON and SØLVE. To that end, our cover was really meant first and foremost as an homage. In light of the recent allegations against Gira, I definitely have to re-evaluate my support of him, but I can’t deny the massive influence his dynamic use of noise, expressive percussion, cathartic vocals, and droning repetitive structures have had on my own productions. Now a few years separate us from the ‘boom’ period of Witch House, what is your take on the movement (as was), and how those involved all splintered very quickly into different styles and sounds?

Brant Showers: I still have a lot of love for the Witch House scene. In my mind I equate it with a pretty diverse and splintered style to begin with though. It didn’t really have a homogenized “sound” until much later when the newer acts joined in and latched on to a specific style. Either way, what drew me to it in the first place was the creativity in exploring varied influences from pop, hip-hop, post-wave, and industrial music. Each artist had their own collection of influences that determined their own unique interpretation of the Witch House aesthetic. For us, the movement was extremely welcoming and rewarding to be a part of and we’re still very close with a lot of those artists even today. I’ve since lost track of the new ‘boom’ taking place in Eastern Europe but occasionally I’ll come across something that reminds me of the sense of danger and underground that I loved about it back in the beginning. Did you find that you needed to adapt your sound with ΔAIMON – and indeed SØLVE – to avoid being pigeonholed – and did all the remixes and split releases help or hinder you?

Brant Showers: I guess the short answer to the first question is ‘yes’ but we never made a conscious decision to cater our sound in any particular way. We try to include different configurations of our influences with ΔAIMON simply because we don’t particularly like fitting neatly within a genre tag. So the development of our style was more to do with our own negative connotation with being pigeonholed than with a concern over marketing our output. I don’t like repeating myself too much, creatively, and will typically branch out into different sounds based on my changing interests. Thankfully, we’ve been very lucky to find dedicated fans that appreciate the evolution of our style. SØLVE has gone through similar changes for the same reason – a personal need to explore, which is perhaps the main purpose of the project for me. Our interactions with different artists through remixes have always been related to our interest in defying and blurring genre lines. Something I feel we’ve done a pretty decent job of achieving. I was surprised at how raw ΔAIMON sounded when I saw you live at Cold Waves III. Was the intention to strip away the mask of effects and reveal what lay behind, or was it a matter of practicality?

Brant Showers: That’s difficult to answer in quite such deliberative terms. The direction of our live performances changed over a lengthy period of time, so it felt like a very natural progression to me. I can say that the shift was definitely related to a personal need for a more raw and unhindered path of expression, but it came about over many shows. By the time we played CWIII our performance had become very stripped down and more about the cathartic output than theatrics or effects. Which is not to say that we won’t go back to implementing more of those later down the road. With the self-titled full length album we really aimed at tearing down the veil of fog and shadow that had surrounded us in the past, and the live set was a continuation of that desire to connect directly and honestly with our audience. We’re always developing our live performances though – and often require the shadows just as much as the raw catharsis.

Cold Waves III: Chicago: 26/27-Sep 2014: ΔAIMON We’ve talked briefly about one influence – what other music has really grabbed you over the years and made you think “I want to make music like that”?

Brant Showers: The artist Lorn has been a pretty huge influence over both ΔAIMON and SØLVE projects, but most recently I’ve been extremely drawn to Trepaneringsritualen. I’d go so far as to say that the tone of the SØLVE album even shifted a bit as I listened to more of his work. Lately I’m into a lot of Prurient type stuff as well, but Trepaneringsritualen really nails the occult perspective perfectly. Do you feel much connection with the industrial scene in the US, or even in California? If so, to an outsider like me, the scene in the region seems to be thriving at the moment.

Brant Showers: I’m happy to see such an active scene of amazing artists growing out of Los Angeles. It is definitely an exciting time to be a fan of industrial in the US right now, though I’m not sure that I would really say I feel connected to it as an artist. It’s very difficult to determine to what extent I’m included or how much I’ve benefited from the current scene. Still, I have a lot of friends involved with what is happening, so the feeling of respect and support is there regardless of whether I fit in with it or not. What’s next after SØLVE? You seem to have a desire to be constantly busy with music.

Brant Showers: It’s a cliche that artists create out of necessity, but there’s some truth to it. As I continue to pursue my own personal understanding, I’ll always use music as a way to explore and express it. Currently I’m performing at this year’s Terminus Festival in Calgary as SØLVE. After that I have some ideas regarding a limited edition format release and the ΔAIMON album that I’m looking forward to finishing with Nancy. Otherwise, I’m still performing with Bestial Mouths at a few upcoming festivals and looking to do more SØLVE and ΔAIMON shows in the near future.

The new SØLVE album The Negative is out now on audiotrauma, while a new ΔAIMON album will be coming in due course.

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