Interviewer: JM
June 2002

The VLE...under this name, a musician creates one of the most personal and interesting work on dark ambient music I heard...Know a bit more about this man...

1.- Hi VLE!. Well, let´s start a voyage to your world, so you must be our guide. Could you please, say where and when VLE started his way to music?

Hey, how's it goin'? VLE began in July 2001 out of my own curiosity, boredom and ultimately because someone I value a great deal suggested that I let others hear this music… it is simply a reflection of my subconscious created for my own enjoyment.

2.- Why did you felt that you needed to play music?. Why you chose that so dark and new-age way?.

For me, music gives the only true reason for my existence and provides the ultimate form of expression. I didn't chose dark or new-age… whatever comes out, pleases me and is captured on tape is what you will hear.

3.- On your works "Book Of illusions" chapters I and II can be noticed a progression towards a more atmospheric sound. On chapter one you included guitars, percussion and voices, but not on your second part?. Could you explain us the feelings or facts that impulsed you to chenge your vision about your music?

The vision is yours, I changed only the path. Book of Illusions is a journey and on this journey you experience different scenes and emotions… as it is in life.

4.- You came from New York, the city of some of the brutalest bands of the world. Has the city also place for non-destructive music as you make?. How is the dark-doom-gothic-new age scene there? Are you maybe a "lone soul"?

Hmm, I think I am a lone soul. I don't know of any musicians that create dark-doom-gothic-new age. I can tell you there is no real scene here at all. There seems to be a lot of this metal core stuff going on in the Northeast, USA but I'm too interested.

5.- You´re a one member band, so in that way you cannot be worried about other band mates´ opinnions, but this also has the "wrong" side of being the maximum responsable for your acts and music. Why do you decided to be only you and your instruments?. Do you in mind open the gates of VLE to more musicians?

It wasn't a planned project… it just developed over time. I don't have any plans to have other people create the sounds, because this music is very personal for me and comes from a place that I couldn't even begin to describe. However, in the future I may ask others to aide in the execution of certain instruments, as was the case with the song "Kano". For that one, I had the opportunity to record acoustic drums, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and bass guitar and then mix them along with the keyboards on a multi-track mixing board in a decent studio. I was going to perform the drums myself, but I knew someone who was willing and available to do it. This in turn freed me up from dealing with both tasks of engineering and recording drum tracks… a very taxing affair. I could have used the drum sounds from my keyboard like I did on all the others, but it was just a case of an opportunity that presented itself, so I took it. Considering the fact the drummer had no rehearsal and used no click to guide him, I think did a fine job. The whole experience was rushed, so I am happy with the results.

6.- Which is the main reviews about your music?. Good? Bad?...

Most of the reviews are favorable which is nice. There are some people who don't care for this music and that is fine too. After all, I wrote this music because I needed to and wanted to please myself… I don't expect everyone to feel the same way.

7.- In these times some people prefers using synthetizers to other real instruments such as guitar, bass, saxo, etc. What do you use and prefer? Synths or "real" instruments?. why?

I love "Real" instruments, but for practical reasons at some point I found myself using synthesizers to create as well. Mind you, I don't consider myself a keyboard player at all. I don't know any theory, so my approach to all instruments is very open. I'm most comfortable creating with the guitar though. It's a very versatile instrument and I love the way it sounds. I also make some noise on bass, drums, violin, and trumpet; sometimes even twiddle the keys of synths to my liking while using the voice as just another instrument (percussive, melodic and harmonic) within the mix as apposed to it's usual role as lead.

8.- So... are you self-taught?. what do you think about the people that learns in this way?

Yes, the day I bought my first guitar (electric), someone taught me 3 guitar power chords and from there I just fiddled around, made noise and managed to build some nice calluses. I didn't know what I was doing… hmm, I still don't, but I eventually progressed enough to put together ideas. I sometimes feel that it would be great to know what notes I play and understand the theory behind the sounds, but then I would have a different approach to creating. I think theory can be good thing, but I don't think everyone needs to learn it. My lack of knowledge is in part due to the fact that I have very little patience and if I don't want to do something, I won't. No matter how many theory classes I have had in the past, the info just never sunk in… I think my brain rejects it… hehehe. As a result, over the years I have learned to trust my instincts and my ear… that's all I have. In my opinion, some people are too obsessed with theory, but what do I know.

9.- I think in your works there´s no lyrics at all, aren´t they?. But did you thought about including some non-sung lyrics as explanation of your feelings (as some artist do, including poems made by them?

There are lyrics… they may not be audible throughout, but they are there and have meaning and purpose. They are based on my own personal thoughts and ideals written in a somewhat ambiguous style… maybe that's poetry, I don't know. I have what some would consider strange opinions about the concept of duality and different states of consciousness that find their way in there as well. Actually, some vocals are not words at all, but more expressions of emotions, feelings and are used to enhance the atmosphere of a piece. I chose not to include the lyrics because I don't want the listener to separate the lyrics from the music. I don't wish to guide anyone with words. I think it is important that the listener have his or her own experience.

10.- "Book Of Illusions"...what kind of illusions? What do you expect from life?

The illusions of reality. The only thing I know to expect from life is death.

11.- Some special bands & artists you want to mention?. Why?

Funny you should ask, because at this very moment I am listening to a band from Italy called Greyswan… all I can say is that their music moves me. I am enjoying them for the first time today and I can't seem to get their CD out of my player.

12.- Living in NY, the matters happened on Sept, the 11th may affected you in some way. Will they be reflected on your new works?. Which acts influences you as artist?

The music for Chapter III is already complete… I just need to do some mixing and organize, but first I have to find the motivation to do even do that. As for the Sept. 11th event… for me it was more spectacular than surprising and only served to reassure me of the ultimate reality of life on earth. This event did not influence my writing, at least in no way that I am aware of. Ok, the big question… it seems that I cannot continue to escape this one… what are my influences? Well, they go beyond music, but here is a short list of a few artists that I like (in no particular order): Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Boston, Salvador Dali, J. S. Bach, Kitaro, Emperor, Jeff Buckley, Arcturus, Randy Rhoads, Beethoven, Primordial, Journey, Paco De Lucia, Philip Glass, My Dying Bride, Kila, Last Crack, Anathema(old), Vivaldi, Jimi Hendrix, Bethlehem, At the Gates, Dream Theatre, Abigor, Los Incas, Zeppelin, Borknagar, Sabath, Zach Wylde, Cynic, Iron Maiden, Ulver, Radiohead, Michael Shencker, In the Woods, the Doors etc… I promise next time I will list more ;)

13.- Could you tell us how did you recorded "Book Of illusions". Which gear you used?

The music is created without a set pattern or prior thought of how the outcome of a piece should be. For instance, I sit down before the keyboard and place my hands on the keys and record the sounds as they happen. When I finish recording this initial release, I then add other sounds, phrases, and outside instrumentation to the initial progression until I feel that the piece is finished. This is determined by how I feel when I listen back to all the sounds together. I don't use any programming techniques (ie. Loops). All the music is created in real-time… even the drum sounds (except in the case of "Kano"). A piece may start with keyboard/synth, guitar or a simple vocal melody. Some songs were done within a few hours, some a few days or months and in a few cases years. Each time I create, it is because I have to express myself. It is one of the few outlets available to me. It's just me recording sounds and working with those sounds until I feel I have nothing left to express. There is no technical aspect to it at all… it is only that I have a way that I do things and I don't try to really understand it or analyze it. I regard every musical experience as some sort of emotional exchange, so I suppose this ultimately affects how my music is created. The instruments I used are a shitty 4-track, which I suppose most wouldn't consider an instrument, but mine definitely added a nice bit of noise to some songs, so for this reason alone it warrants inclusion… Westone and PRS electric guitars, Ovation and Yamaha acoustics, Fender bass, E-mu and Korg syths, Tama drums(only on Kano) and my voice. For capturing and mixing the sounds I used a Tascam 4-track, Sony double cassette boom box, Computer, Sony DAT, Mackie mixer, Alesis effects unit and some other stuff I forget. Most of this equipment I borrowed or had access to for a short period of time.

14.- And now, looking for the fuure, isn´t it?. What deserves future times?

I'm not sure I understand your question, but like I said before there is only one thing certain… death. Until that time comes, I can only exist.

15.- Ok, so that was all...now you´re free to post anything you want...

Cheers to you Morvyan and the rest of the Fleshrites crew! Continue your support of the underground! And to all others who've made it this far, I invite you to my domain… come experience my world of illusions and leave your mark. Play it Loud! Hail and Kill!! VLE: http://www.mp3.com/vle