TRANSCENDING THE MUNDANE
Interviewer: Brett VanPut
October 2003

New York City based musician the VLE is a true artist. He has recorded three albums of music which range in spectrum from ambient to black metal, sometimes there are vocals, others none- but you can always expect in intimate and emotional listening experience regardless of what he does. The VLE creates such an atmosphere, you can't help but feel the mood of his creations. We caught up with him again as he releases his third of the Book of Illusions Chapters.

1. How does this third chapter of VLE differ from the previous work?

Book of Illusions: Chapter III CD has more vocals, drums, guitar and I also I spent quite a bit of time trying to improve the production quality of the mixes from cassette tape with some musical editing software. But I believe it still has the same atmospherically rich quality as Chapter I and II.

2. Do you feel there are common themes running through all three discs? The common theme is the ascension towards chaos. Chaos, being that which encompasses the entire existence of all matter as it relates to human suffering and happiness.

3. I enjoy the contrasts between the serene and harsh side of VLE, how are you able to use these contrasts to write interesting and creative music?

I just do whatever comes natural to me. It's only within the realm of music that I can truly feel free, so I don't put limitations on how I express myself. I don't try to please anyone but myself. I create because I have to... it's the only thing that keeps me afloat, so I don't compromise or make any apologies. That's why you will always hear a myriad of styles and contrasts throughout the music. I don't contemplate how a song will sound in the end... I just do whatever sounds good to my ears at that time. I often feel the first instinctual act presents the truest form of expression. So the music serves as way of release... It's just me expressing some feelings and emotions through sound by turning the dark and ugly into something beautiful and light and vice versa. Combining the opposites of nature will ultimately bring forth more energy.

4. Would you consider putting together a band and play live or are you content as a solo artist?

If I had money to pay other musicians to play the music as I like, maybe I would consider it, but I'm not too interested in doing that right now.

5. Do you find it is difficult to find an audience because of your diversity?

I'm not really looking for a specific audience... I think that would be a concern for a record label though. In my experience, I've found that all types of people relate to my music in some way. You don't have to like metal or classical to enjoy VLE... I think it's for anyone who is willing to open up their minds to other states of consciousness. I believe we are all looking for something...

6. When do you find is the best time to write, what type of mood best serves VLE?

When I cannot express myself in any other way without risking some chance of a jail term… hehehe, just kidding. But really, it's just when I feel like I have something to release… you can liken it to a cleansing of the mind, body and soul. When my mind is in a extremely disorganized state... my body unsettled and my soul feels tortured… that's when I pick up an instrument (usually guitar) and purge myself until I feel free.

7. Do you feel satisfied creating on your own and releasing music yourself, or would you rather find a label to help out? If so, do you worry that a label might try to compromise your vision?

At this point, I would love for a label and/or distributor to help out. People from all over the world write to me asking where they can buy my music so if I had a label and distributor behind me, I'd be able to reach more people... it's the only reason why I would want to collaborate because I'm not so much interested in money and fame. The music and how it affects others is the only thing that matters to me. You have to understand that this started off as just me alone with my pain, and now others have heard this and they write to me and tell me they can see the beauty in it, the sadness, the joy and utter despair while still gaining strength and inspiration from it. I would be concerned if a label tried to stifle my creativity, but I doubt there is a label brave enough to sign VLE...

8. Do you think New York City is a safe place to live?

New York City can be a dangerous place to live, but look around you... no place is really very safe anymore.

9. What plans do you have for this year? When will you be recording new music again?

I don't have any plans. I don't know if I will record new music. Actually all the Book of Illusions music was recorded years ago. I have tons of cassette tapes filled with music I've done over the years. I might release some more and maybe record new stuff, but like I said I don't have any plans... only hopes and dreams.

10. Final comments? Please add anything we missed in the interview. Thanks again for taking the time for these questions.

Toby, thanks again for all the support you've given me and my music. I wish you continued success with TTM and to all those who are still reading this... visit my web domain, listen to the sounds and let me know what you think. Play it Loud. Hail and Kill!

www.tmetal.com