Seth Haley’s alter ego Com Truise is a subconscious tipping of the hat to the darker underbelly of the 80s. His music still has polish and lovely production but with an undercurrent of muckiness to it. Think sex, sweat and films on VHS that have had the image distorted in certain ‘key scenes’ due to repeated watching.
I spoke to him after he recovered from a beer soaked night at the Shacklewell Arms after he’d dived headlong in to the debauched underbelly of London’s faded sex district for a gig at Madam JoJo’s.
While I wouldn’t say that your sound is lo-fi, exactly (it is very nicely produced) it definitely takes turns in to the slightly seedy/scuzzy (samples of sex, for instance), is that a reaction against the generally ‘sunny’ feel of nostalgic electronica at the minute?
I guess I threw those bits in certain tracks for a laugh. I’m normally a very serious person. In doing so I guess it was a bit of a breakdown, maybe a reach for freedom. I think some of that can still be seen as nostalgic, even sunny given it’s taken the right way.
You played the Shacklewell Arms and then headed to Madam JoJo’s. Was it a conscious decision to go from one kind of debauchery (a shabby beer soaked vibe) to the heart of London’s sex district?
It wasn’t my plan, but it seems quite fitting. I was unaware of Madame JoJo’s history until about a week ago. Then on the way to our hotel when we arrive back in London last night the Taxi driver was asking us what we do and told us all about the place. I’m looking forward to it.
Is the name Com Truise part and parcel of a love for the 80s? Was it a chicken or egg situation? Or just a total coincidence?
At the time, the inception of my vision for this project it seemed fitting. Given I was unaware of where ‘Com Truise’ would go or if it would even be more than just me making tunes for my own personal satisfaction. It just so happened to be exactly opposite of my expectations and here I am, 4 shows left on a pretty massive European tour, and all of this in about a years time. It’s all a bit blurry now.
It is old news that the 80s are back in fashion (especially in music) but have you been surprised by the extent to which people have been referencing them?
I think it’s most easy to connect with the 80’s aesthetic in today’s age of just about everything. I think the same sort of global progressions and awareness are happening now. Even if you look at popular music, everything is getting more an more electronic. For me I pull from different parts of the 80’s I’m not interested in the fashion or the mentality associated with that. I’m more interested in the way technology progressed, music technology specifically. I like to think I draw more on the equipment and production techniques used during the 80’s. I think a lot of stuff coming out that gets tired to the “80’s” classification is a mere scratch on the surface.
Is it a generational thing? I am a child of the 80s, and I (always thought I) loathed that era. The politics, the fashion, the music, only the films have fond memories for me, really. Now though I can’t get enough of the aesthetic/sound.
It’s definitely a toss up. There are younger people who are embracing it to the max, people who are just realizing what is happening and then people who are children of the 80’s and wished away everything to do with them but are now finding a sort of comfort in what’s happening in regard to the 80’s nowadays. Everyone is wired differently, sometimes it clicks really quick and other times it takes a while to see how much you were subliminally effected by something.
I have a feeling that the 80s in the UK was very different to the 80s in the US (strikes, heroin and Sigue Sigue Sputnik vs. Raegenomics, cocaine and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)?
I believe so. Even musically, it took a while for things to come across the pond and catch on. It’s nice to have some separation, if everything was the same everywhere the world would be quite dull and boring.
Does the imagery/aesthetic of the era’s films have a strong influence on your sound? You’ve said elsewhere that you listen to the Vangelis soundtrack to Bladerunner “most days,” for instance.
Yes, very much so. Most of them time my head is in another place, no matter what I’m doing or where I am. I’m stuck in a sort of constant day dream. I’m always looking at the things and places of today and trying to fit in strange technology, vehicles, people it helmets. I guess I’m making a continuous painting in my mind.
You’ve just left your previous (non-musical) employ, how does it feel?
Wild. I’ve worked a job since I was old enough too do so. Sometimes its a bit hard to focus now. Too much downtime for me isn’t good. It’s uninspiring. Touring helps with that because even when we have a day off I still feel like we’re constantly moving. My mind is one that must be busy, busy until I tell my self to shut down.
Galactic Melt is a step forward from the Cyanide Sisters EP in terms of production. Was that a conscious effort, or part of signing for Ghostly?
It was a conscious effort. It was me developing my sound. I plan on going backwards and adding the parts together. This project was so young at the time of the signing which should say that it was if anything, undeveloped, sonically. The idea/motive were solid but the sound was still a child.
What does Com Truise gig look like?
Me hammering on synths, midi controllers and a live drummer thrashing on a kit. I’m still working on this part of my music. It’s very new to me, to perform music. I come from being a DJ so breaking the trends was tricky. It’s slowly coming together.
What is next for you?
Writing tons of music, taking a break from flying! I have a few side projects I’d like to move forward with as well and I hope to maybe work on some film scoring.
This post originally appeard on Volume Magazine on 7 December 2011