VHS SEX: An Interview with Com Truise

Com Truise's electric panoply of radioactive synth driven melodies is picking up where the likes of forefathers of synth-pop Geogio Moroder, Harald Grosskopf, and Kraftwerk left off.  In a nostalgic, yet with a uniquely contemporary cleanliness, listening to the carefully crafted songs of Com Truise is like unearthing some kind of long lost record from a time capsule which has been hermetically sealed in the center of the earth for the last 20 years. Combining vintage synthesizers with advanced modern day technology Truise proves to be an alchemical artist–even with the briefest listen it is absolutely safe to assume he is a master of his craft. And like his current alias is a play on words (other aliases include Sarin Sunday, SYSTM, and Airliner), Cruise's music is a play on music itself, because each dark and psychotically ethereal audioscape is the mark of an obsessive who is pushing the limits of modern sound. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is famously quoted from his Dictionary of Music, "Could we not imagine that noise...is itself nothing more than the sum of a multitude of different sounds which are being heard simultaneously?" Which brings us to the eternal question: what the fuck makes music in the first place. Com Truise was born Seth Haley in the suburbs of upstate New York where I can easily picture him in his childhood room surrounded by the ubiquitous sounds of early Nintendo and the synthy intros of countless low budget tv action shows like Quantum Leap and Night Rider. Or even the soft-corn porno's of Emmanuel, because Com Truise's music would make the perfect score for a sex scene in the rain. In June, Com Truise, who makes what he calls “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk” out of a tiny apartment in Princeton, New Jersey, released his first full-length, entitled Galactic Melt. Pas Un Autre contributors Abbey Meaker and Sean Martin caught up with Com Truise, who is currently on tour with the Glitch Mob, when he made a stop in Burlington, Vermont to ask a few pressing questions.

Is there a special synth you are mildly attached to? Right now? I just picked up an Octocat – I’m pretty sure mine is form 79. I picked it up in Austin on tour and incorporated it in a live show the next day, so I am really excited to record with it, because I don’t really have my writing situation figured out on the road.

That leads into my next question: Recording or live?  Recording. I am much more of a producer than a performer. It’s just me on stage right now so there is only so much to look at. I move around as much as I can but on this tour I can't really do visual [editors note: Glitch Mob, with whom he is on tour, already uses heavy visuals in their act]. For my next tour I am going to have a drummer. If it’s just me and a drummer it will be so much better. I am super excited for that.

I know you design your tee shirts–do you think the total package is necessary? Am I going to see you in a helmet or some face paint anytime?  I am going to have a special suit built. Not a full suit–just a strange jacket a pants. Future World Orchestra, on their album cover, they look like Jedi’s and that kind of inspired the idea.

Hyphenated phrase describing Com Truise? Slow motion synth wave funk. That’s usually how I describe the long of it. The short of it I just say synth-wave.

Do you sit down to work or do you wait for inspiration? Before this tour I was in the ad industry for 5 years, and the last position I had was the creative director for a pharmaceutical agency. What learned in advertising has given me one leg up in this sort of thing because I am so picky about branding. Your creative freedom is squashed. When I go home I erase the extra pressure but keep the brand in mind.

Europe or North America? I’ve only had the opportunity to play in Sweden. I will be in Europe for November, so ask me then. I have been on tour since June. I love North America, but the way I kind of explained it, just talking to a friend–not about music but about traveling in general, the United States is one giant different culture. Wherever you go there are the same things.

Necessities on the road? Whiskey.

Brand? Jack Daniels or Buffalo Trace, clean socks, American Apparel tee-shirts.

What VHS is currently in your VCR? James Bond Golden eye. It was the last VHS tape I recorded. That and Groove about the rave culture.

Do you feel like romance fits into your music? There is something hot about your music. I think I have that in the back of my mind and I try to put in there, but I don’t always bring it to the forefront. Some songs I want sexy and some songs I want dark.

You mentioned you’re influenced by the Cocteau Twins. What decade do you think you should have been born in? 26 in '85 or '86. That’s where I go to look for inspiration. I go to that time period and usually find what I'm looking for. Being able to go to the record store the day the record came out would have been unreal.

Future aspirations. Do you want to do soundtracks Video soundtracks? Scoring films. We’ve been talking to a few people about working on video games and producing for other people. Video game soundtracks are right up my alley. I will always try to inject my sound as far in the world as possible.

Intro text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper Interview by Sean Martin Photography by Abbey Meaker