Welcome dear readers, today we have a very special episode for you (and us) to enjoy. We have cleaned up the dusted interview studio to receive a very special guest; Christopher Will, better known around here as Tooth_Eye! He began making music in late 2003 and two years later he gave birth to Tooth_Eye. Tooth_Eye is well known in our beloved underground for its explicit experimental breakcore that pushes the boundaries a great deal.. He has released on tons of prominent labels like for example: Sickmode, Dramacore, Breakpop Records, Give Daddy the Knife, Brokecore, Pha-q Phonographs(as praytor and tooth_eye), Severed Digit(as praytor), Crumbling Peak Records, Robo!Robotica, Datahex Records, Black Earth Records, Cuntroll Records, Cherry Blossom Dog Recordings, Placenta Recordings, Trashfuck Records, Kermesse Records, Vaatican Records, Love Torture Records, NoSkinnyJeans Records, Nom Nom Tunes, Rote Armee Rekordz, Sirona-Records, Splatterkore Reck-ords, Bludclot Records, Turn It Off Recordz and probably even more! Still with such a huge catalogue and unstoppable production of new tunes, Tooth_Eye (and the man behind it) is still a large mystery. I’m sure we will not reveal anything to lighten the mysterious mystery behind this super producer up, but invited him over anyway for a drink and a chat at our non-existing (now cleaned up!) interview studio..
Hi Christopher Will / Tooth_Eye.. Do you mind if I call you Tooth_Eye? Thank you for coming over and making time available to do this interview with me. It is an honor to have you here for a ‘little’ chat.. (I say ‘little’ because I’ve got so many questions to ask..) But before we do; First things first, what would you like to drink? I know it’s a virtual interview, but that doesn’t mean we need to dry out…
Tooth_Eye: double IPA please.
Late 2003 is already a long time ago, but I’m curious how you started your music life? What was it that triggered you in starting to make music, and what kind of music did you do before Tooth_Eye?
Tooth_Eye: when i was a teenager I dabbled with electric bass guitar, piano, and singing quietly into an old karaoke machine sadly sadly sadly singing…..I was really into popular punk, metal (some Nu stuff as well) and wanted to be in a band. I tried jamming with some people but was always really nervous and it was always really terrible. Then one day when i was 16 I heard “Fuck Canada/Fuck America” by Venetian Snares and Stuntrock. I thought it was terrible. Garbage noise poop. It grew on me. I started to delve into other breakcore releases as well as stuff like Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. Soon after these discoveries I was sent to Mental Hospital, Wilderness Program, Boarding School. When I regained my freedom I immediately grabbed Fruity Loops and started learning about DAWs/music software. I quickly moved onto Reason 2.5 and spent about a year and a half learning how to make breakcore. I didnt really know anyone else who made it, and this was before youtube was a huge thing, so I gradually figured it out on my own.By 2005 I was releasing as Tooth_Eye.
I heard some rumors down the hallway that you are actually a properly educated audio engineer? Is this true?
Tooth_Eye: I went to Columbia College of Chicago, IL for 1 year, studying audio engineering. I didn’t really learn all that much.
It’s probably a stupid question, but I was wondering if you could recall how you landed yourself the name ‘Tooth_eye’? Is there a funny story attached to it?
Tooth_Eye: It was in a poem I wrote as a metaphor for shooting heroin, which I did a lot back then.
For people who are living under a rock (or perhaps under a hard rock-rock) here is a little description taken from Wikipedia describing what breakcore is:
Breakcore or noisecore is a style of electronic dance music influenced by hardcore, jungle, digital hardcore and industrial music that is characterized by its use of heavy kick drums, breaks and a wide palette of sampling sources, played at high tempos
This is all nicely said and done from a concrete perspective, but what does Breakcore really mean? I mean I don’t believe it’s just a music style, there must be much more to it? Can you explain what Breakcore is for you?
Tooth_Eye: A lot of breakcore in the earlier years had a revolutionary/radical angle. To most people breakcore is just about making and listening to hard fast dance music with breakbeats, including me. Also noisecore is a form of grindcore/noise. It is in no way connected to breakcore. If you’re going to use ambiguous tags, get them right!
I wanted to ask you something else about Breakcore… It’s obvious that you are a part of it (with your breaks and to the cores) but I also feel as if your music is a bit like an insider that pushes the boundaries in a different direction.
Where other artists throw in a bag of samples, or music from other music genre’s I feel as if you are sliding more into the realms of noise; opening a portal that is less confined then the already open minded gang bang that is this breakcore… How do you see your music in this? Would you have something in mind that you would like to see this ‘Breakcore’ heading music/sound-wise in the future?
Tooth_Eye: I love hearing melody in distortion/noise. Its beautiful to me. Sonically pleasing. So I often incorporate noise and discord into the music I make. I make music that sounds good to me above all else. Breakcore has gone in a direction over the past few years that has brought pop a capellas to the populare fore front. I’ve always loved the darker, more fucked up side of breakcore and thats what I choose to make. Using more ‘noisy’ sounds, tones, textures also gives me an easy to way to make things more psychedelic, allowing the listener to find their own meaning in the sonic material, and less straight forward. Some times I use samples to drive home a particular point but I would much rather have the listener create their own experience from my output.
I’m sure there are tutorials out there how to chop up beats, add a lot of freakery and make a pounding track; but I believe it’s easy to hear the difference of someone just trying something out, or a real dedicated person (like yourself) that studies and reworks their own style in order to create something new while expanding the horizon by experimentation and collaboration.. Can you tell us what it is that drives you? Your passion music or perhaps sound wise?
Tooth_Eye: When I get the drive to create I simply do it. I sit down and start fucking around. What happens, happens. When I come back to it and it isn’t completely terrible, I’ll go about editing, adding, subtracting and turning it into more of a conscious effort at creating a song, prose/poetry, or visual art.
Before we continue with less serious questions, I would love to know what your favorite color is… So here without hesitation; what is your favorite color?
Tooth_Eye: The psychedelic glow of your balls on my chin spinning eternally in the colorless vividness of reality tunnels clashing.
I think it’s not so much of importance what people have as a setup to produce their tracks as it’s not the machines that make the music, but the person playing those machines. But without any machines or tools every track/live-set would probably a bit like hearing random percussion on found stuff and acapella beat boxing; which is cool, but would suck in the long run.. What is it that you use (next to yourself) in order to produce the music that you make?
Do you have any tips for beginning producers tool wise perhaps?
Tooth_Eye: What matters is the person. You can do a lot with a little. Be true to yourself, make something that is unique to you. Right now I use Ableton Live mostly. I’ve used many DAWs and some analog and digital hardware over the years.
If I understand well you are not only a producer, but also manages to bring your music alive as live performances. Can you explain to a clueless spectator what it is that makes in your opinion a good live breakcore performance?
Tooth_Eye: Lots of live edits/manipulation. BE ACTIVE! Don’t just stand in front of the laptop. MOVE AROUND! That was very hard for me at first but I think I get better with each show. Playing with unconventional equipment can leave some people not taking you and your music seriously so showing the audience that you are doing SOMETHING is very important.
I remember that years ago Breakcore was pretty big in Europe, American artists would come over and would express a little bit of shock as they were there carried around like some heroes while in the USA it was much more unknown or underground. How is the situation now in America? I mean with the rise of gigantic electronica festivals instead of the old fashioned rock ones, times must have changed as well for the growing breakcore scene, right? For good or for worse?
Tooth_Eye: Its exactly the same.
I’m sure you know a lot of interesting new and interesting established artists out there that are doing their thing in your era, do you have any recent recommendations of producers or perhaps even bands that people should check out?
Tooth_Eye: I’ve played with some awesome acts the past few years such as Speak Onion and RedHat. A local Chicago cat (part of our Mobcore Chicago crew that throws hardcore breakcore shows) goes by Common Dominator is one of the best breakcore acts you’ve never heard of. Some other guys I’ve played with recently that are really great are Decide Today and Divtech, they just finished brining the message of empathy and anarchy through Europe when I threw a show for them in May. My favorite ‘noisers’ right now have to be the guys behind Trashfuck Records, a mister Patrick Harsh and his good gay buddy Caleb. They have been doing some great, original noise/performance art stuff, as Bullshit Market, that you are unlikely to encounter.
What if one day you lost your appetite in breakcore music, what would be (for you) the logical music that you would dive into? If any?
Tooth_Eye: I just enjoy creating. As long as I can do that, I can maintain some semblance of happiness in my life.
I believe you are one of the people behind Magicore. Can you perhaps tell people who don’t know about it what it is? I mean yes it’s a place to spot unicorns and rainbows, but there is so much more! Can you tell something about it?
Tooth_Eye: It is a blog that posts small write ups and links to some really cool music, software, art, literature, movies etc. as long as its free and on the internet. Check it out at http://magicore.us !!!
Your music is all over the underground, is there a place online where interested people can go to and keep up to date with your work?
Tooth_Eye: The Tooth_Eye facebook fan page ( facebook.com/tootheyemusic ) or the Tooth_Eye bandcamp page ( bandcamp.com/tooth_eye ). There are plans for an actual Tooth_Eye website… we shall see when that comes to fruition.
I want to thank you Tooth_Eye for all the music you make and are making, and for being a stable factor in a gigantic chaotic underground. To me it’s inspiring and I believe you will be always out there doing your thing! (Unless maybe a hot manga chick steals your heart somewhere that is)..
That reminds me of wanting to ask about this manga thing of yours.. You have clearly a love for this drawing style; is your music and manga connected somehow? I know I sound like a retard, but –now is the time to sound like one- as otherwise I will hate myself not for asking 😉
Tooth_Eye: I have a love for most things Japanese. I’ve always loved sci-fi/fantasy and cartoons. Anime and Manga fulfill both those categories quite nicely. Certain shows or comics have had a vast influence on my life and belief system by exposing me to such greatness as Carl Jung, Schodinger and Quantum Physics, so many more…. And I ask you, Who wouldnt want to stick it to a fine lad or lass in the beautiful perfection that is Anime/Manga character design?
Okay my friend, I really think we should call it a day and stop the interview.. I mean we could go on and on; but we have to draw a line somewhere… Thank you so much for doing this interview, I really am glad to be able to sit here with you in the non-existing virtual studio as it feels like something that was a time well spend! Hope you had a good time and enjoyed these ridiculous questions too. Do you have any shout out, something you want to say before we wrap the official interview up and go party with our Japanese friends in the red room?
Tooth_Eye: Thank you for interviewing me, its been awhile since someone has. Much love and respect to my homies Ehafh (owner of Dramacore net label), Sir.Vixx (partner in crime for Mobcore Chicago), Patrick Harsh ( co-owner of Trashfuck Records and long time collaborator/supporter). There are too many people to mention here that have been a part of my musical journey, I love and thank you all.