Fermentae Interview (Revisited)

Not only is Kevin J. Yuen an amazing visual arist,and a huge supporter of HSJ,he is also a drone powerhouse,as Fermentae,creating massive sounds enveloped in lovingly hand-crafted packaging that has blown everyone's minds whose been lucky enough to score one.And since I was dumb enough to somehow delete our first conversation,I decided I'd catch up with Kevin on what he's been upto so far in 2009.

HSJ:Ok,what does the name mean and imply to you,and what do you want people to think when they hear "Fermentae"?

KEVIN J. YUEN:Honestly, it is a word that I fabricated one day to assign to be able to release some tracks for a project that I had been working on for a while. Fermenting: the idea of intentional decay of one thing and the transformation of it into something new fascinates me, but you can interpret what you will from it.

HSJ:So does it bother you when lazy asses like me won't put the little symbol at the end?Does it fuck up the name for you?

KJY:No, not at all - it isn't like there is some kind of cryptic or applied meaning to it - the Aesc is for aesthetic purposes.

HSJ:Since the last time we talked,you've knocked out a split with Ziz,and got the second part of Diaspora finished.How do you feel your sound has progressed?Are you consciously trying anything new,either in the execution or just the actual sound itself?

KJY:Definitely! I have been experimenting with LOTS of field-recordings, using subtle undercurrents of melody and attempting more structure to my compositions. I mean in contrast with my past material, which had been excessively disjointed-progressions of layered guitar, manipulated field-recordings and harsh noise. I feel this is especially apparent on that recent split with ZIZ (Iceland) and also, at the end of the upcoming/final Diaspora release.

Also, keeping the familiarity of the sound of my primary instrument used: the guitar. I have been consciously making an effort to let it "shine through" more and more and I am into the potential it could have with what I do. I guess it provides myself and the listeners 'more space', rather than pummeling you with layer upon layer of terrible blown out racket or whatever.

HSJ:So what's going on in the Bay Area musically right now?You got the skinny on any new stuff?

KJY:Wow, that is a good question - honestly - I am only aware of what friends or random people on message boards talk about. Occasionally, I will go out to shows if I can - but it isn't a big priority for me anymore. Keeping tabs on local bands is like growing attached to feeder goldfish. Everybody seems to be kind of doing their own thing and starting over right now... so, it's a weird transitionary period for bands new and old and I guess we'll see what happens in the next 2-5 years with the current state of music... or I can just say that it's dead and done. fuck it.

I wish I could have seen Weakling, but I DID get the opportunity to see Neurosis a couple of years back, it was incredible.

HSJ:I like the concept of Diaspora being released in two parts and having the first contain packaging to hold the next chapter(s).It's almost like downloadable content for a videogame,where the original product can be expanded and continually evolve.Is this something you would do again?

KJY:Thanks. Absolutely - I would, but let me first state that this is not an original idea on my part. Creative album packaging is one of the many things about music that keeps it going in my opinion.

Personally speaking, being able to have something tangible is KEY to the whole experience of buying an album - you know what I mean? to be completely immersed in a multi-sensory experience... unless you're a total tool and depend on something like a 32GB iPod Touch, had ripped and sold EVERY CD you own and now buy ALL of your terrible shit from the iTunes store... then stay away from me.

HSJ:Along those same lines, do you see the music industry (mainstream and/or underground) moving towards similar strategies? I mean,I don't know the numbers, but do people really pay to download music?Shit blows mind...having no tangible object to appreciate.

KJY:I don't know about those numbers either, but there are a LOT of individuals who purchase digital downloads regularly, over a CD, vinyl or tape, which can pretty insulting to the bands who have worked hard to present something nice and thought-out for their fans – then again, most of the bands that oblige that system don't give half-a sun-baked shit about the fan experience anyway and just want to get paid.

HSJ:Have you done any live Fermentae gigs?

KJY:I have not, but have been planning it for the longest time!!! Actually - at this point, I have developed a way to perform it all live solo or with another member and will deliver when the time comes, it is in the works.

HSJ:So,what's the listening habits been like lately?

KJY:Majority Rule, this hardcore band from DC, Christian Fennesz - 'Venice' (one of the greatest albums ever - a true masterpiece), Peste Noire's INSANE new one, sunn O))) - that new one (it is great to hear them riff again), Pink Floyd - discography dabbling, Johnny Horton (various tracks), Voivod - 'Nothingface' (really cool album), Svart Greiner - 'happe' (always an interesting listen), Ludicra (the first album 'Hollow Psalms' is great), Teitanblood - 'Seven Chalices' , Von - 'Satanic Blood Angel', Troum - (this incredible board recording of their set from a solstice performance a while back), the new Villains (fucking RIPS) and Morton Feldman- 'Crippled Symmetry' at all hours.

Get this, Demian Johnston, the guy who did the artwork for the new KTL album - sent me a bunch of really cool stuff recently, that I have been listening to a lot: obviously the Daymare x2CD edition of KTL- IV, Demian's solo project (tape) and his other band that he sings in - Shining Ones' semi-recent CDr release. I like trading or getting free stuff, especially when it is good.

Also, JUST came back from Aquarius Records this morning and came back with a mighty haul: the new Aluk Todolo on Utech (have you heard it? it is ridiculously awesome stuff), the new ASVA, (which I have been meaning to pick-up, it is damn good), Thorns (finally), Moss - the new EP, I love those guys - pure evil elder god filth and another Utech release by a Olivier Dumont (super low-fi blown out noise).

HSJ:Oh ya,that's some good stuff there.I've got all the new Utech stuff,as Keith is a god who always hooks me up...and Demian...what a guy.Gotta buy that guy a beer one day.Ok,last time I asked you about your favorite Sabbath song...this time I have two words for you...Dio Sabbath.

KJY:Sabbath - nothing against Dio though...

HSJ:So,are we getting any more Fermentae the last half of 2009?Got any concepts/ideas you're wanting to try out?

KJY:Yes, Diaspora pt.2 is wrapping up and the audio should be finished this week. I already started the artwork/packaging mid-way through the mixing of that track, so I'm in good shape to have this ready by the end of the month. I am pushing to get the full-lenght out for Pau Torres' - Etude Records this year. Also, I am working on a split cassette release with a friend, Evan McKnights dark-ambient project TREAD from Minneapolis that might be put out by Phage Tapes. I am planning an EP after that tape split and before the Etude CD - so all that should keep me busy into the new year.

As far as trying out any new concepts or ideas - I guess, stay tuned.


Kevin G. Yuen said...
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Kevin G. Yuen said...
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Kevin G. Yuen said...
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Kevin G. Yuen said...

If anybody is interested - here is a link to download the 'Gatherings 06/07' DEMOS CD (the first album artwork image in the interview) that is now out of print:


I only made 25 or so and ended up sending a majority of them all with a different "secret tracks" – whoops...



ps. if you want the album artwork // disc label to print yourself - please contact me: kevin@viraloptic.com