Written by Imogen Morris
TVDEATH is a Japanese musician currently based in America, dabbling primarily in experimental music. He has been creating music for thirteen years, starting when he was only eight years old. “When I first started music, I just did it through phone. I made really crappy EDM beats. Eventually around late 2019, I got back into music making full time and I used FL studio.”
TVDEATH’s newest project, album ‘BLXCKTOXIN’, was started in April 2020 (it began with the song titled ‘CRACK’) and finished production in September. It focussed on experimental music, but also drew in from lo-fi, abstract, and ambient styles of music. He described it himself as “a project about everything and nothing at the same time. It uses recordings as of early 2013 to recordings of now. It is a collage of sounds put together within a moment of darkness with perhaps a story, or maybe not.” TVDEATH told us that the album “came out of the blue”, as he explained it began when he was working on some tapes for his next new series of music, but personal issues came up that ultimately led to the creation of the album. “I was probably making a track each day here and there. I don’t think I really had any inspiration really; I just drew from myself.” TVDEATH laughed as he also added he took a sound from a meme compilation into a track. “A little secret from BLXCKTOXIN, there’s a Barbie sample somewhere in there! I was channeling my inner JPEG at that moment.” Some of the tracks got cut down during production, as TVDEATH compared the longer versions to the album ‘Everywhere At the End of Time’ by The Caretaker – an album exploring the stages of dementia by becoming increasingly more eerie and fragmented.
Initially, TVDEATH didn’t want to release the album; “I was just going to make BLXCKTOXIN and be done with it, probably get a job somewhere.” He later expressed that “music – anything that I’m into artistically – I feel like for anyone is the gateway to the soul, a gateway to the mind. When artists draw and do their pieces, they’re expressing the most vulnerable parts of themselves, if not the inner parts, the dark parts, the most personal parts of themselves.”
When listening to the album myself, there appeared to be an ominous tone to most of the tracks, particularly at the beginning – when asked about this, TVDEATH responded, “it wasn’t intentional. I was just going with the flow of how I was feeling at that moment, just drawing into what I was experiencing and doing throughout the years.” He added, “I just let it come out rather than hold it in. A lot of the times when creating something you have a more specific idea of what you wanna do with it, but this wasn’t one of those things.” He laughed about how many tracks there were initially, “I had seventy tracks, I took off fifty and I had twenty and that was the amount that went on to BLXCKTOXIN. I just like making music – for me music is just going back to childhood.”
We discussed the titles of tracks such as ‘ROSE(mother)’ and ‘HAITIAN(father)’ and the background behind these titles; “’ROSE(mother)’ is my mother. It’s a conversation in music form, drawing from things that she likes. ‘HAITIAN(father)’, same thing; taking things that he likes and putting it through my lens. ‘PARENTS’ just concludes everything, going to the most ethnic and based roots of those two people in my life.”
“With the oncoming shift of artists taking from experimental music and trying out new things, I feel like a lot more artists are going to try expanding out into [experimental] genres,” TVDEATH explained about experimental music breaking into the mainstream and growing in popularity. “Music will become less specifically genre based. There is a huge rise of experimental arts being mainstream. I feel like the arts that are already mainstream aren’t gonna be able to keep up with that.”
Growing up in Japan also makes its way into TVDEATH’s influence. “Moving to live in America is jarring because I was thinking we were going to go back home, but this is home now.” In Japan, TVDEATH explained he was always spending his time outdoors, “The sounds that come from outside, with my music I would try to grasp a lot of those sounds and see if I could get the feel of how I am and put it into my music.”
TVDEATH doesn’t just limit himself to his music: he also channels his emotions and creativity into other art forms such as videos. “At one point, maybe about two or three years ago, I picked up video editing and I had a really specific way of doing it; using small little things of cinematography or motion and what I would usually do is I’ll hone in on a certain part of the song that no one really hones in on. A lot of times, I had very small visual cues.” This video editing would be a mix between archived footage from online and footage shot by himself, “recently I started doing a little series, it was really just random clips of me doing stuff but those random clips a lot of times are really just from my process of making music.” He described how he loves the old vintage look of cinematography, saying it speaks to him, “I’ve been trying to get into video analogue, just to mess up videos and such.”
(Above) Other artistic works of TVDEATH.
He chuckled as he said that “people care way too much of what social media tells them. Just be yourself! It’s so hard to do that.” On the topic of mental health within our generation, he commented “I feel like a lot of us are in a weird place where it’s like mentally you don’t know where to go: a therapist or if you should talk to somebody, then you hold it into yourself and that causes problems.” His advice for other creators is that “the only person that is going to care about your craft the most is yourself: you are the one who has to put the work into it,” and to “always take care of yourself – give yourself the love that you deserve!”
A big thank you to TVDEATH for talking to us, we can't wait to see what comes from the projects he is currently working on. Take the time to check out his music - links to BLXCKTOXIN below!