What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
When I was 5 years old my parents had a compliation of classic jazz music. I would beg them to play Day Danse by Chick Corea – the chords in that song fascinated me – and I would run around the table. My dad grew up in the era of the Beatles so he would play me all their material, including the more experimental moments, A Day In The Life, Revolution 9, that kind of stuff. I couldn’t escape the feeling of fascination; I’m constantly trying to recreate it. If I weren’t a musician, I’d be studying linguistics academically.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I have a simple life outside of music – I work full-time as a software developer. I love my work and I’ve always been fascinated by technology. The first thing I fell in love with outside of my parents’ music was electronic music like Aphex Twin and Autechre, and now I strongly suspect it was because of the technological aspect. It all felt new, futuristic.
How long has your band been around?
Celogen has existed since 2018. I was in bands before then, but none of them panned out. I decided if you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Calgary. Calgary is an interesting place – it’s a melting pot of influences, but it’s still actively trying to find its own identity. I wanted to contribute to that process. Perhaps I make Calgarian music. So often I feel that I make records that sound like how the Calgary skyline looks.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Two words smashed together – Celebes, from Max Ernst’s painting The Elephant Celebes, and halogen. Neither fit quite right on their own, some of the consonants were wrong, but together they worked perfectly. I wanted to name this project like a company. I was sick and tired of marketing myself to people who didn’t care, and I wanted to fight it with irony. How collegiate of me.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
A live band is still a project I’m actively working on. However, I do fondly remember my first solo show. I opened for a friend of mine and his entire act was him banging rocks on a plastic table.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I like playing everywhere in Calgary and I want to play everywhere in Calgary. Honestly. I do not discriminate. I’d be more appreciative that they let me in.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Fetus Blasters very kindly contributed to my last record, and I would absolutely love to play a show with them. I’m not sure who would open for who. Either way it would throw everyone off in the perfect way.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
For someone just getting into a band, be congenial to your audience – it’s all very well and good that you’re having fun playing the music, but is anyone having fun listening to it? – and for my younger self, be kinder to yourself.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Like I said – if you want to do something right, you have to do it yourself.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
A song called Lilypad, Lilypad. David Bowie once said “you fall in love, you write a love song”. He would seem to be right.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
A song called Dent In The Pillow. You can bang it out at a moment’s notice and it is so, so satisfying to sing. Isn’t there always an element of revenge to art?
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
100% throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. So often I have to unstick things. If it feels right, it feels right. I don’t get to decide what does, I’m afraid, and I’m constantly surprised.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Ones that people can understand. It’s so hard to sing about yourself and have it mean anything. Only you are you. Everyone else is not.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I’m the only constant member of the band, and yes, I disagree with myself constantly. I get past them by drinking enough beer that I can cut things up ruthlessly. Fast-track the compromise.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’m going to make a double album and I’m starting a live band. Both will be deeply chaotic, I’m sure.