Tommy Metz released his latest album under the Iuengliss moniker way back in March, but there was never a proper release show for the record. That's being remedied this Friday, June 3, when he hosts a big party for the Laser Palace-produced VHS tapes at Rhinoceropolis with DJ Gorinto, Alphabets, Hideous Men and Cacheflowe. VHS tapes? Yes, VHS. We thought it odd, too, which is why we figured we'd get the lowdown on why the noted electronic project is going analog.
Westword: How long were you working on Blank Matter?
Tommy Metz: I think the first song I started was "AEFIresqd004," which was some time in 2007. I finished the album last summer, so about three years -- something like that.
When you released the record, you decided to release it as a free download. Why?
I'd much rather people check it out without feeling obligated to buy it. Making music isn't my form of income, so I just didn't feel it was necessary to charge for it.
Can you talk a little about the videos and why you chose to do them in the style you did, for each track?
I am mostly experimenting in creating visuals that look and feel like the songs and represent each piece of the music. I've been striving to make visuals since I graduated high school, but I was never able to achieve it in a timely manner. They aren't perfect, but they are a step in the direction I want to go. And my other goal with these was to have something to perform live with. So that's part of it, too.
So how do you envision visuals contributing to the sound in the future?
Just wanting to build on my style and focus on making it as seamless of a flow as creating the music. I'm also finally incorporating 3D elements in new stuff, which is fun. That's what I went to school for, so it's exciting to finally be incorporating it into my art rather than doing it commercially.
But why release on VHS?
Laser Palace does amazing hand-crafted cassette releases. Originally we were going to release it on tape, but since I have a video for every song, we thought it would be cool to release on VHS just because it's possible.
On that same topic, you're deeply entwined with Bocumast. Why release the record on Plastic Sound Supply?
Plastic Sound Supply was just a much better fit for this record. They specialize in electronic and IDM. Bocumast is a more diverse label, and I just thought this would be a good fit for PSS. And they are my friends, too, and I look up to them a lot, so I was stoked to release it with them.
Back to the actual record: Blank Matter sounds different than your previous work, like you're shedding some of your earlier influences. When you're writing new songs, do you have a conscious idea of where you want it to go or what you want it to sound like?
These songs were mostly made without any idea ahead of time. I just start creating it, and it turned into something. But the main objective was to make sure I did everything I could to the songs to craft them as well as I could. I think I've finished songs impatiently in the past, and I just wanted to make sure everything was sculpted the way I wanted it. Even if it took super long and I got really sick of the songs.
Is that because you've self-released a lot of them on the Internet? Does that require a mental filter to keep from just releasing everything you record in this day and age, and does working with a label like PSS help keep a lid on that at all?
No, I think I just get tired of working on a song and want to move on when there were still some things that should have been finished. But it was my goal to say, "There is nothing else I can think of doing to this" and then release it. I think all of PSS material is that way, too.
The record ended up being a bit more cohesive than your earlier work, as well. Was there a clear vision from the start here?
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I think that's a clear vision in general for me with making music. I want my music to be cohesive, and maybe I just accomplished that better this time.
What do you see as the primary difference between the music you release as Iuengliss and what you release under Tommy Metz?
Iuengliss is instrumental at the moment, and Tommy Metz is electronic pop songs that I sing on. Just trying to separate them, because I don't really want Iuengliss to have me associated with it. I want it to just be music. But I still enjoy writing songs to sing to. So that's what that is for.