Music News

Chris Westin on getting death threats for his music

Chris Westin has become something of a fixture on the DIY scene in Denver since 2008, when he moved here from Oklahoma City and met nervesandgel's Johnny Wohlfahrt while the two were working at the same restaurant. Westin had experienced the underground world before, but it was recording on Wohlfahrt's It Was All Just a Waste album the same day as he saw a show by Milton Melvin Croissant III and Married in Berdichev at Wax Trax that truly opened his eyes to the limitless creative possibilities out there.

Westin now lives at Rhinoceropolis, and for the past year, as Voices Of, he's been performing the kind of music that truly fits in no genre except under the broad umbrella of "experimental." He cites the Microphones, Brian Eno and Sun Ra as his main inspirations. We spoke with Westin recently about his music.

Westword: Your music can't strictly be called "noise," right?

Chris Westin: Noise? I'd like to say "psych," and I'd like my music to be associated with that genre of music. In Oklahoma we got noisy, for sure, and I made noise in my apartment all the time. I'd get on the guitar, mess with the amp, mess with any pedals I had, mess with cheap microphones. The first one of those I bought was from Target or Walmart.

That was before I listened to the kind of noise shows that are here in Denver. There's no noise out there, not really. When I moved to Denver, I couldn't make noise in my apartment. I got almost death threats at my door about my music. I hope I don't get death threats for releasing this tape.

You always change up how you make your music with each show. Why is that?

I want everything to be special, something I haven't done before. Everyone does, but people will have their songs...they know their songs, and they go out and do them. I'm undisciplined, so I like the randomness of it all. The kind of thing where even the artist doesn't know what he's doing — I want that kind of chaotic atmosphere. No rules except for what's physically there. There's a keyboard there, so you know something is going to sound like a keyboard.

With your new tape, what is it you're trying to express?

Whatever makes me different from you, which isn't a lot. We're both human beings, and we both need shelter, water and human interaction, but our upbringings are different, and our personal styles are different. That's what I want to bring out in my music: my personality. If people like it, great. If they don't like it, maybe they don't get it. The tape gives me nightmares. It's pretty creepy. It makes me shiver sometimes. It's kind of dark, but I didn't mean it to be. If people don't feel like human beings anymore, I want to make everyone feel the way they should.