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MP3 D.A. Sebasstian - One Minute Endless

Experimental electronica and ambient music.

10 MP3 Songs
ELECTRONIC: Ambient, ELECTRONIC: Experimental


Early years [first music experience – band etc]

My first real band was XIJIX- a punk 4 piece based in San Bernardino, California
back in the early 80’s. I played bass and wrote most of the songs. We made a demo, played lots of parties and a few clubs back in the day. I listen back to those tapes and it really pisses me off that we didn’t stay the course and make that band into something. We had alot of potential- I think we could have been as big as The Circle Jerks or Black Flag. Our guitarist went off to join the Marines, and things dissolved shortly after that. I joined a latin tinged avant-garde band right after that- playing bass and trombone. The band was called Freaks Amor and put out a self release 7” vinyl EP, which was a very big deal in 1984. We opened for Suburban Lawns and played all the artsy clubs around L.A. like Club Lhasa. It was an eye opening experience for an underaged bassist, hanging with all these older “beatnik” artists. L.A. was awesome at the time, all kinds of bands, Punk, Ska, New Wave & Rockabilly and the “hair band” thing wasn’t big yet. Very vibrant and experimental. I quit Freaks, because I wanted more artistic input and not just to be a supporting band member. So I left the band and not long after had to sell my bass to buy groceries. I was pretty down. Then one night at a big Freaks Amor party -they had this cool house with all these crazy artists and musicians living there, ya know we were friends even after I quit the band, Damien Costilla from Montage told me they needed a singer. He asked if I’d be interested in trying out for his band. I had never been “just the singer”: before, but not having my bass, I said “sure.” We immediately went into the studio and began working on an E.P. called Celebrate The Misery. We pressed it ourselves and eventually it charted on college radio and got us alot of shows around L.A. It looked like we were gonna break big, and then Damien gets on an R.E.M. kick and changes all our songs into these Birds sounding folk ballads. As the guitarist he could do that. As the singer I had to go along with it. Montage had been a U2 meets King Crimson sounding affair. People liked our sound. I decided to quit a few weeks later. At that point in my life I was breaking off with my first wife and I got heavier into drugs and booze for escape. Mostly LSD, meth and beer. It got so bad I couldn’t keep a job or even finish writing songs. I did manage to put a little project together in 1987 called Aside/Beside. We did alot of recording in my apartment but played only one show. I decided I had to leave San Bernardino and up and moved to Waldorf, Maryland. My Grandma asked me to come out and stay with her. Imagine living the hardcore druggie lifestyle, then being at you Grandmas. It was very strange, very hard to cope with. I got involved with a bit of the Washington, D.C. industrial scene. It was thriving at the time. I did club sound for the D.C. Space a few times and a band called Trisect Deafen. They were a very cool 3 piece electronic band- no drummer. After leaving Southern California’s Glam Rock pretentiousness these guys gave me hope. I later left the East Coast and went to Atlanta, back to California and then in 1989 ended up in Seattle. Two years after moving to Seattle, I got sober and started Kill Switch...Klick

Kill Switch…Klick
In 1991 I was working out at Microsoft mowing the grass with these huge triple blade deck mowers. I had started seriously working on a demo, with the intention of finding musicians and putting a band together. Anyways I was mowing the grass and I had check out this real dog of a mower, it was the only one left ‘cause I was late to work. It kept sputtering and coughing, and out in this field I thought to myself, “I better hit the kill switch and see what''s wrong with this fuckin’ mower.” Now “kill switches” are used on heavy machinery in place of a key style ignition, like on a car, and the words kept rolling around in my head. I thought, what a brilliant name for my band. It was like a light bulb went off, you know, when you “know” a band name is “the one.” But then then I thought how common a term it was- and this was at the same time Jeffrey Dahmer was in the news for his cannibalism. For some reason I thought, “I wonder if Dahmer had a “kill switch” that went “klick.” And there was the name. I added the ellipses to show time, rhythm and progression of the thought. It’s been a strong name identity for the band. I think its a compliment when the newer bands like Kill Switch and Killswitch Engage copy us- even that new video game with a period in the title. Ya know we even had an X-Files episode named after us. I met William Gibson at a book signing and gave him our deGenerate CD. I told him what a major influence he was to my lyric writing- he looked at the cover and said, “I can see that.” This was right before he wrote his X-Files Episode that he called “Kill Switch.” I was blown away when the episode premiered. I guess we’ve had our own influence on the popular culture underground that way.

Cleopatra Years
We signed to Cleopatra in 1994, right after our first record deal with Urge Ltd. went no where. Cleo was good to us, gave us money to record and tour and put us on shit loads of compilations. Our first CD, Beat It To Fit Paint It To Match came out in 1995. Next to deGenerate, it was my favorite KsK release, even though it was never mastered properly. I think, for the measly $1,000 budget, it was a great record. I’d like to see any other artist at the time do as well for as little cash. I didn’t even have a real mixing board when we recorded that album, it’s a miracle it got done at all. I used to be so jealous of artists with serious budgets and big name producers. I had to work so hard on learning the recording process by myself. It’s one thing to make a demo to play for you mommy, quite another to know that your release will be heard by thousands and thousands of people the day it comes out. That''s alot of pressure for one person to bear. People would come up to me after the disc came out and say, “the songs are really cool, but the CD sounds very...very...mid rangey...you know...flat.” I later found out, that that was what “mastering” was all about, but it was too late. The CD was out there. I’d tell them to “go get their fucking money back from the record store then.” They’d usually get offended- like they were really trying to help me make the best music I could, and I was all rock star pissy. They didn’t realize I was actually learning how to make records, while I was on display. I think people should think about that when they listen to Beat It To Fit, Paint It To Match. By the time deGenerate came out, I had the kick ass mixer, Mel Dettmer was mastering every god damn track to bass overloading bliss. It was a whole different ball game by then. We were becoming underground rock stars. It was almost automatic. Then Mike Ditmore got had to quit the band. he had been the Kill Switch...Klick drummer since the beginning. He couldn’t even do our 1997 U.S. Tour. I came back from that tour a defeated man. I had a major bout with depression. I was on all kinds of medication, couldn’t sleep, didn’t eat. I owed Cleopatra all kinds of money. It was like climbing to the top a mountain, only to realize you were actually only at the top of one of the foothills of an even bigger mountain. I had to take a break

Go Kustom [how did you start it? First records, compilations, trouble with bands, what is it like to have a record company and is it worth it, problems running a label, distribution rights and wrongs.
Ahh now that''s the real story. I decided in 1998 to take a break from Kill Switch...Klick and start a record label. How dumb is that!?! Out of the frying pan and into the fire! Anyways at the time I had this cool recording set up in what used to be a motorcycle shop, behind our house. We called it The Shop (go figure). It was cold as hell in the winter, but the space would easily hold 3 cars, 2 bands and had great acoustics. I started the label with some guys I worked my day job with. The label was named Irregular Records (later iRegular). We decided to put out a Johnny Cash tribute. The timing was right and the CD got picked up by Redeye Distribution immediately. Shortly after that we released an acoustic Kill Switch...Klick CD called “Organica.” The CD’s were making enough money to keep the record label rolling. Redeye was very timely with their payments. Then around 1999 all the business partners lost interest. I had the largest investment, so I continued on alone. I put out a Who tribute called Who Cares. All the CD’s were selling decently. The trick is to continually reinvest your profits to put out new titles. What I didn’t know was, by only putting out tribute compilations, I was shooting myself in the foot. It is very imperative for new labels to have releases supported by active bands. Compilations can get a little support that way, especially if you do CD release party’s featuring several of the top bands from the CD. However most bands are more inclined to sell their own CD’s at shows, not compilations, which can be a great source of revenue for the new label. Bands usually self promote as well, which in turn, helps the label. So I had just put out the Who Care comp. and people kept asking me, “what’s you label name again?” I had changed it from Irregular Records to iRegular, when I found an older UK label with the Irregular Records name. iRegular was just not working as an identity. I came up with the “Go-Kustom” name in late 1999. It seemed to fit the Rat Rod attitude I was after. I also decided to go all out with the new label name and invested all my 401 K money and credit card money and put out a string of CD’s. In 2001 I release d.A. Sebasstian, The Penningtones - Circle Of Fifths, Bill Wolford''s Head - Exposure To Living and Hold The Vocals, a Tribute To The Instrumentals Of The 50’s 60 & 70’s. Our distributor took hundreds of CD’s, and things were looking up. Suddenly in 2002- things fell apart. George Bush was President, 9/11 happened and MP3’s were stealing CD sales. I had sunk my last dime into a compilation called Teen Feeding Frenzy!, which was a bunch of different styles of bands covering teen idol songs. It was a very cool idea. Redeye Distribution said they wanted the title, so I borrowed money from a credit card to press it. While the CD is at the pressing plant, I get this form letter from Redeye saying they were not going to pay on their label accounts, because Valley Media (Redeye’s biggest customer) had gone bankrupt. It was a big blow to many distributors and indie-labels. I got panicky. I e-mailed the accountant and asked if I was going to get paid, he said they couldn’t. I insisted and eventually, to try and gain financial leverage, threatened to pull all my titles from the Redeye catalog. He said he still couldn’t pay me, so we parted ways. They did return all my unsold CD’s (over $12,000 wholesale), however they still, 3 years later, haven’t paid me for 2 previous years worth of sold discs. The really bad thing about all this is, after you break up with a decent size distributor, other distributors wont touch your titles, because they don’t want to deal with returns. You see if Label W is Distributed through Distributor X and store Y wants to return unsold CD’s, they give them back to Distributor X and get credit for their return. Distributor X then debits Label W’s running account and everyone is happy. If W & X part ways and Label W now signs with Distributor Z, Distributor Z has to deal with all the returns that should have gone to Distributor X, plus any new returns. Anyways it was now late 2002, I was on the edge of bankruptcy, and then I met the DragStrip Riot guys. I loved their mix of Rockabilly, Blues and Punk. I decided, without a distributor to borrowed money against my house and put out their CD. Kinda stupid, but I have a disease. I want people to hear this music. After their CD came out I signed a distribution deal with Hep Cat and there ya go. Problem is, I am starting all over again, since no distributor wants to touch my older releases and Redeye still hasn’t paid me. We have two discs ready to release, but not alot of cash flow right now. Besides the $1,500 it cost to make 1,000 CD’s, you need to run adds and send out “promo copies” to magazines and radio stations. This costs almost as much as the CD’s do! Each release adds up to around $2,600 for a pressing of 1,000- and the pay back can take years. It’s a tough game. I’ve also been recording some great bands like The Felinas, Melene Marie Brown, Wages Of SIn and The Bad Things. There is some truly unique music coming out of this town right now, more so I’d say than during the notorious “grunge” years.

The TV show?
In 2000 I had this idea to do a magazine style TV Show- called Go-Kustom TV. Alot of the best bands in Seattle we not getting any real exposure, and the TV Shows that used to be Seattle media icons, like Bomb Shelter Videos and The Spuds Goodman Show were long gone. I also wanted to start making films and I figured doing a TV show would teach me to edit and film and all that. I went out and bought two little Sony digital camcorders and a Mac G4 with Final Cut Pro and got to work. At first we had three hosts, but now its down to Mike Ditmore doing alot of field interviews and Lindsay Calkins as the main hostess and interviewer of the musicians. We also did features on the local burlesque movement, short film makers and the Hot Rodders at various car shows. It’s really taken off. I put various clips and interviews on the Go-Kustom website that get hundreds of downloads a week! It’s crazy. I’ve been shopping the show to the bigger networks, because right now we’re only in the greater Seattle area on public access. We’ll have to wait see if we get picked up and then everybody across the nation will be hummin’ the Go-Kustom TV Show theme song! Ha!

What’s next?
We took the summer off Go-Kustom TV to start filming Hot Rod Girls Save The World. It’s a campy B-Budget zombie film with great music and starring alot of musicians and people associated with Go-Kustom like, Melene Marie Brown, Kim Layfield, Lindsay Calkins, Jimmi Davies (of the Dirty Birds), Holli Decker, J. Heflin, Billy Dwayne (of Billy Dwayne and The Creepers) and Jesse James (of The Spectres). The film is Black and White and has some great music lined up for the soundtrack. We’re about 1/4 done filming and should wrap it up and start editing and post production by fall. Just in time for the TV Show to start again. Our new time slot for Go-Kustom TV is Wednesdays at Midnight so if your in Seattle...as Lindsay would say,” Check it out- right here on Go-Kustom TV!”

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