Jay Watson – the man behind the harsh noise project Dental Work with a big discography and the owner of Placenta Recordings, that publish a lot release in several styles like noise, grind and other! This is interview with Jay Watson in our new series “13 questions to…” a big pleasure for us!
kulturterrorismus: Hello from Germany! We hope all fine with you? Where are you? Please, tell us your story!
Jay Watson: Hello Raphael! It is great to speak with you! Kulturterrorismus is an amazing site, and I am proud to work with you guys! I am writing from the infamous “Danger Garden Studio” in Traverse City, MI in the U.S. – My name is Jay Watson, owner/operator of the record label “Placenta Recordings”, an international outlet for obscure sound, trash art, experimental events, and much more! We are approaching our 200th release, and have worked with some of the best names in Experimental music! Our roster continues to grow, as does my level of suprise and happiness! I am also the creator of the outlandish avant-garde performance art/sound project “Dental Work” which has done surprisingly well, with over 150 albums and 3 U.S. tours to date. Other projects I maintain are “Harem”, which is an official modeling team of PR that I work with/photograph for various art pieces and our own print magazine. “Snitch Carnitas Russian Imports” is a mock label I started to release out of print/bootleg material that nobody has ever heard, including a ton of traditional/non-traditional Arabic music. “Made In Lebanon” is another sub-label of Placenta Recordings, and is applied to all Lebanese musicians on the label, including myself! These are my main projects, I also DJ screwed/chopped acid-tinged hardcore hip-hop under the moniker “Thug Bites” in my free time! I started getting serious with Placenta Recordings in 2005, and everything has escalated from there!
kulturterrorismus: When did you start composing music? What or who were your early passions and influences?
Jay Watson: I have been fascinated with music for as long as I can remember….My dad shared his cassette collection of Rock, Blues, Jazz, and Psychedelic from the start, which pretty much started my love affair with music, while my mother would buy me old school rap and thrash metal tapes at local liquor stores in my neighborhood. My Grandma Kittendorf always played a variety of instruments, and she always shared her talents…I started playing on her Piano, she would try to teach me scales but I always proved to be a better player by ear. We also experimented with guitars, keyboards, drums, and harmonicas on a regular basis…I remember she had a huge record collection of old German music, rock and roll, jazz, and 60’s and 70’s soul, pop, and R & B. The first record I ever scratched on a turntable was James Brown’s classic “Hot Pants” when I was roughly 8 years old, at my grandma‘s house. I still have that exact record! I am proud to have inherited her massive record collection! My parents and grandparents continued to feed my musical urges, passing down turntables, harmonicas, drum sticks, and eventually an electric guitar! I took guitar lessons with my mom for a brief period, but could not stand the confined “instructions”, I have never been good with forced behavior! I took a break on the guitar, and focused on comedy skit mix tapes, recorded with my friend Kristopher Smith, where we would record fake radio shows on a karaoke tape deck that had 2 microphones, hosted usually by my dog “Roopa”, talking over cheesy 90‘s Casio keyboard beats and licks. We were like 10-12 years old and we called the tapes “Roopadelic Radio”. We always talked about controversial sexual topics and gross out humor, even back then! One cassette exists today. For my 14th birthday I received a 4 string Peavy Bass Guitar, and tried playing in a few local punk/hardcore/death metal bands, all unsuccessful. I was going to a ton of Hardcore shows, and my lust for super fast music started there. Around that time, my parents divorced, and I ended up with a copy of a music editing program called “Hip Hop Ejay 2”, where you could take samples and compose music. I started smoking lots of high caliber pot, taking samples from Internet Porn, 90’s Horror and Comedy VHS tapes, Hip Hop, and Death Metal culture, to start creating some kind of wacked out fuzzy trip hop hybrid, which eventually turned into my first real project “Jehova Wrinkle” a few years later, a name which meant that organized religion is old, worthless, wrong, and “wrinkled”. At this point I had moved out of my parents house, I was 17. After my grandmother got me a better music editing program called “Magix”, 2 official albums were released in 2005 and 2006, and these were the first releases ever on a new label which I created/decided to call “Placenta Recordings”. The reason behind the name comes from seeing kittens being birthed, and watching the placenta pop out, looking like a purple miniature piece of New York strip steak. I kept one of those kittens, and she became our representative, her name is Rostov On-Don, and she has been a huge inspiration, and you can find her in many of our logos! So now it is 2007, I have consumed a record amount of psychedelics, stimulants, pot, and various other mind-altering/numbing substances, I am listening to everything in the book, going to every concert and festival possible, reading everything in the library, dating various females, dropping, snorting and smoking everything I got my hands on, mind as open as a 7-11. I had dropped out of high school 3 years previous to this, and life is a non stop experience. I was working all kinds of odd jobs. Everything that had happened in previous years manifested itself into a new direction for my personal sound and art. Dental Work was born, and I ate the fucking placenta! Ha ha so to speak. My main inspirations today are listed below: Humanity. Mental Illness. Awkward Anti-Social Ritualistic Behavior. Animal Rights. Life. Death. Society’s Flaws. Crime. Crayons. Finger Puppets. Serial Killers. Pedophiles. Self Mutilation. Drug Abuse. War. Anxiety. Medical Care Facilities. Abandoned Buildings. Where houses. Whorehouses. Lipstick. Cross Dressing. Transsexuals. Hermaphrodites. Extremists. Stress. Poverty. Detroit, MI. Family. Friends. Animals. Musicians. Artists. My Parents. Excess. Addictions. Murder. Abduction. Medical Devices. Kidnapping. Surgery. Morticians. Cemeteries. Atheism. Autonism. Travel. Internet. Endless Books, Magazines, CD’s, Cassettes, Vinyl, and Movies. Old Video Games From Atari, Nintendo, And Sega. The 90’s. My Grandma’s Old Dusty Piano. Snuff Films. Japan. Russia. Cannibalism. Rape. Torture. . Political Scandals. Pizza. Hip Hop. Psychedelia. Entheogens. Gangbangs. Robberies. Homicide. Incest. Candy. Bukkake. Needles. Cats. Pornography. Local Music Scenes. Oakland, CA. San Francisco, CA. Chicago, IL. Denver, CO. Mountains. Deserts. Rain Forests. Snow. Ice. Weather Patterns. Birds. Sea Creatures. Oceans. Lakes. DIY Ethics. Smugglers. Computers. Electronics. Weapons. Corrupt Government and Police. The War On Drugs. Culture. Art. Riots. Germs. Women. Fashion Shows. Pregnancy. Germany. Norway. Lebanon. The Arab World. Hashish. Raw Meat. Amtrak. Prostitutes. Food. Survival. Nymphomania. Voyeurism. Bondage. Rope. Hair. Teeth. Bone. Skin. Blood. Semen. Trash. Garbage Dumps. Talk Radio. Hormones. The Human Body. Puberty. Litter Boxes. Urine. Gasoline. Oil Spills. Kidney Stones. Fast Food. Sexual Humiliation. Commercial Music. Freedom Of Speech. Earthquakes. Volcanoes. Tornados. Anatomy. Ignorance. Urban Spelunking. False Media Coverage. Vocabulary. Planets. Dinosaurs. Extra Terrestrial Life. Revolution. Illness. Disease. Chemical Factories. Plants. Earth. Space. Natural Disaster. Extinction.
kulturterrorismus: What are currently your main production-challenges? Give us an example! Do you work mostly alone or with other musicians?
Jay Watson: I tend to work alone, getting others involved can cause a list of issues, and I applaud the few that have been able to work creatively by my side for all of these years. You know who you are! One thing that interrupts my creative process is having roomates and opposite sleep schedules….It can be interesting trying to listen to demos or record squelching noise while your roomates are trying to rest for work…I just try to be considerate, and turn the volume all the way up when I am alone, which is the majority of the time.
kulturterrorismus: What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
Jay Watson: I will usually start a new composition with some kind of vocal sample, to further explain the position of the sounds that follow…This is not a constant staple, for I am ever changing, warping, mutating, and adjusting the sounds I create and manipulate. I use samples from things that I can use out of context, or even in context, on an extreme level of force!
kulturterrorismus: Do you strictly separate improvising and composing? What is better free jazz or classical style?
Jay Watson: Honestly I would say that my studio production values are a mixture of both free jazz and classical concepts if I was asked to use those genres as an example. I will record improvised material of all natures, store it away in a safe place, and re-compose (or decompose) them in a manner that I see fit for aural presentation. In a live setting I prefer to improvise completely with a broad range of options to choose from, thus giving myself a plethora of sounds and devices to perform live with!
kulturterrorismus: Is there any relationship between sound and life or working day? Please tell us your opinion!
Jay Watson: The sounds are a complete reflection of life, love, hate, work, death, stress, sex, oppression, freedom, visions, and experiences. This kind of aggressive music is revenge against mainstream society, an outlet of all emotion, without restraint. This is the destruction of what the world knows as music, art, and culture.
kulturterrorismus: Do you feel it important that your music spread a message? How conceptual is your music or only for hearing without thinking? What await your listeners?
Jay Watson: There are various “messages” portrayed with the music of Dental Work, and the music released on Placenta Recordings. How they are perceived is up to the listener/viewer. I feel it is very important to address all issues, topics, and situations, keeping nothing in the dark.
kulturterrorismus: The role of an artist is always subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?
Jay Watson: The world has so much to offer, both positive and negative, so I feel like the “news” and “current events” I see must be digested and regurgitated, for the world to see another view on life. I feel that there is a current political agenda to make it impossible for artists and people in general to express freely, but we will see how long that lasts!
kulturterrorismus: There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualization, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?
Jay Watson: I will always be a fan of both, but I feel that actual physical copies, whether it be Vinyl, Cassette, CD, CD-R, etc. are a much better way to celebrate a music collection. Digital files are great for having backups, and I totally download stuff all the time, but your hard drive could crash tomorrow, and there goes all of your MP3, WAV, WMA files. A computer virus is not going to destroy my record collection….So you get my point. I appreciate both concepts, but if I had to choose, physical editions rule. All day. I feel that bands/artists/labels who release their work via digital means are very cheap and lazy, and it is hard for me to take them serious. Sorry guys! Not saying the music is bad, just the lack of motivation! On the other hand I feel that the other guys who release only physical copies are verging on extinction, which makes for some rad collectables!
kulturterrorismus: Music-sharing sites and blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What’s your view on the value of music today?
Jay Watson: Everybody wants to put out a fucking album, and now with the help of the internet, they can. I see about 30% genuine artists doing awesome, ground breaking, genre splicing/defying material, and 70% of bandwagon hopping, fake ass no identity losers cranking out both copy-cat look alike albums, and super bland generic live shows with no stage presence whatsoever. I also see tons of new labels popping up that are trying to bite other labels style and vibe…People need to do their own thing and it better be original if you want to be respected in this industry!
kulturterrorismus: Do you see Facebook as blessing or shit? Is it right, that musicians can not work without Facebook, if they want to be near their fans, make cooperation with other artists and so on?
Jay Watson: Facebook can be a good tool to reach the international and local communities. I feel that there are multiple aspects of the site that I don’t agree with, it is basically a psychological profiling unit, disguised as a social networking site. As a musician, photographer, and label owner it has helped, and I will continue to use it for those purposes of promotion…I would avoid posting any sensitive personal information, just like any place on the internet. Unfortunately FB is overdosed with spam from people who play “Farmville”, upcoming shows from shitty bands and EDM producers arguing about Deadmau5 and Skrillex. There is a lot of unnecessary garbage to sift through to achieve optimum use.
kulturterrorismus: Is money the only way to be a recognized artist? Or could non-mainstream music be as successful as mainstream?
Jay Watson: Non-mainstream music can definitely be as successful, but it is different. Creating experimental music is not about monetary gain. If you are in it for the big bucks, you would be better off getting a job at McDonald’s. This movement is about raw expression, unrefined creativity, being true to yourself and your followers. The support within the community is stronger now than ever!
kulturterrorismus: The last words are yours!
Jay Watson: Thank you for talking with me Raphael, and for your continued support of Placenta Recordings! I hope to visit with you in the future! We have a ton of things coming up at PR, including releases of new material from Merzbow, Mauthausen Orchestra, Acid Mothers Temple, Caroliner, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Cock E.S.P., Dental Work, Passenger Of Shit, Chulo, Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck, Murder Junkies, and a grip of other unique and absurd artists from all corners of the earth! I want to give a massive shout out to the entire Placenta Recordings family! We continue to grow, and we can’t be stopped!