Chances are, you've seen visual artist Jesse Draxler's work. He's had solo exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles, done commercial work with McQ Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Ferrari, and created pieces for Nine Inch Nails, Daughters, Poppy, the Black Queen and Chelsea Wolfe. His latest endeavor is a collaborative audiovisual project called Reigning Cement in which he challenged 20-plus musicians, including Wolfe, Trentemøller, Greg Puciato and Eric Ghoste, a.k.a. Ghostemane, "to create sound collages/songs using only 34 sonic assets I supplied, with one exception: that they may add vocals if they wanted." The results range from experimental pop tunes to industrial noisescapes, all of which will be released via Federal Prisoner — the label co-founded by Draxler and Puciato — as a vinyl LP packaged with a 100-page printed zine filled with the visual artist's images. A digital version will be available, as well.
Falling in the industrial noisescape camp is Full of Hell vocalist Dylan Walker's contribution, "Time reign cemenT," which Revolver is premiering right here, right now, along with its accompanying video, filmed and directed by Draxler, and edited by Rizz of the band Vowws, who also offered up a track to Reigning Cement.
"When Jesse approached me to contribute to this project, I was really thrilled," Walker enthused. "I'm a big fan of his art and I've always wanted to get more involved with providing sound for physical art. Usually in my world, you'd usually see the album art acting as more of a support role to the music itself. I think it's really cool to see that flipped, to see our sounds and noise serve as a support role to his art. Working with his field recordings was a joy, and I felt right at home with the jackhammers and crashing stone and cement. I haven't known Jesse for long, but I suspect we share many of the same guiding principles in our work and I'm honored that he brought me on board."
Check out the full list of Reigning Concrete participants and the project's cover art — as well as a brief interview with Draxler — below.
Participating artists include:
Chelsea Wolfe & Ben Chisholm
Dylan Walker (Full of Hell)
Eric Ghoste (Ghostmane)
Lisa Mungo (Fucked & Bound)
Portrayal of Guilt
Seb Alvarez (Meth.)
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS PROJECT? YOU'VE WORKED IN MUSIC A LOT ALREADY, CREATING VISUAL ART FOR MUSICIANS, BUT WHAT LED YOU TO WANT TO PRODUCE SOMETHING LIKE THIS THAT REALLY FUSES THE TWO?
JESSE DRAXLER It would be reductive to put any one label on it. It's a conceptual art project, a collaborative compilation album, a zine, and there will be more components as I run with it.
It began as I was taking field recordings on my phone of the noises around where I live and work, a gnarly industrial wasteland on the edge of L.A., to act as a companion to the photos and videos I take of the area, as well. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the recordings at first, but once I had the idea to involve musicians, the network that I had established in working with so many bands made it seem feasible. The idea was something that developed over the past few years and remained just an idea until I brought it up to Greg [Puciato] one day, he really responded to it and we quickly realized it would be a great piece to put out on our newly formed label [Federal Prisoner]. The realistic ability to do it properly helped it grow into what it became.
THE PHOTOS THAT ARE PART OF THE PROJECT, WERE THEY SHOT PRIOR TO HEARING ANY OF THE MUSIC OR DID YOU TAKE ADDITIONAL IMAGES ONCE YOU HEARD SOME OF THE TRACKS?
Many were shot prior, at the same time I would be taking the field recordings, but taking photos of my environment is part of my daily life so I haven't stopped. Once submissions started to come in, the tracks definitely helped further the concept and sharpen the vision, which I am sure played out in the capturing of the images. But at some point I had to cut myself off from adding more for the sake of compiling the zine.
ARE THERE COMPILATION ALBUMS THAT YOU'RE A FAN OF AND THAT INFORMED YOUR DECISION TO CURATE ONE OF YOUR OWN?
None that helped inform my decision — there is no precedent for this. But there were many soundtracks I came to love while growing up, and in a way the album component of Reigning Cement is like a soundtrack. I definitely was into the Crow soundtrack, but something like the Judgement Night soundtrack where they brought together two seemingly disparate [groups of] musicians to collaborate on each track feels more akin to this. Maybe the Spawn soundtrack, too, but even those fall short.
WHAT WAS THE FEEDBACK FROM MUSICIANS WHEN YOU APPROACHED THEM?
Very favorable. Even if the musician was unable to participate for whatever reason, everyone seemed to dig the concept. Once I had enough people involved, my confidence grew and I began asking more, so the contributor list unfolded over time. Many remarked at how much they enjoyed the challenge, or what a welcome change of pace it was to work on a project unlike any they had before.