[community] The True Colour Of Blood: an interview with Eric Kesner [10/2001]

[Andrea Marutti] Hello Eric, would you like to introduce yourself and tell us something about your True Colour Of Blood project?

[Eric Kesner] Hey. I'm Eric Kesner the sole member of True Colour Of Blood. I've been playing guitar for about 20 years and I started recording under the name True Colour Of Blood in 1996. My main musical focus is guitar based Ambient and Dark Ambient soundscapes. No keyboards or synths are used in my music.

[A.M.] Your music impresses me the most: in many of your tracks I wouldnít recognize a guitar if I didnít know that itís thereÖ How did you develope your particular sound? Were you influenced by some otherís people music or was it a natural evolution?

[E.K.] Thanks. As far as musical influences I would have to say that the "Loveless" album by My Bloody Valentine would be the thing that has influenced me the most. When I started recording back in 1996 I really didn't have any idea that there was "Ambient" music around. My earlier stuff was much more thick sounding. The guitar sounds were a lot heavier. But even back then I was getting sounds out of the guitar that didn't really sound like a guitar after I manipulated the original tracks. It was very droney and monotonous and for lack of a better word "Psychedelic" but not in a Pink Floyd kind of way. I wanted to create some music that would be mind altering, or something that would just mess with your head when you listened to it. I was basically creating music that I wanted to hear that I didn't know existed. I wanted something new. Over the last few years my sound got a lot more Ambient and then grew a lot darker and more minimal. I don't know if it's been a conscious effort to take the guitar and get sounds out of it that don't sound like guitar. It's really been about experimenting and trying to find sounds that interest me.

[A.M.] It looks like we have walked the same path in our approach to the music we're making even if with different tools. I myself didn't know there was such a kind of music around when I started experimenting with tapes and synthesizers... By the way, I understand that you're simply expressing yourself through your music but I would like to ask if there is any further concept behind it, i.e. why did you choosed the name True Colour Of Blood? Are you trying to communicate anything via your musical output?

[E.K.] No. There is no agenda with my music or name. There is no special significance in the name True Colour Of Blood. I just thought it sounded like a cool name and went with it. Originally it was a choice between True Colour Of Dreams and True Colour Of Blood. I just went with the name that I thought sounded more interesting. As far as the music there really isn't a way to communicate ideas or beliefs or thoughts without lyrics. When I started out I decided I didn't really care about using lyrics because I don't really have anything to say that hasn't been said before so I wanted to focus more on sounds and the vibe and emotion you can get from sounds."

[A.M.] I see. Since I don't know very much about guitars I wonder how does a True Colour Of Blood track is put together... Does it take many days of work to come up with interesting results / ideas or the process is more immediate? How much of the spare time in your life do you dedicate to your music?

[E.K.] That's a good question. It happens a lot of different ways. Some songs I know what kind of sound I'm going for and just record and then other songs happen kind of by accident or by just experimenting and seeing where things wind up. I record using a 4 track so I usually just start off with a basic idea that I have and record that onto one track. Then I record more guitar parts over top of that track or I take the track and experiment with it; slow it down or spin it backwards or send it through more effects until I get a sound that interests me. Sometimes I take part of a recorded guitar piece and sample it and use that in various ways. I find that through experimentation I come up with the most unique and interesting sounds. It usually takes a few days or weeks to get an actual song out of all the process. I like to record a track or several tracks and work with them initially and then come back over several days to see if it still interests me. I usually come up with more ideas after I stretch out the process over a few days or weeks. Just adding little things or altering pieces of the song. I don't really have a lot of time to work on music. Working full time and having a family it's tough to find time to actually be creative.

[A.M.] I understand, unfortunately spare time is never enough... I also know something about it... Well, have you ever had the chance to play a True Colour Of Blood live set? Or, would you be interested to do it? How would you approach a live situation?

[E.K.] I've never played out live. I've had a couple offers to play live the past few months but because of everything I do in the studio there is no way I could recreate what I do live. I could play live but it wouldn't sound anything like True Colour Of Blood. I could probably do songs like "Forlorn" or "Replaced By A Heart Of Flesh" but I would need another person to play second guitar because there are multiple guitar parts in the songs. I think I would be much happier in the studio than in a live setting.

[A.M.] Your disc "The Significance Of Secrecy" is about to be released on Afe and I'm sure every Ambient / Dark Ambient enthusiast out there is going to love your music just like I do... anyway, you're also going to have another disc entitled "Awakened. To Never Sleep Again" out soon on the Polish label Soulworm Editions. Can you please describe us these works and show the differences between them, if there are any?

[E.K.] I would say that "Awakened" is a lot darker and more minimal. The approach I took in recording it was a lot more experimental also. The tracks on "Significance" sound more like actual songs with a couple of actual melodies in the songs where the tracks on "Awakened" sound more free form. There's no structure really if that makes sense. "Awakened" I see as being a true Dark Ambient album. "Significance" is more atmospheric and much less dark, although there are a couple of Dark Ambient pieces on "Significance". I'm looking forward to the release on Soulworm because it is being released as one continuous track as I originally intended instead of four separate tracks that was released on the mp3.com CD.

[A.M.] I remember that some time ago you had a #1 spot on the mp3.com's Dark Ambient charts with "Twilight State Dream", a track that is going to be included on "The Significance Of Secrecy": how did you feel about that? And more: were you satisfied with them? 

[E.K.] Yeah it was #1 for 17 days straight back in December of 2000. I guess there are two ways you could look at having a #1 song on mp3.com. The first way is, it's only mp3.com so is it really that big of a deal? The second way is, it's kind of cool to have recognition no matter how small it is. I like to look at having a #1 on mp3.com in balance of both of those views. To be honest when I started recording my music I was just recording it for myself and I never thought anyone else would actually hear it and if they did hear it no one would like it or even understand it. So I guess in that respect it's nice that there are people out there who really like what I do and there are enough of those people to get my songs good chart positions. I think getting letters and e-mails from all over the world from people who tell me what my music means to them and how it's influenced them to create or helped them in some way blows me away more than chart positions. If you're asking me if I'm satisfied with mp3.com I guess I don't have too many complaints. They are doing some things that are pissing off a lot of artists right now but where else are you going to get a free website with unlimited space to post as many songs as you want. Plus it gives you exposure to people all over the world. There is a lot of garbage on mp3.com but I've also found a lot of really good music that I wouldn't have heard otherwise.

[A.M.] Having already walked the mp3.com path now you're going to have your music released on limited edition CD-Rs by two small underground DIY european labels: does this mean anything new for you and your music?

[E.K.] I am really excited to be releasing my music on Afe and Soulworm. These are two labels who have put out some really great music and they have respect in the underground Ambient / Dark Ambient / Noise scene. My main goal right now is to make my music available to as many people who can hear it and I think this is a good step in doing that.

[A.M.] True Colour Of Blood apart, you also have another alter ego called DJ Drexel which is going to be featured soon on the forthcoming "Teddy Bear Remix Project" box set on Afe. The music you create with this project is very different from TCOB, can you tell us something more about it?

[E.K.] The remix that I'm doing as DJ Drexel for the "Teddy Bear Remix Project" is different than anything that I've done before. It's Glitch/Clicks & Cuts inspired. The other DJ Drexel material uses experimental beats, haunting atmospheres and disturbing vocal samples. It was a chance to do something different than TCOB which is all guitar based. This is more beat oriented but still experimental and very original I think. I don't know if I can point to anything that it sounds like which is too bad in a way because I really like what I've done and I would like to hear some other music that is in the same vein. There are MP3s available at www.mp3.com/djdrexel.

[A.M.] Since you're involved in creating such different music, I'd like to ask what kind of music you enjoy listening at home... Can you name some of your favourite artists / bands? What's currently spinning in your CD player?

[E.K.] My favorite bands? I would put My Bloody Valentine up there as my all time fave. Swervedriver, David Bowie, Low, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sigur Ros, the first couple Tricky albums, Massive Attack, Morrissey / The Smiths, Meat Beat Manifesto, Third Eye Foundation, old Cure, Depeche Mode, the first couple Spiritualized albums. I'm probably missing a few but you get the idea. What I'm listening to right now.  I'm in my Indie Rock phase right now.  My music moods change every couple of months but right now in my stereo... Coldplay, Sigur Ros, the new Death Cab For Cutie, Clicks & Cuts 2, the new Sparklehorse, the new Trembling Blue Stars, the new American Analog Set, Luna, the new Bjork. I thought the new Aphex Twin was kinda disappointing. As you can see I dont really listen to a lot of Ambient music.

[A.M.] I would like to thank you for finding time to answer this brief interview. Rest assured that I enjoyed doing it a lot: through our correspondence I got to know you and your music better and this goes far beyond the promotional purposes why this interview was made. By the way, I'm sure everyone now is more curious to listen to your music. Is there anything I missed to ask you or is there something that you wish to add?

[E.K.] I just want to thank you for finding my music interesting enough to release on Afe and to do an interview with me. Other than that I would just ask everyone to check out my disc.

Check this page for more info about True Colour Of Blood.