Released during the holiday, Aaron Dictor AKA Endgame Protocol unleashed his album THE EASTERN STAR unto the world. Combining elements of industrial, EDM, rock and metal and so much more I chatted with Dictor about his latest album and a little more.
Hey there Aaron! We've featured a couple of your projects on the website before, so I guess it's best to start there. How many projects are currently active in your stable aside from Endgame Protocol, and which ones are dead?
Dictor: Hey Steven, thanks for having me! There are really only 3 projects, although multiple names have been assigned to each over the years. The two main ones are my Industrial project (Endgame Protocol) and my SynthWave project (Canned Resistor). I have a some tracks floating out there under my real name, as well as the name antiPLUR which I relinquished due to some EDM kid adopting the name and releasing really awful tracks under it. The only other one of note is one I haven’t worked on in some time: Emerson’s Emporium of Sonic Curiosities. It was created as sort of an umbrella for tracks that don’t fall under the other two projects. Identity is something I struggle with as a musician….you know, you want to just make music but people want to know what to expect when they consume your work. So you end up trying to categorize everything and in the end Ive found my own work to be hard to categorize.
You do all the mixing and production for your musical endeavors. From the dance beats of EDM to the harder side of industrial to mixing and mingling rock and metal in with your music, do you ever find it hard to adhere to a certain sound? Or is that not something you ever look to achieve?
Dictor: Yeah as I mentioned previously its a struggle. I’m fortunate in that I have a unique sound, so perhaps that is enough. I often have wished I had more consistency to my work. I recently discovered the work of a musician named Nash the Slash who had a similar thing going on before he passed in 2014. It really helped me come to the realization that whether or not there is room for an eclectic style in today’s pre-packaged cookie cutter industry, there have been other people who experience the same conflict between the desire to innovate and the pressure to conform.
Let's talk about the history of Endgame Protocol. When did the project start and what bands or styles were you influenced by when you first started making music under this moniker?
Dictor: So endgame protocol came about after a friend of mine introduced me to the mythos of David Icke. Basically, this consists of the notion that human society was infiltrated millions of years ago by a race of extraterrestrial shape shifting reptiles who have worked their way into positions of power. Both this friend as well as David Icke believe this to be fact. The first thought I had was “This sounds like the plot to that really bad Super Mario Brothers movie from the 90’s”, and then “I could run with this aesthetic for sure”. So the aesthetic’s inspiration comes from that: The glowing lizard eyes, the business suit, etc.
You're always on the hunt to create new music and the like; it seems like it is a never ending passion for you. Have you any demos floating around out there that haven't seen the light of day, but may one day get the chance at redemption?
Dictor: I have a backlog of a ton of music as I’ve been doing this for over 10 years. The problem is that I keep getting better, and as a result the older stuff progressively sounds more and more like garbage to me. Emerson’s emporium of sonic curiosities is starting to fall into that category now, although its still available on band camp. Even my album’s under the name antiPLUR haven’t aged well. At the end of the day I know non musicians won’t be able to discern how bad the mixes of these songs really are, but its still something that really bothers me; you know, to have something out there that isn’t your best work. I guess I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
You've a new album called The Eastern Star coming out soon. While the album seems rooted in science fiction, a lot of the lyrics and themes are dark and depressing. Would you consider this a concept album with roots in reality, or is it more or less a story just being told for the fun of it?
Dictor: So I would say that all of the tracks are fictional with the exception of “Patriot”, which you released an early mix of on one of the compilations for Brutal Resonance in…November I think? “Son of Man” and “My Life For You” are more of my anti-theistic rhetorical standby. The Eastern Star tracks, Specimen 666, and The Monster and me are more story tracks having to do with my version of the Icke mythos and concerns a spaceship sort of like the infamous ghost ship “The Flying Dutchman” which comes as a herald of the end times to gather the chosen reptilians who have been stranded on earth and take them back to their world before laying waste to the remains of humanity. Patriot is about a dark time that occurred in my life during my 20’s. Something horrible happened to me; I was the victim of something terrible. After that I adopted a sort of machiavellian philosophy for a time and got wrapped up in a lot of bad stuff. Its an odd fit, but I think people will be able to appreciate it rhetorically even if they don’t truly understand the metaphors involved.
And what's the grand story at play on the album? It seems to be hitting on some form of dystopian society.
Dictor: Well the story concerns a being who is locked in a crashed interstellar prison vessel known as The Eastern Star that flash froze somewhere in Antarctica during the last great Ice Age. As we are losing more and more polar ice, the being (known as Wormwood) escapes and spreads an infectious pathogen that has mind control properties to a third of the earths population, who prepare the way for his “Birth” into human form. At the end of the album, the ship carries him and his followers to a new world as the old one is destroyed.
We will kind of go back to a previous question mentioning genres, but you've melted industrial, electrorock, drum'n'bass, and even some EDM elements all into The Eastern Star. While Specimen 666 is harder and rougher tracks such as Patriot come off more fun and danceable. What's your process for writing these songs?
Dictor: So my process is that I don’t really have one. The songs start with an idea of course, but the lyrics are written stream of consciousness. I often don’t discover the meaning behind them until much later. There is a lot of subconscious overtone involved. As such, I often feel really dissociated from my lyrics. It doesn’t feel like I wrote them even though I know that I did.
And how do you come up with the lyrics for the tracks? Do you write the lyrics first and then make the music, or is it the other way around?
Dictor: I usually write both simultaneously, or I’ll write some music, and then all the lyrics, and then finish the music. Sometimes I’ll write lyrics and sit on them for a long time. I won’t change them, but I won’t write the music until much later. So I guess it depends.
Out of all the songs on the Eastern Star, which one is your favorite and why?
Dictor: Hmmmm thats a tough one. I really don’t have a favorite. In terms of work I think Specimen 666 took the longest to make as Ive been working on it for several years (off and on). I’m really proud of how far its come.
What are your future plans after this? Do you think we will see any remixes off of it, any live shows, Eps, or are you just going to simmer down for a while?
Dictor: I’d really like to do more live shows and refine my performance. Its hard to find time to do so. As for other music being written Ive already finished tracks since I sent “The Eastern Star” off to be published. I’m constantly working on music. As for releasing tracks in a formal way I’d like to do a follow up to my Canned Resistor album and continue that story as I kind of left it on a cliff hanger.
Lastly, I'd like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck with The Eastern Star and I can't wait to sit down and listen to it entirely.
Dictor: Thank you Steve! Merry AntiChristmas!
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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