While well known for his involvement in ∆aimon alongside his other half and partner in life, Brant Showers has recently come under the radar of many dark electronic enthusiast's thanks to his solo project's debut album the negative. But that's not all that's been going on in this man's life. He's also been having the time of his life touring with Bestial Mouths, has had a dormant ∆AIMON album in the works, and has quite a few upcoming shows. Read all about SØLVE's debut album and the rest of the mentioned above material below, including acts Showers is keeping his eyes on.
You just recently became involved in Bestial Mouths as a live member. How did you get involved with Bestial Mouths? Did they come to you or did you go to them?
Showers: We initially met through mutual friends, but we’ve known each other for many years now and have worked together pretty frequently in the past. ∆AIMON and Bestial Mouths have traded remixes and played several shows together as well, so there’s definitely a history of collaboration. As far as becoming involved as a live member, Lynette reached out to me directly. Since we were already familiar and respected each other’s works she knew I would understand and appreciate the aesthetics of the project.
Touring throughout Europe with them and visiting all different cities must have been a wonderful experience. Was there any one moment on the tour that has really stuck with you since? Any moment that really stuck out?
Showers: I genuinely loved every city we visited. Each one had an experience that made it memorable and fulfilling in its own right. That sounds cliché, but meeting so many new and amazing people in many different countries was a very profound experience for me. We started and ended our travels in Berlin where we all have a lot of close friends, so spending time in that city remains one of the best parts of the tour. Likewise, Copenhagen and Stockholm were some of the greatest as far as performances and audience energy. The night in Copenhagen specifically had an incredibly dark and magickal atmosphere that I can’t quite describe. it’s a very rare occurrence to come by in such an authentic way. For my interests, that was perhaps the most memorable night.
Now, it might be a bit early to be asking this question since you just got involved with Bestial Mouths, but are you going to become more than just a live member of the band? Are you looking to have input and influence on the band's musical direction?
Showers: One of the big surprises with working in the band was how often my suggestions and input completely matched and confirmed Lynette’s ideas. Though there hasn’t been any specific decisions made about the future of the project, it’s great to know that we’re on the same wavelength regarding direction and stylistic choices. I’d definitely like to continue working with them but it doesn’t necessarily have to be through Bestial Mouths. There’s already been some discussion of trying things outside the realm of that particular project.
Before we get into the thick cut of meat and talk about SØLVE, I do have to ask about ∆AIMON. I read that a new album is in the works and that makes me more excited than you can imagine. The self-titled release you put out in 2013 caught on with audiences and was praised highly; how do you plan on following up the success of your full-length debut? Do you think it's possible to do better than you already have?
Showers: Thanks for the enthusiasm about the ∆AIMON record. We are extremely appreciative of all the success and opportunities we’ve had already, and they will always be incredible experiences in our life, however we don’t typically take any of that into account when writing our music. We’re looking forward to releasing more material and maintaining the close connections we’ve made with our friends and peers, but we really don’t have any preconceived ideas of success. If we had pursued the project more aggressively with promotion, management, and booking agencies it would be a different story. That’s never been the goal of our music though, and isn’t how we determine the extent of our success. Again, we love getting our music out to people and certainly hope to continue to tour and connect with our fans even more. In the end though, we just want to continue to create for whoever still wants to listen.
And, is there any information you can give us about the new ∆AIMON album? Will it be moving away from witch house influences, or no? Have you a release window in mind?
Showers: I think it would be too premature for me to start defining the style of the ∆AIMON album too in-depth. And unfortunately we don’t have a release window yet. The tracks have been sitting dormant for quite a bit of time now and definitely require a significant amount of updating as our interests and emotional circumstances have changed. I can say the personal nature of the SØLVE album and its doom and noise influences were directly carried over from the initial stages of the ∆AIMON album though, so there may be some similarities there. Nancy has always brought a balance to the project that keeps it in line with a dark romantic/erotic anxiety that I feel is still very much present in the new work as well. A lot of the tracks that we are currently working on have a much more of an intense and frenetic feel to them than previous ∆AIMON releases, but they still retain the qualities that people seem to appreciate in our style. They’re also some of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever worked on, so I can at least say that I’m really excited about them.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk SØLVE. You recently released this album via Audiotrauma and I had the pleasure of reviewing it. One of the things that I noticed, well, felt through the music more than anything was this empowering motive. It was music to help pick up people when they felt down. Would you agree to this? Was the negative written to help both yourself and others get out of a dark pit when necessary?
Showers: There’s certainly some affirmations of self-worth throughout. As a process, the album involves a lot of themes related to some serious introspection and the difficulties of having to learn to deal with what’s discovered within. Psychologically we have a lot of defenses in place to keep us from having to accept the parts of ourselves that go against our self perception. Learning to unpack those deterrents, along with societal attitudes and our ingrained concepts of right and wrong can cause a lot of personal strife; As well as the various forms of impact our actions and beliefs have on the people close to us. Ethics pose some interesting questions when delving deep within one’s own psyche. Specifically in the sense of social context and our inherent traits. The “spiritualism” and psychology I ascribe to seeks to unify the whole of a person rather than attempt to castigate the negative. Much of the ∆AIMON project revolves around this false-dichotomy of light vs. dark, and the SØLVE album simply sets it within a more active, ritualistic context - an actual look into the processes as I’m working through it. This requires recognizing the intent and value of all perspectives, hence the seeming positive energy, though I see it more as a necessary acceptance for achieving wholeness.
I remember the cover art being quite a discussion for myself when writing the review for the negative. I had it in me that the black covering up the body on the cover was a symbol for something holding that person back. Who designed the cover art and what does it mean to you?
Showers: The art was done by my friend Emily Steigerwald. She’s a fantastic artist and musician (be sure to check out her DISIR project with her partner Hex). Your take on the artwork is an interesting one. I see it differently though, with the black as an opening - more of a gaping maw even, exposing an empty and endless abyss within the figure. I didn’t instruct Emily to create anything specific since I trusted her talents. Still, it was a pleasant surprise to see her piece capture so much of what was at work in the album. There’s even a pretty on-the-nose visual connection with some of the more esoteric Kabbalah ritualism that she might not even be aware of. Either way, everything about Emily’s art is completely in line with the introspective themes of the album. An exposed darkness within, tethered through threads reaching out to a collective void. Leave that to be interpreted however the viewer sees fit.
I also noticed that there seemed to be some crossover elements from ∆AIMON to SØLVE. Did you ever have a hard time writing for SØLVE without trying to make it sound too much like an ∆AIMON album?
Showers: I think there’s a personal sound or style that people identify as mine regardless of what project I’m working on. That said, this SØLVE album came at a time when I had a need for expression and outlet that was more immediate than our schedule for ∆AIMON allowed for. As such, there’s definitely some structural and emotional elements that would have suited ∆AIMON well enough, but needed to be realized sooner and within my own personal needs. ∆AIMON has always been largely the result of the dynamic and energy shared between Nancy and myself. Writing solo material has a very isolating effect in a lot of ways but also allows me to focus on certain aspects that are specific only to my own concerns. I had a pretty solid idea of the aesthetic that the negative would take on, but I didn’t shy at all away from presenting the music in any certain way. I actually think it’s fine to share similarities with my other projects since it gives people an opportunity to draw connections and perhaps articulate even more meaning through association.
When it came to your singing on the album, it was almost like I experienced a whole new side of Brant. When you sang for songs on the negative, what was on your mind? How did you create this new voice?
Showers: Honestly the vocals on the negative are probably a more natural way for me to sing. I like to experiment with different things in ∆AIMON to suit the aesthetics of the music, but when I’m just put in front of a microphone, the style of my voice in SØLVE is pretty much what you get. The new ∆AIMON album could still go either way though, especially now that I’ve had the chance to try it out in a proper release. Nancy’s voice really carries the direction of that project in the best possible way, though, so I’m always more than happy to let her take the lead. With “the negative” I mostly just wanted to avoid cliché “industrial” vocals. I was listening to the recent HEALTH album, DEATH MAGIC, and remembered specifically thinking about how unique his voice sounded in contrast with the tone of the music itself. His voice can be divisive among listeners but for me it was an inspiration to approach vocals in a way that felt more intuitive and without restraint. The SØLVE vocals are a sort of mantra anyway, so it seemed appropriate t let them flow naturally.
Overall, how pleased are you with the way the negative came out? Would you rank it higher or lower than your work on ∆AIMON?
Showers: Well, I can say that I feel I accomplished what I set out to do with “the negative.” Beyond that I can't really compare the output of the two projects. For me, they both represent very important aspects of myself and my connection with others. Nancy’s input and the dynamic between us in ∆AIMON is so obviously absent in SØLVE that it wouldn’t be fair to try and rank them against each other. Regardless of the project, each release is only put out after we are entirely satisfied with the result as a whole. So we just aim to express ourselves to the best of our abilities regardless of what we’ve done in the past. I know that sounds like a cop-out answer but I can’t imagine thinking any other way. The SØLVE album is the most recent release for me and represents my most immediate situation at the moment, for that reason alone it is an extremely important expressive output for me. Moving forward though, I am certain both projects will bring their own importance and necessary voice to whatever we are working on.
Following on that thought, how are critics responding to SØLVE? We gave you a solid 7.5 out of 10, but how are others treating your album? Have you heard anything positive that has stuck out to you? And, on the contrary, have you heard anything negative about the album so far?
Showers: So far the response has been incredibly supportive and positive. The appropriate online publications have all given it favorable reviews and all seem to really grasp the concept and personal aspects involved. I won’t lie, this album was a difficult one to put out and has caused me more anxiety than anything else I’ve done. I really didn’t know if the nature of the record would be received well or not so it’s been especially rewarding to hear from a lot of people directly that have found value in it. Reviews aside, reading that the album has spoken to listeners in direct and profound ways means more to me than any commercial success. All the people that have reached out to me have been people whom I greatly respect and appreciate; that the took the time to share their kind words goes beyond anything I could ever have asked for or expected. I haven’t heard anything negative about the album so far. At worst, it released on the same day as several other highly anticipated albums (totally by ignorance) and may have been overlooked in the excess of new music available right now for fans of dark electronic music. Even if that’s the case, word seems to still be spreading around thanks to the amazing support of friends and peers.
I've been getting into the habit of asking musicians who they've been listening to lately or if they've discovered any new bands that they think deserve a mention. And I ask the same for you: Any new and upcoming bands that you could recommend our audience take a listen to?
Showers: I’ve been a bit behind with new music due mostly to my schedule. Not entirely sure to what extent they’re “up and coming” but I was recently introduced to some great music while in Europe that kept my interest. I’ve been especially impressed with the excellent EBM and dark techno happening in Berlin at the moment, evidenced by the amazing Blush Response and SARIN collaborative project, KONKURS, as well as Schwefelgelb that just released a new album a few days ago. I’ve been pretty obsessed with Trepaneringsritualen for a while now as well, and though he’s not necessarily new, he runs a label called Beläten that has been putting out some promising artists including the duo, ALVAR, who are definitely worth keeping an eye on. There’s also an incredible producer named Søs Gunver Ryberg in Copenhagen. She’s playing large festivals in Europe but I think is still very unknown in the States. She is definitely one of the most inspiring artists I’ve heard recently. I highly recommend her debut album, AFTRYK, available on Contort Records (shout out to Joey Blush for introducing me to her work). I’m also very excited for the upcoming VERIN album and Michael Kurt’s new project, The Blood of Others. They’re both going to be amazing.
What are your plans for the future currently? I know that I saw you'll be performing at Terminus this year, but do you have any other live shows in the works?
Showers: I’ll be playing a few shows in New York, as well as the Incubate and Wave Gotik Treffen Festivals - in Tilburg (NL) and Leipzig (DE), respectively - with Bestial Mouths again. Following that is Terminus in Canada where I’ll be performing as both SØLVE and with Bestial Mouths. The future beyond that hasn’t been scheduled yet, though a few opportunities for SØLVE and ∆AIMON shows have presented themselves recently. We’re very excited to finish (re)writing the ∆AIMON album and see it finally released as well, so that will probably be a major
priority this summer. I’ve also got a few ideas for new and remixed SØLVE material…. I’m always staying busy with something or other, so will keep everyone updated through my various social media platforms as plans solidify.
And, at this point I'd like to thank you for your time and I can't wait to hear what you bring out next, be it in the form of a new SØLVE or ∆AIMON album. I'm looking forward to it! Cheers!
Showers: Thanks so much for the interest and support. This was a pleasure! Cheers!
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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