MxCx Interview#25 "DJ Skull Vomit"

DJ Skull Vomit

Skull Vomit and Singaya are the two other monikers from Tony Welter who is also half of the fierce Electro/Grind duo Eustachian and partial owner of Fathme Records. The last few years, Tony has left the Eustachian name behind to rest respectively to concentrate on his 2 still very heavily metal influenced solo projects. One (Singaya), a dubstep driven, electronic grind scuffle and the other, (Skull Vomit) a more fast paced industrial breakcore riot. Either way, the original Eusta- chian blue print is still present but evolved, adapted and personalized to cover 2 very different but quite closely related bastard children. - Miike Teknoist

How are you doing recently? How was the Europe tour in March?
Did you move from Belgium to US?

Things are good at the moment. The tour in March was really fun. I’m always honored when asked to play at any BangFace event. From what I can remember the shows were sweaty, loads of gurning faces and a lot of 4am kebabs. When I got on the flight from London back to LA I saw some Bangface headliners in first class. I walked by and nodded only to be sat all the way in the back by the toilets. I thought, shit I need to start making cheesy Drum&Bass. No, but actually quite the opposite. I’d rather play the smaller room, get paid less, but be free to make whatever kind of tracks I want with zero restrictions or expectations. All those dudes still have to follow the “dj formula” to appease their fan base.

Yes, I moved back to Los Angeles in November 2016 from living in Antwerp for 7 years. I really loved living in Belgium. The biggest appeal to me was how different it was from any other city I have lived in. It really forced me to be more disciplined with my music and to play more shows. Every weekend there was some crew doing a hardcore/breakcore party and I would hop on a lot of line ups when other artists dropped. It kept me from being agoraphobic and watching Alf all day. While I was living in Belgium, I also started making beats and shooting music videos for Flemish & French rappers under the name Bacon God.

Please tell me your roots.
Where are you from? What kind of environment did you grow up in?
You are a wonderful person with a great humor.How did you become that personality?

I shot out of my momma’s wooha in Phoenix Arizona. I grew up in the desert in the early 80’s so a lot of fluorescent green tank tops, board shorts and no shoes. I was always a bit of a quirky kid I guess, so kinda explains why I am still a strange one. I later moved around living in South Carolina, Florida, all over California and Europe. I assume when you say “great humor” you’re talking about all my prank calls. I always made prank calls since I can remember and I thought why stop? Now I’m a 36 year old man child prank calling Abletons tech support & MaxMSP. I also enjoy removing the audio from online tutorials and replacing it with horrific sounds and music.

Do you remember the music you bought for the first time? What kind of music work affected you?

The first music I remember buying was actually an Information Society cassette when I was 7. I don’t know what it was about them, but I just remember hearing it and saying as a little kid, I want to make music.

The first CD I ever bought was Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace” when I was 11.
I listened to it on repeat and was obsessed with the artwork. So much that 25 years later I hired the same guy, Ed Repka to do the artwork for my latest release.

When did you start music activities? What instrument did you use for the first time? Please tell me your first music

I started playing drums when I was 9 or 10 years old. I tried the piano and saxophone first, but just wasn’t for me. When I was little I would make drum sets out of pots and pans from the kitchen and play them with pencils. I was a crazy kid and needed to get all of that energy out on something, and the drums just made sense.
Well, my first band was from High School called “The Afflicted” and we sounded like Weezer and Hum with a death metal drummer who borrowed 311’s snare drum.

The Afflicted - Unchangeable (Recorded 1997)

Years later I joined a few metal groups and ended up playing a lot of the local gigs in South Carolina. Vanilla Ice was someone we opened for when I was in a group called XXL. From what I can remember he was a super rad guy and partied with us kids after the show and we shot fireworks at each other.

When did you start making electronic music?

I started to dj seriously when I was 18. It started with House/Breakbeats and then my friends said, stop playing that shit and introduced me to Drum&Bass/Jungle. When I was 19 I got a copy of Fruity Loops and started making Electronic music. It was very strange for me at first to program drums and not play them. I thought if I’m going to let the computer do the work, they might as well be so insane that it’s impossible for humans to play. This concept had me creating some really bizarre and unlistenable music before I could figure out how to organize all that chaos.

Please tell me how the "Eustachian" began.
Maby, Eustachian is making Hip Hop/IDM first? At that time, you making a remix of Mochipet / MachineDrum. Have you been active in the IDM / Glitch scene?
Why did Eustachian change to Grindcore / Breakcore style?

I met a guy named John Roche while working at a record store in 2001. He introduced me to so much experimental electronic music and different ways of using Fruity Loops that we decided to start a group together. When I started college in Florida he would make drives to Orlando from South Carolina almost every weekend to make music. This was the birth of Eustachian. At that time we were really into Schematic Records, Planet ╬╝, Warp and weird Hip Hop stuff so naturally we started creating that kind of style at first. I met Travis Machinedrum in College and we would play a lot of the same shows in Florida. We later became good friends and decided to live with each other after finishing School. Years later I decided to move to San Francisco and met Dave Mochipet. I really liked the music scene in San Francisco. It was really free and open to anything really. I remember one of the first shows I went to was a group called “16 Bitch Pile-Up” and they had bags with tools and heavy objects in them with contact mics attached. They kinda walked around in circles screaming, while slamming the bags against the floor to a packed crowd. After leaving that show I said to myself, I’m home. We started blending a more extreme/metal style with weird Hip Hop when we started playing more shows in San Francisco. Mochipet was a big influence as he kinda took us under his wing and released some of our music in 2005.

We just kept making crazier and faster tracks till we realized that this is the sound we wanted for Eustachian. The next step was to make a vinyl for ourselves with all new material, which became the “Broken Teef” record.

"Eustachian/Vytear - Broken Teef" is a legendary release for Breakcore / Cyber Grind. Why did you decide to mix Grindcore / IDM / Breakcore? What kind of equipment did you use?
Please tell me your memories when you was making "Broken Teef".

For the tracks on Broken Teef, I think we just used Cubase, friends playing guitar, screaming in a microphone and sampling riffs from old bands. We really liked the idea of pushing the Metal genre to just absurd speeds and tempo’s. We thought we were making some crazy shit until we heard an artist named Vytear.
Jason’s music seriously blew us away. We had never really heard anything like it and said we need to put this guy on the B-side of the “Broken Teef” record. He sent us one track which was a remix he did for DuranDuranDuran.

We said, holy shit make more tracks like that! So he made 2 more tracks and we released the record in 2006 on our own Label, “Fathme Records.”

Fathme Records Release Party 2006

Vytear, Terminal 11, The Flashbulb & Eustachian

Eustachian makes remixes for Napalm Death/Genghis Tron/The Berzerker. Did they give official offers to you?

The Napalm Death and Genghis Tron remixes were official, but The Berzerker remix was for some competition we didn’t win and just released the track anyway. During the Myspace days the Recording Engineer for Napalm Death contacted us and asked if we would be up for doing a remix. The Genghis Tron remix happened because we are friends with them and they just asked us to do one.

When was the first time you play Eustachian live in Europe? At that time, how did you feel about the European scene?

We toured in Europe for the first time with Machinedrum in 2004 for 2 months which changed everything for us. I never knew what Europe’s rave scene was like, and it melted my naive American brain. We actually got to play a gig at the old Tresor Club in Berlin.

Machinedrum & Eustachian at Tresor Club 2004

Over the years Eustachian toured 5 more times in Europe before we threw in the towel. Now I’ve been touring 8 years alone, and I really do miss the connection you have when performing with someone else. Plus John had the best faces when playing live.

Eustachian’s last show in Europe 2009 (Nijmegen, NL)

When did you become "DJ Skull Vomit"? What is the origin of the name?

In 2009 John the other member of Eustachian decided to move back to the East Coast with his wife and open a successful clothing store. It was tough for him to juggle the two, so we both decided to put the name to rest and move on to new adventures.

At that time I was living in Los Angeles and Baseck was doing a show with Bong-Ra and wanted me to play. I was just trying to come up with a silly dj name for him to put on the flyer as a joke and I guess it stuck. That was the very first dj Skull Vomit show.

You make aggressive and hard music on DJ Skull Vomit or Eustachian. Why do you choose those expressions?
And you are using Own vocal and Real guitar. I think it is unusual in Breakcore. Why do not you use sampling or Midi?

I have been a big fan of anyone doing extreme styles of music and really appreciate Metal and Grindcore.
The Eustachian stuff was using more midi and sampling since we did not have a full time guitarist to record with us.

When I decided to do the Skull Vomit project I told myself I didn’t want to sample any guitars or vocals. I really wanted to write music with a guitarist, so I contacted my two friends Mark McKenzie & John Smythe who I played with in previous bands. We still make music together and I plan on bringing them out more to play live guitars at shows.

Please tell me the equipment you are using for your music production.

At the moment -
-Mac mini
-Mackie speakers
-Variety of Midi Controllers
-Roland VT-3 for Vocals
-Ibanez Guitars
-Fender Bass
-Waves Plugins
-Critter & Guitari “Pocket Piano”
-Yamaha Drumset
-AKG C214 Microphone for Vocals
-Resident Audio Soundcard

What is the most impressive live show ever?

Well, two shows come to mind. First, probably when I got to do a surprise dj Skull Vomit set at Dour Festival in 2010 with Captain Ahab and Sickboy.

Second, the show I played for your label Murder Channel in Tokyo.

I heard that Steve Grimmett and members of Alien Ant Farm are participating in your new EP. What is the concept of the EP? Who's other artists are involved?

The concept of this EP was to work with a bunch of musicians I admire and to have more like a group effort, rather than just one guy behind a laptop. It took me almost two and a half years to finish four tracks. I collaborated with Steve Grimmett the singer from Grim Reaper & Stazma the Junglechrist, Bill Manspeaker from Green Jell├┐ & Tye Zamora from Alien Ant Farm, Mare Cognitum with Baseck and Todd Congelliere from FYP & Toys That Kill with Justin Pearson from The Locust & Dead Cross. I feel like the DJ Khaled of Breakcore with all those amazing features. This EP definitely has more of a punk/metal style to it and is really not the most dj/club friendly record, but I hope people enjoy it. The vinyl will be out on PRSPCT RVLT in October 2017.

Many people stop listening and making to aggressive music when they get older. Can you keep making aggressive music?

I will always keep making crazy electronic music, as long as my right index finger can keep clicking a mouse. It might take me a lot longer to finish tracks these days, but I still have a big passion for it. I keep hearing new music and keep getting more inspired every day.

Please tell me your future schedule.

I have a USA tour with The Teknoist in late 2017, A new side project I’m doing called “A Guy Called Gene” which is UK Bassline Ballads for your dad.

I will also be making new prank calls to release on cassette in 2018. When I have the time I also want to pursue this idea I still have where I get different musicians to try and paint a Bob Ross Painting. I’ve done a few test runs with Passenger of Shit and Shitwife, but I need to film a lot more so I can release a different artist each month.