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One look at Celldweller is more than enough to make you think this is an interesting person. Aside from the edgy metal look, the sci-fi album covers, and an overwhelming dedication to his fans, his musical style is enough to spend a few hours talking about.
We first stumbled on Celldweller with his Klash-Up (spelled with a K for his name, Klayton) of famed Metal gods Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne. Since that day, it’s been a whirlwind of releases which all encompass his signature sound. If you’ve never spent any time listening to him, now is the time. Klayton’s style is truly unique, blending dubstep, drum and bass, and elements of metal into perfectly crafted tracks. Seeing him live only made us more impressed with this sound, as hundreds of club goers switched back and forth from dancing to head banging. It’s truly a sight to see.
We had a chance to sit down with Celldweller at Beta Nightclub and talk about everything from to when he first heard about Beta to how he feels about his own music.
TMN: Welcome to Colorado, Klayton. Is this your first time performing here?
CD: It is not. I played the Marquis maybe a year ago, on a Tuesday night, and was really impressed with how vibrant the scene was. That was more of my rock iteration of my show which is like a DJ set meets a rock band.
For a Tuesday night, I was pretty impressed at the Denver scene. Electronic music is thriving here.
TMN: Your career as an electronica artist is relatively young. What does it feel like to play at such a highly revered club such as Beta?
Playing instruments is where I’m most naturally comfortable. I know how to play all those instruments, I could write a hundred songs like that, but it’s much more challenging for me to try and get a different tone for drums and synths and different textures for every sound that I create. So what I did is really complicate my own life. That’s what gets me off.
TMN: What does it mean specifically to play at a club like Beta though?
CD: It means a lot. When I found out that I was playing here, especially with Bare, I was really excited be here at Beta. I actually had a conversation with BT about a year ago, he said, “Have you ever played at Beta, because that place is insane.” Then now to actually be here, and to be playing with Bare, I’m lovin’ it. And you can tell that people here are really into the music.
TMN: We were just up there for your set and people were going insane. You’re like a rock star personified into a DJ.
TMN: We were stoked on one of your very first “Klash-ups” Disposable War Pigs. Do you feel that track was kind of a game changer for you?
CD: No. I actually just did it with no pretense. I just did it because I love both bands. I knew I wanted to do something, and I knew that the Sabbath song was wide open. I could just program around that thing for days because there was huge open sections around Ozzy’s voice. I actually did it thinking no one would care. In a really short amount of time we started finding out that a lot of people reacted to it. We found out that Excision was closing out his sets with my track on his tour when he came back for his encore.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump…
TMN: Speaking of Disposable War Pigs, it fared extremely well on the blogosphere. Do you pay attention to blogs and the Hype Machine?
CD: Blogosphere? I do frequent some blogs just to see what’s current in music. The problem is, I have a serious case of infobesity. There’s just way to much information on the web, and I can get lose really easily, and never produce a single thing.
I’ve never been to Hype Machine once. People tell me these things, and I’m like, “Ok. Cool.” I’m very aware of it, but I don’t really use it. The problem is you take in too much of that information and it does stuff to affect your decisions.
I am very familiar with The Music Ninja though, long before I was ever featured on it. When Tom (PR Manager) said, “Hey, The Music Ninja added you, this is really big!” I was like, “Yesssssss!” It’s not often that too many blogs that I’m aware of actually start adding my tracks. It was really cool to see that on your site.
TMN: Side note: that was actually me that personally wrote that piece.
CD: (Puts hand up for a high five) Transcribe a high five in there.
TMN: Talk to us about how your style developed. We know that you started off with roots in hard rock and metal, but how did you come to fuse that together with drum and bass, dubstep, and psy-trance?
CD: That’s how I look at it. I don’t really define my music as anything. I don’t really know what it is. I think my fan base is so loyal because I do so many things. I get bored very easily when I listen to music, so I don’t want to make music that’s going to bore me or anyone else. It’s definitely taken an electronic turn though.
TMN: Speaking of your background, we have to ask – what are some of your favorite metal artists?
A lot of the more modern metal, the screamo and stuff, just sounds like a throwback to the stuff I heard when I was kid. It doesn’t sound very original to me, so personally, I’m not very inspired by it. If I were to name metal bands they would be older bands. To me it wasn’t how fast they were playing, like in death metal and speed metal. I knew a lot of the bands, but never really got into them. Actually what it is, is I like the element of the song. Even in electronica music, as much as I love the sound, and I can listen to a track for it’s production, if there’s not some sense ofof a song, I’ll only listen to it a couple of times and then it’s disposable. I want to hear a vocal, or some sort of a hook, you know?
That totally got sidetracked from your original question. As you can tell I’m from New York and I’m Italian so I talk a lot.
TMN: What’s one artist you’d be embarrassed to admit that you listen to?
CD: I wouldn’t be embarrassed to name any artist I listen to. I don’t care for Britney Spears, which it’s not, just for the record. Let me think about this, um, well it’s nothing that would be really popular that anyone would know. I listen to a lot of really intimate piano music. And not classical, there’s more production value to it. They’re putting objects in the strings and while they’re playing it’s creating weird sounds.
TMN: Your music has been featured on numerous shows and movies. Is there one place that it was featured on that still blows you away?
CD: Not blown away, but there has been some great timing. There was one time I took this girl on a first date, and we went to go see some movie. I think it the Spiderman trailer played before the movie and she was like, “That’s you!”
I was like, “Yeah, of course, no big deal.” (Grinning)
CD: Ummm, what would it be? It would pry be some kind of mutt. A cross breed of like 50 different dogs. All of them sat in a room and had a big orgy, and you don’t even know what the outcome is. It’s just a big mess, and it comes out with all different breeds in it, but it’s cohesive and tangible, and it’s actually a pretty nice dog. It’s mild tempered and it’s kinda pretty. You can walk it, and it poops right in the right spot so you can scoop it up easily. You know?
And it bites every once in a while. Only when you need it to.
TMN: That was one of the most well definied answers to that question we’ve ever received.
CD: Really? Ok I thought I was really screwing this whole thing up.
TMN: How is FiXT going?
CD: FiXT is going really well. For those of you who don’t know, FIXT is my company. I founded it 6-7 years ago, and it really stemmed from the idea that I could not find a distribution outlet that could handle what I was doing. I couldn’t find merchandizers that knew what to do with me. It came down to me doing everything myself. I build my own little microcosm to support my own career.
I spent a long time forging my way into film, television and video games. The first artist that I really signed was Blue Stahli, and in three in a half short years he’s getting close to eclipsing my history in film, TV, and video game licenses.
Things are growing, and we’re talking to much bigger artists, and they’re actually approaching us. They’re basically saying, “we like releasing stuff on other labels, but we heard you guys actually pay. When we sell stuff you actually pay us.” And yeah, I want to treat artists how I want to be treated. I built this entire system this way. So instead of coming in and having artist feel like they’re getting ripped off, we do a 50/50 split with every artist. After expenses and everything, we split the money.
TMN: Is there anything you want to fill our fans in about? Tour? Releases?
CD: How much time do we have? Ha ha, just kidding. I’ll recap it with, I did release two full length albums in the past few months (Wish Upon a Blackstar, Soundtrack for the Voices in My Head Volume II). FiXTstore.com, you’ll find not only my merch, everything else on the FiXT artist roster, AND a ton more of. We’re the biggest EDM merch store in the world. Name an EDM artist and we probably have some of their merch for sale.
Other than that. Come hang out.