Interview with Shelby Cinca

Over the years Shelby Cinca has expressed himself in multiple ways: he's been a musician in Frodus, Decahedron and The Cassettes, he's recorded bands like Dead Meadow and others and designed artwork for many records and websites... You can find a record of his work at www.themindcontrol.com . Right now he's about to go on tour with Decahedron, his latest project.We hope that you'll like this interview and we wish him the best of luck for the future.

1.Over the years you’ve been involved in the music process all round, being in a (exceptional) band, Frodus, recording records of other bands (like Dead Meadow), doing artwork and websites both for your and other bands, how has this experience as a whole been so far? What was it like to start over with Decahedron?

The experience has been overall positive. I have been able to work visually and sonically with artists to help them achieve what they want to do. The greatest part of it is that it has been a learning experience and expanded my creative vocabulary and given me fresh perspectives. Working with other artists have also in turn helped me refine what i want to do with music/art.

It was difficult in some respects starting over with Decahedron as when you do a new musical project you are pretty much starting from the very bottom re-introducing yourself to a new crowd of music goers. On the other hand it was creatively very inspiring to start over with something fresh, exploring new ideas, and working with Joe Lally for Disconnection_Imminent. I have to say I am happy that Frodus ended because we probably wouldn't have ended up writing a record with Joe, which was a real great experience playing with someone we respect who brings a different approach to writing music, etc..

2. When you started to play music, did you have the perception it was something you’d eventually wanted to be involved in for such a long time?

I had a feeling it was. Though at times I feel like it is a sickness where you have to always create and create. You release and create songs and then begin on new ones. An endless process of expelling and creating. It's like a bodily process... you make food, eat it, and then you release it again, then repeat.

3.Right now your new ep with Decahedron is being published, how was it to work on it? Do you feel, since you started the band, that there has been an evolution?

Definitely. The album was us kind of finding a sound and thing that we do. The EP has been a continuation and is heading more towards an 'electronic music' approach of composing music with real instruments. It is about a few parts that constantly loop and things playing over each other and complex rhythms.

4.You also have another project, The Cassettes, I’ve read you’re about to publish a new full length, when hearing The Cassettes I always thought it was interesting to hear yet another side of your musical production, how has it been as an experience to play\record\tour with The Cassettes?

The Cassettes is a big stream of consciousness where we create little moody worlds that focus on dreams and childhood. It's a totally different approach than Decahedron. In a way The Cassettes is maybe Decahedron therapy and Decahedron is modern-life therapy.

Playing and touring with The Cassettes is amazing, it has a very different dynamic within the band and thus it reflects in the music.

The Cassettes is organic and escapist.

5.In all of your lyrics, especially with Decahedron, it seems you have chosen a very clear register to expose your views on things – I feel this is very important right now, in the difficult times we’re going through – how have listeners reacted to the message you’re trying to put into your music? What do you focus on when writing lyrics?

People have generally been positive. Of course we meet people that do not agree and some have engaged us in conversation. But I just say it is our take on things and how we are expressing ourselves with the forum of music. We definitely purposefully take a more radical stance through our music and imagery because the more radical you are the more people will listen. It is a very common media tactic that we use to get our ideas out. Being subtle is more difficult to pull off in the information age if you have a very specific message and want to get as many people exposed to it whether it is a positive or negative reaction. Though it's all relevant to how we feel at the time, i don't know if our imagery and approach will always be so apparent on future records. It's just in these current times we were moved to do things in such a way. When writing lyrics, we write about our perception of life around us... that involves our geographic location and how we are effected by events in and around it. The focus can change... where Frodus was more about a possible "dark-future", Decahedron is more about the present.

6.I see you have some live shows in the US ahead of you, as Decahedron is concerned, are you thinking to make a trip overseas with them and play shows here in Europe?

I would love to tour Europe as it's my favorite place to tour! At the moment we are just slowly planning things and seeing how the rest of our lives occupations pan out to accommodate that.

7.Since you’ve been involved in independent music\art\communication for quite some time now how do you feel it’s changed over the years?

I think underground music has definitely become more of a marketed entity now. The politics and forward-thinking of punk has shrank a bit to a vague ideology and kids just look online to find out about shows and go as a stylistic decision opposed to a 'solace from the world amongst ideologically like minded people' decision. In some ways it is good as it has broadened the audience, in other ways it is sad as it has brought the beginning of the end of the independent record store in america, etc.. it's all just very different times and things are constantly changing more and more with the emergence of online social networks and what not. I'm not quite sure where things will end up but we are all... musicians, fans, artists, etc.. all trying to adapt within this structure and make it work so that we can continue to create and have an audience. One thing I do like is that there is more communication between artists and their fans and the myths of "rock stars" and stupid things like that are starting to fade.

8.How did you get involved with the Buddyhead Mp3 weblog? Is it something you plan to keep on doing in the future? How is\was working in a record store, like I read you have been doing?

I have known Travis and Aaron from Buddyhead for around 5 years from them initially liking Frodus. They have always asked me to write for their magazine and finally after they launched the mp3 blog it seemed like the easiest and most interesting way to contribute. In a way it is like me working at a record store as I gave suggestions when I had that job, I am doing it again through a digital medium. Working in a record store was the best job i had in my whole life. I worked there for 5 years and it was great seeing how it was a cultural hub for music lovers and musicians right outside the DC area! Extremely inspiring. It was also sad when it closed as it a way it was run out by larger chain stores opening in the area and simply the store running it's course of being around for almost 20 years! The personal interactions and the atmosphere of the record store felt like a coffee shop in some ways, so that leads me to believe that when I am older I will probably run a coffee shop in Sweden or somewhere in Europe!

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