Collections of Dead Souls is Timothy Anderson, of Austin, Texas. He is an artist who creates chaotic works of synth and sound, that buzz with narrative energy. His latest release, Synth Explorations Of The Unconscious Mind Vol i, warns of the injustice of modern society, while also transmitting a peaceful tone, full of hope and magic. I had a chance to catch up with Timothy to talk about it.
Gray Lee: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. How long have you been creating music under the name 'Collections of Dead Souls?'
Timothy Anderson: I started making this form of electronic music around January 2014, didn't come up with the name until about July of 2016.
It was actually in a motel on the Las Vegas Strip that I came up with the name.
G: It really stands out. It was definitely the name that drew me in at the beginning. But you’ve made music in other forms for much longer.
T: Yea, I started playing guitar in my teens, got a 4 track when I was 17, started playing around with recording.
Then I was recording under the name FONADI, eventually adding a Korg MS2000 and a Korg Electribe to the mix.
These are some of those tracks.
G: Ok so you branched into synths pretty early on.
T: Yea, it was really more of a had to do it kinda thing. I needed a rhythm section as it were, and instead of finding other musicians, I just learned to do everything myself. Main influence at the time was Aphex Twin and Godflesh, (that hasn't changed) so figured why not?
G: You seem to work from a broad range of influences, including rock, ambient, electronica, harsh noise - each one of your releases has its own vibe. What's your creative process like? Do you start with a concept and then create to shape that, or create free form works and see what comes out of them - or is it a combination?
T: Usually a concept. The idea has always been to tell some kind of story through synths and drum machines.
- or in the case of "Because I Rushed It" I was really really drunk.
G: I’ve been listening to the new release and it does have that conceptual feel. I think the first thing I noticed about Synth Explorations of the Unconscious Mind Vol I is the way the song titles work together to create a sentence - a statement.
T: Yea. That was the intention. I've been constantly travelling for years, and was always spouting off everywhere about various anti-capitalist and anarchist topics in strange places. It's kind of been a theme in a lot of my releases.
G: Your works certainly don't mince words.
And your relationship with the evils of this world are more concrete than most people may imagine. In fact, up until very recently - you were homeless.
T: Yea, but I've been homeless a lot over the last few years. Joined OccupyDC in January 2012, which was essentially going to DC to live on the streets and march on Washington. Daily.
So, yea, it sucked, but.....
I got better. I think.
It's tough to get off the streets, but, it's just about keeping your head up, and trying to stay on a path out.
G: Congrats on making it off the street.
I think it's amazing that living on the streets, you were able to continue making and releasing music, even doing all your own cover art
T: Thank you. Laptop and iPad. Just learned everything I could about everything I possibly could. I looked at music and art as a way to keep my head together, and maybe release some pressure of my situation, as well as at least keeping me in coffee and whatnot.
G: I must say, though this new release was recorded while homeless, and bears strong messages about the ills of our society - I often found the tone to be strangely peaceful.
T: I didn't want to make anything other that something that would fill the soul with a strange kinda smile and uplifting feeling. Life is short, miserable and confusing. I wanted to make something that for a bit, someone could escape into, leaving those feelings behind.
G: I believe you accomplished that. The blissful escape of it is tangible, even amid more chaotic sequences.
T: Thank you. It was somewhat tough, when the situation dictated a noise album. I did not want to make another noise album. Although I did release a couple one off noise tracks for a few comps and singles.
G: How do you think your creative process will change now that you have privacy, a place to keep your gear, and a myriad of other things people don't realize they have?
T: It won't. I've been working this way for so long, I don't see any reason to change it. I'm only here to share a story, to share ideas, I will not change much on how I create these things.
G: That’s the truest art, to continue expressing regardless of any change or situation, whether for good or for ill.
T: Thanks. I've got to stay true to this, even if it just relegates it to some 99cents bin of history.
G: Yeah definitely keep going with your creative endeavors. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next.
T: The DVD.
G: Yes the DVD! What's that all about?
T: The audio track was recorded about a year ago, and Jorge Mario Zuleta contacted me about making a film. I said ok. I was on the streets at the time, and encouraged him to try and finish it for SXSW as I wanted to do something like project it onto the side of the homeless shelter. SXSW ended, I couldn't do it, so in the interests of getting it out there, I'm putting together complete wtf art package things for anyone who orders.
G: That sounds sick, sign me up for that.
T: It's going to be a box of stuff. Every single package will be unique in some way. A little part of Collections of Dead Souls.
Collections of Dead Souls’ releases can be found at https://collectionsofdeadsouls.bandcamp.com/