Interview :: rituals. on Infinity Plus
April 9th 2015
Experimental Melbourne producer Justin Cantrell – aka rituals. – is a pretty nice dude. He’s giving Ears Have Ears listeners an exclusive sneak peek into his upcoming label debut ‘Infinity Plus‘, due out April 21st through // THIS THING //.
For this release, rituals. has deviated from his usual tape-manipulated self-released work, delved into an immersive, “decaying narrative” world of digital isolation. Ears Have Ears’ executive producer Scarlett Di Maio caught up with rituals aka Justin Cantrell to chat about Infinity Plus, his collaborative inspirations, creative process and his plans for 2015.
How did rituals. first come about?
rituals. began out of a desire to just enjoy what I was creating and not to worry about pertaining to some scene or sound that I wouldn’t ever be able to move away from. Stylistically I want it to continually represent the changes that are influencing me even if it is in direct. I like to be surprised by what I’m making and for the mood to really make me want to interact at greater lengths with it.
Where does the first moment of inspiration for a track normally come from for you? How do you shape that idea into music?
I think I find it difficult to generalise on the inspiration or the creative process of what I am doing, because I feel that at times my music can appear quite incoherent to someone that is not closely following or interacting on a personal level with me. It all tends to start with a very strong visual aesthetic that I try to incorporate into the ideas that I am building, mostly around found sounds or sometimes improvised recordings of myself.
For example, during the creation of both Ceramic Spaces & Infinity Plus I envisioned entirely different aesthetics for what I was creating. In Ceramic Spaces, I wanted to embody a sense of naivety or playfulness that at the time I visually conceived as a messy, un-kept environment. Whereas for Infinity Plus, I wanted to create a hostile, almost confronting space for the listener, conceptually quite clear, white & digital. I hoped it would almost serve as a deviation sub-consciously from my prior reliance on very tape-saturated sounds.
It is probably a lot easier for someone else to listen and perhaps draw a line through both releases, but I generally have quite an affinity to the visual component in my work – whether it comes initially or during the creative process it has always been very important in bringing my ideas to life.
You released your last album, Ceramic Spaces, on cassette. Infinity plus will also be available on cassette, as well as other formats. What do you love about cassette and why do you think so many experimental artists still release tapes?
I think the most obvious reason for an artist releasing music on cassette would be the affordability and accessibility it has as the physical component to a release. It can sometimes makes no sense to release music in any physical form as it’s become so much easier to download and support the digital. But, I think for me personally I want to always have some kind of physical accompaniment to my work, to make things more tangible for me as an artist.
Rachel Archibald did the fascinating art for Infinity Plus. Tell us about the collaborative process for that.
Rachael is an artist from Brisbane that tends to work with very sculpted motifs and is someone I actually find quite endearing and important to helping me realise my visual connection to the music I make. She has a very consistent and high output of work, that I generally tend to sift through and then I’ll usually come across something that I think may represent or come close to an idea that would work within my own concepts. Most of our collaborations are fairly un-collaborative, but I think it happens to appear fairly natural. I might embarrass her but I want to include something she responded to in an article I found on the Internet, that I think summarises exactly why I respect and find her so important to my own realisations as an artist.
“Well recently I stopped making a lot of physical objects because I feel they’re a bit unnecessary and it’s a bit harder to communicate or have it exposed to audiences, and I’m a bit lazy. So I want to make the same aesthetics of physical objects, but in an internet gallery, because its time consuming to make things, but on the internet you can just upload it as soon as you’ve done a little bit.” – Rachel Archibald
You’ve always released independently before this album. Why did you decide to go through This Thing for this one?
I had always thought of releasing music with This Thing as something I would like to do. I just felt a connection through the people I have met within the label, as well as a deep appreciation for all music that has been released through it. I have always been a supporter of what the label has had to offer, so it feels incredible to be so closely connected right now. This Thing has some big plans for 2015, so I feel humbled to be given a chance to showcase my own work with them & hope I can release more with the label in the future. However, I think initially releasing music independently was important to my development as an artist and served as time to really reflect on what I was producing and work out what I was hoping to achieve. I don’t think its necessary to have everything worked out before you warm to the idea of releasing with a label, but for me I was very intent on developing myself before seeking any kind of approval or recognition.
What sort of instruments and gear did you work with on this release?
For this release I was using entirely found sounds that I sourced from either the Web or Film. I then processed all of it through Pro Tools & Ableton.
We’re playing an exclusive preview track off the album on Ears Have Ears this week. Can you tell us what it is and a little about it?
The track I chose to preview is climaLITE. I went with this track because it’s quite a confronting track that I feel embodies both elements of the artwork and vision I had for the album.
When does Infinity Plus come out and how can we get our hands on it?
Infinity Plus will be available 21st April in Cassette & Digital formats. There will also be two videos that Rachael made for ‘spear’ & ‘co runna’ that will accompany the release at some point. You can pre-order/download the album here & here.
Are you working on any other musical projects besides rituals? What else is on the cards for you in 2015?
I very recently finished a collaborative album with a Sydney based artist Corin. I think that is something I’m really excited to share as it’s a bit of a different release for me & something that I think coexists naturally between us. Besides that, I am putting the finishing touches on another release for rituals.
Planning a tour to Sydney soon?
I think I have plans to play in Sydney at some point this year. I don’t actually play live very much at the moment. It’s continually been something I’ve had a hard time associating myself with comfortably. I have been spending a lot of time with my girlfriend in Sydney already this year, so it’s a possibility.