SSG Music Presents: Vox Mod – The Business of Inspiration
This week SSG Music is bringing you an exclusive look at Seattle's own electronic mastermind, Vox ModPosted by Melissa Daniels
This week, SSG Music is bringing you an exclusive look at Seattle’s own electronic mastermind, Vox Mod. Each day this week we’ll be releasing some tasty treats, including some gorgeous portraits by SSG’s own Will Miller, that will help get you acquainted with one of our favorite artists who’s music you definitely need in your life. Enjoy!
If there was one word I had to use to describe Scot Porter, it would be “depth”. The man has an over-abundance of rich, sultry, intellectual depth. It oozes out of him. Just oooooozes. Little did I know when we met up on a brisk Saturday morning, that’d I’d have the rare opportunity to walk into the sacred space inside his brain. Scot, or Vox Mod, is just a few weeks shy of debuting his forthcoming full length album SYN-æsthetic, an album that attempts to reach the furthest places in the untapped psyche in hopes of getting listeners to experience new emotions and sensations. Did I say, Scot has depth? Because he does. And he’s allowing SSG Music to share some of that with the rest of you! Aren’t you lucky?!
We caught up with Scot at his day job at a local graphics studio that specializes in vinyl boat graphics. We were able to witness the multi-talented genius create some Vox Mod stickers from start to finish. It was definitely a process, but one that was quite interesting. Later this week we’ll be bringing you a full video of our time spent in the studio so you yourself can take a peek at how the sexy iridescent stickers were made. Saving those details for later, let’s go ahead and jump into the psyche that is the man behind the experimental space-esque music.
The musical path that Scot has taken from childhood to present hasn’t been a straight and narrow one. In fact, Scot comes off as more of a visionary than just a musician. Growing up with his brothers and sisters, he spent a lot of time exploring and honing in his imagination in the open woods of Gig Harbor. It was in the forested area on his parents property and in grade school that his multi-faceted artistic cultivation began. The interview below is just a taste of the inner workings of Scot’s brain, but what you’ll find at the end of this bit, is an even deeper appreciation for the music.
SSG Music: You’ve been a designer a lot longer than you’ve been a musician.
Scot Porter: One day in kindergarten we were just doing a drawing activity, and we could draw anything we wanted. So I was drawing this crow, a purple and black crow, and for some reason this sensation struck me. It was somewhat profound, as profound as it could be to a child. This interest developed in doing artistic things like that, probably just because it felt good, but I was inspired by the ideas I could convey. I mean, without really knowing that, it’s just what I instinctually felt. So from there, it was just sort of this kicking point to becoming an illustrator my whole life.
SSG: So then you’ve always had some time to art. And that’s what you do now professionally to some extent, working at this graphics place. But when did music really swell to the forefront of what you do?
SP: So, music was always there. I played violin at a young age… but in 5th grade I had to choose an instrument in band class. I will admit that I chose what I thought was the easiest instrument. I decided to play drums. I didn’t play anything melodic for some reason because I didn’t want to read sheet music. That was probably one of the biggest reasons why. But I started playing drums and little did I know that you kind of have to already have this disposition for that, and I think just over the coarse of practicing that over however many years, rigorous practice, like everyday doing different warm up techniques and so on and so forth, that cultivated doing music, but it didn’t really strike me till, um, it was only until college that one day I was sitting in class and I was kind of sick of where I was in my own head. It just hit me that I wanted to make music, all day. I got more satisfaction and more of a reciprocation out of doing music. That’s what I realized.
SSG: What was going on in your life at that time that made you fed up with what you were doing?
SP: I was in art school. And I wasn’t getting any of the results I wanted to in any of the art forms that I was choosing to endeavor in. And so I think it was sort of out of ruling things out and trying to figure out what felt good. And I knew before then that I was just interested in multi-media, doing pretty much any kind of art form I could get my hands on. So the interest in music developed even stronger back in high school, but it wasn’t until college that I realized that that was what felt more natural to me than previous engagements with artistic activities, basically. … I was already interested in sounds and just exploring sounds, especially synthesizer music sounds, and electronic music. That started fairly early on in my life, but it took all this time to cultivate.
SSG: So you are a drummer, quote unquote.
SP: Yes quote, unquote.
SSG: And you’ve played with a ton of different bands.
SP: I’ve been in a few projects, yea.
SSG: And, most recently one of those projects was Lazer Kitty, which you play with your brother Kyle and Jason Jordan. Let’s compare the two projects. How do they relate and how do they differ, because Vox Mod is who you are as a solo artist and Lazer Kitty and your other projects are who you are in a collective group of people.
SP: I kind of break it down into sort of different sectors or kind of modes of thought or approach. Like, the way I can describe it is that Lazer Kitty feels more like ambiguous chaos, and Vox Mod feels like more structured chaos. Vox Mod I can spend time on. I can figure out and take my time with developing sound. How they move over space. How they transcribe over time. How they feel. And with Lazer Kitty it’s more improve. It’s more of a ‘on the fly’ or almost having an indication of a premeditated process, knowing that I want to be as deliberate as possible, but also knowing that there is a lot of ambiguity, or a lot of grey area. A good analogy is that we’re kind of shooting into a dark cloud into a sector of the galaxy that hasn’t been explored yet. That’s more of what Lazer Kitty is. And in that project, I’m just the drummer.
SSG: That makes sense because Lazer Kitty has been described as “space rock.” So then, how would you describe Vox Mod?
SP: If Lazer Kitty is space rock, Vox Mod is more like fractal sound, I guess. I think of kaleidoscopes. I think of movement, I think of kinetic energy when I think of Vox Mod. I mean, you could say that about all of the music that I do because that’s just the kind of thing I’m inspired by. But yeah, I think Vox Mod has a more room for texture.
SSG: So speaking of that kind of “out there” stuff that you’re inspired by, your logo is actually inspired by a film called The Fifth Element. How does that film connect to who you are as an artist and what you create?
SP: I think the reason why The Fifth Element has such a big baring on my mind is because artistically it encapsulates so many elements that I love, so many elements that I’m interested in and that I want to explore. Things that I think about all the time. Especially the way humans carry themselves. I think a lot about futuristic qualities. I think about humanity and society, and in what makes humans human, and the way we condition ourselves and our environments. The worlds that we create and how that ties into the rest of nature, or the natural laws of the universe. Like, the things that we understand and the things that we don’t understand. Things that we are kind of just breaching the surface of when it comes to information or even technology. Anything that we choose to integrate ourselves with, and the feedback that comes back from it. And that movie captures a lot of those elements. When you watch a movie you don’t really get a lot of those things. It’s really just for entertainment value, but at a certain point a lot of those elements stay with you, especially if it’s something that inspires you. I think about those kinds of things a lot because they move me. They teach me and they push me to find new ideas and explore within my minds eye. If I can’t physically go to that place, then I can at least postulate and sort of make up ideas or imagine how things could be in that environment, or that world or place.
SSG: So every time you watch it, are you pulling out new things?
SP: A lot of times something will strike you as profound at a young age and you’ll come back to it and something doesn’t feel applicable anymore to maybe where you are or where society is. Maybe some ideas seem outdated, so to speak, but there’s a lot of things that still ring true in that movie. There’s so many things that, yea, I can still take from it. And especially in the last couple of years I didn’t realize that a lot of the concept art was developed by one of my favorite visual artists ever. So that’s something too that I like to take. It can be a huge inspiration for what I do musically. Like, taking those ideas and transposing them to a completely different artistic environment. Most of the time the things that inspire me aren’t even musical or have anything to do with the auditory sense. It can be visual elements or the notion of an idea. Like small concepts – tiny little pieces of information that you’d have never thought of until you broke it down and dissected why you liked it. And some times that can ruin things for yourself, especially if it inspires you, but I’ve found with that movie, it gets me more excited.
SSG: Wow. Ok. So we talked a little bit about the visual side of your art. How does that visual side infiltrate your music?
SP: I didn’t really think they had anything to do with each other for a while. And sometimes they can and they can’t. Sometimes they do affect each other and other times it’s more of if I let it. They are many times I’ll be watching one of my favorite movies while I’m making a beat. I’ll just have it playing in the background while I’m on my headphones and every once in a while I’ll glance up and it’ll be one of my favorite parts of the movie. And so that is like direct inspiration into what I’m doing. I can’t help but have that be affected by what I’m visually seeing and that having that directly interpreting what I’m doing in the music.
I feel like I’m in the business of inspiration. It doesn’t really need a quantitative number to go along with that. I ‘m just interested in what inspiration can do for myself and for other people.
Tomorrow we’ll be debuting the world premiere music video for SYN-æsthetic’s “Iridescent Asteroid Mists” (feat. Palaceer Lazaro), and we’ll hear more from Scot about what we can all look forward to when the album drops on April 2. Get ready… there’s loads more to come this week from SSG Music Presents: Vox Mod.