|Kevin Shields' prophetic last words, forecasting a blend between jungle and effects-saturated
guitars, finally found their manifestation in a vivid performance by a band introduced as
lovesliescrushing. Scott Cortez, founding member of lovesliescrushing, along with Michael
Anderson of Drekka and guest vocalist, Kerry Finnerty, comprised the new group Transient
Stellar, who, guised as lovesliescrushing, made their debut a the Dome Room on August 3.
This show, which also featured Thanatos, made for a stunning conclusion to the Projekt
Festival 1997. Although Transient Stellar opened their set with syrupy guitar damage, the
entrance of Kerry – synchronized with crisply produced drum 'n' bass – sparked an aural
explosion that left one in a state akin to sexual euphoria as he spoke with the band after the
Q: Your set tonight sounded quite different from lovesliescrushing.
Scott: What happened tonight was not lovesliescrushing – it was the debut of Transient Stellar.
Mike: We figured we could use this as an opportunity to test it out live.
Q: So will lovesliescrushing continue as a project to be released on Projekt?
Scott: The band is on contract for five years, so we will probably release more material.
Mike: Sam [Rosenthal] is pushing Scott for a third album, and I wouldn't mind doing it.
Scott: The thing is, it would be something like our "metal machine" music. Like Lou Reed,
for instance, who put out an album that was just crazy. We may do something like that.
Q: So how did Transient Stellar come together as a group?
Mike: Since Scott moved here to Chicago, he and I have been playing together, and it's been
working out really well. We sort of instantly knew what the other was thinking musically, and
I was a longtime lovesliescrushing fan anyway. Scott needed someone to play with to do this
show, I was looking for people to play with...
Scott: It actually turned out better than I expected, because the way that I go about doing stuff
is that I just let things happen, and with just a little bit of effort they usually fall into place –
things just happen on their own. For example, we had five people to start off with. We
realized Sam Low wasn't going to be the guy to do it; Jason jumped out of it; Sheba never
showed up to practice. Then, less than a week ago Mike got Kerry to sing.
Mike: Yeah. Kerry is in a Britpop band called Kill Hannah, and she is an awesome guitarist. It
was perfect because she is really into Windy & Carl and spacier drone rock stuff like Amp or
Flying Saucer Attack, and she plays Britpop so she's technically proficient. We practiced with
Kerry for what was pretty much the first time this morning. It's all about who you’re working
with – the chemistry and sensitivity between your fellow musicians.
Q: How do you feel about tonight's performance?
Scott: I'm glad we actually played, instead of backing out like we did for last year's Projekt
Mike: Yeah – and it was cool that we got to progress, because if you take the drum 'n' bass out
it sounds like sounds like lovesliescrushing, but the beats push it way into the future. Sam
[Rosenthal] dogged us for our "house beats" but at the festival Ben Neil played his trumpet to
drum n’ bass and Love Spirals Downwards did some triphop versions of their song.
Q: Where does drum 'n' bass fit into your vision for your music – as it's such a stark contrast to
your material to date?
Mike: Transient Stellar wants to pioneer a new genre – drum 'n' space – which melds drone
rock and progressive guitar styles with the latest in rhythm trends.
Scott: With drum 'n' space, what at first seems to be an uncomplimentary combination
awakes in a person a new vitality. Jungle and gorgeous walls of guitars somehow have a
Q: I read once in an article, Scott, that you prefer not using percussion other than simply as a
metronome because rhythms tend to date music. How have your views on that changed since
Scott: The music tonight was dated, but that's okay. We wanted to be contemporary.
Transient Stellar is about celebrating the moment, the most intense, progressive sounds of the
age. So Transient Stellar will always be mutating, but lovesliescrushing will forever remain
classical and hence, the absence of beats.
Q: In a way, it seemed like your 60 minute set tonight could have been one continuous song.
Was this the case?
Scott: There were actually five songs: magnetic flux, ectopic, mercurian (which went into
solaris, which was the "wall of sound") and decoder. We like the idea of a fluid set, where
each piece blends into the other to create a multi-layered aural picture.
Mike: Don [the sound man] said that tonight was the most difficult show he has ever mixed,
and he loved it. He said he did not stop equalizing and leveling the entire time. The coolest
thing was that he said he couldn't hear Kerry, so he brought her level down just to see where
she was, and then he realized that he had been hearing her the whole time. Her voice was so
entwined with the drones and the loops that the vocal's distinction from the guitars was
Q: Did the show transpire more or less as you had envisioned?
Mike: Originally, we had a film to show with the set, and the whole set was synchronized with
a film by Kristin Grieve. Last weekend, all of a sudden, the video projector just went down!
We asked Projekt to rent one for us and received a lot of bitching for it, so we abandoned the
Q: What is your opinion of drugs as they relate to the creative process?
Scott: Personally, drugs play no part whatsoever in the creative process – they have a role of
silence. Drugs are a simple means of inducing one into a state which he or she can achieve
naturally – and perhaps with more potency – if in the absence of some artificial mechanism
like drugs. The presumption that our music is crafted through the use of drugs is demeaning.
Mike: Our music is a celebration of bliss. It's about being totally psyched out for the moment
and enjoying life and celebrating positive energy. We're not "straightedge" but we definitely
subscribe to a drug-free creation process. It's not about drugs – it's all about emotion. When
I'm playing, I'm in complete ecstasy. That's not to say though that artists who do indulge
make inferior music. Spiritualized is one of my favorite bands, and that man is a friggin
Q: If drugs aren't involved, where does the extra-surrealism that your group exudes originate?
Scott: Bliss is just a natural component of the human brain. People take drugs to find that
Q: Numerous tracks on the lovesliescrushing LPs, bloweyelashwish and xuvetyn, incorporate
source-anonymous noises. Which incidental sounds do you especially enjoy?
Scott: Churches – the delay and reverb produced in wide open spaces, crickets, water in a
pipe, transformers, vacuum cleaners.
Mike: I love the noise produced by trains – the sound of running water. When I was younger
and used to wait for the bus, I used to sit on the telephone boxes that buzzed and hum in
tune with them, and if you hit the right tone, the sound would come through your body and
Scott: So basically we're all about tone. That's the kind of music we write, hence our regard
for Steve Reich, John Cage and Glass.
Q: Any feelings on consonance vs. dissonance?
Mike: I really like it when my strings are just about in tune.
Scott: I like a mixture of the two; I like noisy consonance. Noise is just irregular harmonics.
Q: Of your released material, which song do you consider the saddest?
Scott: I would say the saddest one to play would probably be track seven ["blooded and
blossom blown"] on the second album [xuvetyn]. "Blooded" is really special to me because I
don’t remember doing it. It's the most perfect song that I've ever done – the way it flows…
Q: Was there any aspect of the Projekt festival that you found particularly striking?
Mike: I thought black tape for a blue girl were really good. It's not my type of music, but they
Scott: They were pro, and it's very difficult to do their kind of music because there are so many
vocals and tonal intricacies. The cello was beautiful, too.
Q: Are there plans to play out more from this point?
Scott: Definitely. Transient Stellar is all about…destruction...