Stone Age HAA The Holy MAA

Stone Age HAA The Holy MAA

Writing - Noise - Magic

Monday, July 28, 2014


Aaron Vilk is an industrial musician currently living in Cleveland who has released music for six years under the name Nyodene D. He also performs and records as a member of the hardcore band Mere Phantoms.

Here are links to his work:

How has your experience been now that you're back in the Cleveland area?

Returning to Cleveland as a resident rather than a visitor (long-term or otherwise) has been a new experience.  A lot of the people I remember from being constant fixtures have moved away or settled down and aren't as much of a presence.  On one hand it's sad to see some friends go, especially those whose projects were consistently well-executed and inspiring.  At the same time, I have no love for the people whose behavior or attitudes were alienating or harmful who have finally fucked off from the scene. On the other hand, it's exciting to see that the remaining people in the community have made it more accessible for people to participate in the dialogue between performers in the experimental music community and have taken this relatively clean slate as an opportunity for better growth and development.  

On a personal level, I've been far more interested in carving out space for my interests in scenes other than experimental music, or rather trying to get those more interwoven.  It brings together a healthy amount of outside influences that might otherwise cause myself to stagnate (artistically, politically, personally), something that I've really gladly moved past from my earlier youth of cognitive dissonance and apathetic self-isolation. 

What do you think of recent crossovers between hardcore, power electronics and powerviolence these days?

I think it's really nothing new. Rather, the crossover is quite old (Relapse signing and distroing harsh noise / industrial acts, collaborations and splits between artists and side projects in those and other genres, etc).  I think Cleveland has been far less muddled together lately than it previously has been, mostly because most of the noise crowd and hardcore / grind crowd stays apart for lack of a uniting factor such as a band in town that truly appeals to both crowds. I rarely play shows with only noise acts any longer - I'm open to it, but my own tastes and attention, as well as some stylistic / subgenre stuff, make it easier for me to fit in on shows featuring post punk, EBM, extreme metal or hardcore.  Those crowds are surprisingly receptive to what I do, and the bands and shows I end up playing with are typically enthusiastic about seeing something different on the bill. 

How is midwestern industrial music different now than it was five years ago? What do you see now that didn't exist then, and what is lost?

It's hard for me to say, as I think the scene isn't exclusive or monolithic along the bounds of its geography. On a purely compositional level, I think other scenes I pay attention to have made a recent move toward incorporating more rhythmic and melodic - otherwise "musical" - and cross-pollinated influences from other scenes, which I believe draws people to it a bit more easily. Meanwhile, I think that the scene in the Midwest / Rust Belt -  with some very notable exceptions - gets too caught up in the theater of "transgression" and "deviance" as a way of trying to keep itself more "authentic" and free of "hipster" influences (as if "authenticity" or "hipster" fucking means anything legitimate uttered by a bunch of 20-somethings now in the fourth decade of a musical movement). This isn't really emblematic of JUST the Midwest in 2014 though - nor are my six years of particpation (regretably in some of the same aesthetic post-modernism that I now find cringe-worthy) anything worth claiming to be an authority. Things just seem to be intentionally devolving out here - which is probably intentional and, on some level, understandable - but not the direction I choose for my own work.  

I heard you have a vegan catering company--what's going on with that?

I prefer not to discuss this aspect of my personal life in conjunction with my art except to say that I am pleased that my professional work affords me an equal amount of creativity as my more conventionally-artistic output. 

What projects are you working on this summer, and do you have any upcoming shows you're excited about?

This summer I am working on several collaborative releases which have challenged myself creatively in several ways. One is the new Mere Phantoms EP "Famine For A Slow Death" (Pittsburgh hardcore) for which I do electronics and some vocals in a completely different fashion than I undertake as my own work in Nyodene D.  The other is a collaboration EP with East Coast shoegaze act Planning For Burial, which was recorded almost entirely on the 4th of July while Thom was in town for some shows in Cleveland, and written almost entirely on the spot.  

Additionally, I am putting the finishing touches on my next full-length "Witness To The Flood" and will likely start immediately on the next full-length, which will continue to explore the more melodic, rhythmic and composed territories I have been treading on since "Edenfall". 

Show-wise, I am booking a variety of hardcore, metal, industrial and post punk shows throughout the summer and autumn. I will be honored to perform with my good friend Stephen Petrus as part of our duo Lupus Sol in support of Swedish industrial legends Brighter Death Now, Deutsch Nepal and raison d'etre.  

I have tenative plans for short Midwest and East Coast tours later this year with several acts, including the stellar Canadian acts Death Kneel and RM.  I also hope to take a week or so to do some shows on the West Coast, perhaps this time next year.  

Monday, July 14, 2014


Rocky came pounding down the stairs, “Come on, guys, everybody come on, I’m about to start!” She had a Pabst can in one meaty little fist, and two crammed into the other. She spied Rhoda. “Holy shit. Fucker!” And tumbled her like a baby tiger.

Rhoda gripped her glass but the last precious swallows of vodka slipped away as Rocky took her to the floor. Rocky’s red face was up in her’s. She looked like an angry baby. “Rhoda—fuck you, man, fuck you.” Then she put her face close to Rhoda’s as if to kiss her but like she didn’t know how. Breathing heavy, she just put her open lips near Rhoda’s cheek.

Rocky jumped off Rhoda and sat with her hands between her knees, panting and looking at the wall, then back at Rhoda. “Who said that? My gear? No—it was a friend of a friend, I think. Someone who cased the place, it was at Murder’s someone took it from Murder’s.”
“Sorry, Rocky.” She sat up.
“You’re a fucker, Rhoda.”
“Go play.”

The air was dense with spirits. Mirrors and purple lights filled the black painted stage. Boarded up window were at the other end where the sound guy’s perch. Skate ramps arced up in the dark and small golden lights lit up the ceiling of pressed tin.
Soon Rhoda was drunk in a corner where she liked it. Her phone vibrated and she pulled it out, nearly throwing it—she should get rid of it.
Will: [the place where you were in the bed is read I panted it with polish I got from the walgreens] Will was in California—far far away. But he knew she was from Cleveland. He was a carnie. She’d have to be out of town by the time he got here, because he would find her. She wanted to toss the phone out.

Rocky worked on stage, while the crowd, standing in black, nodded and smiled imperceptibly: the sound was called hate, but it made them all feel good. Rhoda knew it was not hate, but love. A fierce Kali love, a love at the mother destroying the rapist, a love to burn through all impurities, of the pizza job, the smug customers, the middle-class con, the clothes on our backs made by children somewhere else on this round planet. The Earth herself raging. Noise is a birth pain. Noise is the last straw.

Monday, July 7, 2014


Murder pulled her into the show room, his fingers lightly on her wrist, her pulse, like they were kids, and she felt the rush of old friends recognizing her. Rhoda swallowed. Clenched and closed—she didn’t like her heart feeling like this. All closed up in a green fear vice. Heart is like sex. Sex is like voice. From the throat—is it clear? Unblocked? Unstruck sound? Unstuck. Is it blue and open? Pouring out? Faint or full? But when Murder saw Rochelle was still setting up, he pulled Rhoda down into the basement.
“Come on, man, I don’t want to go into that asbestos place.”
“No it’s ok now,” he assured her on their way down, “they’ve spray-painted it gold.”

Somehow, they always ended up in the basement. Hazy, she was happy to be floating alone in this crowd that knew her, connecting with smiles and too loud for small talk. They would want her to describe where she’d been. It couldn’t be done that way.