Fly pretty fly!
Do not call Thomas Truax a freak show. He only uses his Hornicator, Mother Superior and various other invented sound machines when necessary, creating disturbingly twisted pitches and psychedelic loops to explore the sound-scene more fervently than any other artist. Here, he talks to SUPERSWEET about latest album The Songs of David Lynch, and David Lynch himself…
It’s a strange day. No one can deny it. Random people are sitting around on beanbags in the SS HQ politely sipping water while SUPERSWEET are staring into Thomas Truax’s shoe. We’re trying to discover the make because it’s a bloody nice shoe, but his foot’s worn away any embellished branding on the sole. At this point, we wonder if anyone is finding this a little weird.
Luckily, Thomas’ foot doesn’t smell. But even if it did, it wouldn’t matter because this is a very special foot – a foot that steps on the pedal of musical genius. A foot attached to the body of an instrumental deity (easy…), a body attached to a streaking, warping sound of pure hornicatedly-warped fantasy yet delving necessarily into mind-holes of experimentation; oratorical echoes mauling reality into loops of trance-inducing loveliness. If you thought David Lynch was odd, meet Thomas Truax (say Troo-acks).
Right now, the two are in dialogue because Thomas has just released his latest album, a cover collection of The Songs Of David Lynch. He’s picked out the best tunes you’d want to die/have sex/get married/give birth/get high listening to, and covered them in his crumbling velvety throat that rakes into the notes and drags them into re-worked maxims of enlightenment.
“There were a couple of tracks I thought ‘I can’t possibly cover this - I’ll only mess it up.’ The first was Chris Isaak’s signature song ‘Wicked Game'. One reviewer said it was sacrilege what I did but you’re just asking for trouble when you do covers. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well people have received it. That said, there were famous versions in the Lynch films like ‘Blue Velvet’, for example, that wasn’t actually Bobby Vincent’s song, it was just his version that people know."
Hailing from the suburbs of Colorado, Truax escaped to New York when the racks of white-picket fences added up to near homogenous insanity. Truax sought out the bright lights of entertainment, going through film school and later making music. “I think I had that kind of poisonous thing a lot of people get…underneath the ideal of Disney America, the stuff about being human gets suppressed, becoming more evil the deeper you push it. Like when they say you suppress your anger and you’ll explode in time.”
So Truax relates to Lynch on a personal level then…
“As a kid I was sheltered from a lot. This is something underlying in a lot of Lynch’s films; when you’re little and you want to break away from your parents’ confines but you also want them to be happy - that’s when an inner conflict arises. The music Lynch chooses in his films, at times, it’s like he’s chosen each song so personally.”
So what did Lynch think of the album?
“He’s been in Iceland so I haven’t heard back yet. He must absolutely hate it! No, he’s full of positive energy and seems to be on this mission to unite us and stop bombing each other. It’s really cool when you meet him. You think, ‘there’s a man that’s gotten all of his catharsis out; pent up weirdness out of him because he just seems like your average good guy. I think for all of us artists so much of it has to do with that cleansing out - you write your best song when something really miserable or tragic happens. But not always because that means you’d have to be miserable in order to create good stuff!”
Thomas seems affable enough. Right now he’s extracting his self-invented Hornicator (an old gramophone cone with wires and pedals, known for breaking down on stage) to warp some weird sounds for the SUPERSWEET crew (see Greetings). Everyone sinks further into their beanbags. Thomas replaces his shoe. The Hornicator makes its appearance and my, it’s a big, breathtaking trumpety thing… we’re in awe.
Words: Tiffany Tondut
Photography: Eleanor Harvey Graphics: Chern Pekanan