WAVES CRASHING PIANO CHORDS INTERVIEW
Waves Crashing Piano Chords is the harsh noise project of New York dynamo Sean Beard. Whether you love or hate his abrasive, perverse, intense, and horrific persona and aural assault on his listeners - or perhaps onlookers is a more appropriate term - you can't deny that he is turning heads in American noise. I had the opportunity to talk to Sean, and this is what followed:
GRVD: I want to really get the full picture on WCPC's transformation from unstoppable New York show-crasher to one of the most prolific and polarizing acts in the American noise scene. Can you describe the very first noise sets you performed, receptions, animosity, and perhaps nervousness associated with the early early days? Also, what would you acknowledge as a "turning point" for the project? When did people really start noticing WCPC? WCPC: Thanks. I started the project in 2005, but the first live performance (that I acknowledge) wasn't until 2008, and all the gigs from that year were just showing up, and crashing local events without permission. The most memorable one is obviously when I tore all the ligaments in my left knee crashing a metalcore show, but that's just memorable to me in general. Other early gigs ranged from total awkward, to complete waste of time (being unplugged instantly or found out before I could even perform). I never got to finish a set back then which is probably for the best because I wasn't very good, and had I gotten to it most likely would have been less entertaining than the venue unplugging me and throwing a fit. I forget most of them, but the very first gig I definitely fried the venues PA within probably fifteen seconds, and once they realized that I wasn't even on the show they called the cops. After that gig I started using a self contained set up that way I didn't have to communicate with anybody, and I could just plug in, and start. I think the turning point was in 2012 when live footage started getting online, and I started recording, and putting out records. Up until then I didn't really bother promoting online or recording. GRVD: Something I think has always interested me about the project is a lack of gear and perhaps leniency to minimalism in your sets. You seem to rely on the atmosphere and abrasive energy between yourself and the audience. Care to expand on that idea? Would you consider the live show to be a true embodiment of WCPC? WCPC: Without a doubt. I waited seven years to even attempt to record because I wasn't sure if a show that's so focused on physical interaction would even translate well to record - hence why a good portion of the discography is made up of live recordings. I do have a few releases that aren't very representative of the live show, and are more focused on creating a shrill atmosphere with the same set up I use live, and room placement (Childhood, It Turns Me On Because It Shouldn't), but outside of that I don't see the project as anything more than a live show, and the records are just artifacts to back it up. I actually don't plan on doing too many more releases from this point on - I feel the discography represents the project for what it is, and I have no desire for progression, and I especially don't want to oversaturate it with rehashed recordings that sound identical to past releases. The live show however will continue until I physically can't do it anymore. GRVD: I've got to ask, how did you come up with the name Waves Crashing Piano Chords? I know it's quite the boring question, but the name has always resonated with me personally. Is there a story there? WCPC: It's a secret! Pretty though, ain't it? It helped me a lot in 2009 getting booked on shows I had no place being on due to promoters doing little to no research outside of liking the "band" name. GRVD: Were you associated with the metalcore/hardcore/grind scene in New York prior to WCPC? If so, how were the relationships with people in that community affected by your alienating persona and unforgiving show-crashing? Were any relationships severed? WCPC: No I was never really associated with any scene locally. More of a loner type. I would say most people locally just know me as WCPC, and of course a lot of them dislike me for one reason or another, but I was never really seeking their approval either. I suppose I knew a few people prior, but they wrote me off pretty instantly after that show where I tore my knee, and that promoter dude got all pissed. I kind of went out of my way to sever any relationship I could have with the local music scene. GRVD: There's a lot of strong opinions in noise. There are plenty of individuals who have a very exclusive attitude towards people trying to embrace the noise community. Do you think the idea of elitism is destructive, stupid, necessary, or are you ultimately indifferent to it? WCPC: The true elitists or "scene leaders" as I like to call em are the dudes putting on festivals just for the status. They are basically dependent on the opportunist mentality of douche bags who will kiss their ass, and tell them their project is good just to get on their fest and expose themselves to fifty other dudes all there for the same bullshit reason. None of these people would survive one week without each other to leech off of. Wanna be a well known noise artist? Convince a bunch of dumbasses on facebook that your noise fest is the shit, and that they need you. The people who are exclusive towards people getting into noise are the same people you remember in high school monitoring who sits at the cool table at lunch. GRVD: I also had the opportunity to interview Ethan of Swallowing Bile a while back. He definitely had some qualms about the New York noise scene. He told me he definitely felt isolated and that it was hard for his project specifically to find traction with other communities that leaned more towards the artsy side of things. Has WCPC had this same problem? Have things improved since then? WCPC: Well, there's noise artists around here (Rochester, NY), but as far as harsh noise and power electronics goes - not so much. I've been to a few of those shows, and confrontation just doesn't really fit the bill. I don't really know if I would even want to be on one of those shows so I don't really feel that isolated from them not asking me to perform them. That'd be like the local death metal band getting upset about the local Black Sabbath tribute band not asking them to play their show. Plus I don't really like playing noise shows as it is. GRVD: What do you wish more noise artists did and didn't do? WCPC: I wish they'd stop asking me to do a split with them.