Artist Interview: Superdestroyer

 

-RetterAM
I thought to start off we would begin with four W’s and an H, for how do you began. So, who is Superdestroyer.

-Superdestroyer
Superdestroyer is just me, I kind of keep myself anonymous, but my name is John and I pretty much do it all, so… not much else to say about it I suppose.

-R
When and why did you start?

-SD
I decided to start doing this in May of 2017. And I actually decided to do it because I had a friend from high school who ended up overdosing on heroin. We weren’t really like friends anymore, at that point because we’d had a falling out but it just kind of made me realize he’s only a year older than me and it just made me realize like man, if I want to do things I should probably just do them; like don’t, y’know, put things off or tell yourself you can’t do things, essentially. So after that happened I was like, wow i kind of feel like if I’m gonna do this I should do this now, and the name also came from this, kind of, like my involvement with him I suppose.

-R
I’m sorry for your loss

-SD
ahh, it’s alright

-R
So you say the name came from…

-SD
Yeah, like he was a destructive person and I think when we were together we were probably destructive people, Self destructive, and kind of reflecting on that time in my life is where I kind of got the name from.

-R
Okay, gotcha, that kind of ties into Another question I was gonna ask in a little bit, but I’ll get to there.

-SD
Haha, Alright

-R
So how did you start writing music then?

-SD
I mean in a more general sense I’ve been making music in some form for a really long time, even before, I was recording. Even when I was a kid, my grandmother got this, my grandparents got this old piano from the school that they were giving away, and so I took some piano lessons when I was pretty young. I was probably like 6 or 7 and I took them for several years and I just kind of like, did musical theater and stuff like that when I was younger, like before high school, and eventually I started kind of making things up for myself on the piano. Even when I was a really little kid though and used to have to go see my mom – who lived far away because I was raised by my grandparents – even then I used to just, I remember from the time essentially I can remember, I’ve always made up songs even if they’re just singing some random thing or whatever. So in a way I feel like it’s always been a thing. Then after high school I taught myself guitar, and started recording.
So, I guess, partially with Superdestroyer, I kind of explained that. But more generally that’s kind of how I got into it, just something I always wanted to do. Something that I’ve always kind of done, I suppose, less formally

-R
Dang, that’s impressive. That’s your whole life. Definitely impressive

-SD
Yeah.

-R
Well so you start in 2017, So what was your intention? Was it because, y’know, I want to do this and I haven’t been doing it, or…?

-SD
Yeah pretty much. I mean I I’ve kind of made some electronic music just for fun, to just like show my friends and mess around with and just feel like I had an outlet, but I always kind of gravitated towards punk. I kind of grew up in the punk and hardcore scene and so I always wanted to do something that was a little bit more punk, and that’s kind of why I decided to do Superdestroyer. I was like man, I know how to play guitar now, like I should do it if I’m going to do it. And then that kind of then flipped and started having me bringing in some of the electronic elements again and messing around with synths and stuff because I just think it’s fun.

-R
So yeah, I mean I have a question about that too because you just went over that list of different instruments and it does show in your music, so I wanted to just tie into something. First I was going to ask if you’re a fan of wrestling because of the name Superdestroyer.

-SD
I’m not, though there’s a podcast called Crime and Sport and I think around the same time that I found out my friend died I’d been listening to an episode where they brought up the Super Destroyers, for like a wrestling tag team and I heard that and I was like damn that’s a cool name. Then after my friend died I was depressed so it’s kind of like the combination of the two.

-R
Makes sense. The other thing I came up with, I did a quick google search and found there’s also a more satanic meaning behind it too, that it can be tied to, so I didn’t know we’re maybe pulling it from. So thank you for helping me understand.

-SD
I mean. OK. So I’m not a Satanist but I find it very fascinating, and the concept of as above so below, which kind of is a big part of that, is something that’s actually, that idea is really important to me. I think that it’s really interesting, to think about the fact that our veins are in the same shape as tree roots, as is the same shape as river beds from a satellite view, which is in the same shape as the way they think that the universe may actually be shaped. So to me like that concept seems really important. And I really do like that, and that kind of stems from those beliefs. Again I’m not a Satanist but I think that’s a fascinating concept.

-R
Yeah, can’t disagree. So delving more into like the music side of things, where do you draw your inspiration from musically. Are there any musicians you might care to share, also?

-SD
Could you say that last part again? I’m sorry.

-R
I’m sorry, I’m wordy, so let’s just go to the first one… where do you draw inspiration from musically?

-SD
Do you mean in regards like other musicians or more just like in general like the ideas for songs?

-R
Uhhh… Let’s go with musicians first off.

-SD
Really, honestly, it’s kind of weird because you would think I would say a lot of punk artists, but actually not really. Mostly it comes from down tempo electronica. It’s mostly what influences me I would say like stuff like Baths and xxyyxx, Gold Panda, Giraffage, some of that stuff, like I think the spirit of what they do, they kind of like capture emotion without necessarily having to tell you, you know they’re kind of showing it, and that’s something that I think is really cool. The way they juxtapose, sometimes, these really weird samples that are kind of like totally opposite of the instrumentals that they create. So that to me is pretty important to me like that idea of having something that might sound happier with lyrics that are thematically very different. You know obviously punk too, like I said I grew up with it, so I’d say like PUP is one that I feel like I’m probably similar to, Title Fight was a really big one – like my first EP Pets was recorded when I was in a pretty heavy title fight phase. Joyce Manor, some of their stuff is kind of important to me. Weirdly I’m not really a Nirvana fan but I really liked the way Kurt Cobain played guitar, so that’s one that kind of popped in there too.

-R
Did you uh, did you see the PUP put out a new song and are going on tour… and tickets are on sale today?

-SD
I did, and I’m very excited, I was thinking about maybe trying to pick some tickets up.

-R
Yeah, myself as well. But continuing… also are there any people that aren’t musicians that inspire you?

-SD
Oh yeah. So there’s a lot of uhhh, there’s a lot of physicists, like theoretical type things tied to physics I suppose would be more accurate. And philosophers in general that kind of shape the way I think about the world and I think they’re pretty important. I’m really interested in this Russian philosopher named Bakhtin. He was a literary philosopher from the 1920s and he had this whole discussion about language and the ways that we’re all tied together and the fact that our thoughts are not solely our own ever because they’re colored by language that has resided in other people’s brains and mouths and that those people’s thoughts and actions help to give those words meaning and so everything’s related to context. And essentially we are part of an ongoing chain of history looking both backwards and forwards into time, and our words are essentially given meaning because of that. And so related to that I kind of think it changes the way you think about maybe like yourself in relation to others and humanity and it’s something I think about, like literally all the time. And then just in general I’ve always been interested in like quantum mechanics and physics more on like, the theoretical level. I can’t understand the mathematics of it. And so I think just like discussions of the universe or a multiverse and the nature of being in time space and the notion of like, you know multiple dimensions, like what is the sixth dimension? Stuff like that’s always been kind of brought in, so I guess, I don’t know a specific philosopher but more just like documentaries about those types of things have always kind of shaped my thinking and it’s something I think about often. Existentialism, also.

-R
Wow, that’s a mouthful. I commend you on being able to talk about everything you’re interested in like that, because I would struggle to convey that. It’s really impressive.

-SD
Haha, I think about it too much so that’s probably why, but thank you.

-R
In general, influential or not, what are some of your top favorite artists and albums?

-SD
Modest Mouse is really big one. I’ve love Modest Mouse for a really long time especially older Modest Mouse. I really like the way that they kind of were willing to experiment and bring in these like, punk elements into songs and they were able to create really different genres of music or fall into different genres of music but kind of keep a consistency across their albums which I thought was really cool. Like I said I already named some of them too, but I would say even bands like Motion City were pretty influential, TOKiMONSTA the producer is somebody whose things always fascinated me; the way she makes beats, especially her older stuff, it’s like really really cool. Trying to think, umm again, like Title Fight, I don’t know, there’s a lot of them. I’m kind of blanking just because the minute that you need to remember it, you don’t.
But I make playlists of stuff too. So if anybody’s ever interested I kind of make playlists based on what I’m listening to leading up to the album. So it’s kind of a spectrum of things. I try to kind of kind of pay attention to what’s new and current. A lot of stuff in hip hop especially in the production side of things is really interesting to me.

-R
That’s a great answer, and yet again you’ve kind of tapped on something that I have a question prepared for and I might as well just skip to that right now. Although a lot of your music is a guitar driven within the songs of your catalog, it’s clear you also like to experiment with other sounds. For instance, it’s really easy to notice some beat production and electronic based instruments have influence over certain tracks.

-SD
Oh yeah, big time.

-R
Yeah definitely something I notice and you’re speaking to that so I’m glad that I was able to definitely really pick up on that. But some of it almost delves into that rap realm, in my opinion, and apparently yours too, sooo, or at least draw influence. Well if you were to explore this more and you could choose a SoundCloud rapper feature is there anyone you would pick in particularly.

-SD
A SoundCloud rapper, uhhh… that’s funny because I actually do find SoundCloud rap super interesting. The problem is so many of them are like really fucked up people, in a way that’s not like fucked up personally as much as like they lash out at the world and do really bad things, so I’m going to bar all those people who maybe are talented but I would be unwilling to work with based on that. But like somebody that would be cool, if they were still alive, would be Lil Peep for sure. I kind of liked the direction he was going I thought it was very fascinating. I also listened to some stuff by, I don’t know if Lil Uzi Vert counts, but like Lil Uzi Vert would be somebody who would be kind of cool to work with and maybe even Trippie Redd, but like Trippie Redd from like two years ago.

-R
I think Lil Uzi Vert can count. He’s signed by Marilyn Manson, right?

-SD
I don’t know actually. Honestly I know that he’s mad about his current situation but I feel like he kind of came, I feel like Lil Uzi Vert maybe kind of popularized SoundCloud rap, but I don’t know if people count him as part of that movement or kind of the precursor to it, you know?

-R
Yeah, it’s in the eye of the beholder I suppose.
Based on just the music, at least how I perceive your musical sound. I’ve compared it to a few artists maybe similar vibes for this next question. Hopefully they’re bands you like, regardless, out of these three who would you rather open for? King Krule, Minus The Bear or Balance & Composure?

-SD
Ahhh Shit, King Krule, oooh or Minus the Bear, probably one of those two. It depends. King Krule actually does have a pretty big influence on some of my stuff, umm, Space Lizard, I was listening to a lot of King Krule when I recorded Things to Keep You up at Night, and I really love Minus the Bear… I’m gonna say Minus the Bear because they’ve been around a long time so I feel like I’d have less of an opportunity to do it. If that came up they would be my first choice.

-R
That makes sense. They just did a farewell tour so…

-SD
I knowwww. I hope that it’s not a real farewell tour, but we’ll see..

-R
Yeah, and Balance & Composure is about to do theirs, their actual…

-SD
I know, I saw that, but I think they’re going to get back together. I think thats a temporary thing.

-R
They make it seem like they still have love, but King Krule seems like he’s still in it, so that’s a wise decision.
So along with just listening to your songs from some of your albums, I can’t help but notice that you’re a fan of Rick & Morty, so out of curiosity do you have a favorite episode?

-SD
Yeahh, and umm yeah I do, haha. There’s the one with Unity in it. I’m trying to think of what that one’s actually called, I’m going to look it up real quick. It’s season two I know that. OH! It’s Auto Erotic Assimilation. That one is my favorite. I don’t know why I gravitate towards that one. Then there’s one from the last season it was like the toxic Rick and toxic Morty. I really like that episode. I know. I don’t know why but I just feel like I watched that one a lot.

-R
Yeah, they’re all great…

-SD
They’re all great, yeah.

-R
Do you have a favorite quote?

-SD
Umm, Yeah. Morty says something like… none of us asked to be born, so let’s go watch TV. It’s longer than that and much more articulate than that, but that’s like one of my favorite quotes and I feel like it really does capture the the existential, or maybe even nihilistic, outlook that our current society kind of old holds toward the world, like we use TV to distract ourselves because we’re all miserable. None of us wants to be here and yet here we are in a situation. That just feels very much like it captured a larger idea, like a larger philosophy that American society kind of holds. I think it’s really just a great quote.

-R
Yeah it goes along with so many of the other quotes and the show does a really good job of that. That’s one of the nuances I like about it that it brings those types of things up subtly. I love that the whole thing where I can feel like I’m smarter than most people for watching this show but the show can also make me feel dumb, like that along with the bigger picture message that they sneak in there. The subtle nuances… Are there any other ones that you’re fascinated by?

-SD
Like episodes or quotes, or just like ideas in the show?

-R
Ideas on the show.

-SD
I really like the idea of inter-dimensional – I guess like I don’t know that their version of inter-dimensional travel is necessarily how I I would think of inter-dimensional existence, like I think of inter-dimensional existence more in lines of how we reside and are able to perceive things within certain dimensions; and you know there’s beings that can move beyond that right, so like there’s been arguments that we’re kind of like to a two dimensional being, we would only appear in two dimensions. Like we cannot perceive that which we can’t perceive. So similarly like what I think of inter-dimensional I think that more in that way – but like the idea of the multiverse, this idea of infinite possibilities, I think is really interesting, because it speaks to kind of like time space and the nature of the fact that time is like an ever moving loop with branches of different possibilities and that they’re all occurring all at once, and I think that that part is really neat that they experiment with that, because again, for whatever reason I think about that all the time. So yeah, I like that

-R
Makes sense, based on all the earlier comments about what influences you it’s really deep for sure. And also in your song Taddy Mason, which is one of my favorite bits in the show but,

-SD
Mine too.

-R
You have the lyric about life being a simulation – and this is a conspiracy, I’ve heard referenced throughout the years – in your opinion, are there any conspiracies that you think are really believable or some that you just might think are amusing and completely impossible?

-SD
Oh man, amusing and impossible is like Bigfoot. It’s Great. Love it. I wish I could believe in that. Same with like Loch Ness Monster. Any of those types of creatures that are just like “we’re just going to squatch hunting, we just haven’t found him yet” like hey, more power to you. You know? Like if that makes you happy, that’s fucking awesome.
I think one of my favorite conspiracy theories is, it’s kind of like around aliens, because I do believe like obviously life on other planets, in my opinion has to exist. Probability wise it makes sense. But the idea that maybe our government actually fabricated the idea of aliens to cover their own experiments with aircraft, that one kind of mind fucked me when I heard it. I was like “oh damn that actually makes a lot of sense” and that one actually seems like it’s probable.
I also heard a conspiracy theory about JFK’s assassination, which is that: it was Lee Harvey Oswald who did shoot him from the book warehouse, but it was a secret service agent whose gun went off on accident that actually blew his head off, and the cover up was essentially people trying to protect that guy so his life wasn’t ruined. And I heard a compelling argument for that. It’s actually– there’s a documentary on Netflix, like the type of gun it was, it’s consistent with the shot in his head. That one seems pretty believable.
Like I said, I also think aliens are real, like the New York Times is talking about like “hey, we all know the government knows aliens exist and they’re lying to us” and they’ve really been on a tangent. I don’t know exactly when they decided they’re going to take up that cause but it’s interesting, definitely fun to look into and I’m for it, man, I love it, so I’m a big fan of that one.

-R
I’ll have to look more into that New York Times, but generally I’ve stayed up late digging into conspiracies myself and that ties into my next question, being that, with so many sleepless nights in your life, based on your songs, I’m curious how you spend that time.

-SD
Making those songs, half of the time. The other half of the time, the reason why I know about all the conspiracies and stuff is because that’s what I do when I’m bored; I go into the rabbit hole and I just read things. I read about, sometimes like dumb shit that doesn’t matter, compared to other times like for example a principle of like physics, or you know I’ll try to learn more about like time and space and theories on that. Just whatever kind of piques my interest, I guess. Usually it’s based on something I hear on a podcast or something I’ll see on my Twitter feed or whatever the case may be. So that’s how I end up looking into a lot of the stuff that I do, but that’s usually what happens when I stay up really late.

-R
Is there a longest time period that you’ve been awake, you care to share?

-SD
Yeah. Five straight days. When I was a little bit younger, because I just didn’t do any of the work for this class, well for multiple classes, and it was finals. There was this particular class that was like, one of my core classes for my major and I didn’t do anything for it.
It was just two tests and the second test was on all of the reading and it was an essay test, So there was no like multiple choice or anything and I had to read seven books about political theory and philosophy and then a couple of novels that were more about like, I don’t know it’s like kind of people’s experiences operating within and residing within that system. So the book kind of humanized that philosophy and theory, and I didn’t do any of it. And I also needed to write a few papers and stuff that I also had put off and I didn’t realize everything was going to be due on the same day. So I stayed up for like five straight days. I thought I was gonna have a heart attack walking to the exam. My heart was beating so fast just me trying to walk to class. It was awful.

-R
That’s intense, the body is not really meant to do that.

-SD
Yeah, 5 to 6 cans of Red Bull a day is not great.

-R
Are you still drinking that amount of energy drinks?

-SD
No, no, I stick to coffee now pretty much. I try to avoid energy drinks.

-R
Haha, I don’t want to tell you how to live your life, but that’s definitely a wise decision.

-SD
I think so, I think it’s probably going to keep me from having a heart attack at like 35.

-R
Hey, that’s a good song. So Another topic you often write about is life in the Midwest, specifically in Ohio. What are your three most, and three least favorite things about living there?

-SD
Three most…uhh? Number one would be the seasons. I am a huge fan of autumn, I just love the fall. I think it’s great. I also actually really enjoy winter. I grew up kind of near Lake Erie so I actually really liked getting like a ton of snow as a kid and stuff like that. I think maybe that’s why I actually enjoy winter because I remember like playing in the snow, stuff like that.
Number two favorite would be… probably just like when you live in Ohio, you’re actually pretty close, within driving distance, of a lot of decent sized cities. So you can kind of go a lot of places without having to fly. That seems pretty cool.
And number three I just feel like, people are friendlier here than other places i’ve been, just like as a culture. It seems like people are a little bit more welcoming, in my experiences, and they’re a little bit less judgmental sometimes in regard to whether you have like expensive things or whatever the case may be, which I’ve gone to other places and kind of felt like looked down on because of those things sometimes. So those are my favorite.
Least favorite is also snow because when you live here and you have things to do it can be tough. I guess, also like it’s not necessarily located near a lot of really really big scenes, so you know there’s always a disadvantage with that. And also I guess just like it can be kind of bleak sometimes, like living in the Midwest can be bleak sometimes. I think it’s just a part of living here so it could be like really awesome and then also you can just drive for like two hours and see nobody, but one of those types of things I guess.

-R
Is there anywhere else you could see yourself living, or maybe somewhere you’d prefer to live?

-SD
I lived in Michigan for a while, so I liked Michigan. I’ve been to over half of the states and I’m not a huge fan of just like summertime. So, I’m not a fan of really hot weather though. And the culture of the South is like obviously problematic so that’s never been a place that I’ve ever really wanted to live. The West Coast, the weather is beautiful to visit, again I don’t think I would actually like living in a place that’s that nice all the time. It’s also very expensive, so that’s probably off limits. I mean more places in the Midwest, some of the East Coast seems cool. I don’t know, like states like… I’ve never been to Colorado, but from what I’ve seen it looks really awesome. I hope you go out that way and maybe someplace like that would be cool someday.

-R
I recommend it, I can say that Colorado is beautiful, It’s kind of a hidden secret.

-SD
Yeah it looks awesome.

-R
So I am about out of questions, but before we wrap this up I was wanting to do a really rapid fire quick random questions, is that fine with you?

-SD
Yeah

-R
Cool yeah, so would you rather play three rounds of Twister naked in Times Square or play operation but if you set off the beep, you have to take a punch to the face by Mike Tyson?

-SD
Oh shit. I mean probably operations because I think you could only take one punch.

-R
Haha, alright, you’re a madman or your surgical skills are just outstanding.

-SD
Hahahaha

-R
Alright, which S.T.D. would you most be in favor of making a PSA for and why?

-SD
Oh man, I feel like herpes, because those ads are always really uncomfortable and really it’s just an uncomfortable thing, but like it’s not going to kill you or anything so I might have fun with that. Getting those really meaningful shots you know…?

-R
Toaster Strudels or Pop Tarts

-SD
Ohh, Toaster Strudels, easy.

-R
Smart man. So, sunrise or sunset?

-SD
Sunset for sure, because I’m not a morning person.

-R
Makes sense why you pick that one then. What’s the most disgusting food you’ve ever eaten?

-SD
Ummm, ah man, pickled pigs feet or cat food.

-R
Well those are two very different things, but we’ll leave it at that…

-SD
Haha

-R
Well, Superdestoryer, John, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you. Is there anything that you would like to make known? Any upcoming work or other exciting news you’d like people to have right now?

-SD
Yeah, So I’m releasing a split with Tunnel Songs on Valentine’s Day, which will actually be both a digital and physical release. We’re going to do a small tape run through Community Radio Tapes. Also I’m releasing, it’s supposed to be coming out on February 28, I’m releasing a new EP called “Short Stories About Ghosts,” which speaking of how you were talking about SoundCloud rap and electronic instrumentals, it’s definitely more that direction than it is kind of maybe more of my grunge-y punk stuff, so that should be out soon. Also I just released a small run of tapes, which is a combo of “Nobody’s Happy and We’re All Dying” and “Rot Together, Rot Forever”. So those are currently on sale, theres about 10 left, I don’t know if that will matter by the time it comes out, but those three things are there and also I guess just follow me on Twitter if you want.

-R
Awesome, well, thank you so much, and unless there are any questions you have, it has been a pleasure talking with you.

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