Interview: Thomas Truax


Photo credit: Thomas Truax

You are associated with the genre of Steampunk, which you’re not enthusiastic about. Where do you think your music lies?

Well that’s the catch 22 of having a music career, there seems to be a need to be labeled in a genre for music make sense. To be put the drawer so to speak. I don’t mind being associated with Steampunk as my instruments fit into the Steampunk theme. But recent interviews seem to show me in the negative light opposing Steampunk artists, I’ve performed with many Steampunk artists who are lovely people but i feel that i don’t want to be labeled. I don’t want to be associated with any genre because it had nothing to do with the creative process. With music you have to be completely open and not to write modern songs just for a label.


In a recent interview you claimed that the inventing of your various instruments might have occurred while you were in the womb, do you still believe that?

I imagined plucking the umbilical cord like a guitar string. Ha. I do remember when i was a little kid listening to the spring of a doorstop and the sound it made was like an instrument. I don’t think that this was the earliest bit. I think everyone does it when they’re younger; i was just the one who went further to make instruments.

What would you say were the first musicians or artists that influenced you when you were younger?

Visual artists such as Alexander Coulter equally influenced me. But musically, well i had older sisters so i listened to David Bowie early on. But the first album that i listened to was an old LP of 1950’s classics with a glittery cover. It had Little Richard, Teddy boys and a lot of British punk bands on which influenced me greatly.

When you create your instruments, do they name themselves or is that a process that occurs after?

Every one has its own story. The Cadillac Beat Spinner Wheel came from the finding of a Cadillac wheel. The sister spinner was just a good name and the Mother Superior is superior to the Sister Spinner. That came from a discussion with a housemate who said it was like a strict nun, and Mother Superior seemed appropriate.


Jetstream Sunset is your eighth studio album which you’ve collaborated with Brian Viglione, the drummer of the Dresden Dolls. How would you say this is different to your albums, and is collaboration the norm for you?

I started out solo, but didn’t think that i would have a music career alone. I started out working with different bands, but it was always difficult to get people into the same room that made it hard to find an audience for the music. It was also quite rare to keep the same thing going. When someone would leave the group, i would then have time alone to write my own songs. Most of my albums have been collaborative but not entirely. This album is a departure from my other albums. When I’d finish a gig with the Dresden dolls, Brian would joke about with my drum kit, so i convinced him that it would be cool for him to play it on the album. We might be doing something else together in the future.


You’re also well known for your album of David Lynch film music. If Lynch asked you to do the soundtrack for one of his films, would you say yes?

Absolutely. That’s where the idea started. I met David Lynch through a friend. I brought him some CDs of my music for him to listen to. That was 15 years ago. So instead of waiting, i made the cover album. I searched the Internet and was surprised to find no one else had done it.

Lastly your tweet from a few days ago said “ Strange dreams. You had a bubble in the centre of your eye; there were mad snakes and bloody water. Sounds like something from a Poe story. Was that the start of a song?

No, I did have a very strange dream. I had a dream of my girlfriend who had a bubble in the centre of her eye. I suppose it sounds like an idea for a song. I get ideas from everywhere, could become something.

Isobel Saul

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