[tlr] is a musical, pizza-skirt wearing elf with sharpie drawings on his toes and magic beans in his pocket. We first met on the street outside of the now defunct Mondo Video after my performance of Ēlektra which involved a kiddy pool full of spaghetti, boys in diapers, and lots of cleaning supplies (props of course, artists never clean). Taylor enjoyed the cacophony and was concerned for my safety after a rowdy “fan” nailed me in the face with an industrial trash bag full of beer bottles.
Charmed, we started emailing each other MP3s from our favorite bands, this quickly morphed into [tlr] sending his demo tracks and song ideas, sometimes new material every day. His drive to write and record was inspiring, and his production skills leaped forward in complexity of sounds and technique. Now his first solo offering, NVR NDR, nears completion, and electroheads, rave nerds and fantasy buffs swoon in unison.
Marianne Williams: What’s your favorite thing about “reality”?
[tlr]: The mystery. No one really knows what is going on, we are all part of this omni-paradox. It’s like a giant question mark floating in the air.
Marianne Williams: I find that making art and music can turn my fantasyland into reality. This is a little disorienting for me, ever have a similar experience?
[tlr]: I’ve always wanted to create my own reality and became obsessed with writing music when I discovered its powerful ability to communicate complex emotions and ideas that are extremely difficult to translate to any other medium. My goal is to forcibly transport the listener to the land of my imagination.
I used to wish that life was more like a fantasy adventure. Now I realize that life is the craziest, most twisted and bizarre adventure that anyone could ever come up with. Fact truly is stranger than fiction. Scarier too.
Marianne Williams: Tell us all about NVR–NDR.
[tlr]: NVR–NDR (pronounced “Never Ender”) is my attempt to portray life as I dream it should be, in a universe of my design. The aesthetics of NVR–NDR are inspired by my love of videogames, anime, and mythology. Musically, I am combining the high energy genres of hardcore rave music, videogame soundtracks, epic fantasy metal, and J-pop. I recently made up a goofy name for my new meta-genre: MAGICORE!
NVR–NDR is an electronic fantasy metal album that tells a story which is intentionally linear, in imitation of side-scrolling video games. The hero [tlr] is incarnated as the ultimate warrior in the realm of NVR–NDR, who has been separated from his eternal love and must battle his way through a variety of enemy entities. My dream is to create animated music videos to every song and re-release the album as a musical film project.
Marianne Williams: Are you collaborating with other musicians?
[tlr]: I am fortunate to be working long distance with an amazing guitar player known as The Illuminist. People who have heard the guitar work he has recorded for NVR–NDR often don’t believe me that it is really a person playing. The album will have a lot of guest performances, including vocals by Ming & Ping, Johan Ess, and Cindergarden.
Marianne Williams: There’s a strong visual element to NVR–NDR, and you also produce visual art.
[tlr]: NVR-NDR’s visual aesthetic borrows from the organic mecha designs of shows like Neon Genesis Evangelion and video games like Megaman X and Xenogears. I am also incorporating several somewhat nonsensical food memes, such as a impenetrable magical armor skirt made of pizza which is being constructed by Insidious Clothing.
I also like to “paint” visions of inter-dimensional beings on pieces of cardboard, usually pizza boxes. I call it painting, but it’s mostly a combination of sharpies, markers, and glitter glue. Then I pour water on them and burn them. Makes some interesting smells too. I am also fond of drawing patterns and symbols all over myself and my clothes with markers. Occasionally I make some digital art as well, I recently did the album cover art for Johan Ess’ “Synergy Latte”.
Marianne Williams: What was it like growing up in Alpine, CA?
[tlr]: I was home schooled with my 5 younger siblings. We were really the only kids in the neighborhood. My main social interaction was the martial arts classes I attended every night for 10 years. Growing up there without any other kids outside my family really instilled in me an appreciation for nature and the power of the imagination.
Marianne Williams: How has religion shaped your world view and creative practice?
[tlr]: My mother is a devout Catholic and my father is sort of an agnostic Jew. I was raised to believe in the invisible world of angels and demons. Mythology and religions were a major influence on my early art work and predisposed me to contemplate the meaning of life and the possibility of powers existing beyond the “real” world.
Marianne Williams: What are your current spiritual beliefs?
[tlr]: The one thing I feel certain of is the idea of infinity. It is my belief that no matter how far you zoom in, there will always be a smaller particle, and vice versa.
Marianne Williams: One thing I love about you and your music is a certain pure, childish energy. Is that intentional or are you totally unaware?
[tlr]: Children have a special connection with their imagination. They haven’t been beaten down by the drudgery and rules of day to day existence. I have always tried to keep that alive within myself. I once read somewhere that being silly actually keeps your brain in a nubile state, ready for more learning! How cool is that?
Marianne Williams: Upcoming shows?
[tlr]: My debut show for the NVR–NDR project will be March 27th at HM157 in Lincoln Heights. I can’t wait! I’ve got a lot of preparation to do still.
Marianne Williams: Do you have any multi-media or special surprises planned for your live set?
[tlr]: The live show will feature beings from the NVR–NDR world manifested in this reality. Hopefully lasers and bubbles and dancing also.
Marianne Williams: Finally, are you willing to explain your secret abbreviations language to the masses?
[tlr]: When I was in high school I started using a form of short hand to take notes faster. I love the aesthetic of not using vowels. I also think of it as a reference to my Hebrew ancestry, as ancient Hebrew writing did not use vowels.
For more info on [tlr] www.nvr-ndr.com