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We are kept in a state of fear...

Interview with Uncertainty Principle.




A bizarre, destructive melange of noise, drone, metal and an unrelenting atmosphere of doom is what Uncertainty Principle is about. Not only does this poject fuse the core elements of several extreme music genres - it does so with great care, sublime style and a highly intriguing result. The intense, sometimes soundscape-like tracks Uncertainty Principle spews forth possess great evocative power, be it the early fields of noisy distortion worship or the latest distinguished, amazingly tightly woven compositions. The music is a gate leading to the realms of ruin and madness, a dimension where time is bent and folded - Doom-metal.com talked to the keeper of this gate, an entity going by the name of S.P. White.


- Let's start with the very beginning: when and why did you form UP?

Uncertainty Principle started sometime around 1995/96 though I didn't get my act together until about 1998 which was when the first 'proper' recordings were made. As to why, well I guess I was well and truly fed up with what I was doing musically at the time. It was my way of escaping or unlearning what I'd originally been doing, heh the untimely death of anything resembling verse/chorus structure.

- Is there a central idea behind UP? I noticed quite a few records have a science-fiction theme...

Well on a few there is a science fiction theme. To be honest there is no one central theme as there are a lot of different things in there. To begin with I guess it was all just negative emotion or rather ridding myself of it. Stuff from "Sonic Terror" there is certainly nothing deeper to it than that. On later stuff I guess it did get a little deeper than just making noise because I was annoyed about something. 
It's actually quite hard for me to define what it's all about as individual tracks have different meanings to me. I guess there is a kind of theme of the unseen that which is occurring around us but is beyond our perception, the system we exist within. There's also still a healthy dose of fear and loathing in there too.

- I read on the UP website that there were two demos recorded before the first "official" disc "Imitator of Miracles" - did all the songs from those demos manage to get on later releases?

There were two demos before "Imitators of Miracles" and pretty much most of both of them ended up on later stuff though in a completely different form. They were fairly directionless so no 2 songs bore any resemblance to one-another as I had no real idea of exactly what it was I wanted to do.

- Where do you draw inspiration from?

My inspiration for Uncertainty Principle comes from all over the place. Musically the whole thing came out of ambient music, the stuff I had been doing with DynamicalSystemCollective wasn't chaotic enough, wasn't destructive enough, wasn't loud enough. U.P was me rectifying that situation. Something that directly reflected my state of mind at the time or at least reflected something that I was feeling.
Bands like Neurosis, Today is the Day, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Brian Eno, and Bathory, even such bands as Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band inspire me. More recently things like Until Death Overtakes Me, Torture Wheel, Khanate and Nortt have inspired me to make music or at least inspired changes within the music.
I find literature a great source of inspiration; for instance Frank Herbert's Dune novels inspired "The Litany Against Fear" cdr, specifically "God Emperor of Dune". A few other authors have inspired me from time to time such as Brett Easton Ellis and the wonderfully messed up main character Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.

- Only recently all UP albums have become available through a licensing deal with Belgish underground label NULLL Records. I wonder, has UP been signed to a label before? And if not, why not?

Yes having UP available through NULLL was a good decision. Affiliation with NULLL started with the Torture Wheel split which as NULLL had expressed interest in both parties it seemed like the natural place for it to go. Plus I felt that I liked Stijn (even though I've never met him) and I've always had the utmost respect for his music (even if some of it requires aspirin afterwards hehe) and he had been into my music since pretty much the beginning so what better place to be?
Of course there are others who have been incredibly helpful along the way, Alarming Echo Beats being another distro/label that carry my stuff. A split and several other things of mine have been available through them for some time.

- Almost every instrument UP uses seems to be drenched in distortion (with the exception of a few pure ambient tracks like for example "Toward Oblivion We Walk" of course). I wonder, will UP one-day turn into a pure noise project? Or, in other words, do you let UP evolve within certain, determined boundaries of sound, or is everything possible?

I guess a question about noise was bound to turn up sooner or later. Much of the noise was just experimentation in brainwave activity, the right blend of alpha and theta waves to induce a certain atmosphere about things.
Much of the noise also came from the distortion too so it never really was noise in the Merzbow sense, more like an abstraction of it.
Just after I had recorded songs for "The Litany Against Fear", I guess that was kind of a turning point. To evolve the noise more would take it too far into noise territory, which was never really my intention. I guess UP is still fairly noisy but that's solely down to the guitars these days, I doubt there will be anymore full on noise as everything is going in a much more dark ambient direction now, with even a hint of more funeral type stuff.
There never were any boundaries to begin with but I guess as you progress with anything you kind of get to know what works and what doesn't, a certain set of 'rules' for what's acceptable and what's not. Though that's not to say you can't bend the rules now and again.

- Your music conveys such a bleak, desolate atmosphere, I cannot cease to wonder what your outlook on life is?

Haha a dangerous question to ask me. I guess I do have a somewhat jaded and cynical outlook on life. The system we have made, our society we live in is a bold plan drawn up by assholes to screw morons in which we are the morons being screwed on an hourly basis. The system is not there to help you, never make the mistake of thinking that. It is there to tell you to "SHUT UP AND TOW THE LINE", do not get ideas above your station or we will squash you. The system is watching and is out to get you if you dare to think for yourself or actually have an opinion of your own.
We are kept in a state of fear, terrorists, muggers, drug-dealers on every corner to keep our minds off of what is really happening, after all you can only be successfully manipulated if you don't know you are being manipulated.
Society gets more throwaway by the day, ever noticed how all those nice new things don't last too long? A clever ploy to get you to buy more, gotta own the next 'in' thing or no one will have sex with you. Real men shave with certain triple bladed razors, women are only attractive wearing maybeline lipstick (maybe she's born with it?).
Big brother is finally here in force but no one seems to notice, the unnoticed erosion of civil liberties in order to have a 'safe and secure' society. They ARE watching you. I live in the UK where it's virtually impossible to go outside with out being caught on CCTV. Someone is always watching you.
Hehe, am I really this paranoid? No, just annoyed with humanity and our shortsighted ignorance and lust for meaningless material gain and power over others.

- What is your own musical history? Did you get any formal training on an instrument?

Well I've been playing guitar since I was about 15, most people in my family play instruments at varying degrees of skill so I was kind of encouraged to learn to play something. Haha the first thing I learnt to play was the tuba when I was at primary school, big mistake, I had to carry the bloody thing to school and back everyday (learn to play instruments that don't weigh much kids).
Apart from that there's not much to tell, been in a few bands years ago. Guess I do have a vaguely classical orientated background, though I wouldn't know a major or minor scale if it bit me in the arse.

- What about your musical interests? Is there any genre you are particularly interested in?

I really don't think about genres at all, there is good music and bad, that's the bottom line. Music doesn't have to be a certain genre for me to like it. Atmosphere is what interests me, no atmosphere then that music is shit.

- What does the future hold for UP? I listened to "Distant", and I think this is one of the strongest UP albums until now. When and where will "Distant" be available?

Well I'm glad you think that about "Distant". I was a little paranoid about that one, not because I thought others wouldn't like it but more that I was just uncertain if I liked it. Anyone who liked the noise stuff or considers U.P to be a 'noise' project will more than likely hate Distant. But apart from the lack of much that you could call noise, I don't think I've changed things that much apart from maybe a slightly fuller drum sound.
Due to the unfeasible length of time it took me to complete this interview "Distant" has already been released through NULLL Records.

- Did you already start to work on the follow up to "Distant"? This would be the 8th UP release...

The follow up to "Distant" which will be called "The Abyss" was finished several months ago (heh shortly before the release of "Distant" which incidentally was actually written and recorded in the winter of 2003). I try to keep a step ahead of whatever people think I am actually doing. It represents another change in my music, a transition period if you will.

- What are your other projects besides UP and how important are they to you compared to UP?

Well I have a few other projects that I'm involved in.
Firstly there's DynamicalSystemCollective which is my main project though it's more of a band as it does involve a few other people from time to time. At the moment there are several other people involved though there is a core of two people, myself and a friend of mine. We've been going 9 years now but we have purposely remained underground, most of our releases are out there somewhere, if you can find them.
Musically DSC is everything from downtempo chilled out stuff to full on Merzbow style noise though its settled into a kind of glitchy dark ambience at the moment. It's all kind of chaos theory orientated but there are the odd occult and cosmological themes on a few.
My other 'ambient' project is called Edge of Darkness which is just me. I've been doing it since about 1999/2000 and to begin with it was little more than left over DSC tracks though it kind of evolved into its own thing. It's also a lot more occult influenced than DSC though it still has its chaos themed moments.
DSC, Edge of Darkness and Uncertainty Principle are of roughly equal importance though I have a few 'lesser' projects that I do whenever I get bored of U.P and the others. That's not to say that they aren't important to me they are just not my main concern.

First of my 'lesser' projects is Thoraxembalmer which is a lo-fi mix of Death and Black Metal. The lo-fi part wasn't actually intentional, I wasn't trying to be 'necro' (whatever that means) or anything I just had crappy equipment at the time.
Thoraxembalmer is highly influenced by stuff like Bathory, Mayhem and Nile though I seem to have lost my tendency to try and steal Nile riffs these days. It's also influenced by various creation myths and occult texts, which is also source material for most of the lyrics. I'm working on a 2nd full-length release at the moment, which, now I have some decent equipment, will not be lo-fi at all. Provided the aforementioned 'decent equipment' remains in working order anyway.
There are 2 other projects I have that are loosely connected with doom in some way; firstly there's This Empty Vessel hwhich is again just me. It's basically orchestral drone with a bit of a funeral influence. I guess if you want me to name any influences then it's stuff like Funerary Dirge, Torture Wheel, maybe even a bit of Until Death Overtakes Me also.
Initially it was nothing more than a few violins and some programmed guitar which while I was happy with the results I wasn't happy with the generated guitar tones. So I decided to add some real guitars over the top, heh though it took over about 6 months before I actually got round to doing this. Most of the first release can be found on soundclick.com.
I'm working on a 2nd This Empty Vessel 'release' which is basically a drone version of Mozart's Requiem (or it will be once its finished). So far its taken about 4 months and I've got as far as the 4th track due to the complexity of

Mozart's music.
Basically I've taken out the contrabass and cello parts and replaced them with two real guitars and 2 layers of programmed guitar. I noticed This Empty Vessel is on the band list now so thanks to whoever thought it worthy of inclusion.
Lastly there's An Audience Of None which is of little or no importance at all. To begin with it was just mindless random drone which was originally intended to be a live DSC performance though unluckily for us someone got wind of our intentions and we were sensibly 'removed' from the bill. The intended live performance is the first demo, extracts of which can also be found on soundclick.
It's not quite so random these days but still just as mindless.

- Well, it seems you are a busy man! So I don't want to further keep you from your instruments - thanks a lot for the interview! Is there anything else you want to say, or perhaps give our readers some urls where they can find out more about your activities?

Well thanks for wanting to interview me. At the moment there is no web site  for all my projects/bands but there will be soon, probably as part of the  existing UP site (http://uk.geocities.com/uncertaintyprinciple2003) which actually works properly now (heh at least it did last time I looked) though whether any proper information ends up on there remains to be seen.
Anything else to say? yes, question everything and thanks to the few out
there listening to my music and thanks to all those people/distros/labels/etc.. who have helped along the way.


Visit the Uncertainty Principle bandpage.

Interviewed on 2004-11-10 by Oliver.
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