Artist Session: We Are Temporary

Disclaimer:  The views and opinions expressed here are those solely of the artist and do not necessarily reflect the views of ReverbNation, its affiliates, or its employees.

When did you start making music?

I started getting into music in a serious way when I was 12. My mom was an opera singer and my father, too, was a musician and worked in the industry, so I started taking piano lessons as a little boy, but it didn’t stick at first. I tried organ, oboe, choir, and drums, but it wasn’t until I got a guitar in my hand around 12 that my passion for music took hold in earnest. By 15 years of age, I was playing in punk bands, studying classical guitar, taking theory lessons, returned to the piano, and got really involved with computers, midi, and early synths. From then on, music continued to be my life’s obsession: writing; recording; touring; studying composition, audio production, and classical guitar at university, etc.

Where does your moniker come from?

I named my project We Are Temporary, because the fact that we are temporary is, short of existence itself, the central fact of life. If I had to sum up my life’s philosophy in one catch phrase, I’d say I’m an existentialist, atheist, humanist, who believes that this life is all any of us get. This conviction that we are temporary is the axiomatic starting point for everything else I do in life, including music.

How would you define your style in 10 words or less?

Contemporary electronic music, inspired by goth, urban, techno and classical.

I’m sure you get this a lot, but what’s up with the mask?

The mask is kind of like a crown that incorporates my logo: four crosses in four orientations. Solo performances are very tricky to make work on stage, so I wanted to do something dramatic and theatrical. Once I settled on blacklight strobes and UV-reactive gear (including even the cables I use), I thought I should take it one step further and wear a UV-reactive mask. The anonymity, I feel, also highlights the universal concept of all of us being temporary.

After her court ruling against Dr.Luke and Sony, you re-created Kesha’s mega-hit “Die Young,” removing all of Dr. Luke’s production. The final creation was picked up by the likes of Paper Mag and Refinery29. Give us a quick background on creating the song.

I’ve written a lot about this already, but basically the story is this: my wife’s a huge Kesha fan and is always pushing me to explore more top-40’s music. One day—part joke, part husband/wife surprise—I started a remix of Kesha’s “Die Young”. However, life got kind of busy and so I didn’t finish it at the time.

When Kesha’s tribulations with Sony and her producer started hitting the media, her rape allegations became a frequent subject at home. Mary and her family have had first hand run-ins with sexual abuse, and so I felt very deeply invested in this topic as a feminist ally and also as a husband.

As a statement of solidarity, I returned to my unfinished Kesha remix, stripped all of the original production elements I had used, and started afresh with only Kesha’s voice. The goal was to transform the original song into a much darker and more disturbing remix that in some way captured the gravity of sexual abuse, not just for Kesha, but also for my wife, her family, and all people who have suffered the indignity and violence of sexual abuse.

Kesha fans have gathered over 411,00 signatures demanding that Sony release Kesha from her contract and drop Dr. Luke from the label. What are your thoughts? Any final thoughts on your mind you’d like to share?

In general, I think every artist and label, no matter the nature of their obligations, should have some sort of realistic buy-out clause for when the working relationship between the relevant parties breaks down past the point of repair. And if Kesha’s rape allegations were to hold up in a court of law, then I think Dr. Luke should be sentenced accordingly, and SONY should release Kesha from her contract (if Kesha still wants to be released at that point, that is).

I also think that regardless of what happens on a legal front, that 411,000 signatures is an impressive gesture of solidarity from her fans and the wider public. I really hope Kesha transforms her personal tribulations and the support she’s received into public advocacy. If all she does is heal and return to life-as-normal, I think she’ll have turned her back one of her life’s potentially most impactful callings. To have been sexually abused is nothing to be ashamed of. It can happen to everyone—even celebrities. And although Kesha didn’t ask for any of this, and isn’t obligated to become a spokesperson, not everyone has a platform like Kesha. I hope she embraces this platform, speaks openly about sexual abuse, and becomes a transformative voice for young women everywhere.


Check out We Are Temporary’s curated Collection here, and if you have any questions for him feel free to leave it in a comment below!

JustinArtist Session: We Are Temporary

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