Theologian / Annihilvs Power Electronix (Lee M. Bartow)
1. What are your top five albums that were released in 2019? (In order 1-5)
- Heilung - Futha
- Octonomy - Warhorse
- HTRK - Venus In Leo
- Kollaps- Mechanical Christ
- Uboa - The Origin Of My Depression
*Honourable Mention: M83 - Knife+Heart Soundtrack
(I listened to this so often this year that I got yelled at, so technically it should be number one)
2. What band did you discover in 2019 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
My friend Derek Rush (CHTHONIC STREAMS) released the Warhorse cassette by OCTONOMY over the summer, and it was the first time I’d heard her music. I suppose one might consider it somewhat reductive to make this comparison, but for the sake of a superficial reference, the sound is reminiscent of very early Zola Jesus, but if that style had been refined and expanded into a new genre entirely of its own. It has a lot in common with that minimal sound of early-mid '80s European crossover synthpop/new wave, but darker, grittier, and more atonal. I love this album so much that I had OCTONOMY perform at the grand opening party for my new record shop, and I hope to book her again in the near future.
3. How will you remember 2019? (In terms of music)
I put out close to a dozen releases on Annihilvs this year, including some of my own work, and Ukrainian label OLD CAPTAIN produced a double CD reissue of one of my earliest cassettes from nearly 20 years ago. Yet I continue to feel, as I did when I answered this question in 2018, more and more disconnected from the “scene,” even as I feel reinvigorated on certain levels to push onward with my various activities. This year, my partner Gretchen and I opened a very small record shop called MONOMER AUDIO EMPORIUM in my hometown of Nyack, New York. As of December 1, we’ve been open for three months now, with several live events having taken place since the summer. We’re trying to build a local scene here, and so far we’ve had some fun times. On December 14, we’ll have LUSSURIA, Chris Goudreau (AKA SICKNESS), and COMPACTOR live at the shop, as our final show of the year. A month ago, Gretchen and I travelled to Stockholm to show our support for my friend Marcus Labonte of CLOISTER RECORDINGS, as he held his label’s fifth anniversary festival, which was an insane three day affair including performances by NORDVARGR, TREPANERINGSRITUALEN, BRIGHTER DEATH NOW, DA-SEIN. The fest included the final performance of MEGAPTERA, and the first performance of BLITZKRIEG BABY, and a whole lot more. It was an inspirational experience, which gave me a bit of renewed purpose when it comes to continuing my efforts to bring this music to people. I am immensely grateful for this. It’s been a hard, stressful year with a lot of medical issues to deal with. Opening a new business just added a heap of new things to stress about, but it has placed me in a point at which music is now, when I’m burned out after 22 years of doing this shit, the main focus of my life, and not just something I do on the side while working a low-paying job that I hate… Life is funny.
4. What can we look forward to from you in 2020?
I’ve started planning more events at the shop for the new year, as well as our third AUTUMN ELECTRONIX festival at the Garner Arts Center in Garnerville, New York. It’s a huge pre-Civil War textiles mill which has been renovated into an arts center with studios and event spaces, where we’ve previously had some very successful experiences. I’m also working on another APEX FEST for 2020, with industrial artists from the U.S. and abroad. Maybe some live gigs for Theologian will happen as well. We’ll see how things shape up. Maybe none of it will happen.
5. What records are you looking forward to most in 2020?
I have tentative plans to release an album by ORMUS on Annihilvs, and there are a few other things in the works in that regard. As for stuff I’m not directly involved in, I honestly have no idea what’s coming...
6. What is your favorite way to pass time while on tour? Any apps, podcasts, etc you're into?
I haven’t played live since June, and the last tour I was part of was in 2016, so I don’t have much to say here. We used to listen to a lot of Longmont Potion Castle on the road…