When I heard the good news (and not the word of the lord, don’t be vile), that Author and Punisher was to be playing at Housecore Horror this year, I did an industrial style stomping of robot feet dance.
It looked like this:
Those kids are far better dressed than I am, so just picture a woman with unwashed hair and a metal vest clutching a bottle of wine and you have a close approximation.
Author and Punisher is a really rare musical experience, in that the music is industrial in nature and is made using actual machines. Allow me to clarify. When there is a piston firing sound in Author and Punisher, rather than being triggered by a key on a keyboard, it is triggered instead by the movement of a machine which adds a lot of physicality to the performance. It’s really a trip as far as musical experiences go and I have found it to be very helpful when I need time to meditate (i’m sure this says quite a bit about my mental state), but it’s also acceptable to crank while entertaining. Author and Punisher is one dude, a rather non remarkable fellow named Tristan Shone.
Tristan was kind enough to weather through a hang over and sit and talk with me, and that is truly giving. If I’m hung over, you’re fucked. That’s why I never get hung over. BECAUSE I NEVER STOP DRINKING.
Anyways, Tristan was a real sport and answered my questions.
Robin Goodfellow: Okay, so tell us who you are what you do?
Tristan Shone: My name is Tristan and I’m from Author and Punisher and I’m playing tomorrow night (Saturday night) right before Neurosis at the Housecore Festival.
RG: Why did you choose to use “real” machines in your music, instead of say synthesizing?
TS: It is essentially synthesizing, the machines are physical controllers for controlling bigger sounds, so I can do that with a little plastic knob, or I can do that with a big heavy thing that slows down naturally and takes a long time to move and just sounds more organic. That’s why I did it.
RG: How did you build your machines, and how did you come up with the designs?
TS: I design them as I am walking around and hearing sounds in my head and a lot of times I will couple that with a motion, like a physical motion or a piece of equipment that I have used in my job that could say feel really good or has a nice ball bearing. So then I will go to the drawing board and draw it up in CAD and go machine it on CNC mail or a lathe or something like that. They’re all made from steel or aluminum.
RG: How long does it take to build one of your machines?
TS: Uh.. oh probably about four months or something like that?
TS: Yeah. Some of them are smaller and some of them are bigger. I have some big knobs that I use and those don’t really take that long. I could do one of those in a week.
RG: Okay, so how does that effect your creative process as opposed to traditional music making (writing in a specific key, specific time signature)? Would it be a more organic process (sounds good as opposed to is ‘technically correct)?
TS: Well with a lot of my machines, if I move them, they do start at a specific key, B flat up to a couple of octaves, so I do learn what those are. I do think there is a bit more natural dissonance because you’re never exactly on the pitch so I think it makes it sound a little bit more eerie.
RG: Cool. How did you get involved with Housecore Horror?
TS: Phil’s stage manager.
RG: Yeah, I’ve seen him wearing your shirts.
TS: *laughing* Yeah! His stage manager was in the UK when I was there and he had seen some videos and saw me and told Phil about me and Phil was into it and he sent me an email and that was it, he took me on tour.
RG: So what acts are you looking forward to seeing this year at Housecore?
TS: I’ve seen almost every band that has played so far.
RG: Did you see Brian Posehn?
TS: Yeah he was great.
RG: So funny.
TS: He’s so fucking funny, kind of like Louis CK.
RG: I love Louis CK.
TS: He kinda looks like him too in a weird way. Uh.. shit, what else did you ask?
RG: What are you looking forward to or hoping to see at Housecore Horror?
TS: For sure Portal, SubRosa, Neurosis big time tomorrow. Uh, Superjoint. Uh.. what else. Sorry my mind is a bit blank, I’m hung over from last night.
RG: All good man, we are too.
TS: Did you go to the Dirty Dog?
RG: Yep. We staggered around downtown, rode a Jackalope at the Jackalope bar.
TS: Seriously? Where?
Marsha chimes in – THE JACKALOPE BAR
RG: Yep. Did you have fun? Was this your first time in Austin?
TS: No this is my second, I played a show before at a gallery. I do a lot of gallery stuff, art museums and stuff, so I did a show at an art gallery here last year. It was off of one of those Phil tours.
RG: Sweet – so where does the name Author and Punisher come from and what is its significance?
TS: Author and Punisher is a uh.. Uh, I went to Catholic school and I’m a serious atheist and I was at school and I liked learning about it but I had this shirt and it had all these different names for God and I had gotten it at a thrift store and it had “author” and “finisher” on it and I changed it when my friends were like really stoned and said “you should change that to punisher you know, because you’re an atheist”, so it became the name.
RG: That’s awesome.
TS: There is a band called Author and Finisher and I think they’re Christian rock screamo band. They have way more likes on facebook than I do. Like, hundreds of thousands.
RG: We’ll get you some likes. So, our last question, the famous last question. Our blog is called Drunk in a Graveyard and we center on horror movies and heavy metal, so we always finish up with – Favourite horror movie and alcoholic drink to go along with it?
TS: Oh god, that’s really hard. I’m not into traditional horror films, but Lars Von Trier’s TV series called the Kingdom and I would pair that with a double IPA Fathom.
RG: Beautiful. Thank you so much for speaking to us.
What a good sport. Again, Tristan is a super fucking chill ass dude, and his set at Housecore this year was an auditory experience that is not closely rivalled. New music, refreshing music, made by real people is not something that one comes across too often, so sack up or pack up and go check out Tristan’s work, buy some merch, and for the love of fuck let’s get that dude some facebook likes.