Calling the devilman with Sean Yseult
Hello and thanks for doing this interview, what have you been up lately?
- I recently started a design business
which takes up most of my time (www.yseultdesigns.com).
I split my time between New York and New Orleans,
where I also own a bar called the Saint,
and play with the band Rock City Morgue.
Starting from your school years, you graduated as graphic designer from Parsons and NC School of the Arts, did you enjoy school?
- I did, owing to the fact that both schools were
really amazing. I was lucky to grow up in
North Carolina because it cost almost nothing
for me to live on campus and go to NCSA from 6th-12th grade.
Parsons is probably the best school in the world for graphics,
and I had some very notorious teachers.
How old were you when you got interested in music?
- As far back as I can remember - by age 5
I was being trained on piano in classical and
blues improv, and was performing in nightclubs
when I was 6! From there I wanted a banjo,
What lead you towards being a bass player?
- Neccessity! isn't that always the way someone
falls into the bass role? When we started White Zombie,
someone needed to play bass -
I was trying to learn guitar at the time,
but we found a good guitarist so...
Equipment you use?
- Specially designed Coffin Basses I had custom made,
and Ampeg SVTs.
As a musician, what has influenced you the must?
- That's really hard, because everything influences you somewhat....
Black Sabbath, Birthday Party/Nick Cave,
and I know it sounds very Spinal Tap, but alot of classical music,
especially Chopin - I love things that are dark,
slightly atonal and a bit off.
Let´s talk about White Zombie, how did you meet Rob
and what gave birth to the band?
- Rob and I met at Parsons - he was there for Illustration,
but dropped out later. When we started hanging out
we realized we both wanted to start a band,
and had really similar taste and influences.
Music was just a small part of that horror movies
and underground culture and lifestyle
were just as important to us.
White Zombie broke up in 1998, was it a suprise or
did you get together and talk thing over
and make a grop decision?
- It was a group decision, and a surprise to noone in the band.
If I got it right, you still talk with J from time to time,
what about the rest of the members?
- I see J all of the time, and we are very good friends.
He and I are also really tight with our last drummer,
Johnny Tempesta, who is great person.
Next in line was Famous Monsters, this was very different
from the sound that white zombie had.
- Yeah, obviously not influenced (musically) by anything
dark like Sabbath OR classical!
This was right after White Zombie had broken up,
and was a band I had done secretly just for fun
with Estrus Records.
I always had loved kitschy garage and surf bands,
and thought it would be fun to do one that we described
as "Josie and the Pussycats meet the Munsters".
When WZ broke up, I decided to get my two best friends
in New Orleans to play in the band -
even though neither one of them had
ever played their instrument before -
and see what would come of it!
It was really silly, on purpose,
but we got to do some great tours
and had more fun than should be legal!
FM released two albums "AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 BIKINIS" and "In the night", in 2007, what do you think about them?
- Around the World was just a compilation of early Estrus 7 inches
and some terrible live stuff, but In the Night,
although recorded extremely lowrent, still has some good songs
on it and I'm happy with the whole package.
You were the bass player for The Cramps, for a brief moment,
this must have been exciting, tell us more about it.
- Yes, that was pretty amazing! Although I am friends
with them and they are great people,
it was still freaky to look over and realize I was on stage
with the band I probably have worshipped the most,
and the longest! Lux and Ivy are so insanely interesting,
every day they were turning me on to new books, artists,
movies and music. I don't know if I'll get the opportunity again,
but I'm really glad to have been a part of it,
especially for the classic West Coast Halloween Tour!
In 2002 you started Rock City Morgue with Rik Slave, tell us more about this?
- Rik was an old friend from early NYC/WZ days -
he always had cool bands. My favorite was the Kretins,
which was the perfect crossing of the Cramps and the Ramones,
two of my all time favorite bands.
I ran into him when I moved to New Orleans,
and knew it would be fun to play with him.
What I didn't expect is that he wanted to sing over
some songs I wrote on piano,
and the outcome has been pretty incredible.
He can croon with the best : Sinatra, Nick Cave and Joey Ramone
all rolled up together.
What are the future plans with Rock City Morgue?
Didn´t J produce your yet unreleased new CD?
- Yes, but it's just on a demo level recording,
we'll need to do a final recording once we have a few more songs.
In the meantime we are planning on putting out a 7" with two of the tracks.
Besides your music career, nowdays you have your own company,
Yseult Design, is this is life-long dream came true?
- I have to say yes to that, although I never thought of it as a dream
: more of a plan. I always knew that at some point I was going to try
to phase out my focus on music and get back to design.
After the evacuation for Katrina, it seemed like a good time to start!
I looked some of the designs and they are brilliant, colorful with 60-70´s vibe in it,
tell us more about the designing in general?
- They are stream of conscious drawings I do freehand, pen on paper.
They look alot like drawings I did when I was really young.
when I'm drawing them, I have rules : I have to draw fast,
no corrections (pen), and the next one has to be
better than the last. I'm trying to make the new ones
more layered and op-art.
What is next with Sean Yseult? Will you continue doing both arts?
- I am trying to phase out music, but we keep writing new songs,
so I will probably keep doing both for a while.
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