Scheduled on March 6, 2019 Michael Idehall is a deep occult sound artist/painter whose recordings have been released on Ant-Zen, a label which many would regard as having almost entirely released a more accessible variety of dance music/electronic music since their apparent departure from occasional noise/power electronics albums in the late 90s. I remember going through Ant-Zen's discography to see if I can parse out the more experimental material and coming upon the work of Michael Idehall, much to my satisfaction. One of the reasons I am doing this series of "interviews" is because if I were to do a full-on "formal" interview, I would need to know the artist inside and out to feel comfortable. Here, I will leave the reader to fill in the blanks as they see fit. I will just add that Idehall's music is consistently unique and personal; One of those artists whose work is somewhat signature, but rapidly evolving at the same time. My favorite moments from what I have heard so far have a strong sense of electronic music as the new folk music (and I am not talking about "neo-folk"), and at other times, there are dense soundscapes where drone, musique concret, industrial noise, and soundtrack elements collide in a manner that I feel is worthwhile returning to and exploring. I'd also like to add that Idehall's DIY releases, be they CDRs or very limited occult books, are endearing to say the least. All of this body of work, from what I have seen, suggests a practicality to the motivation, as if it is a service or tool to be applied to something, and I'm glad to see when an artist is self-made in this way, outside of invisible boundaries and ghettos of genre-identification, but still, for all intents and purposes, firmly industrial.
1. What types of things have you been getting into lately?
Last year was a lot about the video medium for me. I purchased a video synthesizer and started experimenting. Together with my partner I created an audio/video opera called Apparatus God which is available in its entirety on my YouTube channel. My friend Árni Bergur Zoëga and me also made a short film called Mr. Grant's Gift which is currently available only to my patrons on Patreon.
2. What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby? If you don't like that question, what do you have to say about true art (vs. "entertainment")?
I am a freelance artist. My partner and I also run a sound art gallery which has been a way to get by apart from my erratic design engagements.
3. How would you describe what you do?
Art for me is intimately connected to spirituality. I explore esoteric concepts through manifesting them in art.
4. How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?
There used to be an aspect of perfectionism in my compositional method but as I have gained experience, the need to examine every minute detail has disappeared. Now I am more goal oriented and I have a wider perspective on my art.
5. How would you describe your philosophy?
Leading on from the previous question, I would say that my art has become much less about solidifying ideas and more about exploration. My compositions are documentations of experiments. I go on a journey and take some pictures and notes, then I release those to the public.
6. Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods? If no, then maybe you'll share your favorite conspiracy theory (whether you believe it or not).
I am a firm believer of almost everything. The one thing I do not subscribe to is the idea of conspiracies.
7. What would you say was your most definitive experience?
I wish that I had something profound to write here but I cannot think of anything.
8. Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?
Most of my side projects are clearly listed on Discogs, so I imagine there are no surprises there. I would like people to know that they should feel free to approach me for commissions at any time.
9. Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?
There are so many but if I would restrict myself to three I would say Kraftwerk – Die Mensch Maschine, Cypress Hill – Black Sunday, and Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll.
10. What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?
I wandered in the fields behind my grandfather's house as I came upon a large wooden chest. As I opened the lid I discovered that the whole box had been built into a wasps nest. To nobodies surprise I started running and found myself next to a dry well with a huge bear statue standing next to it. Bears and wasps are common symbols in my dreams until this day.
11. Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws? To what extent?
I can definitely enjoy work by people who have made mistakes in their life. However, sometimes the immorality of a person shines through the art and it can become too distracting and thus be detrimental to the experience.
12. Do you have any heroes or heroines? Who are they? Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out.
Stockhausen's originality has always been an inspiration for me, not to speak of his outrageous claims of being from another planet. He truly inhabited his own magical universe and was able to communicate something 'other' that reverberates with me. Other than that I think that I have successfully managed to kill all my idols: Burroughs, Austin Osman Spare, Kenneth Grant etc.
13. What would you like to have on your epitaph? Or what is your favorite quote?
Since I will never have any children, I am not sure who would be interested in such a thing. It would be nice if they could make my body into a gemstone or a record, like some kind of necromantic artefact for new generations of magicians to use in their ritual work.