With a new, dark edged Halloween release around the corner, big collaborations with JJ.Christie, and live shows under the belt (and more on the way), I thought it was high time to get back in touch with Jon Thomson, aka Ethereal Delusions:
Welcome back! How has the summer been treating you so far?
The summer was really good for me. But summer is definitely over here. The first few days of call have returned to being dark, cold and rainy (my preferred weather.) This summer was for me I feel like my coming out party on the scene. The last year has been a very intense year of development for my art and myself as a musician. I’ve only been really pursuing music for about 2 years now but I’m really in my stride now. But I think all of the goals I set out to achieve for the summer I did, which is a great feeling. Summer was fun though, lots of outside time hiking and camping.
We’ve got a lot to talk about so let’s dig in! You’ve been doing some work with JJ.Christie. What can you tell us about the collaboration?
JJ and I worked on a track in the spring and we did so well we decided to carry on and do a whole release. I think at first we decided to just a small ep and we got on a roll and just decided to keep going into a whole album. Everything on this album is a bit different that each of our normal stuff. JJ normally does real dreamy synth pop and I do my whole progressive synth future pop whatever the hell you want to call it. We used it as a chance for us to explore some other genres that we both enjoy and try to fuse them with our mutual love of synthwave. It was fun exploring other styles. Even the design for the album is outside of what I normally do. Who would have thought getting a dm from a weird Tasmanian guy would turn into a friendship and an artistic partnership :p!
You also have a release planned for Halloween! Should we expect to see the darker side of Ethereal Delusions this fall?
Much darker. I’m going to make a pretty bold proclamation, especially in this scene. I.LOVE.HALLOWEEN. There I said it. Halloween is my favorite holiday. I also have been a longtime fan of metal music. Mostly of the progressive and symphonic bent. I know, me? Into progressive music? Crazy. I come from loving metal like Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Kamelot, Katitonia, Epica, Delain, Dimmu Borgir and Carach Angren and a lot of atmospheric Black metal like Burzum and Wolves in the Throne Room.
I thought that this would be the perfect time to explore my interest in metal and try writing some. I struggle to write a lot when I don’t have a goal or deadline, so I decided to do a release for Halloween. I had been writing some darker and heavier stuff in the run up to Ascension, but decided not to include it since it didn’t fit with the rest of the album. I originally set out to write music inspired by the great horror movie music that I love, but as I kept writing, everything seemed to be getting darker and darker, so I just embraced it. This best way to describe a lot of this is Black Metal Wave. I have obviously seen most of the dark synth people doing dark stuff for a while, but It seemed to me like everything was influenced by 70s and 80s heavy metal, industrial or house music. I hadn’t seen anyone trying to do progressive metal or black metal, especially when it comes to the drum programming. I wanted dark, evil, heavy and fast double bass and crunchy bass, and I think I’ve achieved it. I really think everyone is gonna dig it. Actually last night (9/18) the Church of Satan twitter account retweeted one of the demos I posted. They seemed to dig it, so I might be on to something. I’ll be releasing “The Descent” on October 31st. The first track from the ep I’ve released on soundcloud right now:
Your last full length record, Ascension, has been one of my favorite albums released this year. What’s the story behind it?
The story came very late in the writing process. I wrote Trigger Point, The Unveiling and The Resistance about 3 weeks before release. The idea came from me trying to explore some of my family history. On all sides of my family we have a history of being forcibly taken over by foreign governments. I am Cherokee on my father’s side. We had several family members who died during the Trail of Tears, where the federal government forcibly relocated the Cherokee and other tribes from the southeast to what is now Oklahoma. I decided to try to explore the idea of being part of a culture that had existed for hundreds of years, only to have it push to the brink of extinction by foreign invaders. I tried to leave the details in the story on the album vague so that it could be thought of from any cultures perspective, modern, past or sci-fi. Originally I was planning to include those three tracks at the end as just a three part movement, but when my wife and I sat down to get the track order, we came up with a way to adapt it into a full concept album. We picked the strongest songs and made those the story driver songs. Then it just grew from there.
Beyond recording you’ve got some big live shows coming up. What can fans expect on the mini-tour?
I just completed a small tour a couple weeks ago of the Seattle area with KiLoSo, Wolf Tron and Shades-Triangle. It was a great time with a great group of musicians. True Story, during my set with KiLoSo in Seattle, our bass was so intense we shattered a glass on stage. One of the best moments of my life!
I have another short jaunt to Bremerton and Portland on the 30th of Sept and Oct 1. After those dates, I’m hoping to get a few more before the year is out. I’ll be mostly playing from Ascension and some from Shutter Shades. Hopefully you’ll hear some of my new ep “The Descent” as well.
When you coined the phrase #SummerofSynth did you expect it to be the biggest summer synthwave has ever seen as far as quality releases go?
I really never thought it would be come anything. I just thought it was a sarcastic hashtag, but eh, I guess it was good. I’m really proud of the scene. All the great music released was so incredible. Even beyond the TImeslave roster, everyone’s stuff was just on another level. Myself, Computronic, KiLoSo, The G, Futurecop, everyone brought their “A” game. I feel pressure now to come up with seasonal hashtags. #fallintosynth? #dontdrowninthefallwave? I don’t know.
You’ve got a web store up. What can people find in your store?
Yes! I’ve recently redesigned my website. I’m selling a variety of stuff. You can find my music (digital and CD), some posters and I’ve got hats. I’m also selling some of my original artwork that I’ve screen printed. All the designs are my own. Super fresh and W A V E Y stuff. Everything can be found at etherealdelusions.com/shop
Anything you’d like to share before we go?
Be sure to look out for my new EP “The Descent” on Timeslave Recordings, releasing on October 31st! I’m also going to be release a collaborative album with JJ Christie entitled “The Big Melt”, were tentatively scheduled for early December, just in time for Aussie Summer. Thanks again for the interview and thanks to everyone who listens to my music!