Local artist spotlight: Moris Blak

Boston-based industrial artist

%28Photo+courtesy+of+Moris+Blaks+official+Facebook+page%29

(Photo courtesy of Moris Blak’s official Facebook page)

By Ben Connolly, Collegian Staff

A few months ago, I went to a concert in Boston.  I entered the venue and saw a hastily drawn poster detailing the night’s line up. The headliner: Perturbator, one of the top artists in the Darksynth genre, preceded by Gost, another prominent producer in scene, but the opener surprised me. Moris Blak? I had never heard of him before. Just before his set began, I thought it would be a great time for a bathroom break, but I decided against it and man, am I glad I stayed. I was simply astounded at the quality of his performance and the audience seemed to reflect that sentiment as well. It was headliner quality and rivaled the sets of the following acts. After the concert, I direct messaged my compliments to Moris Blak, expecting no response. Yet, hours later my phone vibrated to show “SURPRISE, BITCH!” in my inbox.

My musical interests pertain to the Darksynth genre, but Moris Blak does not identify as a Darksynth artist, rather as industrial bass. Nonetheless, I find his music worthy of sharing.

Ben Connolly: What’s your favorite color?

Moris Blak: Red and black. I’m not entirely convinced other colors exist.

BC: How would you describe your music to the layman?

MB: I make music for warehouse raves in towns still run by cults.

BC: Who or what inspires you to create?

MB: Horror movie atmospheres, true crime, a goal to hit those notes that make my studio subwoofer rattle the pipes in the basement.

BC: Given the variety of names artists in this genre use to classify their music, what do you like to call your music and why?

MB: I describe myself as industrial bass music. This is music that fuses the aggression and aesthetics of industrial music with the heavy low end and beat precision of modern electronic dance music.

BC: Why do you think the industrial bass scene is still underground, despite the popularity of many tracks and artists?

MB: With the popularity of artists like Gesaffelstein, I’ve been seeing an upswell of musicians creating this sound along the avenues of SoundCloud and Bandcamp. Even with this new cropping of artists, remaining underground has catered to this music’s strength. This style of electronic music works as a stark contrast to the neon laden house sounds of mainstream EDM. These beats feel more at home in the dungeon of a Berlin club than they do at the mainstage of Electric Daisy Carnival. It makes the music more dangerous and captivating.

BC: Could you pick one of your favorite tracks and provide some background and details regarding its technical and thematic aspects?

MB: “Druglicker” is the first single released from my debut album, “The Irregularity of Being”, which will be released via Negative Gain Productions on Nov. 8. “Druglicker” captures the totality of my current sound. It opens with a warning, “listener discretion is advised,” and drops into a wall of saw-driven modulating synths, glitching drum fills, and guttural sub-bass. “Druglicker” transitions into a sequence of distorted melodic bass rhythms and thunderous drums, inspired by the EBM basslines popular in the early 90’s. Moris Blak’s mission has always been to inject a heavier brand of dance music into the scene, and “Druglicker” encompasses the totality of this goal.

BC: Can you elaborate on the importance of your visual aesthetic, such as your album covers and your stage performances?

MB: Many people have been introduced to my music through my live performance before hearing my studio material. Most people remember the cloaked figure in a glowing red mask thrashing on stage with his synthesizers. The mask has always been used to create the disconnect between the music and the human behind it. I think the image of a charismatic DJ and producer has its place in this industry, but I’ve always been most captivated by the artists that remain in a shroud of mystery. Artists like Burial, Deadmau5, and Danger were early influences in my music career. By remaining obscured from the spotlight, their music became an entity all their own.

BC: How would you describe the current genre’s scene in regard to the labels, community and artists?

MB: In the three years since I started this project, I began to see the hunger for this particular brand of music firsthand. Many synthwave fans are new to electronic music and come from a metal background. Being their first introduction to a darker and heavier electronic music has been an honor. Industrial music has a history of repeating the same sounds for decades now for the sake of contextual purity. Although bands continue to innovate the genre, there is a base line that artists are expected to operate in. I couldn’t be happier to be partnered with Negative Gain Productions for this album, who have become taste makers for the goth industrial scene at large. They have an ear for striking new sounds and being a part of their roster will only help expand the industrial bass movement.

BC: Do you find any significant difference in attending live performances over streaming your music?

MB: By seeing me live, I am presenting a curated selection of my music. There are no breaks between my tracks, my entire performance is an odyssey through a sonic nightmare. The music syncs to disturbing kinetic visuals, bridging the horrific and the beautiful. Seeing Moris Blak live is experiencing a reality built for these soundscapes.

BC: What are some events you have coming up? And how can readers find about more about you?

MB: I will be performing with Cincinnati-based industrial artist Relic and local shock rockers Man1k1n for three dates in November. I will be in Albany on the eighth, Newark, New Jersey on the ninth, and playing at Wonderbar in Allston on the 11th. You can keep the best updated on news and new material through my Instagram and Facebook page, and be sure to pick up my album “The Irregularity of Being” through Negative Gain Productions on Nov. 8.

Ben Connolly can be reached at [email protected]