A few years ago, Kyle Parker made unforgivingly harsh noise music and called himself Gator Surprise. These days, he makes yearning, thoughtful drone music and calls himself Infinite Body.
Carve Out the Face of My God, Infinite Body’s new album, is out on No Age drummer Dean Spunt‘s Post Present Medium label. Its slow washes of mostly implied melody take a few listens to sink in, but when they do, they can evoke the melodic dreamscapes of Fennesz or even M83.
Parker works at a movie theater and speaks very, very slowly. He had to speak with us on the phone from his parents’ house because he doesn‘t have a working phone or internet at the moment. Our interview is below.
Pitchfork: You used to make music as Gator Surprise. Why did you switch to Infinite Body?
KP: Gator Surprise didn‘t serve the purpose in my life that it used to. It used to make me feel good in a weird, indirect way. It wasn‘t very pleasant music, but it was still cathartic on some level. But I didn‘t really feel that bad anymore, so I couldn‘t make that music in a genuine way anymore. I didn‘t have anything else left to tap into except for feeling all right about stuff. It’s not even necessarily that it went from 100% negative to 100% positive, either, because I haven’t had that attitude the entire time I’ve had this project. But it was mainly a shift in attitude.
Pitchfork: Is your music as Infinite Body reflective of feeling all right?
KP: No. At the time, what drove the switch was just wanting to… I didn‘t know music could make me feel good, I guess. But it’s been going for over two years, and I’ve already had a lot of valleys with this project, too. It’s not just about feeling good. Sometimes, it can be related to be feeling so good you can’t take it or you don’t know what to do with it. I think that’s partly why it’s so loud sometimes. When I play live, it’s loud.
Pitchfork: Listening to your album, it’s hard to tell what instruments you’re hearing at any point. How do you make the music? Do you do it all yourself?
KP: I did the new album all by myself on a computer and with live recordings. I like throwing a bunch of stuff in one end– things that I like that I have recorded or a loop from a classical piece or something. Then, I throw it through a bunch of stuff so that I don’t know how it’s going to sound when it comes through. I try to use that to get out of my own way a little. I think that can be the reason why it’s hard to tell what one specific sound is. A lot of it is pretty manipulated.
Pitchfork: When you play live, do you use a laptop?
KP: No, I don’t. I haven’t had enough money to match my recording setup to what I do live, so it’s hard for me. I have to play really loose versions of songs I’ve made on the computer. I started the project with all physical equipment and a synthesizer and stuff. I still use that live, and I have to use a sampler to try and recreate some of the sounds I’ve made before. I’d like to play live, but the thing I do now with my synthesizers, almost everything is vocoder-driven. It’ll be really big sounds that are coming out, but it’s all tied to how loud I’m yelling, and I want that to still happen on the computer. I don’t want to play a laptop live if I’m just going to sit there, so it’s also a problem of working at my movie theater job long enough to get money to get better equipment. I’d also like to improve the light show. I have these lights that react to the music, and they’re run by this thing that came from Wal-Mart that just dims lights and stuff. It works, but it’s very low-budget.
Pitchfork: What do you do at the movie theater?
KP: Sometimes I work upstairs projecting the movies, and the rest of the time I’m just selling tickets or popcorn.
Pitchfork: When you project movies, do you watch them?
KP: People wonder that a lot, but at least the theater I work at, it’s not a pleasant experience to watch from up there. All the projectors are really loud. It’s a big machine room, you know? If you wanted to watch a movie, you’d have to stand up and look through a tiny window, and if you wanted to hear it, you’d have to listen to it from a tiny monitor speaker, which just kind of ruins the experience. I do get to see them for free since I work there, so I just do that. But it’s an art house movie theater, and there haven’t been that many good independent movies in a while, at least the ones that I remembered liking. That surprised me. I didn‘t know there were at least as many terrible independent movies as there are big-budget ones. Like, every single year. And bad in a worse way, too. They’re just parodies of themselves sometimes.
Pitchfork: What’s the worst one you’ve seen lately?
KP: I don’t know. After working there for a while, I can usually tell by the poster.
Pitchfork: You’ve got a big national tour coming up.
KP: Well, there’s a lot of holes in it. It’s been hard because I haven’t had the internet the whole time. It sucks to try and book a tour without the internet, and I’m not even doing it. I’m corresponding through my two friends, who have been helping book it. They have all the contacts. It’s a little sloppy, but we’re going everywhere except the West Coast. I should be fun. It’s just me and my friend Matt; he does a project called Earn. It’s just going to be us in my truck, and I hope we go insane and then have crazy bonding experiences because both our minds are broken.
MP3:> Infinite Body: “Dive”