Keeping it brutal – An interview with Tapewyrm


The UK isn’t exactly known for a huge amount of Rhythmic noise acts, but one has surprisingly crawled out of the woodwork – Tapewyrm. Having a first live gig with iVardensphere was a strong start and he hasn’t stopped yet. Tapewyrm is on the line up for this year’s Infest, has a new album ready any time now, and even more to come. Michael Drayven gave me a little of his time to discuss collaborating vs remixing, the UK noise scene, and potential musical heroes.

1. As an introduction to those who may not have heard your music yet, how would you best describe your music?

Heavy as fuck, to put it simply, if you like your beats big & brutal, I might just have something for you.

2. How did you originally get in to producing your own noise music? What intrigued you about it?

I never really intended to make noise music per se, I mean I never really had any fixed idea of what I wanted to achieve. I started Tapewyrm as a creative outlet. Over time it took on its own sound & I had to follow it through. I’ve always seen an inherent beauty in chaos & noise is no less different for me.

3. As a noise fan myself, I’ve found the UK scene to be somewhat lacking. There have been occasional artists that show up but don’t seem to go very far, with the scene in mainland Europe being far more interesting. What are your thoughts on that, and how do you think we can change that, and nurture UK talent?

The UK scene on the whole is pretty small, compared with the continent but it’s not without its share of great artists. There’s a growing noise/drone scene over here & some great electro punk.

What we’re lacking over here is opportunities, with one day events falling by the wayside mainly due to low turnouts. The London scene being monopolised by certain promoters & venues ‘changing direction’. Even Resistanz has called it a day, whether or not anything comes through to replace it remains to be seen. The only solution is to get out to smaller shows, see bands & nurture home grown talent.

4. You have a new album ready anytime now called Triptych. There is a big resonance around the number 3 here: it’s split in to 3 parts, it’s your 3rd release – is this an intended theme?

Very much so. It’s the 3rd chapter & the final part in a loose trilogy I began with Misanthropic Noize, funnily enough released 3 years ago.

5. I’ve noticed over your releases that the track titles have a certain esoteric quality to them, rooted in spirituality. Tracks from your previous release ‘Rites of Passage’ include ‘Sacrament’ and ‘Invocation’. Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person, or again is it more thematic?

It’s a little of both, I prefer to leave things open to the listeners interpretation so I don’t tend to make the song titles too specific. More falling within an intended theme.

6. People who are already familiar with your previous releases, what do you think they’re going to make of ‘Triptych’?

It’s the most complete Tapewyrm release so far, calling back to the dirtier textures of MN combined with the stronger rhythmic work of Rites. I hope people enjoy it.

7. You’re on the line up for this year’s Infest. How are you preparing for this? It’s such a big show that you must have something up your sleeve for this one?

It’s a huge step up for me, I’m really excited to be part of the bill. Now that Triptych is finished, I’m working on some more material, I’ve got some more live dates lined up in the run up to infest. I can neither confirm nor deny I’ve got something up my sleeve, you’ll just have to wait & see.

8. You’re now a part of Dirty K, how do you and Ryan work together on this? He has mastered your own releases so I can assume you have a good relationship and an understanding of each other’s creative processes?

Ryan & I have been friends for 4 maybe 5 years now & he’s been an integral part of Tapewyrm’s journey. So when he asked me to come on board I jumped at the chance. Dirty K is very much his project, he wrote the new album & I just added a little spin on it. Live I add textures & layers of distortion. We work well together & 9 times out of 10 we’re on the same page musically.

9. You seem to enjoy collaborating with other artists rather than straight up remixing, working with Dirty K, and previously with Tiffany from Beinaheleidenschaftsgegenstand on ‘House of Cards’, amongst others. How different are both forms for you, and if you could, who would you love to collaborate with, given the opportunity.

For me it’s about the whole process, an exchange of ideas over reworking someone else’s. I don’t tend to remix very often but the most enjoyable for me have been when I’ve had absolutely no idea what the original track sounded like, such as the remix I put together for W.A.S.T.E. As for future endeavours, given half a chance I’d love to take a shot at doing something with iVardensphere, ESA, Mono No Aware but we’ll see what happens.

10. What do you have planned for the future? Any particular goals for playing live or new releases?

I’d love to get a few shows on the continent at some point, a slot at Maschinenfest perhaps. Maybe even go over to the states at some point. As for future releases, I’ve already started the follow up to Triptych, whether that manifests as an EP or a full album is undecided at this point but it’s already taking shape.

11. Do you have any noise heroes? Anyone you particularly look up to and why?

Noise heroes specifically? Not really. There are artists that I respect & admire. Such as Dirty K, ESA, iVardensphere, Mono No Aware, Merzbow, Iszoloscope, but as far as inspiration goes I draw from a far wider pool, from the raw passion of early blues artists such as Blind Lemon Jefferson; The ruthless aggression of Alec Empire & Ultraviolence. Korn & NIN have influenced my writing as much as Coil & Throbbing Gristle. Perhaps most importantly Kompressor because you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously.

12. To finish, what are you listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?

Well, there’s the next Beat:Cancer instalment coming out at Resistanz, that’ll have a little something for everyone.


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