Interview: Sleepmask (Ming Vauze)
By: Jules Cohen
Date: April 10th, 2011
JC: Hi all!
I first heard of Sleepmask a year ago when Scary Lady Sarah played “Voudou” by Sleepmask at the Faith and The Muse show, (who are good friends of mine) here in New York City while on tour. After hearing “Voudou” I contacted Ming Vauze immediately. Before we connect with Ming for this interview, I wanted to say how he is a very creative man whose influences include Darkwave and Goth in the likes of: Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Model Army to U2. The blend is magic. Let’s ask Ming more about it.
JC: Hey MING!! Do you agree where I fit you in with influences or is there more to it than that?
MV: Thanks for talking with me first off Jules, I appreciate it. Well, influences, yes certainly Siouxsie and other bands of the genre and era like: The Sisters of Mercy, Tones On Tail and Bauhaus, and The Cocteau Twins. I do admire U2's ability to make music with melody, but I admire certain periods of David Bowie's work even more and post glam. His vocal melody's and emotional nuances are admirable. I also like elements of the Shoegaze genre, bands like Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine have definitely figured in my evolution. I can't exclude Fad Gadget and Depeche Mode either because certain elements of electronic based music, particularly percussive elements, figure in the sonic cocktail I like to concoct. Hopefully my influences are fairly transparent, yet not dominating. I want to pay homage but also expand, with content and melody coming from my own personal depths.
JC: When did you start playing and writing music?
MV: Well, I started playing piano at a young age but quickly dropped it. O lacked discipline! (lol) I discovered guitar around the age of 14. There was a clash of genres in my school, between metal and punk and what became Goth. (This was around 83 or 84.) So I wanted to play it all. I just wanted to be a guitar player. Over the years, my tastes have developed and I’ve played in a lot of bands, known and unknown. I only finally decided I needed to write my own work maybe 5 years ago.
JC: What was High school like? What artists were you listening to at the time?
MV: High school, oh it feels like a different life. I've changed a lot. It was a hard time. I wasn't unpopular but I wasn't one of the cool kids. I was a reader and kind of shy, but found a way to get along with all the different cliques at the time. I was into the blues believe it or not. My parents split when I was very young, and my mother loved blues music. I guess it got in my blood. Although I also liked a bit of everything, the one thing i hated was pop. I wanted music from the gut, something real.
Listen to: Voudou that track that Jules fell in love with!:
JC: What motivates your songwriting these days?
MV: That's a deep question isn't it? So many things I could say but it's really actually simple. I want so badly to have said something, left something behind, a trace that I was here and felt deeply and strongly, and wanted to affect the thoughts and emotions of an audience, in ways that are thought provoking, entertaining, hair-raising, emotionally challenging, and sophisticated. You've got to have an ego, and a certain delusion to call yourself an artist, but I do.
JC: I see that you are now selling your music on itunes! Congrats! Tell us more about what's available.
MV: There's one 6 song E.P. available, an Amalgam of Music I've made alone, but with three different co-producers assisting me, sometimes in the recording process and sometimes in the mixing. Hence the different quality of audio amongst the recordings. It can be downloaded here..
JC: What are your plans for Sleepmask? Will there be a CD? Live gigs?
MV: I’ve been playing shows off and on for the last 4 years as Sleepmask. Right now is a very hard time. I'll be honest, I'm couch surfing, and penniless, so things are a bit up in the air. I love the guys who've been playing with me and I intend to carry on, in part at least to render their extraordinary dedication and skill, their efforts, worth it, but also because, this is what I do. I can't stop. I will always keep writing and performing as much as I can. Then, the big sleep.
Ming thanks for your honesty...huge success to you and your amazing music!
JC:***** from Grave Concerns!
Check out Sleepmask:
Preview and download songs from Sleepmask by Sleepmask on iTunes. Buy Sleepmask for just $5.94.
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