?… When composing I deal with my dark feelings, my melancholy and also with pessimistic views to our world and I try to create an atmosphere which reflects these feelings… (?) I use darkness trying to make the world a better place…?
Hello Rusty! I am curious about the origin of your nickname and the name of the project…
Hello Pawel! Well, many, many years ago, long before I even started to make music a friend of mine started to call me Rusty because of my red hair. Soon everybody called me Rusty and this is the short story of how I got my nickname. When starting to make music I thought about a name for the project and I must admit that I don?t remember how ?Pacemaker? came to my mind. I always liked the rhythm of the name ?Rusty Pacemaker? as it is similar to ?Lemmy Kilmister?. And it was important to me that someone could not put a label on the name. It should not be easy to define a specific genre just because of the name. I also found the meaning of the words ?rusty pacemaker? interesting and it seemed as a nice word play to me.
When I have read your biography, I noticed that we have many common similarities. We’re the similar age. We are into Metal since our childhood. I also never took any lessons on an instrument. I am self-taught. I had different bands and I even recorded some of my songs for a drawer. But in my case their quality did not satisfy me to release it. And most importantly, I also love the works of Quorthon and BATHORY… Indeed, in your songs I feel the influences of Quorthon music but also the Gothic Rock / Metal or Doom Metal. So the inspirations also come from other bands?
Oh yes, I love Qorthons music, all of it, from the raw Black/Death Metal albums to the Viking Metal stuff and his solo albums too. He was a genious! I was always impressed of his uncompromising way of creating his art and this is what inspires me most. Actually, I never wanted to sound like Bathory or Quorthon. So even more I find it interesting that not only you recognise the influences of his music in my work! But you are right, inspirations also come from other bands! Honestly I can tell you that I never wanted to sound like a certain band. I try to achieve an individual style, something new, my own music which could hardly be compared or categorized. Anyway, you know that I am into heavy music since my childhood and I have a collection of almost thousand albums at home. I am convinced that all music I love inspires and influences me. Thats unavoidable, I think. If you would want me to name some bands which have a more obvious influence on my music this would maybe be Black Sabbath, Ozzy, Anathema, Tiamat, Lake of Tears, sometimes even Enslaved, just to name a few. Still I hope that I have created my own individual style and that Rusty Pacemaker is not a rip off of any of those bands.
Certainly not. But to create such the dark and depressive music – I think – you needed to feel something singular. Something was happen in your reality, something around you…
In a review of my debut album ?Blackness and White Light? the writer described the album as a ?soundtrack of a broken man?. Many times my music has been described as depressive. I started to think if maybe there is something wrong with me. Why is my music so depressive? Actually I prefer the expression ?melancholic?. I don?t consider melancholy as a negative feeling. It is a very intimate, yet positive feeling whereas depression is a negative, destructive feeling. Generally I can say that I am happy but at the same time I?m a melancholic guy and whenever I sit down and grab my guitar something melancholic comes out and it seems that there is nothing I can do about it. Like everybody else I have dark feelings and I am also pessimistic sometimes as we are getting older and look around us and to what is going on in the world. It is depressing sometimes. When composing I deal with my dark feelings, my melancholy and also with pessimistic views to our world and I try to create an atmosphere which reflects these feelings.
And tell us about your lyrics…
All the dark atmosphere and feelings I have been talking about before should also be expressed lyrically of course. I like to use simple wording for my lyrics. I always seek to bring it to a point in a direct and simple way. I don?t need to show how intellectual I am in writing intellectual lyrics, that?s just not my case. I would rather say that I?m searching for wisdom and wise words are always simple, easy to understand and nothing complicated. Thematically I try to describe humanity’s weakness and frailty. I write about the human being as an egoist and I think that the source of his weakness resulting in his evil behaviour is the fear of death. But at the same time it is very important for me to show that there is hope, light in all the darkness and that is love. This might sound strange for someone but actually I use darkness trying to make the world a better place, if you know what I mean. Being an artist I consider this as my responsibility.
I do not know your first album “Blackness and White Light”. Can you describe it more and compare to “Ruins”?
?Blackness and White Light? contains the first songs I ever wrote, recorded and produced. I was not experienced at all in this process of creation and for sure one could hear this, especially in the production but also in the songwriting. I mixed and mastered my debut album by myself and I felt like searching for colours in the dark when I mixed it. Today I wonder that the overall sound of ?Blackness and White Light? is not so bad at all though a professional sound engineer might think differently about that. Compared to ?ruins? it is a bit less heavier and more Rock than Metal. At least to my ears all my songs are very different to each other and I cross over different genres with my music. This is something what both albums have in common as well as the melancholic and dark atmosphere. To sum it up I would say something strange like that my two albums are different and similar at the same time.
For the recording of “Ruins” you invited some guests. Drummer – Franz L?chinger. Probably you have worked with him formerly…
Yes I did. I am really lucky to have him drumming on my albums. We know each other for about ten years now and became good friends. He is a professional drummer and covers all kind of genres with his skills. His musical background is Metal but he did so many different projects, I think he can play everything. Apart from our friendship our cooperation works as follows. I write and compose all my songs and program a simple drumtrack on the computer. Then I send him the material over and he arranges the perfect drumtrack for my music. It?s always fascinating for me how he deals with my compositions. The drums for ?ruins? have been recorded in only one single day, an extraordinary performance and amazing to watch him while he is completely focused on what he is doing.
And who is the mysterious Lady K – singer, who sang several parties on “Ruins”?
I am very grateful that Lady K lends me her angellike voice for my compositions. I would love to have her on the next album too and I really hope that it will happen, both, the next album and her on the micro again. Concerning her person she prefers to stay the mysterious Lady K.
Do you remember as I told that your singing sometimes is like a different pitch than guitar in background, giving the impression out of tune? Maybe it was your plan? Your singing is very specific, it sometimes is on the border of recitation to music…
In fact you are answering your own question within itself. Yes, my singing sometimes is like a different pitch than the guitar in the background giving the impression to be out of tune. As you said it?s just an impression. Actually, I do sometimes play with disharmonies between the instruments in a very decent way. My singing is perfectly in tune where it supposed to be. You say that it is very specific. Many reviewers who wrote negative about my album mainly criticize my singing. The vocals are mostly the main factor if you like a song or not and every singer and band has to deal with that, as well as me.
On the other hand, the melodic whistling in song “Ruins” sounded a bit childish but I liked this motif…
The whistling in ?ruins? is the beginning of the songs end. I just liked the contrast between the very pessimistic lyrics and the childish whistling to show how unimportant it is. In this sense I mean it seriously.
Am I heard correctly? In song “The Game” you several times screamed like a thoroughbred black-metaler. It was a really good accent. Could you more frequently use your vocals in this way?
You really ask interesting questions. Yes, you heard correctly and I already planned to use this way of singing a bit more on the next record. There is nothing more I can tell you about it at this point cause I did not start with any preproduction till now where I could have tried it out. But I have some ideas in mind which might work very well with growls or screams. Let?s see and hear what happens…
I dont understand the connection between the dead bird on the sidewalk from the album cover with the title “Ruins”? Is it hawk or other killer?
It is a hawk. First I thought about a picture of a ruin for the cover of my album but this idea seemed quite boring after a while. There are so many Metal and Rock albums with a ruin on it?s cover so I didn?t want to add one more. I decided very early to call the album ?ruins? as I like the dark sound of the word and it?s meaning. So I was thinking about the lyrics of the title track and with the words ?…we lie six feet under, still believe we fly, so high. The more we rise the deeper we will fall..? a dead bird came to my mind. Immediately I decided to design the artwork according to this vision.
What is the response of the audience for the album “Ruins”?
People keep telling me that it is a very special album, hard to compare and categorize. I must admit that I like it when my music is described this way. I know that I don?t create commercial music but I don?t want to be everybody darling anyway. Some don?t like it at all and some other find it very good. Like always it?s a matter of personal taste but as long as there are a few people out there who write me that they like what I do I feel free to compose my songs how I like to. This sensation of freedom is an amazingly satisfying feeling.
The album was released via Solanum Records. Tell us more about the label?
If you are a over 35 years old unknown solo artist and not heaving a live-band nor live-experience you will never get a contract with a label nowadays. To be able to publish my album I had to found my own label and so I did. Of course, running your own label means to be totally independent and I can release what I want, how I want and when I want. On the other side, you have a lot of work and costs with it and will never reach a promotion like a big label is able too. The weakest point is the distribution. Still I?m looking for a proper distribution company to have my albums in stores. By now you are only able to order a hardcopy via my homepage. The digital version is available on all common download sites. By the way, ?Solanum? is a notion from biology and means nightshade.
And what are you so fascinated of this plant?
Solanum stands for a genus, there are all kind of different plants who belong to the Solanum family. It is true that these plants are quite fascinating but mainly I chose the name Solanum for my label because of its translation ?Nightshade?. I think it just fits perfectly to my releases.
At present, after recording of the album you are satisfied with the final outcome? Or maybe would you want something to change?
I am satisfied with the final outcome and there is nothing I would want to change. Once the album is finished, and it seems like a long journey to finish an album, I have to accept it the way it finally comes out. It is the best album I could have made at this point. If I would write and record it now it would sound differently. That is somehow a neverending story. All music can be considered as a moment in time as each tone has been recorded in a specific moment. When releasing my music I should do it in the truest meaning of the word and release it.
Anyway, are you gonna go on stage with your music?
At the moment it is not possible for me to perform live for several reasons which I don?t want to discuss at this point. My drive is to be creative and to write songs. But, you know, never say never and maybe Rusty Pacemaker is gonna hit the stage one day.
So, I wish fulfillment of your plans for the band. Thank you for your time and I look forward to some interesting epilogue of the interview…
Pawel, I thank you for your interest in my project and for this interview. I also would like to thank all the readers who have come to this point and read these words right now. Be invited to visit me on my website www.rustypacemaker.com. Since I am part of this crazy music industry I got an impression of how hard labels and bands struggle to survive. I would like to encourage the fans to buy a physical album if they like the music and not to download or copy mp3s without paying for it. You know, people are willing to pay 3 Euros for a coffee which production costs are a few cent and which is gone within some minutes. But people are not wiling to pay one Euro for a song they like which production costs are immense and which lasts forever and you can listen to it over and over again. Music and art are precious and of high importance for our society and must be supported. Stay dark, Rusty.
Home: Parczew (Poland). Interests / Hobbies: music, musical journalism, oriental studies, anthropology, psychology, medicine, sociology. Favourite music genres: first of all the all genres of Metal, Hardcore and Progressive Rock as well as Gothic, Ambient, Classical Music, Ethnic Music, Sacred Music, Choral Music, Soundtracks, New Age Music, Folk Music i sometimes Jazz, Electro, Experimenta or Alternative Music… He co-founded magazine & webzine Born To Die’zine as Gnom.