‘Emotional, unrelenting, and visceral’ | Interview with Shinra Knives

You can easily find electronic music that pushes the existing boundaries. You can also find electronic music which is full of emotions. But how often do you find electronika which blends experimentation with emotion in such a majestic way?  That’s Posture by Shinra Knives

Read our interview with the artist below!

Describe your sound in 3 words

Emotional, unrelenting, and visceral. There’s something fascinating to me about the idea of crafting sound that feels as if it were a tangible entity in your chest, even before you’re able to fully discern what you’re hearing. That’s the space I want my sound to reside in.

What is the story behind your name?

I don’t want to say much about the name, other than that I previously released music under a different moniker and relinquished that for want of something more suitable for where I’d like to end up. No intentional reference to a certain popular RPG that also utilized the name ‘Shinra’ as well, but I don’t mind the association.

Tell us a few things about Posture, the story behind it, and a few things about your upcoming album.

Posture is about living with the regret of not being able to tell someone that you finally learned how to love them, before they were taken away from you. It’s the first single from my album ‘In Grief,’ which was written/recorded in the couple of years after my father passed away (at the end of 2015.)
He went into the hospital in late December and died unexpectedly a few days after his arrival. Shortly after, it came out that his death may have, in part, been due to receiving substandard care from the facility. This, alongside the degenerating relationship I was in, was both the theme of and time period in which the album was made. I finished the album a while ago, and spent early quarantine making the visuals that accompany the music, to more suitably present what now feels to me like an accurate snapshot of my life and mindset immediately following his death.

Your music is really tense. In which place or state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

I feel like I both favor and champion media that demands engagement; where you can’t do anything but just be in that space, and everything/everyone else falls away. Feeling almost overwhelmed, like watching an intense movie by yourself at home, and having no one sitting next to you that can aid in diffusing the tension. I appreciate the sense of community and kinship that comes with the concert or group listening experience, but I prefer that it’s rarely a shared experience. Listening in a dark room, with headphones or loud speakers.
I also think that as an artist, it can feel like so much to ask someone to just be still and sit with something you’ve created, and right now that’s the space I’m writing in: with an aesthetic of excess and fixation. To hold your attention, while I’ve still got it, with everything I can bring to say.

Visuals are a big part of your act. Do you plan to perform your music live? And if so, what should we expect? What would your setup be?

My setup is pretty minimal. I make most everything in an older version of Ableton, and for live performance, it’s my laptop and an Akai MPD32 midi controller. I try to deconstruct the songs back into individual components as much as possible and then reassemble them live, as this gives me more freedom to adapt and choose a trajectory on the fly. The background visuals in the ‘Posture’ and ‘Girl Missing’ music videos are partially scripted, but were largely generated utilizing assets made in TouchDesigner, and some amalgamation of that and Resolume is what I intend to use for future live performance. The auditory part of it is what I’m most familiar with, though, and I’m still learning with both that and the visuals.

If Posture was a soundtrack of a movie, which movie would this be?

The imagery in Lars Von Trier’s films Antichrist and Melancholia were big influences for the tone of the album. It deals with a couple struggling to process the sudden loss of their infant son, and I was greatly impacted by the film, sampling from it for both ‘Posture’ and the title track on the album. In light of more recent dialogue surrounding Von Trier, I’ve all but relinquished him as a source of inspiration, but his depictions of mourning have always felt like the most honest ones I’ve ever seen.

Favorite album of the past decade?

There’s a band I’ve been obsessed with for years from Japan called downy, and their album from 2013, 無題五 (Mudai 5th) completely ruined me when it came out. They didn’t release anything for nine years and then just ran up with this, and I still can’t get over it. Including a link because they could always use more exposure.

Also throwing Satomimagae’s album Koko (2014) in there as well, because choosing one album is the struggle, and I’m not built for it.

Thank you!

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