WEAKIE DISCS'S FOUNDER- CONVULSIA DARKLOVE IN INTERESTING CONVERSATION WITH LXNNNIE.
Lxnnnie (Lonnie Rutledge) is a prolific artist, songwriter, and poet from the United States. He is known for his various writing techniques, intense concepts, and experimental production. He has described his style as 'Schizodelic'; a term he is noted for coining in the mid 1990's. Lxnnnie has self-released many albums under assorted aliases in multiple genres of music. He has had songs featured in major motion pictures including Heights and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, produced music for a number of MTV commercials and other various television/radio projects, designed album covers and is in the midst of publishing a book of poetry.
Convulsia Darklove - Before I ask you about your art, on your facebook fan page people can find these names in your "influences": Adolf Hitler and Ted Kaczyński. Is this just simple provocation?
Lxnnnie - Wow, I forgot about that…. I made that list a long time ago. Nah, not so much provocation. But it was an honest list of people who have influenced me at one point or another to want to figure out this world we live in. Not that I idolize them or anything. The people on that list are all influential whether good, bad or indifferent. I like to mix up the good and bad in my art and music a lot. Notice I put Adolf Hitler right next to Martin Luther King, Jr. That’s pretty much my philosophy. Or maybe not so much my philosophy but just how the world is. One big fat fucking yin yang.
C.D. - I always say that line between oversensitive person and serial killer is very thin. Can you explain your fascination of serial killers?Would you call yourself oversensitive? Because your poetry and songs lyrics are very touching, I have no doubt that a very sensitive man is behind them.
Lx - Well, my fascination with serial killers started long ago when I was a child. My parents got me a huge set of these encyclopedia cards when I was like six or so. And on each card was a different historic event or historical figure. And there were a few cards with old American gangsters on them like Al Capone and John Dillinger. For some reason they stuck out to me. I don’t know if it was the mug shot and the booking number or just the way they looked. But the photos of those mobster mugshots drew me in. I started looking for all the bad guys and reading about them. So mobsters was my first thing. Mobsters were my gateway to serial killers. Serial killers were deeper. I like deep realms and I soon found that I was really drawn to serial killers. I was a weirdo and an outsider and I could relate to them in ways too. In other ways I couldn’t. But I wanted to learn about them as much as I could. I toyed with being one when I was in middle school. Middle school particularly sucked. It was either that or going to the complete other side and joining the Behavior Science Unit in the FBI. I either wanted to be one or catch them. I couldn’t decide. I was mixed up. But skateboarding and music soon took over my life completely and I slowly realized I didn’t really want to ever hurt anyone. I was just hurt myself. Then I started looking at serial killers in a different light. I wanted to figure out what created them. I wanted to figure out the difference between me and them. What was the reason that they went the bad way and why I didn’t? Because at one point I almost did. Throughout the subsequent years I believe that I have found out what I need to know. I don’t study them so much anymore. I don’t feel the need. I am on a much more positive path now and that kind of stuff is just really bad for the brain. I still keep up with it but it doesn’t consume me the way it once had. And yeah, I’m a really sensitive person. That’s why I’m trying to rid my brain of darker thoughts these days. Dark thoughts will eventually kill you and that was the path that I was on. So I put a lot of those thoughts in my music. It was very therapeutic. I still do I guess. There is still a lot of left over dark thoughts to get out I suppose. But that’s the only place they come out, in the art. I’m slowly trying to change that and write more positive stuff.
C.D. - Why is reading Kurt Vonnegut is important?
Lx - Because Kurt Vonnegut appeals to the sarcastic dolt. And it seems, these days, that most people are sarcastic dolts. His writing is simplistic and sarcastic but his messages and morals are profound. He uses sarcasm the best way it can be used. He has a good formula for transmuting the sordid collective mind of these times into a better state with a wiser conscience. Sarcasm won’t get you too far, unless you use it like Kurt did. Until it needs not to be used at all.
C.D. - So when did all this madness begin? (making music)?
Lx - I was raised in a musical family. My father is a blues and rock guitarist. He is credited as one of the first musicians to start the Asbury Park music scene of New Jersey in the 60’s, which Bruce Springsteen arose from. So there was always music in the house. Guitars, drums, a piano and all kinds of instruments were everywhere. My dad practiced with his band like every other night. LOUD. My mom sings too. So yeah, the music was very present. My father is also a fine artist, so there was always painting going on. Music and art is just what we did. I started my personal music journey by mixing cassettes on a duel cassette player in the 80’s. I was introduced to hip-hop when I was about 5 in the form of a breakdance record and it changed my world. From there I began using my duel cassette recorder to make my own mixes. I would mix snippets of beats from the breakdance record and rap cassettes with snippets from songs in my dad’s old 50’s and 60’s instrumental record collection and further mix all kinds of stuff in like Looney Tunes cartoon snippets and pretty much anything I could find or tape off TV. I made all these songs. There would be a beat for like 4 measures then suddenly it would change to some guitar riff by Duane Eddy or something, then back to the beat for four measures, then to something else. There’s not a lot of technical things you can do with just a duel cassette recorder but I was obsessed with mixing things together and making these weird beat collages. I would make up cassettes with band names. I would make the album covers and all, just like you do at Weakie Discs. I did this for years. Then Nirvana came out and I said “Dad, string me up a guitar.” He did and taught me a few chords and I was off. I never really learned anyone else’s songs, I just started writing my own songs from day one. Then I started using my dad’s old reel to reel 4-track 1/4” tape recorder to lay my songs down on. I started experimenting with other instruments and playing a little drums and laying shit down. I soon got my own cassette 4-track and a drum machine and really started experimenting and my style in songwriting, arranging and producing just came together after awhile. Around that time Beck came out and I was smitten. He was doing what I was doing but he was doing it so much better. That guy is awesome. Big influence. It just progressed from there into all kinds of shit. Different bands I started, different genres I started writing and producing in. All the while, honing my own style.
C.D. - First big music idol, someone who destroyed your past world?
Lx - Kurt Cobain. I was a 90’s teen. If you were a 90’s kid and Kurt Cobain didn’t destroy your past world, then you didn’t live on planet Earth.
C.D. - You've told me once that you're a "studio guy". But I know you have played some gigs in the past. Don't you want back on stage? I know sometimes it can be hard, but do you think about it sometimes?
Lx- I have played tons of gigs, lots of solo acoustic gigs, lots of gigs with my old rock band Sunshine Flipside, I’ve done a few weird performance art type gigs with some of my mixed genre songs, all kinds of gigs. Oh yeah, I played blues harmonica with my Dad’s band for years, still do once in a while. But that has been about the extent of my live gigs lately, just jamming with my dad at his gigs sometimes. But yeah, Ive always preferred the studio. I like just creating by myself mostly. I shine pretty well when I play harmonica with my dad’s band but I was hit or miss as a performer with my own stuff, mostly because I was unfocused a lot because back when I was doing my own solo acoustic gigs and when I had the band, I was drinking a lot. I had to get away from that whole thing and clean up. Now that I’m all good I have been thinking about it. Maybe some new solo acoustic gigs and also I really want to do some Indifferent Spaces gigs. I have some ideas….
C.D. - At least one time you were close to signing a contract with a major label. What happened? And is it possible that we'll find your name on some major label artist list in the future?
Lx - Uh, yeah…. long story. Geffen was interested in a record I was working on. But the industry merge that happened in the mid 2000’s canceled it. A lot of artists were shelved and forgotten. I wasn’t playing out at that time so I had no momentum for the project, only recordings. That record is now finished and my producer for that project and I plan on releasing it this year on iTunes, Spotify and all the music related internet sites. Maybe a little promotion. But no label or anything. As for the future… Well I’m working on recording some of my best songs very simply and hi-fi. Acoustic and vocals, harmonies with a little procussion. Very sparse. Let the song shine. My plan is to shop them to other artists and to license them to commercials, movies, or whatever. I’m not necessarily shooting for rockstar anymore. I’m more into getting behind the scene and getting the songs out there by any means. I have a few songs that I think have a place in the world at large. Whether it’s me singing them or some other artist. They need their place out there. Oh and these new recordings will be under my real name, Lonnie Rutledge. No gimmicks.
C.D. - We're waiting now for two of your cassette releases: "House Demonstrations" and the re-edition of "Playing Spades with Satan". So first, tell me more about the recording process of "...Demonstrations”.
Lx- House Demonstrations is just what it sounds like; a bunch of demos recorded at different times in different parts of different houses or apartments I have lived in. A few of these songs are songs I’m re-recording professionally for the new project I was just talking about. Some of the demos are complete in composition like “Make No Mistake” and others like “So Hard to Leave” now have a bridge and have been upgraded. Others are just silly songs that I may never record again. But I felt that it would be kind of cool to put out the the demos in their raw, unfiltered form. I like lo-fi just as much as hi-fi. So I like putting out both sometimes to show the contrast and the potential of the songs in both styles. Some people may hear a lo-fi recording of a song and think… "Man, that song sucks." And it might just be because they don’t like lo-fi sounds. But then if they hear the hi-fi version later, it changes their minds. It’s funny. Other people are the opposite and prefer the lo-fi and think the hi-fi is too slick and bubblegum. And then there are those who appreciate both and like seeing the growth and differences between the versions. I’m one of those people, so I like to put out both styles once in a while.
C.D. - And finally, "Playing Spades with Satan”... For me, this album is one of the best that I've ever heard. I’m sure lot of people can find their own dark side in these lyrics. Can you tell me something about your state when writing and recording this masterpiece?
Lx- Whoa, thanks for the compliment, but I wouldn't go that far. Hmmm…. My state of mind. Well, that was 2012, the year the world was supposed to end, yet again, and also the year that I truly stopped drinking. I had been more and more sober and drinking less and less for about 5 years before that, but I still would get caught up once in a while and in 2012 I was sick of it. I read a lot of psychology books on addiction and how it works and figured out how to stop. AA and all that shit never worked for me. I needed to know the science. I had to do it by myself. So I did, and the Spades project, was really the last of all those dark demons and thoughts coming out all at once. It’s very autobiographical at points but very slated in fantasy in other places. So I ultimately created the concept that it’s the musical journal of some twisted character’s thoughts. Even though some of those thoughts were sincerely my own. Especially the songs “ Unown", which is about my eldest son and "Daliah’s Poltergeist" which is about my daughter. Actually, to really answer your question of my state of mind… The first song “ Playing Spades with Satan” was the first song I recorded which inspired the whole album, and that song perfectly describes my state of mind during that era. I started that album on my 4-track cassette recorder. I usually work really fast and I wrote and recorded all of the songs in about a week and a half and laid them down acoustically with vocals on the 4-track. I also recorded a lot of the samples and whatnot on cassettes knowing that I was going to compile them later in my computer. Then I got sidetracked and burned-out from it and took about a 6 month break. Not on purpose. My creative process just works like that sometimes. I use up so much energy on writing a complete album in about a week or so but I get burnt if I don’t complete that project fully and I move on to another and come back to it at some point later. But I don’t stop writing and recording. I actually made the Acidcasterz album in a week and my first 4 Indifferent Spaces albums somewhere during that 6 month break. But Spades was one of those projects that required more than just 2 weeks work. Then one day I showed a friend some of the unfinished acoustic tracks and he was like “Dude, I can’t wait till you finish that.” And that inspired me to finish. So I then transferred all of the 4-track recordings into my Macbook and added all of the other instruments, vocals and samples in about another week and a half. All in all that album took about 3 weeks to make. But I guess you could say 6 months, because the thoughts and experiences I had in between sessions helped shape the album a lot I suppose. A lot of healing happened. Music is therapy. Anyway, the world didn’t end.