Interview with Cameron Lewis of Ipecac Loop - conducted by Ashley Serotta & Randolph Williams of GoDaM! Governed by Electronics WMFO 91.5 FM Boston on 4/2/96

Ashley: Where are you located at this evening?

Cameron: Unfortunately, Ithaca, New York. There is not much out here but cows.

Ashley: So the scene in Ithaca is not something to write home about?

Cameron: Well, we have a scene. We have some acts in the area. For instance, Baktun 13 [formerly Habitual Discharge] who I am friends with are excellent, and a band who call themselves Digital Masters of Love make some really good stuff, though I'm not sure I like the name so much. As if I should be talking.

Randolph: When exactly did Ipecac Loop begin?

Cameron: The concept has been around most of my life although I really didn't put a name to it until two years ago. As far as writing music, I've been writing now for almost two years. Obviously not a hell of a long time to work up material, but it has been something that I had been kicking around for long time that came to fruition when I got access to some equipment; that obviously facilitated the process a great deal.

Ashley: I actually first heard about you from Wade Alin from Manifest Records and the next time I saw you, you were on Fifth Column Records, which is even bigger and better. How did that happen? You band was so different than all the other material on the label at that time.

Cameron: What happened was, when I had a certain number of songs together, I sent them out for feedback. I had thought in passing about labels, but I wasn't really looking to be signed. I just wanted to get some feedback from people whose opinion I respected from interviews and reviews that I had read on-line. Jared was in fact the first person I ever sent a copy of my stuff too. He liked it a whole lot, but we were not talking about a record deal at that point. Then I got a track on the RMI Mind/Body compilation volume 2 and sent a copy out to Wade and we really hit it off immediately. We had the same basic ideas, with what he was trying to do with the label and what we both were trying to do with music. We hooked up really quickly and tried to get the whole Manifest deal working. Unfortunately, financing turned out to be a real problem. When Manifest went defunct as a functioning label, Wade made it a personal mission to "make it up to me." He was really a powerful force in taking my music to other labels. It just so happened that he went to Jared who was already familiar with my stuff. At that point Fifth Column was gearing up to put out albums by bands other than Chemlab, so Jared was interested in a full length release and decided to put out a record.

Ashley: When I listen to it, is seems as if it was a concept album, is that a proper interpretation?

Cameron: To a certain extent. It is going to sound pretentious no matter how I say it, but it is the soundtrack to my interior life. Anything that I am currently doing in my life is going to obviously affect the outcome of the music. At that point in time I was having a really hard time with all sorts of things that were really going wrong with my life. So it has that feeling to it. There is a lot of despair that went into that record as well as, on the other end, a lot of hope. I see it not as just a collection of songs but as the way I was feeling at the time I wrote it.

Randolph: It really does seem to flow well as an entire composition.

Ashley: How has the Internet played a role in making your music? Has it been a tool for you?

Cameron: I don't view it so much as a tool rather as a place to meet like-minded people. Not that I limit it to meeting like-minded people. It seems as though there is a certain anonymity to talking to people in the various forums: it's all very faceless. I think that on one level there is a lot less prejudgement than in the "real world" where you have physical contact with someone. I think it has gone a long way to help me. It also allows you to get closer to people on another level because there is not ostensibly a lot to risk in doing so.

Ashley: Has it been good for you to introduce you music to people who might not otherwise have access to it?

Cameron: Definitely.

Ashley: In my mind that is probably the best feature of being on-line. It is a great equalizer for everyone.

Cameron: Especially if you're not playing out a great deal, going out spreading the word about your music with a physical presence: at least you can goto a forum where people will hear about you. It is definitely a powerful way to communicate.

Randolph: Have you ever performed live?

Cameron: No I haven't.

Ashley: Have you ever thought about having live composition with maybe video as well?

Cameron: Video interests me a great deal as well. In terms of making Ipecac Loop a live project, I am really not that interested. There are some problems that I have with the live performance that I would have to work out if I did it, but at this point is comes down to a choice between performing the old material or writing new music, and I'm much more interested in the latter, regardless of how it no doubt hurts record sales.

Ashley: What do you think of the current state of Industrial music today?

Cameron: There are a number of bands that I am really into, like Thine Eyes and Black Lung. As far as the state, the general public and major labels recognizing the genre existing outside of bands like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry would be nice. People have a tendency to assume on a whole that the major label acts are the cream of the crop, the people to be looked to for innovation, and it often proves to not be the case. The instant you're on a major label you have so much more to lose, so risk-taking seems to have a tendency to take a back seat to formula; all of which is not to say that that's always the case. I don't mean to imply that selling records, or getting on a major automatically mean you're going to do less exciting stuff, but I think its more than coincidence that I see a lot more exciting things happening with the smaller labels and unsigned bands as opposed to "established" mainstream music.

Ashley: Do you have anything else you'd like to share?

Cameron: I am still working on new material. People can feel free to contact me or check out my web page. Any interest in the music is great!

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