“Trust in my stink and slime” reads part of a manifesto-page out of the middle of Piss Bliss vol.1, a recent comic zine from Baltimore's Max Eisenberg. It's an apt slogan from someone currently best known for his work as DJ Dog Dick, spewer of the finest festering analogue synths and hip-hop filth. The name is hard to ignore on its own, but the signature Dog Dick beats are quickly becoming equally so.
We caught up with Max via email over December 2009, and are happy to offer not only the aforementioned Piss Bliss in full below (perhaps not entirely work-safe; for glorious full detail, check out his label/website Oceans of Missouri), but an interview and three new tracks, including Whartscape 09 live banger “Grease That I Got” and a Video Hippos collaboration.
So, what's in the pipeline?
I've just started production on a full length album debut for DJ Dog Dick to be finished in the early spring. The work is being done with Joe Williams (White Williams) in his studio. Much of the record will be songs I've already produced as demo jams or synthy noise stylings… most of the substance from my live sets over the past year. For the demo jams like “Key to the Hairy Hiss Mixx” (a working title) Joe and I are totally reproducing the songs. Some new material is in the works too. Btw… “Key to the Hairy Hiss Mixx” is collaboratively produced by myself and the Schwarz. I also have a synth noise record called The Dogsynth coming out in a couple weeks. Not a DJ Dog Dick release.
What are you doing differently for The Dogsynth, that that album is under it's own moniker?
The Dogsynth is a straight up electronic synthesizer record. The title songs feature my fully fleshed synth rig of 2007 DJ Dog Dick shows: a rack of synthesizer modules and a homemade oscillator mash-up that's patched to them. The rest of the record is newer concept style electronic music arranged using the current Dog Electronics rig. All of the instrumentation I use on the album is analog electronic synthesizer.
How'd you get into building your own gear?
Wolf Eyes and Nautical Almanac. I first saw them as a teenager and that's what got me excited about hot-rod electronics. I started out making contact mics and tweaking walkie talkie circuit boards and found that I could play those to produce similar sounds to what I'd want out of a free-jazz saxophone or guitar. Then I got dogmatic about my gear and between 2003 and 2005 I wouldn't allow myself to use any “factory electronics” to make sounds. Since then I've relented on the dogma, but my rig has continued to incorporate homemade gear. Home building instruments and circuit experimenting have played huge rolls in my exploration of music over the years.
You're finding noise that you wouldn't get any other way?
Yes, I've definitely come across some sounds that I wouldn't have discovered without the experience of building my own electronic instruments. There's an organism there in the wires.
How did “DJ Dog Dick” come about?
DJ Dog Dick is a name that I inherited. I was trying to think of titles for a noise/rap music thing I was working on and most of the names had “Dick” in them or were otherwise sexual and gross. I think it was on a Nautical Almanac tour when it happened that Carly Ptak said it should be “DJ Dog Dick.” Soon thereafter, I released a split tape on Oceans of Missouri between Rap Bastard and DJ Dog Dick. Rap Bastard was a slime rap alter ego of Dirty Tony. Dirty Tony later claimed that he originated the name DJ Dog Dick in Michigan many years ago which I think is probably true. The music I've made as DJ Dog Dick has evolved a great deal since the name first came about and there have been times I've thought of changing it, but in the end I feel it's an honest narrative unfolding and I'm proud to be the one living it.
What's your Rubbed Raw project, then?
Rubbed Raw is a collaborative experiment between myself and Rob Fransisco who lives in Philadelphia. We started off in 2005 making fucked-up-party-rage-rap-music and continue, off and on hiatus, today. But our most recent stuff is on a totally different page than all the Rubbed Raw before it. I don't know exactly how to describe it. There's poetry, noise, synth-swamp, feedback melodies, and drum machine.
What brought you to Baltimore?
I moved to Baltimore on April Fools Day of 2004 into Tarantula Hill and I've lived in the settlement around Tarantula Hill ever since. I live on the same street and in the same neighborhood I lived as a baby before moving to St. Louis in 1986. Carly and Twig were the force that brought me to Baltimore which ultimately led to me being a full time Nautical Almanac member from 04' to 06'.
What's so special about West Baltimore, specifically?
West Baltimore is this run-down slum full of decrepit unmentionables. It's a state of civilization transgressed into a third world aesthetic. It's collapsed. Police helicopters run searchlights in my windows every so often and spinning blue lights illuminate the rats scurrying at night. It's the front lines of America, a place where the world as we know it seems to be becoming something else. That's a big part of why Twig and Carly settled here originally and why other like minds have followed. It's a place where artists and thinkers can create and transmit a radical new lifestyle right in the belly of the beast. The success of this has shown itself in the immense respect we share with our neighbors, the pervasiveness of the artistry we're engaged in, and the overall high quality of life we share with each other in West Baltimore and those that attend our shows/parties/seminars at the Bank and Tarantula Hill.
What local music should we know about?
Some stuff I’ve enjoyed that doesn't currently appear outside of Baltimore; there's Beastmaster, Janitor, Turquoise Cats, and Needlegun to name a few. The Schwarz, who has helped in the production of some Dj Dog Dick over the years, is constantly coming up with sick contemporary pop demos. Ponytail gets more and more interesting every time I see them and their work has always been delightful. I've been very excited hearing similarities between the current solo guitar efforts of Dustin Wong from Ponytail and Mark McGuire of Emeralds, two players I love from completely different cities and scenes, probably not even aware of each others music. In 2010 I'm looking forward to the emergence of Benny Boeldt's new body of work. What I've heard in development is very introspective and progressive and will stand in bold contrast to his freshman efforts as Adventure.
How has the city changed since you moved there? How has the recent increase in national attention affected living there?
Well there’s worthy shows or other happenings going on constantly and many of them are very well attended. There’s been a massive crossing over between all sorts of scenes which is great because the unifying emphasis is far less on specific genre and much more on lifestyle in general. As for the “national attention” on Baltimore it’s been a mixed bag. There are times I wish for a quieter city, but hey, when it was quiet I was wishing there was a lot more noise.
Are you working with anyone else right now besides the Video Hippos collab?
Benny Adventure and I have been doing jams together for a while now, those are totally in their own world. One track from that pairing is on the Dogsynth record. I fantasize about working with a bunch of other artists in the future, but I better not jinx those possibilities.
Can you tell me about Oceans of Missouri?
Oceans of Missouri is just a name brand I gave to my overall production as an artist and curator. Now the name brand is Alleypiss, but it's all part of the same continuity. The first release on Alleypiss was a Hatred 7-inch, that's a solo project of Nate Young from Wolf Eyes. It's a beautiful record. Mostly I've put out stuff from the noise scene. For the next tour I'll have a tape by HENRY. He's this incredible new force in the underground from Chicago. Look out for him. I've also got a collab tape by Skin Graft and David Russel, a collection of high BPM dungeon jams collected by Mat Brinkman called Electronic Dungeon Hell on the way.
Oceans of Missouri releases pre-2006 are cataloged with MP3s here: http://oceansofmissouri.com/releases.html
What inspires your zines and drawings?
Drawing and notetaking have always played a major role in my daily lifestyle; it's kept my general inspirations in an archive and has allowed me to glance back on the most raw states of my ideas and visions. Every once and awhile I crank out a major comic book or zine effort through which I've manifested a variety of themes pertinent to my environment and personality. The DJ Dog Dick character in Piss Bliss and A Dog Dick Afternoon is a fantasized version of myself in a fantasized world based on the slummy but enigmatic streets around my house in West Baltimore. Weaving threads of my imagination into my reality is one of the fundamental things I do with my life; the drawings and music I make, the performances I give all reflect that. Currently I'm working on an issue of Piss Bliss which explores the origin of the “Man Made of Flies” and features some new cartoon characters. It'll be available on the merch table of this January's Dogsynth / Form A Log tour.
Are you interested in any kind of multimedia combination of your visual art and music?
Many of the releases I’ve produced over the years, DJ Dog Dick or otherwise, have included music and drawings. In fact, DJ Dog Dick emerged as much a comic character as a sound and performance ego. The first full-length studio DJ Dog Dick album will include at least a couple of “crunk-realist” style pencil renderings of the world viewed from my bedroom windows and if it works out I might expand that to a whole booklet of drawings. Yea, I'm totally planning to produce some videos for my music. This spring after the record is done!
So what's this about trusting in your “stink and slime”?
The “stink and slime trust” is all about the human mind being on the same wave length as the human organism as a whole. Feeling as comfortable and confident with the unattractive aspects of being as the attractive. Dog Dick escaping his jail cell by trusting in his “stink and slime” is an analogy of how I believe individuals can transcend the woes of modern gloom and doom.
And where's this next tour gonna take you?
1/21- Columbus, OH @ Skylab with Hosebeast and more
1/22- Cleveland, OH @ Embassy w/HENRY, Rot Ton Bone, and more
1/23- Detroit, MI @ LJ's Lounge w/Regression and SS Hell Train
1/24- Rochester, NY @ KC Tea and Noodle w/Tumul
1/25- New Haven, CT @ TBA w/Colorgaurd and more
1/26- Providence, RI @ Mars Gas w/SHV and more
1/27- Northampton, MA @ TBA
1/28- New York, NY @ Death By Audio w/Oneohtrix Point Never, Autre De
Veut, and Syntophs
1/29- Philadelphia, PA @ JR's Bar w/Psychic Franklin, Embarker, and Unicorn
1/30- Baltimore, MD @ Floristree DJ'ing as Form a DOG w/Northampton
Wools, Nautical Almanac, Death Unit, Regression, and Dog Lady