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An Interview With Possessor

Possessor hits us with an instant classic track, and when we say that we mean the kind you'd hear in the goth club in downtown L.A. in the late 90's and early 2000's complete with smooth vocals that come through with allure and a sexiness that is backed by a retro cold-wave and alt-pop tone.

"Fatal Fixations" is lush and full-bodied as it hits those post punk soundscapes with synths that cut and swell, pads that create atmosphere and let you groove with the flow and float through the edgy either of the track.

The nostalgic power behind this track is damn near perfection and it makes the whole aesthetic hit the sweet spot it was meant to.

The single comes with a music video that pushes all of these factors even more as it starts with and a kid in a classic chat room. Something some of us remember quite well and was indeed a heavy sign of those times.

This whole thing is just electric and features some engulfing undertones and hooks that actually do stick with you for hours on end.

So, if you're looking for the sound of something you've been missing for years, then this one is surely for you.

With the release of such an aesthetically pleasing single and video, we wanted to have a chat with Possessor to find out where this all came from.

Here's what happened.

Buzz Slayer: This track has a cinematic darkwave and synth-pop feel to it. Where did this single come from?

Jon: I really wanted to subvert the expectations of “pop” music with this track. A lot of our music leans towards a much darker aesthetic, but we do have a fondness for some pop culture and classic pop songs. Aesthetically, I wanted to blend classic synth pop sounds with dance friendly electronic elements, as well as some of the great iconic synth sounds of the 80’s and 90’s (I was just starting to appreciate the synth and electronic drum sounds used in Madonna's early work.)

I also wanted to create a track that would sort of infiltrate the pop scene while also calling attention to the narcissism inherent in pop personalities, which when you think about it, can be pretty disturbing. And of course, our darker sensibilities always manifest in our music, placing us in the darkwave realm.

Blaze: For me and where I was coming from writing the vocal melodies and lyrics, the song is about our obsession with celebrity, the voracity with which we consume social media, and about being an artist in the modern era. There is also the duality between expressing yourself authentically and what it takes to be successful as an artist. The modern monster is both of the people on either side of the screen and both are subject to the highs and lows that come with being seen and being the onlooker.

Buzz Slayer: The music video was amazing! Did you come up with the idea? Did this come out how you expected?

Jon: Blaze and I were involved in some of the early stages of the production, but the fleshed-out product was the creation of the co-directing dream team, Esther Zeilig and Xavier Hamel. Esther is my partner and Xavier is our good friend. The three of us have been wanting to collaborate on a creative project for a very long time. Once Blaze and I formed Possessor, we knew the collaboration was inevitable. The music video was an immensely collaborative labor of love. In addition to the talented directors, we got the chance to work with an amazing cast and crew of seasoned artists. Given the collaborators, I had high expectations, but the music video turned out better than I ever dreamed of. All of us share a love for horror movies and artistic provocation. The music video was an homage to classic techno horror movies with pessimistic views on technology. Some of the films that inspired include Videodrome, Tetsuo, and Pulse.

Blaze: The music video came out exactly how I envisioned when we were writing the song.

Esther and Xavier were able to take this idea that I had of the modern monster and bring it to life visually. I love the contrast of being a monster in the modern era against a backdrop of 90s nostalgia. The warm glow of sentimentality clashes with the harsh lines, materials, and cold color scheme of the modern monster’s world, but in the end the onlooker chooses it anyway. I think it’s both a perfect visual representation for what the song is about as well as aesthetically representing who we are and what kind of music we make.

Buzz Slayer: When did this start for you guys?

Jon: I have been quietly producing music for about 10 years now. In the past I was really into experimental music and a lot of the music I was making would probably fall in the ambient and drone genre. The guitar was my main instrument. I had been itching to pick up the synth for a while and once the world began shutting down due to the pandemic, I took it as an opportunity to learn how to use a synth and get comfortable producing electronic music. After spending about a year trying to find the right vocalist to collaborate with, I came across a classified ad that Blaze put out. I saw that we had a similar music taste and I was really impressed by her live performances.

Blaze: We’ve been working together for about a year now. We started completely remotely, having never met in person. It was a really interesting experience and I think it helped us both grow as musicians. I’ve been doing music for a long time, but I’ve always done the hard rock, metal, and punk side of things. I was looking to try my hand at something new and when Jon reached out, I was super excited to get involved in a genre that I’ve always enjoyed listening to, but never tried making myself. It was really exciting to express myself in a way that was completely new.

Buzz Slayer: What inspires you to write a song?

John: My goal is to be able to create music that resonates with other outsiders such as myself, because music for people like me is not always easy to find. When I am battling demons, feeling isolated, or going through a period of deep introspection, I use music as a guide. Every now and then I find an artist or a track that really resonates with what I am going through, and it can be very motivating and inspiring. Speaking to the more impulsive side of things, I am often compelled to work on music when I come across a provocative work of visual art, such as a film, photo, or a painting.

Blaze: I get inspired by tons of things. Music, art, and my own experiences. Sometimes it feels like music is the only way I can get a feeling out of me and into the world.

Buzz Slayer: This track has some great styles! Can you give us some of your top musical influences?

Jon: I am a big fan of old school as well as more modern takes on Darkwave, New Wave, Minimal Synth, and Post-punk sounds, but I take what I can from all genres. For this track in particular, I would name Madonna and Void Vision as major influences. I also wanted to incorporate some musical elements reminiscent of slasher horror film scores, so I guess you could say I was also influenced by John Carpenter.

Buzz Slayer: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

Blaze: I’m a total nightowl and I’m constantly looking to be inspired. I read books, watch movies, and I love to travel. I’ve definitely pulled inspiration from many nights spent in bars.

Buzz Slayer: Who’s in your headphones right now?

Jon: I really like what I have been hearing from Milliken Chamber and Patriarchy. Milliken chamber’s music has a really unique and immersive quality to it, while Patriarchy’s music is very provocative. Both bands are doing great things.

Blaze: An eclectic mix of darkwave, newer more disco goth stuff, lots of metal. All Your Sisters, Chelsea Wolfe, Curses, The Soft Moon, Spike Hellis, Void Vision, Minuit Machine. Everyone’s listening to the new Patriarchy album and rightly so. It’s great.

Buzz Slayer: Are you doing any live performances right now?

Jon: Possessor has not done any live performances yet, but we plan to very soon. We formed during the height of the pandemic and most of our collaboration has been remote. I have been sending Blaze early versions of tracks, she would add vocal melodies and lyrics, then we would slowly flesh out the track together. We also both kind of lead double lives as artists and career workers. It has been tough to balance our creative lives with our professional lives, but we are getting the hang of it. I think fans can expect to see us perform live during 2023.

Blaze: Performing live is one of the great loves of my life. It is the ultimate self-expression. You get it all - the music, the visuals, the performance. There’s nothing like leaving it all on the stage.

We are definitely performing live soon! We have some more new music we are working on, some stuff to work on to make the live performance right. It’s something to look forward to for sure.

Buzz Slayer: This single feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming bands out there?

Jon: Don’t romanticize being an artist. As fulfilling and satisfying as it is to produce art, it is extremely difficult and draining work. A good track does not usually materialize after a sudden surge of inspiration. Like any other kind of work, an artist has to put in the hours, even when they are not inspired. Make it part of your routine to work on music consistently, and be realistic about when you need to take breaks because burnout is not easy to recover from.

Blaze: I agree with that. It won’t always come easy. You have to continuously challenge yourself both in your songwriting as well as your abilities. It can be hard to take a real good look at yourself in order to express yourself authentically. Don’t be afraid to let people really see you. My biggest advice, though, would be to finish your songs and release them! You can easily fall into the trap of starting a bunch of songs and never actually finishing any or never releasing what you write. Sometimes you have to sit down and really muscle a song and that’s okay. Not every song is going to instantly flow out of you. A finished and released song is better than a song that sits in journal purgatory.

Buzz Slayer: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

Jon: Fans can expect new music, a new music video and live shows in 2023. I think they can also expect Possessor to take them to some darker places with the next release.

Blaze: I can’t wait to release more music! I’m excited to see where our sound goes next. We have a lot of new stuff coming and I can’t wait to see what people think.

Buzz Slayer: What would you like to say to fans of the music?

Jon: Thank you so much for your support. I hope our music makes you feel something and helps you through some tough times.

Blaze: Thank you so much for listening, for watching, for the likes and comments on social media. It feels amazing to see people enjoying this labor of love. Looking forward to more stuff

in 2023.

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