Interview: Mike Shiflet

Ohio-based artist Mike Shiflet may be most known for his work in noise and experimental sound art, but the multi-talented Shiflet will be demonstrating his true range throughout 2014 with his new collaborative efforts with indie publisher Two Dollar Radio, as the small press begins its foray into microfilms. The Esoterrorist had a brief talk with Shiflet about this and other new collaborations for the year, all of which we are ecstatic to see and hear.

I’m very interested in your involvement with Two Dollar Radio, which I just learned of when the microfilm projects were announced. How did you become involved with TDR, and what projects do you plan to be working with?

Eric and Eliza from Two Dollar Radio are neighbors, and Eliza and I also have the same day job. We began carpooling without knowing each other too well, and conversations evolved over time from typical co-worker small talk into life details and eventually into the parallels of running a small publishing company and an even smaller record label. There are a lot of creative people in Columbus and a lot of ways to encounter them, but to do so via pure geographic coincidence is pretty rare.

I heard about the TDR’s plans to venture into film during some trek to or from the office and offered my assistance, thinking it would mainly be some logistical planning and project management, which is basically what I do for a living. It turns out they were more interested in utilizing my artistic talents, and I’m totally honored by that. So I’ll be working on all of the films we produce in one way or another, but won’t be doing anything at all with their publishing imprint.

Can you share any details of films already on the horizon and/or your work on them?

Sure. We have three films lined up for 2015. The first is a dark comedy by Eric called I’m Not Patrick about a teenager coming to terms with his twin brother’s suicide. The others are projects by Two Dollar Radio authors. The second will be The Removals, a sci-fi abstract written by Nicholas Rombes and directed by Grace Krilanovich. And The Greenbrier Ghost, a twist on local West Virginia folkfore, by Scott McClanahan and his Holler Presents partner Chris Oxley, will round out the initial wave. Teasers for all three can be seen on the TDR Vimeo page.

As for my involvement, I’ll be most involved in I’m Not Patrick, doing a lot of the actual camerawork and being part of the editing team in addition to working on the soundtrack. I’ll likely be doing many of the same things for The Removals, but I’m not sure to what extent yet. The Greenbrier Ghost will be less hands on. Chris and Scott have everything they need to work independently from us in Columbus, so we will be more like facilitators on an ‘as needed’ basis with that one.

Your last cassette on Spirit Throne made our year end list, a great one we almost missed. What do you have planed in 2014 as far as releases or projects?

Thanks. I’ve been playing with a drone metal trio called Asurya for just under a year now, and we’ll be recording and releasing a debut this year, but between that and the film projects I don’t anticipate having a lot of spare time for solo recording. I’m trying to finish a full-length follow-up to The Choir, The Army LP that I’ve been working on in fits and starts since summer of 2012 and have a few collaborative things in various states of recording and post-production. Hopefully I’ll be able to finalize all of those and find them homes, but I’m not starting anything new.

Asurya started as a two-piece, didn’t it? How has it expanded?

It was actually a two-piece without me, so I guess I am the expansion. I’ve been friends with the other members for a while and early last year we discussed working on a collaborative record, but after a couple sessions improvising and rehearsing for that, we felt a deeper connection and decided to become a three-piece.

I’m sure that’s going to slay. Care to elaborate on the other collaborative projects you hinted at?

At the risk of jinxing them… There is a noisy affair with Chris Goudreau (Sickness), a guitar duo with John Kolodij (High Aura’d), an album with Daniel Menche that will be a follow-up to our album Stalemate, and a new project with longtime friend and collaborator Joe Panzner that is expanding on the work we’ve done together in the past and pushing into some uncharted territory. That one is still in the early stages and is kind of shapeless at the moment. The other three are all closer to being finished.

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Keep track of Shiflet’s projects and releases here.

-Jared Micah

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