Travis Egedy, better known to Denver as Pictureplane, is one of independent music's most progressive, avante-garde and straight-up rocking pop artists. He first burst onto the national scene with 2009s critically acclaimed Dark Rift and then followed that up last year with the stunning Thee Physical in 2011. His unique blend of rave, dance, punk, dub, and pop has gotten him featured in Vice magazine, Pitchfork and The Fader magazine. Egedy recently spoke with The Huffington Post about being an artist in Denver, LSD being a "tool" rather than a drug, and how technology influences his music and life.
Who are you?
That is a deep question, but to put it simply: I am an artist and a freak.
How long have you been performing as Pictureplane?
My first show as Pictureplane in Denver was in 2005! That was at the legendary Monkey Mania.
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When did you start playing electronic music and what drew you to electronic music as a form?
I started making hip-hop beats while in high school. I was about 16. I always loved rap and hip-hop, which is just electronic music. Even at an early age I felt that the future was in electronic experimentation. You can only do so much with a guitar, but a synthesizer is infinite. For someone to say they don't like electronic music is just simply a ridiculous and ignorant thing to say.
How does the songwriting process work for you?
The process is really organic and spontaneous. I dont really have a set way of doing things. It is all about when inspiration strikes. It is very improvisational, which keeps it interesting for me. I have always had a very experimental approach to recording. Anything is possible.
What is it like being an artist in Denver with such a dense/diverse music scene?
Denver is such a great place to be for an artist. It is great because it is very cheap here and there is a lot of space to work with. Culture needs cheap space to flourish in. I have been very fortunate to be directly involved with Rhinoceropolis for 6 years now, and to be witness to all of the magic that has has happened directly because of that space. I would be a different person without Rhinoceropolis and Denver would be a very, very different city.
What are you wanting to explore, push, reveal with your work?
The concepts that I choose to work with are constantly changing, but there are central themes to all of my work. The ideas that are central to my work are things like the future of consciousness, evolution of spirit, the destruction of control mechanisms -- be they social, physical, or psychological -- humanity and spirituality, the universe, sexuality, and humanism and post-humanism. My work is really about being a human being in tune with their true self and trying to help others to see that also. We are all so powerful, and I am trying to raise awareness of these things. The best art is always beyond definition.
Who are you influenced by musically? Philosophically?
I am influenced by artists who push culture forward. Radical thinkers. People like Terrence McKenna, Genesis P-Orridge, Hakim Bey, many, many others. My brain is a sponge really. I am influenced by everything.
Who do you think is the most important artists making music today?
Genesis P-Orridge, Burial, Ssion, and Ryan Trecartin to name few.
How has the response been to your latest album Thee Physical?
I really hoped that album would have had a much larger impact, like a pop record. But the response has been really good! I definitely can't complain. People come up to me at my shows, all over the world, and tell me how that album has changed their lives for the better. Just weird stories of how it has affected their world. It is amazing.
It is a positive record. It is optimistic and hopeful. I wanted it to help people and the global consciousness. The album was all about physical touch and experiencing our third dimensional world through our bodies. That is why there are hands on the cover touching each other. Any statement I was trying to make was just that your body is beautiful, there are worlds beyond your body and that there is real power in sex and sexuality.
Given how technological electronic music is, how does that technology influence your own work?
Technology is an extension of our biological selves. It is a part of us and it mirrors our unconscious desires. I see technology as organic. Of course technology is such a borad term and there are very terrible things happening to the world because of technology but also very beautiful things as well. It is like a rollercoaster with no end. I honestly don't know where our obsession with technology will take us.
In 2011, you went to Teotihuacan to shoot your music video for your song "Negative Slave" -- what was that experience like?
That was such an incredible experience. It is a very sacred place and it was awe inspiring. I would love to go back. I don't think that our culture and current civilization is fully capable of truly understanding what those pyramids were actually being used for. They are a technology of some kind. The base of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan is the exact same measurement as the Grand Pyramid at Giza. There is so much that we dont know about ancient cultures. I am endlessly fascinated by it. The LSD was high grade!
Do you feel there is a benefit to taking drugs like LSD to expand the mind?
Something like LSD or any psychedelic compound should be looked at as a tool and not a "drug." They shouldn't be taken recreationally very often. I love Terrence McKenna -- he felt that psychotropic plants are here as galactic messengers of a much higher intelligence, here to help humans. Psychedelics influence my art just because they are really unexplainable and very personal -- how could that not be influential to an artist!?
Set your iPod to shuffle and list out the first 5 tracks/artists that play:
Madonna -- "Animal"
LIL B featuring Messy Marv -- "I look like Hannah Montana"
Apollo Two -- "Atlantis (I Need You Remix)"
Guido -- "Woke Up Early"
LIL B -- "Thrift Store"
LISTEN to Pictureplane's recently released Dimensional Rip 7: Thee Physical Remixes: