Tristan Shone leads the one-man industrial project, Author & Punisher, based out of San Diego and notable for the homemade created instruments titled ‘Drone Machines’ and ‘Dub Machines.’ His sixth album, Melk en Honing, was released earlier this year via Philip H. Anselmo’s Housecore Records. Click here to purchase the LP on iTunes. You can currently catch Author & Punisher live during his North American headlining tour now.
Let’s start at the beginning, before you started experimenting with drone and dub as Author & Punisher, were you formally taught or played any more conventional instruments?
Yeah, I grew up playing piano and then I switched over to guitar and bass right around highschool when I started listening to more guitar-based music. I lived in a big rural area, so there wasn’t much access to the music I listen to now.
Obviously your approach to music is far from what is considered normal in mainstream. When you began this project, was there a specific artist or inspiration that sparked your desire to take this route?
Musically, I knew I wanted to do a one-man band scenario early on from seeing a lot of solo electronic producers and the sound quality they could produce live by themselves. After awhile, I felt that I wanted to do something heavier. I went to art school and saw a bunch of sculptors and somehow in there I found my way to get to the robotics, which lead to my instruments.
Was there any artists that inspired how you wanted to build instruments?
Not really, at the time, I wasn’t really into modulars. I had only used one drum machine and I was using a laptop. If there was anything, it was more from the sound system side of things when I learned how to build my own speakers. I started moving away from the Guitar Center bought cabinets and realized I can built what I wanted myself.
You recently released Melk en Honing. Was there any specific goal you had musically when you began writing and recording for this album in comparison to past releases?
I think one thing I wanted to do was have less of the softer tracks that I had in the past and more of a live sound, so I can produce it in a live scenario without backing tracks. Also, working with Phil Anselmo, I wanted to make the vocals more prominent.
This album is arguably one of your most lyrically heavy. Was there a theme or message you are hoping to convey with these lyrics?
My approach is a bit from more from an abstract standpoint. The lyrics might be political, but also an unveil of urban fantasy. Living in San Diego, we live in this paradise. I surf everyday and am surrounded by water, but at the same time, I run into so many negative people who really shouldn’t have anything to complain about. So, the album’s lyrics are about battling an internal warfare that doesn’t exist. “The Barge” is an example of that.
You’ll begin your tour in support of the album next week. Can you describe what fans can expect from your live show this go around?
First of all, I’m bringing another band with me called Muscle and Marrow, which I’m really excited about. They are two musicians, Kira Clark and Keith McGraw, and are very much out there, kind of a Chelsea Wolfe vibe. From my standpoint, I’m bringing my entire speaker setup and they’re all custom made. I’ll definitely play stuff from the new album as well.
As an artist with both electronic and metal styles throughout your material, do you relate or identify with those genres or do you think your music falls elsewhere on the genre spectrum?
In a lot of ways, I think I’ll describe myself as industrial, but I don’t listen to any industrial music. I listen to a lot of doom metal. I would say something like melodic doom industrial, but that’s too many words already.
Do you ever feel inclined to write verse-chorus-verse or more conventional material?
I think this is probably the most conventional album I’ve ever had. A song like “Terrorbird,” which I released before, was very much a conventional, simple track. A lot of my songs do have verse and chorus, but maybe just because they are slowed down and dark, people don’t hear it.
You recently collaborated with Cattle Decapitation for the track “Plagueborne” on their most recent album. Can you discuss how this connection began and the process?
Travis [Ryan] and all the other guys, I’ve known since I’ve started doing Author & Punisher. Right when I moved to San Diego, I met them and he is really into more experimental stuff. We’ve been talking about doing something together for awhile, so for this album they were reaching out for some extra bits on a track. I recorded my part and sent it to them. But, there is talk of possibly of doing something more with Cattle Decapitation.
Are there any other particular artists you’d feel compelled to collaborate with in the future?
I would say female vocalists similar to Muscle and Marrow or someone in the more hip-hop realm like I would really love to collaborate with FKA Twigs.
What do you see in the further future of Author & Punisher?
I think it will be delegated by my instruments. I have designs right now, but they are very expensive to make. Starting after touring, I’ll start planning to do new pieces. A lot of the times, they are heavy enough to pull me in a certain direction.