Interview of Melvin Ylagan by DJ Jason for AbsolutionNYC
- How did you get interested in playing music?
For as long as I can remember, and about the same time as I started drawing pictures- around 6 to 7 years old. It just came naturally from singing along to my favorite songs as a child like The Beatles, then my uncle finally taught me how to play guitar and bought me The Beatles Chord book. My brother and I were introduced to Rock music in our early years by mostly our Uncles. I eventually started humming my own songs and recording my voice on tape recorders then. I always carried music on my shoulder ever since even though I got into other things growing up.
- Who or are your main musical influences?
I would definitely say The Beatles, Black Sabbath, early metal and Thrash metal bands, my cousins finally introduced me to Bauhaus when I was 12 years old, and had been following Peter Murphy since. Also Nine Inch Nails, and other Goth, New Wave and Industrial bands I picked up from clubbing-including Depeche Mode. I never really took DM seriously until I started clubbing, I would see people wearing their shirts in College, but never really bothered until I first walked into the original (1990) Berlin club in Astoria and the song I heard as I entered the club was “Never let me down” from DM; I was an instant fan.
- Do you have a favorite band or singer? Who is it?
Always changing, I can simplify the answer to your question by saying that I listen to Depeche Mode a lot.
- How would you describe your music?
It’s pretty much how you describe it since you have the ears for this too, it’s Synth-Rock/ Alternative Goth.
- Can you give us a brief history of your career as a musician in NYC and tell us about your transition from working as synthpop singer in +Complex to a solo singer song writer musician?
Plus Complex really evolved through just fun, Vik and I hung out a lot then. One day I stayed over his pad and he showed me some songs that he was developing, I liked them a lot and just spontaneously threw some words and he liked them. That’s how we together wrote our first song, Climbed.He came up with some new music every weekend and showed them to me before we drove off to the goth clubs. We would play his music in my car and I threw words based on my personal experiences with mostly women at the time, that’s how we got our second song “Gaze.” We just built it up with time, he really was the music man, and I was the Lyrics and melody man. That eventually led to Neville Wells of The Batcave getting us into CMJ and we ended up opening for Psyche and Red Flag. The momentum for Plus Complex eventually died because of life changes and financial situation, I just couldn’t quit my art career for a band, it was just a decision that I had to make. After I was a freelancer and had more time, we were just in different places, it happens. I formed a band with my Bro called “Dihedral” after and that had less pressure since we both new that music was just a hobby and we had to keep our jobs. I always wrote my own songs on the side and realized that for me to become a complete song writer, I had to buy my own gears and record my own songs, I gradually saved and here I am today.
- Is there a message or ideology behind your songs? If so, what is it?
They are basically journals or little bios, personal experiences-wants. They are almost rituals to me-they are introspective-or verbal masturbations about being Human, or what it is to be one.
- What does it feel like to be onstage performing?
Really completes my rituals, I’m not only a recording Artist, but I’m a performing one as well.
- What are you most proud of throughout your musical history?
The magic of making songs and being able to perform them. They are invisible but affect so many. Art in general does that.
- Would you like to talk about your visual art and tell us about your comics?
Art and music to me are close relatives and very symbiotic. When I write a song about a girl for instance, I see the whole visual besides the sound, the beauty of her face, what she’s doing, what she would be like in real life, and Art comes in because I’m lucky enough to be able to draw what I just saw in my imagination-then the music I just wrote becomes a soundtrack for a specific moment in my life. That’s basically where my creation Gothis comes from, just loosely based on my real life; I draw the romantic pictures in my head, and my music becomes the sound tracks. I basically write music and art together in a one-big imaginative Universe. My ultimate escapes.
- What non-musical interests do you have?
I like going to the Gym I guess, but I always end up doing creative things or liking anything that is creative like Comics and Action figures.
- What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to a better world like a resource type of economy. I am a proud member and supporter of The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project Movement, because I believe that it’s hard or impossible for anyone to reach their highest potential in the current Monetary system. Can’t fully produce quality Art without complete peace. Art and Music must go on regardless- to fight for Humanity. And just like The Zeitgeist Movement, Art is “The Spirit of the Times.”
Melvin Ylagan on Reverbnation