Rosetta Singer Mike Armine Battles Anxiety to Make Incredible Music
Rosetta frontman Mike Armine has a reputation for being a noise manipulator, trafficking in dark, ambient and droney music that'll loosen your teeth from your gums. His solo debut, The Cleansing Undertones of Wake/Lift, dropped in 2007 and has since been remastered and coupled as a double album with this newest effort, Verse. It's certainly different than his work in Rosetta, but the spirit is the same. Armine sticks to a credo of refusing to make music that conforms or bores.
Noisecreep spoke to Armine about why he chose to branch off and do solo stuff aside from Rosetta. He also shared some details about his anxiety, which fostered his creativity. He also clued us in on what he does with what's left of his free time. Hint: it involves kids and dogs!
What is your main incentive for doing solo stuff aside from Rosetta, other than it sounds different?
It was an excuse to stay inside. Around the time Rosetta got back from Europe in 2009, I started to get pretty bad bouts of anxiety. So I would stay inside and work on the Verse material as a means of escape. From that excuse grew the want to see if I could replicate sounds from various electronic genres that I enjoy. Later I would attempt to fuse them.
The Philly scene has spawned so many great underground metal bands over the years. What's in the water?
According to PWD, we add chlorine to decontaminate, and fluoride, so our teeth will glow.
Can you pick one song/piece of music on Verse and share a writing or recording story?
I wish I had a crazy story to add in here, one where ninjas storm my house and are killed by zombies living in my basement. But sadly I don't. Winters in Philadelphia are very somber and people don't go out much. I spend a lot of time alone in my house, sitting around with my dogs, sampling instruments, and twisting sounds.
Sounds like that approach is serving you well. Do you have any non-music hobbies or skills?
Currently, I teach AP Psychology, Sociology, and American Government to High School Seniors. When the school day is done, I put in about three hours working to train and rehabilitate two abused pit bulls and a boxer named Miles Davis. My weekends allow time for skateboarding and refinishing old woodwork.
How come you decided to package the first solo album with Verse? Was it out of print?
It was actually a decision reached by Translation Loss. They had sold out of the Cleansing disk and were looking to repress. Around that time, I had put a few tracks available for download on my blog. Drew [at Translation Loss] had approached me to see if I would consider allowing them to press the Verse material. Initially I was ambivalent about putting it out. However it's nice to get feedback from other people about it, good and bad.
Mike Armine's Verse and The Cleansing Undertones of Wake/Lift is available now as a double CD from Translation Loss.