Artist Interview with Keegan Ostrowski of ILUSEN’S FALLACY

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GS: Can you tell us a little about yourself and Ilusen’s Fallacy? How did this progressive project of yours get started.

KO: Well, actually, it started out really whimsical, almost as a humorless joke. A sixteen year old making music trying to emulate what those great, classic “overprog” guys like Yes, early Dream Theater, Death, and sorts all do in a lot of their acts, but when I revealed a playthrough of me performing Wall of Fog online, which I called “Editing2″ at the time, people really liked it. I mean, really, really liked it, a lot more than I even hoped for. So I continued, writing Cannonata, trying to still bring that really technically progressive, but old school, raw feeling sound forward, and again, people really seemed to love it, so I kept going, writing on a few more parts for some songs, eventually asking my friend Marie McAuliffe for help on a few things and over time adopting Icarus, and I gradually wrote the next songs from there.

GS: What is your background in music?

KO: Interesting you bring that up. I actually have had no formal training in music. Everything I’ve created, I’ve done mostly from inspiration, creativity, and slight collaboration. Other than that, I’ve gotten the rest of my help from research, discussing with people, and a really great freeware application that I’ve been with since 2008 called TuxGuitar, which is sort of a very bare bones GuitarPro (Can even read .gp and .ptb files). I actually recommend everyone to check out TuxGuitar, as it’s such an amazing program for completely free. Version 1.2 though. 1.3 kinda sucks. (Sorry Herac, but my friends and I waited 6 years for an update and they disappointed us). I still highly recommend it though! Very informational, demonstrative, and educational and 1.2 is very easy to use. As for what I used to do in music, I’ve played multiple house shows, but all for local punk or soft rock bands, filling in for their drummer or bassist or so, very different from my music. I was in a few bands playing sort of classic heavy metal songs, but they made me sick really quickly. I’m really genuinely happy to be by myself.

GS: I see that you handled pretty much everything on the album (composing, writing, guitar recording, vocal recording, producing, mixing, and mastering). How was the DIY process with such a large range of tasks to bear, and how did you stay focused on the myriad of different hats you had to wear during the entire process?

KO: I pretty much took everything one-at-a-time. I think composing, as its own separate period, took the longest. It started out with a few songs written, but more and more, I wanted to turn this into a full-fledged album, like the many I sat and listened to on my crappy little Dell desktop and Foobar, listening out of TV speakers, so after I solidified the decision, I took that time to create and compose as many songs as I could write, without putting in any filler. After that, recording was probably the biggest struggle. After I had finished writing everything, and getting a computer powerful enough to self-record without any flaws, I took the next year and a half to record the music, but literally half way through, (a few days after getting past the 50% mark I set myself), I ended up actually getting robbed of my entire studio. After coming back from what little the insurance actually helped, I bought everything I needed to produce on–it was another computer, an Axe Fx, I called up Kiesel guitars for a custom 7-string, I found this really neat 7-string acoustic, and a speaker system great enough to mix on, I got back to recording, and over another year, I finally finished recording everything on guitars, then vocals, and I had about a month, month and a half, left to direct, mix, and master everything, so every day, I would force myself up and not allow myself to enjoy my day until I was completely finished with the task I provided myself (Not joking) so I could finish the album by the deadline. It was very much to have on my shoulders, and it took a real far toll, but I managed to keep a cap on it, bite off one chew at a time, and eventually, I literally found myself to be finished, it was completely unexpected. I actually had 5 days left before deadline and I just found everything sounding exactly how I wanted it to. It was very stressful indeed, but it was so satisfying realizing I was done!

GS: Included on your album is 7-string fretless bass player Linus Klausenitzer of Obscura & Alkaloid. Can you elaborate a little on why he was chosen for the job opposed to all others?

KO: This is somewhat of a funny story if you’ve been in the same situation as me. Everyone besides Linus that I brought my music to absolutely could not handle what was written, both bassists and drummers. I’m still having issues with finding a drummer, two weeks after finishing, (yeah the drums are programmed), but that’s how big of a struggle it’s been, (If anyone can get Joey Baca, yeah the dude from The Contortionist to take a listen, I’d be grateful, hahahaha). Anyway, about a few months before I was supposed to actually release this entire thing, the bassist I had currently been hiring to track the bass just up and flaked. No warning, unless you counted the dozens of messages he was ignoring. So, I desperately posted to a Facebook group, asking for anyone possible to help, and everyone, as a joke, suggested I ask Linus, (or Dominic Lapointe of Beyond Creation), but I took their advice seriously, earned the courage, sent him an email, and waited. When he messaged back, he wanted to hear, so I sent him a draft of the entire album with software bass, he really enjoyed what he heard, and we actually got to work nearly immediately. After finishing one half, because of touring, he insisted to finish the second half of the album by two weeks before the deadline, but he still got it done with no problems at all as soon as he was able to begin working again, so if anyone wants to seek out someone professional’s help on your music, I would definitely contact him. That’s not like an ad, or an endorsement, I’m being dead serious. Crazy good bassist, fluent communicator, and very friendly dude. I mean it.

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GS: With “songs ranging from complex jazz to crushing death metal (usually within the same song)”, how do you think the listeners will interpret the album as a whole?

KO: Honestly, I never know. I still don’t understand how fans interpret music, as I’m constantly showing my friends a variety of genres, but ALWAYS getting very different reactions, no matter what genre or style it is. I’m hoping at best that they interpret it as something sentimental, or unique, but at very worst, I’m hoping they at least think to some of the influences I aspired to when I was writing, and recording, and mixing. I hope it inspires them to be more diverse with their own music as well, and not dwell so much in cookie cutter songwriting forms. It’s important to consider them, but a song needs to breathe in its own direction. And lastly, I hope everyone counts out ‘dem ballin’ time signatures!

GS: Is there a hidden meaning or purpose behind the album being 8 songs, 88.88 minutes and being released on 8/8/16?

KO: Actually, it came out to about 88.87, so I elongated a couple songs by a few milliseconds, and it extended to 88.88, 1:28:52.525. The only reason I did it was to achieve that perfect uniform number of “8″s. I took it as an omen that it needed to be done that certain way. Call me crazy, ask me if I give a fuck. My heart’s pulled by numerology. I would’ve played it on an 8-string if I weren’t obsessed with 7-string instruments, (And 8-string fretless bassists were common).

GS: How do you pronounce “V = ⁴⁄₃ πRot³”?

KO: Hah, uhh, Volume equals four thirds pi Rot cubed. It’s not meant to be taken seriously at all, but one day when I was rambling to a friend, I said Rot could stand for Rate over Time, meaning all things perfected will become natural over time, which the lyrics are directly referring to the equations and formulas in which we survive off of, along with the fascination of mathematics.

GS: What do you plan on doing with your music after this? 

KO: I am glad you asked. Originally, I wanted to produce another progressive death metal album, but this time pushing the limit of hours long, separated into many disks and movements, without any filler, like a giant classical piece. However, a little after I became serious about Ilusen’s Fallacy, I started to crave to develop an “old-school pixel art” video game. I was so excited to get working on it that I hired an entire team for it, but slowly, I became more invested in the album, and I gradually started losing contact with the team. I’m afraid I might have inadvertently burned some bridges by switching my devotion, but the entire time after I abandoned the project, the desire to develop the video game became stronger and stronger, and I honestly can’t resist it anymore, so I’m going to school to learn the rest of what I’m required to know to be able to create a video game when it comes to design, programming, etc, BUT, as the soundtrack, I’m going to make it THE ALBUM that scales hours long that I wanted to also create, in two versions, one as a listenable album that’s many hours long, and the other as the actual soundtrack that changes and coordinates to the video game dynamically, according to what’s happening in the game that’s hours longER. The soundtrack will still retain its progressive death metal feel, like Chris Christodoulou’s work, the designer of the Risk of Rain soundtrack, but it’s going to be a LOT more flexible in terms of soundtrack, and that’s a good thing. I take a lot of inspiration from very great video game soundtrack composers like Mike Morasky (of Valve), Koji Kondo (from The Legend of Zelda series), and Mick Gordon (yeah, the guy that did Doom 2016 and Wolfenstein), so you can definitely be assured it’s going to be diverse. I’m not going to release any details about the video game besides the fact that it’s a 2d pixel art, exploration adventure game, but I’m going to immediately devote myself to working on it again and bringing it back to life, so count on that. Besides the video game and that soundtrack, I actually wanted to remaster this album to be an augmented, condensed, perfect ecosystem of the album I produced, recorded with all live and analog instruments, including real symphony and choir, where the listener can hear EVERYTHING, but I figure that will take very long to pull off, on top of lots of money, unfortunately.

GS: Do you foresee Ilusen’s Fallacy ever becoming a live band?

KO: Ouch. This one is hard. Every time someone brings this up, I always have to choose my words wisely so I don’t look like I’m exaggerating, but everyone I’ve brought this to is either too uncoordinated to play the music on their instruments, too busy, reserved, or important to be able to help, or they live way too far from any other potential meetups for members to go through to. Another issue, is for the drummer, they’d need to have a massive kit to record, and the bassist would need to have their own 7-string fretless bass, as that’s how far the range goes. On top of it all, there are way too many effects and additions and artifacts to simulate live, such as choir and symphony, along with some electronic effects, so I’m not sure it would ever become live in the sense of concerts or shows unless I found a team devoted enough to be able to handle all of the live controls, but my dream is on top of top of bringing them aboard to remaster the album, to also recruit an entire symphony, choir, and stage team, along with the rest of the band to be able to throw a concert executed well enough to play the entire album, and have the entire thing recorded to release a live DVD, which I will probably release to the public for free, if I raise enough profits from the concert sales. So I’m very inspired and motivated to make this a live performance.

GS: Thank you for taking the time to discuss Ilusen’s Fallacy with Guitar-Sphere!

Websites:

Official releases: https://ilusens-fallacy.bandcamp.com/releases

Official updates: https://www.facebook.com/ilusensfallacy

Unofficial demos: https://soundcloud.com/ilusens-fallacy

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