Percussion Lab: Being the son of Ed Ruscha, did you grow up in a largely artistic environment?
Secret Circuit: I would say it was definitely artistic. I didn't know anything else, really. I didn't really think any of my friends parents were odd or square for not being artistic either. I didn't really think about it. That said I was always making stuff for sure. Mostly drawings or just lost in my thoughts. My dad would go on trips and come back with Dali posters so I guess that really put me on a certain path!
PL: Speaking of environment, do you feel a connection to the music scene happening in LA? I guess it might be difficult to deny some connection at this point.
SC: In a way I do, but L.A. is always erasing things or brushing aside it's past. It's kind of nice in a way. There are certain bands that are definitely considered the L.A. sound like The Eagles or The Byrds, but it's not like N.Y. where things are firmly etched in the books. Really only now are people talking about it. As far as the scene in L.A. at the moment I find it more exciting than ever, really.
PL: How has the Beats in Space label been working out? Secret Circuit was one of their first releases.
SC: So far it's been amazing. I think the amount of exposure that comes from the radio show alone has helped tons. The history of the show already gives the label a firm foothold to start off with. Tim and Matt are both amazing to work with as well so it's a win! I feel very proud to be a part of it.
PL: I know the label is fairly young and still undergoing some changes, figuring things out, but do you have anything planned with them in terms of future releases?
SC: I think we are all just rolling as it goes and it seems we are all happy to work together! The full LP is coming out soon and that's a big thing to work on getting out there.
PL: It seems your productions as Secret Circuit only started getting recognized just this last year. You have a lot of self-released material from before. Any chance we'll get to hear that stuff in the future?
SC: Some of it has been released last year on the label Emotional Response. The album is called Tropical Psychedelics and it's kind of a survey of stuff recorded over the years some going back as far as '97. They are putting another one together now and also a dub remix EP which is really exciting.
PL: Can you identify the psychedelic wizard we know as Secret Circuit?
SC: It's basically a place I go mentally or spiritually. I guess you could say I'm constantly seeking, as it were. Sound, melody and rhythm are what I gravitate too. I guess at times I can be a tinkerer. I can really blast out on a synthesizer for hours but really most of the things I do are fairly immediate. Often times the first sound I get is what I use. There's a certain psychedelic principle to that process in that it's natural. Caves have reverb, mountains have echo, birds sound like birds. I find the music of Kraftwerk to have a very natural sound. Oscillations are natural. I try see things from the other side.
PL: Wearing a full face mask, referring to Secret Circuit as having "invit[ed] one basic member, Eddie Ruscha." Do you try to keep your own identity separate from the music you produce? You know, that whole artist v. art debate.
SC: It's funny but there are certain ways I approach a public persona, but it always depends on mood. Certain tribes wear masks and costumes as a way of inhabiting another being or spirit so that can come into play as well. I saw a heavy movie recently where this religious sect in Africa go through this strange and intense transformation literally frothing at the mouth for hours and thinking they are mighty political figures sacrificing animals, but then they go back to work as upstanding citizens. Answering your question, there has to be some separation. For me anyways. If I blast my brain out with a synthesizer for 5 hours and then step out to grab some coffee, you have to be able to order the coffee, or maybe say hi to a friend. It would be exhausting to inhabit that world permanently. It sounds kind of fun to do for a couple of days, actually!
PL: In terms of releasing on your favorite labels, playing with your favorite artists, creating an aura around your music—do you have an ultimate end-goal in mind for Secret Circuit?
SC: My end goal really is to ride this thing to where it needs to go. I don't visualize an end. It's like making a piece of music. Sometimes it may need a cold ending and sometimes it needs a long fade. I'm still writing it and I don't know what it needs yet.
Check out Secret Circuit's featured "Percussion Lab Mix" here.