✈TRANSGRESSING IN 2014:
ELECTRO MUSICIAN PICTUREPLANE

 

By Monica Rojas and April Keller-Macleod
Photos by Jenna Ledger

There's a certain air of cool intensity about Travis Egedy, also known as Pictureplane. It's a mixture of wildness and confidence that radiates from his work and connects fans to his message of individual freedom. Here, the electronic musician discusses his music and art, as he shares his philosophical convictions, discussing the separation of "the true self" from the oppressing system of society and the purity of uninhibited revelry. 

What came first, your music or art?

I’d say my interest was always in music. Some of my earliest memories were musical ones. I’ve always done art and enjoyed drawing, but my number one passion has always been music. Not just making it, but the consuming of it; it was the only thing I always really cared about. 

Where is the craziest place you’ve played a show?

Anchorage, [Alaska] is definitely one of them. We went out with these guys with guns and got a couch off of Craigslist in the back of a truck. We drove it out to this frozen riverbed, poured gasoline all over the couch and just started firing at it with shotguns. That’s what they do for fun.

Oh man, sounds crazy. Your music is super positive. Do all your creative outlets have the same message?

Conceptually, my art and music bleed into the same thing; they’re all saying the same kind of thing for sure. They come from different regions though. My music is more spontaneous and emotional and intuitive, while my artwork is more cerebral. 

Where have you shown your art recently?

I just had a show in Slovakia and the Mishka store [in New York]. 

How did the Mishka show come about?

We’ve had a relationship for a couple of years now, mutual respect and just chilling together. They’re all really nice people and have been supportive of my music and stuff. Greg, who owns the company, has always been stoked on the shirts I’ve been making, so he approached me about doing a show there. 

"Free Mind Radical Will" is a theme you use in your art. Do you have political ideas behind this?

Yeah, I would say it’s about personal freedom and the subversion and dismantling of all forms of control. The battle for your mind and spirit, others trying to have ownership of you, which no one should. A lot of my art touches on that kind of stuff. 

What is your idea of personal control?

Just being in touch with your true self. Not letting others influence you and not allowing external forces to show you who you should be as a person. I think a lot of people are scared, or they don’t know who they are, so they adopt other identities that are given to them. You can buy an identity if you want, but it's not really you. 

A lot of your work is influenced by youth and party culture. How does that translate to your idea of personal freedom?

I have a fascination with youth culture, with people creating their own realities. The idea of celebration, intoxication, and revelry; it’s something very ancient. I’m attracted to things that are dangerous and wild, which is something I try to put into my artwork. 

There’s a philosopher named Hakim Bey who I’m really influenced by; he wrote an essay called T.A.Z. [The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism], which I have here (shows tattoo). It’s basically describing this space, length of time or happening that’s totally free, [where] there’s no hierarchal structure, like a space of chaos where anything can happen. Parties, shows, and things like this can be temporary autonomous zones. Anything can happen, and it can last for a few seconds to a few years. It’s a great essay, highly recommended. 

Genesis P-Orridge [of Psychic TV] is more famous for being a musician and artist, but I think is one of the most important philosophers in the last hundred years. It's very much about the power of your true self and asserting yourself, deconditioning the mind from control mechanisms. It’s highly influential to me. 

Do you think the Internet makes it easier for that to happen?

Sure, but it’s been going on since the dawn of advertising and selling of an image. 

How do you see youth culture changing?

It’s changed a lot. Coming from the DIY community, it used to be much more of a network. I think Facebook ruined a lot of shit, like how people relate to one another online. Myspace was much more about finding communities and reaching out to someone based on aesthetic, and you could see what they were into, you could book whole tours just by reaching out that way. Facebook is really alienating, it’s all about "me me me"…there’s no community at all. That small town DIY community is disappearing in America. New York has a really great DIY community; it’s thriving here actually.  

When can we expect your next album?

I’m working on it. I think it will be out Spring 2014. I think I want to call it Transgression...

How is it different from the sound we’ve already heard from you?

It’s more hip-hop. Weird, industrial, hip-hop/pop sounding...

Where do want to see your art and music go from here?

I always want to keep going bigger. I’d really like my next album to be heard by a lot of people. I’d love to go full pop – that’d be crazy, and I don’t know if the world is really ready for that. The world needs real artists in the pop sphere; I think there’s a real lack of that. There’s not much room for radical thought in the mainstream.