by Sam Rosenberg (@2inchastronaut)
Even though you are a person on earth, or even potentially a ‘music fan,’ you may not have heard of Aaron Tullier. You may not be familiar with any of the gush of releases on his Defective Bat Records, which come out at regular intervals under a spate of monikers that tend to follow an adjective/animal formula, similar to the label name itself. You may not have ever seen him blow a shrill flute lead between maniacal howls and dance moves, all while a menacing industrial beat throbbed beneath. You may not have heard him rap, sing love songs over kitschy midi beats, or play the drums in a Blink 182 cover band. You may not have seen him rip gorgeously strident guitar solos in any of several different noisy rock bands. You may not have seen any of his incredible stop motion music videos, read any of his very bizarre short stories, or the draft of a fairly straightforward juvenile fiction novel he’s currently working on. Or, maybe you are familiar with any or all of the items on his resume, and then maybe you are as confused as I am.
Many years ago, I sat behind a drum set in Aaron’s basement and tried to follow along as he described what he wanted for a song. “It’s kind of like...” he started, and then began doing weird undulating flow-y arm gestures and making insane mouth noises. He never quite finished the thought, but I knew whatever I was doing didn’t quite live up to what he had in his head. Anyway, I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about then and not much has changed since.
SR: Combing through the Defective Bat Bandcamp page, it's obvious that you have a lot of different projects where you're the sole member. Is there a reason you aren't inclined to just stick to one thing? Do you have favorites?
AT: I really don't know. Maybe it's my nature to keep switching back and forth, like an endless dial. I've been trying to narrow it down over the years. Focus on a few things that are worth pursuing. You know, half of all those projects are jokes with varying degrees of seriousness or carefree artistic combustion.
SR: What ground that you haven't covered, musically speaking, would you be most eager to try and explore?
AT: Maybe soundtracks. Usually when I make videos it's in service to a song. Not the other way around.
SR: You seem to have a pretty relentless stream of creative output, musically and otherwise. What's your biggest motivator? What's the most satisfying part of creating and releasing something for you?
AT: I don't know what I'd do otherwise. Recently it's been satisfying to get the result, the end, the finished idea, (hopefully) fully realized and standing on its own, that I can be proud of. But then again, I was working on some writing recently. And when I finished and put that aside, and I started working on some music, it felt so goddamn good, just satisfying just to be doing it. What do they say, you can't dance to a book?
SR: How important is it to you that the individual projects sound like themselves? Like, do you want a This Active Dad release to be instantly distinguishable from the other things in your catalogue, or does it matter?
AT: That's interesting. In my head they are all different, in my dreamscape. Ya know, I intentionally (or unintentionally) set up aesthetics and loose parameters for a project and let it evolve. So they have their loose set of rules of existence of which I am the master overseer. I guess I hope people pick up on the idea that they are different from each other, but whatever. It all comes from the same source…. And I think it's equally important for things to not sound like themselves sometimes.
SR: How much time do you spend working on music?
AT: Um, well… when I'm not obsessing over films, I try to devote all of my free time to it.
SR: Do you have any desire to play music with other people?
AT: Yeah. I'm getting tired of thinking "oh maybe I should adjust the EQ of the bass," or setting the master differently when preparing for a Steamy Wolves set. I dream about the "plug guitar into amp" scenario. But I don't know man. I'm worried I'm too acclimated to flying solo. Roll up to band practice like a deranged hermit. I'm working on it.
SR: How sick have you gotten at the flute?
AT: Terminally ill.