God Body Disconnect
God Body Disconnect is a New Jersey (USA) based musical project by Bruce Moallem.
Previously, Bruce has been both drummer and lyricist to the experimental death metal act, Dripping.
Over the course of some years, God Body Disconnect has developed and refined a unique sound which focuses on a personal exploration of the unconscious mind.
His debut album, Dredge Portals, speak to the facets of the individual self immersing the listener into a first person account of the mind’s excavation.
With the use of field recordings and a vocal narration, his melodic passages reflect an array of human emotions layered by both beauty and dark brooding
Interview Summer 2016
Interview by Michael Barnett
Michael: What has the experience been like for you, working on the Nyarlathotep collaboration? Was it strange working with sounds from the other artists?
Bruce: I’ve never been involved with something this big before, so I’ll have to admit I was a little nervous in the beginning. I initially thought it would be very difficult for me to work with someone else’s sounds, but it turned out to be a lot easier than I first figured. Everyone brought so many top quality sounds to the table, and the whole experience was a lot of fun.
Michael: Did you tend to use more of your own sounds on Nyarlathotep, or did you take this opportunity to work with more sounds from your label-mates?
Bruce: I did have a very specific vision when writing for Nyarlathotep, so my footprint was pretty heavy. However, I also used a lot of everyone’s material as well. In the end I’d say it was a healthy mix of using both.
Michael: Dredge Portals started the year in a big way for Cryo Chamber. Did you expect this kind of reception to your debut?
Bruce: Thanks Michael. To be honest I never expected much. Simon can tell you how nervous I was when it was first released. Truthfully I never imagined this many would like it, let alone understand it. I’m amazed at the amount of personal messages and support I’ve received from fans and fellow artists. I’ve had many people tell me how the album has helped them push through their own bouts of depression and anxiety. To be able to touch someone on that level and make that kind of difference just by sharing my music and story means the world to me. No one may realize this, but they are really the ones that have made the difference in my life.
Michael: Was Dredge Portals something that you had in mind for a long time leading up to its production, or did the concept come about after you decided to move in this direction musically?
Bruce: It still baffles my mind, but the real truth behind the concept only began to rear its head near the end of the recording process. When I first started writing the album, I originally envisioned it to be a story about a man trapped in a coma. Each track was supposed to represent his deeper decent into a bleak and disconnected world. When I was just about finished with the album, I finally understood that this wasn’t a fictional tale. Without knowing it, I was actually transcribing the inner story of my life.
Michael: Anything interesting you’d like to say about the writing and recording process of Dredge Portals?
Bruce: The thing that’s most interesting to me is how I recorded the vocals. Yes, I can confirm it is me actually doing them (and not Joe Pecsi from Goodfellas haha). A lot of the vocal sections were recorded while I was in a deep meditation. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been able to escape my surroundings and travel inwards. If you’ve ever experienced being in an isolation tank, it’s sort of the same effect; a deep lucid day dream. When recording vocals for Dredge Portals, I would first setup the studio to be as dark as possible to intensify the experience. It was a must for me to be able to shut off most stimulation and completely focus on the travel inside. I didn’t always know what I’d see, or what I’d say, but I was usually able to pull something useful from the recordings. I still continue to use these same techniques for any new music as well. It’s basically a type of self-therapy where I not only achieve a sense of direction for the music’s concept but also gain a better understanding of myself.
Michael: The style of Dredge Portals breaks the mold in many ways, yet still fits neatly within the dark ambient genre. Often fans of the genre are a bit more open-minded to change than fellow musicians. How do you feel your reception has been in the dark ambient scene?
Bruce: I’ve felt nothing but love and respect from everyone here. I’ve made so many new friends, both fans and artists, and I really feel like I’ve been welcomed wholeheartedly. I find people in dark ambient to generally be more opened minded than some other scenes, so it’s been really nice to be a part of all this. As far as breaking the mold, it’s not something I thought about or intended to do at all. As much as I am part of dark ambient now, when I came in I was a total outsider. I don’t bring any of the traditional dark ambient influences with me at all, so I guess it’s a natural result for my music to be this way. Looking back, out of all the music I’ve ever made, I don’t think any of it ever necessarily fit a particular mold. It’s not something I do on purpose either; it’s the fact that no matter what’s going on around me, the only voice I know I have to be true to is mine in the end.
Michael: Many dark ambient artists like to set a particular mood in the studio when working on their music. They often use meditation and/or incense and work in the late hours of the night. Do you have any kind of set rituals you like to follow when sitting down to work on music.
Bruce: I too usually work in the late hours of the night. There’s just a certain feeling of solace I get being alone when everyone else is asleep. I’ll light a few candles, break out some chamomile and herbs and then get to work. I do have one little ritual where I play a movie on mute in the background. It’s usually something from my childhood like “The Explorers” or anything 80’s really. It gives me that nice warm feeling inside to know something that has produced many happy memories is with me in the room. If I’m recording vocals however, I try to make the room as dark as possible.
Michael: Would you like to speak a little about your studio-space itself? Any favorite instruments, chairs, or software which you absolutely couldn’t live without.
Bruce: I’d love to talk about my studio. It’s my absolute favorite place to be. The walls are filled with posters of my favorite movies and bands, so wherever I look I have something to bring me inspiration and happiness. It’s like a time capsule of memories from my life. My studio also doubles as an entertainment room where I also watch movies and play video games. For me it’s the ultimate man cave. As far as studio gear my favorite piece of equipment would have to be my ribbon mic. I bought it years ago mainly to record room ambience for drum and percussion recordings, but while recording Dredge Portals I realized its real power is in recording vocals. I’m also a headphone and in-ear monitor collector, and I own quite a few I’m fond of.
Michael: God Body Disconnect is not your first musical endeavor. Would you like to speak a little bit about your previous musical projects?
Bruce: Sure, besides GBD I’m probably most known for playing drums in the death metal band Dripping. We released our debut in 2001. Most of the music is long out of print, although I did see a Dripping album the other day going for a ridiculous $300 on Discogs! One interesting thing about Dripping, is if you listen to the first album you’ll hear my vocal narrations all over it. I didn’t know it at the time, but I guess the seeds for God Body Disconnect were being sown back then. After Dripping disbanded, I mainly played in small personal projects with close friends. Over the years we did everything from death and black metal to jazz fusion, and dreamy shoegaze rock.
Michael: Have you been listening to dark ambient for many years, or is this a relatively new genre to you?
Bruce: Up until the time I sent my music to Simon, I literally had no idea there was a real scene for this type of music. I always figured it was just called “cinematic music”, composed mainly for film soundtracks.
Then one day I started playing around on band camp searching for other musicians that had a similar sound. Mostly every artist that I really liked were all on Cryo Chamber. So I figured I’d give it a shot and sent my music out to them. I never imagined there would be any interest from the label, but Simon got back to me within the hour and the rest is history.
Michael: Locus Arcadia is a story-driven project, which seems mostly linear. We have a unique addition to the album in the preface you wrote. I wonder which came first the preface or the album’s theme?
Bruce: The written prologue was something I quietly started working on in the very early stages. Its original purpose was for me to have an outlet for my thoughts and to better immerse myself in the storyline. It was always a constant work in progress and as we all moved deeper in the process, the prologue adapted as well.
Michael: How closely did you work with the other artists involved in the project to coordinate these minute details to give listeners such a vivid image in their minds.
Bruce: Although we did coordinate on many aspects of the album, I can’t say that we focused much on the very fine details. We really left those up to the discretion of each individual artist. Everyone had their own unique way of creating the album’s scenery, and the cool thing about Locus Arcadia is that we were all able to accomplish that with free creative reign.
Michael: How has your overall experience been so far with Cryo Chamber?
Bruce: I couldn’t ask for a better situation. On the professional side of it, it’s a damn good label that truly respects the artists, and that’s not something you usually see in this business. There’s also a personal aspect to being part of the Cryo Chamber Family. I can consider everyone I’ve come across to be a friend that I’ll be able to ask advice of, whether that be production wise or even personal in certain cases. However, out of everything I’ve experienced here, it would be impossible not to speak about Simon Heath. He’s been there from the beginning and is always encouraging and believing in me even when I sometimes doubt myself. What can I say, I have a soft spot for the guy, he took me in when I was a complete nobody. I went from being a reclusive unknown to standing side by side with some of the most talented artists around. That’s something I can’t forget.
Michael: Do you think the apocalypse is coming and how do you think it will happen?
Bruce: It’s an interesting question. By looking at all the turmoil the world is in, you would think it could happen at any time. However, to be honest I’ve never put much thought into “the end.” I try not to allow myself to go down that hole. I work hard to keep myself in the present as much as I can. To think about any future hypothetical events I have no control of would definitely not be a good idea for me. I feel the same way about the supernatural. I don’t want to even entertain the idea of its existence whatsoever. I have my own demons to fight. I don’t need to add any others to the fight.
Michael: I’ll leave the final words to you, to say anything else you might like fans to know about you, which I haven’t covered here.
Bruce: First off, I want to thank you Michael for giving me the opportunity here. It’s not every day I get an outlet to express myself like this. I also want to thank Simon Heath and all my fellow Cryo Chamber mates for being some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. Last but not least, I want to give a big thanks for everyone out there that I’ve been able to share my music with. For many years I kept my musical exploits to myself and away from the public. There was also a time in my life when I almost gave up creating music. When I first started God Body Disconnect, I never intended to release any of the music and planned on keeping it mainly for myself. But, after everything I’ve experienced in the past year, I’m glad I decided to step out of the shadows and become part of all of this. I realized it’s never too late to do anything in life.