Interview: Music Artist Nocturnal Omissions
Q: Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into this field of work –and who were some of your influences growing up?
Nocturnal Omissions is an ever-evolving independent experimental electronic solo project conceived by DJ Vallen in 2002. In his youth he learned to play Piano, Bass, French Horn, Drums and was a classically trained singer. For. A while he produced photographs, poems and art under Pseudonyms to keep his anonymity. In the late 90s, he started producing electronic music in tracker formats, a remixes of others musician works between 1995–2002 under numerous pseudonyms and band names which were later co-opted by other artist. As an independent music artist they were briefly popular on MySpace in 2002–2006 and this was when much of his time was spent most his time playing in locally forgotten punk, rock and metal bands in the greater New York Metro. Before he became the keyboardist on (No More Nations/Musharaka)a collaborative punk project from 2006–2016 in San Francisco. He then returned to the studio to work on some electronic, chillwave, lo-fi trip-hop, pock-rock CDs and ended up producing 3 albums between moves for work between NYC, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. In 2021, they re-released two old albums and three new albums (originally SoundCloud exclusives).
In 2018, they signed on and formed Hashbang Entertainment Studios to re-release of all their internet-only albums after moving to Seattle. Due to the pandemic, this album wasn’t released until mid-2020 after they moved to greater NYC/Boston Metros (remastered and released on 6–6–2021).
I was heavily influenced by a diet of EBM, Industrial Rock, Darkwave, Progressive Trance, Psybent, Ambient Rock, Chillwave, Hauntology, Minimal Techno, Synthwave, and Post-Rock. Inspired by Artist like Tycho, Covenant, VNV Nation, Mesh, Depeche Mode, NMN (Mushraka), The Cure, TigerMilk (mainline entertainment), Mick Rippon (never meet your heroes, who snubbed me), Moby, Wolfsheim, Apoptygma Berzerk, The Beatles, Genesis, Trent Reznor, and Mike Patton.
Q: What kind of training have you had, if any?
As a kid, I learned to play Piano, Bass, Drums, French Horn mostly in school band with some extra practice that I paid for with money I made. After that it was all learning from trial by error, I picked up book on music theory watched videos, learned how to program in track formats in the late 90s, picked up FruityLoops, Alberton, Cubase, Reason, Protools, and other software skills by reading online material. All of this was on my own, by my own motivation, and without the support of friends or family.
The cost of equipment and software though was incredibly expensive, so it was acquired over time, and attributed to some of the delays between releases. To be honest, that and the collaborative project NMN (No More Nations) that I worked on for ten years without it being released was also another huge factor to why there’s a big gap between releases on Nocturnal Omissions.
Q: What has been your favourite project to work on so far?
Though I played in different local bands including singing in two in High School and College. My two favorite projects were 1. experimenting with noise in the Myspace Era releases that included 5 EPs and 3 albums. Most of these songs, other than a few unreleased covers, later became parts of the Aggravated Damage and Divine Atrocity. It was fun to work with an electronic sound, that didn’t always work with common music norms and brought in elements of EBM, Industrial and Progressive Trance. Admittedly, this may be why they never really reached commercial success beyond a few thousand fans online, we never bothered to pursue this further due to personal loses, inexperience, and ultimately deleted ourselves from the internet the best we could.
At the same time, I was working on a collaborative political, electronic, metal, punk project called with the working title NMN (No More Nations). Though NMN was all recorded written and tracked in 2006–2010, we’ve gone in to do touch up every other year, and has been ready for release since 2016. That project was about living in a dystopian future where the political system became divided, corrupt and everyone lived in their homes through an electronic world. Oddly enough, the events that happened in the Us during the 2016/2020 elections and the subsequent pandemic really fit the narrative of the world we were building. The problems we talked about were real, engaging, the results of political discourse and societal decay happening all around us. Those songs were too optimistic, naive, but still most of the message stays true today — in some. Areas we have improved, in other areas regressed and generally have not come all that far the concerns we raised in 2008.
Q: How did you get the gig?
Everything I’ve done has been self-financed, independently produced including all the pictures and artwork for our current full releases. I’ve tried out for other bands and played in some local stuff. Collaborative projects are about the relationships, as much as if not more than the music. It’s easier for me to be solo but it’s never been my desire to work alone. That said, I don’t really talk about most of the local bands that I’ve played with as I was mostly just a fill in and not important to my music career.
Q: What sports do you enjoy watching?
I don’t really watch sports but use to enjoy playing, soccer, basketball, hockey, and baseball as a kid. I realized by puberty that spending time in the locker room wasn’t for me, that I preferred art, poetry, and music more than sport.
Q: What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
I hope that’s yet to come, as I have yet to gain achievements in my music career. Other than some brief myspace fame, a few albums I am proud of, most of my achievements have been in my day job or in my personal goals. In fact, in my personal live I struggle with depression, loss, chemical dependency, anxiety, dysmorphia, gender and identify issues, other mental health, cognitive issues, insecurity, and social anxiety. It never prevented me from getting on stage when I needed to or transforming into a caricature of myself and that person always exuded a level of confidence I never felt it internally.
I gave up on my solo career to focus on collaborative projects in the early 2010s when asked, I told people it was to focus on my day job and. That was the result of after a decade of negativity, rejection in the music industry, an abusive relationship where I was told that both myself and anything I did were worthless. I found ways to distract myself with video games, movies, travel, addiction, relationships, nature, but it never meant as much as writing, photography, music or even working with technology. The hiatus I took on this project between 2008–2018 are on of my biggest regrets. It’s never been about making money, fame, or the need to fill my ego. It’s always been about creation, expression, venting veiled feelings, avoiding stagnation which is death.
My biggest achievement will be when I create and produce something that catches traction. When someone out there enjoys my track and finds the beauty in its unique feel, and an album becomes a soundtrack to their lives and dreams. Something that resonates with them and that we intimately share, everything in life is about connections.
Q: If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
There are so many talented artists, both alive and dead. That said, there are only two lesser-known artists that I feel that way about. I would love to work with Dr. DJDerek of Bremerton, Washington who I’ve known since MySpace with which I’ve lost connection. He had a really fantastic way of flowing and building interestingly layered synth and live looping that I’ve always enjoyed. MC Lars is another, that I’ve met, and had contact info for since the early 2010s. I just find his music enjoyable, interesting, and much more intellectual than most mainstream musicians.
Q: What projects do you have coming up?
We’re working on an EP, a follow-up to Ascendant Sea with a post-rock feel, and also a full release after that which might be a shift away from the last few CDs bringing back vocals and lyrics in it. It’s been over a decade since I’ve sang in any real capacity and I broke my wrist In a hiking incident a few years ago. It’s changed how I write and play music, perhaps not fully for the better. Originally there were lyrics written or recorded for all of the Nocturnal Omissions songs, but ultimately, it was decided that each track was more about a feeling than a message. I’m also shifting some focus on mastering tracks with the other artists from NMN, music is something we don’t have the time we once did and I pray it does releases within my lifetime (due to schedule conflicts we all have).
Q: Who is your inspiration?
If I could go back, I’d like to have worked more with the singer/songwriter from TigerMilk of Mainline Entertainment more. He had two albums, one pressed and one unfinished that I really enjoyed. Some of my happiest times were just jamming with him and other artists we knew. He influenced so much of how I built out my song structure, production, and mastering techniques. He is without question one of the most musically talented people I’ve ever met and truly inspirational. I wish we lived closer to one another and could work on music together.
Q: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read or seen this week?
Mostly just insider articles, videos and documentaries on how the music industry works. It’s interesting how money/Payola rules everything and the constant negative feedback on gets. To be successful, it appears you need to make your career 100% of your life, sell yourself as the product and often the music comes secondary. Everything is about what sound, format, style is selling and how can we make more of it. This is why everything sounds the same and it’s rare to see risks taken in music or film. Just because something or someone is different, it does not mean that they don’t contribute beauty and value to the world. We often talk about the importance of diversity these days but we do not value it in the arts.
Q: What are your favorite venues to perform in?
Unpopular opinion but I don’t like a live performance. There was one on 21 Pearl St in Northhampton, MA I never got to perform in but loved. Dingy, dark, intimate, and cozy. As I look forward in my career, I don’t see touring as an option, I’d like to be a studio-only project. Play in basements, garages, bedrooms and just write music. I absolutely hate the demand that I need to be my brand and post my face on things. The music is what matters, not me.
Q: Social Profiles:
Band Website: https://nocturnalomissionsmusic.weebly.com/
1. Youtube Music — https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mN_s-WNwtnwHLiqVXWOgG4cTUFnhYiaTI
2. Spotify Music- http://open.spotify.com/artist/4K1Sl6wPiQjxIjlgotmjco
3. Amazon Music — https://music.amazon.com/artists/B09C2PG4PN/nocturnal-omissions
4. Apple Music — https://music.apple.com/us/artist/nocturnal-omissions/1580147532
Q: Do you have any advice for young music makers like yourself?
Start with a demo that you market on social media, Kickstart/GoFund your project, pay an expert (mastering, art, setup tours, album pressing), get noticed, sign with a good label, and let them worry about the details. This way you can focus on your life and your music.
2002 — Rhythmic Anomaly — experimental electronic rhythm, noise, and synth often not in song structure.
2006 — Divine Atrocities — EBM/EDM, Darkwave/DarkCore, Progressive Trance based.
2008 — Aggravated Damage — electronic rock-inspired album, and is inspired by post-rock and Chillwave
2019 — Ascendant Sea — industrial-inspired, electronic, and experimental with layered synth, and noise
2020 — Transientalism — lo-fi, electronic, post-rock inspired sound with layered drums/synth
2021 — Tempus Destinatum — dystopic, dark, lo-fi chillwave, inspired by loft-beats
Extended Plays (myspace only releases)
2003 — JJR EP / (2004 — Aggravated Damage EP / 2005 — Consternation EP) / (2006 — I/O Statement EP / 2007 — Rosebud EP)