Looking up at this burly, lumberjack-looking man with a stern face… I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as he began speaking, it was evident he was as unpretentious as can be. Just a sweet-natured guy with a robust mind and large appetite for music. He couldn’t hold in his excitement about being in Hawai’i, “I never thought I’d come to Hawaiʻi… this feels like a movie.” His sincere delight was apparent when he was ranting and raving about his fascination with Oahu’s “architecture and foliage.”
Com Truise (Seth Haley) put on a remarkable show headlining at Next Door Febuary 9th. Unraveling his magnetic beats, there was quickly a gravitational pull that had the crowd locked in. There was an unmistakable supersonic vibe in the room, which crowd-goers were feeding off of. His music has been described as 80’s synth-pop with a dark, new age flow. Although categorizing an artist like Cruise’s music is almost irrelevant, it’s much more affective to hear his songs in order to get an idea of his style. Let’s just say if one were to embark on a smooth, intergalactic voyage, they would jam to Com Truise. This type of artist isn’t what we regularly see in Honolulu, instead they’re more so listened to on the mainland. With that thought, it was really nice to see such a great turnout of Truise-loving fans! It could be an indication that Hawai’i’ is thirsty for something different… the music scene may heading towards a new direction filled with fresh artist and progressive beats.
This upper New York native had been dj-ing as a hobby for 15 years. After hearing “Blood Rockin’ Beats” by the Chemical Brothers, his love for electronic music had been sparked, “I made my mom drive me to the record store so I could buy the album” Haley said. “I would also listen to those music channels on digital cable.. I would write the song down then go and scour the Internet looking for it, I was into making mixed CD’s.” Ah, the ways we used to discover our music. We could either conform to what the radio had to offer, listen to complete albums via CD’s, or get creative. He was so drawn to beat making that he asked for turntables as his Christmas wish. “I begged and pleaded to open them a week before Christmas and I set them up under the Christmas tree. All I had was one drum n’ base record. I would mix it with my parent’s 80’s records.. like Michael Jackson, Culture Club, and the Pointer Sisters.. It was just silly.” He moved to Jersey with intentions of working in the advertising field and continued to dabble around with music on the side. He was especially beatstruck after hearing the chillwave band Neon Indian, “I thought.. this is different. I want to do something like this.” And so it began.. he started to post his music online where it unexpectedly took off. Before he knew it, he was putting in his two weeks at the advertising firm and venturing out on tour to perform through out the U.S. and Europe. “Still crazy to think about,” Haley said as he took a sip of his vodka tonic and cracked a reminiscent smile.
After a long period of time of which he submersed himself in mostly drum n’ bass, he stumbled upon the Scottish electro duo Boards of Canada, where he found himself completely blown away. “I felt a deep connection with their music, I was inspired to buy synthesizers.. They brought out something I had inside me that was hiding behind a rock, they moved that rock.” His discovery of Boards of Canada juxtaposed with meeting drum n’ bass dj’s was a life-changing point for him…“It’s kind of the reason why I’m here.”
After speaking with Haley, it was clear his success has come from doing nothing but what he wants and sticking to his guns. He doesn’t design his music style to sync with what’s current; rather he follows his intuition and natural pull towards the music he finds noteworthy. Making music comes organically to him and his passion shines through his songs, which is remarkable to see in an artist. Hopefully we will see him again in Hawai’i, but in the meantime you can check out his songs, “Cyanide Sisters,” “VHS Sex,” and “Brokendate.”
Sophia Kennedy, DJ Jem