Seth Haley operates under the spoonerism Com Truise. As Truise, he cranks out releases reminiscent of ’80s synth-wave, and the American producer likes to use vintage tools to get the exact sound that he wants. Haley is particularly interested in theatrical music, and plans to release an album that concludes an existing sci-fi storyline in hopes of expanding into more cinematic endeavors. Catch him while he’s still pre-Academy Award for Best Score at Brooklyn Bowl on May 28.
You have a background in graphic design. Will you do your own visuals for the Brooklyn Bowl show?
Yes, I will be doing the visuals this time for sure.
What’s your process for deciding what you want your show to look like?
It’s based mostly on my artwork, my aesthetic. It’s very geometric. They’re very simple animations, and colorful.
You’ve incorporated live elements in your sets, such as a drummer and other instrumentalists. Will this be the case in Las Vegas?
It’s basically just me with a bunch of equipment at this point. The drummer is currently on tour with another band, so I will be coming solo this time.
I have a couple of keyboards, a couple of midi controllers and a couple of computers. It’s simple, but it does the job. For one person to handle on his own, that’s a good amount of stuff.
How does this one-man show work onstage?
I’m re-sequencing the songs. Live music controllers, I mean, they’re basically to launch a certain sound—the quips and the moods of the tracks—then I manipulate them as I go through the set. I use the synthesizers to play certain parts of certain songs, and I add some extra noises and bells and whistles.
So you’re actually making the music live onstage, rather than playing a track that’s already recorded. What about any new music?
Yes, an EP came out April 1, called Silicone Tare. [And] as soon as I get off the tour I’m on right now, I will be finishing up an [album]. There’s no release date yet, but I’m definitely going to have it finished well before the end of this year.
Is the EP a collection of unrelated songs or is there a unifying story behind it?
This EP is, yes, pretty much a collection of songs. Most of my music has a story arc that it follows. With this EP, I had some songs lying around, that I really just wanted to kind of shut the door on, move forward with some other things.
To get people ready for the album to follow?
And what’s the story behind the full album?
It evolves from my first release to this upcoming album. It’s all based on the first kind of android astronaut who has to go make contact with civilization. He falls in love with an alien girl, and he’s not supposed to have feelings. A rift happens between the two societies. The album is essentially the end of that story, so it will be action-packed, that’s for sure.
It’s definitely cinematic.
To get that storyline across to the listener, do you use vocals or melodies to help us understand what’s happening?
I prefer the more melodic instrumental stuff, but we might do a song or two with vocals. Sometimes conveying that message can be tricky. I also leave it open to anybody’s interpretation as far as how to feel.
What sort of equipment is essential to your signature sound?
I collect a lot of vintage equipment, mostly from the late ’70s and the early ’80s, synthesizers and drum machines. A lot of them have their own sound, and using that equipment gives you a certain sound automatically. I’m a big fan of science fiction. All of [the vintage equipment] has that tinge to it—spacey and drone-y. Then it gets to the hard drums and a good catchy bassline.
How were you introduced to such vintage equipment?
About seven years ago, I really fell in love with ‘80s music. I started to research by just reading liner notes on albums. They would [list] certain keyboards and equipment, and I would go research what that was and if I could find it, if it was still available. Then I started spending every last penny I had buying the stuff up and amassing a collection. I had used synthesizers before. I’ve been writing music for about 15 years, just as a hobby. I started as a DJ; deep drum and bass music. Then I just got into synthesizers. A lot of [synthesizers] are modeled off real equipment, even if they’re virtual. They really have their own character; they’re a little wobbly. Sometimes you have to let them warm up, and you can get these slight nuances in the sound that sometimes the computer just … you lose that part of it. It, hopefully, inspires some research.
What other projects do you have coming up?
There’s some film stuff that we’re in talks about doing—scores and things like that. But nothing is concrete right now.
Is cinematic music something that you enjoy, or is that just business?
That’s my passion. That’s where I really want to go with the project. I’d love to keep touring and playing shows, but I’d love to also just be locked in a studio with a motion picture, trying to make the most perfect sounds for those images.