Celldweller's latest album might be called End of an Empire but the project is only getting better. The man behind the moniker, Klayton, joined AXS for a phone interview to discuss the record - and how he's continuing to push electronic in all sorts of bold new directions.
If you haven't heard Celldweller, the sound is impossible to describe. Influenced by everything from thrash metal to EDM, Klayton has created a musical melting pot that combines the best elements of a number of genres to create something that must be heard to be believed. He doesn't want to exist in any sort of genre box, and places a critical emphasis on storytelling. In his world, music and visuals have always gone hand in hand, and he told us that much of the music he created early in his career were really just soundtracks to movies he made up in his head.
"The more I go along here, every album has become more conceptual and be visual and context behind it and the story line is more raveled tightly into the lyrics and content itself," he told us, noting that there's a 40-page comic book that was released in conjunction with End of an Empire that tells the story of the characters he's introduced in the lead-up to the record.
"I'm a big science fiction guy, so that's the kind of world I love," he continued, "and this is a final telling of this story that puts them all in the same world so you can see what it's been building to. The lyrics tie into these concepts as well."
In that sense, Klayton is a storyteller who happens to use music rather than prose to create. Aside from his record, he's also working on other story-driven projects such as the "Killer Instinct" video game franchise and the upcoming feature film "Deepwater Horizon." No matter what he's working on, he told us that he's just thankful that he gets to make music as a career, that people think what he does is good enough to call him up for a project or to support as a fan.
2016 is also bringing his career full circle. Klayton revealed that he has recently been able to purchase all of the old masters for his first five albums, which were part of the previous project Circle of Dust. Having lost the material to another label for over 20 years, after an extended back and forth he was able to re-acquire the material and his next ambition is to properly re-release the albums with a ton of bonus footage. Whether it's his past work or what he's doing in the present, all he cares about is doing it well.
"I've been doing this for decades and it hasn't really mattered what happened in the mainstream, what's popular or not, it's what moves me," he reflected. "I'm glad that it's opening the minds of people in the modern day and I don't know where it's headed, but I think it's a positive thing that America is more open to electronic based music."
End of an Empire is now available on iTunes.
For more on Celldweller, visit the artist page at AXS.