Com Truise Interview: Unabashedly ’80s

“Synthesizers were finally fully integrated into [’80s] pop culture, music and movies. It was a unique period of musical experimentation in a very broad context.” — Sean Haley of Com Truise

Finding an artist like Seth Haley, the man behind the electronic project Com Truise, is quite refreshing. Rather than trying to downplay the ‘80s artists and aesthetics that have inspired him — for fear of being constantly compared to those references — Haley venerably turns his influences into transfixing and educational works.

“I love to expose my sources; my favorite thing is the source,” Haley says. “It’s really what drives me or anyone to do any certain thing, whatever that source may be.”


On his latest release, Galactic Melt, Haley wears his love for synthesizers on his sleeve; it is obvious that he is fond of films, music and novels from the ’80s. The album welcomes listeners on board what seems to be a spacecraft or possibly a DeLorean time machine. Whatever the mode of transportation may be, the music is a space adventure with galactic static and cascading meteor showers. Threaded through the electronics are moody post-punk elements evocative of Joy Division, New Order and the Cocteau Twins.

Haley brings all these influences together in a way that is interesting and exciting, but fully charged with emotion. For those who lived through that decade, listening to the music of Com Truise is like remembering a fond memory; for younger music fans that had no direct experience to that time, Haley serves as a link to the evolution that was occurring.

Listen to Com Truise’s “Beta Eyes”DOWNLOAD MP3

“Synthesizers were finally fully integrated into our pop culture, music and movies,” he says. “It was a unique period of musical experimentation in a very broad context. I feel like there is so much music out there that very few people know about, and if I show one or two people something they get attached to, then I have the utmost satisfaction.”

Having been born and raised in upstate New York, where Haley says he was not aware of any emerging electronic music scene or proper music venues, he is actually quite modest about the type of narrative that he is presenting in his music. While Haley has been making music under the Com Truise name for only a few years, he does have experience in music that roughly adds up to 10 years.

Growing up his parents exposed him to music of the ’80s with artists like Billy Joel, Boy George and the Pointer Sisters. He also enjoyed listening to hip hop, post-punk and funk, but it was not until he discovered the Chemical Brothers that he seriously became interested in electronic music.

Synthesizers were finally fully integrated into our pop culture, music and movies. It was a unique period of musical experimentation in a very broad context.” — Sean Haley of Com Truise

Listen to Com Truise’s “Polyhurt”DOWNLOAD MP3

His first step toward music creation was as a DJ and then he spent some time dabbling in drum n’ bass, Haley says. As his interests started to expand, he started various projects under the names, Sarin Sunda, SYSTM, Airliner and now, Com Truise.

Other than keeping himself busy with his musical projects, Haley was also working full-time in advertising. He moved to Princeton, New Jersey and adopted the dual roles of musician and designer. While appeasing his different senses, the two practices work together to further stimulate his creations.

“Often times, I design something with an idea for a song, EP or LP in mind even before I know what it sounds like,” he tells. “I can see what the sound looks like to me before hearing it.”

While all the tracks on Galactic Melt bring to mind amazing visuals, there are some that expose the pairing of design and electronic music in a more obvious way. Considering that in advertising, designs have to be structured and clean, it goes along well with the mathematical factors of electronic music. The adventurous feeling of tracks like “Flightwave” and “Air Cal” have a clear path and the sounds zoom from dimension to dimension with sharp percussion and intelligent configuration.

Listen to Com Truise’s “Cathode Girls”DOWNLOAD MP3

However, those synesthetic qualities are less evident on other tracks, such as, “Cathode Girls” and “Glawio,” where the electronic beats and melodies come across as being based on free-flowing emotions rather than on pre-calculated plans. The sounds are smooth and seem to spiral into oblivion like a lost love. The deep sense of nostalgia make it hard to see how Haley was able to remain focused on the end result without getting lost in the landscapes he was creating.

“I’m not transported too far, just enough to forget about the days stress, which in itself is enough,” Haley says.

Since making music helps him shake off worries of everyday life, Haley said that he tries to keep his working methods simple. Whether he is working on music or design, he prefers an environment with low light.

“I really just keep it rather simple; the world is overly complex as it is,” he comments. “We deal with so many things every day.”

While Haley continues to do design work along with his music, in 2011 he was able to leave his day job in advertising. As several tours lined up, he was able to direct all his attention to Com Truise. He spent the summer touring the United States with Phantogram and The Glitch Mob and in the fall, jumped on a tour with Neon Indian and Active Child. He also spent the later part of the year touring in Europe.

Listen to Com Truise’s Remix of Twin Shadow’s “Castles In The Sky”DOWNLOAD MP3

For his tour he has added a live drummer into the mix, which Haley says has helped make the show more engaging. However, he still wants to further work out how to best translate his music to a live setting; adding lights and visuals may be an option, but since it is something that many artists are doing, Haley wants to take the time to make it a worthwhile experience. Following the influence from the ‘80s, he would like to do something similar to the like of Factory Records artists — in particular, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

Although Haley does reference the ’80s quite a lot for his music and his future live show, such referencing does not represent a mindless admiration or a desire to reproduce the sounds from that time. As Haley puts a lot of thought into creating music and finding ways to meld different worlds, it actually has to do with telling a story and passing down information.

“I love to share what I find, not often when I first discover,” he explains. “I like to really digest it, and really figure out how my mind grows to understand it.” END.

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