When Seth Haley created the fictional astronaut character “Com Truise”, telling a story solely through instrumentals, he almost inadvertently captured the sound of an era, often described as melancholic melodious synth-wave. His 2011 “Cyanide Sisters” EP quickly amassed a cult following and is now considered a classic by many. Although 2017 was the officious end of the conceptual Com Truise space saga, (the “Iteration” LP was supposed to be the last chapter), 2019 has proven to be somewhat of a rebirth for the American producer. His new LP “Persuasion System” still stutters and swells with soft synths, but the sound has become more earth-bound. Not quite grounded, but definitely giving in to gravity more. Shifting from outer space to the earth’s atmosphere, Com Truise now glides above the city landscape, taking flight at night.
We talked to Seth about what makes him happy, what makes him anxious, hit him up for sci-fi tips and discussed his recent stay in Russia.
KNOTORYUS: Let’s get into it. Talk to us about Russia! What was that like?
COM TRUISE: It was pretty amazing. It was winter, so it was cold, but I enjoy that as I’m from the northeast of the United States. It was a big historical moment for me, being fascinated with the Cold War era. I found myself pretty much in awe. It’s amazing to be fed all these ideas your whole life about a people or a place and then actually turn up there and realize that in the end we’re all the same, we all just want to enjoy our time in this life. I got to see a little bit of Moscow, got to chat with fans and eat some good food, went to a vintage arcade. It was an incredible trip. I can’t wait to return.
KNOTORYUS: Are you someone who enjoys time alone on tour?
COM TRUISE: I used to like being alone on the road more, not for selfish reasons, more so from having anxiety from travelling. I’ve definitely overcome this by now… and I’ve realized it’s far more enjoyable with someone. I have a lot of memories to myself and some I wish I could’ve shared with someone else.
KNOTORYUS: Do you miss any food or guilty pleasures from home when you’re on the road?
COM TRUISE: I miss home-cooked meals. My stomach gets really wonky on tour. I also miss my own bed. I miss my people and my dog as well, we’re a team. The thought of them definitely keeps me sane, knowing they’re out there for me. Also, I miss my Xbox!
KNOTORYUS: What are you worried or anxious about these days?
COM TRUISE: I’m worried about the state of the world. We’ve been living in troubling times, it just seems to be getting worse. I also get anxious about my health, I just turned 34 and life is short, so I’m trying to focus on my physical and mental health far more than I ever have.
KNOTORYUS: What do you do to make yourself happy?
COM TRUISE: Hand-washing the dishes at home is a very centring task for me, it was my household chore growing up, so I find it weirdly therapeutic. I also love to cook. These days I have become less complex in my search for happiness. Just driving to the beach and sitting there listening to the ocean is enough.
KNOTORYUS: I can see that! I wanted to tell you that one of your new songs, “Existence Schematic” sounds like a great opening track for a movie, so I listen to it often when I start walking to the subway. Do you have visuals in mind when you compose your music? Or specific situations or scenery?
COM TRUISE: I always hear images and I see sounds. I’m a very visual individual and find that even the slightest mental colour palette can drive my auditory explorations. I usually try hard to keep it unspecific, or even when I do feel or see a specific image, I make it blurry and degraded. It puts me more in the mind of a listener. My music is instrumental, so it’s pretty open to interpretation—I’m not directly trying to convey a specific message all of the time. I have lots of moments during writing when my mind’s eye is very focused on technology or specific visuals… and then it all disappears and I can see my family, my sister, myself playing in the sand on the beach when we were little—that’s when I try to make it fuzzy and pull less from the exact image but more of the sounds of the tones and colours of the memory. Does that make any sense at all?
KNOTORYUS: It does. Do you talk to your family about your music? What did your parents say about ‘Persuasion System’?
COM TRUISE: I sure do. I don’t get technical with them. I just keep them updated. I know they listen at home and watch all my videos and interviews. As for Persuasion System, I’m not sure they have heard much, but they’re extremely supportive of my efforts and that’s all I could ever ask for.
KNOTORYUS: I read your new album was created using gear you weren’t too familiar with. Are you someone who’s always trying out new gear? Do you have gear on your wish list that you’ve been trying to track down for ages?
COM TRUISE: I really want to make a video synth, I want to use it for the visuals on the next tour in conjunction with the visuals. I mean I’ll always dream of owning an Elka Synthex and an Oberheim OB-8. I really want an AMS-DMX & AMS-RMX too!
KNOTORYUS: As a sci-fi lover, could you give us some tips for books or comic books we can read while we listen to ‘Persuasion System’?
KNOTORYUS: Nice! Can you also show us a YouTube video you really like?
COM TRUISE: You need to watch “The Battle for Chernobyl” from 2006. It’s a terrifying and incredible story. I’ve watched it at least 20 times.
KNOTORYUS: Before we go: does this new LP mean Com Truise will stay alive for a while?
COM TRUISE: I think I might have overstated my intentions in retiring as Com Truise. Thinking about it now, I believe that I just wanted to end the long narrative and focus more on single/shorter ideas and give them more energy in the moment instead of focusing on trying to glue multiple things together. But I’m long from done making music, that’s for sure.