Miserylab - 'This project is completely reliant on social media'

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08 Jul, 2011 Share

Miserylab - 'This project is completely reliant on social media'
Miserylab is the post-punk/alternative solo-project of Porl King (originally from Liverpool but recently based in Leeds (UK)), that was founded in 2000. Porl King was the singer/guitarist of Rosetta Stone, a goth-band that split up in 1998, being responsible for many well-known dancefloor-fillers in the new-wave scene in the '90's like "An Eye For The Main Chance", "The Witch", "Nothing" and "Adrenaline".

He used the name Miserylab (at that time written as "misery:lab") first as a projectname for remixing and producing bands like Elbow, Mellow and My Vitriol.
Since 2005 Miserylab is the "official" new project from Porl and 5 albums were already released via digital download. (By DJ Wildhoney)

SL: in 1997 you lost a part of your left little finger, in 2007 you suffered from a heart attack, how is your health today?


PK: To be honest - I think I tend to push my luck regarding my health - after my heart attack I was full of good intentions - It was impressed upon me - the importance of regular exercise and watching what food I eat ... but with time all these things have kinda slipped by the way side ... I always keep meaning to start doing the right thing but it never seems to happen ... regarding my finger - that never really settled down - I'm still unable to use it - the nerve endings on the tip are totally fucked - I'm still unable to use it when playing guitar ...

SL: your view on today's world is for sure hopeless, very dark and depressed. Your lyrics show you are very much against capitalism, authority, religion, animal abuse, etc. How do you make it till the end of the day, carrying so much negative misery with you?

PK: I get asked this quite a lot - and sometimes quite critically ... contrary to how I might appear I'm actually quite laid back - and quiet ... I don't spend every second of my life intensely analysing the worlds problems ... I do tend to have as normal a day as everyone else - I love spending time with my girlfriend Kathryn - and I'm fascinated with watching our grandaughter poppy growing up ... these things make me very content ... but artistically I'm drawn to the general horror of our world - and I think this is also quite natural - in our quietest 'alone time' - we tend to be consumed by our worries and fears for example last thing at night - just as we are going to sleep we often find ourselves worrying about things - we're never consumed by happy thoughts or memories of good times - it seems quite natural for the human mind to wallow in fear ... when writing lyrics this too is 'alone time' ... if I didn't write about 'real' issues and followed a more ambiguous dark poetic path - I don't think the emotion in my vocal would by as sincere as it is ...

SL: what is your vision upon the daily impact of mass-media like tv, radio, newspapers, etc.?

PK: That's a very multifaceted question - and would be difficult to answer completely ... I'm not so sure that I think the media are desperately trying to mislead us - but I think there's a danger from the aspirations that come from the coverage of popular culture - and I also believe there's more to be worried about regarding the stories they don't cover as opposed to the ones they do ... they do like to sell us stories of 'fear' which play right into the hands of the political who definitely benefit from those kinds of news items - muslim fanatics - viruses etc ... you can trust us to protect you - keep voting for us ...

SL: why took it so long before you finally joined the internet with Miserylab? There was a long absence from you, although before you were a very active user...

PK: I think I'd just become comfortable with not using the internet - and I didn't really miss it - after the Rosetta Stone split and scene politics I'd endured it just felt the healthiest thing to do ... for sometime I concentrated on remixing and had a number of mixes released under the moniker miserylab ...

The only reason I ended up back on the internet was because I was encouraged to do so for convenience by a songwriter that I was programming and producing for ... curiosity got the better of me and then I discovered MySpace - this dragged me back into the whole network thing that I'd been used to during my 'usenet' days ... I created an account and started uploading songs I'd written - and then Miserylab - as a writing project grew from there ...

SL: you interact much with your loyal fanbase by offering free digital downloads, a YouTube-channel, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace pages ...
how important are social media for you nowadays as you are definitely a do-it-yourself artist? A lot of things have changed the last years, haven't they?


PK: Social media is arguably more important to Miserylab than anything - the project is completely reliant on it - I don't socialise in 'real life' - and Miserylab doesn't perform live ... so that kind of narrows the options for circulating my music ... I don't use MySpace anymore - I think YouTube and Facebook are the most useful tools on the internet ...

Interacting with listeners [hate the term fan] is pretty much what keeps my enthusiasm running ... it isn't a consciously cynical attempt to patronise people - which is something I often worry about - I am genuinely interested in what people think and how they relate to the music I produce ... it isn't an attempt to humour them into being a Miserylab fan - as people tend to come to me - as opposed to Miserylab whoring itself across a multitude of forums ...

SL: Is writing music your main job you do for living nowadays? What's the next move you will make with Miserylab?

PK: I dislike seeing Miserylab as a job - to me that kind of trivialises those that do important things with their lifes - Miserylab isn't important - it's more of an indulgence on my part - which hopefully others are able to indulge too ... the simplicity of the whole thing makes it satisfying - no touring - no egos (other than my own) - no scene politics ... all I do is sit and write music - I've never before been as productive as I am now ... and never wrote as many consistently good songs during my time with Rosetta Stone - because there was so much shit to deal with ...

There isn't much of a future plan for Miserylab - I just hope that the listener base expands and more people are able to appreciate what I do ...

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SL: your music is brought in a simple and direct way, using drumcomputer, guitar, bass, voice and keyboard. Aren't you afraid your songs might fall into repetition because of the minimalistic use of your instruments over and over again? You are not using a wide spectrum of sounds, effects or sampling, I even read on your website that you don't tune your guitar but you tune by ear?

PK: I think to be fair I have since broken some of the self imposed limitations that I created at the outset ... but I do strive to keep a continuity with each album I write ... towards the end of Rosetta Stone and continuing through my production and remix work I was quite obsessive regarding using a multitude of sounds - ear candy - and production techniques ... and I think the songwriting suffered as I over indulged in sound creating ...

In many ways Miserylab is nostalgic - and I love those early eighties albums with a particular drum machine characteristic that continues throughout an album ... rather than using multi-samples and loops to create a mass of conflicting 'virtual rooms'.

Miserylab still has a set sound pallette - I think this helps suggest an audible identity - being a recording project it can be all too easy to experiment and find no consistent character for a given album ...

And yes I do tune my guitars by ear - to a piano note ... I think it grew from laziness - but over time I discovered that it helped create subtile characteristics - plus sometimes I play really high up the fretboard on bass guitar - for example ... so I tend to tune my guitars at around the fret positions of the parts I'm working on ...



SL: I also read that it's very unlikely that you will perform live because you're diagnosed with social phobia ... no chance for your fans to see you ever live in clubs or festivals anymore?

PK: It is very unlikely - and I can assure anyone who would like to see me perform - that any frustrations they may have are incomparable to my own regarding this ... fortunately though playing live was never the most important aspect of being in a band - as long as I can continue to write and release songs I'm quite content ... but I do often think about how interesting it would be to perform my albums live ...

SL: Carbon Neutral Digital is your own digital release label. Why didn't you choose to sign a deal with another label? Do you have any plans to release or produce work from other artists as well?

PK: I'm not sure there's much to gain by signing to a small record label anymore ... my recording costs are minimal - and my listeners appear to be trusting enough to pay for my releases in advance - therefore they generate the capital for manufacture and become part of the whole process - for which I'm extremely grateful ... I'm quite sure I miss out on unit sales - but it creates a rare product that's only available for a short period of time - and has no financial risks or losses ... royalties and percentages are really quite insulting at the lower end - which is why I avoid spotify - itunes and all other resellers ...

I'd love the opportunity to remix other artists - I used to be quite good at it ...

SL: ever thought about a (long-awaited) reunion of Rosetta Stone? Are you still in touch with the other ex-members?

PK: no - and - no ...!

Website: www.miserylab.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/miserylab
MySpace: www.myspace.com/porlking

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