A man of memes, music, words, life… Markus Wormstorm is a solipsist still smiling. Wormstorm was signed at 19 to the New York based record label Sound-Ink – which triggered a sequence of other events and collaborations that would influence the next ten years of his life. Check out an interview we did with Markus in Issue 23 “Cult of Self” of one small seed.

Markus Wormstorm created projects with Felix La Band, Waddy Jones, Sibot and Spoek Mhatambo. He’s published a book with the animation collaboration The Blackheart Gang and held art exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He toured the world, eloped in Mexico City, wrecked hotel rooms in the Ukraine, met many people – mostly girls – and got caught up in the dark underworld that lurks below the scene. Remarkably, he survived… and his tastes have begun to change.  Sarah Claire Picton found Wormstorm surrounded by wooden statues of his own devising, drinking red wine from a steel goblet, hovering somewhere between reality and fiction.
Latest tracks by Markus Wormstorm
Does the Cape Town music scene still excite you after ten year?

I would never presume to underestimate Cape Town. I’m always surprised at how sophisticated the city’s tastes are and the little sub-genres and ‘cliques’ of things that are going on that you have no idea about. All around you… all the time.

What do you think Cape Town’s reaction will be to your new musical direction into classical ensembles?

Although the style of music and performance hasn’t been around, I hope that I’ll have an audience to play to. The plan is to use our New Evening nights to introduce people to this music. I think of my music as being sophisticated without being pretentious.  It doesn’t need to be performed in a concert hall.


What is New Evenings?

It’s a non-profit organisation of which I am a partner. We perform pieces of modern classical music from the ’50s onwards that have never been performed in the country.


Tell me a bit about your latest tracks, ‘street/kid/glue/spell’ and ‘Beautiful Malema’.

With ‘street/kid/glue/spell’ I mixed with sounds recorded in Cape Town with a classical ensemble. The song tells the story of a street kid’s glue-fuelled fantasies.

With ‘Beautiful Malema’, I find it interesting to observe Julius Malema’s political theatre as it seems to play on white South Africans’ worst nightmares. Although perhaps well-founded, these fears should not blind them from the issues that are being addressed, such as the fact that land reform is vital but sadly in a complete shambles.


Where’s your head now?

I’ve reached a point in my career where I have decided to explore more serious themes in my music… for now at least. Like working in notation and with classical ensembles. Though I’m still really into electronica and modular syntheses.

Errr… what is modular synthesis?

The idea of modular synthesis is like staring at a blank page. Anything is possible.  You can create anything you can imagine if you know how too. It’s like playing with Lego. I like it because, by starting from the basics, you can build a machine that is unlike anything else. There is something very organic about the process.


What else keeps you busy?

I’m acting as executive producer on an iPad game/book called Mole/Bear, which is a group effort between The Blackheart gang and a new company called Sea Monster. Apart from that: my book. My cat Molly and my wife Ali.


You’ve been working on a sci-fi novel for the last few years. What do you think the future holds for us earthlings?

I’m all for natural capitalism. Nature isn’t a minor factor in production but rather an envelope that sustains the entire economy. This concept will eventually make many people very rich. In the end, I believe that Capitalism will save the world.

What is your novel about?

It’s a story set far in the future where the divide between economical classes is so vast that the rich appear to the poor as gods. I explore the metaphysical nature of forces like time and gravity and the effects they have on this society.

Some final words? I read this book by Daniel Read years ago called wherein the he describes these monks who spend their entire lives in caves, focusing on the moment of their death. That’s their meditation – and that’s all they do for their entire lives. And I can’t think of a bigger blasphemy. There’s so much wonder all around us. We’re surrounded by these quasi-stellar events, and we’re too blinded by primitive ideas to see it.

We caught up with Mr Wormstorm as he is preparing for his album launch, where he has collaborated with Inge Beckman on a few of the tracks. Here’s what he says: