You will find an untold number of artists who cite their hometown as a major influence, but we can’t think of anyone quite like Zane Reynolds, AKA SFV Acid. In case you were wondering, the SFV stands for San Fernando Valley, Reynolds’ home for as long as he can remember, but the impression it has goes way beyond just a name – a suburban sprawl of strip malls located on the fringes of Los Angeles also known as “Porn Valley”, his artistic output presents a surrealist take on that environment. A keen illustrator, Reynolds displays a deranged sense of humour in his drawings. It can also be felt in a lot of self-released material that draws on experimental styles like IDM, which makes commissioned work for commercial brands like luxury fashion house Saint Laurent feel particularly divergent.
Dropping soon on a debut for Parisian label Third Try Records, ‘125bpm Atnight2’ is a symbiosis of razor-edged percussion and bubbling 303. A subtle synth wash lingers at the back of the mix, lending the whole thing an undeniably eerie quality. Animated throughout, everything about the track is overflowing with an inextinguishable and infectious sense of effervescence. Reynolds might save the most experimental and deranged material for self-released cassettes, but club-ready productions like those found on the Petty Clubber EP exude a playful vibrancy and personality that like the hand drawn artwork, is unmistakably his.
As an analogue enthusiast, what hardware was used in the making of this EP?
I used a MachineDrum, 303 and a proteus I think for the chords. I think I put some stuff into the mpc on petty clubber, mostly just the MD.
Your releases have come in a relatively steady stream since 2012. Are you sitting on material, purposely staggering your output, or is that the pace you work at?
I put stuff out when it feels good. I’m sitting on loads of stuff, but I’m not sure what all that means to me at the moment. My pace is based on the my mood now. I also had a label/manager who totally screwed years of plans up around 2012.
Your Bakk debut came out as a 12″ + 10″ vinyl bundle, which is a fairly novel way to release music. Any particular reason for taking that approach?
It was what Bakk wanted to do, they were picking all this music years apart from each other, some old stuff is on the 10” and some newer on the 12”. It came out making sense.
Regularly releasing music on cassette and CD, do you fear that someday, possibly sooner than later, physical formats will be rendered totally obsolete?
Obsolete, thats a hard thing to speculate. I’ve thought about it since cassettes are coming and going already, I guess there is still room for a CD comeback (lol). I have no fear about things becoming obsolete.
Did you really leave copies of your early cassettes at locations around the San Fernando Valley? We love the idea of some unsuspecting grandma curiously picking one of them up, taking it home and actually digging the music.
I was doing that so long ago, I love that idea too.
You once described your hometown as “weird” and “a little hick-ish.” What keeps you there after all this time?
Well my hometown is huge, the valley has everything. That description was probably because I was concentrating on a certain hick milieu at that time. I don’t believe that changing my environment will help my progression in what I want to do or in how I see and feel what’s around me. I also like the space in the valley, it’s quiet and there is no pseudo youth culture propaganda around.
Is there anyone else from the area we should be paying attention to?
Scott Gilmore is getting some traction right now, I put him out about a year ago now, and he immediately got a lil deal with international feel, which is awesome.
I imagine many natives can speak of misspent youths spent loitering around strip malls. Were drawing and music initially ways to pass the time?
Whats misspent about that? Drawing and music was something I was doing pretty much since I was a toddler, especially art. Everyone on earth is just trying to deal with “time” passing, whether you work at a shit job or your a jillionaire, pass the time as we should.
Besides Paul Thomas Anderson (and yourself, of course) are there any other notable figures from the San Fernando Valley we should know about?
As of lately my mind hasn’t been valley centric. There were some figures, but they are personal, fleeting and transient. No one anyone would know.
Maybe we’ve been watching too much of David Lynch’s work, but there’s something quite evocative about the seedy way North American suburban life is depicted in a lot of popular culture. Is that something you can identify with?
Sure, but I don’t share a Lynchian perspective on things, I’m bored of Lynch, the dudes soooo old hat now. David Lynch’s seediness is very much like a fairy tale to me, I’ve seen more evocative stuff on the street then I’ve seen in any of his films.
Would you agree that while the mood and humour is consistent through both, the crudeness of your illustrations are juxtaposed with the crystalline synths heard in a great deal of your music?
Sure, Im injecting more of the humour into the music now.
Releases like the recent Sense(Sore) cassette are essentially IDM – you even tagged that specific release as “braindance” on Bandcamp. Have Rephlex Records and Aphex Twin been a significant influence over your music?
Yeah of course, most Rephlex stuff was dollar binned in California, so it was easy to grab all of it, but that was in 2007-10. Yeah that tag is just to get more people to hopefully listen.
Where do you look to for inspiration when it comes to visual art?
Do you have to work to a strict brief when commissioned to score music or illustrate for companies as disparate as Saint Laurent and Toyota, or is there opportunity to let the creative juices flow?
No not at all. Companies have to be able to work with what I have already, pretty much. They tell me what vibe they want then I look at all the stuff I have and give them some stuff. I’ve tried making straight forward middle of the road cheesedick commercial stuff,but it never comes out as cheesy as they want it. The commercial work lets the creative juices flow after the execution because it allows me to live and help the people around me.
Palmbomen II, Legowelt, yourself; what’s with long hair and a penchant for analogue hardware and off-kilter visuals?
We are all different people doing what I see as different things. I don’t find anything off kilter visually about Palmbomen or Legowelt. I’m way off kilter.
If your productions were to provide the soundtrack to a surrealist TV drama about the Valley, who would direct and who would play the lead?
I would have to direct it, the lead would need to be some no named, on the verge of failure valley actor trying to make it in hollywood.
It’s over 8 years since you educated the masses in the San Fernando technique to getting laid, i.e. “Step 1: Find a girl. Step 2: Plop in the CD. Step 3: Let things roll.” Any sage words for us in 2017?
If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
No plans yet, I’m currently living in the moment.
The Pettyclubber EP is out July 21st on Third Try Records – buy the vinyl here.