Into the depths of the psyche we go, with artist Edward Transylvania as our guide. The Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and poet has been crafting macabre magic through his lyrics for more than a decade and is continuing to carve out his own place within, not only the goth genre, but also the world of dark music. Listeners can expect passionate vocals and sinister beats.
Transylvania doesn’t limit himself when it comes to his art and it’s apparent when taking a look at his body of work. To start, he’s the front man of two bands, Experiment Perilous and Stardust Heroes, whose sounds embody deathrock and punk rock. Fans of Christian Death should definitely check out Experiment Perilous. He also puts energy into solo projects, experimenting with poetry, the spoken word and alternative music genres. The singer’s newest track, “My Baby’s Insane,” blends synthpop, darkwave and gothic influences, and made me want to dance in the goth club when I played it. And he’s produced musical scores for various projects, like the short film Alma Perdida.
The vocalist has a fervor for artistic creation and exploring morbid topics and concepts, and he shows no signs of slowing down the momentum he’s ignited. In the following interview, Edward Transylvania delves deeper into his music, what drives him and what audiences can expect next.
Q: You’ve been creating music for several years. What drew you to this artistic medium and how did you start?
A: First off, thank you Jennifer, for the invitation to do this interview.
Literature, music, theatre and every form of art where the human spirit is captured in an allegorical honesty is what drew me to the arts as a young boy to adulthood. Everyone from Lindsay Kemp, Bela Lugosi, Jose Guadalupe Posada, Arthur Rimbaud, Salvador Dali, Rosaleen Norton, Frida Kahlo, Federico Garcia Lorca to the beat poets like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, the music of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Elvis, Jim Morrison, Lux Interior and The Cramps, along with so many other artists, the list is endless. All expressed themselves in what I always found to translate as pure honesty. Granted, some of these artists had a bit of inspiration through hallucinogens, still… pureness at its best!
I always wrote everything I felt in notebooks since childhood, and I still continue to this very day to write everything down. Some writings became poems, other writings had a melody to them, a rhythmic pattern that seemed to demand its own identity, those transformed into songs. All my writings are therapeutic for me. Sometimes in life, there are emotions that are difficult to express. Music gives me the opportunity to express myself with no apologies! Pure, raw power with a theatrical primal, spiritual, sonic dark wave. A productive outlet as opposed to destructive.
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
A: My inspiration comes from the life experience. It’s one life to live, not one life to give.
Q: Your music style is a blend of gothic rock, deathrock and synthpop, to name a few genres. What attracted you to goth music and the subculture?
A: The elements of punk rock, glam rock, blues, rock and roll, opera along with classic horror, like the early Universal films, along with the German Expressionist films, all had the dark, macabre glamour of what the beauty of gothic is for me and that I’ve always been drawn to. The writings of Edgar Allan Poe, the imagery of Maila Nurmi as Vampira and the dark, decadent voodoo sounds of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins all played a role in drawing me into the gothic aesthetic.
Q: You have three different projects—your solo work as Edward Transylvania, and groups Experiment Perilous and Stardust Heroes. What motivated you to initiate these endeavors and how does the work you create for each one differ?
A: My solo works consist of both recorded poems (spoken word) and electronic music. In that, I have the freedom to step outside my comfort zone and work with other artists that have more experience within an electronic, synth-based platform where I do not have too much experience. Working with artists like Synthphonic Control grants me the opportunity to be more experimental.
With Experiment Perilous, the music we create is dark and sonically powerful! It’s glam. It’s goth, punk rock, deathrock, rock and roll at its best!! We need each other to express ourselves within our music. We are like a tribe. Our art protects us from anything and anyone. Together we complete a full circle of unorthodox structure in sound and vision, and that is magickal!
Stardust Heroes began as a tribute to David Bowie, where we covered Bowie tunes rearranged to our sound. I handpicked each musician. Members of Frozen Charlottes, Digital Betty, A Bleeding Sky and Dragstrip Demons. All artists I respect. Suddenly, that project evolved into its own identity, and we began working on original material, and it was beautiful! With Stardust Heroes, there is a female backup singer that at times will sing lead and I become the backup singer, so now and again we’ll switch and that is different for me.
Q: Do you feel your cultural roots have inspired your music, and if so, in what ways?
A: Absolutely!! I was drawn to the arts at a very young age. As far back as I can remember, and I can remember very far back, to age 3, if you can believe that? As a boy, my mother would often send me to my grandparents over in Mexico. My grandfather had several ranches (that are still in my family to this day). Being the only American boy in a small pueblo, I looked for things to connect with.
I remember being there during Halloween in Mexico. It is celebrated as El Día de las Brujas (The Day Of the Witches), and then also celebrating Día De Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead). I was immediately drawn to the beauty and spirituality of the celebration. The beautifully, colorful, dark, macabre atmosphere was part of the culture, and it was beautiful! That was when I first learned death was not something to be feared but embraced in the most beautiful way possible. Faith, family, love and death—all part of our being, our heritage, and I absorbed it all like a sponge. I also have Native American roots from my father’s side, so as you can imagine spirituality is deeply seeded within my blood.
My grandfather (my mother’s father) would often tell me stories when I’d visit him in Mexico about his mother who was French that always loved to sing out loud regardless of where she was. I find that very beautiful. It all is incredibly inspirational.
Q: Now, for a non-related music question. From following you on social media, I’ve noticed you’re a big fan of Mexican pro wrestling, Lucha Libre! Why is it special to you and does it inspire you creatively in any way?
A: Yes, it certainly does inspire me. Lucha Libre is a passion for me. Has been all my life, going back to when I was a boy being shipped off to Mexico with my grandparents. I would go on walks and explore the pueblo. It seemed and felt like something from an old Jorge Negrete film. So much tradition. There on my walks, I discovered every little booth or magazine stand I came across had many comic books, so I was immediately drawn to them. Finally, a connective tissue to the U.S. Batman, Superman, Spiderman were all there, so I would buy the comic books. The only thing was they were all in Spanish. I had to learn how to read Spanish through the comics, which I did accomplish.
Soon, I discovered many of these booths had tons of masks. I learned they were luchador masks. I then discovered comic books for certain luchadores like El Santo, Blue Demon, Huracán Ramirez, Mil Máscaras and many more. I spent all my time obsessing on these newly discovered comic book heroes. Then, one day in the only movie theater in the pueblo, I saw a poster of El Santo vs. Las Mujeres Vampiro (Santo vs. the vampire women), so I went in and that literally changed everything for me. I spent a lot of time in that movie theater watching the movies of El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras and many others.
My older brother, who grew up in Mexico and spent more time there than any of my family, showed me a newspaper clipping that read El Santo was wrestling in Mexico City. So, we decided to take a greyhound bus from Guadalajara to Mexico City to see El Santo wrestle. And we did. I would then often go see Blue Demon, Mil Máscaras wrestle. And it blew my mind to realize these superheroes are real??!! They exist! In America, Batman, Superman, those characters are fictitious, but in Mexico, these luchador superheroes exist!! And I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve seen literally thousands of lucha libre matches both here in the U.S. and in Mexico. I’ve collected and continue to collect original lucha masks from the luchadores and have them all autographed. I’ve gotten to meet many of my childhood heroes like Mil Máscaras and have developed friendships with El Hijo del Santo (El Santo’s son) and Blue Demon Jr. (Blue Demon’s son). The little boy in me smiles every time knowing that to this very day.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to reveal about future projects you have in store?
A: Yes! Finally new music from Experiment Perilous will be recorded this year! Along with tons of spoken word pieces and more electronic music with a gothic pulsating disco beat!!! And I’m working on a poetry book, working title (Prayers In The Dark). Hopefully it will be released sometime in 2023??