It’s no secret: for New Yorkers ready to flee the city grind, L.A’s draw is for creatives is a sunny mecca that holds imaginary promises of a better life. For some people, moving to L.A. is like letting out a giant yoga ohm: there’s more room to breathe, ideate and enjoy a less hectic routine. But for others, L.A. can be too much negative space: a departure from the constant events, crowds and nightlife only New York can provide. Com Truise’s Seth Haley falls somewhere in between the two cities.
After six years on the road, Haley returned to his home in New York only to decide he wanted to move cross-country. “I did it on a whim,” he says. “I was done with New York.” L.A. While it took him some time to get comfortable, he reveled in the steady burst of greenery most New Yorkers only see for one season.
Since his last LP, 2011’s Galactic Melt, the 32-year-old producer spent six years on the road intermittently releasing EPs and writing music. And while his LPs have been narrative-based, evading personal experience, it’s something that crept its way into the music. “The loneliness worked its way into the music: that’s the nostalgic part of the music for me,” Haley says.
While vaporwave has been a micro-genre descriptor for his music, Haley wouldn’t say it’s all-encompassing. “To me, vaporwave is an extension of my music, but I never put myself in that category,” he says. “As the first artist to do that kind of thing, vapor wave is more sample-based. I tend to not sample as much [as I used to] due to the legality.” To this day, Haley struggles to fully define his sound. He’s found he’s not too connected to the term people claim he coined: synthwave. “It’s faster paced music now, so calling myself synthwave isn’t the best way to explain it,” Haley explains. “It’s probably downtempo electronic music.”
But Haley is right: his sound remains difficult to pinpoint. The 12 tracks of new album Iteration, out June 16 on Ghostly, are an amalgamation of commanding synths interspersed with dark, galactic melodies. In the final installment of his conceptual saga, Haley concludes the fictional love story between Com Truise and his alien paramour. “Iteration is the end of [the couple’s] journey showing how they have to escape oppression and live their crazy life,” Haley says.
While the musical story might be over, he’s started a screenplay around the three records: But that doesn’t mean he’ll be staying in L.A. to see it come to life. Like many former New Yorkers, Haley misses his old stomping grounds – his homesickness for New York is like an ex he can’t get away from.
“I’ll go home to New York and come back to L.A. for a week, and I’ll be homesick again,” he says.
While he never clearly pens these feelings, they hover over his melodies. It’s fair to say things are very much up in the air for Haley and Com Truise. With Iteration concluding his narrative, Haley isn’t sure what the future holds for the project, explaining, “I’ve resigned with Ghostly for one more record and one more EP, but I think it might just be a one-off concept record.”
We’ll take it.