On November 24, 2017, Celldweller will release Beta Cessions: Demos & Rarities. The new album brings together a fan-focused collection of 26 songs, many of which have gone previously unreleased. The recording is available for pre-order now. It is a partner release to the debut Celldweller album which is also released on VINYL as a limited edition, 180 gram, electric-blue double LP for the first time.
This collection is of demos/rarities from Celldweller’s debut self-titled album from 2003. Many of these are previously unreleased or very rare. Beta Cessions: Demos & Rarities is a fan-focused album of bonus content – there are multiple versions of songs presented in different formats. This is not a full album of originals and most of these tracks are from 1999-2001.
Celldweller was a rebirth for you musically – after over a decade of challenges under your various monikers and numerous label woes – Can we set the stage for Celldweller? Where you were at in the late 1990s?
Klayton: Label-less. My prior project Circle of Dust was left stranded when the label I was signed to filed for bankruptcy. I spent a year and half in legal battles trying to get out of that deal and did what I needed to in the meantime to stay alive. I took on some production work, remixes and was approached by magician Criss Angel to work on music for a show he was working on. All this time I was ingesting new, exciting music and unconsciously paving a path for the future.
Can you articulate what you wanted Celldweller to be, Klayton? Do you have a clear memory of this? Was there a mantra you had in mind for how the music would sound, and what you hoped to achieve with the material?
Klayton: I was trying to navigate my future, by deciding what was ultimately next. On the music side, I had been listening to a lot of European drum and bass and psy-trance. I was conscientiously moving my sound away from the industrial roots I had because I felt that genre had nothing new to offer. So many bands were just doing the same thing over and over – I wanted something new. Naturally, I just started fusing my metal roots with drum and bass, psy-trance and breaks. This would ultimately become the “perfect storm” of elements that would become Celldweller.
Talk a little bit about the upcoming re-issue of the debut Celldweller album. What went into that re-issue on your end? Is it a complete overhaul? Did you work up all of the songs again using the original masters?
Klayton: No, I’ve reworked too much of my back catalog in the past and knew fans would kill me if I touched the original album. lol. I left the main album as-is, but decided it was time for an official vinyl release. I was excited about a new take on the art, which features a vinyl-sized booklet of a bunch of art from that era, some of which had never been physically printed.
And, naturally, we can now talk a bit here about Beta Cessions: Demos & Rarities, the accompanying 26 song accouterments release to your debut, loaded with rare demos, alternate takes and different lyrics in some instances. What made you dig up all of these alternate takes?
Klayton: Peer pressure. 🙂 The team at my label FiXT has been gently prodding me for a few years to readdress the Beta Cessions album by digging for more goodies that fans had never heard. I’ve wrestled with letting things out of my studio that I know are unfinished or sound like crap. I think enough time has passed and I’ve seen the desire for this stuff directly from the fans that I was able to let some of it go. It’s hard for me to accept that just because I don’t like something I’ve done in the past that someone else might feel differently. So this release is for them.
Somehow, I feel like you are a guy with a room full of old tapes, reels and hard-drives, chock full of your many rehearsal versions of your songs? Are you in fact that guy? There are A LOT of different versions of songs on Beta Cessions. Do you have as many alternate takes of your subsequent releases?
Klayton: I have more alt mixes and demos than the ones released. I have archived rough mixes going back to my 4-track in the 80’s up to digital files today. The bigger problem with releasing this stuff is actually trying to find it, sift through the mixes and then deciding which ones to release without it being overwhelming. I think the world would be a safer place if I kept most of these demos buried.
Could you talk a bit about your integrity in music – Staying the path, and keeping with your dreams to make music? Most people would have chucked it in within two years if they had your experience starting out – and yet you soldiered on, turning it all around with Celldweller. What drives you?
Klayton: I can’t do anything else. Well, that’s not entirely true but I’d like to think it is. I was studying to be a doctor before I got my first record deal. Once opportunity presented itself, I never looked behind me again – forward only. I can’t speak for the integrity in the music because that isn’t a conscious thing. I just do what I know I *need* to do and if people recognize that as integrity, then I’m flattered. I only ever wanted to make music. I dreamed of it when I was playing in metal bands as a kid and really never thought it could be a dream I could realize. Once that door was slightly cracked ajar for me, I pushed and clawed my way in and forced that door open wide, to be sure that it wouldn’t ever close. Music speaks that language that I can’t speak through words alone. If someone over the years would express interest in getting to know anything about me, I’d just hand them an album I did.
Hear the new “Switchback” (1999 Late Demo) track right here:
Why do you think Celldweller worked? What’s your opinion? What have you heard from fans, and friends and peers?
Klayton: I’ve never really known. I truly think if anything I’ve done has worked, it’s simply because I was too stubborn to quit. I’ve just always done what I wanted to do. Never really cared about radio, pop success, or being in the “cool-kids club.” I made music like I was the only one listening to it and I still do that to this day. I can’t worry about what anyone is going to think because I learned early on in life that you will never make everyone happy. If I start working on a new song tomorrow, I go in legitimately thinking that I’m the only one that is ever going to listen to it. This takes off unnecessary pressure and assures the best possible product. I will always be my worst critic so if I’m only worried about what I think, I know I’m going to keep working at something until I’m able to live with releasing that end result upon the world. The only other option if that doesn’t happen is to bury it with 1,000 other demos nobody should ever hear.
There’s a lot of cool physical items on your webpage right now for pre-order around these two Celldweller releases. Can you talk about a couple of these new release items you are excited about, and why?
Klayton: The Celldweller debut album on vinyl is pretty exciting for a number of reasons. I’m also digging the all-over hoodie art-master Dustrial designed. We also have our first ever Celldweller ugly Christmas sweater coming out and more for the Holiday season. Go hit FIXTstore.com to check it all out.
The Celldweller debut album hit the #17 Billboard Internet Sales Chart and Celldweller’s most popular song “Switchback” has been streamed over 50,000,000 times online across YouTube, Spotify, and other online music streaming services. Beta Cessions contains never-before-heard demo versions of “Switchback” with alternate lyrics.
Beta Cessions: Demos & Rarities delivers rarities, bringing full digital release to previously released for streaming services, such as the 2001 alternate mixes of “Switchback” (mixed by Ben Grosse) and “Stay With Me” (Unlikely) (mixed by Scott Humphrey & Frank Gryner). The album also includes many of the rare 2000 ‘Detroit’ mixes, including the tracks “Switchback,” “Afraid This Time,” “Under My Feet,” and “So Sorry To Say.” Beta Cessions: Demos & Rarities also delivers the first ever digital release of the three original 1999 demos released on the Celldweller Limited Edition EP in 2000 along with Klayton’s electronic focused tracks “Kemikal” and “Beginning of The End.”