Uniting Two Musical Worlds - Words with Cameron Argon

You got EDM in my heavy metal! You got heavy metal in my EDM! Such is the life and times of Cameron Argon, musician and producer at large known commonly by the names Big Chocolate and Disfiguring the Goddess. Combining the heretofore unblended elements of dubstep and death metal, Argon is one of the few who can walk in both worlds. With Disfiguring the Goddess' new release on the horizon, we sat down to talk about his music, his inspirations, the debate on drum triggering and more
M. DREW: Your career arc is an interesting one...you began in heavy metal, but have now split your portfolio into two parts, heavy metal and EDM/dubstep. How did that happen?
CAMERON ARGON: Yes! I don't know! Was asked to remix a few metal bands... Started looking into drum and bass and dubstep for inspiration for these metal remixes.... and then POOF! Now I have a split career. [laughs]
M.D: How do you strike a balance between the two very different acts, Big Chocolate and Disfiguring the Goddess?
C.A: For a long time there was much confusion on where the line was drawn between the two. I'm doing a better job at keeping the fact that it's both me but TOTALLY separate more now than before. I'd have metal fans on the Big Chocolate page totally confused by what I was talking about. [laughs]
M.D: Does one act ever influence the other? Do they have anything in common?
C.A: Well for like the past year both projects have been super different, but now they are both inspiring each other. Disfiguring The Goddess's workflow and writing process is very linear while the Big Chocolate stuff has a more 'whole based' workflow. I use those two mindsets to express a different way of creativity, now I'm using both writing methods for both projects at the same time. This makes for some pretty rock structured drum and bass and some more developed builds/drops for Disfiguring The Goddess! It rules!
M.D: Furthermore, is there any similarity at all between dubstep/EDM and heavy metal? I would assume that consistency of the beat is a big part of both, but how do they mesh?
C.A: There is much debate about how they mesh and how to mesh them. Do you mix guitars wide like a rock track? Or center them like a pop track? Do you layer live drums? Does that cause a loss of punch for the electronic drums? The fact is that there isn't any real basis for this new step into this new musical platform of Metal/EDM so when I'm having that huge over-thought argument of how to mix a guitar I can just say “to hell with it” and do whatever I want. It's a beautiful thing.
M.D: So, who would you cite as a larger influence on you - someone like Vladimir Ussachevsky, or someone like Max Cavalera?
C.A: I'm much more inspired by Max. I feel like what I do is more lined up with Max versus Vlad... Although I do get a little Vlad going on when I'm trying to create a bass line out of pitched down distorted white noise. [laughs]
M.D: What are the most enjoyable aspects of the music for both halves of your career?
C.A: Sitting in a room. Making music.
M.D: Disfiguring the Goddess - what's the new album going to sound like? What can fans expect?
C.A: Definitely a bigger step in production. I didn't really hold anything back as far as trying to meet metal genre requirements. I let loose and made whatever I wanted. I feel like it's a good blend of brutality, electronics, heaviness, which a dash of emotion.
M.D: You played and/or programmed all the instruments for Disfiguring the Goddess' new album, how does the writing process for that go? What order is everything conceptualized in, and how conscious do you have to be of the end mix when working with one part?
C.A: I usually start with a drum pattern, and then I loop the drum pattern and riff on it for a few minutes. Then I press record, play it twice and boom! Riff done. Then I move on to the next. I usually do electronics last. Vocals dead last. Every time I add a layer I usually go back and retouch the drums for more realism in the fills and whatnot.
M.D: What part of the album are you happiest with, and/or is there something you would improve if you could?
C.A: I'm happy with the product as a whole, the fact that I have actual hard copies, and that I feel like what I wanted people to hear and know they are actually getting. I can definitely improve on everything. Next album will have a form from-the-ground-up build drum kit, guitar tones, bass tones, and vocal settings. Stoked to do another!
M.D: You're extraordinarily young for someone with so much success and buzz - to what do you credit your success? Did you ever imagine you would attain so much so quickly? What was your "big break"?
C.A: I'm stoked that I learned how to focus and cut out distractions at an early age. I can sit down at my computer and write and mix for days and not be distracted by friends or a ‘scary’ social life. [laughs] I've had some great people help and guide me to avoid going down wrong paths. I'll give Kevin Lyman a lot of credit for putting me on Warped Tour so early on. Warped Tour has given me a huge push. I also have amazing fans.
M.D: In an era where the debate on drum triggering has divided the metal audience, it seems almost unavoidable for someone with your varied career, particularly when dealing with dubstep, where the drums are generated electronically...where do you fall on the debate?
C.A: Toontrack is a software company that makes a lot of awesome products including “Superior 2.0.” Hands down the most advanced studio replication ever. It is way more than just drum samples in that program. You can control the setting of the room, how much bleed the snare mic can get from a floor tom and so on. If you can master that program, you can get midi notes to sound like some of the most realistic drum sounds. I guarantee if you A/B a well done Toontrack setup with a recorded set in front of the studio drummer elitist, they won't be able to tell. On the other hand, I love to use this Toontrack stuff in my EDM because EDM cats are always afraid to use anything but the most processed 909/808 samples ever made. Giving a live drum sound behind my electronic hits I think is what's going to make my next Big Chocolate EP a 'live' energy.
M.D: Do your EDM friends ever have comment or input about heavy metal? Do your heavy metal friends ever have comment or input on your EDM mixes?
C.A: Yes. They all are like 'What?! That's you? What the fuck!' [laughs] I'm not a very 'metal' person and I usually throw everyone who finds out off guard. Usually more EDM and metal friends have input on the EDM and everyone is just like 'lol [and throws the horns] at the metal! [laughs]
M.D: What does the music in your head sound like?
C.A: Really loud.
M.D: Are you a fan or horror films? If so, which ones are you partial to?
C.A: Yes, I am aware. I love the ghost and super creepy ones. Anything with too much suspense I can't handle. I am a fan!
M.D: What are your favorite characters/themes from horror, and how did you become exposed to the genre?
C.A: Ghost movies when I was younger. My mom made my sisters and I all experience classics like “The Haunting” and “The Changeling.” Maybe that's why the ghost ones are more my style than jumpers. I have always been a fan of the typical hack and slash films as well…Jason and Hellraiser flicks are always good.

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