Shelby Lermo plays guitar for Vasum and Ulthar, and used to oversee the tangled web of death metal, interviews and conspiracy theories that was Illogical Contraption.

This conversation was a real pleasure for me, since I’ve known Shelby as an “online friend” for probably close to a decade, and have long admired his work from afar.

For those concerned with the stagnation of the extreme metal underground, we discuss possible iterations on the form of death metal outside of the contemporary postmodern juxtaposition of seemingly disparate genres or the rehashing of the past through “old school death metal.”

For those concerned with their ability to follow through on creative projects, we discuss Shelby’s discipline surrounding creativity – including scheduling time to create, separating creating and editing, and balancing multiple different projects.

For those concerned with conspiracy thinking, we discuss the allure and the dangers of conspiracy theories, as well as the mechanisms that have pushed conspiracy into the mainstream.

Check out the episode at the links below. If you enjoyed the episode, the best way to support the show is to share with your friends, so send them a link.

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Check out more from Shelby, Illogical Contraption, Vastum & Ulthar here:

Show Notes:

  • [01:12] The process of making internet friends before social media, and the tangled web of content that was Illogical Contraption.
  • [09:17] The evolution of music discovery and communication in the underground from tape-trading to music blogs to Spotify – and how Shelby thinks about consuming music vs listening to music.
  • [19:58] The stagnation of the death metal genre, and how to think about composing outside of the standard idioms of the form.”
  • [24:21] Shelby’s creative process for multiple different projects, and the differing levels of collaboration between different projects.
  • [29:35] Where can death metal go next? Do the popular styles of metal in the underground follow cyclical patterns (ie thrash -> old school death metal -> technical death metal)? Will anyone create a new form for underground metal that isn’t just a postmodern hodgepodge of varied styles and instrumentation?
  • [40:48] Being disciplined regarding creativity: scheduling time to create, not waiting for inspiration, and separating the process of creating from the process of editing
  • [48:10] The allure of conspiracy theories – and why you shouldn’t believe them, as well as the surprising “mainstreamification” of conspiracy thinking.
  • [59:00] Implausible beliefs are a signaling mechanism for in-group loyalty, which can create feedback loops that increase the strangeness of conspiracy theories.
  • [1:05:05] Shelby’s favorite interviews from the Illogical Contraption podcast

Links and Resources Mentioned