Insane sounds to infect Olympia

Local electronic musician, Chemical Death Mask, aims to infect the West Coast with his zany and chaotic psychedelic trance beats, with plans to release his first CD before summer arrives.

After three years of djing psytrance music under various aliases in Japan, he found his way back to Washington in 2010.

Psytrance’s Puget Sound following wasn’t nearly as vast as he expected, so he took on the goal to corrupt the innocent minds of his hometown with his music.

“I want to destroy people’s brains with awesomeness,” said CDM.

“His music is for the mind, not for the masses; it gets in your head and goes places other musicians are afraid to go,” said local electronic musician, MothRider, who performed at Seattle’s 2012 Bumbershoot.

“CDM’s sound is uniquely raw and not overly produced,” said MothRider, “His intention is to get into the listeners head, not onto the radio.”

“I’ve been in the business long enough to know that some people will like it, and some won’t, so I try to just have fun with it and make what I think people would enjoy,” said CDM.

“I really like to send people on an adventure with my music,” whether it be zoning them out or making them “dance their ass off.” Psytrance usually takes people on a journey, but as for his psytrance, CDM said, “I want people to have that journey, and lose their minds at the same time.”

The sporadic, fun, and insane beats evoke feelings like sudden hits of energy, a sense of anticipation, and a hypnotic daze. Each song takes you on its own unique ride.

Created by Billy Olsen

Created by Billy Olson

Chemical Death Mask is a character who creates soundtracks to emotions people experience in an apocalypse. CDM said he feels people are turning against one another and thinks it is likely America will nuke itself eventually.

“Now music is becoming almost all digital it seems. Much less ‘musical talent,’ per se, is required as far as playing instruments like I grew up doing. We are entering a future that we aren’t prepared for and don’t understand,” he said.

CDM’s criticism arises from his credentials. Steve Donaldson, 27, is the musical mastermind behind CDM’s gasmask.

According to Donaldson, he was the first chair trumpet player for the Olympia Youth Symphony. He plays drums, guitar, bass, and piano. He can sing and scream. “Your voice is a powerful instrument,” he said.

“Pretty much slap an instrument in my hand, and I’ll figure out how to play it, since I’m always thinking in music,” he said. “Whatever I hear in my head but don’t have the physical instrument to play, I use my cpu for.”

His interest in electronic music started at 14 years old with “old-school” software. He then began working with turntables and vinyls.

“People think creating electronic music is just dragging pre-made clips into some order of the user’s desire, but it takes lots of time and dedication to make tracks that people will enjoy,” he said.

Producing psytrance involves an extensive process of layering synthetic rhythms to a fast-paced beat through softwares such as Ableton or Reason. The various rhythms continue to build until the song reaches its climax and then drops and builds however many times the composer wants it to.

“I have a mathematically chaotic brain, so it’s fun for me to produce the things I hear in my head,” he said.

One of CDM’s personal favorite tracks is Mental Dividend(PeeWee’s Revenge), a track with several PeeWee Herman samples.

Both CDM and MothRider are longtime friends and are working on collaborative material to be released this summer. They also plan to perform several shows together this year.

CDM also works with local singer Nathalie Elam and will have two versions of a song called “Submarine” with and without lyrics on his CD.

To keep posted for upcoming shows and the CD release date you can visit his facebook page titled Chemical Death Mask.
To listen to CDM’s recent tracks visit