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Meet Com Truise: Uncovering the Story Behind the Artist’s Alter Ego (Video)

+ This video is presented courtesy of Com Truise’s Mid-Fi Synthwave Slow-Motion Funk course. To access this and hundreds more videos and tutorials on production, songwriting, composing, arranging, beat making, and mixing, subscribe to Soundfly.

Meet Seth Haley, the man behind the Com Truise project. He’s also a DJ, graphic designer, gearhead, sci-fi-nerd, and all-around technophile.

We were so lucky to spend a few days with Seth at Hyperballad Studios in Brooklyn, NY in December 2021, surrounded by gear and creativity. For Seth, those two things often go hand-in-hand. Throughout his life, technology has served as a creative catalyst for him.

You can see it in his first forays into music-making: recording himself banging pots and pans over Chemical Brothers’ CDs on cassette as a kid (his “biohazardous beats”), or playing around with the HammerHead Rhythm Station (an early drum machine software for the computer). While others were practicing guitar, Seth was more likely to be re-programming some new computer software to make new, interesting sounds.

It was through DJing that Seth first realized music could be more than a hobby. He started making his own songs so that he could play them on his online radio show: Komputer Cast. It was around this time that he started to kindle a connection to synth-driven ’80s music — you can go hear it in the mixes on his radio show (linked above).

“When I actually started to listen and focus on it [’80s music], it wasn’t so much the music itself or the songs — it was the sounds contained within the songs that’s really what I fell in love with. I remember hearing a drum sound and saying “I want to make something with that drum sound,” and it just went from there.” — Com Truise

Seth first began sharing music under the moniker “Com Truise” on MySpace in 2010 or so. Before that, he’d made music under different names (Sarin Sunday, Airliner, SYSTM), but it was the Com Truise project that started to generate buzz. His is the rare story of labels and artists reaching out to him for opportunities. He got asked to do remixes by artists like Neon Indian and Daft Punk and eventually hooked up with the famed electronic label Ghostly International.

Since joining Ghostly, Seth has released three full-length albums, numerous EPs, two compilation albums, and countless remixes for artists like Tycho, deadmau5, Deftones, and more.

Throughout all of this, Com Truise has been exploring alternate dimensions through sound. A number of his albums follow the fictional tale of the world’s first android astronaut, who launches into space to encounter other civilizations, falling in love and fleeing for his life in the process. Seth’s interest lies in world-building: Defining exciting and detailed sonic spaces and soundtracking the emotions of the characters within them.

He’s trying to tap into something emotional and nostalgic, but also futuristic and fresh.

Nowadays, Com Truise continues to make new music while also exploring new areas, from soundtracking cryptic Super Bowl commercials to working on feature film scores. He also continues to perform live and DJ, often with elaborate visual displays to accompany his music.

“I think the main thing that separates me from some of my peers is that I didn’t necessarily want to sound like I was writing ’80s music. I wanted to take the technology used in that decade and try to make something new with it.” — Com Truise

You can listen to Com Truise’s music and support him by checking out his Bandcamp page. Or check out this playlist we made to help you get a better sense of his sound, including a few tracks we’ll see in more depth within the course.

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Com Truise on Soundfly

Seth Haley (aka, Com Truise) is the maker of an experimental, bottom-heavy-style he calls “mid-fi synthwave slow-motion funk.” He arrived on the scene with the Cyanide Sisters EP (2010), released for free on AMDISCS and then re-released by famed electronic label Ghostly International. But 2011 saw the release of his first full-length Galactic Melt, introducing the world to the narrative of Com Truise — the astral adventures of an android astronaut traveling the cosmos to make contact with distant civilizations — and culminating in Iteration (2017). Now, over a decade later, Com Truise is still known for his synthwave-influenced immersive soundtracks — film scores for movies that only exist in his mind. Influenced by retro production techniques, his parents' record collections, and his love of technology and gear, his sound builds on a sense of nostalgia but always catapults it forward into the future. Com Truise's online course, Com Truise: Mid-Fi Synthwave Slow-Motion Funk, is available now exclusively on Soundfly.