Com Truise Has Seen Blade Runner 300 Times, Will Out Sci-Fi Your Ass

Charles Bergquist
Seth Haley has long been mesmerized by how people in the past once processed the future. As Com Truise (one of many musical aliases used by the 20-something from Princeton, NJ), Haley maps out "mid-fi, synth-wave, slow-motion funk" (his words) that's deeply smitten with science-fiction-heavy storytelling, sounds, and visuals that emulate aesthetics from the 1980s and, to a lesser extent, the 1970s and 1990s. His 2011 record Galactic Melt houses a plot that roughly follows the world's first android astronaut making his initial trip to space, with technobabble-fixated, futuristic-sounding titles--"Terminal," "Air Cal," "Flightwave," "Hyperlips"--augmenting the scenery. Melt is really one of those instances where you have to keep your senses prepped for minor story cues ahead of time for them to count (there's no way to trace it otherwise), but they do work well to flesh out the synthetic scenery when you hear about 'em. If you have any doubts regarding Haley's deep allegiance to the works in the genre from the Reagan years, you have any number of items for proof: Com Truise's palette of stargazing synths, the tripped-out geometry of Galactic Melt's cover art, or the Terminator-goes-gangster-noir clip for that record's "Brokendate."

Unsurprisingly, Haley is a devout sci-fi geek. In a 2011 interview with Digital in Berlin, one of the facts he shared about himself was "I watch Blade Runner once a week," which is pretty much all the reason we needed to chat with him about such subjects. Before Com Truise participates in a New Year's Eve show alongside RJD2 and Chrome Sparks at Gramercy Theatre on Monday night, the enthusiast of THX-1138, Neuromancer, Philip K. Dick, Boards of Canada, and Gary Numan shares his thoughts on the recent Alien prequel, where he stands on the critical Star Trek versus Star Wars issue, and how long he plans on scratching this niche.

What attracted you to science fiction in the first place, and what's kept you attached to it after all these years?
I think sometimes you're automatically born with something that you can't really explain. I've always been into computers from growing up and stuff like that. I lived in a small town, and my best friend got a computer a long time ago. We didn't have a computer as a family [until] a couple of years after he did so I would always go over to his house and come play on his computer. I just got really into computers that way, and when we finally got our own, you could barely get me off the thing. I think just doing that kind of stuff got me into science fiction for the most part.

I can just remember seeing movies on TV like Alien and Terminator and stuff like that, and I felt like that was me. That was something that I could really relate to for the most part, as it made me feel normal to like, you know what I mean? I never had a problem with telling people science fiction is my favorite genre. The exact moment when it started, I'm not sure. When I first really got into music, the first band I ever really loved was Nine Inch Nails. I consider it industrial kind of music. The sounds in that music and the correlation between the sounds in those types of films connected themselves, and I just was automatically drawn towards it from listening to that kind of music. I can't really pinpoint what got me into it, [but it involved] watching films and playing Nintendo. We had this NASA game. I don't remember the exact title of it. It might be in the house somewhere. It's literally the hardest game ever.

It was a strategy game for the first Nintendo system. I don't know if it was NASA, but it was a space shuttle game. When I think back, it was the most boring game probably ever, but for some reason, I loved it. I don't think I ever made it past, like, level five. The shuttle would launch and you had to do all the pitching and rolling. You had all these lines that would go across the screen; you had to stop exactly in the middle, but they were moving so fast. It was not fair, but it just kept me sucked in 'cause I always wanted to get further and see what the game was all about, but you always had to do all that space shuttle stuff. I can't remember the exact title.

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