The voice of the students

The Catamount

The voice of the students

The Catamount

The voice of the students

The Catamount

ABYSSALIS Interviewed by Zuoren Aili for The Blue Straggler, 2097 [ABRIDGED]

Image Credit: Barry Roal Carlsen


Twelve years after her fatal accident in Tor. X-9-140, █████ ████ shocks all of Juvia with a full recovery and re-debut as ABYSSALIS with the release of Atomic Automaton Heart, her first album in nearly two decades. Contrasted against the irreverent post-post-post-modern feel of her earlier work as █████ ████, Atomic Automaton Heart’s visceral and confessional candidness marks for the artist a new sonic and philosophical era.


Zouren: Do forgive my enthusiasm; I have loved your work for a very long time. After twelve years, there is just so much hard fans are writhing with curiosity about—the hiatus, the new album, the new name, the new look. How have you been doing, █████?

AB: I no longer go by that name. I ask that you refrain from using it.

Zouren: Of course. I apologize. What inspired the name change? Many presume a connection to dying in the ring shuttle crash back in ‘85. Do you mind talking about it?

AB: I suppose it’s about time. I didn’t understand what was happening then. I only later read it was a demagnetised guide that made the shuttle rear off course and collide with the convoy. To be honest, neither dying nor being dead bothered me. It was what came after that was difficult to cope with for a long while. I had been unhappy for some time before the crash—before my official hiatus, actually—and as the vacuum of space tore me apart, I thought, ‘I might as well go out this way instead of rotting alone in my 20 trillion-cronus orbicle’ [laughs].

Zouren: What happened afterwards? Your sister has spoken a little about what bringing you back was like, but I think people want to hear your side of the story.

AB: Io had commissioned someone to construct a Vessel for me. She never told me who built it, but I know it wasn’t her because—as much as I love her—she’s an idiot, and frankly, the Vessel was very well-made for a rush job. She did conduct the summoning herself, I’ll give her that. I put up a fight to stay dead like I never did to live, but she won as soon as she brought out the Blood of Occare. Less than six months after the crash, I was back at home, except I was made of titanium and silicone.

Zuoren: How did Io have access to the Blood of Occare?

AB: My guess is as good as yours.

[ . . . ]

AB: There were other people on that shuttle. It’s like no one cares, like █████ ████ was the only casualty that day. It just so happened I got to be resurrected, and I didn’t even want to come back. I was angry with Io before I realized I was really angry with myself. I marinated in this weird cocktail of guilt and self-pity, and that was a darkness worse than space or death.

Zouren: Did getting back on your feet always mean returning to the music industry, or was re-debut a separate decision? Atomic Automaton Heart is so raw and personal that I can’t imagine you were planning to release it from the start. 

AB: At that point I hadn’t released any new music for six years, and I thought I’d let myself fade into oblivion. I thought I would mope around my room forever or “forget” to recharge the Vessel and let Io’s efforts go to waste. I had built a chasm around myself, but I’ve come out of it stronger in more ways than one. Working on Atomic was a huge part of my recovery process. “Nova” and the title track “Atomic Automaton Heart” are about learning to live—and wanting to live—again. I want ABYSSALIS to be a survivor forged rather than broken by what she’s been through. I needed to do something with my life again, and this was what I knew how to do. I wasn’t thinking about releasing Atomic until five years after its making, and I don’t think I could ever perform it live, but all this feels like the natural course for things.

Zouren: One last question— Where’d you get the Vessel you’re wearing? It hasn’t been the same one for twelve years, has it? You look amazing.

AB: Thank you! This is a custom design by Kev Meera. The six arms were his idea, but I requested the compass hinges on the wings. I met Kev a couple years ago at the GeoS. I guess we recognized one another as artists chasing liberation for the human via the alien. In spite of generational differences, conversations with him are some of the most vulnerable and introspective I’ve had in this life or the last, but I think we became friends primarily out of our shared distaste for The Bachhians.

Zuoren: Exciting! —Though we’re actually hoping to get The Bachians on for an exclusive interview here at The Blue Straggler, so we would appreciate it if any and all artistic critiques are kept civil. Last question—for real, this time: Should we expect a collaboration with Kev Meera in the near future?

AB: That’s confidential… for now [winks].

[ . . . ]

Zuoren: Thank you so much, ABYSSALIS.

AB: Thank you for having me. By the way, if you were serious about commissioning Kev, I might have his business card on me. He’s old, old fashioned.

Zuoren: Ah. Afraid I’m not walking the red carpet anytime soon. His masterwork would only gather dust in my closet. Plus, I’m still a little attached to the ol’ meat suit.

AB: Understandable. If you ever change your mind, Kev would be elated to work on a client like you.

Zuoren: Like me?

AB: Don’t look scared. Speaking from experience, you’d be in the safest hands.



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© 2097 Blue Straggler, LLC. All rights reserved.

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