Chester Masangya / FOSSA MAGNA – I’m not afraid of dying

Anxious magazine FOSSA MAGNA

The Fossa Magna is a great rift lowland in Japan, tectonic fusion of land masses which in Latin means “great crevasse”. Fossa Magna is also a compilation of three Noise projects from Japan, the Usa and Phillippines: Astro (Hiroshi Hasegawa), Many Blessings (Ethan Lee McCarthy) i Coalminer (Chester Masangya i Robert Glen Dilanco).

Being constantly overstimulated by external stimuli seems to overrun cognitive aspects of mankind leading to self-distraction. We are replied with intoxication which our mind cannot fully adopt, process and store away. As a result we are experiencing cognitive strain which can lead to problems with concentration, decision making processes or derange our ability to lateral thinking. It’s a never ending conflict between a recognition processes and susurrous waves of close round impulses. In that context Noise becomes a reflection of surplus strain of sounds around us. Noise intentionally pass on chaotic, fierce and unidentified sounds which aims to pass the dynamics of chaotic everyday life along on the listener. It can be as well a challenge as an escape from information flow which emphasize our cognitive abilities at the same time creating type-specific and painful noise which becomes catharsis like after hard BDSM party.

The Fossa Magna produces sound which is a mixture of agony and relief – the kind of experience on both physical and psychological levels. It was created with sincerity which intentionally aims for certain effects on the listener and only makes the music more authentic. In the Fossa Magna’s world noise triumvirate intentionally becoming sacrum and profane. We can feel reborn in the inferno of hallucinations and delusions to finally wake up in the great rift and to re flow in the new beginning. Even before you start to enter you filter through the unknown dimension only to without transcending become eternally incarcerated.

Artur Mieczkowski

Artur Mieczkowski: I always wonder where artists get so much energy from to run several projects? How is it in your case? Which project is currently occupying most of your attention?

Chester Masangya: Hey Artur. First of all, thank you for inviting me to do an interview with Anxious Mag. I appreciate the curiosity and support.

Recently, I gave birth to a harsh noise solo alter ego called Jaw Surgery. Back in August of this year, I lost my long term work from my home job and decided to start backpacking and go out on a harsh noise adventure. I messaged some noise friends from Melbourne, then found my way through Taiwan and China (with the help of WV Sorcerer Productions) and played shows in several cities there. I love the feeling of traveling and meeting music friends and just going apeshit every night. Haha.

One of the goals is to visit Europe (hopefully late of 2024) and meet online acquaintances in person! I also aim to tour Japan around August of next year.

Jaw Surgery and Torturing Nurse Anxious Magazine
Jaw Surgery and Torturing Nurse

Jaw Surgery will put out its first few noise tapes in 2024 (some live recordings from the tour run, collaborations, and a full length work I recorded before I started the tour run).

I am also developing more materials for Fleshcarver. Two tapes should be out sometime next year too (if all goes according to plan).

With Coalminer, we have an ongoing new full length work we are wrapping up.

Aetheric Wound (noise project with Frank Huang and Rallye Ibanez) will play its first show in Taipei this weekend (December 3, 2023). We will play the Taipei Psychedelic Festival Day 2 with Japanese band Mainliner, Bo Ningen and other sick guys.

I also have a newer project with Otay:onii (featuring Jay Preston of Milat ). I am extremely excited about this work; we are currently working on the mastering as we speak. I first met Otay:onii in Sydney (I attended the Essential Tremors Festival in Sydney, Australia back in August this year to see the Otay:onii set) and we recorded in a studio several days after.

Fossa Magna is a project I envision to tour with Glen, Ethan and Hiroshi. We hope one day our schedules align and we get to hang together! I haven’t met Hiroshi yet in person, it will be surreal to hang out with him and down some ramen together!

A.M.: I have to admit that Fossa Magna, is one of the best albums I have heard in 2023. How did your meeting come about, how was the process of creating this material? 

Ch.M.: I met Ethan McCarthy many years ago down here in the Philippines. His band Primitive Man toured the Philippines with Weekend Nachos and I went to that show. I brought them joints and we finished it all. Ethan still looked normal after toking all those joints. hehe

During the pandemic, being on lockdown and all, my mental condition was not really great. I woke up one day, and toked a lot and had this idea in my head to ask both Ethan and Hiroshi to write work with us in Coalminer. During this time, I have already established correspondence with Hiroshi Hasegawa and have done some work with him on my old projects White Widow and Recovery Center. I had this stoned thought that the sound frequencies of our separate noise projects when molded together would create the beauty that is Fossa Magna; which I think I was not wrong about. hehe.

It took around a year to finish the record. If memory serves me right, it was late of 2020 when we started working on the materials (through email exchange of sound sources). 

I think all would agree that we just wanted to have fun and at the same time write heavy stuff together.

Hiroshi named the project and we all agreed to it. I think the name sounds sick.

Extremely grateful to Ruotan (WV Sorcerer Productions) and Travis Bos (Damien Records) for putting good faith on the record. I took the initiative to correspond to some record labels and find home for this record. I am delighted that it has manifested and people did listen and enjoy it.

Jaw Surgery at OK Center Guangzhou China

A.M.: Listening to this album is an extreme and largely cleansing experience. This album completely absorbs the listener. What does making noise mean to you? Why this extreme art form?

Ch.M.: Noise I would say is both the freest and most extreme form of sonic art that I am aware of that exists in this world. hehe. I like the idea that the sound form is unhinged and chaotic. Some metalheads can get into noise, but not all. It’s an acquired taste.

I enjoy the low end vibrations, heavy frequencies when listening to noise; harsh noise and power electronics scratch that itch really well.

The Japanese noise legends Masonna, Incapacitants, Hanatarash, Hijokaidan, and CCCC are my main noise heroes and greatly inspired me to pursue the sonic journey. Also Chinese noise veteran Torturing Nurse (who I met in Shanghai, China recently and played with).

I also think that people who participate in this extreme sonic form called noise are extremely interesting people to meet and talk to :).

Fosss magna ANXIOUS Magazine
Jaw Surgery at UFO Space Beijing with Li Jianhong Gogoj Deng Boyu Huzz and Thomas

A.M.: In her review for ANXIOUS, Marta Podoska wrote:

“– Hey guys, let’s record an album that is able to trigger a great folding on the cerebral cortex, the kind that will form volcanoes, separate lands and expand horizons.
Yeah, if only it would be cozy, so that there would off course be a pounding, but a concentrated one!
I would like people, listening to this, to stop being afraid of death…”

This is a fascinating statement, especially about not being afraid of death. What do you think?

Ch.M.: Haha. I appreciate those words from Marta. Not being afraid of death?  I have seen and smelled death in the face (with my late mom’s passing and a good friend). I guess at this point in my life, I am not afraid of death anymore, rather I’d like to confront the idea of fear by making more noise art and meeting my online acquaintances and establishing meaningful connections in real life.

I believe, once you make peace with the idea of death/ decay, life will shed a more profound perspective. We all become bones and there is no escaping this human fate. It’s a beautiful tragedy. Everything else that we do now is merely play (yet life situations make it hard for most). Living and surviving each day is harder than death I guess. Therefore, I cherish each waking day and try to make the most out of them.

A.M.: I really like the artwork of your debut album. It illustrates the sonic impressions very well, it’s as multi-dimensional and psychoactive as the sounds themselves. I’m curious to know how you, as a sound artist, perceive this cover, what message you wanted to convey.

Ch.M.: Ruotan of WV Sorcerer Productions asked for assistance from a friend named Tseng Peng-Chieh. Ethan (Hell Simulation) and Ruotan did both the layout and art direction.

We all decided to go for something abstract. I think how it was represented fits well with the project’s name.

Ches and Otayonii in Sydney

A.M.: You fascinated me with your joint project with Otay:onii. I saw their performance in Gdynia (in Poland) and it made a big impression on me. Can you tell us about what you created together?

Ch.M.: Cool man! I am fascinated by my friend Otay: onii too. I was blown away by their set at the Essential Tremors Festival. haha.

I asked her to record together because I was checking their works with their previous band Elizabeth Colourwheel and their solo project Otay:onii and I extremely admire their stuff. The opportunity and conditions were perfect when we were in Sydney (with the assistance of Jay from Inner City Uprising) so we were able to down the materials in Quarterpipe Records Studio outside Sydney.

We didn’t plan too much when we recorded the material but I would say it sounds really cool and heavy to my ears. I can’t say much at this point since we are still finding home for the work, but you will be the first to know what’s up.

Lane (Otay:onii) and I already came up with a name for the project. I will not spill the beans just yet though. :).

When things align, we will surely tour the project together. We’ll plan the game sometime soon.

A.M.: Do you have a dream person you would like to work with?

Ch.M.: Ahhh. I’d like to manifest work with Masonna. Also a collaborative set with Incapacitants. I also daydream to jam together in one space with Maurice De Jong (Gnaw Their Tongues).

A.M.: What equipment do you use to make music?

Ch.M.: I have invested in several analog synthesizers. I love the Trogotronic 669 and my Electro Lobotomy synths. I also got a piece from JMT Synth (Japan) and a Korg MS20 Mini. Also got this shaker box I mainly use for Jaw Surgery. And an old organ I got from a thrift store.

Aside from these, I invested in some fuzz and distortion pedals, delay and reverb pedals.

A.M.: Do you think he could play music other than noise?

Ch.M.: I used to be in bands as mentioned but it’s hard to find band members to pursue a band down here nowadays (especially when you’re getting older haha). Though if given to play with like minded people, I’d love to pursue a crust punk band or perhaps a death doom band. I can play guitar/bass and do vocals. haha

A.M.: Thank you very much for your time. I wish you good luck with all your projects. And I hope to see you at concerts in Poland too.

Ch.M.: I appreciate you man. I’d make sure to look you up when I get to that part of the world. Kindly show me around :).

For inquiries/bookings: Cheers!