Believe it or not, there was once a time in Seth Haley’s life when he was apprehensive to openly show any respect for ’80s music, particularly when it came to his own musical output. But it wasn’t that Haley, a.k.a. Com Truise, didn’t appreciate the music from his early childhood, so much as he was concerned that opening the door to these works would lead to his music sounding at home on an old episode of the USA Network’s Night Flight.

“When I first began, there was just a lot of music being released that just completely sounded like music released in the ’80s,” explains Truise. “I didn’t want mine to sound like a song from that era. I just wanted to use the same equipment and put my own spin on it. With some of my songs, I have started to explore the structures of ’80s music, but I never want it to just sound explicitly like an ’80s pop song.”

He adds, “I’m a little more open to things now, but I’ve never wanted to go fully over into that poppier side. I have always wanted to keep it a little weird.”

Weird-but-poppy is definitely one way to describe the music that Com Truise has produced thus far. Since the 2011 release of his debut full-length album, Galactic Melt, the DJ’s space-trippin’ synthetic pulses have infused a dose of science fiction into a genre that was in desperate need of new influences.

There’s an extraterrestrial feel that continues to influence his work, as is evidenced by the rerelease of the EP Silicon Tare. “Just growing up, I always liked sci-fi,” he says. “One day it just kind of happened, where it just started to really click with me, and now all of these years later it’s still my favorite thing to really immerse myself in. It offers different worlds in which I can escape, and it’s always been my favorite thing to daydream about. Even now, I still find myself daydreaming about other worlds.”

While most musicians live not just paycheck to paycheck but also gig to gig, relying on the ever-popular “side hustle” — retail shelf stocking, Uber driving, waiting tables — to make ends meet, Truise knew to fully immerse his energies into music he would have to leave his career as an art director behind. He proceeded with caution and was met with both support and hesitance from those around him.

“For me, as much as I sometimes look back on it and second-guess myself now for leaving when I did, I just remember that it was such an exciting move to finally devote myself to music full-time. My parents weren’t exactly able to jump on board immediately. Their reaction was more of an, ‘I don’t know,'” the producer recounts. “I remember discussing it with my creative director and design director and letting them know that I had a tour coming up. I thought that it would be too much to just ask for a leave of absence, and they were immediately, ‘We completely understand.’ My creative director had played in a band on the side for almost his entire life, and his advice was to run away from the day job as fast as I can and just to enjoy this opportunity. He explained that it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and it just made me more comfortable with the decision.”

So while taking his supervisors’ advice has worked out for the musician, Truise still relies on some of the training he received from his former career. While he may not wear a tie to work anymore, there are still deadlines to meet and plans to be made.

“When we would begin working on a new product, we would work up a brief that would outline what everyone was looking for, and it would just keep us on track,” Truise explains. “I still do that when I am working on a release, or something like that. I like to make an outline of where I would like it to go, what it should feel like, and how I want it to pan out. I definitely feel like I held onto that aspect of structuring my work, keeping it focused with the ability not to stray too far from the story.”

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