Hello welcome to this week’s installment of “Welcome to the Insta-Hood!” where I interview interesting and fascinating accounts people and there IG accounts! This week interviewed IG account: @thescentofdust
1. Tell me a little about yourself:
“I was born in Orange County, CA and then my family moved to Hawaii where I grew up during the 80s and 90s. We lived in a very small rural town on the outskirts of the city where I went to school. There weren’t a lot of kids in my neighborhood (maybe two?), so my free time was spent “pretending,” drawing, making up stories, talking to imaginary friends, acting out scenes from cartoons/movie trailers or Saturday afternoon movies I saw on TV.
My dad was a horror movie fan and monster fanatic so I was exposed to a little bit of that over time. He had a Twilight Zone collection that had a fantastic psychedelic cover and a novelization of John Carpenter’s Halloween (which my mom eventually threw out into the garbage after she caught my dad and I watching James Cameron’s ALIENS on TV).
He also brought home from the library a copy of Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King with the Bernie Wrightson illustrations and it completely cracked my skull wide open. That was most likely in 1986.
That was around the same time that I become completely obsessed with Ghostbusters. We were at my parents friends for a party, and I was chasing someone through the house. I ran through some adults legs to get to someone or away from someone and as I came through I was staring at the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man destroying New York City. I remember sitting down and watching the rest of the movie. I think the hosts put it on again right after it ended and I watched it all the way through. After that every weekend I begged my parents to rent it over and over again. Back then we didn’t have a VCR or cable, so we rented a VCR from the local video store. Once the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters came out I was a fanatic and luckily for my sake, since this was during all that Satanic Panic nonsense and toys were getting banned, and a lot of what I “consumed,” He-Man, Thundercats, GI Joe, was being monitored and forbidden (Dungeons and Dragons), Ghostbusters was always permitted.
So my childhood was spent being really fascinated by and studying the artwork on books, comics, role playing game boxes/manuals, movie poster art and VHS cover art. It was an amazing time. The Safeway and 7-11 rented movies, so while my parents shopped for groceries, I’d just stare at movie boxes. And if Fangoria was set low enough on the rack, I’d flip through that.
Since most of these books that I saw in stores or the library were above my reading level, and I couldn’t see the horror movies that were everywhere, I’d just ask my dad what they were about.
My dad can tell a really good story, so he’d tell me what Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street was. He told me about HP Lovecraft, and at the time and in Hawaii, he was not available everywhere (unlike now), so it was years later when I finally found a Lovecraft book at a used bookstore and become totally enthralled by him.
I also had a babysitter who was cool and who’d watch gorier things, so she’d explain Hellraiser to me and other gnarlier things (zombie movies, death metal). I found it all very fascinating, especially growing up in a Christian household because it was the complete antithesis to what we were being exposed to each Sunday.
Even though Hawaii is beautiful and most people think of it as only a vacation destination, it also has a very rich tradition of folklore and tales of the supernatural permeate the culture. So it was not unusual to hear legends or stories about haunted houses, local woods, mountain ranges, roads to avoid at night; all the time. Every one had a story; kids, parents, teachers, I was enthralled it seemed around every corner the paranormal lurked.
So over time my curiosity became an interest, and I began collecting books based on cover art with the intention to eventually read them. I started collecting Stephen King paperbacks because you could always get them for really cheap at the Salvation Army. When we’d be buying clothes for the school year, I’d throw in a copy of Cujo or some classic horror anthology into the pile because it was a quarter. And then through the Scholastic Book fairs, I stocked up on Goosebumps, Fear Street, Christopher Pike, the Scary Stories collections, and then finally in fifth or sixth grade, I bought Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always. It felt like after reading that book I had graduated to more serious horror fiction.
Right around that time (7th/8th grade) all I cared about was hardcore punk and skateboarding and all I really did through high school was play music or skate.
If I did read it was Stephen King, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, Paul M. Sammon’s Splatterpunks collections, John McCarty’s splatter movie guides, Clive Barker’s A-Z of Horror, The A-Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers and EC horror/suspense comics.
This was all pre-internet, no tumblr, so a lot of stuff I exposed myself to was from reading interviews, suggestions in books or magazines, suggestions from friends or the people at indie record stores or the local pirate radio station. So getting into this stuff was really a lot of work, it wasn’t just handed to you.
Right before I left Hawaii, I got a job working at a book store where I was in charge of the Horror and SciFi/Fantasy sections, so around then I started collecting again and I worked with some cool people who exposed me to other things I just wouldn’t find at Blockbuster or the library. Soon after that, I moved back to Orange County, CA and instead of college, I got a job at a record store and was exposed to a lot more weird music, films and art. Since Hawaii didn’t have anything at the time to offer in terms of arthouse, underground or psychotronic culture, I had a pretty quick education once I came back to California. I’ve lived in the South Bay for the last 15 or so years and have been making art, music, writing and collecting books and records the entire time. “
2. How did you come up with your Instagram account name?
“I came up with it one day after seeing another terrible photoshopped book cover or movie poster and was nostalgic for the time where everything was a painting. I realized it was a lost artform, and I had an idea for an Instagram that would be old ads from comics, book covers, album covers, the stuff that really got me excited when I was a kid. I tried to track down this ad for something called Blood Brothers for years, which was a Lovecraftian role playing game that had a chainsaw wielding Cthulu on it.
I finally found it on Google images and was like, “Okay, I’ve got it! This will be the first image on my ‘mind of Evan Instagram,'” but I realized it wouldn’t mean the same thing to anyone but me. So, I settled on making it all cool book covers. When I was thinking of a name I remembered this Ray Bradbury quote from an interview he did about ebooks, “It’s important to read a book, but also to hold the book, to smell the book…it’s perfume, it’s incense, it’s the dust of Egypt…” So I called the account “the scent of dust.”
3. What are your top three books to recommended for fall reading and why?
“I can tell you what I plan on reading for sure this fall:
Something Wicked This Way Comes
– Ray Bradbury
A lot of Bradbury fans prefer The October Country
or The Halloween Tree
for Halloween reading, but I always go back to Something Wicked This Way Comes
once a year when fall rolls around. I fell in love with Bradbury in the pages of EC Horror comics, the story that left the biggest impression on me was The Black Ferris, which was a precursor of Something Wicked…
part of The Dark Carnival
collection. I mean the first line in the book is, “It was October, a rare month for boys.” Immediately when I read those few words I am transported to balmy Halloween nights, completely unsupervised, running through the streets of various neighborhoods with friends like a pack of feral dogs sweating behind a latex werewolf mask and homemade costumes. The sense of danger and endless possibilities of mischief, all mixed into a dizzying pheromone of fear. It’s a personal favorite.
Witches Wraiths and Warlocks – Ronald Curran
I love reading a short story collection between novels. Witches Wraiths and Warlocks is great because it is full of colonial folklore and classic tales of terror. The book is broken into three sections: Folk Tales, Popular Literature and The Literary Tradition. A few of the tales included are the original versions of stories that appear in the Alvin Schwartz Scary Stories collections; The Haunted House by Richard Chase and The Cat-Witch by Richard M. Dorson. There’s also a healthy dose of Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne among others. There’s about 40 stories included.
It Grows on You/Needful Things – Stephen King
I saw the movie Needful Things well before I read the novel, which I always enjoyed, and I read It Grows on You long after reading Needful Things. So I’m excited to return to these two stories.
When reading Needful Things for the first time I remember thinking to myself, “this is Stephen King’s version of Something Wicked This Way Comes” and since I love that story, Needful Things took on a new life for me. Plus King’s novel always reminds me of grey autumn days.
At its core Needful Things is a Faustian tale, but so is Bradbury’s; you get your wish but like with a djinn it turns dark quickly, and in the end you become part of the dark carnival, forever an Autumn person, your soul is lost to Mr. Dark. In King’s novel you receive your darkest desire in the form of a gift and which is given only after you perform a twisted favor for the proprietor of the antique shop Needful Things, and once done the punishment is that Leland Gaunt owns your soul. It is pure Halloween fare.
Recently, I read that the character of Leland Gaunt was supposed to be a Nyarlathotep-type character, which is again King playing with the Lovecraft mythos. He does this a lot in his universe, the events of Jerusalem’s Lot have a Lovecraft connection to explain why the evil in ‘Salem’s Lot exists. Revival and Jerusalem’s Lot both mention De Vermis Mysteriis a Necronomicon-like tome created by Robert Bloch in the Cthulu Mythos.
It Grows on You, according to King is supposed to serve as an epilogue to Needful Things. It’s about a house that grows new staircases, halls, rooms, and other additions to itself, all appearing directly after evil events that take place in the house or near its grounds.
Communion/Transformation/Breakthrough – Whitley Strieber
Whitley Strieber’s Communion series is fantastic. Great debate still ensues about the validity of his claims in these books. When published it was categorized as non-fiction but as controversy grew as to if the work was indeed factual it was moved to the fiction section of bookstores. The Communion series contains over seven books but the first three and most notably Communion and Transformation are fascinating, intriguing and terrifying. The books all describe Strieber’s repeated abductions and interactions with what he calls “the visitors”. The visitors are neither supernatural or extraterrestrial in our general sense of the word. But then again they are, it’s all very interesting.
As the nights grow longer in Los Angeles the skies are filled with the lights of aircraft earlier and earlier. It’s fun to look into the skies with a head full of these books and hope that you’ll see something other than a jet.
Fun fact: Strieber claims all his horror fiction is directly related to the subconscious memory of these visitations. Highly recommended reading, don’t just Wikipedia this!!”
4. What book are you reading right now? What is it about?
– T.E.D. Klein
I’m about 100 pages into this book and it’s right up my alley. There is the resurrection of an Old One in the form of an elderly man who may or may not be the only survivor of a tragic fire that killed an entire family in the mid-1800s. A strange religious order worship in solitude on the outskirts of rural New Jersey. An outsider who decides to rent a summer house from a couple from this order is unwittingly lured into their rituals. This all feels like a set-up for some Lovecraftian-esque sacrificial folk horror. Something like The Wicker Man meets The Dunwich Horror. I’m very excited to see where it goes.
The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion – Tracy Daugherty
Joan Didion is the master of making apathy beautiful. Her journalistic writing, Slouching Towards Bethlehem and The White Album, and her novel Play It As It Lays are flawless and serve as a scathing critique of pop culture, Americana and life in Los Angeles. There is a fantastic documentary called The Center Will Not Hold on Netflix by her nephew Griffin Dunne (Jack Goodman of An American Werewolf in London fame), which is very informative and I enjoyed very much, I’ve watched it three times. So when I saw this at my local library I decided to pick it up to gleam more insight.
– Laird Barron
In my library have what I call my Carcosa shelf, filled with HP Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti, Ambrose Bierce, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Chambers, etc. Laird Barron was a large omission from that shelf and thankfully my friend at Death Wound Publishing turned me onto his writing. Over the last year or so I’ve been catching up on what I’ve been missing. There is an eerie detachment and dizzying psychedelia to Laird Barron’s writing that translates into a beautiful uncertainty from the narrator to the reader. Magnificent paranoia.
Tales from the Underworld – Hans Fallada
I bought this book while in Scotland. I wanted to read stories of crime that weren’t your standard vintage crime; James M. Cain, Chandler, Hammett, Jim Thompson and what I received with Tales from the Underworld is the opposite. This isn’t hardboiled punchy crime fiction with no-nonsense leading men and dames in distress. These are tales of deceit by desperate uneducated people and their transgressions. Fragile individuals pushed to criminal activities purely to survive. It is more or less, with each new story, a dark study in human weakness and failure.”
In the Car
– Bret Easton Ellis
I read all of Bret Easton Ellis’ work in chronological order over the last few years. Reading Less Than Zero
was one of those doors being opened in my mind by an author. I remember thinking “you can write like this?”, it had the voice of a sophisticated amateur. Even though the books character’s were in college it felt like someone writing about my cynical and disinterested experience of high school in a very elegant way.
I decided to revisit his work but this time out of order. I was especially interested in starting with Lunar Park
because he claimed it was his homage all of the EC/Warren horror comics he had read growing up.”
5. Is there any exciting events or news that you would like to share?
“I am excited to announce that I am finishing the final editing and artwork for my short story collection of weird fiction called Rats in the Dream House, which will be out by November 2019. Hopefully, other stories of mine will be appear through various publications throughout 2020.
I am also working on another issue of my art/essay zine Strangers Die Every Day, I have quite a few articles I’m putting the finishing touches on and it will also include an extended version of my essay from issue #1.
Also, in my book buying excursions I can never pass up a great cover in the wild (even if I own it already), so I have acquired a small collection I’d like to begin selling off online. So that may crop up sooner rather than later on my Instagram.”
Death Wound Zine (DeathWound.com
) still has copies of a horror anthology that includes my story “In the Summer You Really Know”, a psychotic paranormal murder mystery.
Fractured Noise (Instagram: @fracturednoise) still has copies of a boxset from a noise group I was in called Moth Drakula. It includes a cassette and 7″, a reviewer described the album as “the sonic equivalent of a Hammer Horror film directed by David Lynch”.
Thank you for the interview!
If you like to know more information there are his contact information:
Until next time!