2006-07-04 | NINa
and Brian Backlash |
NINa: Your excellent website contains everything that a music website should have, including an online store as well as a studio diary. We can listen and download the samples of your music before we buy it. The color scheme facilitates the role well also. Do you think a members-only paid section for your forum, Archenemy, will pass the 'exam' and that you will find the right kind of fans to pay for viewing videos, or listening to singles before they are released? It reminds me Trent Reznor's last practices with his paid fanbase...
I actually haven't paid much attention to Trent Reznor since 'The Fragile', which I thought was a bit disappointing but for a couple of bright moments. So I really couldn't say anything about his success or failure with the paid fanbase aspect; Archenemy is more about providing richer content to people who really want it. The downside of doing that, especially as a wholly independent artist, is that it's very expensive. Producing the material and distributing it - especially things like video - is very expensive. I don't anticipate any profit from Archenemy because the entry price will be very minimal - something like $10/year I think, something to just _contribute_ to the operational costs, though I don't imagine I'll have enough subscribers to actually cover all of those costs. The upside is that I will make exclusive content available-unreleased music, behind-the-scenes video, dossiers about the artistic background and meaning of the music and the visual representation of it. And, hopefully, some sort of physical collateral, though that isn't really defined yet.
NINa: Have you ever read Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller? Could you tell us why sex raises so much controversy through each decade, even tho it is everywhere and everything that can be explored in that area has been explored?
Well I think religion has a large role to play in the continued repression of society. And it's particularly bad in America, where it's more permissable to watch people get their heads blown off than to watch them get their dicks sucked. People are intimidated by sex, I think, because it connects to their core. You strip everything else away, and you have your body and thats it. Your body and your animal instincts & impulses. The only possessions you come into this world with, and the only possessions you go out of this world with.
People are instructed by their religious institutions that that is dirty and private, that sexuality equates with sin. That attitude is cultivated practically from the second were out of the womb, so its a hard lesson to unlearn.
I haven't read any Henry Miller, no. I've been meaning to but just haven't come around to it.
NINa: There is a thread about Diamanda Galas on your forum. Is that an artist you'd like to work with in the future?
I really admire her, yeah. Her conviction is astonishing. Her intellect is intimidating and she's fiercely articulate. She's a force of nature. It's hard for me to visualize collaborating with anybody whom I have, as a nobody professionally speaking, been inspired and informed by as a fan and a creative artist. And while I take my work very seriously, I still think of it as pop music; she creates something serious and important. I don't know how I'd fit into that. Not at this stage of my life, anyway.
Brian Backlash: You've had some issues getting your debut album, Enter the Dragon, out into the marketplace. What are some of the difficulties that is keeping the project from moving foward?
The largest obstacle has been that I'm doing absolutely everything myself, so aside from the immense time involved just to produce a single song, there's the learning curve and the time it takes to develop music iteratively rather than intuitively. It's not a fast process. And I think inevitably you have something missing because one person cannot be everything; a "jack of all trades but master of none", as it were. I want some more heads and hearts in the mix. I want some other ideas. And I'm also still learning things, from the engineering aspect.
The other hold-up, somewhat, has been that the material is evolving. Much of what you've heard to this point has been more industrial-oriented, darker, harder. There's some newer material that is a bit more glam, a bit more up, and has more of a blues influence actually. So the plan right now is actually to release two albums - Enter The Dragon, which will probably end up being a long EP, seven songs or so - and then The Nihilist (working title), which at this time is planned to get the bigger marketing push. The Nihilist is a bit more accessible, though there are certain things about my outlook on the world that certainly never change. (As if the title didnt tell you that.)
Brian: You had your live debut planned for a date at the Skybar in Boston, which regretably had to be cancelled. What are your current plans for your live debut, and do you care to reveal any nuggets for the kind of show you'd like to do?
Something theatrical. I don't go in for that old standard four guys and their instruments type of thing. When I go to a show I want to be entertained, I want to be dazzled; most people have no interest in really doing that so consequently I don't go to shows very much. We were having such a hard time getting more of a band than just me and Rev, my drummer, together for the Skybar gig that we were actually looking at having costumed actors on stage with us and turning the whole thing into a kind of "Stomp!" experience - sequencers combined with people playing found percussion-pitched metal, that sort of thing. A rhythmic cacophony carried out by creepy characters amidst a strobelit, foggy bank. I want to scare the shit out of people.
Brian: The EP and song "Freak Revolution" has goth anthem written all over it. Did you intend for your intital disc to be interpreted in such a fashion, and what how has the song been received by listeners?
Well I think I've really been internalizing, and taking personally, the really dark direction our human culture is taking in terms of politics and environment and economy, the way people treat each other, and in that regard my music definitely has the objective to be anthemic. I want to wake people up, and to energize them. I think we can turn things around before society and the planet really go down the shithole.
The song itself has by and large been received very enthusiastically. There's the usual contingent that prefer a less poppy or less polished approach, so those types of listeners will never be satisfied with me because that's not the kind of material I want to produce. But the overwhelming reaction has been great.
Brian: I'm going to be honest here. I've been around a number of different blocks, and the theatrical presentation of yourself in combination with your music has a very unsettling affect on me. I would not want to meet you for the first time, or any time, really, in a dark alley. Do you consider your style an honest reflection of yourself, or a gimmick?
I suppose it's both, in a way, but I wouldn't say it's a gimmick in the sense that it's insincere or inauthentic. This IS me, this is how I am every day. These are my unfettered ideas and this is how I represent myself when I go out on the street.
NINa: You seem like the kind of man wecan talk about fashion with. You like to wear make up and pose pictures. Do you regret not being born a woman?
I think that for anybody to seal themselves up in a caricature sexual identity is obnoxious. I've never been able to identify with stereotypes; I think anyone,
male or female, has a bit of the opposite in them. Anima/animus. Not everybody is comfortable getting close to it, and I usually don't gel with people like that. I like people who are secure in who they are and don't get wrapped up in clichés.
We almost had a guitarist on tap that would have allowed us to pull off the Skybar gig, actually, but when he heard about the costuming ideas he became very cagey about whether or not we were a "gay band", which couldn't be further from reality. But the fact that it was even a remote concern to him was anathema to me. It was emblematic and a portent of what would have been in store with him, so I showed him the door and cancelled the gig. There will be no homophobes on my stage. I've got more urgent irons in the fire than the reeducation of ignorant children about human nature.
I have no interest in being a poster boy for any group or movement. I do what I do. Other people can and will put their labels on it but I never know what they mean. I don't want to know. To define is to limit. I have enough obstacles without having to deal with peoples' misconceptions.
There are a lot of different connotations for the makeup aspect, which by the way is not a constant thing with me. It has nothing to do so much with gender identity - I'm quite satisfied and comfortable in my masculinity; I've never painted my face up with the intention of looking like a woman, though I'll admit I like that it unsettles men who aren't secure in themselves. People like that deserve to be unsettled.
I do it because I like high-contrast iconic imagery; I like imagery that is a bit confrontational and forces you to ask questions - and even in this day and age a man in makeup is still regarded with a sideways glance at least, if not outright hostility. It's perverse. I don't think whether a guy wears lipstick has any relevance to where he likes to stick his dick. And if somebody on the street gets in my shit about it, I'll cut them the fuck up. I'll spill blood. I don't suffer fools gladly.
, as an artform, is definitely something I like to observe. It inspires me. I love designers like Alexander McQueen, the enfants terrible. People who shake it up. Leading, not following. He's wild. Eiko Ishioka is amazing as well, though she's not a fashion designer per se
but a brilliant multidisciplinary artist. I'd like to develop a career as diverse as hers.
Brian: It's been remarked often that you're a well read individual. Do you ever read a book that makes you want to re-create it's vibe in an audio format?
I draw more inspiration, in terms of developing a musical idea, from films. "ETD" is very heavily influenced by the films I love, be it in tone or subject matter. "Salo", "Caligula", "Salon Kitty".... Films about powerful, demented figures and circumstances that really presage the times we're going through in my country, so they resonate especially with me now and they certainly inform my work profoundly.
"Enter The Dragon" is very heavily influenced by some of the things I've been reading lately - "Against Nature" (which was actually the de facto 'bible' of Wilde's arch-dandy Lord Wotton in _Picture of Dorian Gray_), "Venus In Furs". Explorations of power and debauchery, and various kinds of abuse. Self-abuse and abuse of other people - which is what "ETD" is all about. It's an indictment of the abusive impulse.
The Nihilist is a bit more personal, relating as much to my personal experiences as to my disgust with the world we live in. It's considerably less influenced by other artforms or media, and is more concerned with lifestyle and personal suffering.
NINa: Have you ever been interested in any discipline of philosophy? What are your views, for example, on zen?
I tend to be a bit more intuitive in my philosophical leanings. A lot of the things I've picked up and skimmed through always felt like obvious knowledge, things that everybody should already know - even if they were more eloquently stated by whichever venue exposed me to the institutionalized ideas - socially, or in books. I do have my own philosophy, I suppose, but it's not something indoctrinated. It's a hodge-podge. It's more like a mission and personal code that I live my life by, and I've built upon through my life. I don't have religion, as you probably guessed. I loathe religion. ANY religion. I don't see much value in any of it. Institutionalized religion is about power and control and I find that abominable, and worthy of violent revolt.
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