zondag 12 augustus 2018

Sex Gang Children: No matter what obstacles we encountered, and there were many, it was always about the music and the music shone through.

Sex Gang Children raided England in the early 1980s with their experimental punk, and they became a huge success. The singles from that period are now collected on 'Electric Jezebel', and the band now performs with three of the original members who recorded the legendary music. On August 31st and September 1st, Sex Gang Children will perform at the B52 in Eernegem, Belgium. We thought that was a good opportunity to ask singer Andi Sex Gang about the band and its history.

You have recently released ‘Electric Jezebel’, a compilation of the singles from the heyday of Sex Gang Children from 1982 to 1983. What was the motivation behind this release?

There had never been a complete Sex Gang Children singles A & B sides release before and I felt the time was right for this. 'Electric Jezebel' captures the jagged intensity and surreality of those early singles. The stand-out point of this compilation is the realisation that the songs have a timeless quality and that was something I felt people would appreciate hearing, in its entirety.

At the time, Sex Gang Children were a huge success. You were a very alternative band, though, coming straight from the punk and squatting scene. And you had a very provocative name. How was that success possible?

No matter what obstacles we encountered, and there were many, it was always about the music and the music shone through. I am a very determined person, and when I feel the cause is right, nothing will stop me. I will fight to the bitter end for that cause.

‘Electric Jezebel’ contains the full ‘Beasts’ EP, which remained in the UK charts for 18 months. It was a huge sensation and one of the best selling 12” singles ever. Were you surprised with the success?

There was no room for surprise. Once the songs were written and released, we had already moved on to new songs. We were aware that our music would have an impact not based upon anything other than it was straight from our gut and it was different. Raw and passionate expression layered with epic overtones. It's our soul music.

A few months later, the ‘Song & Legend’-LP was released, which went straight to number 1 in the indie charts and even entered the mainstream charts, as did the ‘Sebastiane’-single featured on the new compilation. Even though ‘Song & Legend’ has been unavailable for years, it is still hailed as a landmark album. How do you explain that?

Again, I would say it is down to the music. We did not try to affect or simulate anything that wasn't in us and that album is a good representation of us at that time, as is also represented on the 'Electric Jezebel' album. Yes, Song And Legend has been unavailable for some years now, however it will be reissued as part of a CD box set and also on coloured vinyl through Cleopatra Records later this year.

The success of ‘Song & Legend’ also spawned the release of a compilation that was - again - titled ‘Beasts’ and is also featured in its totality on ‘Electric Jezebel’. Where did the unreleased tracks on that record - like ‘Mauritia Mayer’ or ‘Salvation’ - stem from?

Mauritia Mayer was the follow-up single to Sebastiane.  Salvation was on the 12" EP version of Mauritia Mayer.

It all started out as Panic Button - the band’s first name - in 1980. How did you manage to start a band back then?

Panic Button was a spur of the moment creation, we had a gig booked before there were any band members. I put together the band overnight and we played around London and this developed into Sex Gang Children. It was a matter of jumping in and learning how to swim rather than taking it slow and easy.

You later got the rights to the name Sex Gang Children from Boy George, who performed under that name for a while. Is it true that he gave you the name in exchange of a meal at a snack bar?

At the time, Boy George was performing under various band names on a regular basis. Sex Gang Children was just one of the names he used for a short period - about two weeks for each band name. There was no exchange of the name for a free meal. George suggested that I should use the name since I loved it so much. I took him for a coffee to persuade him to continue to use the name for his band. The name itself is originally from a William Burroughs poem.

The current tour sees you playing again with astounding musicians from the past: the great guitarist Terry McLeay and the wonderful drummer Rob Stroud. How did this renewed partnership come to be?

When I decided to release Electric Jezebel, Kevin Matthews (Sex Gang Children member) proposed bringing in Terry and Rob for the Electric Jezebel Tour, as they had played on the majority of songs on that album.

The success period ended with the split of Sex Gang Children. You have repeatedly said that ‘Blind’ - your solo LP from 1985 - was originally meant to be a Sex Gang Children record. Why was that not possible?

This was never truthfully explained to me by the head of our record label at that time. The album was already pressed when I learnt that it was to be released as a solo project. I personally believe that there were some inner politics involved, but I'm not going to get into that right now.

In the nineties, you reformed Sex Gang Children with original bassist Dave Roberts. Even if you have been critical of this collaboration later on, you released the wonderful Medea with new material, and a compilation titled The Hungry Years with most of the earlier material. How did the reunion take place?

Dave Roberts had started hanging around with me again and had attended some of the London studio sessions for Medea. We ended up inviting him to play bass on some of the tracks. At the time it seemed a natural thing to do. And at the time, it worked well.

As if from nowhere, Sex Gang Children resurfaced in 2002 with ‘Bastard Art’. How did that come about?

After recording several solo albums, Kevin and I decided it was time for another Sex Gang Children album. The new material lent itself towards that. Kevin introduced me to Matthew James Saw and Carl Magnusson with a strong recommendation that they would be perfect for the new Sex Gang Children album. Their energy, enthusiasm and arthouse approach to the music was ideal. Their creative input on Bastard Art was impressive.

A decade later, in 2013, you released ‘Viva Vigilante’, this time with an almost identical line-up. I saw on your website that you have been cheated by the person who released ‘Viva Vigilante’. What happened?

Actually, Viva Vigilante! was released on my own label. The person who cheated us that you are referring to was our distributor; Steve Morell of Pale Music, Berlin, Germany. We later discovered he owed money to a lot of bands. A man to avoid at all costs, if you want to be paid.

Thanks for the interview. Any last words?

Well maybe a few words about my new music project, 'Dada Degas'. I feel it's been a long time coming to envelope myself in another, different alter-ego. One that has no ties to the past yet opens many creative challenges for the future. 'Dada Degas' will challenge the normal rules associated with multi-media, as I did with Sex Gang Children and as Andi Sex Gang. This and previously unreleased Sex Gang Children rarities will be available through my own independent company 'Liberation London', which serves not just as a music label, but also an outlet for my paintings and other related artwork. I believe that artists have to push the boundaries as never before. Cultural Revolution is our natural destiny. Art is expression, art is freedom, art is at war. So, be a warrior not a slave.

Sex Gang Children

Sex Gang Children will play the B52 in Eernegem, Belgium on August 31th and September 1st

dinsdag 24 juli 2018

Schwarzblut: I think that the subjects of freedom, identity and the celebration of diversity that go through the album are a reflection of the time in which we live.

Four years after 'Gebeyn Aller Verdammten', Schwarzblut returns with 'Idisi'. The group does not repeat itself but chooses to explore new ways with the new record. The depth of meaning and composition, however, remain constant. We witnessed that in our conversation with front man Zeon Schwarzblut.

Your new CD is called 'Idisi', a reference to the Germanic goddess of vegetation. Why this title and how does it relate to the total concept of the album?
The word 'Idisi' comes from the 9 / 10th century "Merseburger spells" (German: the Merseburger Zaubersprüche), written in Old High German. The first of these two spells is a "Lösesegen" (spell for release). It describes how warriors captured during the battle are freed from their fetters by "Idisi". We use this text for "Eiris sazun idisi", the opening track of our album. The "Idisi" mentioned in this text are supposed to be Valkyrie-like goddesses, possibly related to Norse mythology, where a dís ("lady", plural dísir) is seen as a spirit or feminine deity associated with fate. The Merseburger spells are the only known texts of the Germanic pagan faith that have been preserved in Old High German. We chose "Idisi" as the title for the album because of the reference to the eternal desire for freedom and as a tribute to the power of women in the past and the present.

'Gebeyn aller Verdammten' dates back to 2014 and was rightly considered as your best work to date. It took four years to come up with a successor. Why so long?

Our 2014 album received a good reception indeed. And because we never repeat ourselves, we opted for new ways for the next album. We decided early in the writing process to concentrate on the roots of the Germanic and Frankish languages. This of course requires study time and we have taken that time. In our search we found beautiful texts from the 13th, 9th and even 6th century. These texts have a sound and rhythm that are very inspiring to me. They immediately invited to compose music. The old languages and texts have an abstraction that works very well with the dark, vocal and rhythmic music on our new album.

We have noriced a great evolution since your last work. Where you used to choose hard beats, you have become much calmer on 'Idisi'. A conscious choice?

Idisi is an album that has been created in a very organic and intuitive way. With the arrival of Gijs van Ouwerkerk, we had three vocalists who could contribute this time. And that really invited us to use a lot of harmony and chant vocals in the songs. By putting the tempos a little lower, there was more room to let the voices 'speak'. We have experimented a lot in the studio with community singing and free improvisation. That has produced beautiful pieces such as "Eiris sazun idisi", "Die Zeit geht nicht" and Vogala. More than before we have also recorded organic instruments for the album such as violin, nyckelharpa, hurdy-gurdy and percussion.

Until now you mainly used German texts. The new album is much broader linguistically. We hear Latin several times, the first written (Old) Dutch sentence on 'Vogala', fragments of Turkish and Romanian, but especially a lot of Medieval-German. Why this diversity?

I believe that an artist is always influenced by his or her contemporary environment. And we as well. I think that the subjects of freedom, identity and the celebration of diversity that go through the album are a reflection of the time in which we live. Fear, polarization and propaganda are just as much part of the past as part of our present. Polarization always comes from fear, from not understanding the value of diversity. Lack of understanding stems from a lack of communication and connection. Music is about communication. Our music is our way of communicating and learning about other cultures and customs. For this album, Hannah Wagner helped us with the pronunciation of the Middle High German texts, the Romanian singer / actress Teodora Ionescu helped us with the Romanian parts and our Iranian colleague and friend Reza helped us with the Farsi / Persian parts. This process of sharing and learning was an enriching experience. I believe that having strong cultural roots and a sense of belonging to your own culture is a solid starting point to meet and explore other cultures. And because suffering and suffering is also a given in the world, we were not afraid to record a number of cruel texts about war and persecution.

The album comprises the 'Palästinalied', a song from the time of the crusades that has often been covered. What has driven you to make your own interpretation of the song?

On the album, this song connects the Western and Middle Eastern worlds, in the form of a 13th century text written at the time of the 5th Crusade. We have really made our own version of it by adding vocal harmonies, spoken lyrics in Latin and very intense percussion. The song also contains the majestic game by our German friend Georg Börner (Sangre De Muerdago) on the nyckelharpa. His medieval stringed instrument gives the song a mysterious and Eastern character. Hannah Wagner (Saeldes Sanc / Helium Vola) and Angelika sing these songs as a duet, which really gives the song a fighting and melodic character.

'Lied der Freiheit' seems to fit very well with the Schwarzblut concept. Can you tell something more about that song?

The text of this song is a poem by the 19th century Swiss poet Gottfried Keller. In this poem he formulates the concepts of time, truth and history in a surprising, new way. It was logical for me to put this text on music because it gives an interesting conceptual context to the old texts we use on the album.

To round off the album you use a poem by the Persian Sufi poet Rumi, after the German translation of Friedrich Rückert. The music also sounds very oriental. What did you want to achieve?

In a world where polarization and populism in the media form the issues of the day, we choose a different course. I do not own TV and use online media in moderation. As I said, I believe that an artist is always influenced by his or her contemporary environment. And that having strong cultural roots and a sense of belonging to your own culture forms a solid starting point for meeting other cultures. This song is such a meeting. The text of 'Ghaselen des Dschelal-eddin Rumi' consists of the German translation of works by the Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207-1273). Rumi was the leading figure of the Sufi movement in medieval Konya. He philosophized about the benefits of tolerance. The meaning of his words inspired me to give this song a deep, Oriental sound. Partly through the use of Arabic singing by Hammam Al Sayid. The Rumi text we use is a translation by Friedrich Rückert from 1819. We already used texts from Rückert on our albums Das Mausoleum (2010) and Gebeyn Aller Verdammten (2014).

The collaboration with Hannah Wagner of Saeldes Sanc is in the spotlight. You already worked together on the single 'Virginis Memoriae' in 2015 and in 2017 with the EP 'Wildes Herz'. How did you get to know Saeldes Sanc and how did you decide to work together?

In 2015, we first released a split single with Hannah. She is a great talent and a very nice person. So while working on "Idisi", the idea arose to make a mini-album with her. After a meeting with Hannah at the Wave Gotik Treffen in her home town of Leipzig (D), she came to Deventer (NL) a few months later to work with us in the studio. When we were together, an inspiring work atmosphere arose in the studio. We exchanged ideas and suggestions to take the best of each other. I worked on the compositions and recordings of both Saeldes Sanc's and our own songs. I look back on this with great pleasure. Although you can send music files all over the world via the Internet at lightning speed, the musical result is so much better and more personal when you actually work together in one studio. And you can hear that on "Wildes Herz".
Do you already have any idea what the next step for Schwarzblut will be?

We have had two release parties in the Netherlands behind us. In the fall we go back to Germany for performances. Of course new musical ideas are bubbling up again. So they will also find a way to a next release. There is also a video clip for the song Vogala in the making. Keep an eye on our website and sign up for our newsletter. That is how you first hear what is coming on.

Interview: Xavier Kruth
Pictures: Xavier Marquis

donderdag 28 juni 2018

Lizard Smile: Wandering in Mirrors

In 2013, Lizard Smile released the beautiful 'State of Void', a mini-CD that meant a great leap forward for the band. They were always good, but it was clear that the quality of the recordings had improved considerably by working together with Eric Van Wonterghem (Monolith, Sonar ...).

The extraordinary quality of 'State of Void' made us mouth watering for more. Now that we are almost dehydrated - five years later - a successor finally comes: 'Wandering in Mirrors'. Why does it have to take that long? That is just the way it is with Lizard Smile. They have released only four CDs in 23 years, but then there’s not a single bad one among them.
'Wandering in Mirrors' opens a new chapter. Not that it is very different from the previous chapters. Lizard Smile remains faithful to their recipe to mix classical gothic rock - think of The Sisters of Mercy and The Fields of the Nephilim - with danceable electronics. That recipe works, the previous records and the excellent live reputation of the band are proof of that.
Yet I notice an evolution in 'Wandering in Mirrors'. I feel that the band is more involved in sound experiments, that they dare to make more atmospheric pieces. That also explains why the songs are a bit longer. Other bands would not so easily get away with it, but Lizard Smile knows how to do it and it doesn’t get boring for a second.
What I do not understand is that the most extensive atmospheric song - with the significant title 'Noise Fades Out' - is only available as a digital bonus. The song is good enough to be on the CD and there was still some space over with only six tracks. Although it is no secret that the band would like to release ‘Wandering in Mirrors’ on vinyl also, and then the space is obviously tighter.
Let’s go for a tight record, then. 'Wandering in Mirrors' does not have any weak moments with its six songs, and that is the most important criterion for assessing a record. Whoever liked the past CDs will also like this one, and for those who get to know Lizard Smile with this new one also, 'Wandering in Mirrors' is an exceptionally strong album.

dinsdag 26 juni 2018

Christian Death: I think pacifism will be the rehearsal for the ultimate slaughter

Christian Death is the central band from the American death rock scene. They are a true legend. From their debut 'Only Theater Of Pain' in 1982 to 'The Root Of All Evilution' in 2015, Christian Death always stood for controversy. We took the opportunity to speak to front man Valor Kand during his last passage in Liège.

Hi valor. We have just witnessed a great concert. Let’s pick up on something you said in the show. The world government, the one percent… What is that about?

Well, that’s a thing called agenda 2030. It was originally called agenda 21. I think they started working this out after a meeting of the Bilderberg group. It’s actually a plan that goes back. I think it was initially started around 1900. It’s a long-term process. It’s not about people who are alive. It’s about families maintaining their dynasty for a long period of time, for their offspring. A normal family will save money for their children, so that they can go to school. The super 1% doesn’t think about one generation. They think about multiple generations. If you go to the houses of the rich, you can see photographs and paintings going back hundreds of years. This is their ego. They feel that they don’t die because they live through the generations, from the past into the future. And they also feel like they are supreme human beings. Almost the mentality of what the nazi’s supposedly have done. But this is actually an ancient concept that goes back before the nazi’s. They feel that only their bloodlines matter. The rest of us are just servants. We’re subhumans.

I believe the Bilderberg group is something about the financial system…

No, the Bilderberg group is a combination of the wealthiest people in the world, including the royals in the Netherlands and the UK, and then of course the Rothchilds the Rockefellers, the Carnegies…

I think about the last CD that you made: The Root Of All Evilution. You said that you were interested in all the supposed conspiracy theories going around and that you found out that much of it is true…

I’ve always been suspicious about evil in the world. I met a very old guy in 1999. He was telling me stuff that was all about politics in the world. And I thought it was a little bit wacky, a little bit crazy. But he was a very nice guy. He was very honest and sincere. He always wanted to help. Every time I went over to his house he told me new things. I learned a lot from him. I don’t just take his words. I do my own research. The scary thing is… I met him 18 years ago now. And in the last 18 years, every thing he said… I have more information to validate it every day. At first I thought it was wacky, and now I think of him as a guru.

He made prophecies…

Not prophecies. He told me about common knowledge that most people don’t know. It’s not about magic. Its’ not something only secret people know. It’s common knowledge that is hidden. The reason that it’s hidden is because we don’t have the energy or the time to look. In fact the conspiracy… These people lay it out, they tell us. It’s all there, but they tell us in a surreptitious way, in a clandestine, shadowy way. It’s there. And if you don’t see it, that’s your problem.

How do they tell us?

It’s in their writings. It’s in their documentation. You have to read things like Edward Bernays, who was the nephew of Sigmund Freud. He was very influential on these people. Goebbels was also an influential admirer of Edward Bernays. It’s all about mind control and mass manipulation for the benefit of the people at the top.  Of course, the headline news tells a different story. They tell you the cover story and you go away and think: ‘well, that’s it’. You see it on TV and then you forget about it.

And how to uncover that?

Well, when you see the news, you don’t think: ‘that’s the truth’. You think: ‘how much of that is the truth? Is any of that true?’ Once you have that approach and you really think about it, you take the time and energy to go at the library and research something from the past or what somebody says, you follow up… Especially now with Internet, it’s very easy to research what somebody says and to think: ‘Why is he saying that? Where does he come from? What are his incentives? How much money does he have? How did he get this money?’ The people with influence are always the people with the money, the people at the top of the food chain. These people are - in my opinion - always scary, because there are only two ways to get that big. By being born into it, and that makes you selfish because you were raised and educated by somebody who also thinks he’s entitled. Or you got to the top by stepping on a lot of people to get that far. Everyone they step on is another ladder, and they step on the ladder up to the top.

Is the concept of the latest CD  ‘The Root Of All Evilution’ based on this?

Yes, it’s based on knowledge that is hidden in plain sight. It’s there for you to see.

I also see a reference to creationism theories…

Creationism is just a diversion. It’s a diversion for people, not necessarily by the Bilderberg group or these people. The people at the top know that they have to let everyone have their fantasies. So they let the christians have their fantasies, they let the muslims have their fantasies, they let the poor people have their fantasies… That’s how you guide people. They don’t have a common saying: ‘live your life this way’. They do it from behind the curtain like the wizard of Oz. They do it in a way where you don’t know they’re doing it. They do terrible things and they have learned, for the last 200 years to always make changes in the world and never be responsible. They make other people do it for them, and then say: ‘this is terrible, can’t believe that happened’. And yet, the whole time, they manipulate. Like 9/11.

‘American Inquisition’, your CD from 2007, was a reaction to 9/11…

The common concept of it now, what people use as terminology, is ‘false flag event’. False flag events go back to Roman times. When Nero burned Rome down, that’s a false flag event. He burned Rome down. The people didn’t know. Now, if you study history, it’s common knowledge. But at the time… Why would their emperor burn his own city down? He burned it down because he didn’t give a fuck. And the people at the top don’t care. They just want to do anything in order to get what they want. They don’t care about the people and they burn the houses down. The fire, the traumatic experience… Now they have to look to the emperor for help. That’s exactly why he burned the city down. People hated Nero. People were so disappointed that he was spending all the money in Rome on himself, on sexual orgies, on having sex with children and young boys. The talks were going. Then the city burns down and everybody forgets about how bad Nero is. Everybody’s going: ‘Oh, what am I going to do? My house is gone. I need food.’ Nero says: ‘Don’t worry, we’ll give you bread. We will build the coliseum and we’ll give you all the blood you want. We’re going to burn the christians. We’re going to burn the jews. We’re going to burn the people from other countries in front of you. We’re going to give you entertainment and keep you happy.’ All of a sudden everybody forgets how terrible Nero is, because he’s giving them what they need. He’s giving them entertainment, distraction from the misery that he created.

To make the link with Bush is only a small step…

It’s the same thing. These people learned from history.

You’re saying that 9/11 was an inside job?

Absolutely. No question. I knew it the minute it happened. I saw the TV and I knew, at that moment. I didn’t have to wait, not even a second. The first plane was like shocking to me. Oh my god! The second plane… It was too classic. It was a classic false flag. That’s why I was so angry, because it took six years… When we did ‘American Inquisition’ six years later, people were still going: ‘oh my god, my god, we saved the world, we have to stop the terrorists…’

Now they want to get out of it…

No, now they’re bringing the terrorists to Europe to make more trouble. They let anybody in, no documentation needed. Come on in! Young men… Why is it all young men? All young men with erected penises and no money. They’re all coming in to breed Europe out of existence. These are their own words. The mullahs preached this: ‘We will breed you out of existence.’ It’s not fantasy, it’s not propaganda, it’s not prejudice. I have no prejudice for any race whatsoever. I take any man exactly as he is. But if you come to me saying that Jesus is my savior, I’m going to walk away from you. I you come to me saying that Allah is my savior, I’m going to run away from you. Because you’re even more scary. Because you’re going to kill me. It says right there in the Koran: ‘We’ll bring the word of Allah to the people by the hand of the sword’. However, in the dark ages, I would run further from the christians than the muslims. But that era is now over. They want to rewind the clock. Now they’re going to use islam instead of christianity. They know that one third of the world population is fanatically religious. These people are easy to control. And all you have to do is breed the rest of the population out. It’s from the top. It doesn’t come from the people. If you go to a muslim country now, they invite you in, they’ll feed you. They don’t care if you’re christian. Here in Europe, they’re told to think another way, to hate the people around them, to hate the environment… Not everybody believes this, but unfortunately, that’s the doctrine coming from the top.

But these are actually poor people…

Yes. It’s very simple. Who fights the wars? It’s always the people at the bottom. Who sheds the blood? Not the people at the top. If you go into ancient Egypt right now… They’re starting to translate some of the stuff… Ramses wrote down how he conquered this place and that place, and then you read stories from other surrounding areas where Egyptian fellows went in, say the Babylonians or the Persians. These are different contradicting stories. One of them is lying. They hatched the history in stone, but none of these histories are the same. The story that the pharaoh told is different than that of other kings. That’s the way it is. So, where’s the truth? You have to analyze everything. We live in a fantasy reality.

I’ve noticed Christian Death - that was not including you at the time - was formed in 1979, which is almost 40 years ago.

Yes, but they never did any shows outside of small places in Los Angeles until 1981.

Ok, but you were part of the alternative Los Angeles scene…

I was there at the time. I just ran away from my father. He was looking for me…

You ran away to Los Angeles?

I was living in Los Angeles. I was living in Orange County, which is about an hour and a half away.

When Christian Death made an impact, you were not yet part of it…

No, the real impact came when we went to Europe.

As a part of the Los Angeles scene, what the impact was of the very first record: Only Theatre of Pain?

Well, it was something I liked, but there were a lot of bands that I liked at that time. The only reason that I got really involved is because Rozz and I became friends. He joined my band, and then…

When Christian Death fell apart after ‘Only Theatre Of Pain’, he joined Pompei 99…

Yes, because he wasn’t doing anything for almost a year. He had nothing. He was living with his mother. I offered him the opportunity to do something, because I had a lot of connections. I was working with a production company. They would come to me and asked me about bands, and every time they made money, they would come back for more. I made a connection with a lot of Europeans: Siouxsie and the Banshees, Johnny Rotten… I met all these people by just being in the company of special people, very wealthy people. I managed to have a lot of connections in Europe too, and we had organized a tour with Pompei 99.

And then Pompei 99 became Christian Death…

The owner of a French label had found the ‘Only Theatre Of Pain’-record when he was in California, and he liked it. He wanted to release it and he contacted Rozz. Rozz said he was now in Pompei 99. The guy contacted me about doing an album. After he sent half the money, he said: ‘What do you think about changing the name to Christian Death?’ I had to give up what I was doing. And Rozz didn’t want to do it, because he didn’t want to use the name anymore. For him, it was a bad experience. He wanted to move on. But the guy offered us money, and then it happened. We went to Londen, we went to Wales, we played a couple of shows in France…

The story goes that you were out of money…

We had no money. They were feeding us. There was great French food. We flew to London, and then we went on a ferry to Caen, which was where the label was. They treated us like kings. We had food, we had money, a record deal, we could record in the great studio where ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was recorded… It was very exciting. These were great times for us.

‘Catastrophy Ballet’ and ‘Ashes’ were very successful…

And even ‘Atrocities’. It was the first record we sold out before it was even released.

After ‘Ashes’, Rozz signaled he wanted to quit. What happened then?

He just didn’t like touring. That was his big problem. It was too stressful for him. Touring is like… you don’t sleep. I lost 20 pounds during this tour, that’s like 11 or 12 kilos. It’s hard. We used to have this thing: if you’re in a band and there’s a new crew member… if he can survive three weeks, then he is worth keeping. Most people fall apart because of no sleep, no food, too much drinking, drugs...

Twenty years ago, Rozz committed suicide. You also dedicated a song to him during the concert. You have said in interviews that you were not surprised, since he tried it several times back then. You held him back from committing suicide…

Yes. But of course his suicide was ten years later.

You had no contact with him anymore?

I didn’t speak to him since… like 1993. His suicide was 1998.

In 1993, you took contact with him because he wanted to tour again under the name Christian Death?

It wasn’t him who wanted that. He didn’t do what he wanted to. He was bound by a contract with Cleopatra Records with an indemnity clause. Brian Perera, the owner of Cleopatra, offered him a nice probe. Brian tried to seduce me in making a deal with him. I asked Brian how they pursued to manipulate Rozz. He said: ‘I’ll tell you the truth, I made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse’. They gave Rozz 30.000 dollar, and that to Rozz at that time was more money then he ever had in his life. And the reason Brian could offer that kind of money was because he knew that at that time, Christian Death was on fire. We were on MTV and Rozz wasn’t part of it. That were my songs that were on MTV, and Brian Perera wanted a piece of it. The only way he could get a piece of it, was to offer something to the junkie. I’m not trying to be insulting, but at that time Rozz was bad on drugs. That’s not my perspective, that’s how Brian Perera thought.

How could he take advantage of this simple, sweet guy? Rozz was a simple sweet guy. Intelligent, but simple in ways of being manipulated by people like that. He didn’t have a defensive act, an understanding of who to trust. Rozz is that kind of person that… If you were happy, he would be happy with you. If he saw that you were fucking him over, he would leave immediately. He refused to play… Sometimes he yelled at promoters, announcing he wouldn’t play that night, and he actually had good reasons.

But that deal… Rozz did like two recording sessions, and since then Brian has made 20 fucking records. Out of two recording sessions. ‘The best of this…’, ‘The remakes…’ et cetera. None of it is really good quality. Well the original recordings are OK, but they weren’t really good enough in my opinion. They gave him a cheap studio, only so many hours. They gave him the money and said goodbye. So he was being exploited. And I’m still being exploited by Cleopatra Records.

Why then?

Because they have half a dozen lawyers on staff. They are illegally using the name Christian death, and to stop them, I need to have at least 100.000 dollars.

You said there was no trial, was there?

There never was a trial with Rozz, but there was one with Cleopatra Records. It never went to court. A good corporation never goes to court. They pay their way out of court. They use the law to stay out of court. They use the law to put an extension, or postponement, or a countersue… They do all these little tricks. It’s like when the Exxon Valdez ship sunk in Canada and oiled and poisoned all the native Canadian villages. They couldn’t go fishing anymore. Until this day, it’s twenty years now, the native inhabitants didn’t get the money. The court granted them the money, but the corporation went to court again to stop it or postpone it.

You can manipulate the law…

You can manipulate the law when you have the money, and that’s the story. The law doesn’t mean anything. The only time the law is important, is when you kill somebody and you can prove it. But even rich people can get away with murder. Like O.J. Simpson.

Let’s go back to the ‘Root of all Evilution’-theme. I heard you were working on a sequel to that album right now…

Yes: ‘Evil Becomes You’…

We didn’t hear any new songs this evening, but you are working on it.  Tell me about the prospective of it…

It’s not the same… Every song is always different. So it’s not going to sound exactly the same, but it’s conceptually an extension of the Evilution-theme. As I say in ‘Illuminazi’: ‘The more I learn, the less I know’. And that means: the more I learn, the more I realize how evil the world really is. It’s more evil that I ever imagined. And it only becomes more scary and more evil.

But you said you don’t believe in evil...

I don’t believe in religious evil. I have travelled the world and I have lived in many places when I was a young child. I never lived in the same place more than two years. I’ve seen the terrible things that people do. But I have never seen a demon. I have never seen the devil. I’ve never seen a succubus or any of this shit. I have only ever seen people doing terrible things. That’s most scary to me. I’m not afraid of walking to the woods at night and being attacked by a witch. I might be attacked by a bear or a wild animal, but never by a demon or a spirit, something from another dimension, an alien…

So it’s the evil in humankind. What brings out the evil in man?

Stupidity. Because you can take advantage of the stupid people. And then you get more and more greedy.

The exploiting people are stupid themselves, but they take advantage of the stupidity of others…

Because they don’t realize that the whole universe is based on harmony. Harmony is the planet. Frequency holds everything together. Even in an atom, everything moves in a rhythm, in a frequency. Everything is frequency. Music is the glue of the universe. Without the frequencies and the harmony and the melody…

Music is harmony, of course.

Yes, it’s all the same. Life is harmony, and it’s frequency. Without frequency, I wouldn’t see you right now, because the light spiral is a frequency. Everything spirals down, like Trent Reznor said. But its’ also an upward spiral. It’s equal and opposite, yin and yang, day and night, black and white, male and female, evil and good.

You use a lot of Egyptian symbols in your work. Why?

Because the Egyptians were prolific with their imagery. What’s left of their culture is all over the place. Very little survives from other cultures. Since 9/11, most of Babylon’s treasures and artifacts have been destroyed or stolen, thanks to the US Army taking over Iraq, former Babylon. This is typical. Historians will tell you this. When a culture has been taken over, they don’t just take over people, they come and destroy everything. The Spanish destroyed all of the cultures in Southern America as much as they could. Eventually, in time, you can puzzle it back together, but that’s the concept. You conquer and destroy. You wipe out the culture so there’s no will to fight back. You take away their culture. They have no pride. They have nothing left. That’s a typical military approach.

Even Akhenaten in Egyptian history, the most powerful pharaoh of all times… In a short period of time, he conquered so much. He changed everything. He didn’t like the priests taking all the people’s money. That’s why I respect him. He said: ‘There’s the sun, there’s the earth and there’s the moon.’ The sun gives us the grain, the moon gives us the tides. The moon and the sun change the weather, and without these, we would die. So obviously, we should have respect for these things. He wasn’t praying to some mysterious fantasy story, he was talking about basic science. And the priests didn’t like that because they could not make money out of basic science. Just like we can’t make money out of free energy. That’s why Tesla was killed, because he wanted free electricity for the world. The rich people didn’t want that. They were making all kinds of money and they still are one hundred years later. It’s the same thing. Selfish greed creates evil. They just don’t care how many people die.

But not all people are selfish. You said that yourself during the concert.

Yes, there are basically good people.

I believe that most people are good.

Yes, if they weren’t, we would be slicing each other to pieces. It’s true. If we were all as evil as the people at the top, we would be killing everybody all the time. Husbands would be killing their wives so they could get another wife. Sometimes people also suffer because they’re good. They spend their lives with people that they don’t even like. Sometimes it is hard to be mean. That’s why we have courtesy.

A last quote of something you said during the concert: ‘you have to experience pessimism to become an optimist’…

I had an epiphany three days ago when I was driving to a friend of mine who is a professor in history in Germany. I think that pacifism will be the rehearsal for the ultimate slaughter. Because the people who are evil know that most people are pacifist and don’t want war. The pacifists easy to manipulate. The harder ones, those who are not pacifists, get them first. Or spread the peace word, so that everybody is more calm. Like Jimmy Hendrix said, a surprise attack: ‘kill them in their sleep’.

Pictures: Luc Luyten

Interview: Xavier Kruth