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Interviewed by Nicolas for Necrophonie

 

1) Would you or not tell a bit about the fundaments of the so-called "private life" that is yours, like how old you are, if you've ever been a father, what kind of job you have, how you feel towards the neighborhood in the middle of which you live, how do you feel towards life in general? Any specific/"exotic" aspect as of living in New Zealand?

I grew up on the outskirts of Chatsworth- a suburb of Los Angeles, where in youth I played in the hills: hiking, biking , building tree-forts, etc. Chatsworth is known for a couple of things in particular: the porn industry, the Manson Family, as well as home to the Chumash Indians- so to a large extent I am somewhat the product of my environment. Later in high school when I tired of the L.A. club thing, I dropped acid and made my first recordings here in the hills at night- it opened up a whole new world to me. I met my wife there and we moved to the bay area together in 1991 to attend schools, respectively- we had tired of Los Angeles and the plastic reasons for which people now tended to gravitate there. My father had an impact on my interest on the outdoors and later backpacking in particular- which later came to serve as a tremendous inspiration for the music. Outdoors in the wilderness I came to understand true freedom- coupled with personal responsibility as well. My work experience largely a combination of environmental and adult related- which I find supplement the music appropriately.


Now back in Los Angeles, I'm constantly reminded of the reasons I left: traffic, smog , self-absorbed cow-like people, lack of community- it really is China Town. While planning to move North again, I want to keep my options open. This past year I have been fortunate to travel much, and yes New Zealand would be an option in the future for sure. I do hope to make my way through Europe again. But as an artist, I have to wonder if America has anything to offer me still- aside from the land and my family that is. The last six years here have left much to be desired. I am still searching for home in many ways.

 

2) For how long have you been active as Children Of The Apocalypse? Have you been involved in something else before? Where were your main influences coming from at the start of C.O.T.A.? Would you anywhere say that you have reached "fulfillment" in case this notion could fit with how you see things? Has your motivation remained equally high and of the same nature since the beginning? Do you see different periods in your musical path so far?


I worked at Silent record with Kim Cascone during which time Charnel Records expressed interest in releasing our material- about 1993. 1994 we self-published our first release "Terra-ist" and began performing material live throughout the Western U.S. on a number of small tours. In 1995, we performed as part of Ian Read's Fire and Ice here in California. C.O.T.A. published "Ta'wil" in 1997, through Charnel Music. But this proved artistically devastating. Charnel, well known for Crash Worship, had a distribution agreement with Warner/ADA, and around that time I became aware of the ugly realities of music, which was personally very difficult We were sold out from under our feet and still haven't seen a cent from that issue. Our friend Markus Wolff of Waldteufel suggested we release through Tesco Organization in Germany, which has helped us re-establish creative control.


Our music has progressed alt since then, as it should- being able to adjust and change when needed. My interests and goals have changed as well. I began an interest in music playing guitar at a young age. For a long time I focussed on the electronic elements in music. The 80's and 90's saw huge advances in technology that fueled huge advancements in music. I found that limiting in many respects, and since have returned to a more organic approach. more recently I am very interested in really playing all the music live again. It's just more enjoyable to me.

 

3) Have you ever felt like being part of, if not something as limited and abstract as a "scene", rather a network of interconnected individuals sharing the same interest for specific sonic fields and their surroundings? What is it like nowadays? Do you think something has changed between mid-80's, mid-90's and mid-00's, might it be in terms of generating and sharing music and/or of human relationships in general? Which would be the persons/projects/labels/whatever you'd feel the closest to?


In the 80's something wonderful happened- the resurgence of ideals, chaos magick, millennial psychosis.- in any case good things were happening loose structures of autonomous individuals started to seek out more intense and meaningful modes of existence. Relationships as well as music have sadly become much more mediated experiences since the 80's and specifically with the advent of the internet- conviviality has become nearly revolutionary. I do see vast potential for such new explosions of the human spirit. In the 90's we all left our collective villages with the advent of home computing and online networking. Our challenge now is maintaining the global village- where new mythologies , hopefully a planetary on can emerge. It really has to as a part of normal evolution. Lets just hope we can survive the last gasps of the "old guard" as they are - if they fuck things up now on a global scale there won't be a forest to return to.

 

4) Would you refer to a word such as "atmospheric" for some (or most) of your work? Do you see any specificity in the use of this word, as an "atmosphere" is a particularly wide comprehension of both perceiving and creating sound?


For most of our studio work so far i think "atmospheric" or "sound environments" is appropriate . But these terms don't encompass the material performed live at least in recent incarnation. LIve there are element of atmospheres for sure, but here our aim is for a "Live and awake " experience. The material performed is allot faster and more aggressive. The most I can hope for in this realm of sound exploration is to give the listener a sense of wonder- this to me is where magick can occur. I'm recently enjoying the "post-urban" phrase to describe what e do. It implies vision that can extend and encompass many aspects of life.

 

5) Could you describe a bit the material that you use, and the main phases of creation/elaboration of a piece you go through? Are you interested in environmental/natural sound sources, archaic/old electronics interfering with new technologies, remaining as diverse as possible and not fixed to one technique and process of confection?


I was always very interested in how the electronic and the organic actually meet. We use a couple of vintage Roland analog synths which produce the most amazing tones- I didn't start as song writer but now enjoy a more deconstructionist approach to music- removing the obvious or starting with the unexpected. Art schooling taught me allot about differing approaches to my art. I may base an entire track around a tone, or an orchestra of drums - it depends on the song. They are like life-forms to me. Gardening is a good metaphor, you feed them what they need and perhaps they can reach the sky. These days, with technology and tools at our disposal for making art, the real craft becomes knowing when to stop.

 

6) Are you concerned with inducting something on the side of the listener, specific stimulus, consciousness, state of mind,... ? Do you care for hypnosis? Have you ever done live performances, might it be in front of a very small audience of relatives and friends or in front of a larger audience in more "mundane" circumstances? Why (/not) playing live?


My initial interest in music started as a means to conduct personal trance states for ritual use. This coupled with my interest in psychedelics, myth, and art gave me personal knowledge that could be accessed once there once there- a conversation with the shadows if you will. I found this information immensely powerful and transformative. Ultimately we hope that people can come out and enjoy themselves and at-least lose themselves for a short time at-least- if they have a transcendental experience , hopefully they will be inspired enough o pass it on. All of our shows have been for a more intimate audience, which is nice to see and feel what people are experience But I really would like to perform to larger crowds- say a couple hundred to a couple thousand to see how the music effects people in larger groups. The only thing I find mundane about larger audiences is actually trying to book with some of these people who have no contextual reference. We also do all of our own booking which I personally don't like- if anyone wants to handle this for us e would love to play more- Europe especially.

 

7) How big is the part of conceptuality, intellectuality in your creative work? And how big is the part of instinct? Do you have some sort of credo, philosophy prevailing in C.O.T.A.'s expression? Would you call yourself "environmentalist" i.e.?

Definitely!

 

8) What do you imagine death to be like? What are your own feelings or thoughts over death, might it be your own death, or others' deaths, or death in general? Would you anyhow consider or even refer to an idea such as metempsychosis?

Like not being able to get out of Los Angeles before carpet bombing starts or sitting in traffic while the death-cloud approaches??? The passing of flesh seems to be the time when we remember death- but our action in life do transcend death in the sense that long after the shell falls away , the memories of the soul live on eternally. Remember when my Grandfather passed, I was asked and honored to read from Ecclesiastes 3,- the verse that recalls that in life there is a time for everything under heaven. When I had finished the minister commented in a sermon that while the "sheep go to heaven , the goats suffer immeasurable hell". This model for the "hereafter" seems uselessly outdated, a sour lives should be measured by the whole of our actions which can bring metaphor and purpose to the living- what is really left but the memories which is a sort of spirit...

 

9) What's in the pipeline for the coming months?


I wish we could get in all out in the next few months- years seem to be more of the operating cycle. We have a new C.O.T.A. album being finished up now,- it is the follow up to "Marches and Meditation" but will draw more upon the inspirations for "Ta'wil". We are still playing with a title, but the album is about finished.
"Visions from the Garden" will be available in Mp3 format October 31, 2006, with contributions by: Scott Ferry, Belborn, C.O.T.A., Gydja, The Hybryds, Magnetic Lucifer, Master Musicians of Hop-Frog, Not Breathing, Natural Order, Nequaquam Vacuum, Phaul, Planetaldol, Satyr Masterchasm, Sikhara, Sacrificial Totem, Sleighted, and Xeno Volcano. The glue for this release deals with the effects and musing on mainly organic psycho-actives- from as subtle as Coffee to as Mind-Bending as D.M.T. We want to make a print version as well, but the music business is changing rapidly.
Our first acoustic release should be born in Spring 07 if all go well- I have been writing these guitar based songs since before we played as part of Fire and Ice in 1994. And hopeful that will land us in Summer with more travels and shows to inspire and be inspired.

 

10) Any final comment?
We hope to make the trip to Europe for a series of shows, so if you can help book this, please contact us.

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