As an introduction. In one word, what comes to your mind when hearing…
Downwards > Uncertainty
Blackest Ever > Chaos
Zhark > Factories
Tropic of Cancer > Sunset Strip, wait thats two words? ok Strip .. no, Strippers .. that’s it!! Strippers!
Ugandan Methods > Male
UK > OK
Montreal > Exotic
Sex > Naughty
Techno > Mask
Middle Age > Exciting
Death > Inevitable
Rebellion > Teenage
Pop Music > Essential
Jesus Christ > Superstar
Esotericism > Necessary
Paganism > Redundant
Satanism > That’s naughty again isn’t it?
Religion > Comfort
Politics > Game
Working on many different projects, is that something you are actively seeking or is something you came across?
Lots of people tend to do things because they are seeking credit. Everything they do with music serves to build that credit. For me it was more a possibility of moving away from that, decentralising the go thing. Having different projects is also a way of trying new things. If something doesn’t work you can just move on and work on something else. It makes sense for me and it’s easy to do when you make electronic music. In the beginning it was a great chance to break away from the structures of pop music and rock and roll. Initially, that is why I really liked techno. To be honest, I wasn’t that much into this music in the beginning. I thought it was just very average. However I later saw some possibilities, and even if it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, it became a vehicle for our ideas.
You release a lot of different artists on your label and you are surrounded by many others. What is their influence on your music?
I may seem surrounded by a lot of people, but, in reality, I don’t really see anybody. I live quite isolated in my day-to-day life. It’s the way I’ve always been. I don’t really hang out with people. Even when I lived in Berlin, which is generally a place where people go to meet people, it was never what I did. I have a small group of friends. Perhaps it’s my provincial English influences. I never really understood the concepts of going out for dinner. ”why would I want to do that?” I’d say, ”I’m not hungry”. I like meetings to have a purpose. It doesn’t mean I’m closed to the idea of working with people. On the contrary, I’m up for anything.
Under Regis I prefer to be alone to create. I know what I like, I know what I want and I know what resonates with me. But I like to keep some uncertainty in the process. I never had a studio in a set place. For my label, I like discovering people that have no track record, people that are not known. I find that so much more interesting. Oake, Samuel Kerridge… they came out of nowhere. We made them into something and I find that really exciting. Some people send me music and they already have form. It’s easy to put out, but it’s not really inspiring. The process of putting records out has become so protracted… It’s not as instant as it used to be. Everything is so edited now, there are no mistakes to be heard anymore. When I was growing up, music played a completely different role in people’s lives. It used to be more central. Identity being formed through musical attachments, it’s different now. There are so many different ways for people to build a picture of themselves.
There’s something nostalgic in your music, are you inspired mainly from past experiences?
I’m not interested in doing anything unless it’s been done before. That is very honest: I have no interest in any claim to originality. Julian Cope said that years ago and it blew my mind. It’s so true that the good ideas have all been taken. This quest for originality is kind of hollow. You can do interesting things within certain parameters of course. I wouldn’t say I’m nostalgic, but I have definitely been formed by my experiences. I left school when I was fifteen. I knew exactly where I wanted to be and I knew how to get there. I wanted to be a fucking rock star. University wasn’t even an option. I just wanted to get out of that fucking prison. They still used to use cane children in school, it was brutal and very Victorian. I just wanted to be involved with music, Lou Reed introduced me to Genet and Voltaire, not any teacher. I prefer observing reality. I believe you can get great wisdom from unlikely sources. There’s great wisdom to be found everywhere, but the problem with us humans is that we are not clever as a species. We always repeat the same mistakes and haven’t really evolved that much to be honest.
Do you feel that you come from another era?
Johnny Cash sang in the song The Folk Singer: ‘I was born two hundred years too late and two hundred years too soon’, what an amazing line. We’re all very romantic about nostalgia, but nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, especially now that everyone has the chance to access the past like never before. Going back to what we were saying about the internet, we’re all guilty of that. it’s such a powerful sedative. It’s sedating us daily without us even noticing.
Is darkness or satanism a question of aesthetics or is it part of your beliefs?
Really? Well, I don’t think so… I mean, we all pretty much understand comic book Satanism as the whole good and evil concept, old ‘Nick’, etc. However I think it’s more about our nature, but I don’t know really….
We ask this because we were looking at your blog earlier… it’s quite satanical.
But I haven’t got a blog! (laughs) Somebody took that blog from what we were previously doing with Sandwell District. We’d already stopped the blog. This is the beauty of what I’ve actually been able to do. I’ve beaten the internet! It’s not even me on my picture on iTunes. That is my biggest success ever (laughs). I never had a Facebook or anything like that. It’s great! Look it made you ask questions about something that’s not true. The certainty of the internet is complete nonsense. And I mean look at it, its got kittens and stuff on there…
Well, that’s really funny, but we could still see some links between this blog and your performance with Ancient Methods at Atonal last August…
This is what is so awesome about art: it’s just a matter of interpretation. What that performance was all about is plain simple: ‘show business’. I’m a hugely shy person. I find it really, really difficult to perform live on a stage. It’s not natural to me, but I do it anyway. It’s true that one does feel possessed. When you see amazing performers, they definitely get possessed by something. I really like that. But it’s not just that moment on stage. It follows through in my life. At Atonal I wanted to create something that I could feel, iIdirected my feelings somewhere in the middle of the set to steer the experience, it wasn’t planned I just felt it needed to move that way and it worked, things came together as if another force was guiding it… We chose extracts from the Passion of Joan of Arc made in 1928 by Dreyer. There are many people today making amazing visuals, but we were looking for something more literal. We liked the ideas of destruction and heroism. I think it worked really well in that space. It was really powerful.
It was indeed really powerful. It was the only performance in which people danced like crazy on the main stage…
I never understood dance music to be honest, but I’m starting to understand it a lot more now. I understand the communal aspect of it. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but right now I’m also meeting a lot more interesting people in the scene. The formula of a dark room filled with people and loud music is unbeatable. Everyone loves that, especially when you’re young. It’s a great way to escape.
How and why did you come to be involved in a collaboration with the store Kuboraum and a glasses collection?
Music and fashion never really go together. Everyone pretty much agrees with that. It’s quite an uncomfortable type of thing… which is exactly why I did it! I thought this is such a legit, such a professional company, and me in there who is absolutely not legit…This absurdity really intrigued me. As if I was going to wear my own sunglasses. Who does that besides Elton John? But it’s great, I mean, it was massively serious and very playful at the same time. We all knew what it was about. If the door is open, I like to go through. So long as it’s interesting. If it was to be really shitty, some external force would have stopped me, but it attracted me. It’s like Surgeon opening for Lady Gaga, it’s so subversive and it upset so many people. But his music is still the same and the records he made years ago didn’t change overnight because he did that. And on top of that people really underestimate Lady Gaga.
But don’t you think the way people dress is also a way to express the ideas that we live through music in our everyday life? Like a commitment?
Possibly. But not really for me. I find it’s almost become like a uniform now, if I use Berlin as an example. But I don’t know if it works. Some very average people dressing themselves up in a uniform in order to fit in… On the other hand, it’s true that this uniform suits Berlin, maybe now that it’s more stylized. I mean I’m not saying it doesn’t express anything. It certainly does for some people. John from Talker was wearing a red checked shirt at Atonal where everyone was dressed in black and I thought he was so brilliant. We were all guilty over there. For me it was always natural to be dressed in black, all the bands I loved were dressed in black. It was always in my life, but I never really thought further about it and the older I get, the fewer stands I take for these types of things.