When I received your album, I was immediately drawn into the strangeness. The first song, “Seitsemäs kerros” made me feel like I was in another world. I know it is an intro and not really a song, but it makes a promise to the listener that this is not a normal album. I do not agree with any of the categories that Harmaa Getto is supposed to be in, but such things are really for only for sales. Am I correct in thinking that there is nothing else like the styles inside the album?
We are inspired by many kinds of music and come from different musical backgrounds. Our way of making music also differs from each other and the kind of sample material we used can lead to the fact that there aren’t exactly similar records. For example, Ovenvartija differs significantly from the first Harmaa Getto album, where the mood was more humoristic, alcoholic, and threatening. Now the take is more melancholic. Lauri’s other projects are a lot like Harmaa Getto, and if you listen to the albums one after the other, you can recognize a clear continuum. Harmaa Getto is a different project from Paavoharju, but they have a lot in common.
The lyrics are in Finnish. I find this to be interesting, but I wonder what people in Finland think about your album.
We frankly don’t know! Ovenvartija got little attention when it appeared, and the critics ranged from praise to scathing. Many people have said that they liked the record, but compared to, for example, Joose Keskitalo’s solos, the visibility has been weaker. We ourselves do like the record very fucking much.
” Vanhat Mestarit” gives a hint of folk music, but only in one instrument. The percussion is of the electronic realm, and the other accompaniment is very far from what can be called folk. It’s a collection of things that do not often go together. What was in your mind when you combined these different elements?
We made the whole record practically far from each other and discussed the record mostly with Lauri. We sent Lauri a lot of different material and looked at which elements worked. At least intuitively, it was clear to me from the beginning that the album had to have a dumpy, raspy sound. That’s why the album has a lot of electronic sounds. For me, combining various unrelated elements has always been fascinating and sometimes I wondered if we could have gone even further in the experiment. Fortunately, Lauri always knows how to draw the line so that the sound doesn’t go completely overboard.
“Se et ole sinä” is the first sudden jump into the bizarre. There is a calming theme, but there is a variety of distortions of the otherwise gentle sounds. The percussion seems to be pushed almost to the point of clipping, but it comes across as intentional, to add contrast to the way the main melody sounds. The occasional electric guitar parts are at full power when they come in, and they provide a tasty psychodelic flavor to an already unusual piece of music. The keyboards are set to magical settings, making it savory to listen on headphones. Can you talk about how you created this magic?
The song was probably already quite ready when I was invited to join. I had known Lauri for years, but we had never made music together. One busy morning, Lauri sent me a demo of a song that was missing keyboards and bass. Lauri asked me to try something for music. I sent all kinds of vague tapes, of which Lauri arranged the best ones. After that, I was invited to join the band. At the last minute, I think Joose played violins for this too. I guess we’ve never talked more about the meaning of the song. It’s one of my favorites on the album, and just when I imagine I’ll catch Joose’s words, the sound goes away. I heard from Lauri just a moment ago that Joose wanted to remove the song from the album in the final stages! Fortunately, this was not done!
“Aleksander Galich” has a bit more varied structure than the previous songs. I was hypnotized by every single instrument. The song created an odd mental dimension as I listened on headphones. I had a sense of hearing something that was familiar, yet everything was far from the usual way that the instruments sound. It was a joy of madness. How did this exceptional blend come together?
In the same way as all the other tracks. Lauri built the foundation on which we started playing. Galich tells the story of a real-life Russian poet who died in Europe under unclear circumstances. Joose wrote the lyrics on his own. The song on the album is not so much a political statement in one direction or another, but expresses a feeling of paranoia where you can’t trust anything; neither people nor objects in the home. That’s why the song warns in the chorus about the radio, whose electric shock is said to have killed Galich.
“Marttyyri” put me into a trance. It started as something that would be tranquil if the instruments had other settings, but the special recipe you created made the music haunting, and parts of it were melancholic, which drowned me even more. The female vocals seemed like a visitation into a dream from a ghost. The song is scary and beautiful. Each time I hear it, I visit another realm of my imagination. You give the listener a key to an inner world. What was the inspiration for this song?
For this song, we asked the genius violinist Teemu Eerola to play whatever comes to mind. He sent us several tapes that we sampled, processed, and edited to fit the song. We also asked Anniina, who is super gifted vocalist of Paavoharju, to sing background vocals for the song, which fit the pompous and paranoid atmosphere perfectly. By the way, Anniina has the main role on our upcoming Paavoharju record. You can really hear her genius on that publication. It’s also worth checking out her solos under the name Anniina Auf and, for example, in the doom metal band Mansion.
“Tuomari nostaa maljan” conitinued to intoxicate me. It began with a sense of a story unfolding, especially with the tone of the vocals. It felt like a traveler telling of his lone and slow journey. The way it ended was unexpected, except of course that it was delightfully bizarre. Please share the meaning of this song.
The song continues the same theme that Joose has sung on his own albums. The song succinctly states how the law always finds ways to judge and punish. The judge raises a toast every time he has completed his task and handed down the law. The song has a mischievously true tone.
“Keskisormi” seemed like it gave me a chance to breathe in a relaxed way as I heard a bit of spoken-word, but the female part that came in was deranged even while it was calm, and I knew that I had not yet escaped the unpredictable and intense passages. I did not translate the lyrics, but perhaps you can let me know if the words have anything to do with an altered mental state.
The song tells about an accident that happened to Lauri. As the lyrics say, Lauri had a photo of his own middle finger with a piece missing, for art exhibition. After some confusing twists and turns, the narrator runs into a person at the counter of a bar who, like the photo, is missing a piece of his middle finger.
The flute in “Joki” reminded me of a couple of songs by the band Tusmorke. Is this just a coincidence?
This needs to be verified, but with a fairly high probability it is a coincidence. In the song featuring band Mystic revelation of Teppo Repo band plays a lot of traditional music and improvisation also plays a significant role in their playing. It was originally a song made for Joose’s album, which he gave to Getto to be processed without the other members’ knowledge. We purposely made the song raucous and rough. The original version had no machine sounds or raps. We all had fun banging out the song. It still pleases me how silly it felt to produce a song for Joose with skrillex-like dubstep clichés! Joose later said that he was amused by the idea of throwing a completely finished and suitable song to the dogs.
“Ovenvartija” is a favorite song of listerners of my radio shows. One such listener, whom I call “King Adam” remarked that it sounds like the band had a lot of alcohol. I suppose that it might seem like the distorted way the world might seem in an advaned state of inebriation, but this song is not as demented as the others I have mentioned. Ovenvartija is the name of the album. What does this mean, and can you share some secrets about this song?
Joose knows best what the song means. According to my own interpretation, the song is an esoteric parody of warning songs related to various intoxicants. As such, the song does not take a stand for or against intoxicants. It’s worth listening carefully to what kind of clicks and words can be found in the background of the music.
I bought several versions of the CD, including the limited-to-200 copies. I noticed that Svart records is selling the album for a very low price. Please tell me that this is not a bad sign. I want you to make much more music.
The album has been on sale for a long time, but this has no effect on our operations. Harmaa Getto is not making music right now, and depending on Lauri, its composition may be completely different again on the next album. Now we are making a new Paavoharju record together, which will be released in the fall. We also made the Happiness album last year, which first started as the English-language Harmaa Getto album. However, the style fit better under the name Paavoharju. After Harmaa Getto, Joose has released several of his own solos and he also gigs hard. Also a moment ago, a beautiful live album from Paavoharju’s gigs was released. Something is constantly being worked on
This interview with Slymentra Hymen was in issue #16
Since thou art a goddess, shall I be on my knees while I ask thee questions? But of course. All inferior beings must be on their knees at all times, and that does include you.
My knees, although they are in pain, will be healed by the succor of they beauty. (Laughs) That is right.
Thou hast coined the phrase “Abandon all hope, ye who enter her.” That’s right. That’s what’s written over the gates of Hell. Dante wrote about me years ago.
All great works, intentionally mistranslated. Could it be that if the story were revealed to be about thy gates, that the meaning of the tale would be lost? (Laughs) That is correct.
Other life forms have evolved lures that captivate prey. Pheromones taking over the male body, forcing them to do things that they are unwilling to participate in.
Was thy body always of that form, or hast thou created such exquisite curves in order to trap men? That is very interesting. You are finally understanding my plot!
I would like to by thy first disciple. (Laughs) Oh really? How young are you?
I cannot reveal my age. Then you will have to go to the back of the line!
I have a youthful body, my goddess, but no one can tell the age from my face. Do you have little boy muscles near the groin?
I have often heard the adjective “little.” (Laughs) Well, it will be even littler around me because I will chop it off.
Dost thou not think that thy manner hurts the female humans of this planet? I think there are lots of problems on both parties.
Thou art not the first alien in GWAR. I was led to believe that thou wert the first human was absorbed into GWAR as a unit, not as a race. I’m not a human. I am from the planet Clitosphere (spelling?).
Forgive me for my lack of knowledge. That’s OK. My great mother was punished by her masters. They stole her first child and banished me to this insignificant planet. They were going to force me to sleep with the Scumdogs to create yet a more powerful warrior ever seen in the galaxy. I wouldn’t give in, thus the Scumdogs were forced to sleep with the apes, and thus your race was born.
Thou hast been quoted saying that we breed like roaches. That’s right. The poisons that they put into the food don’t even help. It takes fifty years to kill you off with cancer and things.
Why is thy form so close to human then. Forgive me, for no human has thy perfection. (Laughs) Well, you know… (laughs) Let’s see. How can I answer this one? I am not as glib as you, as glib as thee.
It is thy magnificence that moves my tongue. I am usually an obtuse man. How couldst thou reconcile the fact that beauty such as thine harbors an evil intellect? It is this planet that has made me this way. Before, when I lived on my planet, all I did was worship others as myself, and read literature, and study the great arts, but here, I’ve had to learn and understand the art of war.
Were there any masterpieces that have long since been robbed of any connection to thee? Oh yes, of course. All the great masters have painted me. Have you seen the painting Olympia, by Manet?
I have not. Well that’s me. Have you seen Nike, from the Greek era? That’s me. There have been great statues made of me when I take the form of the great snake goddess.
I have heard that thou has appeared in front of crowds as the snake goddess ans sang to very unusual rhythms. That’s right. It was very cool to pull that off in front of a GWAR audience, as moronic as they may be.
Yes, I have often felt that thy grace is lost on those who see thee only as a woman. Only as a tit or an ass. It depends on what level of consciousness they have. Some people you just cannot teach.
Anyone can be drunk on a bottle of wine, butt for someone to appreciate fine wine, all its components and textures, that is another man. That’s right.
Thy fans are also of this diversity. Few know of the subtlety of Slymenstra. You, my friend, have figured it out. you make me very happy.
Art thou merciful to such as I? I never thought that any man would truly understand me.
My intention is to make thee known to all in thy true form, and not as common wine. You will be my humble slave.
I will do all that you ask. (Laughs)
Thy voice is give a spotlight in the song “My Girly Ways.” Is it a privilege to sing an entire song thyself in GWAR? It was a ten year struggle, but finally I was finally able to make it happen. I wrote all the lyrics myself, and the melodies. The way that it worked was, they sent me a tape out here in Hollywood – because I’m a big star – I live out here. I basically just showed up in a studio and I did it.
The operatic parts have caused my ribcage to resonate to thy voice. Wert thou trained? I was trained vocally in the fifth and sixth and seventh grade, so that was the last vocal training I had. As all great women of my planet, we were cultured artistically. We went to many classes. We studied piano, voice, dance – all the great arts – drawing, painting. That’s what my parents were into, and it reflects now. I’ve been singing for years. I just love it. I usually sing in the shower, and people try to record what I am singing.
I certain there is another reason for them to sneak upon thee. (laughs) They love to see the water barreling down my fruitful breasts and down my buttocks. And they love to see me rub almond oil all over my body to make my skin supple.
I must beg thee to desist, or I will lost consciousness. (Laughs)
Hast thou ever experienced astral sex? Thou art a goddess, and the question is silly of me to ask. Astral projection is something that I practice daily. I love leaving my body.
How could someone abandon such a vessel? (Laughs) Well, when you come back to it, it’s no problem.
When thou first had left thy body, was it unplanned, or were you knowledgeable in the practice? It was unplanned. It was natural. It is natural. It is natural for all of us. Unfortunately, through eating junk food and watching Jerry Springer, we’ve ruined our minds and closed off certain parts of our brain.
Wouldst thou say that most males are inept at pleasuring women? Most are, but I believe there is hope, ladies. There are a few. I think they’re going extinct. You must help them. You must lead them. You must teach them.
There was a plot that was foiled. Leaving the earth. Yes. Again we fail. That is because Oderus Urungus is always in charge. He thinks he knows. He’s gonna make the plan. He’s the big general. (Sighs). How many times can we make the same mistake?
I have been told that they sales of albums were never eyebrow-raising, but the sale of merchandise on tour is phenomenal. Yes.
Thy voice is like the call of the sirens. I am compelled to jump into the sea and to die. Matador beach? It’s this cliffy beach with rocks sticking out where I go to get a little mermaid action.
That’s where I will go to crush my body upon those rocks, the way thy absence crushes my heart. I just love you.
Time grows short for us. I would rather leave wanting more of thee, than thee wanting nothing more of me. Come and see me at a show, and introduce yourself to me. I want to meet you.
When I walked into the Birch Hill, a music venue in New Jersey, two of the girls who worked there told me that Dave (Oderus) asked them if Bill Zebub ever went there, and when they told him yes, he instructed them to bring me backstage if they saw me that night (GWAR was playing). Dave/Oderus wanted to reprimand me about the magazine, but he had realized that his humor was the same as mine – it was just that I had taken a different approach. It’s easy to take something out of context, or to think that something is the enemy when you are fighting that particular type of enemy (and are on the lookout against that enemy), but I provide enough clues in my magazines, radio shows, and movies, what my intentions are. I make mistakes, often, but I am not a professional – I have no crew and no advisors. I often tell people that if I had a big budget, the biggest improvement wouldn’t be massive explosions and big special effects; it would be the hiring of experts who would let me know that my ideas don’t work (and they would show me how to make them work). I usually have to wait after I have made something for me to realize “Oh, that was a failure.” So in that sense, I am an artist, because I am the only one who decides all things. It’s not collaborative. Dave gave me a warm welcome, and we were friends ever since. I did not ask him to be in my movies until after I had felt that I had built up my name to the point when the inclusion of a celebrity wouldn’t affect my baseline of sales. What I mean is, Peter Steele helped me in the early days when I had no name in the movie industry. I vowed to make my own waves, just as I had done with this magazine (and my radio shows). When I finally invited Dave to be in my movie JESUS: THE TOTAL DOUCHEBAG, I was of my self-sufficient status. Dave died a month after we filmed. This interview was conducted back stage at the Birch Hill, and the things you will read might seem harsh, but it was three people hanging out, knowing that we were kindred spirits, and we trusted our fans, or our enemies, because we had established what our humor was, and what it wasn’t. Newcomers might become angry, but if they are smart, they will figure things out. Incidentally, Peter Steele was the first one to say that when the norm was to be left, his humor was then to be right. You can hear and see him say this in one of my interviews with him. I wonder if Pete or Dave would have said and done about the censorship, anti-intellectualism, propaganda, and blind conformity of this era. In many ways, I envy them that they died before they tasted the poison, but I am sad that these great iconoclasts are not here. The elves are leaving Middle Earth. What will become of you when all are gone?
This interview with Oderus and Ballsack appeared in issue #28
Oderus, I’m going to give you the floor to talk about things that you’d like to take off your chest that can’t be printed in magazines like Rock hard in Germany (Oderus) Europe can suck my dick because they don’t like our new album, they don’t like our old albums, and they don’t understand that we don’t like them either. They don’t want us over there. Well fine, we don’t want to come over there anymore and drink your beer and fuck your women, you cheese-eating, chocolate-chewing, closet-fascist fucks! If you don’t want to like our album, fine! But if you wanna like our album and not bring is over, that’s fine! But if you wanna think it’s fine to be a Nazi, that’s cool! But if you wanna not have us over there to eat your cheese, you can fuck off! But send more cheese. (Ballsack) American cheese sucks! (Oderus)American cheese blows, and it sucks that we’re stuck over here in America now, eating American cheese all the fucking time! Also, I don’t like the new Christine Aquilara look at all. I liked it more when she looked like she had A.I.D.S. Now she tried to put on a few pounds, but obviously they did it with surgery and liposuction or reverse-liposuction – blippoblow-tion. It’s not working, girl!
Am I to understand that GWAR loves Metal Blade now? (Oderus) Isn’t Metal Blade that label that won’t advertise in your magazine? Well, we’re stuck there, aren’t we? And we have been, pretty much. Oh look! (Beefcake walks in). It’s Beefcake the Mighty! Absolutely different that the last beefcake the mighty that was on tour with us. We can’t keep musicians in this band. (Ballsack) He’s got some blippoblow-tions going too.
Is Beefcake sort of like a poltergeist who inhabits different bodies? (Oderus) Whoever the fuck can get into costume every night is basically what we’re talking about. We’re not really from outer space.
But more words on metal Blade. I heard that… (Oderus) This is horrible – the band that is opening up for us.
Is that to be printed, or not? (Oderus) Oh I don’t care. We won’t specifically say which band it is that sucks, but god! It’s like Sick of it All with keyboards. When GWAR does keyboards it’s not all stupid. We don’t have a keyboard player on stage with us. It’s all prerecorded. And they don’t either. That’s even worse!
But are there specific things about Metal Blade that have to be said that other magazines won’t print? (Oderus) Are you deliberately fishing for Metal Blade dirt with me? Is that something that you are trying to do? Are you trying to get me in trouble with my label because they hate you? Is that what you’re trying to do? I’m not going to slag Metal Blade at a professional level. I will, however, on a personal one. Brian Slagel freaked me the fuck out last time I saw him, and I’ll tell you why. He walks in, and he’s like, “Hey Brockie, what’sup?” All of his hair’s gone, plus he has no eyebrows. Meanwhile, Mike Faley’s house was destroyed in an earthquake, then his wife divorced him. He used to drive around in a Firebird, now he’s got an old beat-up Toyota. But Brian Slagel’s got a brand new Corvette! Meanwhile I don’t even have a car. I don’t really need one, but I was fucking a girl on the hood of his car, and scratched it all up with my key ring. He wasn’t very happy about that. But that just came off of the royalties of our new album, which we never got anyway. We got charged for our royalties by them. It’s like we sold all these records and we made all this money, but instead of getting the money, we got a bill for the money they owed us.
That’s sort of reversed, in some way. (Oderus) Reverse economic Antarctic racism, man. It’s like a double-reverse racism.
Slymenstra is with GWAR on this tour. Is it because people demanded her the way they demand go-go dancers? (Oderus) No. Europe didn’t want us, and no one else in the world wanted us to come and play, we were forced into the very pathetic prospect – we couldn’t get on any festival, either – we were forced to go on tour in the United States just to pay bills. So were like, “What can we do? Slymenstra, save us!” So I had to agree to her coming out and castrating me every night on stage. A little excess baggage gone for a while. (makes sniffing motions) God, I smell! I smell like sleep!
Have you seen the movie “Monsters Inc.” (Oderus) No. It’s animated. I’m not interested in that fake shit.
I heard that Hunter is gone from GWAR. (Oderus) Hunter? Who’s that? Oh, Techno Destructo? Yeah, he had his final paranoid fit of delusion and he imploded on stage. His role in GWAR was limited. I mean, how many times can you go out there and eat the gray matter out of my head, especially when I don’t really have a lot of that up there to begin with. No Hunter, no Danielle, but then Hunter, then Danielle, then not.
Have you heard the band “George is Dead”? No. Are they funny?
They’re supposed to be funny, but I don’t think that Danielle found them funny. He cuts his forehead like a pro wrestler, and he bled all over her amplifier, and she said that she caught Hepatitis C once and doesn’t want to catch it again. (Oderus) Well, I think that once you catch it you’re got it forever. (Ballsack) She also had a small case of the A.I.D.S. (Oderus) Yeah, a little case of the A.I.D.S. Danielle was in here earlier – it was really funny – Slymentra was in here trying to figure out the GWAR anagram – she said, “Gay angry women against GWAR – that spells out GWAR.” No! It’s G-W-A-R!!! Gay women against rape spells GWAR.
Is anyone in GWAR a negro? (Oderus) Mike Tyson is with us again just because the costume is really good. We thought we’d get another tour out of it.
But as far as the alien race of GWAR… (Oderus) You know the government wants us to hire a negro. We just can’t do it. We don’t want to do it. It’s not that we don’t like negroes, but we know that if we don’t hire negroes and we continually quote Hitler, we’ll make people in Europe angry.
Why are people in Europe upset about Nazi-type lyrics when they were the ones who were Nazis? We’re just the ones who love the Nazis. They are the ones who are the Nazis. (Oderus) I know! It’s like, you guys ARE the Nazis. How can you be upset about them? We didn’t go around making concentration camps. They did. (Oderus) We’re not the ones who built the concentration camps. We’re the ones who saved them. We saved their way of life. If it wasn’t for the Americans who saved Europe…
Are there any notable victims other than Mike Tyson and Goetz from Rock Hard? (Oderus) No. We like to beat up Moslem people as well. They seem to be pretty popular as people to be hated right now. In fact, there is new legislation to make the new World Trade Center into the new World Death Center, and it’s going to be this big giant missile pointed at the sky, and if anyone fucks with us again it’s gonna blast off and destroy Mecca.
Mecca is sort if mecha-nical. (Oderus) It’s like a Moslem MacDonald’s – like MeccDonald’s.
So if Techno Destructo were a Moslem he would put the Mecca in Mecca-nical. (Oderus) Oh no! Bill, I’ve been doing this so long. I’m so confused. I’m so bitter. I’m so angry that my career hasn’t been more successful. I’m so sad that I don’t get to go back to Europe and fuck all those cheap whores in those crappy hotel rooms in Frankfurt and shoot up in the alley. It’s really a sad, sad thing. Oh, also I’m sad that I’m on Metal Blade still.
What do you think of the Dave Brockie band? (Oderus) Fuckin’ great! It rules! That fucker is the hope of modern music. Actually, that project has been really cool and successful. It’s on Metal Blade, though, which is the problem. You listened to the record. You tell me. It’s awesome.
The interview is more about you and what you have to say. (Oderus) Right, well you asked me, fucker! You asked me to say something and I threw it back at you. So there. Yes, it’s fun. It’s enabled us to get more mileage out of our flagging careers and people seem to enjoy it. The Philadelphia Eagles like it. We got called by the Philadelphia Eagles and they play the song “Masturbate” in the locker room all the time. I smell. I’m sorry I don’t have anything to wear for this interview, Bill. I wasn’t all psyched up and ready to go. But I’m ready to go now, man!
I’d like your opinions on some world affairs, since I don’t know anything about politics, and you seem to be politically-engaged. (Oderus) Well, politicially-incorrect, at least.
What are your views on the situation with Iraq? (Oderus) I think it’s funny. It’s like, years of strangling them with our economic policies just aren’t enough. We need to go over there and start killing them with conventional weapons. And I think that we can guarantee some pretty exciting television from it. (Ballsack) The new cameras that the armies been working on… (Oderus) Baby-Burning Cam!
What about the disease that you supposedly spawned? (Oderus) I’m a little disappointed in A.I.D.S. It’s kind of slowed down. It seems like only black people are getting it now. That wasn’t the idea. I wanted everyone to die. If only black people are killed I guess we’ll have to deal with that. I’ll have to figure out some sort of white dick-cancer. The homosexuals will inherit the earth. That’s GWAR’s scripture.
What about the gay muppet on Sesame Street? (Oderus) There should be more! They should have sex and teach children how a blowjob from a priest is the warmest wettest washcloth ever. (Ballsack) It’s how god kisses people. (Oderus) Ballsack doesn’t say much, but when he does, it’s usually funnier than what I say?
Is there anything in American politics that catches your fancy these days? (Oderus) Not really. That’s pretty horrible, isn’t it? I was a little disappointed the anthrax thing didn’t go any further. I liked Gore with the beard. I think he had a chance then. But then he shaved. Ted Kennedy is still fat as fuck and he’s still alive. If he’s not gonna drive off a bridge, one is going to collapse underneath his weight. Hilary runs a whorehouse in upstate New York.
Is Osama going to be on stage tonight? (Oderus) No. He’s buried in the rubble of Tora Bora, unfortunately. (Ballsack) The republicans swept the NBA finals. (Oderus) No, that was the election. (Ballsack) Well they swept something. (Oderus) It was the World Series, dumb-ass.
Are you talking about basketball? (Oderus) Do you know what I don’t like about basketball? It seems like a lot of black people play that. I think it’s discriminating that more white people don’t play basketball. (Ballsack) Where are the great Asian basketball players? (Oderus) It’s very racist that short Asian people don’t play basketball. (Ballsack) I think they should force them to play!
Yeah, like they were forced to build our railway system. (Ballsack) We can round them all up and put them into basketball camps, with barbed wire. (Oderus) Little yellow fuckers!
Shouldn’t they be called Orientals? (Oderus) Why did Hitler and the Asians get along? They were one different sides of the world and they didn’t have to see each other so much? I don’t think Hitler would have liked all the little people all that much.
I heard that Hitler thought that true Aryans were the Mongolians. (Oderus) Wow! (Ballsack) You really dropped a bomb on us there! We have to re-think our racism now.
Are there any human authors whom you think are worthy of praise. (Oderus) No, not really. All the human authors who you think are worthy of praise are actually inhuman monsters, like H.P Lovecraft, Michael Jackson, Bill Zebub – uh, who else?
Are you actually writing a book? (Oderus) Yeah, but no one cares.
Is it fiction or fact? (Oderus) It’s factual fiction. Rollins didn’t care, and after that, my bubble was bust.
What is the soft side of Oderus like? (Oderus) Do I have a soft side? It’s the stinky smelly smells-like-sleep-smell. It’s that rolled-up-in-a-bunk-for-twenty-hours, farting repeatedly – the blanket smells like breathing – and you’re just rolling around in your smell. That stuff will melt armor after a while. My whole flesh is just so saturated with the smell of my own ass. I’m a softee in general, until I put this shit on (points to the Oderus rubber).
Does GWAR make any kind of costumes for Spencer Gifts? (Oderus)No, but we’re gonna do the new Skipknot outfits. Those fuckin’ Spencers – they really have their own miniature GWAR… we didn’t get a penny for that!
But they just have portions of latex, like the shoulders and the head. (Oderus) Yeah, these people show up at our shows. That’s one more sap. This one guy shows up at a (?) show in Milwaukee dressed up like Oderus Urungus – pretty nice job, actually – but he showed up with the costume on a good four hours before the doors were open and waited around another four hours after they were opened – wore the goddamn thing for about ten hours straight – I felt complimented but I really felt embarrassed for him at the same time, and then ultimately embarrassed for myself.
Is foam rubber preferable to latex? (Oderus) No. Foam rubber falls apart. You gotta have latex, and only latex. We inject foam into these things, but foam rubber will fall apart. You only use that for Hollywood productions that have to work once or twice. This shit has to work every single night on stage, and even then, it doesn’t.
There was a band that seemed to use GWAR stuff on stage that was on Metal Blade as well. (Haunted Garage) (Oderus) They were doing GWAR stuff? Who cares? We act like people who invented this shit. But if it wasn’t for KISS or Alice Cooper we wouldn’t know what the fuck to do. I think bands like Slipknot and things like that is a logical progression, but instead of a logical progression forwards it’s a logical step backwards into something that’s really bad. Like, GWAR – we got it really good – we’re ready for the next DECO or something else that’s even better than us, and then we got Maralyn Manson – that was horrible! And then we got all this new metal and whiny fat-faced overly-manicured facial hair bands that suck that have aggression with no meaning. Words with no meaning. Truth with no lies! Lots more money than we do! That’s why I hate them!
Looking back, on the road behind so-to-speak, at which point… (Oderus) Did I lose control of my career? I would have to say, as soon as I joined the band. I never had any control of it. Always told to “be here, be there, sound check then, beer here, beer (he asked me) Do you need another one? (beer)
All right. You talked me into it. You know they don’t serve beer in this club. (Oderus) How the hell are you supposed to have a GWAR show? I hope the kids are in the parking lot, shooting up heroin. I
Is it true that Europe’s mad at you because of your heroin use? (Oderus) I don’t use heroin. Oh it would be fun. You should try it. (pauses) What else can we say that’s funny? We can make fun of this band. (Ballsack) We’ve done that already.
Are there any new schemes for this tour? (Oderus) Basically, Slymenstra is pissed off at me because all I do is talk shit about her. I didn’t invite her on the last tour. I didn’t put her on the new album. I act like a jerk all the time. She chops my dick off. I beg her to get it back. I cheese it back and I blow cum on her, and a big monster comes out and beats me with a club. Then another big monster comes out and eats that big monster. Then I urinate on everyone and we stop playing, but I keep urinating. Then Slymenstra comes out and cuts my dick off, and another monster comes out and sucks it. Then I get fucked with my own dick, in the ass. I beg for it. And this is all while dancing and singing. (listens to the opening band some more) Wow, he said “Let me see your hands.” (Ballsack) We don’t like bands that tell the crowd what to do. (Oderus) If I’m in the audience and the guy says, “Let me see your hands” I’ll show him my feet, or my feet, or I’ll just leave. If I even think a band is going to say anything, I won’t even go to the show. I don’t like it when bands say stuff. And I don’t like it when they play music. Like, who are you to play music for me? Fuck that! I would rather stand in a parking lot! I hate these singers who make words with their mouths. It’s so limiting. (Ballsack) Yeah, but it’s better than the ones who just sort of growl. (Oderus) I like that – when you try to form a turd with your throat. Yeah, like that’s creative. Let me just go on right now about how creative those bands are that just go (growls) – cookie monster bands.
Cookie Monster is not a very scary monster, is he? (Oderus) You’re not from hell. You don’t worship Satan. When you ride the bus, you don’t look like that. I do. I sleep in this shit, man! I mean, if they would just admit what a fuckin’ joke they were, then I would be able to laugh at them more freely. But if you go there and start laughing, they don’t like that.
Is Frankenberry a gay monster? (Oderus) He’s pink, isn’t he? He’s Frankenstein, so he’s part gay. Parts of him that were used to make him are gay. I think Count Chocula, who could easily be Count Cockula, easily could be gay. He could suck blood out of your penis.
I’m detecting a homosexual theme in the Kellogs cereal line. Chocula and Hershey Highway… (Oderus) Your finger is on the pulse of the nation’s penis.
A.I.D.S. is attributed to you. You made A.I.D.S supposedly. (Oderus) I take credit for everything, Bill. I really haven’t done anything.
Is there a new disease on the horizon? (Oderus) East Nile virus. That shit is sick. It’s like, you wake up and you look in the mirror and you’re Rosie O’Donald (spelling?). Game over.
That is a fate worse than death. (To Ballsack) Can you pay some attention to this interview, please? (Ballsack) I’m sorry. I’m just paying attention to Suzie (looking at centerfold of Grimoire #27).
Do you want this interview to be lackluster and not funny at all? (Ballsack) It’s already been all that!
Well turn it around, Ballsack! (Ballsack) Why don’t you bring any of these Grimoire Girls to our show? You’re not allowed to any more of our shows unless you start bringing them!
Well, you get to see her later if you have a DVD player on your bus. (Oderus) How much more of this inane banter do we have to endure?
Just a couple of minutes. I guess this is my last question. What was your favorite mass human suffering? (Oderus) The Trade Center. That was hilarious!
Did you believe the conspiracy theories that said that America blew up the Trade Center – that it was imploded? (Oderus) When the Japanese construction firm that made the Trade Center first built it, they were like (imitates Japanese accent) “We love America. If you ever want to knock down Trade Center, you fly plane into it. Whole thing fall down.” Whoa! What a great idea! So when they got to the point where they were just too fuel-inefficient to run anymore – and you know how much it costs to knock one of those things over – they took out a big insurance policy and then hit the big “plane” button and everything fell down. And of course, none of the Jews went to work that day.
So there were no Jewish casualties on 9/11? (Oderus) Yeah! (we all laugh) (Ballsack) Do the research! It’s true. (Oderus) I know there weren’t any Japanese people in that building either. (Ballsack) Definitely not any Japanese because we would have heard about that. (Oderus) I’ve got to say just one more thing about this band that opened up for us – the singer comes out there and he says, “We’ve gotta stick together.” Man! What are we doing here? How can we come up with that kind of lyrical genius?
I remember watching the Dave Brockie Experience, and there was ridicule of a band called Creed. I never heard of Creed. (Oderus) What?
There’s no metal on the radio, so why bother? (Oderus introduces me to Gizmack who just walked in) This is the infamous Bill Zebub.
So that’s it? No gripes? I thought you were full of gripes. (Oderus) I thought I griped quite a lot. I made fun of Europeans, Jews, Japanese, Moslems, Americans – I ripped on Slipknot, the opening band – I made fun of Ballsack, I made fun of Slymenstra, I ridiculed myself – I admitted my career was a failure – I made fun of Metal Blade (Ballsack, in a German accent) What about ze Germans? (Oderus) Yeah, I ragged all over them! How much more abuse can I give you? Then I’m gonna go out there and do the show in a little while, and that’s nothing but hatred. I’m just too good-natured. Is that it?
Yeah, you’re definitely a different kind of Oderus. (Oderus) Oh shit! I feel like I let you down somehow, Bill.
No, you haven’t let me down. You said plenty. (Oderus) Just take the interview and re-arrange the words and have me say anything.
Who’s the brains behind all the GWAR videos, like Skullheadface? (Oderus) Some of them were a real group effort. Some of them, one person did. I’m responsible for the lousiest ones.
So not only do you sculpt your costumes, but you also dabble in animation and computer effects. (Oderus) Yeah. I don’t really know what I’m doing, though.
What did you use? Adobe After Effects? (Oderus) Yeah, AfterEffects. On the new Immortal Corruptor video they used AfterEffects. They actually got a nice film look to the digital video that we used. I don’t know shit about the technical stuff, though. I just try to make up stupid ideas.
Would you ever do a non-GWAR video? (Oderus) Sure. This next year is going to be a lot of D.B.X. stuff. Yeah, we have tons of ideas for stuff besides GWAR. But we just never get to do them because GWAR takes up so much of our time, and also because we’re pretty much lazy and drunk all the time.
I would think that you’d be most suited to the slasher sort of stuff. (Oderus) No, no, no, no, yes. Sure! It could be anything. I think it would be more like skit humor, like Monty Pythion kind of shit with my music in the background. Yeah, there’d be a good amount of blood and poo and vomit. I don’t know if so much slashing would be going on – maybe cheese grating.
When is the next GWAR record? That was just to throw in some cliché question. (Oderus) Could be any time within the next twenty years.
Will there be any of that death metal that you were raving about before? (Oderus) No. I think that the next GWAR album will be exactly like the last one we did, except we’ll change the lyrics and the music around.
I guess this is toodles. (Oderus) Well thanks, Bill, for keeping up your slovenly work and your obnoxiously good habits of annoying people that I hate.
How come negroes’ teeth are so white? (Oderus) It’s contrast, like when the moon is closer to the horizon it looks bigger. (Ballsack) Are you saying that when my dick is closer to the moon it will appear bigger? (Oderus) If you moon my dick it will be bigger.
I would like to address the rumor that thou art living in Sweden to run away from the imprisoned members of Emperor. Which is crap. I moved to Sweden in January ‘94 because I had a girlfriend in Sweden, and the police was getting on my nerves. The school was going to was fucking me over at the time. My parents went hysterical because of the murder, and I felt like Norway’s just a stupid fuckin’ place to live.
Didn’t thou testify in court against one of those people? No.
Is it true that black metal is in no way more popular in Sweden and Norway then death metal? That’s a matter of trends. I think, for a period of time, black metal was really hyped. Certain bands are extremely popular. You’ve got Emperor. Burzum is still very popular. I don’t know if it’s more popular than death metal because I don’t know what you define death metal as. If you define Entombed as death metal, then the answer is no. They obviously do sell a lot more, and so does Carcass. So does Morbid Angel.
Thou apparently called Moonspell niggers. Did I?
Yes. Canst thou explain this? They’re from Portugal. I think once… this is, like, three years ago, I was in a very destructive mood. It was in like a Twilight Zone. I didn’t even know what I was doing or whatever, and I saw this interview in a Hungarian magazine which I do not recall the name of – that doesn’t even matter. They interviewed somebody from Moonspell, and this is like three or four weeks after Euronymous is dead and Grishnak was in jail, and he was starting to open his mouth and just slagging these people off. I said, “OK, You could have done this, like, a year and a half ago, when these people had a chance to defend themselves” and felt like, “What a fuckin’ coward!” and I just wrote him this letter. I’m not sure if I called him a nigger, but if I did, that was just to fuck him off, you know, to piss him off. I’m not a racist. Really. I just wanted to give these people a chance.
Is there a problem with black people in Sweden – something about the unemployment system there? There is a feeling from Swedish patriots that black people are abusing the unemployment program. Well, I don’t really know. I know that Sweden has a strange moral when it comes to, shall we say, colored people. They seem to get a lot more advantages than the normal unemployed Swedish person, which I think is fucked up, because, I mean, this is Sweden, and they should prioritize their own people. I don’t mind them letting black people or foreigners coming in here. I don’t mind, as long as they don’t do any harm, but I think it’s kind of weird. They get a lot of advantages. They get money much easier. They get more money. They get things easily. A normal Swedish man has to fight a lot to get something from the welfare system. I know that. I’ve been trying.
Wert thou on a label called H.R. Puff & Stuff Records? Ah, no. That doesn’t sound very familiar.
That was a joke. There was a television show that had a character called Witchy Poo. (Laughs) Well, I am a stupid man. I don’t know anything about that.
That was a cultural question. I doubt that thou has ever seen the show over there. (laughs) No. I don’t think so. (laughs) Witchy Poo.
Thy appearance is very bizarre. Yes.
How didst thou conceive it? Was it at the same time that thou decided to compose the sort of music thou plays today? Yeah. It came kind of naturally. We were doing some photo sessions, and I had been thinking about doing something special. I just wanted something extra. It kind of helps me write. My spirit looks like something in the Mortiis vein.
Dost thou get offended when people say thou looks like a fairie? Ah (laughs), that is nothing new to me. I’ve heard… you name it, you’ve got it.
But thou looks like a fairie in the true sense of the word. Instead of a gay man, thou appearth to be a woodland spirit. Yeah, well, that’s a compliment to me. I’m into that kind of stuff.
In Emperor, how much of an influence didst thou have in the songwriting? (Sighs) That was so-so. I gave them some ideas, and if something sucked, I told them. We kind of did the songwriting together. They made a riff, and we arranged when we rehearsed. The main thing I did in Emperor was I did the lyrics. I did most of the interviews. I was kind of like a spokesman. I dare say that I was. That’s basically it.
Was there anything about Faust that made thee think that he was unstable? I don’t think he was unstable in any way. I just think he was extreme. I don’t know if he still is. I haven’t had any contact with him for quite some time. He did extreme things. I don’t care.
Wouldst thou say that the evil personality attributed to the members of Emperor was created by the record label, or did the people act in ways that can be called evil? We did have periods when we were like (sighs) how should I say? We were dark-minded, and I think the record label noticed this and I suppose they acted on the freshly born black metal explosion back then, in ‘92. They probably did some propaganda which was overblown. Like, for example, they said when the mini LP came out, that it was the most evil record in the world That’s just bullshit. There’s nothing eve remotely that should be called evil.
I had the feeling that the personality of the band was just a media creation. At the time, the publicist at Century Media said that there was no possibility of a phone interview, so questions had to be faxed. When I sent her my joke questions, she said that there was no way that she was going to fax them, because the members of Emperor would kill her. (Laughs) That was Raychele.
I printed the questions anyway. Hilarious.
I was disgusted with the lies of black metal. They have also. From the impression that I got, Faust has become easier to deal with. I don’t know when you did this interview. They might have been angered if this was three years ago. Even I would have been. I don’t really like to speak on their behalf, which I hope you can respect. I don’t think they would kill her. (laughs)
Of course I wanted to get the band mad. That’s what I am known for. We have copies here. I recognized the name as I was calling you.
In one of thy pictures, it looks like thou art wearing a long black nightgown. That’s your imagination, isn’t it? It goes down to the knee. It’s not a nightgown, which I can guarantee. It looks a lot longer than it really is. I can kind of agree that it might look like a nightgown. I don’t really care. I mean, I know what it really is. Why should I be angered?
Dost thou wear inverted crosses? I never did. I never do.
So thou art not an upside-down-cross dresser? (laughs) No!
Didst thou pose naked for a poster? Yes, but it didn’t show any genital organs or anything like that. It’s a poster for the Vond LP. It’s me and my former girlfriend in a bathroom with a lot of blood, knives, hammers – it’s a torture kind of crazy scene. I’m holding a knife to her head. It’s mostly for shock effect.
Dost thou think that the Gothic crowd embraces thee more than the metal crowd? I don’t know. In America, it seems a lot more Goth people like my music than metal people. How dost thou feel about the trendy people in other countries playing the Scandinavian rhythms? I hate that! I was there, creating this black metal explosion thing. We didn’t even call our music black metal when we started. Just make a note of that.
There are bands in corpse paint, with members who have short hair. That looks stupid. I hate these people. What they do is disgusting.
Interview with Nichole Drohomyreky and Jason Hartman conducted by Bill Zebub for the Grimoire of Exalted Deeds magazine.
Nichole, I must begin this interview by confessing how lost I have become in your voice. I cannot compare you to anyone else. You have truly developed a new style. Is there anything that you would like to share about your approach?
(Nichole)Thank you. I know my voice is not for everyone and I have a hard time hearing it myself… on voicemail, or even played back in the studio…But this body of music was a very cathartic experience for me to write. I hope the listener feels the experience too. It was a strange time for Jason and m moving back to Wisconsin from PDX and being new parents. A lot of emotion was flowing out of me, and may have inadvertently affected or cultivated the style.
The song “Heavy Dreamer” is magical. I have listened to it fifteen times in a row and could have gone longer if I did not have to attend to some biological functions. I think that it is impossible to tire of it. I even daydream about it. It’s impossible to ask just one question about it, so I hope that you don’t mind it taking up a larger portion of the interview. Let’s begin with the singing. Your voice invites me into the world of the song, and it really does feel like I am in another place. Nichole, you guide me in with a an otherworldly voice, serene and wizened, and you launch into intense emotion. It’s quite an experience to hear you. You go up and down in feeling, and the melancholy parts are beautiful. How did you come upon this mastery? You sang to my soul.
(Nichole) Oh man that means a lot that you connected to this song. I love this song too, and its still super fun to perform. Oddly I wrote the chorus first on this one, which is in reverse of how I usually put songs together. I honestly don’t even remember how the “Child in Time” thing came into it. It’s been referenced much,almost comically, and I do love that song deeply, so it may have subconsciously snuck into the work. Another song that didn’t make the album was absolutely inspired by Deep Purple and not sure when we will release that one. I’m a sucker for a ballad and LOVE to write them. I could easily see myself releasing nothing but ballad albums. If I can keep the guys enlisted (laughs) The song is very personal but I really tried to open the lyrics to share with others to have their own experience. It was,however, inspired by my daughter, and the great love, admiration, and inspiration I have for her and her true spirit. It means a lot to hear that other’s are feeling deeply connected to it, as I, and the band do too. I have to give credit to Hart,our drummer, for writing the back up vocal production on this song, and Rachel Catherine Kent and I performed it on the recording. It’s lower in the mix and behind the main vocal, but when you hear it, it is quite lovely. Rachel Catherine Kent has been playing shows with us since the album’s release, which has been a thrill to hear that stuff live, and changed in a really great way. She sang in a band called ‘No Hoax‘ here in Madison and completely blew me away. The song would never be as majestic if it weren’t for the incredible guitars work of Jason -my favorite solo on the album, and the tasteful, skilled playing of Jerry Sofran and Hart A. Miller. Such a dream to play with such killer musicians.
Jason, the guitar in “Heavy Dreamer” is another spellbinding part. The distortion is quite a deep fuzz, but is is also the playing that makes it seem like each strum of a chord is played like it is sound to be savored. The chords also spring upon the vocals like a flourish meant to enhance all of the song elements. It seems like this song was lovingly crafted. What was in your mind? Surely this was not meant to be simply a tune. It feels like each part of the music was chosen to ensnare any person capable of deep emotion.
(Jason) Nikki deserves most of the credit on “Heavy Dreamer” the song AND the album. She wrote the majority of the songs. The song “Heavy Dreamer” was written by her on organ and synthesizer in its entirety before I added the guitar. So I had those instruments as a guide, as well as the vocal melody. So yes, the guitar is built around her ideas vocally/ musically/ emotionally. I usually have a lot of different ideas and try to incorporate the best ones. It is usually pretty easy to decide what to choose and Nikki generally likes my input. We have played together for so long and grown musically together in the same directions, it is sometimes uncanny. I tend to want to make things busier than needed at times and I’ve been working on simplifying, just using the necessary notes for maximum emotion. Nikki is also a busy player so we have to leave room for each other. Jerry Sofran (bass) and Hart Allan Miller (drums) laid back on this one and kept the rhythm section open which was needed for this I think.
Would you like to talk about the production of the album? I am specifically intrigued by the choices in modulation and echo. I don’t dare guess whether you favor delay or reverb. I’d also like to know how you achieved such dimension.
(Nichole) Our drummer Hart Allan Miller is a very talented engineer/ producer. We recorded the drum,some guitars, keys at a local studio called Blast House with Dustin Sisson, and the rest was done by Hart at his studio, “Nightmare House”. He engineered and produced the album with us. Also, Rachel Catherine Kent performed some vocals on tracks, ‘Creation,” and ” Heavy Dreamer.” Jason and I have always been heavy effects users and I could literally drown in reverb and love it… interesting dilemma with sound engineers particularly at live shows! Hart worked relentlessly on this album and I agree, his choices to feature certain instrumentation,like the keys and effects at times were very thoughtful and absolutely made a band as “dense” as ours have balance and not turn to mud. We’ve always went to expensive studios that were really over our heads and budgets really, so much was compromised. Dimension was honestly realized this time by the sheer work and dedication from Hart as an engineer and producer, but also we worked really long and hard on writing these songs too.
I noticed that the official videos show, shall we say, the band in sort of after-images, visual trails – this suits the psychedelic aspect, but is it a statement that the music is to be heard and for the sound to create the visuals? I know that in my case, whether my eyes are open or close, I no longer see the earth when I listen to “Heavy Dreamer.”
(Nichole)I think that’s exactly how I feel about the videos. I want visual imagery and sound to come together to create an experience together, rather than they being separate which I think a lot of bands do with video -and can be done well, but I definitely prefer the more artful approach. We wanted darkness to meet beauty and largely I feel that came across. We ended up enlisting a very talented videographer, Aaron Hall, from Rockford, Illinois, who filmed and edited the videos. Aaron really brought the ideas to life, gorgeous footage, and incorporating very creative effects,. Was a thrill watching the ballet dancers, skaters, and transforming a warehouse, bedroom, and a roller rink into dreamy worlds. As an artist, having the ability to add imagery and movement to your sound is a thrilling and symbiotic concept.
I thought that your band was surely from another country. Have you been told that you don’t sound American? There is just too much creativity at work in your music.
(Nichole) (laughs) No. Well, at least don’t think so. I’ve definitely had people be off guard that we are from Wisconsin, but have not heard that before.
(Jason) I have heard that before. Even our bassist Jerry has said that was one of the things that drew him to us, that our sound was very un- American. Jerry is a fan of a lot of German music from the Kraut Rock of Amon Duul 2, Can, Neu , . as well as hard rockers The Scorpions, Accept to thrashers Kreator, Destruction as well as electronic music of Kraftwerk. A lot of great music from there. We targeted European record labels to release this album because we thought they might understand it or at least accept it as I think it is more open minded and creative over there in general. We ended up picking Svart out of Finland, an incredible and diverse label. We hope to get over there soon.
Jason, I was surprised that you had known about me before this interview. Are you surprised that I am not making any jokes? Well, you know, as a reader of The Grimoire of Exalted Deeds, that I don’t joke with people when the music is vital, like in my King Diamond interviews.
(Jason) I am a reader of the Grimoire! Your questions and interaction have been so heartfelt that I felt no apprehension or worry about jokes! It’s part of the fun!
The keyboards sometimes are prominent, and sometimes drop in volume, which I think is cool. It seems like each component in a song takes turns being accented, and of course, there is the mastery of the parts coming together to for greatest effect, building each other up. Do you write songs almost like creating an adventure for the listener?
(Nichole) As a group, we all tried our best to write our parts thoughtfully, thus giving space when needed and vice versa. Laying back during solos and vocals et cetera. Jerry is a masterful bassist – always serving the song so beautifully, and Hart and Jason both shred and pull back when needed. Really was important to us and took awhile to construct and choose what should be highlighted at particular points in each song.
I noticed that the album didn’t come with lyrics. Is that intentional? I wonder if it is a proclamation of art – that the listener should hear what he or she wants to perceive.
(Nichole) We did release the lyrics with the vinyl, but it’s funny you mention that, as I really did open my lyrics up in a more, deliberate and broad way in hopes to share the experience with others. Still personal and abstract though.
It’s funny that even as I ask these questions, I can’t get ‘Heavy Dreamer” out of my mind. I am working on a black metal documentary, and I am tempted to include an excerpt of that song. I think that it is so incredible that it will turn on anyone, no matter what the clique or musical preferences are. Have you noticed that your fans are diverse? Are there any examples of people who surprised you when they revealed their appreciation?
(Nichole) I’ve not noticed a huge commonality with our fans yet, except that the most enthusiastic and passionate responses have been from men. I was hoping to reach more women, especially since I’m such an emotional creature I’ve actually been surprised by the metal following, as we’re not the most brutal band in the world (laughs). I and the band all have a nicely varied musical palette. We all do love metal though, and the Cure, and Pink Floyd, et cetera. so I greatly appreciate anyone who can see through the need to pigeonhole a sound and ‘genre-ify‘ it? Is that a word? We’ve always, as a band, sort of existed between worlds. We’re not metal enough, goth enough, psych, et cetera or too much in one way for others. So thank you to anyone who can just listen to it and appreciate it without needing to label it.
I want the world to know about you. If I didn’t have a radio show and a magazine, I wonder if I would have discovered “Vanishing Kids.” Your album is too important to die unknown. What are some ways that I can help, and what challenges hurt your climb to the top?
(Nichole)Oh man, just truly listening and feeling the music means more than you’ll ever know. Our attention spans as a species are changing and people give music a 5-10 second chance on their crappy computer speakers. So many bands put so much heart, money, and time into their work and it’s literally just dismissed quickly. Remember the albums that we had to listen to over and over and then it hits you like a ton of bricks?! Certainly happened for me with bands like Sonic Youth, Voivod, and Rush…Or HAVING to actually go to a venue to check out a band. Please truly listen to music before dismissing it. Music is personal, and I promise you that I and my bandmates put our whole hearts and soul into what we do. To write and perform music is my most favorite thing in the world, next to my family. .If you are truly paying attention that is the greatest contribution. Spreading the word is greatly appreciated too, and check out a show in your area if you can. Its hard for us to tour and a big endeavor when we can make it happen – this,means a lot to see fans.
Plug any site or anything you wish.
(Jason) You can get “Heavy Dreamer” at vanishingkids.bandcamp.com or at svartrecords.com Although it is 90% sold out! I hope they repress. Nik and I are writing the new album currently and hope to have that recorded over the winter. Nik and I are also working on a more traditional 80’s hard rock EP under the name Diati. Also I wrote a song on the new Thor album “Hammer Of Justice.” The song is called “Wotan”. I played guitar, Nikki did back up vocals and our drummer Hart played drums, bass and recorded it.
Interview with Peter Bjargo conducted by Bill Zebub for THE GRIMOIRE OF EXALTED DEEDS magazine.
The percussion i Sophia makes me think of medieval warfare. Did you intend for it to sound militaristic?
On the first album i wanted my music to have a small connection to the Templars. But on the later albums, it wasn’t my intention to make it that military. To me, Herbstwerk is more orchestral, and Spite more cold industrial.
Some of the tracks makes me think of what baroque would sound like in the mind of someone undergoing a psychotic episode. The nine tracks of Sigillum Militum were written “specifically for a live performance” – I read that by chance. How do you actually set up a live show, and does it include the haunting textures of the studio version?
I had this idea of a very special one-time live situation. I wanted to make a quite bombastic performance, with a lot of people on stage and very powerful. But I realized quite early that this kind of live performance costs a lot of money and is very difficult. Too many factors could go wrong. My live shows these days are more minimalistic, more humor on stage. Often just me and one more, samplers, and drum.
Am I correct in assuming that you intentionally compose a musical tension which builds up suspense? It is almost frightening sometimes when the aggressive release arrives.
Often i work after a model, where I start very calm and build up a cacophony. This often happens unintentionally. I try to break this pattern intentionally.
In Adeptus/Last Movement, did you use a beat out of time? It sounds like you did something like that to create a feeling of disturbance. I had an idea of two independent parts, moving into each other. This created, as you say, a feeling of disturbance. Sophia has always been a platform for experiment, and I will never be afraid to break an old pattern and try something new.
The Seduction of Madness MCD is your musical interpretation of SATURN DEVOURING HIS SON, and although it specifically intends to depict madness, I had always felt that Sophia is like a “schizophrenic lens” through which one sees reality with a little bit more. When a schizophrenic hears or sees hallucinations, it is called a “positive” symptom because it is something that “adds” to what normal people have. Conversely, schizophrenics whose facial expressions are flat and do not reflect their feelings are said to have “negative” symptoms because something in a healthy person is absent. Sophia is music with positive symptoms, I think. My question is, how is the mini Cd more of an exploration into psychosis than your other releases?
It was actually intention of a live performance, together with a movie backdrop. The theme of the songs was never in particular schizophrenia but more of different cases of psychosis, and I guess most of that came from my interests in psychology and after have read the book “Seduction of madness” by Edward M. Podvoll.
I will ask about Stravinski having an effect on you because he was the first composer, I believe, who broke from comfortable melodies and specialized in disturbing music, especially in the area of percussion. You sometimes lull the ear with safe phrasing and then you unleash a nightmare is this original, or inspired by others?
This is my idea of how to make people feel calm and relaxed, then start to feel uncomfortable and in the end trying to get a climax of chaos. This model is, I think, mostly for Seduction of Madness MCD. The model of crescendo has been existing for of long time. But I never took the idea from anybody else.
The author of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST was under the influence of peyote when he wrote that. Did you ever ingest a hallucinogen when creating music?
No, I haven’t. If you don’t call enormous amount of booze and beer a hallucinogen.
This is a deliciously demented album that should be heard at least once. I am providing a video clip that you should start hearing at the 1:08 mark if you are impatient, but let it ride out if you can.
The vocals make this much crazier than it would be if someone else performed, and I love the song so much that I would buy the album if it just contained this one tune. Beware! You might be charmed by it as I have been. I think that I have heard it 50 times in a row. I can’t get enough of the craziness.
I tested it by posting on my facebook page, and I am happy to report that people have almost immediately made purchases. Don’t let this masterpiece die the death of apathy.
This odd band, sometimes sludge, reminds me a little bit of Cultus Sanguine – but just a bit. Maybe it is the essence here and there, and maybe something that only I perceive.
I would like to call your attention to the video clip that I have snooped out. Put the cursor at the 7:32 mark and play from there. That particular segment of music should be the selling point for you. It is for me. I will trust that to be what pushes you toward a purchase.
The last time when I heard something with a slightly similar feeling was the band “Black Pentacost” which featured anguished yelling, as of someone being tortured. The music seemed to serve as a ritual rather than as songs.
This album bears some of that, but there are words, and the vocals are more varied, sometimes sounding like psychotics who are wailing while suffering mental horrors, and at other times there is black metal rasping or spoken words, but each flavor is heavily demented. This is like a legion of demons.
The strangeness of this album is enough to merit a purchase. The dark creativity and the atmosphere of derangement provide immense pleasure if heard in the right mood. then again, simply listening can place you where you must be.
This is quite an odd album. When I first heard a random spot, I expected black metal, and indeed, I did get the sense that this comes from that world, but the album has no known category, which is good.
The voices are not the screechy bitch-vocals of black metal – they are more on the exasperated shouting side, mixed with the melancholy folk sort of singing.
The music ranges from unusual timing and long riffs. to more straightforward and recognizable passages, but the songs seem to have been made to put the listener in a strange place. Even the upbeat portions have something twisted going on, as if a mad clown attempted to play something catchy, but is so bonkers that the otherwise accessible tune becomes demented.
There are bursts of aggression, but that’s just an ingredient in this insanity-potion, not the main flavor. Add to this, non-English lyrics, making this a welcome visit to another realm.