The magazine of Radio Black Forest...
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Posted 2014-03-24 14:00:18 | Views: 3,859

 Tell us about your music projects in the 60's prior to your electronic experimentation...

 Well, in the 1960's I was in middle and high school.  My main project was a band I was in which was fundamentally a cover band - we didn't know much else at the time.  I suppose we were the hottest thing in Alliance, Ohio, which isn’t saying a lot!  But I did get experience with the first Fuzztones, Echoplexes, and the like, which frankly interested me more than the music we were actually performing.  This was British invasion stuff like Beatles, Kinks, Yardbirds… when I graduated high school and left the band for college, Hendrix, Cream, and Pink Floyd were starting to happen, so in a sense I missed out on a fundamental thing that was getting going.  I didn't dip into music creation again for some years.

 When did you first become interested in electronic music? What was your inspiration to start creating within this realm of exploration?

 My last year of high school a couple of things happened.  Sgt. Pepper came out and I was mesmerized by the sounds and the obvious use of the recording studio.  But at the same time I was discovering real electronic music; unbelievably, the record bins at places like K Mart (my cultural backwater had no record stores) actually held the occasional disc of Stockhausen, Ligeti, Ussachevsky, Varese, etc., and this stuff really spoke to me.

 Where do you draw your inspiration from ?

 That’s easy.  That same year I took a trip to Cleveland and visited some actual record stores, where I always went for the “other” bin.  The album covers of Tod Dockstader’s Owl releases were very intriguing, and the clerk put a couple on for me.  I was hooked immediately.  To my mind, Tod blew away the academics and really gave me something to sink my teeth into.  His work of the 1960's inspires me to this day.  As you know, I was lucky enough to eventually track Tod down and begin a friendship which ultimately resulted in two collaborative albums, Pond and Bijou.

 You must understand that before Bob Moog came along, electronic music represented a truly mysterious world beyond ordinary reality.  That was what really resonated with me; it was one phenomenon which proved to me that there exists something which supersedes the mundane life we take for granted.  These sounds were not of this world, but there they were!  Magic!  Then of course MIDI came along, followed by sampling and legions of synthesizer platforms, and finally the computer, which has come to rule all.  Right now you will not hear any music untouched by electronics; call me a dinosaur, but the magic is gone, irretrievable….

 You moved to New York in 1977, was it the attraction of the New York music and art scene?   

 I moved here for different reasons, one of which was the publishing industry.  I studied illustration in California and realized that NYC was one of the only places I could make that happen; I still make my way in the material plane from graphics work.

About 1979 I became aware of Eno, Cluster, Fripp, Kraftwerk, etc., and simultaneously the home recording thing was becoming a reality.  The Tascam 3440 was crucial - suddenly the artist’s studio had an audio counterpart.  I had worked off and on as a visual artist, but now it seemed my real interest - electronic music - could be approached in the same way, on a very personal level.  Almost overnight I was staying up until 4 AM etching circuit boards and soldering wires.  I built a whole electronic music studio from kits, and later, working directly from schematics.  I love hardware.

 Pretty soon I started meeting people like Gen Ken Montgomery (creator of the Generator music gallery), his cohort David Prescott, Stefan Tischler and Keith Walsh (Port Said), and others working in the cassette scene.  It was pretty much all about recordings, and performances to a lesser degree.  At that time, I was not doing any performing since I didn’t see how - it was all to tape.

 From 1980 to 1986 I pursued music more along the lines of Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and so on.  Perhaps I was enchanted by the idea of doing melodies, harmonies, song structures, etc.  Hey look, I'm a “musician”!  So for a good while there I wasn’t actually in an “experimental” vein, though why not is a mystery to me now.  Maybe I thought I might actually make some sort of career out of it.  We were all optimistic at the time.  Some of the people who were putting out electronic music cassettes then are now known names in the film score biz and elsewhere.

 During this time I took in a lot of interesting performances, a lot at CBGBs, Mudd Club, and so forth.  Glenn Branca premiered his “Symphony #1” at The Performing Garage and it blew my mind (and ears, let me tell you).  Glenn and Rhys Chatham, with I believe Arto Lindsay, shattered CBGBs with an unprecedented guitar barrage one eventful night.  Pure noise wonderfulness.  The one thing I’ll always remember about CBGBs: one night waiting for a set by Television or one of their ilk, a young fellow came out who appeared to be a roadie, setting up for a band.  A real nerd type, pocket protector with pens, flannel shirt, horn rimmed glasses….  Slowly he set out a batch of small pedals and gizmos on the floor, connecting them up one by one.  No one paid any attention, continuing to drink and chatter.  We assumed he was just a setup person.  But gradually this guy (whoever he was) set the devices in motion and they began to make sounds.  After a few minutes there was a real noise rhythm thing going on and we all sat up and looked.  So cool!  Then he quietly unplugged everything and walked off.  No announcement, no name, nothing.  I’d love to know who he was….

 The scene today… well, I’m a bit of a recluse (as my music acquaintances will attest to), but Manhattan has become a yuppie playground and only the rich can take part.  Places like Roulette and Generator have been pushed to the outer boroughs or extinguished altogether.  From what I can make out, even Brooklyn has trouble keeping these places alive.  Where’s the next Bohemian enclave?  I fear there is none.  Perhaps we’ll just have to make do with virtual experience via the internet….

 What was the first piece of music you recorded?

 Hah, a trick question!  Who knows?  That is lost to history.  The real “first” was when I stumbled upon Feedback Music and recorded day and night onto Beta HiFi tape, which wound up as “Engines of Myth”, the first Arcane Device release.

 Arcane Device has been your main vehicle and what people know you the most for, how did the concept for AD come about? What was the inspiration for the feedback machines?

 In 1986 I was very taken with the long digital delays that were being produced.  I’d always loved the tape delay work that Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Fripp/Eno had done, and ever since my first encounter with an Echoplex years before, delay technology had been a kind of holy grail for me.  Now the tech was catching up and I experimented with Electro-Harmonx, Art, and Digitech units.  Finally I settled on Digitech 7.6 second delays, bought four of them and set about to build them into a self contained console.  Really I was looking to create the ultimate guitar looping rig, but while designing the layout I figured that I should make it as flexible as humanly possible.  This resulted in, to my knowledge, the first “matrix mixer” ever created.  Nowadays this seems more commonplace, but at the time it was unique - a mixer which could feed multiple effects and return their outputs to all others, plus themselves - i.e., feedback loops.  As soon as I powered up the layout, I immediately discovered that I needed no input: the delays themselves created their own sounds.  Thus the Feedback Music was born, and others dubbed my creation the Feedback Machine.  Other such machines followed, flowered, and alas, died.  The cycle of life, eh?

 Your gravitation towards the feedback compositions, do you find this approach personally the ultimately pure medium of expression within electronic composition?  Do you think it imbues the recording with more life?

 Over the years I have made music with guitars, synthesizers, samplers, found objects, stolen sounds, and computers of course, but I always return to Feedback.  Perhaps it is just the source that I resonate with most perfectly.  But yes, somehow this source is much more alive than any other I have worked with.  I’ve tried the most elaborate synths and sampling controlled by very flexible computer programs, but it never gives the living quality of Feedback.  

 Whereabouts have you played live with AD , and where have you found your music most well received?

 I’ve not performed for several years, but in the past I’ve played from Pittsburgh and Cleveland, to Boston here on the East Coast.  New York obviously - The Knitting Factory, The Kitchen, CBGBs, Roulette, The Clocktower, Experimental Intermedia, Generator, Performing Garage, White Columns, etc.  My one foray into Europe was concerts in Copenhagen and Hamburg.  Only now considering maybe putting some gear together and tentatively stepping out again….

 To my surprise, the music has been appreciated pretty world-wide.  I’ve had releases from labels in England, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Russia.  Fans have written me and ordered recordings from Africa , Japan, Thailand, Eastern Europe, Australia, and I can’t remember how many other locales….

 How did you come to collaborate with Asmus Tietchens?

 I had been a fan of Asmus for a long time.  Quite frankly, I simply contacted him with a collaboration proposal and he found the Feedback source to be ideal for his approach.  It went so well that we went on to do four albums together.

 Nanotube on Pulsewidth , the label you run yourself, is your foray into beat driven electronica, somewhat prolonged as although AD LPs were released during the techno/electronica boom you never seemed to let it directly influence your sound….  

 Well, although Feedback has always been my home base as it were, I’ve not been able to keep my fingers out of various pies; there’s just too much to explore.  Actually, probably my first “beat driven” project was a Pulsewidth album called Cel.  I used Feedback sources and raw electronic pulses driven by sequencing software.  Regarding Asmus Tietchens again, I sent him a copy of this recording and he was very disapproving.  He’s a purist and this apparently was unacceptable; my feeling is that from this time forward he kind of wrote me off.  I haven’t heard from him in many years.

 Are there any artists you admire in the field of modern beat driven electronica?

 I will have to admit that for some time I’ve been unconnected from that scene and my favourites go back a ways… Stewart Walker’s album Stabiles has always had a place on my stereo.  Monolake, Pluramon, Autechre….  Squarepusher is just the best, Tom Jenkinson is a musical genius.  But admittedly I’m out of touch with a lot of current stuff.

Any artists out there you have become aware of over the years you feel deserve more recognition?

 First and foremost, Tod Dockstader deserves to be in some electronic music Hall of Fame for sure.  He didn’t have the academic cred, which quashed his efforts after about 1966.  Many of us feel he totally outshone the ivory tower guys, but there wan’t much of an electronic underground at that time, which might have supported him.

 “Experimental” electronic musicians who do not conform to beat, club, or pop music standards understand from the start that “recognition” is not really something to expect.  Aside from those who carve out a little niche in academia, most of us simply love what we do and probably can’t stop, although we know it is impractical and unrewarding in any external sense.

 Any other stories or anecdotes you would like to share from your time as a performer?

 I recall with regret a concert in Pittsburgh where my “shoebox” Feedback Machine burned, apparently due to the trashy venue’s power.  To add insult to injury, the promoter released a cassette tape of the performance, which was way below my standard since the machine wouldn’t do much from that point on.  In Copenhagen I gave one of my best performances for sure, with accompanying Feedback Video on a big screen and stage, and then the following night in a Hamburg basement bomb shelter space I hit a nadir with massively failing equipment and deplorable conditions.  The sound man said to me, “if you make that sound again, I’m packing up my equipment and leaving.”  Perhaps he wasn’t wrong, the night before in Denmark I had blown the speakers completely out….

 What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

 Every few years I break everything down and sell it off, or throw it out.  Sometimes I’ve even been known to renounce music and art altogether.  Perhaps it’s a syndrome of some kind?  Maybe I simply set standards too high, I don’t know.  But the impulse never goes away.  In 2013 I was determined to produce a new Feedback setup, going through two separate failures.  At the end of the year I finally succeeded, devising a hardware layout that satisfied me completely.  At this time I’m working with it as much as I can, and also beginning to produce accompanying video work.  I’ve done computer graphics for print media for many years, and now I’m finally jumping into motion, so I hope you will be watching!
New York based artist/musician DAVID LEE MYERS is best known for the ethereal drones of his ARCANE DEVICE project, which infamously utilises feedback generating machines . ..Black Forest spoke to him about how he developed his sound, his inspirations, collaborations and current projects...Be sure to also check out the link below the interview to see David's New Video Graphic work!
Prints and paintings derived from electronic traces created by Feedback Music. You can obtain prints from this section of the Pulsewidth website...



Posted 2014-03-19 07:38:09 | Views: 3,478
  When did you discover the Theremin and what made you gravitate toward it?

  About ten years ago a friend had a theremin for repair at his house, he demonstrated it to me and I was intrigued!

 Rather than the austere approach some theremin players have, you seem to utilise it in a professional yet playful way , sometimes paying homage to sci-fi kitsch, a style more akin to its famous usage  in 1950's sci-fi movies, where do you draw you inspiration from for your style?

   I appreciate the emotional expressiveness a theremin brings to the 
 table, I like its humour too, it's drama and its eeriness, mostly the 
 unique way of laying several layers on top of it, when it creates a 
 weaving effect that taps into the subconscious.
 But yes, I grew up being a huge star trek fan, so I could easily relate to the theremin from its sci-fi angle, it just doesn't stop there, for me the theremin 
is a serious instrument, even when also used in a light and playful way - different styles, bring it on!

 Does Léon Theremin's life interest you - the eccentricity and
 innovation? As with Nikola Tesla his life was permeated with a 
strangeness and otherness - does the alluring arcane romanticism of this period in scientific discovery permeate your attitude and 
 approach toward the Theremin? Are there any areas of science that really interest you?

  Obviously I want to know what makes things work and the innovative 
 lives of both Theremin and Tesla are fascinating and inspiring. I 
 ventured to Belgrade to play right next to a Tesla coil and Tesla's 
 ashes in a museum carrying his name -I also traced back Theremin's 
 early life when i was in St. Petersburg, the big question beckons if 
 those two ever met during their time in NY, the city has many traces 
 of both of them. To be honest, my strength lies more in history than 
 physics, but i do like to take a screwdriver in my hand and fix things.

Are there any tweaks or adjustments that you have implemented to a Theremin ,or inventive ways you have discovered of manipulating the Theremin's sound and capability?

 It seems to be a big job already to get the intonation right, so i am a 
bit conservative when it comes to that, I do enjoy sending the theremin 
through different effect boxes though to influence its voicing, some old 
guitar effect box that I customized, a line 6 pedal and some 
moogerfoogers, then some looping to turn the phonophonic instrument 
 Moog music is working on a new Theremin based prototype and i am working with the engineers to customize some of its settings, so that is a big thrill to actually be able to influence the design of an instrument. The 
outcome remains to be seen!

  What's the most fun or innovative project you have been involved with Theremin wise?

 Hard to tell, there have been so many different angles, playing along 
and being attacked by dancers, but my favourite was a production by
Philippe Quesne, a big bus filled with an innocent audience drove into a 
big hall filled with smoke, as people stumble out of the bus, 
disoriented by the fog, the headlights of the bus hit the Thereminist 
and the music starts, a setting like swamps in a horror movie, a 
Thereminist's wet dream!!

Your collaborations have been excitingly diverse, and as well as
 lending  melodies and atmosphere to peoples work ,you have also guested with artists with a very abrasive sound - what was it like collaborating with J G Thirwell, and how did that come about?

 JG Thirlwell and myself go a while back, we dated for some years and 
ave been best friends ever since. One of my first big tours was opening 
for foetus, and it influenced me very much, I think, mostly in terms of 
showmanship. I know his, as you call it, abrasive sound but I also know 
other musical sides of his very eclectic tastes, in general I like the 
challenge of finding a way to collaborate even if it does not seem
obvious at first sight, either you like it or not, the theremin has many 
faces. I like to rock it and I think it important to involve this 
instrument in contemporary sound.

 Are you interested in scoring soundtracks for movies and if so 
 what type of movie would be ideal for you to compose a soundtrack to?

  So far I have done music for short movies or licensed songs for 
 different scenes in tv and movies, but obviously, of course, my 
 phantasy soundtrack would be for a scary spooky & seductive mad b-movie!

 Last year you expanded your sound into seductive electronic pop by collaborating with Anders Trentem
øller on the fantastic Avalanche EP, was this a liberating genre for you to work in?

  It was a good angle to take, he told me to sing low and his support 
 gave me the confidence to try some different things. it has been a 
 great experience and beckons to be followed by an LP.

What's the music scene in New York like now, what places/scenes 
 can you recommend? How has New York changed over the years since you relocated there?

  New York is in constant flux and I don't even know where to begin, 
 definitely check out concerts at the new rough trade store in 
 Brooklyn, my personal discovery has been Pioneer works 
 ( in Red Hook Brooklyn, a place for art and 
 innovation, and i discovered some great things there.

 Are there any stories, funny ,bizarre or otherwise you would care 
 to share with us from all your time as a performer?

  About to play a synagogue in Serbia, when the organizers refused the 
 concert as they had discovered a picture of me with Marilyn Mansion, 
 the devil as they called him, but my favourite incident is when, 
 playing in a small eastern European town, an orthodox priest held his 
 cross not against me but against the theremin as to protect the 
 audience from its evil, something like this just doesn't happen when 
 you are a trombonist..

 What does 2014 hold for Dorit Chrysler?

 Conducting a theremin orchestra, a commission for a soundtrack by MoMA, creating a song each for 10 photographs in an exhibition, working and hopefully finishing my new record and, ideally, being challenged and 
surprised along the way.
 Virtuoso Theremin Player DORIT CHRYSLER - founder of the NEW YORK THEREMIN SOCIETY and currently working with MOOG MUSIC on a new Theremin prototype -  has collaborated with an astounding amount of established artists that inc. Tony Conrad, Foetus, Chicks on Speed, Jean-Jacques Perrey and countless others (Be sure to check out her website for more info), demonstrating her versatility and diverse approach to one of popular cultures most irreverent and infamous instruments. Black Forest spoke to her about her active and past projects, her recent collaboration with Trentemøller and her plans for this year...
Further reading for anyone interested in the origins of the Theremin:

Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage 

(University of Illinois Press)


Posted 2014-03-12 14:04:06 | Views: 4,053
  Enigmatic David Virgin has been active musically across the last four decades..Born in Ireland, he emigrated with his family to Australia as a child. From the wild Sydney 70's underground in Punk band Broken Toys, a founder member of SPK, one of the original Industrial bands, to the psychedelic, post punk stylings of Sekret Sekret and a solo career that takes folk, country and rockabilly and mixes it together with David's raw charismatic style. Black Forest knew that somewhere amidst these diverse incarnations there must be tales to tell........


  • Landlord Green (1992)
  • Virgin & Rumour (2004)
  • Dublin 7 (2006)
  • Sekret Sekret – Happy Town Sounds (Singles, Live & Rare) (2008)
  • Rock N Roll Meditations (2008)
  • Posing As A Sodomite (2009)
  • International Treasure (2012)
  • No Fun Sessions (2013)
  • Three Decades of David Virgin (2013)
  • David Virgin & The Stanley Knife Brothers - Party Like It's 1899 (2014)
  • Boots 'N' Tooths (2014)


  • Tales From The Australian Underground Vol. 1 (2003)
  • Tales From The Australian Underground Vol. 2 (2006)
  • The Beardfire Music Cafe Mix Tape (2013)


  • Give it up
  • Landlord Green (1992)
  • Rock N Roll Man (2008)
  • White Trash (2009)
  • International Treasure (2012)


When did you start making music?

   I started playing music professionally at the age of 15, however I was writing poetry from a very young age. I grew up in a musical family; a big Irish family of 11 children. At parties we all had to sing something, the house was always full of instruments. My older brothers were professional musicians; they played Irish folk music and bluegrass. So I was born into music, and at 15 I was paid to play.

 How did The Broken Toys form?

   My first real band was The Broken Toys. I had always thought having a real band was out of reach for me, and then punk music came along and allowed the type of expression that I would be capable of and enjoy. The punk scene allowed for all types of people, even people like me. My first band members were just guys I knew, I wrote all the songs - words and music - and played the bass. My brother John played the drums, and we had Andrew Campbell on guitar and vocals and Lyndon Hooper played rhythm guitar. After our first few gigs Lyndon and John were replaced by older guys; Peter Mullany on guitar and Paul Cosgrove on drums. Lyndon and John were too young to be allowed to play late gigs. I was 15, they were younger. I talked my parents into allowing me to live in town (inner city Sydney) with my band so I didn't have to travel home alone on the train at night. We played very often, mainly at The Grand Hotel near Central Station in Sydney.

What was the punk/underground art and music scene like in Sydney, what memories do you have of that time?

 Sydney in the late 70’s had a vibrant punk underground music scene. I lived in Darlinghurst and King’s Cross, in those days the housing was cheap and run down. Sydney has a warm climate so as long as you could get something to eat you would survive. We all seemed to have plenty of time to make music and art and do gigs. It seemed like everyone from Australia who didn't fit in anywhere else and was clever came to live in Darlinghurst.

 Even though Sydney is a major city, the inner city itself, town, never appeared to have any people in it. Most of town was office buildings or Government buildings, so at night it was like an Omega Man playground for punks. On Sundays you could walk around and see no one in town. In Darlinghurst there were no children just hippies, artists, punks, prostitutes, dancers and people who worked at King’s Cross. Sydney is different now but back then if you couldn't make art in Sydney out of how weird it was, then you weren't an artist.

Out of the Sydney underground came SPK , SPK as well as being abrasive and confrontational, were a very original band. Tell us about how SPK formed...

 SPK started with Graeme and Neil. Neil liked my band Broken Toys, he knew I wrote all the songs. He told me that he and Graeme had a band but no songwriter. He asked me to join and play bass and write the songs. Neil was very good with lyrics, so I just wrote the music to go with the

words. Graeme had a machine that he got from the guys from Kraftwerk that you stuck pins in and it created sequenced sounds. I made a rhythm machine from a home organ rhythm box and put it through a fuzz box to make it sound like machines. Danny Rumour played electric guitar. I had worked as a metal press operator in a few factories; I knew what machines were supposed to sound like. So we made music that sounded like machines and Neil wrote lyrics about men and machines. We recorded three or four singles, the songs later ended up on the ‘Auto De Fe’ album.

 What did you think of the Industrial culture movement?

  I only found out it was a movement later. I was 16 years old. My job in SPK, live and in the studio, was to create a definite atmosphere of man, machine, sex, fright, adrenaline. We did a great job. It was hard work to get normal people like us to create that sound on record and live.

What's the craziest memory you have from an SPK live show?

  When we played live no one knew what we were or where the sound was coming from. The guitar didn’t sound like a guitar. When we used our home-made rhythm machine it didn’t sound like drums, it sounded like a machine. Some of the vocals were on tape and some were live. Most of my bass playing was just throbbing sliding, that was the sex bit. The taped vocals were twice as loud as the band, this caused people to run out of the venue in fright. One time everybody ran out because the taped voice was so loud, then all came back in one by one. The only time I was ever hit by a beer can was playing live in SPK, the can was intended for Neil but he ducked.

At what point did you leave SPK and form the Ugly Mirrors, who became Sekret Sekret? Were you also unhappy with the direction SPK were taking?

 I was sacked from SPK twice by Neil and re-hired twice by Graeme so I missed one gig and a film clip. Neil and I lived together in Mansion House in Sydney so we knew each other very well. Mansion House is now a posh hotel called The Southern Cross, back then it was full of warehouses and sewing machine sweat-shops. We lived in a warehouse. This was also where SPK rehearsed. The top floors of the building were a run-down, private hotel for derelict men. It was the end of the road for many lost souls.

 Neil was a very insecure fella, and he would get jealous and sack me from the band and Graeme would re-hire me. Neil was a nice guy and it’s a shame he died young. The later SPK would have been more interesting if Neil had been in it. Graeme went to London to make a new SPK. He took the singles and used them on later albums. So Neil dying and Graeme going to England was the end of early SPK.

  I don’t know much about later SPK but I’m glad they were successful. History has now shown that early SPK was a first of its kind and I’m very proud of that.

Two tracks from the new LP Boots N' Tooths
Prev unseen photo of David Virgin circa 1980
David gracing the cover of one of the many live SPK recordings...
Factory 7" (1979)
Mekano7" (1979)
No More7"(1979)
Charity 7" (1980)
New King Jack/You 7"(1980)
Girl with a White Stick 7" (1984)
Just to love you/Waterbirds 7"(1987)

Happy Town Sounds(Singles live and rare)  2x LP (2008)
Early Ugly Mirrors show crica 1979
GIVE IT UP - Davids debut solo single from 1984
Special thanks to Rohan Healy...

Sekret Sekret were successful in the Australian underground , despite only having a ltd amount of releases, although there was not much physical output ,did you play live a lot during this period? What's your best memories of this time?

 Danny Rumour and myself formed the Ugly Mirrors which later became Sekret Sekret. Even while we were in SPK we were writing songs and preparing for our new bands. The idea was to have the type of band that could play soft, melodic music and still create intensity equal to, or better than, some of the other live acts around. In the late 70’s the motto was louder, faster, harder and the colour was black. The Ugly Mirrors, and later Sekret Sekret, created a new intensity and our style was soft, melodic and powerful. We would creep into your heart and stay there. We brought colours back into the scene, and as one newspaper wrote; “Paisley is the new black.” With our paisley shirts and creeping soft music we were the first and the best of the neo-psychedelic era bands, The Church, The Hoodoo Gurus, The Go-Betweens and The Triffids followed our lead.

  Punk in Sydney continued on at any rate and co-existed with the new psychedelia. Sekret Sekret became a very successful live act, we played very often, sometimes 5 or 6 nights a week. We had a lot of underground hit records. In those days recording was expensive so we didn’t make an album. Now you can buy a Sekret Sekret double album through a company called Feel Presents. I enjoyed having a successful band and being on the radio a lot. For a songwriter, having your songs on the radio is the best thing. Sekret Sekret lasted seven years and was a great ride.

After Sekret Sekret split you embarked on your solo career. Where did you take inspiration from to create your solo sound? Who's been in the David Virgin Band over the years? Has it been a revolving line up? Where have you toured and played in your solo career?

 After Sekret Sekret split up I started just using the name David Virgin for my acts. I’ve had many types of bands over the years under David Virgin. In France I had French guys, in Holland I had Dutch guys, in Ireland I had Irish guys. In Australia I would often team up again with Danny Rumour and some other old pals. In ‘91 I made an album called ‘Landlord Green’. The idea was to make nu-folk. It was released only on vinyl and, like everything else I do, it was 20 years too early for anyone to get it. At the time people were saying, “why vinyl?!” and “why nu-folk?!”

I thought it was a good idea, it’s a good album, you can buy the digital version now if you want.

There was a notable gap between your debut solo LP ‘Landlord Green’ and 2004's 'Virgin and Rumour’, were you active musically during this period?

 After ‘Landlord Green’ I headed over to Europe to play solo or with bands I could pick up. I lived in the South of France for a while where I played a lot, including four gigs at the famous Rockstore in Montpellier. I settled back in my birthplace of Dublin for a while and created a classic rock band called PIN with my brother John Boy on drums. I wrote a bunch of classic rock songs, played the bass and sang the lead vocals. It was a fun band. We recorded an album and released a single called ‘Tuggin’’. Many of the songs I wrote in that period were released on my classic rock album “International Treasure” which I recorded back in Dublin in 2012. After a few years living in Dublin in the 90’s I went and lived on the North Coast of New South Wales in Australia where I formed a band called Black Train with my old friend Kim McLean. We played cowboy songs and old-timey music. Kim and I had an act back in the late 80’s playing old cowboy songs and old-timey music in pubs around Sydney. It was kind of a hobby; finding old songs, playing them live and doing lot’s of yodelling.

Also in northern NSW I had The David Virgin Group, that was my touring group and locally I played with Jimmy Willing and the Real Gone Hickups as guitarist. The Hickups are a cow-punk, hillbilly band. At the same time as those three acts I played drums in a band called Blurter. Blurter were a wonderful, hard-edged, cabaret act and were very popular and well loved in the area. I was recording a lot then as well so Danny and myself made the ‘Virgin & Rumour’ album up there on the North Coast in 2004. I later released the ‘No Fun Sessions’ volumes 1, 2 and 3 which were all recorded between 2000 and 2005. So for me there was no gap between ‘Landlord Green’ and ‘Virgin & Rumour’. There is no rest for the artist, I’ve written over 2,000 songs since the age of 15, recorded and released as many of them as I could, and have spent a life-time playing honky-tonk bars in different parts of the world. I’ve spent many years in three or four bands at the same time, playing different instruments and different roles.

Onto your more recent releases, David Virgin & The Stanley Knife Brothers is your project feat Both your sons Rohan Healy and Al Quiff , your LP 'Party like its 1899' has a more country and western and hillbilly influence, how did this project come into being and what was your influences? Your New Lp 'Boots and Tooths' came out in Feb, what did you draw upon for inspiration for this LP?

 This year I have released a lot of music. David Virgin & The Stanley Knife Brothers...How it all started: I had always wanted to make a good rockabilly record just like the Sam Phillips ‘Sun Sessions’ so I asked my two boys would they help me make a live-round-the-mic Sun Sessions type record. I wanted to use my own songs that sounded like 50’s rockabilly a bit. Then I realised it was going to be really, really hard to do. I was going to have to do a lot of research to find out how early rockabilly players sounded the way they did. So I spent about a year digging deeper and deeper into the origins of blues, jazz and folk. I went down a very deep rabbit hole and sometimes worried for my sanity. The sound I was looking for ended up having nothing to do with jazz, blues or folk music because those styles didn't exist where the essence of what I was looking for was to be found. After all history tells us blues is from 1912, jazz is from 1914 and I found no evidence of the existence of folk music anywhere (I actually like folk music, but I’m pretty sure it was fabricated by academics sometime around the 1940’s or something). What I did find was so called “folk” songs written by actual writers and published by actual publishers on actual sheet music and were not collectively written by anyone, for example, “the folk”. I found the spirit of the Sam Phillips Sun Sessions in sheet music archives, most of the songs written by European immigrants to America.

 The spirit of Rock n Roll was born out of the imaginations of songwriters who wrote for minstrel shows from the 1840’s onwards, and eventually by the Tin Pan Alley songwriters in New York around the 1890’s to the early 1910’s, and that’s where I found the essence of the rockabilly I wanted. Songs written by educated and clever songwriters and musicians feeding an insatiable desire by the American audiences for raunchy and racy themes. The subjects the middle class American’s couldn't get enough of included gambling, prostitution, comical relationships, poverty, drunken Irish, lazy people, people on drugs, travelling, and all the stuff we now associate with rock n roll, blues, folk and even jazz. So for our own amusement we brought many of these songs back to life in the earliest forms we could find them, and tried to capture that same wild spirit. So the album, ‘Party Like It’s 1899’ is music before jazz, before blues and before folk, whatever that is.

So finally I was able to start my Sun Sessions style album called ‘Boots ‘N’ Tooths’. My two sons and myself recorded round a mic my own compositions. The boys played very well using the skills they had learned making the Stanley Knife Brothers album. We recorded the album over a few days and I believe it captures something of the 50’s rockabilly sound. An added bonus is that my boys now have a great act called The Dublin City Rounders where they get to use all the skills they picked up on this project.


What are your fondest memories and tales from your time as a solo artist?

 As a solo player I’ve enjoyed many freedoms that you don’t get with a band. You get to do just what you like and you don’t have to wake up lazy people, or be social workers for band member. It’s just like Picasso, you work alone and it’s nice. When you get paid you keep all the money. Playing solo you can play fast or slow or speed up or slow down. You can play in different tuning, not just 440Hz. I also like playing music with my boys because family music is very powerful.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

 As for the future, I think I have done most of my ideas. I don’t have any more ideas. I will still write songs every day. I’ll play wherever I can as long as it’s nice and I get paid. I’ll continue to give courage and aid to good songwriters and I hope people keep asking questions about art and music. Thank you for the questions.


Posted 2014-03-11 17:09:19 | Views: 4,008

When did you start making music?

Around 19 learning on the MPC which is still my main axe. But I was always messin' around and listening. I remember playing with those old fisher price turntables and sitting in my room all day making mix-tapes off the radio, that was the best. You get half of your favourite song on some shitty tape and still be hyped. I played the trombone for like a month in 3rd grade but felt I had to quit in order to stay "focused" because I was learning how to multiply. Tried picking up the guitar a few times and as much as I love folk/blues music I could never commit like I can to that dumb solid beat machine. I still cant forget the smell of that brass oil/lube whatever the hell it is in that old band room.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I go through waves in listening to music. I have to be careful while in production mode and I like to stay busy so I fill most of my days with comedy podcasts/radio. I'm digging this Ethiopian nun pianist lady, Emahoy Tseque Maryam, its really amazing and has cool song titles like "Mad Man's Laughter" and "The Homeless Wanderer". Burning Witch has also been a hugh influence. Swans. Wolf Eyes. Dj Dogdick has always been a great inspiration and that bmore noise/rock/party stuff. I really dug Stress Ape (now defunct). Tenshun/Psychopop aka Skrapez of course. Black Pus. Tarkovsky. Marketa Lazarova as of recent. Black Dice. Harvey Pekar. Vonnegut. Mr. Oizo as of late, I really liked his new movie Wrong Cops. I dig how Shane Carruth is doing things with the film industry and his latest Upstream Color. Abner Jay. Ben Wheatley might be my new favourite director. Just saw A Field In England at The Silent Movie Theatre in LA and it was everything I hoped for. I love the tone of his movies, its that kind of perfection you didn't know you needed. The more I do this though the more function is required on various levels to keep the process interesting and so figuring that out is key whether its for therapeutic reasons, entertainment, energy, helping, sharing. As much of a recluse as I am, I still like thinking on that idea of folk art. And the MPC is a good primitive sturdy transparent box to convey whatever I'm down for at that moment and then channel it to whomever.

What do you think is the biggest influence was on your sound?

Early love for film. Kubrick, Lynch, Wu-Tang, Coldcut, Decasia, Deafness, Belong, Set Fire To Flames, Lil Howlin Wolf,The precious foley of life, Noise, Old blues/gospel,Burning Witch, Abner Jay, Violent Femmes, Doom, Butthole Surfers, Chop n Screw, Early 3-6.

Being into movies, have you ever done a soundtack for anyone and if not would you like to? If so what would the ideal type of movie be for you to score?

I imagine something like Looper or Legend or some kind of combination. Time travelling demon psychics with a propensity for entheogens or maybe an 80's-type zany comedy.

Tell us about what the music scene in LA

Not sure really, the few spots i played got shut down or i blew their speakers. I do enjoy the comedy circuit out here, just as a fan, its cool to see so many little shows pop up usually for free or very cheap. I've seen some great shows/acts. I will definitely miss it.

Do you have any tales, interesting, funny or otherwise you can tell us from your years of touring and recording?

I played in a dojo once, complete w/ a ring and punching bags and blew the system. My favourite venue was this warehouse in the industrial part of downtown Los Angeles and there was a halfpipe and we were rockin some noise beat stuff, me, Skrapez and k-the-i??? and these dudes were rippin it on the halfpipe, it was like my 16 yr old's dream. 

I snapped the cone off a shoddy system in LA and people actually liked the cone rattlin off. Went partially deaf for awhile and sat around asking people to repeat themselves. One of my first mixes was on 3 turntables and I got in touch with Simeon Coxe of Silver Apples and sent him this cd mixin his shit w/ a bunch of other stuff he said he drove around in his van listening to it. I funded a lathe w/ my spine juice. One of my favorite moments though is when Dj Scotchegg of Devilman got us this random dj gig in England and all 4 of us, Devilman and myself gave the sloppiest, most hilariously pathetic dj set ever and Scotchegg had people singing along to Bon Jovi and we're fiddling with the wires, switchin' our dumb laptops causin a racket cracking up in tears in this lil dj booth, it was amazing.

Any other artists you'd like to recommend you feel deserve more attention?

Tenshun. Psychopop. Lost & Found Sound. Telecaves. Sole.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

Play live shows, make more music and tour UK/EU. I'd like to eventually write/direct/score/edit my own film. More stop-motion experiments and soundscapes. Figure out this visual thing. Do people still buy dvds? I want to release more sonic/visual pieces in as many formats as possible.

Walter Gross
Amidst an array of wires and devices, Walter Gross commands his bass driven, sample heavy, deconstructed beats and mutated vocal jams.Salvaged from multiple realites and coming on like the party to soundtrack to post apocalyptic shanty towns, Gross's DIY approach makes his output irrestibly unique. Black Forest spoke to him about his origins and inspirations...
Also be sure to check out the Exclusive mix Walter did for Black Forest - Link Below Article

Tell us about your other projects, past and present and future...

My first real project was in '05 called Youth:Kill with the frenetic mad rapper from Cambridge, Mass known as k-the-i???. We put out a mixtape and some wax, doing a noise hip hop thing. I remember some online review said it was like the Black Dice of hip hop or somethin which I took as a good sign. And I've pressed up various split tapes, records, lathes, music videos, short films, collabs, mixtapes, podcasts since then but now I primarily operate solo, exploring this live-performance/song-writing this as well as trippy videos using stop-motion styles and trying to write more.



Posted 2014-02-08 11:24:02 | Views: 4,083
Where and When did Esplendor Geometrico form?

AL:Esplendor Geométrico was born in Madrid in 1980. At the beginning we were three: Me (Arturo Lanz), Juan Carlos Sastre and Gabriel Riaza. All of us belonged to a previous group, El Aviador Dro y sus Obreros Especializados, that I funded with Servando Carballar in 1978. After few time Juan Carlos left the group and for nearly ten years EG was formed by two members until Saverio joined the group at the beginning of the nineties. Now we are two since when Gabriel decided to leave the group.

What was your main inspiration? Was EG's sound ultimately a product of the environment you were in at the time?

AL:At the beginning, but just at the beginning, our main inspiration was TG. I found their very first LP in a record shop in Zurich. Our music was completely different from the music that you could listen to in Spain at that time, so we cannot consider ourself as a product of the environment.

 The music of EG can be harsh and sombre, yet meditative and deeply immersive, how would you yourselves describe your sound?

AL:Yes, you can find in our music all the aspects that you described in your question. Since the beginning, our music was considered "industrial", and perhaps at the beginning was correct. But very soon we begun to change. We don't know, but probably we could define our music "tribal" or even "ethnic" but we don't know exactly from which continent...

What music do you listen to when you are at home?

AL:A lot of years ago I stopped listening to electronic music. Except traditional Asian music, usually I don't listen music at home: I prefer to compose my music.

SE: There is a lot of different genres of music that I like to listen to at my home: electronic, contemporary, dance music, etc.

The earlier works of EG feature extremely controversial and uncompromising themes -were these personal obsessions or shock tactics to attack a social or political mindset inherent in Spain?

AL:We did't have any political strategy: just till the first album we liked to provoke because we hated the "movida" scene in Madrid. That scene was a sort of spanish new wave and we considered it a "pose". As a result EG was isolated from spanish musical scene during these years.

Tell us about the Spanish music scene at that time, were you unique in your vision and aesthetic or were there any other groups perhaps languishing in obscurity now you could shed light upon?

AL:To be honest, at that time, EG was the only group in that kind of music but after short time new projects appeared like La Otra Cara de un Jardin, Francisco López, Comando Bruno, Diseño Corbusier, Orfeon Gagarin, Melodinamika Sensor, etc.

In the middle of the eighties in Spain there was a lesser known underground electronic scene but very well connected with the international network created by cassette labels. That scene disappeared at the end of the eighties and just few of them projects survived.

What was the initial reaction to your music in the Spanish music press?

AL:We didn't exist for Spanish musical magazines until the end of eighties. Curiously the most important Spanish newspaper, El Pais, since the beginning, talked about us reviewing our releases and our performances.

How long did it take to achieve recognition outside of your homeland?

AL:The compilation Fix Planet released in Germany in 1981 by Der Plan helped us a lot to diffuse our name outside of Spain. Since then we began to establish good contacts with the international scene (Masami Akita, Graeme Revell (SPK), Maurizio Bianchi, Nocturnal Emissions, etc)

By the end of the late nineties ex-TG members were remixing EG tracks, were you in contact with TG and the orig indust movement in the late 70's/early 80's or did this acquaintanceship come later?

AL: Since 1980 we was in contact with the industrial scene of that moment, especially with Graeme Revell from SPK, Maurizio Bianchi (MB), Masami Akita (Merzbow), Nocturnal Emissions, Jordi Valls (Vagina Dentata Orga), Hunting Lodge, Ramleh, etc…We exchanged vinyls and tapes. After I stopped to listen any kind of music except Esplendor. Years later, when I was in Beijing, I contacted Chris Carter : I liked a lot the remix that Chris & Cosey made for Japanese CD En-Co-D (1997)

You have built up a huge body of work with EG, did you ever think you music would be considered so influential and regarded as an important part in the development of modern electronic music?

AL: I never thought if our music was important for electronic music scene. We enjoy composing music and that's all. We don't even take care about our releases. There is someone to take care of it: our friend Andrés Noarbe (the manager of Geometrik label).

Sometimes it happens that groups or artists which we play together with in a festival, told us that in some way we were an influence for them.

Having pioneered a repetitive hypnotic sound before the onset of rave culture and seemingly anticipating it, what did you think to the techno/house explosion of the mid to late eighties? Was EG's music embraced by the emergent rave culture?

AL: I abandoned listening to electronic music (except ours) since the middle of the eighties so I don't have an opinion about it. Only few months ago I played alone, without Saverio, in a techno club with some techno artists. At the same time I felt that kind of music was boring for me but good for dancing.

What is your most interesting experience you have had being in EG?Any interesting stories you would like to perhaps share?

AL:As you can imagine, in more than 30 years there are a lot curious things to tell. Perhaps the most funny is when, in the eighties, I played to an audience of spanish military officers. All of them wearing dress uniforms. They invited me because, at that time, I was a lieutenant, but obviously they didn't know what kind of music we were doing! It was really crazy!

In November we went to Japan again, for the fourth time. Playing there is ever really interesting: the people is so nice and sound is perfect.

What are your interests outside of music? Are there any authors or artists you are a fan of?

AL: My family, meditation, running, swimming and cycling. I'm not a fan of any artist.

SE: My daughters, maths. As I told you before, I still enjoy to listen music and while nowadays I'm not a fan but in the past I remember I was a fan of Kraftwerk for example (and before I joined Them, I was a big fan of Esplendor!).

Saverio, in your solo career you have worked with avant noise legend Maurizio Bianchi, how did that come about and how would you describe your sound outside of EG?

SE:I met Maurizio Bianchi a lot of years ago, when he abandoned music for the first time, I bought from him his legendaries Roland rhythm machine and analog Teisco delay. Some years ago, Satoshi Morita, the boss of Gift Records, proposed to both a collaboration and then we released "Micromal Sonorities". Now I'm working to the second chapter of this collaboration that I hope will be soon finished. My sound outside EG is probably much more abstract: I don't want to replicate things that I already make with Esplendor.

 Arturo,what motivated your relocation to Beijing, and are there any Beijing based artists you could recommend?

AL: I went to Beijing because of my work. I went back to Madrid in 2012, but probably in few years I'll be back again to China. I don't know very well the scene in China but I had the opportunity to listen to some groups like the “No New York” scene and I liked them. But to be honest I don't remember their names.

 Lastly,what are you both currently working on or planning at the moment?What does the future hold for EG? What direction are you taking?

AL:Few months ago we released our album Ultraphoon, so now we are beginning to work at new tracks for a new album. Our direction is ever the same: we will follow to create our music and enjoy while doing it. This is our receipt.--
Black Forest interviewed the Spanish Electronic Legends who released their latest LP 'Ultraphoon' last year on Geometrik records, peforming currently as the duo of founder member ARTURO LANZ and SAVERIO EVANGELISTA...


Posted 2014-02-05 11:56:30 | Views: 2,754
Black Forest spoke to London based Artist MICHAEL COWELL about his influences,
inspirations and future projects...
When did you start drawing?

I’ve been making artwork for as long as I remember.  Some of my earliest memories are of contentedly sitting on the floor with a sketchpad...

What inspires you?

A great number of things find their way into my work.  I spend a lot of time looking at other artists who work in a variety of media (Film-makers, photographers, painters, illustrators, etc) and I read a lot.  Currently a lot about early Christian separatism, but also a lot of occult history.  It seems I’ve not read any fiction in quite a while.

Have your inspirations changed over the years?

A great deal but all the twists of my development are still very much present in my work.  When I got serious about becoming an illustrator I started off looking almost exclusively at comic artists such as Dave McKean and Ashley Wood.  Shadow, light and loose gestures were very important to me, but as I’ve grown more into creating artwork to be screen printed, it has shifted to people like Gustav Dore, Aubrey Beardsley so I’ve absorbed a lot more pose and iconography.  Also, due to the nature of community, I find inspiration through a great many of my peers.  It is my fellow artists more than anything, I think, that drive me to improve my skills and ideas.

What work have you been commissioned to do?

As I’ve worked predominantly in gig posters as a medium, I’ve worked for a great variety of bands over the years.  Everyone from Queens Of The Stone Age and Kyuss to The National and Dandy Warhols.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

I’m currently finishing up a couple of album sleeves to be released by the end of the first quarter of this year.  Also there are a few more screen printed art prints in the pipe-line as well as a very exciting project illustrating an early Alchemical manuscript that is requiring a remarkable amount of research.  

My plans for the future are to continue making as much work as possible, diversify into working with publishers of the kind of literature mentioned above, and continue to exhibit as widely as I can.


Posted 2014-01-27 13:22:46 | Views: 2,652

How did CANS come into being?

  The name CANS - Central Asian Nervous Systems came to me after having a history class just before a biology class in high school. We were learning about Central Asia in history and then about the nervous system in biology. I had been smoking a lot of marijuana and taking LSD the prior weekend. In front of me on my school desk was a book about William S Burroughs and his "cut up's ". I often read Beat Generation books and Dostoevsky in my classrooms instead of the required readings. During lunch break "Central Asian Nervous Systems" came into my mind. I saved  that in my internal hard drive to be used in the future. 20 years later I needed a name for the music I produce. CANS seemed right for the times due to all the conflict and damage being done in Central Asia. Musically speaking CANS is just the latest name given to my 25 years worth of home recordings. 
 I was a 4 - track cassette tape kid , and an improviser. I use anything and everything I can get my hands on to record. Most of my work is done without much thought and usually in one or two takes. CANS is a moniker , something to mark the music by. A stamp. Before that it was Testicular Manslaughter , that one came to me while in Drivers Education Class !

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

  Headphones! Headphones are my private sanctuary. Headphones are my personal space and that space is just the way that I like it. It may be selfish and slightly  narcissistic , yet I prefer to be alone and to work alone. After being a part of so many bands that have broken up it just has to be this way. You can always depend on yourself right ?
   Analogue electronics and home recording are allot more reliable than a group of boys who have to work and go to school. I would like to get a drum kit , bass , guitars and amps
and make some records that way in the future. That is how I started out. It is just difficult to keep that gear together after moving around a lot and always being on a limited budget. 

  I usually don't listen to much new music because I tend to use that time to create music instead , which may or may not be good , I don't know.Bands that have changed my life and defined my sound are Richard H Kirk , The Fall , Jah Wobble , CRASS , Velvet Underground , Ceephax Acid Crew , rare and out of print Hip - Hop and Jazz , Mac Dre and the Hyphy sound from Oakland and I still listen to a lot of 70s Dub Reggae and Prog Rock rarities. 

Orlando's DANA YOUNG is the mastermind behind the psyched out industrial electronica of C.A.N.S. Black Forest asked Dana about his past projects,inspirations and his plans for the future....
Tell us about your side projects,projects you were in prior to CANS and any other stuff you have been involved with...

    My first band was The Niguel Hills Jr High School Band. I played and studied snare drum there by the beach in Orange County California. My second band was probably the most successful as far as distribution and plays. It was when I was 12 and played in a group called The Electric Shoes on the television series The Wonder Years. I played bass and was taught to play by Billy Swan of The Kris Kristofferson band . The other members were Allen from Punky Brewster on drums , Joshua the little kid from Rivers Edge on guitar and vocals , Fred Savage on guitar and me as Niel Rhodes on bass guitar. After that I got into a serious highschool band called The Kate Moss Express with Nicholas Dvorkin on bass who has spent the last 20 years buying records for Rasputin Records on Telegraph Ave in Berkley , California and a genius guitarist named Mark Fazio who has flown well under the radar ever since. Mark is wealthy and does not like any social interactions. He has never used Myspace or Facebook and has never wanted to. Yet he is the most talented guitarist that I have ever heard play. After that I played in a group called Silence Fiction with Heather Porcarro (her dad wrote a lot of Michael Jacksons Thriller LP and played the synths , also the founding member of TOTO) , actor Ethan Embry / Randall , Shan Sanford , and Nicholas Dvorkin. That was short lived yet good. Then in 2004 I moved in with John Maus and was asked to join Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and toured extensively with Animal Collective on the 2005 US tour. Soon after that I made Testicular Manslaughter and toured by myself through Europe by way of support from an Irish Record store in Cork called PLUGD. 
   Now I continue to work with Nicholas Dvorkin of Oakland , CA aka The High Evolutionary , Paul Von Aphid from Russia , Alex Colonelxs and Kaiser Schnitt Amboss Laszlo in Italy,Kevin Rutmanis ( COWS and Melvins and Tomahawk ) in his band Hepa / Titus ( Amphetamine Reptile Records ) and a few other people by way of singing or making beats.
  I recently started a new set of songs as The Plagiarist that I have a vision for and have yet to take the time to realize it. It will be in concept a completely visual and aural  sample based deal without copyright concerns. The goal with that is to truly plagiarise everything I want and put it out for free.

Whats the music scene like in Orlando?

  I really don't know. I moved here from Los Angeles about 4 years ago and have not yet fell into any scene. 5AM Records is cool and they are here and make allot of Boom Bap Hip Hop. Matt Kamm is great and the dudes from Yip Yip as well. Dan Reeves puts on some cool shows that I get to play.
  The Full Sail kids can be found at Stardust Video and Coffee and are all pretty cool. I find it easier to book shows in France for myself than here in Orlando.
  Just saying. Los Angeles is my home town and i could book shows every week there. Orlando is a tough cookie to crack and I don't care to do the groundwork needed to network shows here. Frankly I recommend that any band on tour skip Orlando , you will not enjoy playing music here , sincerely...

Do you gig regularly? Have you got any Shows, Tours for the future coming up you want to tell people about?

  I gig a few times a year here in Orlando at small shows usually Noise Artist shows. Noise seems to be the best scene here in Orlando. I have a tour in the works starting in Spain and ending in Ireland by way of a lable I hooked up with called SPVPV - Sociedad para la Promoción de la Virtud y la Prevención del Vicio that is based in southern Spain. I have played all over the US and Europe in the past. It seems to come in waves , like some years allot and some years nothing. 2014 is looking pretty well though.

Do you have any interests outside music, art, film etc. ?

   I am an avid fisherman , I recently started fly fishing which I find to be amazing. Here in Florida the best things to do are to explore the great outdoors and fishing here is world renown. I love to surf and skateboard and help friends out with whatever they have going on.
  I have two kids that are a constant source of joy and a never ending list of things to do with them. We have season tickets to Disney World and go there a few times a month. I paint , edit video , have a degree in 3-D animation and grew up in Hollywood as a child actor. I was in the movies , TV , commercials and films. I still read the occasional script and would love to act again if something great presents itself.

Any other artists/labels you would like to recommend to our readers?

  Aural Sects Label , Clan Destine Label , All the artists that have contributed to the CANS Label / Collective Soundcloud are hand picked and well worth a spin. Part Time Punks Club and DJ David Orlando aka Boss Harmony (Punky Reggae) in LA can be heard worldwide on KXLU 88.9 Los Andgeles on the web.
  Cirque Du Minimalist is a label that I love , it's a German Minimal Techno crew that makes the kind of music I love to work by. Allot of great music from South Africa Len Cockraft and Garreth Dawson have a band called Tannhauser Gate that I love and Witchboy is rad. AUZ has a great thing happening as well. PBS Melbourne AUZ plays allot of great new music and can be heard online as well. DJ Ryan Knowles has a show on Tuesdays 6-7pm on 87.6 KISS FM in Melbourne , AUZ as well called Neo Faux Show. And DJ Mike Texbeak is always on top of the new underground electronic music. I rely on those DJ's for finding new music and the LA dudes for the rare and out of print stuff. I DJ'd vinyl for 10 years in LA and gave it up after moving here to Florida. I had to sell my records because they would not fit on the plane !!!

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

  I am currently designing my live show for the upcoming EU tour for SPVPV - Sociedad para la Promoción de la Virtud y la Prevención del Vicio. As a one man band one must rely on backing tracks to supply the main source of songs. I am getting instrumental vinyl records made for DJ's to play while I do the singing and melody lines on synth , guitar , and bass at the shows. So , getting the vibe and costume and presentation ready and rehearsed by April 2014 is top on my list right now. When we get these opportunities to travel and play it is very important to come correct with a proper show. 
  I am also working on a Mini DVDr to be released through Aural Sects quite soon. It will contain 2 gigs of music recorded over the past 2 years. A lot of the songs that did not make it onto releases and such. I think it will sell for around 10 - 15 bucks and have well over 100 tracks on it. A few videos as well.
  The future ? ..... , expect more CANS and The Plagiarist and live shows I suppose. I am always looking for new gear and such that often reshapes my sound. I really only use hardware synths so , hopefully I can score a few more this year...


Posted 2014-01-27 11:22:32 | Views: 3,209
Curt Brown 
(Black Unicorn, Cane Swords, Mousecop, Wyld Stallyns, Baingan Bharta, Black Van,The Black Eyed Keys)

First Release & Info:

CB: Rubber City Noise was founded in 2010 by Karl Vorndran and myself as an arts space and record label in Akron, Ohio. The first release was the cassette Cane Swords Big Warmup in the Mouth of Eternity (, released in February of 2011. The RCN collective quickly grew around that time to include fellow Akron artists Ram Youssefi, J. Bryan Parks, and Joshua Novak. Currently we throw shows downtown Akron at our space, the RCNCAVE (& abroad) and release music on a variety of formats (cassette, vinyl, CD, digital). 


CB: All five of us are involved in a crazy amount of projects in a range of mediums (there's at least 15 different projects just between the RCN dewds). We are also all constantly collaborating w/ each other and other artists & musicians in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere.


CB: Our collective energy can be a huge inspiration in itself, and being involved in something like this with four of my best friends really keeps the forward momentum. Also inspiring is the diverse and eclectic range of music and art that we are exposed to through running an arts space. Not to mention the incredibly supportive and talented Northeast Ohio arts community.


CB: The Rubber City Noise Center fr Audio/Visual Exploration (RCNCAVE or Cave) is our headquarters in downtown Akron. We host monthly events there and have been fortunate to take part is some really great shows. We also use the space as a studio, practice spot, etc. Everything is real eclectic around here and this helps us avoid things like genre pigeonholing and the like. We are a DIY space that wouldn't exist without our core group and the dedicated community in Akron and NEO. 

Karl Vorndran
 (Cane Swords, XXX Super Arcade, Doomchrist, Together at Last, The Black Eyed Keys)

 What inspires you musically and aesthetically?

KV: All types of sounds peak my interest from time to time. More specifically, rhythmic oscillations such the buzz of refrigerators, rotating fans, and rattles from old machinery resonate with me personally. My personal aesthetic stems from my performance art related to the struggle/balance between structure in chaos in both nature and contemporary life. My fascination is rooted in how technology is increasingly automating everyday life while my instincts want to resist order and repetition.

What do you look for in an artist to be on the label? 

KV: First, we look at local talent and try to get their music out there. Next, we like to release stuff from projects/artists/bands who have played shows with us or performed at our performance space the CAVE.

 Were you involved before RCN in any other projects/ventures?

KV: I was involved in punk bands in high school, did performance art in collage, and got into synthesizers and experimental music when I lived in San Francisco, and started RCN when I moved back to Ohio.

 Tell us about the RCN Center and about the shows you organise there...

KV: We are starting the 4th year of the CAVE which is one block west of downtown Akron. We have the second floor of a giant falling apart warehouse with a quadraphonic PA system where we host all types of weird art, music, and performance.

 What's the music scene like in Akron ? 

KV: It's pretty weird and all over the place. There is a good around of other modular synth users making strange music. There are also a few good rock bands that make you forget about the bullshit usually associated with local rock. We are also very close with the Cleveland experimental music community as well.

Do you have any tales to tale about the RCN center, weird ,funny or otherwise?

KV: I was apart of an experimental Xmas play where I was naked, covered in fake blood, and serving cookies to the audience.

What acts/labels can you recommend?Anyone you think deserves wider recognition...

KV: Acts: Perispirit, Superstorms, Trouble Books, Skin Graft, 9 Volt Haunted House, Collapsed Arc, KBD and Travelogue.
Labels: Experimedia ran by our friend Jeremy Bible is the best distro/ label around. I can't say enough good about what he releases and does. Makenoise Records has the Shared System 7" series of modular synth recordings that is fantastic.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future? 

KV: I am currently working full time at Earthquaker Devices building effects pedals. In February I will be recording "Cathartic Automation," the follow up to my debut solo album "Thawing"

J. Bryan Parks (HolyKindOf, Zurvan, Black Van, Thieves, Together at Last, Van Faang Family Trio, The Black Eyed Keys)

 What was the first release on RCN? 

JBP: Cane Swords- big warm up in the mouth of eternity (cassette)

 How did you get involved with RCN? What projects do you have?

JBP:  I originally got involved in RCN via Zurvan, a Zoroastrian themed drone project i have with (now) fellow CAVE member- Ram Yousseffi. we had been doing this project for somewhere around 7 years by now, roughly? it started a little noisier, & doomed, sludgier, etc.. & kind of evolved naturally into a DEEP meditative experience. i really like where its gone, & that we waited in playing out live until after all the dust settled, & we found our niche. It wasn't really foresight, so much as we didn't think anyone else was into this kind of stuff, & luckily- i had known Karl, from many years before & heard he had started this thing called the Center For Audio & Visual Experimentation & my eyes & ears perked up & i immediately immersed myself. We played the 2nd show ever, & we haven't left since. 

I also have a solo project called HolyKindOf. ( which i've been trying to finish up a record for for almost 10 years, scrapped about 7 so far, under different names & in different subgenera & finally landed on this, which i *think* is done. maybe. i've sent it out to a few labels, so it will eventually be "done" when its released i guess.. I've been Incredibly lucky… like beyond words, with playing shows with this one, thanks to Jeremy Bible & Experimedia. (where i work, part time) & have been able to open for Duane Pitre, Eleh, pitreleh, jozef van wissem, bestial mouth, & others… that has been an immensely rewarding & encouraging set of experiences.

I also have some one-off projects with other members of the CAVE- karl & i have played 2 or 3 times as Together At Last (guitar & modular synth), Josh & I as Thieves (even opened for mark Hossler, m.c. Schmidt, wobbly, Dimuzio, INCREDIBLE) its a stolen sample/concrete/mashed up weirdness thing? lot of manipulated tape loops, a lot of stolen vocals, etc…
And then of course, we have The Black Eyed Keys, our semi psych/stoner/kraut rock type supergroup, with all the members of the CAVE, which is a personal favorite of mine (i play bass) It's a lot of fun, & one of the few times we all get together & jam, usually no practice, just book a show & go for it. Good energy, lots of fun.

What inspires you musically and aesthetically? What do you look for in an artist to be on the label? 

JBP: total cliche, but- Inspiration can come from anywhere. film, art, everyday sounds, anything. i like using field recordings a lot, & i love bizarre films & very soundtrack oriented music, so it could literally just be insects outside while im watching a movie that might spark something. a lot of the time its mostly just mood. i can never force creativity, it has to be a heightened sense i have or something that MAKES me feel a certain emotion, & that will be my reaction. I also like the idea of mixed media, so i've been leaning a little heavier into creating avant/experimental film, & trying to pick back up the paintbrush & finish this series. 

In terms of what i look for in an artist for the label- nothing in particular, im pretty open to anything, i mean, we've done folkier stuff, metal, noise, modular, drone, all sorts of stuff… it just has to be good. Make me feel something. make me jealous i didn't record it first. something that when i put on headphones, its deep & rich in texture. i like hearing new things every time i listen. i like hidden gems i may have missed the first time.

Were you involved before RCN in any other  projects/ventures?

JBP: not in any other labels or spaces, per se, i had (have) a big house in akron called the Ghost Mansion, that always had a good rotation of musicians either coming over & playing or living there, so there were a good amount of 'bands' or projects i was in beforehand. 

Tell us about the RCN Center and about the shows you organise there...

JBP: its a nice big warehouse type space. It gets really cold in the winter, but i think we (the greater Northeast Ohio community) have cultivated a really amazing energy there, that we can have a packed house in the middle of a blizzard. its an open space, both physically & creatively, & we've been able to host any & every type of subgenera & major genre of experimental & even some more- dare i say- 'mainstream' music. 

 What's the music scene like in Akron ?

JBP: its got a decent crowd, i think. Good rock music. healthy punk, metal, & otherwise 'rock' crowds, even a prewar blues/folk type subculture, in places. i personally don't see a whole lot of the EDM scene, but i know its there, more in the outskirts of akron, than downtown or west akron, where we are. we have a reasonable response & support from akron, certainly some die hards, but i would think most of our support actually comes from cleveland (being a much larger city, & all…)
But I would overall say we have mostly heavier rock bands. & theres no shortage of bands who think they're the Black Keys (black keys are from akron) But, to be fair- i may not give the best representation, i'm a bit of a hermit.

 Do you have any tales to tale about the RCN center, weird ,funny or otherwise?

JBP: Loose Lips Sink Ships.. none off the top of my head that don't immediately incriminate myself. We have a lot of fun. Its a good crew, & the rest of The Boys have a great sense of humor.

 What acts/labels can you recommend?Anyone you think deserves wider recognition...

JBP: My Immediate thought of who didn't get enough recognition- Josh's Faangface tape. I thought that record was amazing & should have sold out immediately. Mistake By The Lake & Hanson Records are 2 local favorite labels, they've been killing it lately. as for my all time favorite- Anything from Miasmah Records or Sonic Pieces, i will buy blindly, but they aren't really struggling i don't think- that stuff sells out pretty quick. Also, (& it may seem biased)- Experimedia. I'm constantly impressed. Pretty much anything he gets his hands on…its gunna be a good idea.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

JBP: Currently doing some final tweaking on my debut for HolyKindOf & shopping around for labels. & working on a follow up release for the spring of next year, for a label in france (i'm not sure if i can mention until the ink dries, but it may actually come out before the *first* album is out.) 

As for the future, just keep on keeping on with the CAVE & RCN, try to keep growing. I'm kind of slowly working on putting together more abstract film stuff, so maybe we'll see that come to fruition eventually. 


Ram Youssefi(Dolph Lundgren, Zurvan, Sludgethrone, Doomchrist, Van Faang Family Trio, The Black Eyed Keys)

  Black Forest discovered the sounds of BLACK UNICORN two years ago ,which in turn led them to discover the inspired world of Akron Ohio's RUBBER CITY NOISE ..Black Forest Spoke to label Founders CURT BROWN and KARL VORNDRAN and label artists J.BRYAN PARKS and RAM YOUSSEFI about the label, inspiration and the RCN CAVE ,a creative space run by RCN Themselves...
 First RCN release:

RY: The first RCN release was Big Warmup In The Mouth Of Eternity, a cassette by Cane Swords, who is made up of RCN co-founders Karl Vorndran and Curt Brown. Its been long since sold out,and rightly so. Killer debut and the perfect way to introduce the label to the rest of the world. It came in tandem with the first RCN Infinity series release Shit Gold, also by Cane Swords. An awesome companion piece, the limited edition cassette came in a gold spray-painted case. The limited limited editions came housed in their own cassette players (boomboxes,walkmen, etc.).

Are yourselves involved musically: 
RY: Yes, all 5 members are involved in the label and appear on it. The first fistful of releases were still handled by Curt and Karl. We didn't all jump in immediately. We all started pitching in around the Andrew Weathers/Ancient Ocean split batch, which also included the Mike Shiflet/Joe Panzner split and Karl Vorndran's solo debut Thawing. So far the label has put out everybody's solo venture except HolyKindoOf (James Bryan Parks solo project), which will be coming out soon. Every member has their own solo project and duos and trios between them. So in total there's at least a dozen projects between the five of us. There's the five piece synth-psyche freakout called The Black Eyed Keys. Cane swords who is comprised of Curt Brown and Karl Vorndran. Zurvan is the deeeeeeep meditative drone configuration of James Bryan Parks and Ram Youssefi. XXX Super Arcade is Josh Novak and Karl's drum, bass, and synth crazed rock beast. Faangface is Josh Novak's solo weirdness project. Curt Brown does Black Unicorn, and Bryan's solo project is HolyKindOf. Curt and Josh perform as Mousecop, Karl and Ram play dooooooom under the Doomchrist moniker, and Ram's solo doom-noise aural assault is known as Dolph Lundgren. There's also The Van Faang Family Trio (Faangface and Zurvan), Together At Last (HolyKindOf and Karl Vorndran), Thieves (James Bryan Parks and Josh Novak), Black Van (Black Unicorn and Zurvan), and more in the works! 

Inspiration musically/aesthetically, what do you look for in an artist:
RY:  What personally inspires me musically and aesthetically varies from project to project. Zurvan has a very specific goal in mind when performing and recording. The intention with our music is to create an organic, living, breathing sonic experience that physically affects the listener. The idea of a sound or frequency range that actually creates a change or alters the listener and that sound can manipulate matter inspires me. The branch of physics studying cymatics fucking fascinates me. It's about being able to create visual representations of soundwaves or other vibrations through matter. In the same respect, one can also essentially control matter through sound and vibrations. These patterns start to emerge according to frequency modulation, the higher the frequency - the more intricate the pattern. And there's different patterns corresponding with varying waveforms and substances used. So the inspiration for Zurvan is to sonically transport and manipulate the listener's mind and body to another dimension or state of being. Meditation is always strongly encouraged. We know we have a good show when even we leave our bodies. 
The artists we decide to put out really depends on what we got going on at the moment. It could be some cool guy we've heard of or some dude who sends us a demo. If it's good, we'll put it out. We do have to be a little picky though, we all have to be proud of putting our name on it at the end of the day.

Other projects before RCN:
   RY: Before I was involved with RCN, I played in a few bands. Nothing big, played a couple shows, but nothing that really took off. I've been jamming with Bryan for years before we started Zurvan.

 RCN and shows you organize:

   RY: The Rubber City Noise Center For Audio/Visual Experimentation (or the RCNCAVE) started back in 2011 as a practice space and workshop for Karl. He was working on handmade electronics back in the day. Curt really took to the label thing. They operated the first incarnation of the CAVE, holding a once a month open house. It was a cool spot for music and art. They soon outgrew that location and it was time to search for a new place to call the CAVE. The space we occupy now is an old school/storage building, and we hold shows at least once a month and have a small gallery space. We've had artists from all over, even had some world renowned people come through. We try to do something special every show, make it a little different for the audience all the time.

Music scene in Akron
   RY:  The music scene in Akron is pretty cool. There's a lot more going on than you think. Punk, metal, rock bands as well as electronic, experimental, and all sorts of music is coming out of Akron.

 Tales to tell of the CAVE
   RY:  Summer of last year we were doing curated shows by each of the RCN members. My show's theme was rituals. So I got the privilege of booking my favorite acts from around town and watching them perform. Each act was to have an emphasis on a ritual, whether magick or otherwise. To this day, it was still one of my favorite shows we've ever had. It opened with Murderous Vision and Cunting Daughters playing together as The Utter Darkness After A Dying Flame, then moved into an absolutely stunning performance from our good friends Dark Matter White Fire. The next set was from my very good friend Black Mayonnaise. There was something very peculiar about that performance. One half of Cunting Daughters was taking pictures during the Black Mayonnaise set, and a big aesthetic feature of his live performances are the fog machine spewing out copious amounts of this smoke. It almost seems industrial grade with the dense smoke screen it creates. Anyway, she was taking pictures of the fog filling the room and the crowd. In a series of pictures, a shadowy human like figure appeared and disappeared in the smoke. She took a bunch of pictures after to try to capture it again, but it was gone. I have the pictures, pretty interesting.

 Acts/Labels to recommend. Anyone deserves wider recognition:
   RY:  I'm really into heavier stuff along with the noisier side of things. The acts I could recommend are kind of all over the place. I fucking love Acid Mothers Temple, Earth, Sunn O))), THOU, Sleep. Some stuff I can't stop listening to lately would have to be Monarch, Indian, The Secret, Primitive Man, Grouper, I could go on and on. I listen to a ton of black metal and off the wall jazz too, like Throne Of Katarsis, Xasthur, Leviathan, Horna, Watain, Ornette Coleman, Late Coltrane, Crazier Miles Davis, Sun Ra, and some Eric Dolphy. Some of my favorite labels would have to be Profound Lore, I buy virtually everything from Southern Lord, Experimedia, run by our buddy Jeremy Bible, is an exceptional label, and I really like the stuff Ideologic Organ is putting out.

 Current work and future plans:
   RY: As of right now musically, I'm working on a new Zurvan release. I'm very meticulous about the caliber of material we release, so it takes me a little longer than usual to settle on something to put out. I just finished the Dolph Lundgren debut, it's called Pain Bliss End. And it hurts to listen to, absolutely perfect. With the label, there's some releases on the horizon, but no real time frame on dates. As far as the CAVE goes, we're going to keep it going. Might need to do a little light reorganizing, but it will continue on.
BELOW: Selection of performances from the RCN


Posted 2014-01-27 07:46:54 | Views: 2,810
When did TUNNELS OF ĀH  come into being?

  I'd been playing around with sounds and a direction for a while and it finally took shape at the back end of 2012.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Lost Corridors seems to be full of esoteric reference...

  I think literature is the main inspiration whether that be ancient Buddhist sutras, magickal writings and over the past few years Gnostic writings such as the Nag Hamaddi library, Pistis Sophia and the Gospel of Judas. The depth of imagery in their language is a jolt to the senses at times. I'm particularly drawn to the anarchic influence of these writings and the unsettling presence on fundamental Christianity they had on their discovery. The Gospel of Judas is a fantastic read, Judas not as betrayer but as holder of the 'secret knowledge'. I've got a new track called 'Saint Peter Ha-Satana' which references this.

  People have said the TUNNELS OF ĀH  reminds them of soundtrack music though I have never approached it in this way but I do see it graphically when I write the songs. If I had to do a film soundtrack it would have to be a Powell and Pressburger reworking of 'A Canterbury Tale'. The Glueman is my favourite film character ever, along with Mick Travis.

Is your music influenced at all by your surroundings? Does psychogeography play a part in Tunnels of Ah?

  Of course. I'm a true believer that magick is everywhere in everything and an imaginative engagement with your surroundings is a potent magickal faculty. I can look at cooling towers as I can look at Stonehenge. Both hold as much mystique to me, just as the subterranean environment of our cities does, hence one of the explanations of the title 'Lost Corridors'. However that is just one explanation for the title. I'm also referring to psychic corridors. The word corridor could easily be channel, portal, current etc. The name TUNNELS OF ĀH is a pun on 'The Tunnels of Set' from Kenneth Grant's brilliant 'Nightside of Eden' book. In the book he charts the shadow side of the Tree of Life. I believe we haven't even begun to research the potential of the mind. This was something that lead me to study and practice Buddhism full time during the 90's, post Head of David. Meditation is the best way to explore the tunnels, I went on some pretty startling 'psychedelic' rambles via meditation, not that that is the aim of meditation. Gods and demons, heavens and hells are real.

Tunnels is a predominantly electronic based project and a diff genre altogether to HOD , was this something you always wanted to do?

  The electronics came before HOD. Eric (HOD guitarist) and myself were an industrial/experimental duo in the early 80's called Comicide. We were part of that small but industrious Birmingham scene along with Con-Dom, Family Patrol Group and Final etc. Playing with Con-Dom at 'Confessions of Faith' in November was great, it really evoked those glorious Cold War days of the 80's.

Have you had any other projects post Head of David?

  I never stopped playing/experimenting but none have been released though I did play one solo gig a couple of years ago in Birmingham with my acoustic material. I recorded an album for Blast First Petite which never surfaced. This was on the strength of the track I recorded, 'Goodbye Darling', for the Alan Vega 70th Birthday series of 10" cd's on Blast First Petite along with Sun O))), Pan Sonic and Alan Vega.

What has the response been so far to the TUNNELS OF ĀH material and how have you found playing the material live?

  The response has been very favourable, encouraging. I've played with TUNNELS OF ĀH  live twice and both times I've thoroughly enjoyed it and it's something I look forward to doing more of. It's something that's still very new to me and want to develop further. I think the material works well in a live setting and seems to have the knack of unnerving quite a few people in the process. When I play live I'm still seeing those apocalyptic scenes in my head.

As a veteran of West Midlands underground music, are there any memorable tales you can tell us from the Birmingham Alternative music scene in the 1980's?Also What was it like working with Steve Albini in head of david?

  My best memories are the aforementioned industrial times with Con-Dom playing Dudley Eve Hill Afro-Carribean Centre and the Communist Star Club in B'ham and the crypt of Eve Hill Church. All these were arranged by Mike Dando, he was very enterprising and persuasive. These gigs really felt important, as if we were some kind of terror cell unleashing ourselves on the world. Then of course there was the Mermaid. That's where HOD signed to Blast First in one of the back rooms. But as HoD we didn't play B'ham too often, in fact we didn't play anywhere too often. As for Steve Albini, he was easily one of the better people I met during that time. I've got quite a few stories about him. The best being, I suppose,was when I suffered very bad heat stroke in Chicago one summer where I'd collapsed in downtown Chicago and woke up in Alibini's bed. I eventually woke up alone in the house not knowing where I was. I opened the bedroom door to be faced with a whiteboard with a quote written on it by Albini, which was some literary reference I can't remember, but to paraphrase it read " you English pussy". There are more but that's the one that sticks in my mind, that's typical Albini. He then went on to diagnose my heat stroke as serious heart disease. Albini has this extreme reputation but in my experience those with the more extreme reputations such as Foetus, Swans, Gibby Haynes, Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra are the most comfortable and easy going people, they have nothing to prove. I do still bear the scars of first meeting Lydia Lunch though in a dressing room at ULU where she trapped me and shouted in my face, 'So, you wanna fuck me up the ass, uh'.

Moving back to the present ,are there any artists you currently admire?

  I hear a lot of stuff but I rarely like anything till it's been around for about 30 years.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

  I'm always working on new material and am currently putting together a second album for Cold Spring. I work quickly but am trying to take my time, I want a good selection of material to choose from when it comes to release.


Ex-Head of David frontman Stephen Burroughs spoke to us about his new project TUNNELS OF AH and the occult aspects underpinning the fantastic Lost Corridors Album released on COLD SPRING last year...
LOST CORRIDORS is available to buy direct from 
                     Cold Spring here:


Posted 2014-01-27 03:05:07 | Views: 4,660
  In the setting of cult venue Muthers Studios in Birmingham,Andy Black Forest and Rupert Bell 
spoke via skype to the Italian B-movie legend Giovanni Lombardo Radice, aka John Morghen..
  A reoccurring face in some of the most notorious movies in the video censorship panic of the 80's, Giovanni has the unlikely and unfortunate aspect of actually not being a fan of horror movies himself! 
  Black Forest asked him about some of his infamous movies,his newer work and for any anecdotes from the movie business - we were not disappointed! (There is also a link to audio highlights from the interview at the bottom of the article)
With John Saxon in Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)
              Scene from 'House on the edge of the park' (1980)

RB: You were involved in theatre productions before acting in movies, how did you get involved with film?

GLR: Well as a matter of fact I wanted to be a dancer, and I studied ballet for many many years, my back got injured when I was very young .  I was in Amsterdam studying at the time and at that point I switched to a physiotherapy school that was connected to the ballet school,I took a degree in physiotherapy .
  When I got back to Italy I decided to switch to theatre - I had done some theatre work at school with a French theatre company in Rome connected with the French embassy. I was raised trilingual with English,French and Italian ,so I started doing this amateur company where I concentrated on dancing and studying ballet . I decided to try for a stage career and since then I've been on stage all my life... I directed my first play which was Shakespeare's 'A midsummer nights dream' when I was very young ,I had my own theatre company and did many things on stage.
   Theatre however was getting me into deep poverty , debts and so forth. I did not receive a penny from my family as the rich ones were my grandparents on my Mom's side, aristocratic snobs ,and they hated the idea of having me doing stage work so they never gave me a penny .It was just me by myself since I was 17 .At that point in 79' I very casually met this woman , Anna Marie Spazanio , and this point she was Ruggero Deodatos mother in law.So we casually met, I was measuring a stage for a production and she was there and she asked me the Hollywod question: 
 "Have you ever been in a movie?
  I said No..
 She said "Would you like to?"
I said: "Lady if there's some money involved I will walk on my hands with a red nose on!" (Laughs)
  She asked if I spoke English, I said yes and
in a couple of weeks she introduced to me Deodato who was casting for 'House on the edge of the park' ,so I got my first role ,getting in the business from the main door, and I stole the character from Michele Soavi he had been cast the original part as Ricky ...

RB: Would you ever go back to theatre?

GLR: I never stopped , in February I start rehearsing for Macbeth ,as the director.

RB: Why did you adopt the stage name John Morghen?

 GLR: I was asked to- I don't remember the point ,either Fulci or the Magheriti movie ,  those movies were made for the horror market, which was mainly in the US, so they wanted everyone to pretend to be American, everybody was having a stage name, the crew,cameraman etc. So I was asked to assume an american identity and I hated the idea of having a completely unknown name . I had two grandmothers- one with the surname Morghen and one with the surname Hyacinth.I have been called Johnny all my life by my family so it was familiar to me, and Morghen was more 'stagey' than Hyacinth.
 My grandmother was a countess and her brother was the head of the family,very proud of his ancestors. when he found I was using the 'sacred' family name doing horror movies ,he made my ass black and blue! (laughter)

RB: HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK - an exploitation movie,not everybody's way to break in to the world of acting,what was that like and what was it like to work with Ruggero Deodato in your first role ?

 GLR: It was a very 'stagey' movie considering it was my first, if you think about it it was just in one room 80% of the movie, so it truly had a stage feel which helped me a lot, Ruggero was in a hurry - the movie was shot in 3 weeks, so he was running,running running and of course shouting ,shouting shouting...But I will say his way of being  coarse was a nice one if you like ,as he was insulting everybody and then adding a joke and giving names to everybody.He's a very nice man and I had a great relationship with him and also David Hess helped me a lot.

RB: What was it liked to work with David?

GLR: It was fantastic... We loved each other, he was very supportive, always supporting, rehearsing and helping.He was just great we also had a great time offset too. David was a few years our senior, the others were a bunch of young people in their 20's,so we had a lot of fun. We were always dancing and dining and ...other stuff! He had his family with him his young wife ,so he was a bit more sedated than normal .He was addicted to food, considering I was and still am a pretty good cook, I cooked tons of pasta and other food for David..
  He was generally sharing the first part of the evening eating with us then it was out with his family for the second half ,we would go out dancing,so it was a wonderful experience all in all..

RB: What about the proposed Sequel? Is that still in the pipeline?

 GLR: That's a very long story, RD and myself were asked about a sequel and offered a story which made head nor tail which we didn't like, so we asked if we ourselves could write our own treatment ,and from that treatment ,which was very detailed, came a screenplay - that was 2 years ago. The problem is it's not that easy to find funding and production , now we are rewriting the story according to some requests  ,I don't know what's going to happen - it's an interesting story with lots of horror and gore what the fans want, but also with a lot of insight into the characters... The fact is HOTEOTP  is the only movie I did where I survived, so its the only movie I made that can have a sequel!
 The beginning is Ricky getting out the jail,where he was kept a long time overdue as he became the sex toy of a sadistic warden,who managed to keep him in jail for 30 years instead of 10 ,so he gets out of jail finally and and he meets a young character similar to David Hess in the way he is mixed up, confusing the past with the present etc. -it's an interesting story - so lets hope for the best!

RB: Onto Cannibal apocalypse - you've stated elsewhere that this was one of your favourite movies to work on? What was it that made that movie so special?

GLR: Wait..wait a second! Firstly i must say it was my favourite HORROR movie role, not my favourite movie!(laughter)as you might know am not a fan of the genre and I never go to the theatre to see a horror movie and in some cases I have not seen the entire movies I have starred in myself..
 Firstly it was a great character to play (Giovanni plays the role of Charles Bukowski, a Vietnam veteran) . Immense acting potential in it ,very well written,many shades and sides to it  . Second I fell in love with Antonio Maghareti,he was the Lord Mountbatten of horror movies (laughs) . He was a gentlemen, he was nice and had a sense of humour and was not considering himself a maestro .He said things like 'I make movies like a butcher, I sell them by the kilo'.. I had a great time with him, I always considered him as a second father, we worked together again in TREASURE ISLAND IN OUTER SPACE ,and we kept in touch talking on the phone , I spoke to him a couple of months before he passed away...
 Thirdly it was the story - at the time I read the script and said it was preposterous, crazy: 'I bite you and you get infected like measles' this is stupid! but afterwards when I watched the movie, I changed my mind as there was something prophetic about it, The AIDS epidemic started not long after that movie, and not only that but the idea the disease starts with the Vietnam war, its violence and war that causes the disease, it wasn't as stupid as it first seemed..

RB: It's more of a social commentary in a way..

GLR:  Yes yes....Also I must say that John Saxon is awfully good in it, so its a good movie,considering the genre and the fighting, gore and whatever!

RB: TREASURE ISLAND IN OUTER SPACE, what was that like to work on?

GLR: Oh...God.....

ABF: We won't ask you about CANNIBAL FEROX , but you get TREASURE ISLAND IN OUTER SPACE!

GLR: TIIOS was one of the hugest mistakes in Italian history..

RB: (Laughs)

GLR: It was the last production internally worked out by RAI which is the state tv, which is typical Italy, no other civil country would have that,Italy is not a civilised country - you know that, so they used to produce things themselves...
  So RAI, which is state tv with 3 channels, they used to produce things themselves, you had to cope with the unions, strikes etc, you had a crew made of people who were working on a salary for RAI so they weren't motivated to move their ass for nothing! And the scenery and the sets were ridiculous - sci-fi has to be made to a certain standard and level. It went on for more than 6 months and got delayed.. One day the clapper wasn't there, and there was a line of us waiting to shoot - Anthony Quinn, Philippe Leroy, David Warbeck and myself ,and we were checking into the aircraft, I wasn't first in the line, after two hours I asked if I could do the clapper myself and I was eaten alive by the unions! Who were saying 'you want to steal the work of a worker!' etc (Laughter)that was the general climate there.
 Regarding Anthony Quinn, He was the greatest pain in the ass I've ever met in my life! He was vile and fascist,cruel,no respect for others...He was walking on the soundman who was there with him with the microphone, literally walking and standing on him..His dresser was crying every day, he was mistreating her, he was rewriting the old script, he was turning up in the morning,not saying good morning to you and throwing 20 pages at you and saying 'TODAY'S SCRIPT!' 
  He was also casting shadows on my face during production, I am a stageman, I know when the light is on me ,as he was the star you could not complain openly ! Poor Margheriti was suffering as well, he couldn't say anything either and he said is there something wrong ,and I said 'Er..i don;t really feel the light on my face'. He was horrible, a horrible old fascist!

RB: What was it like working with Michele Soavi?

 GLR: Tomorrow morning I will be on set with Soavi, he is shooting a police drama for tv, as he has moved away from horror now...
  Michele was entirely different, firstly we were best buddies, we met on the set of GATES OF HELL, we got on extremely well - at that age you have great and moving friendships .We were writing projects making stuff, so when he got to direct his first movie,it was like working with my brother - entirely different compared to other directors, he's different as his love for horror is real - all others were pros but they had directed all sorts of genres whatever the market was asking for, people think Fulci was a horror fan  -he was not - he was just doing what the market wanted him to do. Soavi has a deeply authentic love for horror, he gave me a huge book of the complete works of Lovecraft which I still have now. Michele is also a painter ,very visionary, so the movies came from his paintings, it was much more involving to work with a director who had a authentic passion. The first one STAGE FRIGHT was an adventure, we had little money but we were very motivated. On his request I rewrote the dialogue, putting in some stage bitching ,that I knew very well from experience! It was a very good movie, so was THE CHURCH, a much bigger production,more money , shooting in Budapest. Michele has an ability to motivate people as he is motivated himself..Each time he talks to you about a character or plot he's so enthusiastic it rubs off on you..

RB: What are your favourite non horror roles you have played?

GLR: My favourite one is in the Italian TV adaptation of the bible  , I was playing King Herod,and as a character he was terribly cruel,but also terribly funny so I had a good time with that role. Also some European period fiction that Fabrizio Costa directed ,we made a version of Tristan and Isolde, I was also playing a villain there.. He's an incredibly talented director and its rare to find an Italian director that cares about actors. 

RB: Moving onto some more recent movies, DAY OF VIOLENCE, HOUSE OF FLESH MANNEQUINS -  What were they like to work on compared to your older movies and were you happy with the results?

GLR: I am extremely happy - since I got on the internet, which was a shock as before the internet I thought the horror movie was a private club of worshippers of Stalin's moustache or something (laughs) , compromised perhaps of two or three thousand people in the world,a very niche thing. A couple of times there were American tourists who would see my name on a theatre poster passing and want to have their photograph taken with me biting their neck, but I thought it was just a few loonies. So when I got on the net in about 1999  I was shocked - as soon as my presence was known and I had a way to be contacted, it was like a tsunami, a huge wave of things falling on me, a new world opening to me. I was like Christopher Columbus discovering America, and thinking oh shit ,as they were asking me about movies I made 20 years ago! Step by step I adjusted to this.I started going to conventions etc. and young directors started to get in touch with me through the internet and  Darren Ward was one of them.When I'm asked to star in a movie , my first answer is 'can I read the script' - as simple as that -even if its a 15 year old boy living in say..Birmingham say ..He might be a genius ,you never know.. So anyway I read the the script and I actually cried as the story was full of violence but with say,a moving river underneath. 
  The problem was he could not get a big role as he was shooting on a very low budget ,more indie than indie lets say! So he couldn't fly me back and forth .So we settled in the role of a drug dealer, and I had a great time playing the role, we became friends,and we are now working a new project BEYOND FURY . The same thing happened with this Italian director Domiziano Christopharo - 'HOUSE OF FLESH MANNEQUINS'  we shot in LA ,it was a good role too and then I made another one in the US ,'THE INFLICTED' (Dir Matthan Harris) another indie production. I have to say that these guys pay much more than you get in Italy for tv work, they are young people very motivated full of energy who offered me good roles, they fly me over business class,nothing I can complain about. At my age one needs to work with older people, when you get older you become a vampire (laughs),so I give them my experience, they give me good roles , emotions, freshness, so I love working with young directors, last one I made in Ireland,' THREE SISTERS', Daire Mcnab a Dublin director ,interesting as there was no script , just a story and I had to improvise.. 

RB: You are a cult star in the US and UK, what was the reaction in your Native Italy to you being in these movies?

GLR: There is no connection.People involved with theatre and movies in Italy ignore horror. People think I am very bizarre, so they consider my movies one of my many strange assets.If you look at my website, that's why I have it as two people - that's how it is for me, for certain people I am a stage person,  a translator of Shakespeare,a scholar, screenwriter, the heir of an important family, to to others I'm just the guy who got his head drilled by Fulci! (Laughs)

RB: Who would you say the was the best director you worked with?

GLR: Soavi, for all the reason I already outlined, he is a visionary and has movies in his blood.But I get along with fantastically with Deodato, Bava as a person, I only did a cameo role for him, we meet and talk occasionally. Recently I worked with Sergio Stivaletti, one of the best fx artists in the world,who has switched to directing.I made a short with him,(l'invito (2013)) Which was fantastic. Generally I get along well all directors, Fabrizio de Angelis and Lenzi were the only two who pissed me off! I am a stage director myself, but I never impose my opinions unless I'm asked to, otherwise I do what I'm told and never complain, and basically be a good boy (laughs).

RB: Are there any stories you can tell us from being on set, anything that stands out, any particular moments?

GLR: You mean offset?...I have so many anecdotes!

ABF: What was one of the strangest things you ever seen on the set of a movie?

   Strangest? Well I can tell you about the funniest -In Cannibal Apocalypse , We were in Atlanta Georgia , in that scene where we stopped at the gas station if you remember  - not to get gas ,but to kill the owner! And I was butchering him then, we kept escaping offset, we resumed shooting and just one second before action was called for ,the propman gives me a plastic bag with blood dripping from it and I said what's that?And he said 'bits of the guy to take with you' ,it was a long shot so you don't see me laughing but I laughed til I was in tears as I was carrying this nice grocery bag with the entrails of the garage owner, that was really funny!
  The other one I've told many a time - I was shooting 'Gates of Hell' there was this zombie scene there, there was Antonella Interlenghi  and myself, the makeup took 6 hours and the last touch was to out marmalade on you for the decomposing fx, we couldn't drink or eat as your mouth was closed due to make up, so made up as zombies and not wanting to Atlanta Georgia dressed as zombies so Antonella and myself just got into a van we were waiting and waiting and waiting, after a couple of hours Antonella ,who was very much into the stuff, she said 'why don't we smoke a joint' I said 'yes,lets..', She had some marijuana , I don't know who she got it from ,but maybe from father Thomas himself, as it was the strongest stuff I had ever smoked, we freaked out completely, man I mean completely! We were staring at each other in zombie make up going Aghhhh!  This lasted for an hour or so , and then we calmed down. I said 'look Antonella, they can't keep us waiting like this' - at that point 4 or 5 hours had passed: ' They can't keep us waiting like this for hours and hours,I'm going to make a scene!' so I opened the van and there was this 6 years old child with his mother going 'Mummy! Mummy the creature'! But he was happy and not scared and I was asked to take pics with the child in make up! I have many stories like this - I have wrote my auto biography so I hope in a few months you'll be able to read more stories...

RB: As you mentioned BEYOND FURY is currently in production...

GLR: No ,it's not in production, its in funding..

RB: Can you tell us anything about the movie?

GLR: On  the web there is a funny promo I did for it,me acting as a cocaine fuelled gangster Ivan Lenzivitch ,so you can guess who's that's based on... It's a good script, I love my character I am going to play, as I love villains who are witty and funny..My ideal role I hope to play next year is Richard III...

ABF: Ok, last question, what are your plans for the future?

GLR: I am about to stage Macbeth as I already mentioned ,I have a few writing projects,inc HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK 2 and we have some more projects with Dedodato - I work well with him in the writing process,he is the crazy one and I am the logical one...And I shouldn't tell you this but I will, I have a project with Michele Soavi - he really would like to go back to making horror movies.Future projects all involve my writing , I wrote for 25 years for Italian tv -that's a great part of my economic career! Then Mr Berlusconi decided i was too leftist in 2001 ,In 2001 elections I was strongly involved against Berlusconi considering he owns the entire tv system in Italy. He decided to get rid of me,  and I haven't worked for tv since then. So I have a skill in writing movies...

ABF: Thank you Giovanni for taking the time to speak to us!...


THE SECT (1991)

  THE CHURCH (1989)