JON WHITNEY, LONDON, 5TH MAY 1997
It's almost a year and a half, to the day, since this interview was conducted. A lot of music has materialized since then, a lot of other music has been further delayed. But I do recall the day almost completely. It was May Day, a holiday in the UK, the first Monday of May.
Saturday night, I had met the two in person for the very first time at the Current 93 show - John was on stage with them reading at the beginning and then playing Chapman Stick at the end of the show. I met a lot of people there for the first time after talking over emails and phone calls. With one of my best friends in the world, Andrew by my side, I pointed across the street and jokingly said, "oh, there's John and Peter" as we were passing the church where Tibet and Co. would perform later that night. Strangely enough, the two figures, accompanied by an unidentified third, who started to cross the street towards my direction actually were John and Peter. I introduced myself and asked if we were still on for Monday. I think I caught them off guard. Peter told me to phone tomorrow for directions and we'll catch up later, they had some business to do I'm sure. They looked like they were on their way somewhere. Sunday came, I made the call, got directions. Later that night, I saw a performance that night with Scanner performing alongside a dance troupe.
Monday arrived, and I made the journey to West London on the Tube. Walked a few blocks, and there was the house. Now, if you've never been to London or seen pictures of typical English neighborhoods, the houses are all in rows, connected, and homogenous. Theirs was easy to spot, as the only one with black windows. I rang, and was soon greeted and made my way through the famous door of the first scene of "The Wheel" video - the bit where the cookie reading "EAT ME" slides through the mail slot. Up the staircase, the walls painted a dark green, to the kitchen. Drew was in the studio but came into the kitchen and sat down. The dogs were a breed I had never seen before - African barkless hounds - quite helpful if you're a musician. Nervous as hell, I sat down, and Peter let me use his tape recorder. We checked levels and I began.
What follows is the best transcription I have of the 2 hours of interview tape. It's taken a while due to my work schedule, laziness, lack of 'transcription equipment' and struggling with a few accents here and there. Gregory Drew transcribed a good chunk of it too as a favor. I owe him dearly.
JW: What is the process? Is there a consciously thought out idea when you sit down to record something or do things fall into place?
JB: The first thing is usually an idea, if we don't have an idea, we can sit for two weeks making noises and nothing will happen. We need an idea and a deadline.
DM: Definitely works best with a deadline.
JW: Do you wake up in the middle of the night and have an idea that you need to get down?
JB: I usually say "I've got this idea for a track and I would like Drew to do something and Peter to do something and sort of like horse-work them until the sound appears. Quite often the way we work. Once there's something to start with, I'll change it or we'll all change it.
DM: We're doing songs like one a day, when we have a deadline we can work incredibly fast, when we don't have a deadline, things tend to meander. Especially going and messing around without any sort of idea in mind. Sometimes, actually, by pure chance we can just come up with interesting things that we can use maybe later on, but it's better to have some kind of idea of what we're going to do.
JB: I have a bad habit of only working if I've had an idea and I have written a title down and try to come up with something that fits with it. These two could play me something brilliant they've been doing for a week and I'll say it's shit because it didn't come from me hasn't got an idea to go with it, and six months later, once I've fixed on it, I'll say that was amazing, why didn't we use it? I have notebooks all over the house.
PC: ...and some in the garden as well...
JW: Which comes first?
JB: On the Nothing record, I'll have an idea, we'll do some music, and then I'll improvise. I took this course of self-hypnosis before we went over there to deliberately tap into subconscious stuff and give me the confidence to just stand in the monitor room and sing it in front of everyone. I just didn't
care. Normally, I used to just be the coward in the corner drunk and on drugs, trying to just squeeze a vocal out of me.
JW: Were there a lot of people in New Orleans in the studio with you?
JB: There weren't actually, it was just the nucleus: the three of us plus Danny Hyde with Pod, the drummer from Nine Inch Nails engineering and the studio main guy, Bryan.
JW: Where do you usually complete the recordings?
JB: Up until recently, we couldn't complete stuff at home. In the last two years, with the computer upgrade, we've been able to do it either onto hard disk or onto DAT through the mixing desk. We've got a small studio here. Sometimes we find we have to take it somewhere else, partly because it's easier to work than home, also it's partly because it's good to have a really good desk and to get out of the house.
JW: Has it always been that way over the years?
JB: On Scatology, we hired a Fairlight 2 and we had a mixing desk upstairs in the middle of the room, and we said 'We're going to do an album, we just went to work every day and we went to finish it in other studios. So I think we have always started it from home.
PC: We had a multi-track as well.
JB: No we didn't.
PC: We had a three or four track upstairs.
JB: Yeah, we did.
JW: Was this last year the first time you recorded in the U.S.?
JB: Yeah, I think it was.
JW: Was it much different than working over here?
DM: I think that since Trent's studio wasn't a commercial studio, its setup is really interesting. It's nice. It isn't set up typically like a commercial studio. There's a lot of really amazing equipment and we didn't have much time to basically use most of the stuff. There was a lot of fabulous pieces of equipment and old analogue synths.
JW: What do you think of the trend of old analogue synths coming back into usage?
JB: Sound-wise I like it but the competition's on. If you want to find a piece of equipment, it's nearly impossible now.
DM: The good thing is with these old analogue synths that you'll never get fed up with them. The trouble is that the time went. There was a wave of super digital synths that weren't very interesting, there were things that sounded really boring. There's so many things you can do with analogue synths that really don't sound like anything else.
JB: And they play off each other. If you have two sitting next to each other, the morphic field really does play off both machines when you play the machines, more so than when you play digital machines.
DM: It's not the sounds, but the controls, being able to control things. When you're in the middle of a song, being able to reach out and turn a knob. Especially with a lot of old mono synths where you have to create your own sounds from scratch, it's not as easy as sitting down and being able to call
up a sound. I love DX-7s but they've got such a horrible reputation because everyone was using the same exact presets. For years after they came out, you could listen to a record and say 'hey that's a DX-7' because everyone was using the same half a dozen presets. When you actually get into programming you find that you can get some really good sounds out of them.
JB: Going further back I think on our next record we want to use real instruments like viola. I want to go further and use some medieval instruments and also mix that with electronics, and maybe treat them with analogue stuff. Having done this really precise, full-on album for Nothing, I want to do a
little bit of Labradford or something.
JW: Aren't you guys going to be working with Labradford?
JB: We're hoping they remember we are. We met them six to eight months ago and talked about doing something with them. We talked with them about sending tapes of Black Light District and seeing if they would want to remix them but we haven't been in touch since. But we're still up for it. I like what they're doing a lot.
JW: There was a while you were saying how you weren't ruling out the possibility of doing live shows, has this feeling changed at all?
JB: I never really know whether I want to do it or not. You can ask me this question twelve times and each time I will give you a different answer.
DM: I really like the idea of doing it.
JB: We can't reproduce what we do in the studio live, but I was asked this at the Current 93 gig, and what I decided was what we would probably much rather do installations or set pieces that the audience could come to, so we're not under pressure to perform a 90 minute set, but we would probably be playing with it and interacting. I can't see us ever really doing a rock concert or
DM: Didn't you suggest doing something that would last for several days?
JB: A week long show, we'd have to recruit some members to play a week long set. But some of us, at least three out of six would be playing all the time and sleeping in shifts in the same space.
DM: Think about that, an entire gig lasting a week. People could just come up when they feel like it.
JB: That and there's this one concept of having only one member in the audience, sort of by-invitation. You're only allowed in between 1 and 2 o'clock, 2 to 3, and 3 to 4 (they all laugh) so we each get a private audience.
JW: Peter, do you miss performing live?
PC: I don't mind the performance or being on stage and that relationship with the audience with what you're doing, but the accompanying setting up and waiting around and shmoozing with people you don't want to be talking to is what I don't like. The actual bit of being on stage is okay.
JB: I like meeting the people. I sort of forgot that people turn up who really like it. It's really good when that happens. I tend to overlook that fact.
JW: If your record hits well with Nothing Records and they want you to tour and they want to provide you with people to take all the equipment down etc., would you be interested?
PC: I've been to so many gigs and hung around backstage and it always seems like a nightmare. But maybe if we were playing in a park at 2:00 in the afternoon.
DM: I think it would be good if we weren't playing in a typical type of rock venue. More interesting places like...
PC: Shopping malls (they all laugh).
JW: If you had all the money to do what you want for a live production, what would that include?
DM: I guess it would be interesting to have some stuff like wind instruments.
JW: If you had all the money and resources that you could want for a studio production, what would that include?
JB: That would be having a good working relationship with people who could play medieval instruments really well and have a huge amount of analogue stuff that we could use and keep.
DM: More equipment.
JB: ...and a studio on top of a tower overlooking an ancient park land where we could open the windows and play where we could see this place. Popul Vuh had an album cover with a really nice space they could work in. Our studio here is a small room, it would be nice to have a barn where we could make a huge noise and not feel restricted by neighbors and such.
JW: Do you achieve what you want to with your studio recordings?
JB: I never let an idea out unless it's sort of at least 90% formed. On the few occasions that I have, I've been tortured for it forever. (Drew laughs)
DM: Because you know that you're okay if you have an unlimited budget with all sorts of equipment that you can't even use. When you don't have that, you work with what you've got at hand and if you're creative enough, you will be able to create something good with it.
JW: Do you ever go back over old recordings wishing you had done something differently?
JB: (Holding up the new Unnatural History compilation) The Panic 12" here, we were using video recording techniques and we had never done it before and the guy working in the studio certainly had never done it before. We were editing sound digitally with videos and we had never done it before, but it's okay because we did it then. We would like to give Autechre the tapes and see what
they could come up with for a new version. You just move on.
JW: Have you ever considered something like a remix album with a bunch of different people doing different interpretations of older pieces?
PC: We're planning on doing that with our current album.
JB: I have thought about going back but it smells of necromancy, a body snatching a little bit. The ideal thing I would like in the studio is working with people who are already dead. People like Lee Barry, and other people, to like go in there and work with them, but we don't even work well with people who are alive so that's what I have to get over first, and then I can go back and work with
JW: What kind of life experiences have had the most influence on your music?
DM: It's hard to talk about most life experiences because some will likely land us in jail or dead!
JB: I think what we have is a good awareness of where we've been both musically, with Peter through Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV and all experiences. Where most people try to lose their heads, we've seemed to have kept our heads in the end and come through to a weird sanity.
DM: We always sort of feel like we're one step ahead of insanity. Some times it's not quite a step ahead, sometimes, you feel like you're fucked this time and you're never going to get well again. But then you come out of whatever sort of pit you're in and you feel sort of renewed and you can use that to your advantage.
JW: Is your music an artistic representation of your feelings?
PC: I think that it's all that it is. The thing is that with our music, we've never done our music to appear a certain way to others. Our music represents internal states because it's totally personal to us and we've never tried to do records to be successful or to be dance records or to be any other record. It's why it's pure, why it retains that unique entity. In that sense, everything that has been in our experience has in some way influenced us. Whether it's a boring day on the train or it's the sounds and noises you hear while outside, all become part of the process.
JW: Do your dreams influence your music and your music influence you dreams?
DM: Absolutely, I've been recording something in the studio and have sort of had all sorts of weird dreams of the sounds in a mutated form.
JB: I seem to have a trouble distinguishing sleeping dreams from waking dreams. That's what we do when we work, we sort of deal with the subconscious, and tend to keep it open all the time. It's a good thing if you can handle it but it gets to be strange sometimes. I've had a couple pivotal dreams which have shaped what albums are going to sound like. I had a kind of angelic visitation dream with the Butthole Surfers, before I had heard their music, after I had heard their name, where I was shown a vision, pictures of what their sound was, and it was like an early version of Comb. There was a huge bit of pillars of fire and weird abstract things going around in my head, and I based a whole period of Coil for Horse Rotorvator on what I remembered of this sound. It was like being given a bag of snakes or something, and being told make some music of this. And that kept me going until it sort of ebbed away for a while before we did the latest album for Nothing. "Fire of the Mind" is what it's called. I had another dream and it was Mark Stewart's latest album, but it wasn't, it was this other angelic visitation of noise and sound and again I had these visions of palaces with
sine-waves going through them and all sort of stuff. And I still, if I need to know what music is supposed to sound like, what I want my music to sound like, I just have to see this image and it immediately puts me back on this strong visual power of what sound should be like. I think that's a gift from somewhere.
JW: Outside of the music videos you have released, have there been any other visual interpretations you have made for other songs?
JB: We've done a couple, Penetralia comes to mind.
PC: It seems likely we'll do at least two videos for the new album.
JB: Because of Peter's work it seems like a thing we would be exploring and getting into but at the end of the day, it's the last thing we think of, unfortunately.
PC: Especially when you're used to getting paid a quarter of a million dollars for 30 seconds, which is what I do.
JW: Does your career as a director influence your music or does your music influence your work as a director?
PC: I think that they both are influenced by the same sort of wellspring of taste. Some of the videos I do sort of come from the small proportion or dose of the same bait that Coil has in excess, so in that sense, yeah. I try and keep Coil things pure.
JW: Are there certain commercials or videos you refuse to do?
PC: I turn down projects all the time. The last one I turned down was Motley Crue (they all laugh). Van Halen let me do what I want pretty much, and gave me lots of money, I didn't have any money that week. The last three commercials I did were all for Nike. There was a thing in the Coil list about how outraged people were that I had worked for Nike, how they exploit third world countries, how can we mention Nike and Austin Osman Spare in the same sentence? But if you live in Western society, it's inevitable you accept certain compromises. I wouldn't advertise conservative government or cigarettes or a lot of other products. Running shoes are relatively harmless.
JW: What would your ideal living situation be?
JB: We should live where our fans picture us to live.
PC: I think that the ideal image of a place to live would be the same as in the eyes of our fans. We've been recently looking for a house and the ones we've been looking at tend to be more eccentric and sort of old and weird. There is a schism where living in the city where you have access to all sorts of culture and transportation versus living in a totally isolated place. On one hand, you
want the noise of other people, psychic noise (not audio noise) for stimulation but you also want separation from that noise. So in an ideal world we would have about four houses all around the world. One would probably be in New York and one would probably be in Ireland in an isolated area, might be one in London,...
JW: What is your image of Coil?
PC: I have a quite selfish image, it is a vehicle for my dreams. I can only ever tell what my image is by what other people reflect back at me. So if you come to the house, I sort of get a different angle on it all. What Autechre have said they think about us has meant a lot to us and certain other people. There are only a few people who can actually hold up a mirror and show us who we are. I
feel like we're dark and twisted and obtuse and funny and vicious.
DM: We're absolutely serious about what we do but we don't always take ourselves totally seriously.
JB: I think we can be quite poisonous and toxic when people can't handle us, including ourselves.
DM: And sometimes we can be nice and gentle. Like people, we can be multi-faceted. I don't think that there is one sort of image that I can hold in my head at one time of what Coil is, and also cos I've only been with Coil for a few years. Before then, I was an incredible fan of the music. And even then I wouldn't say that I thought Coil weren't completely multi-faceted. From one song to the next, they represent different things, to make you recoil, to make you feel warm, to make you laugh. I don't think everybody appreciates the sense of humor, sometimes even the sick sense of humor involved.
JW: Is that different from what image you want either the public or the fans to have of Coil?
JB: No, they can have whatever they like.
JW: You're very intimate with your fans, providing your email address on releases and such, do you think that there can be a point of being too intimate?
PC: We rarely write back but it's nice to hear people's messages.
JB: We're already intimate with what we give to people. Heartworms is a point in case. I decided that there was too much blood in my alcohol and that drinking and stuff had reached a point where it was becoming blood shed and everyone around me was not happy in a serious way. And I was exorcising that through that song. "The Demons generally come in through my ears" is a reference to how I can sometimes go slightly psycho. Sound starts warping, it's my stress thing. Sounds start flanging and start coming in sideways, so I put it down in words. But I don't think you can ever reveal too much of yourself because it's being generated all the time.
PC: I think it's okay to reveal stuff in your work, I would probably discourage people getting too intimate with fans just on a one-to-one basis. I think it's good to have that certain element of mystery.
JB: We need a little distance to work.
DM: Otherwise you can tend to get overwhelmed.
JB: We're not very social anyway, so it wouldn't be much different if we were not as social with our fans. It's really good to meet people on the other hand. I tend to forget about that as well.
JW: Do you think you could handle wide-scale success?
JB: I think I could handle it as much as I can handle real life on a day-to-day basis. We have a shut-off point. Marc Almond's got it as well. He'll go for success for a certain point, let it flow through him, then he will let it shut off. He's constantly done that with his career. And you can do that, Trent does it as well, by turning down and turning down and not doing stuff like playing live. But if it happens, we would most likely be in control of it, by not saying yes to things we should not say yes to. There's a tremendous amount of pressure from corporate rock America to turn up, be seen, and go to parties and we don't want to do that. We don't do that now, so we're not gonna change.
JW: Do you find certain elements of success appealing?
JB: The money, exposure, and having your ideas known by a thousand people is better than having it by ten. We're not snobs like that, we're not elitists, we want our ideas and our music to be heard.
JW: Do you think the more people who hear your ideas the more room for misinterpretation there will be?
JB: I don't think we're open for misinterpretation, you either get it or you don't. Only a certain number of people are only ever going to get it. If you give it to a hundred thousand people, there will still only be that certain percentage who we've always appealed to (like the people we are) are ever going to get it. If they think they've got it, if they buy the record and they think they've got it, that's fine but I know that there's only going to be a certain number of people who are gonna get it.
PC: With music I don't think that there is any single idea it contains, that the intention of the writer or performer is the only meaning. If a piece of music moves somebody, then that movement is genuine and worthwhile in itself even if it's like a million miles away from what the intention is.
JW: There's a lot of popular artists out there whose day in the sun is limited, do you think there is a strong contingent who music won't really ever touch that deep?
DM: A lot of people take music to pass the time, some people want music to change their life, some won't listen to music unless it completely moves them, some people listen to music for a two minute hit of pop.
JB: If you listen to Radio 1 and the Spice Girls, that is to change their lives. The music is there for you to get through your shitty jobs.
PC: They play it at the pubs to sort of prevent you from having to feel or experience any emotions.
JB: It's a saccharine thing.
PC: Kind of like a narcotic. Some people like lozenges and some people like Spice Girls, it's just different kind of people.
JW: Was this anything related to the ideas behind Industrial Records?
PC: The original idea of Industrial Records was to reject what the growing industry was telling you at the time what music was supposed to be.
JW: Are some of those ideas alive today in your music?
PC: I would say so, definitely, I certainly take sound projects in the same way. Any sound is sort of fair game, as raw material on which to make a piece that has emotional power. Any kind of sound from a boat launching to a squeaky gate has an emotional connotation to it.
DM: If you keep your ears open, you can't help but realize you live in a world of music. Everything is just there for the taking.
PC: By in large, generally good engineers and producers will take weird sounds in order to make them into a Depeche Mode, U2, or Michael Jackson record. What they fundamentally do is to take out the elements that could have made it powerful and have turned it into the same kind of object it already was. Which is pop, and not very interesting.
JW: Kind of like adding spices to an already bland mixture?
PC: Exactly, and the mixture itself is intended to do the same thing as every other pop record.
DM: When you hear a noise that is rather unnatural or industrial (like your TV breaking down) and try to get at the heart of that noise, what makes it interesting, and to pull it out and extend it and really keep at that until it's lost its secret and becomes something else.
JB: That's what Oval do. I really like their stuff.
JW: In other interviews you've talked about some of the things you've been listening to recently, but what are some of the things you've been listening to for years and years? Are there albums that you have that you can still listen to today that you could listen to fifteen years ago?
JB: Yeah...Leonard Cohen.
JB: Got a bit of Captain Beefheart we can always listen to. Not all of it.
PC: Popul Vuh.
JB: Yeah, Popul Vuh. Cluster. Some Eno.
PC: Not much
[Laughter all around]
JB: Yeah, some stuff has had to have been shelved like Velvet Underground, Nico, Butthole Surfers and The Fall. People like that.
DM: Occasionally you take it out and you realize it's still good, but it's something you keep listening to. I mean Can has always been a constant on my record deck or CD player. It's something I listen to at least once a week.
JB: And Arvo Pärt. You know him? I think he's on that list as well. The list didn't include his stuff five or six years ago.
DM: That black lady you like.
JB: Nina Somaria. Yeah. Strangely enough there's a lot of human voices in the stuff. Either that or if it's pure spiritual music.
JW: What keeps your working relationship fresh after working together for two decades?
JB: Fear [Laughs]
JW: Is there any times that just seem like you just want to branch off?
JB: Oh yeah. Everyday. [Chuckle] Really.
PC: The thing is, because we live together anyway, our taste is amazingly similar. We share kind of a lot.
JB: No, just a lot.
PC: I've always been threatening to do one and sort of, um, try to persuade him to do one, but maybe he'll get one done. It's just that we have a so very similar outlook on everything.
JW: Last year John, you've been in rehabilitation.
JW: Can you describe the extent of how bad it felt and maybe what kind of programs you're on right now to sort of keep you sane?
JB: It was bad. A year ago it was really bad. Physically I was drinking so much. I had a complete nervous breakdown or else I was completely insane. I was six weeks in a primary treatment place and I did about six months of sort of going to AA and NA meetings. Then I stopped and I started drinking again a bit. I didn't do any more drugs cause it just didn't feel right. I've been drinking up until quite recently again. I was getting bad again, but not really bad. I just felt spiritually bankrupt, not physically, total destruction as it was. I suddenly decided, two weeks ago, that I had to get on with my work. Strangely enough I spoke to John Giorno, I phoned John Giorno, actually Sleazy phoned him, I wouldn't speak to him actually 'cause I was hurting really bad. He eventually made Sleazy put me on the phone and he spoke to me about Allen Ginsberg. He just told John that he was dying and the next day after, he died. He sort of wanted to share that with me, that one of his best friends just said he was going to die and I suddenly thought I was a real selfish cunt, basically. Just lying on the couch being miserable, just complaining about the whole world and with all these sort of dreams that had been messed around and forgotten and suddenly realized how miserable I had been to everybody. I just had to get on with it. I just had to get off my couch and my bed and just work. I've kept this in my mind and I don't think it's going to go away. You know, we're here to do, to share with other people. So that's where I am at the moment, if you ask me again next week the answer might be different.
JW: Do you feel you have an obligation to your fans or yourself?
JB: To myself first of all but then obviously, it's to share with other people. I have an obligation not to waste what I have, what we have. That we should always potentialise and maximize like minds.
PC: I think that anybody who goes through any kind of problem or any kind of struggle and that probably means everyone in the world going through childhood and adolescence and stuff learns things that are going to be of aid and assistance to others who are going through that same thing. I think that people do have an obligation to help those people coming after them. Not so much to
their fans particularly but to just everyone, I think it's part of the human condition to try and ease the existence of those that come afterwards and give them a chance to achieve as much for their children or whatever.
JW: Was that phone call a wake-up call of sorts?
JB: Yeah. One of many really. I was just sort of thinking why actually I let myself, or that it happened that I had a breakdown and stuff. What I do feel is that I shouldn't hide it, that everything's grist for the mill, being an artist or whatever. I find it strange when people won't admit there's something wrong because the only way it can get better is by sharing it.
JW: You guys are very active on the Internet and the information age. Has this influenced your music at all? Your lifestyle in any way?
JB: It's put us in contact with people.
PC: I think from a technical aspect you come across more things, more toys or more software or more different ideas, more quickly, more readily than if you were isolated and didn't have that connection. Everything that you do is pendingly built upon all those steps that you took previously and so in that way there seems to be much more of a community of people that are doing interesting things.
JB: You find things faster. Stuff we've been dabbling with and looking for for the past ten years, you just ask on the Internet and the next day there's six postings from people which I think is astonishing. It's probably accelerating our learning curve and our absorption of ideas.
JW: Do you think there's possible dangers to that like loss of people's patience, loss of civility and the need for instant gratification?
DM: It's sort of general acceleration in every area of life but you know you've always got a choice to sort of stop and say "Hang on, I'm not going to go at this pace, you know I can go at the pace I want to go at." Some times it's a major buzz to go with that completely rushing, accelerating thing, but it's good to realize that it's always up to you. You aren't just the twig in the stream. You can actually stop and unplug yourself at any time.
PC: The biggest danger I think is that people become uncomfortable with the idea of having the idea of having a conversation. We've begun to notice that in people in America, especially to the Internet-oriented people. It seems that they're much less comfortable with our sitting and talking and having a meaningful discourse or being social as well. We're not very social at the best of times but I think that communication with people on a screen is intrinsically less social. You are talking to people in a sense, you're talking to a lot of different people but at the same time you're not actually having a conversation. I think that ultimately that can be very bad.
JB: I don't agree. I think that things will always be different.
PC: I can think of some people, who I don't want to name right now, who are extremely good video game players and good musicians and Internet people who I find completely incapable of having a conversation.
JB: Trent Reznor. I'm sure he'd agree with it. Hopefully I think we count ourselves as good friends of his, but to have a conversation with him is really hard. He has a mutual sort of embarrassment, a natural reticence.
DM: The good thing about the Internet is that it does allow a lot of reticent people to throw that off. The only thing that I don't like is that once a lot of those naturally reticent people throw that off, throw off any civility as well. They become rude and abrasive. A lot of people are rude and abrasive on the Internet, people that wouldn't say 'Boo' to you on the street. Somehow it seems to give them license. But that's just the cultural thing of the Internet, I don't think that really matters. I do regret the increase in lack of civility
JB: We're always impressed by good manners, aren't we?
DM: Yeah, we like manners. [laughs] Manners are good.
JW: There's more than one web site out there devoted to Coil. People can find information and discographies and sources on where to buy the albums, etc. Do you think it has helped sales in general for the more obscure bands?
JB: I honestly don't have enough experience to answer that.
PC: I think you tend to only look for information you already know something about. Although it is a source of more information than what otherwise would have been available, I don't know.
JB: It's not a very aggressive source of advertising. If you hear music coming out of the radio it's always going to be more arresting than information written out that you have to seek.
PC: It seems like the change of the technology from the "pull to push", or whatever they call it. Right now it's "pull" but they're talking about making it "push".
JB: Right, right. What was it called? Ambient advertising or whatever.
DM: Oh, where it's embedded and when you call up something there will be advertising.
PC: Or also on your desktop there's supposed to be a browser built-in. I think that's probably going to take away whatever advantage there might otherwise have been. But hopefully within ten years the record business will have collapsed and people will just get music from whatever source they want.
JB: Not just confining it to music, the thing I found most interesting about the Internet is that it's a bullshit detector. You can only lie for so long and you'll be found out. In your past history, if you nick an idea off somewhere else, someone else is going to question it in the end. That's what I like about it.
JW: Do you think with the more users and the more people that get on the Internet everyday there's a sort of lack of credibility increasing? Anybody can say anything they want now on the net - speak out their ass or lie about anything. It's just words on the screen to everybody else.
PC: I mean I think that's always been true. Not generally speaking, if you take the average of all humanity I think people do generally give people their honest opinions about things and generally people accept all as truth.
JB: They're honest but deluded opinions.
PC: Whatever, you know, humanity as a whole is benevolent and indifferent.
JB: I'm totally in two minds about that always.
PC: I think it's better to have a situation where everybody has the wherewithal to distribute their ideas and their opinions. The ones that people find interesting will be the ones that will live on, the crap will just disappear into hyperspace. I think it's better to have a situation like the Internet than it is to have a situation like the English music press where a small number of very ill-informed people write badly written, ill-informed articles about something that's not very interesting.
JB: ...and I'm not interested in.
DM: I think generally the whole Internet thing is just going to eventually out do the print. I mean, who is going to be interested in forking out for anything that you or I could make when you can get all that information off the net. With on-line magazines as well as stuff direct from bands no one's going to be interested in these boring pieces of paper.
JW: A waste of paper, takes up space. You're got to throw it out.
DM: Exactly! It's always the same old badly, badly written garbage.
JW: Do you think the loss of mystique is a danger?
JB: I don't think mystique is lost.
JW: Ten years ago, most people would come up empty handed when looking for information on Coil, whether it be at a record store or elsewhere. Nowadays somebody could just punch in a key-word on a search engine and find everything they want to know.
DM: I don't think we've got that much loss of mystique. It's information. I don't think that presenting information and having information available takes away from any mystery that something may have.
JB: The only thing you're ever going to be able to read is information about us, it's not going to be us or what we've done.
PC: It's very difficult though because I do think that the notion that rarity has value is one that is very difficult to defeat: that you feel proud that you found or discovered rare information. That adds value to that information just as owning a rare image adds value to the image and that value would be undermined if the image became widespread.
JB: Well this is what the Scientologists are freaking out about when their secrets are published on the Internet. Bill Gates has an image bank that you have to pay to access.
DM: The thing is about the Internet is that it's gotten so huge and there's so much information out there. You can't access all the information so you're still going to have to sort of mind that information. When you do come up with something you can still feel pleased that you found something in some little obscure corner of the net somewhere, some obscure site somewhere, some obscure news group.
PC: What's important to me is not the fact that the information might be rare and that you've achieved something by finding it but what you do with it when you have it. If you collect works of art or something that's one thing, but it's not as interesting, for me anyway, if you do something with the works of art. I think that's the same thing with information. If you struggled to find a piece of information about Coil as opposed to finding it in two seconds, I don't think it necessarily makes one piece of information worth more than the other, the next thing is whether you act on it, whether you use it as a stepping stone to buying records, telling your friends or making your own music or seeing your own life in a different way.
JB: We all like finding things, we all like hunting for things, we all like secrets and that type of collection of stuff.
DM: Just the sheer size of the Internet is what's making it interesting. And what's making it annoying as well. [laughs]
PC: If you use the Internet to find information about some really obscure subject like the use of mushrooms in rituals in Guatemala or even a subject more obscure than that, it's your choice to have a look for it in the first place. The stuff that you find, even if you find it easily, is still a function of what you sat down to look for in the first place. You know that most of your friends, or the people in the same class at school are not going to be hunting for that same information, they're going to be hunting for Bono's shoe size or something.
JW: Last year you sold some copies of an old seven inch single on the Internet.
JB: Never again.
JW: You got a lot of reaction from it. Do you intend on ever doing that again perhaps in a different way should the opportunity arise again?
JB: Probably. That was a lesson in "How not to deal with the Internet."
PC: The thing is we're so totally disorganized that any kind of mechanical requirement from us is difficult. It's hard enough for us to make recordings and actually get it together to be persistent, you know, check in every morning. Doing something mechanical like mailing records is really a problem. If it was possible we'd be quite happy to sell our music through the Internet as long as we didn't have to worry about it. As long as there was a web site set up and it had a secure layout and all that kind of shit and we just ended up getting a bank transfer every month from MasterCard or something it would be fine, we wouldn't have to worry about it.
JW: Does Threshold House basically not exist anymore?
PC: This is it. You're sitting in it. In one way.
JW: You used to sell things like T-shirts and discs and stuff mail-order.
JB: It would be nice if it could come back.
PC: If we had organized people to work for us. The thing is you don't make enough money by selling T-shirts by mail order no matter how ridiculously expensive they are to justify paying somebody to sit in a room all day and take orders to the post off ice. The mechanics of distribution are awful.
JB: World Serpent have asked 'can they do our mail order?' and have a sort of circle fan club. I'd like someone to do it, but we do a design or something and then we get a batch of T-shirts in and every crappy T-shirt we would rather just destroy than have them shipped out somewhere. It's because we care that it's complicated. If we didn't care we'd just franchise it to someone and let
them get on with it.
PC: When the Nothing record comes out we'll probably do something though them. American T-shirts are generally good quality. English T-shirts generally are crap compared to the US
JW: Is it more expensive in the UK?
PC: Yeah, I mean it's just expensive to pay 25 pounds for something that's going to shrink and just look awful after two washes.
JW: Do you still send out cards and news letters?
JB: No. We should do but we don't. [laughter]
JW: Do you think you could ever use the Internet to send out similar news letters you used to send out once a year?
JB: Certainly if we have the information. I still have a, sort of an analogue, i.e. actual object, fetish. I'd like a piece of paper to come to the post to commemorate something. We should do that more. We could do web site updates, through you maybe.
JW: Peter, do you still dabble in other careers other than video production, like album covers or still photos?
PC: I don't do album covers. Strangely enough I haven't done anything with still photos for a long time. The reason for that was that something in your head makes a change from still photography to making films, and although you think it's the same thing it's not the same thing. And I have to stop doing that. But, you know, if Coil got really famous or if I made a movie or got a bit more higher profile, I would like to do books of photos. Stuff I used to take.
JW: Do you [to John] dabble in any other careers?
JB: No. This is it. All or nothing. [laughs]
JW: Do you plan on doing more movie music?
PC: Well, we sort of have a sort of dual kind of thing about movies. First of all with people that haven't got any money, you know that seem like their hearts are in the right place, we usually give them a commission anyway. That was this situation with Frisk because A) they didn't have any money, and B) we really liked Dennis Cooper's book and so we were quite keen that before they started making the picture that they should use our stuff. We were going to score it and we ended up saying they could use stuff that already existed. Since then, we still basically tell people they can use stuff if they've really got no budget.
There's a film being made in Sweden at the moment that's similar to Kafka, it's kind of weird. Obviously we would like to do more big movies, but it's relatively unlikely. But who knows? Maybe something will come along.
JB: We get offered the strangest kinds, the Mortal Kombat people compiling the next Mortal Kombat soundtrack. They really want us to be on it and they phoned up and they said "You've got a budget" and "You're going to sell a million copies,..." and we just said no. I don't know why. It makes sense for exposure, but I think it is selling your soul to a certain degree. It's a very complicated process. Even with people who might think it OK to work with Clive Barker, an underground, interesting, old friend of ours, which is all true, but he's also a corporate entity.
JW: He has to answer to the studios.
JB: Yeah, which clouds his judgment. And strings us along. We're always asked to come to the studio, see the rough cuts, that's great they've been using our music on the rough cuts, it's fantastic. Come the final thing we get knocked off and Skinny Puppy or some safe weird outlet thing gets put on instead.
PC: There's a whole kind of political inviting thing that goes on between record companies and film companies and directors.
JB: It's politics, yeah.
PC: Each have their own agenda. Generally speaking the directors are generous, it's to make something as pure to his vision as possible. Quite often it does include our music. The film company's agenda is to get name artists so that they can say their film soundtrack features Bush or whatever. Even with relatively low-budget films, like Greg Araki's films, you know quite often he'll use our music on the soundtrack. It won't be on the soundtrack album because the people who are releasing the soundtrack album want to put another track of theirs on it.
JB: They want to put their new signing on instead.
DM: They get all sort of deals where they get to use somebody's music as long as they get something else, you know, as long as they put this new signing on it.
JB: You know, with Lost Highway, Trent literally forced down David Lynch's throat saying 'Look, please put this Coil stuff on.' You know he really did help to get us on that soundtrack but he [Lynch] wasn't interested. He wanted David Bowie, he wanted Marilyn Manson, he wanted whoever he could get. He just said, 'These people are really big. I want this film to be really big.' He didn't give a fuck about the integrity.
DM: It's really bad. Especially when somebody like David Lynch, you'd think he would maybe have someone with integrity.
JB: He has his own agenda. So if it happens it will happen. We're supposed to be working with Kenneth Anger. He's doing a couple of film projects that start next year.
JW: Now what's the story with the movie Seven?
PC: We didn't know anything about Seven until somebody told us and we went to stick ours in a line. But the music is a re-mix.
JW: It's your re-mix, I mean there's a lot of your handwork on there. It doesn't sound much like the original song at all.
DM: It Coil's song basically.
JB: Closer, that's right.
PC: So, we were grateful to see that it was there.
JB: No we weren't. We were furious because we hadn't been paid and we hadn't been asked.
PC: Oh, we got a quite a lot of money in the first place.
JB: We didn't get enough money. [PC laughs] We didn't get any money 'cause of the film work.'
PC: We did not get any premiums to get paid any more.
JB: And we didn't have our phone number printed on it so people who liked that could get in touch with us. They all got in touch with Trent.
PC: We had this great story, I don't know you might have heard it but, the title of the film, the type of the film, but the text is all scratched, like hand-scratched. And there's one printed going around that there's a Coil fan who was a projectionist in Oregon or something like that and when it got to the caption about type music by Howard Shore, he had scratched out and written in Coil on the actual print.
DM: [Laughs] Brilliant! That's excellent.
PC: I think our name is on the credits of the latest.
JW: Is that legal?
PC: When you do a re-mix, you sign away all rights.
DM: No matter how much you change the song and how much it becomes your work, when you do a re-mix for somebody, basically they still own all the right to it. Unless you manage to negotiate something beforehand.
PC: But no one ever, ever will give you rights.
DM: You wouldn't get a penny more than just a fee you've agreed to. You won't get any royalties even if you've turned out a completely new song. If they choose not to credit you on the record, they can do that. They don't even have to credit you.
PC: But that's normal. Industry standard.
DM: That's just the industry.
JW: So what's a great day to you? What is an excellent day?
DM: For me, sometimes it can be the simplest things. A couple of months ago I was walking over from Hampstead Heath and I saw that it was sunset. It was the sort of mythical green flash that's you're supposed to occasionally see at sunset where the sky goes green. Have you ever seen that? I'd never saw that before, and I wasn't on drugs [laughs]. And the sky went completely green and that just gave me such a major buzz. But I guess, on good days getting some good music done. Not commit to the temptation of doing drugs. [laughs] Oh, I get this weird British reserve, 'Eww, talk about our feelings! Horrible!'
JB: Saturday was a pretty good day. Going out and doing something.
DM: Sometimes just hanging out, just getting out and doing things actually. So many things can make a good day.
JB: I like going up to Scotland. There's a place in Scotland where we occasionally go, it's sort of up in the Hebrides, we hire a bit of a house there, a wing of a house. There's a place there that you can look out to Jura, one of the sacred islands out there. And there's a place where the sea meets the sky, you can't tell which is which. The light just sort of shimmers, and there's a mist. You absolutely lose yourself in this place. And there's a promontary of rock that points out in to the sea. You sit on that looking, watching the sun set, or not even, just for the whole of the afternoon. You have no sense of time or place but you actually know you're in nature and you're fine and it's probably best to spend the afternoon there.
JW: Is something like that as influential in your music as something like the sound of a squeaky gate?
JB: Yeah, to me. Definitely, yeah. Anything that you sense of the profound in the everyday affects me hugely.
JW: What is a typical, or is there a typical re-mix process? Do you get a two track from somebody and they ask you to see what you can do with this, or do you actually meet them in the studio and work on their equipment?
DM: It's probably unusual but we'd meet them in the studio. Usually we'd be sent tapes so that either stuff on that or, occasionally a multi-track if it's a big enough project.
JB: Usually we get the finished track as the band saw it. This did happen with Depeche Mode a couple of albums back. You get that and you say 'I quite like that track because it's got some interesting sounds in it, but it'd be nice to go somewhere weird with it.' We don't actually have to like the track or not, it's just cause it's got some good bits in it. So no, we phone someone up and
ask them if we can do something with it and they said 'OK'. Fortunately what we did didn't match with what they wanted us to do so it never got used.
JW: But it turned up somewhere?
JB: I've heard it has, yeah.
JW: Which track was it? Do you remember?
JW: Jack Dangers actually ended up doing that.
JB: He did one at the same time. Our mix is out there somewhere. A bootleg. It's good to get something Trent will send you because he'll send you a really precise, clean, good sounding master tape where you can take all the sections out and you can re arrange it totally. You get spoiled because such a good clean master comes to you, and you can say "Wow!" and rip it to shreds and do whatever you want.
PC: I think though, the last things we did for him, we actually got Studio-Vision discs, with everything on with everything already laid out. He is very organized by the way.
JB: The piece of music has to be interesting enough and structurally sound. It also has to have something lacking at that point in time, otherwise we can't take it anywhere. Two years ago we were asked whether we'd do a Can re-mix and at the time we said no because you can't take something that good anywhere else sometimes. And I still feel that even though people have tried it, they didn't get to be on it.
DM: There isn't any point in doing a re-mix unless you feel you can improve on it
JB: ...or trash it!
DM: ...or at least give it a different interpretation. An interesting interpretation, not a pointless one. You have to feel you can do something interesting with it otherwise there's no point in doing it. It's better to turn it down.
JW: If you really like the original song in its original form you...
JB: Won't touch it.
PC: That's typical though because you know your preconceptions of what it should be is so coloured by the fact that you like it. The way that it is is the way that it's supposed to be done.
JW: You do take re-mixes of stuff that you do like though?
JB: Yeah, we wouldn't take one that we didn't like. That's another thing.
DM: It's the most depressing thing in the world to work with something you didn't like. To sit there and try to re-mix something that you didn't like.
JB: I don't understand how studio engineers can sit there and work on sessions that they don't like.
JW: Drew, you got involved in what, 1992?
DM: I can't remember the exact date. Yeah, I had participated in a couple of things previous to that. I did, with Geoff, a remix of Snow. I think about two and half years ago.
JW: And how did you become part of the nucleus?
DM: I can't remember......(laughs)
JB: We asked.
DM: I think it was 'cause we were doing the Nine Inch Nails remixes or something....which one was that again? My memory is atrocious.(laughs) Further Down the Spiral.
JW: What have you been doing before you got involved?
DM: I've been involved in music since I was sixteen and just doing stuff on my own. Then my life took a dark turn,... pretty sort of fucked up, not really involved in music anymore. I wasn't really looking after myself properly and then I think I started to get back involved in music around 1990. I started to manage The Shamen. I kind of realized that I didn't want to do anything again in the business side of it, you know that sort of stuff. But it made me realize that I still wanted to make music.
JW: You can lose you taste for the business but you can never lose your taste for the music.
JW: What's your relation to Rose?
DM: I was married to her for a while. We split up about '87. We got divorced around 1991, but I mean we're still friends you know. We get on really well.
JB: With a few notable exceptions, the whole kernel of people, people we knew about 10-15 years ago, all kept together as friends.
PC: We don't see Steve too much anymore.
JB: I guess that's one of the notable exceptions.
JW: What happened with that?
JB: It became too intense.
JW: Artistic differences?
JB: No, philosophical differences.
PC: ...mental differences..
JB: Yeah, wavelength differences...
PC: He's much better now though. (laughs)
JW: How many other members would you say have been core members?
JB: Only Steve and Drew. And then us two.
PC: We've been working with Danny for quite a long time but he's not really a member of the band though.
JB: We've worked in parallel with Danny. Danny's definitely the engineer and we are the band. He came to New Orleans with us.
JW: How did you all meet up with Danny?
JB: He was the studio engineer.
PC: ....in the studio we happened to be working in...
JB: ....and we liked him so he stayed our engineer.
JW: You've worked with a lot of engineers before him?
JB: We still work with other ones as well.
PC: Well, actually, most of the people that were engineers on our early records wanted to be famous and rich.
JB: It's true, we couldn't afford them anymore.
JW: Do you find it's easier to work with engineers who know and like yours and a lot of similar music?
DM: We really have to work with someone who can appreciate what we're doing.
PC: There have been a couple of people that are on such the same wavelength that we've found it quite difficult to work with them. There was a guy called Charlie who was an engineer at one of the studios who was a really nice guy.
JB: He asked to stay with us, but he was so into what we were into, we just spent time chatting than actually doing our records. He was a great guy but can you engineer please? Back around the desk!!
JW: Do you think there are some advantages to having an engineer who is more versed in something completely different? Perhaps employ a classical engineer?
JB: Yeah, yeah. That would be good, yeah.
PC: You need to have a kind of independence from them to have that sort of perspective. Although Danny's very good for us in some ways, I wouldn't want for him to be with us the whole time.
JB: Incestuous, mentally incestuous and anally repetitive.
JW: Can you tell us of some of the things you've been working on recently?
JB: Yes. There's Sex with Sun Ra, whatever it will be. There's one format I want to do, a double 7" pack.
PC: Might be a mini-album..
JB: Yeah, it will be a mini-album on CD as well.
PC: A twenty minute CD.
JB: This year started out and I said what I'd like to do is a single for every equinox and solstice so we'll have four pieces of music out and I thought a 7" single for each one. Maybe a couple of others as well, Crowley's birthday or Austin Spare. It just sort of snowballed a bit. First of all I got really anal about it and said "The single's got to be out on the spring equinox! It's got to be out at 10:35 when Taurus is in the,..." and then I thought, "No, let's record then and get it out whenever." - that way it will remain pure, the idea, instead of just going for a deadline that's a commercial thing. So, we did this piece of music and sort of extended and extended. Bill Breeze, who is the head of the OTO came and did some really good viola on it and it has sort of taken it somewhere else. We're going to do a version and Steve Stapleton is up for doing a remix or a mix of it which will come on something else. I just like the idea of using spring boards to go with a new aspect. Julian Cope and his keyboard player, a guy called Sandra, have done a whole series of pieces of music based on British sacred sites like Kalenishden and a stone complex up there. They've done a piece of music, sort of ritual music, sort of like How to Destroy Angels was his envisionment. There's a whole series they might release.
PC: Sounds like they're returning to hippies..
JB What? No, fuck it.
JW: Are there any other planned collections like Unnatural History 3 in the works?
JW: Then is the Sound of Music completely shelved or is that still around?
PC: That was done under an alternate name. Everything that was going to be on that just came out on different things. It's not like the Sound of Music was unreleased, it's just that the format didn't happen.
JB: It was going to be film music stuff. I can't say it's shelved, no. I think maybe two years down the line we will put it out.
JW: You still have a lot of film music out there.
JB: True, there is a lot, but true there's also not lot I actually want released. The "Whole of the Game," "The Gay Man's Guide to Safer Sex" and this massage video we did, just 60 minutes of tinkly, watery stuff.
PC: Most of it was crap.
JB: Most of it is crap, most of it is specifically for that and can't be taken out of the context. It would be so much nicer to do "Salo 2: The Soundtrack," and you know, be a bit more creative with it. If we take time out we'd like to do. That's still a title I'd like to use.
DM: The Sound of Music's a brilliant title.
JW: You've already alluded to it on albums.
JB: The Hills are Alive, yeah.
JW: And you printed it up on Gold is the Metal.
JB: But that doesn't mean we'll do it (laughs)
JW: Do you think that sort of sets you up bad? When you mention you're working on something and then everybody else catches wind of it.
PC: I would rather we never tell anybody anything until we've done it.
JB: But I like to share what we've been working on.
PC: Yeah, but half the time you share things we haven't even thought about...
JB: That's O.K.
PC: ...and then we get into all this terrible trouble about when are they coming out.
JB: It's in the long tradition of Captain Beefheart....there's about 6 titles for every album he ever did. Some of which I've stolen for our albums. I pride myself on having a title that was in circulation in 1982 or something that eventually does get done. I like that. The "Silence and Secrecy" we all said we were going to do as a 12". It's possible. Time means nothing to us really.
JW: Which is it easier or more enjoyable to record? A single or an album?
JB: Albums, I think, come to us more naturally. The stuff only becomes a single by default really. We don't say "Let's do a single."
PC: (mumbles) ...yes you do...
JB: No, we do an album first and then something will stand out as being good for a single. I have a title and I say "tis is going to be a single" and it usually is.
PC: But also, the thing is there's such a lack of momentum that has to be overcome. Once you get into recording an album, you're kind of up to speed and you're working quickly and you're doing lots of stuff all at once. It's more fun because you can do more things while the machine's in motion. Whereas doing a single or doing one track in an isolated way is more difficult. You have to overcome the momentum of not doing anything.
DM: It's much harder.
JB: You have to ask "Why is something a single?" It's going to be a hit in the clubs and everyone is telling you it's going to be so you have to put it out as a single. We never do that, we just say "Let's take this track out and make it a single." It's a completely arbitrary choice and nothing to do with the music industry. We say "It will be one."
JW: What is happening with Blue Rats?
JB: That is coming out as a single. Only because we said to someone they could release it as well. So we have a sort of verbal contract.
JW: What will be on it?
JB: The other side is something we've had in the can.
PC: Is it, or have we decided that or not? I thought you said it came out now on Sub Rosa.
JB: No. Don't get confused. I like the track a lot and I wanted it to come out on vinyl as well on its own. I had this art work that came from the OTO, when it was Crowley's, and it's of blue rats. It's of this sort of debutante being harassed by these weird wiggly rats, which is what the idea of track was. But I didn't know this picture existed and then someone showed it to me and I said "Oh my god, we've got to do a single and that's the cover."
JW: Is that going to be any different than the version on the Black Light District LP?
PC: We should do a different version of it.
JB: Maybe we can, yeah. We could remix it.
JW: Is this going to be another ultra-limited single?
JB: Not ultra, but limited, yes. Because that's what the label, Twin Tub and Beaver wants. I don't know why.
DM: Brilliant! Excellent!
JB: And they asked and we said we'd do five hundred or a thousand. I'll let you know the limitations.
JW: Weren't you going to do something for Robot as well?
JB: They want to put something out as well. There's a whole host of projects that may or may not happen.
PC: Been queuing up...
JB: We're putting Heartworms on vinyl, coupling it with something from Tibet. The actual CD is very, very different to how it sounded when we put it onto tape for some reason. It just sounds all hollow. Something went weird between the tape and the mastering so we're going to re-cut it for vinyl....and make six copies or something. (laughs).....ectoplasmic vinyl...
PC: We'll start doing limited CD-Rs
JW: Is there anything you want people to know about you?
JB: A lot of people seems to be worried that Trent's all over our new album.
PC: Yeah, and there is no influence whatsoever from Nine Inch Nails on the new album other than the fact that they're songs with vocals. The majority of the songs are anyway.
JW: You spoke about taking vocal lessons - how has that influenced your vocal work on the latest recordings?
JB: It wasn't singing lesson type, traditional stuff. I did a course of [Otan] chanting and basically it teaches you how to explore your voice more.
DM: It's a more spiritual thing.
JW: Has it given you more confidence in the studio?
JB: Yeah, a lot more. Which resulted in stronger images and lyrics.
DM: It's really significant - how powerful your voice in New Orleans was.
JW: Do you think environment has anything to do with recording?
DM: You can't help but be influenced by it.
JB: Especially New Orleans.
DM: It was an incredibly powerful environment. I found it almost suffocating. I loved the place.
PC: I don't think we would have done a Zydeco record if we'd been anywhere else.
DM: (laughs) Yeah, did you know that? It's a Cajun album. It's all accordions and fiddles.
JB: And a flange slider.
JW: Did you enjoy the flying cockroaches down there?
DM: Oh those are weird, yeah, those cockroaches.
JB: Yeah, we taped them. They're on the album. Something up a tree's on the album anyway.
DM: Those sounds were incredible
JB: It sounded like someone just strapped a synthesizer to a tree and just left it playing.
JW: What about the other types of environments you've recorded in, like other types of studios?
PC: We haven't got in studios anywhere else, but we quite often record things in Burma or in Thailand, Vietnam. But they're only street recordings, not studio recordings.
DM: Just to record things, street sounds.
JW: How about some of your favourite places to travel?
JB: Mexico, Thailand. I used to like Morocco
PC: Yes, it's gotten a bit hard, I think now.
DM: Definitely Thailand.
JB: Once you hit a really good place you don't want to go anywhere else.
PC: Anything that's based on chilli and brown skin.
DM: Yeah. Hot food and brown skin.
PC: Not necessarily in the same breath.
JW: I think that's it. Thank you very much for your time.
The tape stopped. Done, I was relieved, and they took me through a tour of the house. Across the hallway and into the study.
The walls were lined with many books of occultism and such.
Drew played on the couch with Dingo and Moon, Peter went to get some 'clothing' to pose in, and I snapped some shots of them. John showed me the matching Mac PowerBooks on the desk where they read emails and post to the newsgroups. We cruised over Coil and TG discographies on brainwashed and he gave me some info and corrections here and there. He was probably the best person to give me TG discography corrections as Peter doesn't like to talk much about TG and John was one of their biggest fans at the time. I, being a Coil (and TG) fan possibly felt as excited and nervous as he did when he first met and got to know TG, one of his favorite groups.
From the study, we went upstairs another level and into the office, where stuff was scattered everywhere. Now I understand how in the case of "Keelhauler," things can be found amidst this mess.
I got a glimpse into the studio, also littered with stuff as fascinating as the stuff in the office and took a couple more shots. Took a look at the CD rack, and also snapped a photo of the odd NAZI clock they bought in Vietnam. I think they bought that one just for the sake of having it, rest assured. We talked some more and I was soon on my way.