Sunday, November 16, 2014

An Interview with Patrik Mata of Kommunity FK

 Sorry things have been so quiet around here of late, but I've been terribly busy with other things. Life and stuff you know... Hopefully things will calm down in the new year, when I plan on completely re-booting the site to take on a much wider scope to accommodate the many exciting newer bands who have emerged in the last few years.

In the meanwhile, Plunder the Tombs is proud to bring you an in depth interview with Patrik Mata where he talks about Kommunity FK's past, side projects and their forthcoming album "Thee Image and Thee Myth".





JVS: Congratulations on 35 years Patrik! It’s a very long career and must easily make Kommunity FK one of the longest lived Deathrock / Goth bands on the planet. You must be very excited?

PATRIK: I am but also it’s not that I’m excited about still being here &
now composing & producing music which has become the KFK signature sound, it’s really just ‘business as usual’. I am not doing ‘it’, ‘it’ is doing me. This has been ongoing ever since I founded KFK back in 1978. It all began during a very melancholy period ov my life. & as many others have fallen to the wayside, I’m still here…..We will not fall.

"We Will Not Fall" from The Vision and The Voice (Independent Project Records, 1983) These music files take a few seconds to load, be patient my pretties...


JVS: Of course, the band was originally called Kommunity Fuck, and was a reflection on how the whole live music industry in LA was rigged at the time. The early days of the band with getting gigs and an album deal can’t have been easy?

PATRIK: I named my band “Kommunity Fuck” due to the oppression received for becoming scapegoated for being different in so many aspects in comparison to what was happening in Hollywood at that time. “Punk” was still a trend in the clubs & I had other ideas as to how I wanted my own band to sound & as to how I fashioned myself as well. Bowie was my main man & I was majorly influenced by his method ov reinvention & experimentation. I was very inspired by The DaDaists, William S. Burroughs, Throbbing Gristle, & many other obscure UK bands while a lot ov the L.A. musicians were stuck into what they considered ‘punk rock’. I was so bored with that. I knew that what I wanted to create was on point. But by the time I had formed a three piece experimental band & we were ready to attack the local clubs, the venue bookers refused to book us. Rumors, lies, & stories they made up began circulating throughout Hollywood about us & we began to become slagged off in local fanzines & by local punks & scenesters. So I became more confrontational in live performances in an aggressive way. The L.A. Weekly named us “L.A.’s most loved & hated band” in their “Best Of L.A.” issue. I then realized & knew that KFK had indeed had an effect & had left an impression on those adversaries trying to stop us from continuing as a new band. So I named the band The Kommunity Fuck. Their beautiful dark little scapegoat. We were never looking to score any kind ov ‘record deal’. That happened strictly by accident. 

After having become considered a somewhat controversial band, probably due to the fact that we refused to take any shite from anyone whom threw it at us, & for becoming better at our instruments as time progressed, plus being a band with its own identity & unique sound. A person named Bruce Licher came up to us saying that he wanted to release our music on his label, Independent Project Records. We liked his approach coming from an understanding towards our ‘anti-art method’ so we agreed. We pressed our debut lp, “The Vision & The Voice’ in a limited edition ov only 1000 copies on vinyl. What a beautiful packaging job he allowed us, too. I designed the lp cover anti-art with our own usage ov a very original memorable font which I still apply to our official work to this day. When you see our original logo, you see our antiquated font leftover from the OG days ov KFK. Record was released in 1983.

Portrait of the artist as a young man:
 Patrik onstage in 1980

JVS: Your debut album Vision and the Voice is of course one of the seminal albums of the LA Deathrock scene. I understand the re-issue through Cleopatra Records was unauthorized. I would think that as an artist, having an unauthorized version of your album in circulation with the track listing changed around and your own cover art removed must be very irritating. What was going on there and how did you feel about that?

PATRIK: I was stunned at first. The label had asked me to reissue the classic lp on CD which would be for it’s very first time but I did not expect it to be rearranged in such a fashion. I created the original anti-art cover for “The Vision & The Voice” as a collage applying my favorite format; scissors, paper, & glue. I named that piece, “Kommunity Fuck”. It has never ever been featured in any book about album covers in any manner. It has never been shared with the rest ov this world in any form. So the only way that anybody would ever even see it would be if you bought the vinyl lp. The lp was pressed in a limited edition ov 1000 copies by a label called Independent Project Records in 1983. When Cleopatra approached me to reissue it for it’s very first time on CD format, I expected the original cover anti-art work plus reproductions ov it’s inner sleeve pix, et al but I realized that they were afraid ov being sued for its risqué prurient beauty or something as such so they had some hack create that very shite cover. Their idea ov changing the original tracking order had nothing to do with me.


Before and after: Patrik's original cover art for 
"Vision and the Voice" and the Cleopatra reissue.

JVS:  After the second album Close One Sad Eye in 1985, KFK seemed to go very quiet. What happened?

PATRIK: I was becoming very frustrated with everything & everybody
around me within the KFK kamp which I had created. I had formed that band & I chose the band members to continue forward with my Destiny, the continuation ov KFK. By “Close One Sad Eye” I had discovered cocaine as well as a driving creative force but real pure cocaine & by experimenting with its attributes towards creating new music & new anti-art I became very enamoured with its effects. I felt as if I could do anything that I dreamt but as every fable told about its seduction, I, too, went beyond its wondrous demimonde therefore became stuck. I never ever smoked it, though, being a vocalist who prizes his Gift but I finally got sick ov using it as it began using me. I met The Ugly Spirit, too. After being face-to-face with it, I became disgusted & decided to reflect as to who I really am. So I left my own band & left everything, everybody behind who still desired to remain ‘stuck’. I needed to reinvent my Self all over again in order to survive as an Artiste & as a composer/musician but this would take some time. I had other dreams within me inspiring me, my Muse became another Being & I needed to go with it. So I did. I then roamed another part ov Hollywood searching for unknown musicians to throw my new ideas against. This would be the only way. I had always found unknowns to begin new projects which brings fresh ideas especially unknowns whom aren’t infatuated with being ‘trendy twats’ imitating their favourite rock stars or Goth stars as many still do. So I did exactly that & formed another more diverse band that I called, “Sativa Luvbox”.

JVS:  Close One Sad Eye has been out of print for a while now. I notice there’s a CD version on for sale on Amazon.com today for something silly like $830. Are you planning on re-releasing it?

PATRIK: NO.

JVS: Then maybe tell us more about Sativa Luvbox?

PATRIK: That band was entirely & completely different than KFK in every way. I wanted to swerve away from what I had done before, what I was renowned for, what I was becoming categorized with & what I was becoming ‘stuck inside’ ov. You see, if you don’t remain in a State ov Becoming, you die. I needed to change. “The present day composer refuses to die”-Edgar Varese
It, too, was a 3 piece as when I founded KFK. I played guitar & sang lead vocals with a bassist & a very unique drummer/percussonist added new spices to the new sound. This time there were no synthesizers. I was becoming influenced by psychedelia, 60s biker films & their soundtracks, & even the way the movie bikers fashioned themselves. This band went onward into the early 90s & even accidentally became signed to a shite major label, MCA. But before that unforeseen occurrence the band produced a DIY lp which I entitled, “The Bad Sleep Well”. It has never ever been officially released & is a collector’s item to this precise moment. I like that lp for its originality & I was composing songs from a new wilderness, a desperate wilderness, searching for a New Way. I disbanded that band when it became stale & pointless, losing its Magick.

Cover art for "The Bad Sleep Well", once again designed by Patrik

JVS: That brings us to 2010 and Kommunity FK suddenly roars back to life after years of silence with the spectacular La Santisima Muerte album. What brought that about after so long?

PATRIK: You must realize that I have never been in a state ov Silence. I have always created my own music constantly. I just have never had the opportunity to release any ov this music like many other fortunate lucky bastards. I find this a sin.
I will share with you something that I experienced which almost made me take my own Life a few years back. I had just returned from another DIY West Coast tour in 2006 when I was listening to my messages on my phone machine. It was from a personage whom many consider a ‘musical icon’ who had his own record label & he wanted to sign me to it. I was also under his charming influence thinking that because ov his certain accomplishments that maybe it would be a great opportunity for me to further my musical career by entrusting in him, & by indeed signing with him. But he wanted me for 5 years while I only wanted to sign to a one off, a one year deal to see where we would be at that time then see where we both wanted to go from there.

But then he insisted on a 7 year contract in order to “be able to really push you, Patrik”. So, being charmed & under his spell, I went ahead & signed with him & his label. After the first 3 years ov nothing even being considered recorded for any type ov official label release, I began to become agitated & anxious as to what the fk was going on. Would we ever make records? I was being led on & on being told all sorts ov promises that I later realized was just him putting me off & after believing lie after lie, I had become terribly depressed. For the last 7 years he never recorded, released, nor put me on tour. I had to find an attorney to get me out ov this horrid terrible lie to continue producing my own music already having lost so much momentum from touring back in 2006. I lost my band members as three years went by & we were waiting to actually record, release, & tour together. Which never happened. It was just recently a few months ago that I was freed from that shite corrupted contract & now we see ourselves with an incredible new band line up ready to begin full force producing new music & to tour the world. If everything had occurred as promised, who knows where KFK would be at this precise moment?

For the first 3 years, though, without anything being done as contractually promised, I had to search for an endorsement to produce any ov my own music & to go back on another DIY tour to survive as an artist keeping the KFK band name out there. I was finally graciously granted an endorsement from a company who sent me everything that I would need to record, mix, & produce as many lps as I so desired. So I built my very own in-house recording studio that I have named, “Vision & The Voice Studios”, named in tribute to my debut KFK lp ov the same name. That’s where “La Santisima Muerte” was created. At the time I was ’signed’, I did have a full band awaiting to record & to tour with me. But after the first 3 years ov Nothingness, they became fed up & left me. Thank the gods that Sherry Rubber has been by my side to be my only other band member since 1996 as well as also being another multi-instrumentalist in her own write, as myself, & we both performed all ov the instruments & voices while I programmed the drums for that lp. We made that lp together & both are very proud ov it. That lp had us headline the WGT Festival in Leipzig, Germany in 2010. We produced our own backing trax as well in full bang on stereo as we had only ourselves to perform live with & so we did, which was very brave. I’ll never ever forget the experience. I owe Sherry as well for her assistance, patience, & professionalism as she is an amazing musician, composer, & performer.

JVS:  For a band heavily reliant on keyboards, three decades is a long time in terms of technology. How have advances in synthesisers, sequencers and what have you changed the way Kommunity FK approaches creating music?

PATRIK: I have been blessed with endorsements from both MOOG & Dave Smith Instruments (DSI) whom have both given me 1 synthesizer a piece. I now am the proud owner ov MOOG’s Little Phatty Stage & DSI’s MoPho 4 synth. I use them constantly on as many compositions as deemed necessary. I have not used them in a sequencer application yet, though. I love applying them as being played in which they were designed, like a keyboard. When I recorded KFK’s debut lp, “The Vision & The Voice” we had a Prophet 5 synthesizer which hardly anyone had at that time except funk bands like Parliament, Funkedelic & Wall Of Voodoo. But the way that we applied the Prophet 5 was to just dial in any noise that fits by blindly turning knobs & creating soundscapes on which the band performed over. We would stick match books between the keys to let the synth drone underneath. Nobody was doing this in 1978-1984. Not until they saw KFK perform live, at least. I love synthesizers to this precise moment & create compositions using them all the time. 


Patrik on keyboards, 2014

I have composed a brand new lp entitled, “The Image & The Myth” which is not released as ov yet & it features a few electronic songs on it. But maybe not what you would most probably expect as ‘electronic’ music. But one song is entirely electronic entitled “Dumb FK” & I love this song to death. When composing, it depends on how I am inspired to create a song in its naked form. For instance, on the 2010 lp, “La Santisima Muerte” there’s a song entitled, “Let The Right One In’ inspired after watching that incredible Swedish vampire film ov the same name. I was so inspired that I went into the studio, picked up my bass, & composed the bass line in one take. Then the film’s title began to expand into a more meditative flow ov consciousness inspiration where it starts to be very philosophical advice to myself. Think about it. I then added drums & guitars then sang over the basic track. I added the synth line after I had finished the vocal. The chorus came to me the next day where I overdubbed it in one take. I then asked Sherry to react without ever hearing the track. Ever. Her guitars are reacting in a ‘question/answer’ sort ov way & I put one ov her guitars through a Leslie to differentiate it from her first guitar line. I luv what she played so much. She hates not knowing or not rehearsing her guitar parts before she lays them down but I coerced her to
try it anyway & it came out amazingly. Magickal.

"Let the Right One in" from 
La Santisima Muerte (Kommunity PM, 2010)



JVS:  Some KFK songs like “Restrictions” seem to be based in social commentary, while other material like Vision and the Voice is clearly a reference to Aleister Crowley, and La Santisima Muerte a reference to a Latino death cult. What is the underlying philosophy to KFK’s material?

PATRIK: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole ov the Law. Be your True Self. I read a lot. Therefore a lot ov what I find inspiration from comes also from a very literary sensibility, one ov my many frames ov references. Sometimes I read at least 6 books at once. When I become bored with one I pick up another book then become bored with it & pick up another one. & so on. So these inspirations seep into my subconscious mind ending up in song lyrics & lp titles. I adore Crowley’s work which is fathomless. His being so intimidating to his era’s society & intellectuals ov his time it is no wonder why he was considered an shocking evil bastard but when you really submerge yourself into his work there are so many positive ideas & his use ov yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, drug experimentation, infatuation with the Other World, etc. simply fascinates me. I have so many ov his books & refer to them periodically on a daily basis. I am also fascinated with the idea ov death cults, witch cults, religious cults, cults, cults, cults. Those ov whom like to lead others sometimes have other hidden agendas. What we do is secret. Fascinating. William S. Burroughs is one ov my other literary gangster heroes.

JVS: What has been your best, worst, and funniest experiences on the road?

PATRIK: I recently have had some terrible experiences that had to deal with a certain personage that I allowed into both ov Sherry & my bands. Both bands tour together where Texylvania opens for KFK. Since both bands consist ov the same band members we are blessed to be able to perform twice every night performing 2 types ov genres ov music which we all luv. Now think about this; there are four personages within these bands therefore four million reasons why it should not work. But it does until one person becomes a complete asshole for no reason. A person who does not appreciate the fact that he has not had to pay for a fking thing as our contractual demands are met respectively. All he has to do is love what he is doing & love the experiences & be cool with everybody. Have fun, for fucks sake. We are living a Dream but this person turns it into a fking nightmare when you least expect it & sometimes before you have to hit the stage as a headliner. Backstage is supposed to be one ov the most exciting times ov your life as you prepare to walk onstage to perform for your awaiting fans who have paid to see you. But sometimes someone has to be a total cunt which you try to hold back your emotions from dealing with, the emotions which you have been holding back until the moment the very first song needs from you when its first notes are struck. Fortunately, now, this has been dealt with sparingly & now everything is as it should be. I can’t wait to begin touring again over in Europe in 2015 with this more professional line up. 

There have been many great amazing experiences, though, in my Past. If you go to the official KFK website (http://www.kommunityfk.com/) there’s a long list ov bands that I have had the honour & blessing to perform second billing to. Opening for Killing Joke on their very first USA tour in Hollywood, California at The Whiskey A Go-Go on August 28th, 1981 was my first ‘big gig’. Apparently, I’ve been told, that KJ never allow any sound checks for their support bands but during this time we did have our sound check. They stood upstairs looking down at us & Big Paul Ferguson, their original drummer, was the first to come up to us & tell us how much he loved the band. After our 2 sets, as in those days bands had to perform twice on the night, KJ invited us over to their hotel rooms at the famous Tropicana hotel to hang out & chat. So, ov course, we did. They had all ov their hotel room doors open for us so we could saunter in to chat with each ov them. They were all wearing Freemason pins on their lapels, I remember. I was
impressed. They spoke about Crowley as well. Anyway, Big Paul handed me a huge 16th ov red Nepalese hashish as a sign ov respect! I’ll never forget that show. They were outstanding people.


"Dreamz For a Better World" from the forthcoming album Thee Image and Thee Myth


Every Batcave band that came over touring through Los Angeles on their first wave asked for Kommunity FK to second to them. No shite. Fact. This was how we became well known Internationally as well. Word ov mouth. When touring with Sex Gang Children twice, we shared our own back line with them. We shared drugs with them. When we hit San Fransisco I personally took Andi Sexgang on a tour ov North Beach as we were playing together at The Mabuhay Gardens. A band called Faith No More was on bottom support.

I took Andi to the famous beat poet book store called City Lights Bookstore. He was fascinated with it’s rich history. When supporting PIL in San Diego at the California Opera House we had 2 backstage dressing rooms & a coke dealer in each one. When I saw John Lydon walking around searching for his dressing room I invited him in for a sniff but he declined with, “Never before a gig, mate!”. He had 2 bottles ov Heineken in each hand & seemed happy. When we were doing our sound check, he came up onstage to become introduced to us. He was a lovely guy. Probably still is.

We also supported The Jesus & Mary Chain on their very first USA tour. In San Diego at UCSD, we were all shocked to find out that it was a ‘dry campus’ which meant that there was no alcohol whatsoever allowed, even backstage! So all being decent drinkers I had to think ov something so I sent our road crew whom were all dressed as droogys from ‘A Clockwork Orange” out with our tour van to go buy some booze for everyone. I also didn’t know until after the show that they were all on LSD but soon realized this when I witnessed the 
one driving, who went by the moniker as Big Ed, was driving backwards very fast across the campus lawn area near our building where we had our concert being held. He did return with some Guinnesses which saved the night until I was being led to the sold out concert arena holding a can in one hand & a joint in the other as a campus security guard approached me to possibly arrest me. Thank the gods that my road manager was also with me & took the vices from my hand & told me to run onstage immediately. As I entered the concert hall I saw so many happy crazed fans in front ov me & the night was a total success for all involved. So many experiences to share, so little time!

You should hear the one about when we almost supported Bauhaus on their last tour in 1983 at The Roxy Theatre in Hollywood. But perhaps another time….

JVS: In the meanwhile, I notice yourself and Sherry have started up a side project in the psychobilly vein called Texylvania. I can’t claim to have heard any material, but it does sound like fun. What inspired this?

PATRIK: Here’s the condensed version…We both love punk rock, especially bands like The Sex Pistols, Discharge, Cockney Rejects, besides more darker music. When I first ever set eyes on Sherry Rubber she was rehearsing at a studio which I managed in Hollywood as she & her band called RUBBER were headlining The Whiskey A Go-Go. Her band was an all grrl 3 piece ferocious hardcore punk rock outfit tight as fk from Seattle, Washington. When I saw them perform I was so blown away that I was a huge fan immediately. Time passed then I saw her again as she came back to Hollywood just to visit me. I was soon piggy backed to Seattle to hang out with her. I saw her perform in her own environment & her gigs were explosive. Later we fell in love & we have been together now for 20 years. As KFK was a delicate concept we both desired to play punk rock as well just for fun, just to get our punk rock fix. So we first founded a band that we named, The Legendary Wrong People. It was a sort ov ‘first stage’ version ov what Texylvania has become to this day. We recorded several demos with that band but we wanted to take it further. So we decided to add blood play onstage while living in Seattle as there weren’t any bands doing this sort ov performance anti-art up there. We found some other sickos whom wanted to dance onstage with us, very sick crazy looking grrls, & they were The Texettes. We had to cover our stages with plastic tarps so as not to fk up venue stages & we kicked total ass. We headlined every gig that we were booked. We began to create a huge following wherever we performed. But we then had to leave Seattle due to Microsoft kicking off bringing mass price hikes to property taxes & the like so we reorganized to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we find ourselves today. But KFK can’t perform here as there isn’t any kind ov Deathrock or Goth scene here so Texylvania was reformed with some local talent as our rhythm section in order to be able to play live & have some fun. We auditioned almost every fking drummer here but none can handle our song arrangements as they have many dynamics & some are at a very fast tempo. So Texylvania has become what we call, “Rocket-fueled PsychGaragePunkRock Hexxabilly”. The term, ‘Hexxabilly’ pertains to magical elements placed inside our music to emote & provoke everyone whom experiences Texylvania live. There’s more to this band’s story in detail but perhaps you can interview Sherry Rubber sometime to hear more about it.

Texylvania, live in California, 2014

JVS:  After a long period when the Goth/Deathrock scene was dominated by dance music in recent years, there seems to have been a big resurgence in the Deathrock scene all up the west coast of America, while in the UK a lot of old Goth bands seem to be reuniting. Why do you think this is happening now, and what are some of the new bands you like?

PATRIK: I can only imagine that the reason or many reasons why many ov the original UK Goth bands have reunited is because most ov today’s bands & music plainly just sucks hard. A lot ov these bands were brilliant which is why we are even discussing it right now. We need the originals such as KFK & the UK OG goth bands as there are so many weak imitations out there & out here regurgitating what has come before them without any sense ov originality to their sound or image & without any respect towards bands like us. Some ov our genre’s music is so fking incredible & as I’ve mentioned, so original sounding that it is timeless. It is evocative. Beautiful. Passionate.

This is what is missing from a lot ov today’s version. As far as bands that are releasing music today, I like Frozen Autumn, for their use ov synthesizers & appropriately so, coldness. But I really don’t have much time for listening to many ov the new bands in our genre as I am so fking swamped with the new KFK lp & it’s remix companion lp. I am also in the midst ov breaking in our new drummer, Christian Izzo, who is having to learn the entire catalog ov both KFK & Texylvania for upcoming European, Scandinavian, & Germany tours being scheduled for 2015. I am always in my studio creating new trax or remixes for both bands. When I hear a new band that almost stops my Heart, I’ll let you know….

JVS: All of KFK’s releases to date have had very different and unique flavours. Now that we’re on the cusp of your fourth full length release what should fans expect and when is it going to happen?

PATRIK: Sherry Rubber & I are still polishing up several new trax for the upcoming new lp, “Thee Image & Thee Myth”. It will also have its remix companion, “Derangements Ov…”. There is a remix companion to “La Santisima Muerte” as well released in its original form at CD Baby just to get it out there. I am looking for a very good understanding record label to license this new lp & the previously mentioned lp for 2015 to coincide with our upcoming tours. When creating new music I can’t help but to move forward searching for new horizons, new directions, following my Muse into Thee Unknown. I luv it there. When producing our new music we mix the trax for listening through headphones for our fans to discover subliminal production techniques, among other delicacies. Besides, having grown up with the ground breaking producers ov the 60s & 70s, I love discovering that when listening to a record that such Magick resides insides the grooves.

"FKing Death Dealerz" from the forthcoming album Thee Image and The Myth


Sherry Rubber in full flight on stage in Los Angeles, 2014

JVS:  What lies in the future for KFK?

PATRIK: We have signed with a management & booking company in the UK, something that I’ve never ever had before where I had to do all ov the booking myself, so they are booking KFK for 2015 where we will be touring throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Germany, & other lovely regions that KFK have never had the pleasure to. But I would really like to license our new lps to a very great professional label in order to release our new music on vinyl. KFK has not released nothing on vinyl since 1983 & 1985! It’s about time that we joined the new vinyl revival resurgence.
We have also a new drummer, Christian Izzo who we are breaking in for our upcoming live performances. He is a seasoned drummer with much touring experience. So far, so good. It feels good to have another professional on our level ov experienced musicianship joining both bands as he will be performing double duty. Stay tuned by visiting our official website.

"Dumb FK" from the forthcoming album Thee Image and the Myth



Thank you for your ongoing support. I hope that one day we can tour throughout Australia. It would be Magickal.

Live in Texas 2013, photograph by Adriana Caligari

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An interview with The March Violets, Si Denbigh

It's been a long while in coming, but now we finally present to you the interview with March Violets front man Simon Denbigh.

JVS: After six years since the Trinity EP and something like 28 years since the Electric Shades album, how was it to be back in the studio again as a functioning band?

Si: Ha! More like a malfunctioning band. Not that we were fighting or throwing tantrums, but The Violets are very rarely conventional, and the recording of this first 'proper' album, which took well over 2 years was fraught with all sorts of tension and unforeseen happenings and just didn't happen in the normal way. We are spread out all over and all doing other stuff, so everyone getting together at the same time tends to be a rare occurrence. And of course you can plan as much as you like but unexpected shit happens and then you have to try to get back on track.

JVS: What made you all want to get back together and do it all again?

Si: I can't speak for the rest of the band. I think my motivation was solely to be able to make some of the music that never got made, and say some things that had been left unsaid. You have to understand that, certainly from my perspective, the Violets never fulfilled their potential back in the eighties. From my point of view, we imploded at the end of '84, due mainly to different aspirations. The Violets were a rare thing, with Tom's amazing guitar work, Rosie's fantastic voice, and my stumbling around in dark and twisted visions. There was something unique, and in my head we were always teetering on the cusp of becoming huge, or evaporating.

JVS: Was there an underlying philosophy to recording Made Glorious and how has your approach to making music changed since the 80s?

Si: Interesting. Yes, I'd like to think there is some kind of underlying philosophy at work, however haphazard. Yes, I specifically wanted to attempt to do a real Album, one that works as an entity, one you can listen through from start to finish and enjoy the journey. I have those albums that have meant something at various points in my life, that I love exactly as they are. I don't want bonus tracks or a different running order, they are exactly right. And that is the target to aim for, it's a high bar, you'll have to decide if "Made Glorious" does it for you...

JVS: A lot of other artists I’ve spoken to from the early scene took considerable umbrage at being referred to as “Goth”. Did The March Violets ever consider themselves to be a part of that scene, and why do you feel so many of the original artists were so keen to reject the Goth tag?

Si: Hindsight, it's a weird thing. And history is a moveable feast. It's very easy and only natural for people who weren't there at the time to get their information from what is currently available. And over the years the tale has changed, been rewritten both by people with new perspectives and those with self-promoting agendas. And labels that were once laughed at, like "Positive Punk", become historically accepted as though they had more relevance than they did. I was asked to sign a book on 'Goth' the other day, and yet the Violets had pretty much been ignored as a musical force. Yet if you look at the 'Goth' record compilations over the last 25 years the Violets are on well over 50 of them. So we were obviously important to some people and I would never deny that part in history. However I would probably be happier to go with Siouxsie and Peter Murphy et al and accept the term 'Gothic'. I think 'Goth' is more of a lifestyle choice, and, despite my mainly black wardrobe and being in the Sisters of Mercy for 16 years, it's a label I haven't earned. Of course, the rest of the Violets, who naturally all sleep in stereotypical coffins, might disagree. It's not a topic that ever comes up. I'd say it's all about enforced labelling. Imagine you had been happily and independently making your own style of music for a couple of years and then someone sticks a label on you… You are now "Blah" and being included in a 'Blah movement' that maybe includes a few bands you like, and a whole pile of bands you think are shit. Your natural urge, that which drove you to try and make different and unique music, is to rebel against being put in a box. Put it another way: Let's say some misguided but visible source declares your blog/magazine is now an "Emoid" publication, and linked with 'Orkus', 'Gothik', 'Emo Weekly', and 'Dark Fashion 4 US Teenz'. What would your initial reaction be? Denial? That might just feed the flames. There is another obvious reason, for an active band, the 'Goth' scene is actually quite small and restrictive. It is much better to be a 'Rock' band, simply on the number of stages/people you can play to. I sometimes see the shutters come down in people's eyes when the word Goth (a diminutive) is applied. They are applying some presupposed stereotype, probably missing most of the truth. That is mainly why many bands take umbrage I think, and shaking the label, once it has been applied, is very hard. But the bottom line is that I really don't care how people view the Violets, as long as they DO view us, and nothing I say is going to un-tag us… if we are a Goth band to you, so be it. Personally, I'd say the Violets are a pop band and have both dark and light going on.


JVS:  In between the original March Violets and their current incarnation, you fronted a band called Batfish Boys. Along with Bomb Party, Gaye Bikers on Acid, Crazyhead and (arguably) Zodiac Mindwarp, this became an alternative genre known as “Grebo” which seemed to disappear as swiftly as it began. What was the basic vibe of that scene and why do you think was it such a “flash in the pan”?

Si: Once again, we are talking about 'scenes' created by journalists. I had many chances with Batfish to jump on that bandwagon, ride it to death, and become the featured 'grebo' band in whatever publication. And once again, I immediately rebelled against assuming that mantle. I hate being labelled. It's like someone who doesn't understand you telling you what you are. If I was going to put a label on myself it would be Punk.

JVS: Like yourselves, a lot of the early bands from the darker side of the post-punk scene seem to have recently reformed – Danse Society, Skeletal Family and Actifed all come immediately to mind; Why do you think this is suddenly happening now?

Si: Is it suddenly happening? Every Century has its Reformation Period, seems that there has been a gradual movement amongst old bands to get back together. Might be some kind of musical mid-life crisis. I'm all for it if they are: 1. any good, and: 2. doing something new and original and not just rehashing a formula. I will say that the difference live between experienced bands and new ones is obvious. The years of stagecraft tend to show. Of course you have to put up with old-looking artists, so if you can't get past that stay at home and listen to records.

JVS: The March Violets have of course been doing a number of live gigs recently and are booked as one of the major headlining acts for Alt-Fest in 2014, which sounds especially exciting. How has the general reception been, especially with younger followers of the dark-alt genre? Years ago you commented to Mick Mercer about later Goth bands in the 80s “…but as regards all this imagery, what do people think they’re doing? It’s hideous!!!” In the light of that remark, how do you feel about the Goth scene in the new millennium?

Si: We don't play very often, again, it's due to being individually busy with other stuff, and several thousand miles apart. But we do occasionally manage to come together to do some rare purple performances. They will no doubt get rarer as we get older. And having just done a little UK tour I have no real urge to do another anytime soon. Yes Alt-Fest is an exciting new thing and I thought it was important to support it from the start. I think we are down as playing on the 'Goth' stage on the Saturday, not headlining the Main stage, though if the Album takes off you never know. Should be a great festival, loads of stuff as well as some fab music. My remarks to Mick Mercer, hmmm, I said a lot of things back then. But I'll stand by my attitude… I'm not impressed by copies, rip-offs, or unoriginal style, 'Goth' or otherwise. You can still refer to classic images and yet paint new pictures, both visual and audio. And you might like to make a noise like the bands you like, but you need to push it further. I'm lucky in that I made my noise back at the start so I have the excuse that this IS MY style, but I still don't want to keep repeating the same old stuff, I don't want to be a copy of me. Evolve or die.

JVS: What contemporary bands on the dark-alt scene particularly excite you?

Si: I like Berlin Black, The Witch Hunt, Partly Faithful, Cold In Berlin, and a few other non 'Goth' bands.

JVS: When can the public expect to be able to lay their eager little paws on a copy of Made Glorious?

Si: Well, we haven't done any deals with labels yet. We are selling a few directly by mail order. The Limited First Edition double CD is nearly all gone now. We might well press up another run without the bonus remix disc… dunno, depends on whether we find a label… but I am in talks over doing a double vinyl LP, which is kind of what the album was designed to be in my head. We'll see, just think of all that lovely visual real estate!

JVS: What do you see lying in the future for The March Violets and the dark-alt scene more generally?

Si: Not sure really, for the Violets I want to start playing some other continents, South America would be lovely. We haven't done that much in Europe, though I just confirmed we will be headlining Resurrection 2014 a little do in Kaiserslautern in April. The 12th I think. And there is a lot of material that didn't make the album, maybe some of that might slip out. As to the dark-alt scene… well that's the problem isn't it, what do you actually call it? Tricky. We need a brand new, all inclusive term, that sounds old, and isn't hyphenated or a diminutive with stereotyped connotations. It's a job for you. "Goth is dead, long live…..". Sort it out please.

JVS: Have you any final words to say in your defence?

Si: Yes. And No.

Another fine reason to pledge money to crowd sourced efforts of bands 
you like - not only do you get to hear new music from them, 
but a t-shirt and and autographed copy of the Love Will Kill You EP.
 What more could you possibly want?



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ritual - rare promo pics

I awoke this morning to a quite surprising message out of the blue from one Mr Jamie Stewart

"Hi James. I wanted to send you some promo pics of Ritual, since there aren't any elsewhere. It would be great if you could stick them on the page Thanks! J" Why yes, Mr Stewart, we'd be delighted to oblige!

No dates were provided with these, but common sense suggests they have to have been taken sometime between 1979 and certainly no later than '83.







Sunday, October 13, 2013

Past, Present and Forever


Again, I must apologise that things have been so quiet around here lately. Rest assured that I haven't forgotten you, I've just been terribly busy trying to finish my thesis (And no, before anyone asks, it has absolutely nothing to do with music, let alone Goth.)

In the meanwhile though, myself and the redoubtable Adam Lovkis (who hosts dark alt/noise/metal show Behind the Mirror on 6RTR fm) have started up this rather more interactive page on Face Book.

Of course, you could just post music or video clips, but the key word here is "conversation", and we do sincerely hope that you will throw your two cents worth in.

Don't be afraid now, just walk on in


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Look Back in Anger – Caprice (Criminal Damage Records, 1984)



Sorry things have been a little on the quiet side in The Tombs lately. Life unfortunately has an annoying tendency to interfere with one’s hobbies.

 Never fear though! Starting out in Waterlooville in Hampshire on the south coast of England, in 1979 Look Back in Anger would experience a few line up changes, including losing the keyboards before anything concrete was released.

It would be easy to assume that the band took their name after the 1956 play about a love triangle which gave the world the phrase “angry young men”, but this seems slightly odd for a female fronted band. Perhaps it would be safer to assume that the actual source was David Bowie’s  single of the same name (RCA, 1979)?

Things kick off with the Caprice / Mannequin 7”, (LBA, 1981), swiftly followed by the Foxhunt cassette/7” (Stick It in Your Ear Tapes!, 1982) whose contact listing for various animal rights groups on the rear would leave no one in any doubt as to the group’s stance on the subject matter.



A short hiatus follows before the band reappears in 1984 with the Flowers 7” (Criminal Damage Records) with its title track sounding curiously like Kim Wilde trying her hand at Goth – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Kim Wilde happens to be a little guilty pleasure of mine and one of the first albums I ever bought. Anyone who doesn’t like it can bite me.

Flowers


This brings us to the focus of this post, the Caprice mini album (or was it an EP?) containing both “Torment” and “Inamorata” from the Flowers 7”, but perversely not including the track “Caprice”.

Listening to this, there’s no ignoring the fact that it’s very much a child of its time. If 80’s alternative was a scent, you’d be able to smell this crew from the other side of the nightclub.

Unfortunately, Caprice is not an especially coherent album. It’s clear that Look Back in Anger had two quite different aspects, a relatively poppy side, and another less accessible one, and they were much the better for it when they adhered to the former. If we take that view, then tracks like “Executioner” and the rather aggressive “Silent Partner”, tend to pale into insignificance here in the face of the real stand outs here of “Gray Sky” and “Inamorata”. That last song is interesting here, not only because it’s substantially longer than the version on the previous single, but also because it includes a bridge in which the band suddenly break into a snippet of “Flowers”.

Even if listening now, this material sounds curiously dated, it is nevertheless clear that, when on the money, Look Back in Anger remain capable of evoking a deliriously wonderful sense of nostalgia.

Gray Sky


Executioner


Torment


The Caprice album would prove to be the last thing Look Back in Anger would record before dissolving.

Jim Newby went on to form the curiously named The Fifteenth whose sole release would be the Andelain 12” (Tanz Records, 1986), with its highlight on the B side being the surprising and delightfully Duran-Duranesque “Marble Shire” and Zig Zag journalist Barbara Ellen, who may possibly have been Jim’s girlfriend at the time, gracing the cover.


He followed on with Splashpool, who as far as I can work out don’t seem to have released anything apart from the video below. He also appears to have been an occasional collaborator with cover version terrorists Brian.

Slashpool – Trash You Baby (watch for cameos from Jon Fatbeast and Mick Mercer)



Mich also seems to have had a busy year appearing in Mankinds Audio Development with Rob Hickson and Pete Waddleton of Play Dead fame on the one-off Sunfeast 12” (Criminal Damage Records, 1984), doing backing vocals for “Gimmick” on The Cult’s debut album Dreamtime (Beggars Banquet, 1984), and turning up again a few years later working with Balaam and the Angel on the She Knows 7” (Virgin, 1986). Later she would depart for the US, in company of her boyfriend, some chap called Billy Duffy.

Track Listing:
1. Gray Sky
2. Silent Partner
3. Executioner
4. Torment
5. The Dark
6. Inamorata


Line Up: Mich Ebling (vocals), Jim Newby (guitar), Simon Tufnail (bass), Chris Pickford (drums)

http://www.discogs.com/artist/Look+Back+In+Anger