"In fighting the monster.
One must be careful that one
does not become the monster".
From the first time I saw the new feature on starvox.net "Women Who Rock;" I knew I had to do a piece on this exceptionally rare and talented, multi-dimensional artist........JARBOE.
The first time I had the privilege to see her perform was at a low key book signing for "The Secret history of Rock" by Roni Sarig. It was at a Borders music in Buckhead, GA not the first place you would associate Jarboe with . The next time was with a full band, The Living Jarboe, at The Echo Lounge in Atlanta sponsored in part by Camel work-in-progress grant. It was a night I will never forget -- to witness a living legend expose her heart and soul to so many she has touched.
One of the qualities that has drawn me to Jarboe is the mystique that surrounds her even though she is a very open person in that she publishes her daily thoughts , and emotions on her website (www.thelivingjarboe.com) under the Artery section, its intense as well as addicting.
Sometimes I sit at home and read them -- sometimes tears run down my face for all the hurt and pain that is displayed on my screen. Then there the next time I check her site for an update (like its my own personal messages) and I read the newest entry and I smile and laugh at some statement or perspective she dictates through her eyes in a particular moment in time that she is portraying and I reflect on it .
Jarboe is an artist first above all else. She once said and through music she is expressing herself, her emotions, thoughts , ideas, and her striking beauty as a person with style and class, who is not afraid to get dirty.
"Her beauty lays beneath the dust.Jarboe has been to hell and back , I guess that is why they say in Turkey, "that the Demons speak through her". When I listen to her various projects, I hear the angelic demon they speak of in "Anhedoniac" or the lost little girl in "Blackmouth", and the pure , fierce women in "Disburden Disciple".
Her voice is strong with inner lust
for all she has accomplished
for all she dreamed
her beauty remains still
as if in a dream continuing to grow
her presence is real it wont be long.
Her blackmouth is on fire
for every word in her utter deniable desire"
Jarboe referred to her 5th solo album as a "illness album" and dedicated it to all the former members of The Swans ending that chapter on life and with her sixth release Disburden Disciple I as her Recovery album.
With her rebirth her metamorphosis has begun and her disciples await...
Photos courtesy of Jarboe's webpage
Echo Lounge shot of Jarboe, Dianna (from Aphelion), Chandler (The Changelings) and Michael Bradley (Myssouri) by Brian Gray
with Patrick Mata of Kommunity FK:
Where Deathrock Has Been and Where its Going.
~interview by Blu
(KFK photo credits: The 'studio' shot by the insatiable Mistress Eva Von Silky, her badass Self and for the 'live' shot - 'Chris Graves/Rozznet.' )
The Past: Know Your Gothic Roots
During the early 80's, in a post-punk reaction to New Romantics, an unintentional but powerful "darker" movement in the music underground erupted. Among this creative mass sprung forth the beginnings of a genre called Deathrock -- bands who would later become the template for what's now considered "goth"; bands like early Christian Death, Specimen, Alien Sex Fiend, Southern Death Cult, UK Decay, The Virgin Prunes and Sex Gang Children. By far the most popular place to be and the hot bed of it all was a club night called The Batcave in the UK. Started by the band Specimen, The Batcave, in its surprisingly short-lived life, was the host to outrageous parties and celebrities. At any one time you could find members of The Banshees, Bauhaus, Marc Almond, Boy George, Nick Cave, Gary Glitter or Robert Smith wandering about. Jon Klein of Specimen commented:
We had a 200 metre long queue on our opening night and this queue would become an integral part of the scene. Traveling up four floors in a tiny elevator, you passed through a coffin gateway into a well dressed labyrinth featuring a cinema/cabaret theatre, hybrid disco, live music and an atmosphere of midweek mayhem! The success of the club attracted record companies and it seemed we'd broken the circle at last...Looking back on the early eighties I think the only place to be in London was the Batcave as things seemed to happen fast and it was always full of opportunities to be creative. The first New York Batcave shows were like the Disneyland of Hell - a real mental place to be. Our US motto was "have a truly vile day", accompanied by our tour bus anthem - "The Asshole Family"... 1
The momentum seemed to come to a sudden halt with the closing of the Batcave, and sadly, simultaneously, many bands disappeared from sight. Long gone were bands like The Virgin Prunes, Specimen and UK Decay. Rozz William's death seemed to spike another nail in the coffin for Deathrock; but bands like Christian Death (with Valor), Souxisie and the Banshees (and later The Creatures), The Cure, Bauhaus, The Cult (formerly Southern Death Cult), continued on, adapting their sound to current trends.
Deathrock seemed ironically, dead. Sad yes? But never fear, nothing that dark ever goes away forever.
Deathrock remained a favorite among the underground masses with bands like Kommunity FK, who was there in the beginning, still touring and making music through out the 90's. More campy but extremely fun bands like The Cramps, Deep Enyde and 45 Grave kept touring and paved the way for yet another genre of music - gothabilly, which grew to include bands like The Brickbats, Ghoultown, Psycho Charger and Cult of the Psychic Fetus. Most recently, L.A. has seemingly become the center of deathrock activity in the US - and rightly so as its a city who prides itself in outlandish fashion (deathrock is as much about fashion and image as it is music). Clubs like Release the Bats in Long Beach and Coven13 in LA cater to the very same trends and crowds The Batcave used to. New Grave Magazine (created by Fear Cult's Matt Riser) just released their second lovely issue and Deathrock.com, a long time archiver of Deathrock goodies, has announced its intent to start a deathrock label.
There are new bands on the scene too, most notably Cinema Strange who's unique sound, reminiscent of a melting pot of Deathrock bands, are fast making a name for themselves. Gobbled up whole by fans in Germany, Cinema Strange has already been on numerous comps and have been signed to the prestigious Trisol label out of Germany (the same label that carries Die Form). Playing for the first time at Pagan Love Songs (a club in Germany named after the Virgin Prune song), Cinema Strange felt strangely at home amongst a sea of mohawks and torn fishnets. Look for them with DJ Mark Splatter (from Deathrock.com) at the Wave Gotik Treffen festival this year in Germany. Other notable current deathrock bands include: Fear Cult, Thirteen13, Element (who's now latched onto the Deathrock moniker), Die My Darling, and SPF 1000.
Leading the pack in this Deathrock resurgence is Kommunity FK who will celebrate their 20th Anniversary this year. Just wee lads when it all started and around to see the last night of the Batcave, Patrick Mata and company have held fast to deathrock traditions in attitude and style but have incorporated enough new musical technology to keep one step ahead. After releasing a solo effort and on the verge of a new KFK CD (which has seen Dave Roberts of Sex Gang Children come aboard as bass player), Kommunity FK is poised to put Deathrock back on its deliciously decadent pedestal.
StarVox: For those readers who are younger, tell us when Kommunity FK started and how. This year it the 20th anniversary of the band right?
Patrick: I started Kommunity Fk back in 1979. It was during the 'post-punk' period. We got our first show playing at the now infamous Cathay DeGrande in Hollywood, Ca. Don Bolles, drummer for The Germs and what was the beginning of 45 Grave, respectively, was doing our sound. We were initially called 'Kommunity Fuck.' I shortened it to 'Fk' then the pronunciation changed. I named it such out of frustration because we were met with an almost ostricized reputation. We became alittle confrontational, sometimes questioning the audience's existence, their sincerity. We were originally a 3 piece with a synth that I programmed to just drone in diverse soundscapes as a spirit within the music. Then on songs like "No Fear" I'd just be playing the synth and singing with the bass and drums, no guitar. Most of our set back then ended up on our first ever vinyl lp called "The Vision And The Voice." In 1980, we started being asked to perform at the clubs that at first wouldn't have us. Then, in 1981, we got our first of many honors to come in Kommunity Fk's career; opening for Killing Joke at The Whiskey this being their first ever U.S. tour. In those days, you had to play 2 shows in 1 night, paid only for 1 set. The club would empty out after the first show, then fill back up for another. I got to meet and hang with them. The shows were sold out. We got a killer review. We were then often asked by other great bands to second to them. Now it's Kommunity Fk's 20th anniversary and I swear I never thought I would ever be performing and writing for many new fans in the year 2001!
StarVox: You got a chance to tour UK and were there the last night of the Batcave. Tell us how that happened and what the Batcave was like?
Patrick: Kommunity Fk were touring with Sex Gang Children, this is 1985. I was met at the S.F. airport by the band and they're then manager in a limo. Once inside, we partied quite hard and were becoming good friends. We had opened for them twice the year before and Andi would always ask us to come along. Their manager asked me to come to London and tour over there. I accepted. We had just recorded our second vinyl lp, "Close One Sad Eye." The label sat on the record for 1 year. We created it in 1984. I just needed a change of scene. I've often gone through these 5 year cycles where I need to regenerate my muses. So, I split. I had a band waiting for me to back me up and perform my songs.
There was Cam Campbell, from Andi's Sex Gang, on bass, Then he was later replaced with the brilliant Eddie Branch, of UKDecay and who has played in Peter Murphy's solo group, A Danish Gothgirl named Lone Erikson played synth, and originally it was Andi's Kevin on drums but he was later replaced by someone else. We toured with both The Virgin Prunes and then Xmal Deutchland doing the British college circuit. During a break in the action, Cam and I started going to all of these amazing nightclubs. We went to The Batcave a few times. One of these times just happened to be The Very Last Night. Jonny Slut was the DJ. This sad but special night he had cut off all his hair down to a blonde crewcut! He was dressed like Bowie doing his James Dean impersonation... red windbreaker, Levis, white t-shirt! "It's over!," he yelled and then proceeded to spin every kool dark gothic classic until we drunken ecstatic deathrockers piled out onto Dean Street into the London fog. It wasn't especially decorated or anything. It was the way and style of it's clientelle. I mean, Ollie and The Specimen and Alien Sex Fiend brought alot of the O.G.(Original Goth) style to it by just being themselves.
StarVox: I heard the name of your band was actually after a painting you did? Tell us about that and do you still do artwork?
Patrick: The name 'Kommunity Fuck' came from the then Hollywood 'powers-that-be' not booking us because they didn't understand us at all. And at the time, I was beating the pavement looking for a job as a paste-up artist because I love to make my style of collages and assemblages. I'm to this day still inspired by The Dadaists of 1916 Germany. I had a piece that depicted every kind of zesty sex act dreamed possible being enjoyed by early Roman Empire enthusiasts. I stuck a red penis at the top. I called the piece "Kommunity Fuck."
When Bruce from Independent Project Records asked if we'd record an album for him, of course we agreed. We didn't really care then. He could only press 1000 copies. What perfect cover art should we use? It also turned into a kind of visual pun. That vinyl lp is worth around $250.00 in most prestigious record stores whereas in Germany, someone told me they bought it for $2000! I had licensed back in 1994 to Cleopatra. Now that the contract ran out, I'd love to re-release it with some kool extras. I still continue my anti-artwork.As a matter of fact, I'm working on the cover art for the new Kommunity Fk lp as we speak. I did the entire package design for my debut solo cd called "HYDRO CARBONS FROM A METEORITE(GREEN)." I plan on displaying my art sometime this year.
StarVox: Tell us about the current line up of Kommunity FK... I hear you have some very interesting new members?
Patrick: Having had Kommunity Fk for so many years has allowed me to work with alot of great musicians. But this current line-up remains the best. There's myself performing as the vocalist/guitarist/composer, Sherry Mata, chanteuse/lead guitarist, Jack Atlantis on synth/samples, Mr. Dave Roberts of Sex Gang Children fame on bass, Heather Dunham on bass as well, and I'm deciding who will play drums/percussion for an upcoming tour. I met Dave Roberts on the first Sex Gang Children tour back in 1983 and have wanted to work with him ever since. We've been talking and so I asked him if he'd like to come aboard the Kommunity Fk ghost train and he said yes! Heather Dunham plays bass in Sherry and I's new side-project called "TEXYLVANIA." Jack Atlantis is a godsend. He plays the samples and synth and is a great sound mixer/producer and Dan Reed from the band Overwhelming Colorfast plays drums in 'TEXYLVANIA.'
StarVox: Interesting -- what's the new project like?
Patrick: Sherry and I have another project called "TEXYLVANIA." It includes Dan Reed from Overwhelming Colorfast on drums, and Heather Dunham on bass. This band is total kickass blood-drenched high-energy punkrock. It's a visual thing as well as having some real killer songs. Go to MP3.com/TEXYLVANIA We're playing our debut show on March 28th,2001 at Seattle's The Breakroom with The Manscouts Of America.
StarVox: When did you move to Seattle and what prompted the move?
Patrick: I moved to Seattle back in 1999, July. I was recuperating from an accident where I was the victim of a hit-and-run driver. I had some time to reflect upon myself. I needed new surroundings and inspiration. Sherry's from there, so we decided to split.
StarVox: How do you like Seattle so far?
Patrick: So far, I love Seattle for it's weather. It's condusive to the way I write... As far as the scene here, it desires more from it's ghoulish contingent. At this club called The Mercury, they had it's first Batcave-themed night and everyone looked the best that I've seen here in a while. We're in the bloodstream....
StarVox: In 20 years of playing, what stands out in your mind as one of your best gigs?
Patrick: There have been alot of memorable moments and experiences that you wouldn't believe. One time we were performing at this place called Club Lhasa run by the lovable Jean-Pierre. We'd pack that place everytime we were booked and he'd even feed us some of his menu at our soundchecks! The original drummer, Matt, had a friend named Eric who showed up at a soundcheck with none other than Johnny Lydon! He had bright orange hair under a bright blue baseball cap. I took a double-check and then freaked! He later came to the show unbeknownst to most of the audience in his 'disguise.' We later went drinking at The Cat And The Fiddle when it was in Laurel Canyon. One time and this is truth, at the same club, this tart I knew was banging Peter Murphy of Bauhaus and brought him to a show there. Bauhaus were in Hollywood to perform 3 shows at The Roxy on Sunset Blvd. He literally tried to get Kommunity Fk onto the bill but one of The Roxy's co-owners didn't want to book us! Instead, they booked an East L.A. punk band! So, in consolation, he put me on their backstage VIP list for all 3 nights. I saw, what was to be, the very last Bauhaus performances until these latest shows. This was 1983. We later second-billed with Peter Murphy on his first ever solo tour. I could go on&on.....Maybe I should write a book on my Kommunity Fk memoirs.
StarVox: You've played with legendary bands - which ones made the most impact on you?
Patrick: God, that's tough. I'd have to say Killing Joke, PIL, Specimen, and Bauhaus/Peter Murphy. Just to name a few.
StarVox: Any funny stories stand out in your mind about touring back then?
Patrick: Besides what I've already mentioned in answer #6, there have been massive amounts of incredible moments in the last 20 years. I could even incriminate some famous artists but I won't! While headlining The Limelight in New York back in 1994, one of the writers for High Times magazine came to soundcheck then later to the show. We partied like you wouldn't believe! I later ended up with some hashish peanut butter cookies that lasted 2 nights. They were supposedly from Amsterdam. Another time, back in 1984, we were on the road with Sex Gang Children. Andi, Cam Campbell, and their manager invited me to ride with them in their limo from the airport to the venue. We were to play at The Mabuhay Gardens in S.F. We partied quite hard in those days and in that limo. By the time we arrived at the venue, we were high as an apparition! Andi and I wandered around North Beach visiting subversive bookstores and sex joints. No doubt we were late for our own soundchecks!
StarVox: What do you listen to musically? Any new bands out there catch your ear?
Patrick: I like to listen to obscure artists. Morrocan, Middle Eastern, West Indian music. I also love bands like Pigface. Anything experimental and electronic. Early Moog records, Halloween sounds tapes(I collect them). Certain Spoken word stuff. Burroughs is a constant inspiration. As far as new bands, I try not to listen to any so as not to become influenced in my writing. I love Penis Flytrap.
StarVox: You mentioned recently that you've found some of Kommunity FK's stuff (like props and backdrops from old tours) on eBay for auction. That's got to be somewhat complimentary knowing that people would be bidding on it as part of Deathrock history and nostalgia?
Patrick: Yes. It is flattering and even at times unbelievable. It's only a matter of time when the whole kool worlds will know about Deathrock. The real underground is to become rampant and it's in the bloodstream as we speak.
StarVox: I hear you have many new projects in the works, one among them is a solo CD just recently released. Tell us about that and what the plans are to celebrate your 20th anniversary?
Patrick: I loved creating my first ever solo debut album. I did the entire design. All of the artwork, and all and/or most of the music on it. I hadn't planned on recording one but I was asked by the label, Transparency, to do it one afternoon while browsing in Amok Bookstore. Kommunity Fk performs some songs live from it. Like ''"We Belong Dead," and "Only Child." You can buy it at any Silver Platter storechain, Orpheum Record store, and Cellophane Square, all up here in Seattle. You can also buy it in a package with other KFK stuff off of the official Kommunity Fk website. As far as the celebration of Kommunity Fk's 20th anniversary, we're planning a tour in conjunction with this magazine, StarVox, and will be playing alot of our klassix material with our new material. Keep your eyes on StarVox for more information. This will be this coming summer. I'm also going to announce in this magazine first, news on an upcoming and long-awaited Kommunity Fk full-lenghth cd album.
I just picked up a copy of it at Musicwerks in Capital Hill too here in
Seattle - you're spreading amongst the masses!
Kommunity FK Link/Contact Information:
15600 NE 8th St. B1 PMB 307
Bellevue, WA. 98008-3900
Official Website: www.deathrock.com/kommunityfk
Official Store: www.mp3cafepress.com/kommunityfk/
You can find Kommunity Fk's music on: MP3.com/kommunityfk
Internationally at: www.vitaminic.com/kommunityfk
Patrik Mata's Solo Cd Debut:
"HYDRO CARBONS FROM A METEORITE(GREEN)" on Transparency Records
Available on Kommunity Fk's website. Also available at Silver Platter record store chain, Cellophane Square, Musicwerks and Orpheum Records all in the Seattle area.
COMING SOON: KOMMUNITYFK.COM
Other Links used in this article:
The band Specimen:
1Interview with Jon Klein of Specimen:
A History of Goth/Batcave
New Grave Magazine:
Die My Darling
Wave Gotik Treffen
Pagan Love Songs (Germany)
Release the Bats
RE: Steven Severin
~by Mistress Catherinna with DJ Slowdive
Have you ever found yourself wondering what happened to Steven Severin, a key component of the legendary Siouxsie and the Banshees? If so, look no further, and if interest has suddenly sparked, you have wound up in the right place! Steven is rapidly creating and producing new music and other multimedia projects, which have shed a new light on the Steven many of us thought we knew. Look out world hear him ROAR! The following feature covers three CD reviews, some light discussion about the RE label and an interview. Please enlighten yourself into the world of Steven Severin.
Steven Severin has been busily at work (and to many of us we might have thought, hidden away), utilizing his talents and influence on several projects including his own online label RE: www.stevenseverin.com. Among the various solo projects, collaborations and writings for various English publications; Steven has written and produced three successful music releases, one originally as a soundtrack for film and the other two for theatre productions. He also has two other releases which are currently in production. Steven's newest publication is called, "The Twelve Revelations" - a book of surreal and erotic prose poems. After much research and delving into the actual works of Steven Severin, I have come to realize that this man had no intention of resting after the Banshees break up, and has plenty more in the works to share with the masses!
RE: The label
Steven Severin has successfully created an online label www.stevenseverin.com , which is a brilliant concept and idea. The label is completely Internet based and does not have to concern itself with typical label stereotypes and stipulations, which are obsessed by music charts and top singles, which in many instances is the case with labels. This type of environment, allows for more artistic control and freedom of expression, rather than someone dictating what you can and can't release, as well as giving mass publicity for the world to access via a web-link, promotion, searching, or stumbling upon by a fortunate mistake It currently houses archives of Steven's past, present, and future collaborations, including his works with the Banshees and writings for various magazines. There is current information and reviews of his past and future projects, as well as an online submission place for artists interested in production by Steven Severin, and an online store to order any projects represented by his label. It is very informative and quite extensive. A highlight of Steven's site is Interior Exterior. It's an interactive hypertext fiction project in which visitors to the site have the opportunity to intertwine their work with Steven's in an erotic textual maze. If you have the time, I highly recommend sitting a spell and meandering through the eleven subtopics he has included representing his label RE:
RE: garding Visions~
Visions was originally recorded in 1989, with the intent of producing a soundtrack for a short film written by Nigel Wingrove, called "Visions of Ecstasy". This film was based on the life & vision of Sixteenth Century Carmelite, St. Teresa of Avila. Subsequently, the film was banned form public viewing, under the grounds of 'blasphemy's, due to it's portrayal of this religious figure and religious subject matter.
Steven was contacted by Nigel several years later to discuss the possibility of a commercial release of the CD "Visions", at which point, he returned to the studio to re-master the recordings. Steven spent the next two years, polishing and fine-tuning the original tapes, as well as the addition of new material. "Visions" was released on RE: in 1998, almost ten years later.
While instrumental soundtracks are not exactly my idea of everyday listening, I found 'Visions' to be extremely fascinating. Mainly, it was my experience that developed that feeling, along with Steven's musical brilliance! The first time I attempted to listen to these recordings, I was driving to work. I realized shortly thereafter, that this *was not* my type of driving music, but listened to it nonetheless. Once I had finished, I felt rather moved, but really couldn't explain why at the time. I didn't end up listening to it again, until several weeks later.
Before listening to it the second time around, I decided to read the liner notes and became even more intrigued. In by doing so, I learned that Steven had written these songs based upon a script he was given without a dialog. His inspiration was based solely on a quote used in the preface of the script. The quote left me awe struck, feeling somewhat reminiscent of the how I had felt the first time listening, but was unable to identify. The quote is rather long, and worth reading, but I will leave that a mystery to the reader, invoking a minor attempt to promote further intrigue of this particular work!
The next session of listening to "Visions" was particularly mood provoking. I felt that between the quote, what little knowledge I had of St. Teresa, and the track titles, almost as if I was visualizing the movie in my mind. Maybe it was influenced by the quote, but regardless, Steven's sound-scapes and song titles portray the story, as I would imagine it, had I been watching the film itself...
"Visions" is comprised of mood setting and under the right conditions, thought provoking melodies which Steven's ability to manipulate sound implies to his audience. The music uses the looping of varying tones created on the synth and reverbances of many different layers to convey this feeling. Martin McCarrick, a former fellow Banshee, contributed the Cello sounds you will hear in these works as well. Although the music is soft, and somewhat subdued, Steven doesn't have any problem expressing to the audience the mood that might well go along with the scene or track title. I found myself continuously feeling one way, then referring to the liner notes to take note of the particular track I was listening to, and found myself in agreement with the mood. To fully describe this album would be unjust, as I think each person's interpretations could and will vary. The album is mellow yet invigorating. I highly recommend taking some time for yourself; open a bottle of wine, and letting go, while "Visions" takes you on a journey. Nigel must have known what Steven would bring to life, when he asked him to write the soundtrack for his film.
It looks like Steven has a knack for the ebb and flow or yin and yang of musical projects. Yet again, Maldoror is another project that began in 1993, overcame obstacles, only to unite again for completion and release in1999. Maldoror is Steven's second solo instrumental project and first in the RE: Play series. This album was originally written for Os Satyros's theater production of "Chants de Maldoror". Steven met Saytros in 1993 and by 1994 had already written three tracks for the production. Steven traveled back and forth to Portugal for rehearsals and wrote an additional two tracks. Satyros's Theatre group had to move back to Brazil, due to lack of funding, consequently losing contact with each other and by a twist of fate, Steven contacted them by running a search on the internet, four years later, and they started rehearsals for Maldoror once again. Maldoror has been performed twice in Brazil; performances were in 1998, and then again in 1999. Again, I will save the plot of the play to the audience to further investigate. I can say that based upon my findings, we can only hope that this play makes it to the states someday! The plot reminds me somewhat of the works of Poe, Gorey, and Shakespeare's darker pieces.
All of the recordings for Maldoror were created using the computer, there are many different types of instruments included in the production of this work that the listener will hear, and even though computer evolved, are quite genius in the orchestration of the presentation. Many of the sounds you will hear in this works include, but are not limited to: bassy piano chords, the violin using both staccato and plucking violin strings rather than using the bow, percussions such as bells, some drumming, organ pipes, rattling and many others. Again, the music varies, but is intense in many ways
The first track, "Prelude: Europa" uses many sounds to set the mood, but the one that stands out most was a fast paced heartbeat type placement of sound, which felt as if it was building some type of mood and response from the audience. There are some underlying chants occurring in the first track as well, and some noted sampling in other tracks. The 3rd track "Theme #1", is eerie yet uplifting with lots of re-looping of simple, yet at times complex sounds. Track 5, "Crushed (The Glow Worm)" uses sampling, the looping of sounds, along with really complex textures with an amazing underlying background music using sounds which are similar to bells, organ pipes and rattling. Track 6 "Head of Rain", consists of distorted clock chimes, bells, synthy samples and looping, along with repetitious haunting melodies making use of more chime orientated phrases. Steven's work for Maldoror is a masterpiece when it comes to a newer, alternative look at the production of new artistic design and talent in an older medium of entertainment!
RE:garding The Woman in the Dunes~
"The Woman in the Dunes" is the second work in the RE: Play series. Shakti & the VasantaMala Dance Company commissioned Severin, for the production of the music for this dance representation of Woman in the Dunes. The Women in the Dunes, is based on a novel by Kobo Abe. The only guidelines for Severin' work on this particular piece, was that the music shape the scenes from the story. Steven's only preparation before entering the studio, one week later was to review the last two pages of Shakti's preliminary notes, his knowledge of the book, and a film version put out in 1964. The world premiere of Woman in the Dunes was in May of 2000, with performances in France and Scotland from July to August of last year to follow. There are also discussions of a performance in Japan set for February 2, 2002, almost a year from now!
The works of The Woman in the Dunes is
much more upbeat than the other two works reviewed in this feature. Severin
seems to have mastered the art of envelope looping, using deep, consistent
musical phrases, which are a little bit more upbeat than his other features,
yet it is still pulling off a mood to be set, and again, provoking thought,
creativity and mystery in the listener. Track 4, "The Dance of Eros" is
rich and reminiscent of Siouxsie undertones with hints of a somewhat "Lunar
Camel" type style to the piece. I also found it similar to some earlier
works by This Mortal Coil's self-titled album. Oddly enough, I have discovered
while writing this feature that more people who have reviewed Steven's
work, felt that Siouxsie fans would find Maldoror more reminiscent of his
work with Siouxsie. I feel the opposite and find those feelings when listening
to this release more so. Especially in track 6, "Dance of Ecstasy" and
track 4 "Dance of Eros". Often times I felt a small twist of influences
from Love and Rockets, "Hot Trip to Heaven" as well, especially in
track 7, "The Sunset". The L&R reference could be completely the mood,
which was set from this work, maybe taking me to a place where it reminded
me of the other, but regardless, the mood took me to the same place. Track
5, "I Put a Spell on You" was recorded with Jarboe for vocals and using
a piano piece written by Nick Pagan of the Changelings. The tantalizing
voice of Jarboe, combined with the piano works of Nick and Steven's
subtle rolling synthetic sounds, proves to be one of the best songs on
this album and definitely one of the better covers of this song I have
RE: The Interview~
Catherinna: What inspired your new musical direction?
Steven: It's hardly "new" - the ground work for 'Visions' began back in 1989. I've always had the influence of instrumental music right throughout the Banshees. From 1969 onwards - starting with Terry Riley's 'A Rainbow in Curved Air' then on to John Cage, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Wim Mertens and of course, Glenn Branca.
Catherinna: What did you do doing your break from the Banshees, before starting your own project?
Steven: I deliberately took a year out then my girlfriend got pregnant so one year became two. I did a bit of writing for the Guardian in the meantime and hatched a plot.
Catherinna: What does 2001 have in store for you and RE: in general?
Steven: Working hard on the first 'outside' RE:lease:- Alan Moore's "Highbury Working" and it's follow-up and developing other projects/artists for the label. As for myself, my book "The Twelve Revelations" has just arrived @ the publishers ONEIROS so that's top of the agenda. Later in the year I will be producing a Martyn Jacques/Tiger Lillies album of Jacques Brel/Edith Piaf songs and completing my two unfinished albums "ErosPlusMassacre" and "Diary of a Vanishing girl". I've also been approached to work on a Kenneth Anger tribute project which should it happen, will be very exciting. It will give me the opportunity to work with a variety of interesting collaborators. I'd like to complete two other projects:- an EP with Jarboe & a Severin vs. Black Dog RE:lease.
Catherinna: You are now working with several different types of media, were these types of media planned, or a spontaneous result of your artistic direction?
Steven: If you have any success or exposure with your work you have to master many different 'media'. The nature of culture is that to bloom - you have to adapt. You need skills to deal with the press, the medium of video, the business, live performance and the constant demands of an evolving digital music technology that mutates the way music is created, delivered, consumed and appreciated. Given all that, it is sometimes a real thrill just to put pen to paper!
Catherinna: What is the status of your newest album 'Eros plus massacre'? and What can we expect from it?
Steven: It's about half complete. In other words - it's festering - I don't know what to expect yet. I like to leave things for a time until they force their way back to the forefront of my attention.
Catherinna: You recently worked w/ Jarboe and Nick Pagan of the Changelings for your cover of "I put a Spell on You" How did you come to work with the both of them and do you like the Changelings?
Steven: Jarboe's choice of pianist. I have no knowledge of "The Changelings".
Catherinna: Rumor has it that you will be working with Jarboe on the 'Living Jarboe' project is this true? If so, tell us about it.
Steven: Not sure where you heard this but I'm the bass player in Jarboe's 'Dream band". There was talk of doing the Treffen festival with Bill Rieflin on drums. That would have been very cool but it's a logistic nightmare so it has amounted to nothing, so far.
Catherinna: If you could collaborate w/ one person, who would it be?
Steven: Brian Eno - 20 years ago.
Catherinna: You played bass w/ the Banshees for 20 years. Do you still pick it up from time to time or does it sit dormant in your flat?
Steven: My three year old daughter likes to get it out and bash it. I have little to no interest.
Catherinna: Late last year it was alluded to that Polydor was finally getting their heads out of their asses and were going to release a box set of b-sides etc for the 25th anniversary. Are you able to elaborate any more on this such as what we may see and a release time-table?
Steven: First there will be a greatest hits compilation in order to seduce the young 'uns and RE:mind everyone else how spectacular the Banshees ARE. That will probably have a limited edition CD attached with The Thorn & some 12” mixes. The box set comes later. Universal/Polydor have to be convinced of our continuing worth in the market place. Crazy but true.
Catherinna: Have you heard the Massive Attack song "Superpredators" which borrows heavily from the song "Metal Postcard" and what are your thoughts on it if you have heard it?
Steven: Of course I've heard it - had to agree to let them use it! I think it works great in the movie (in fact the opening credits are the best part of 'The Jackal' - the rest stinks)
Catherinna: What work are you most proud of and/or satisfied with?
Steven: Most of it - I think the catalogue is very strong and getting stronger.
Catherinna: What do you do in your spare time? Or do you have any spare time?
Steven: see below
Catherinna: Sex or foreplay?
Steven: kiss me...
Final thoughts for Catherinna: Blush, if only ;)
I want to personally thank Starvox and Steven Severin for allowing me to write this feature. It was quite a challenge, and I know that I will never rest feeling completely assured that I have represented Steven as he so truly deserves ! His works both in the past, present and looking into the future, should be inspirational to all of us who desire to grow artistically. Please check out the RE website @ www.stevenseverin.com. I know I will personally be looking forward to hearing any new solo musical pieces and collaborations with others, as well as reading Steven's poetry, and anything new and relevant to RE. Keep up the amazing work and serius kudos to you and your visions!
Dj Mistress Catherinna