THE FANZINE THAT FEATURES SMALL AND UNSIGNED BANDS
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
INTERVIEW WITH ANDI SEX GANG
Thanks to Dark Entries magazine some childhooddream comes a bit true as I am able to interview people whom I really admire and as it is all kind of important in my life I wanna share them with you on these pages too, in their original form. I guess most of you need no introduction to know who Andi Sex Gang is or was. Andi is the man behind Sex Gang Children, one of the founders of the gothscene. I am absolutely proud I could do this chat with Andi. With the greatest respect there is….
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEX GANG CHILDREN THEN AND NOW, YOU THINK?
Everything and nothing! In spirit..nothing has changed..in circumstance..nothing has changed, we're still seen as outsiders. We have never thought about what is good for the career..we have just always followed what felt right to do musically at any given time..and over the years, whenever members of the band doubted that simply philosophical rule, when their spirit faltered and became corrupted, then they ceased to become part of SGC. We've always had to fight for position..we've always had to fight in order to do what we wanted to do, so we've always lived in that siege mentality..but there never was or ever will be any question about conforming to fit in. Artists are not performing monkeys for big business and not bound by fickle market forces and commercial tastes. You NEVER compromise your art!
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING THERE WAS ONLY ONE ALBUM IN THE HIGH DAYS, “SONG AND LEGEND”. CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY IT HAS SO MUCH IMPACT ON THE SCENE? APART FROM THE FACT THAT IT’S A BRILLIANT ALL TIME CLASSIC OF COURSE….
I appreciate that compliment, but it's not the only album. However, on the subject of Song and Legend, it does have a timeless raw energy and speed of flow about it and an urgent sense of spontaneity and that's exactly how it was made. It's like a Max Beckmann painting crossed with a cubist Picasso..jagged, geometric and harsh, yet rich in colour, layer and form..and there you have it! However, that same spirit and application was applied to all of the SGC and ASG albums, just in different ways. For example, the follow up album to Song and Legend, 'Blind!'.. which for another generation was their introduction to all things Sex Gang..had more of a cinematic feel to it, more layered and baroquial..and in many ways more accomplished in it's idiosynchratic song style..it was the next step up in the Sex Gang evolutionary ladder..but you don't need me to talk about the music..it either speaks for itself, or it doesn't. The main and most important thing to know here is that Song and Legend and all the albums that followed, were made with a total sense of freedom, adventure..and risk.. or as I like to call it.. 'the beautiful challenge'.
IAN ASTBURY ONCE TOLD THAT YOU CREATED THE GOTH-IMAGE… JUST A STORY OR IS IT LIKE THAT?
I normally avoid this question...so I'll be brief. The story he related is true.. but no one person creates anything solely..and to be honest, I have no real idea to the degree of impact I may or may not have had on the modern Goth scene.
YOU WERE AT THE CRADLE OF THE GOTHSCENE IN THE 80’S. DO YOU THINK THAT TODAY IN 2010 A SCENE LIKE THAT CAN BE CREATED AS WELL? I MEAN SO MANY PEOPLE SEEM TO BE SO NARROWMINDED THESE DAYS….
There are and always have been narrow minded people..and there'll always be creatively open ones. I agree, we have regressed as a society..we have become more slavish to consumerist convention.. and big business now has more control than ever before.. with a more subtle stranglehold on individual creativity like never before. However, look at it this way..the bigger struggle, the greater the glory. Yes, I absolutely do believe something new and creative can be done today..but it must be done for the right reasons and then with the right application. Ask yourself.."do I really want to do this and why do I want to do it?" If you have a fire that burns deeep inside you..the desire and motivation to change all that needs to be changed..then be an Artist. The greater the control, the more the mediocrity...then even more reason for art..good art..not insipid, self indulged and cliched, but heartfelt, pure and raw in emotion..now..more than ever! Remember.. 'the beautiful challenge'.
YOU WERE A BAND WHO WEREN’T AFRAID TO SAY SOMETHING, EXPRESS THE INNERFEELING EVEN IF IT SHOCKED THE CONSERVATIVE ONES. IF YOU LOOK 30 YEARS LATER, IT SEEMED THAT IT WAS A REVOLUTION FOR NOTHING…. I MEAN LOOK AT OUR SOCIETY NOW! YOU CAN START IT ALL OVER J
No..it was not a revolution for nothing.. if only one person is inspired by it..then it is worth everything. Cultural revolution is so important..now more than ever. Revolutions with guns are fast becoming obsolete..for various reasons that I won't go into now. The new revolutions will be cultural..without them we descend into our lowerselves..'untermensch'. I do not exaggerate when I say there really is a war for the hearts, minds and souls of all people. It's a war that's always been with us and it's a never ending war. Those who hold the reigns of power, those who would keep us culturally in the Dark Ages, they fear such revolutions. Let them be afraid.
I GUESS I CAN SAY YOU WERE IDEALISTS BACK THEN, STILL NOW TODAY OR IS IT CASE OF “SO WHAT ABOUT IT?” THESE DAYS?
Nothing has changed.. we're still idealists..and we'll die idealists. I cannot think of a better way to live.
YOU ARE SEEN AS A GOTHICON, BUT ISN’T THAT IMAGE KIND OF DISTURBING FOR YOU?
I MEAN THE MUSICPRESS TAKES EVERYTHING POSSIBLE EXCEPT THE GOTHSCENE….
What matters is who you really are. If the music press chooses to be blind on something, then isn't it better that they don't see it?
BEING GOTH DOES MEAN BEING DIFFERENT, BUT IN ALL SENSES I GUESS, NOT ONLY CLOTHWISE…. WHAT DOES GOTH MEAN TO YOU AND ISN’T IT VERY RELATED TO THE PUNKSPIRIT?
Yes..it is related to the punk spirit because it is about true individualism, a rebellion against the norm. It incorporates a love and respect for the arts..films, books..philosophy.. and all things avant garde. A love and thirst of knowledge..and a healthy curiosity towards the unknown. Most importantly..it's about being true to who you are..knowing what you like and what don't like.. and being yourself.
JUST LIKE VIRGIN PRUNES YOU WERE FLIRTING WITH THE AVANT GARDE. CAN YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF DOING SOMETHING LIKE THE THINGS GAVIN FRIDAY IS DOING THESE DAYS?
I'm not really familiar with the music Gavin is up to these days..but I'm sure it's interesting! I have alot of respect for that man.
YOU ALSO WERE, OF COURSE, INVOLVED IN THE BATCAVECLUB. WAS IT REALLY THAT REVOLUTIONARY OR HAS A LOT OF THINGS BEING MADE UP?
The Batcave was definitely a central attraction as a club where like minded lovers of music could gravitate to. That club fed a scene that had already emerged and established itself as a new and influential force in the U.K. and those musicians needed somewhere to hang out, and the Batcave came along and provided that haven..and the music and atmosphere was great.We played a secret gig at the Batcave once, in it's very early days, because they asked us..and as I used to go to the club socially in the beginning, I agreed to do that show. However, there was no association official or otherwise between SGC and the Batcave..we were not one of the Batcave bands, we just became friendly with the guys who ran it. Other bands chose to come under that umbrella..maybe they felt they needed to..I really don't know.. but we stood alone on our own ground..we always had..it's as simple as that.
APART FOR BEING A MUSICIAN, YOU ARE ALSO INVOLVED IN ART. CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?
Yes I still paint..I have loads of finished artwork just sitting round my apartment doing nothing! I paint in waves..flurries of creative energy..then I work really fast..fast and furious. Time permitting..I intend to paint more and maybe even exhibit again. I first started to paint and draw around the age of three. Had my first official exhibition when I was about four and a half.. I was very serious about it then..it was my tool of expression. Then music became my chosen tool..it's much more multi faceted..and it's the most frontline of all art mediums..and that definitely suits and satisfies my personality more. I'm not really a typical musician..I don't like to sit and play for the sake of playing an instrument. I'm a bit of a fascist when it comes to instruments..they are purely just a tool to translate the music in my head.. and I use them more like a paintbrush anyway.
DO YOU THINK MUSIC HAS TO BE SEEN AS ART?
It is an artform..one of, if not the most, potent of all artforms!
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS YOU’RE STILL AROUND. WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW, TRYING TO CONVINCE A NEW AUDIENCE OR GIVING THE OLD ONES A SORT OF HAPPY FEELING BY YOU BEING BACK?
Apart from my spell in a U.S. jail, I didn't realise I'd been away! Aside from that, I'm doing what has to be done..it's what I have to do. Take it or leave it.
ONE OF THE MAIN ELEMENTS THAT GOT YOU SO INFLUENTIAL AND POPULAR WERE THOSE TRIBAL DRUMS. HOW DID YOU COME TO THAT IDEA?
Influences from around..(early Adam and the Ants/Theatre of Hate) triggered the root of using heavy drums..but early SGC drums were more pounding and throbbing than tribal..and that's because the songs suited a more heavy drum. I spent many hours in the rehearsal room with Rob Stroud building up those drum parts, beat by beat and gap by gap and it might sound non-sensical to you, but the gaps were the most important part of those beats..gaps MAKE the beat! Drums are more like scissors..and must be used accordingly. The drums played to the song..not the other way around.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM SEX GANG CHILDREN ON STAGE IN 2010?
Alot of songs from the new album that due for release later this year.
YOU SOON WILL BE PLAYING AT THE GOTHIC FESTIVAL IN WAREGEM. THERE CERTAINLY WILL BE BANDS THERE WHO ARE INFLUENCED BY YOUR MUSIC, SO HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE SOME KIND OF GODFATHER THEN?
It's funny, but I really don't see myself like that. I feel I have contributed no more and no less than I was supposed to..and I feel my job is definitely not over yet..that's for sure. If any bands have been and continue to be in some way influenced by SGC..then it makes the argument for continuing the struggle with your art all the more important.
BEING MYSELF A HUGE GOTHFAN I ALWAYS HAVE TO EXPLAIN IT, SO NOW IT’S UP TO YOU ANDI… WHAT’S SO ATTRACTIVE OF LOVING THE DARK SIDE OF LIFE?
There's no concrete explanation! It's just the way one is..surely not? Well, what can I say..personally I've always been attracted to that 'dark side of life'..and I've never questioned it. There is a certain melancholic pathos to be found there.. and that's a very important and necessary ingredient in our make up. I've always known what I like..and what I don't. Simple as that. . RESPECT ANDI….