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The following interview takes place on November 1999 in Los Angeles, prior to Brendan Perry's performance at the El Ray Theatre. Brian (MidEvlMan) and Ryan (caduceus) are present with Brendan Perry at the Hotel:
Brian: what is the intent of your music now, beyond DCD now? Where is it going?
Brendan: I think that its sort of that I don't follow the music, the music sort of leads, I don't sit down and make a conception plan of the way its going to be and try and produce music that fulfills that grand plan.
Brian: But you have a sense of how your albums have themes to them, you just have Jazz and Techno.
Brendan: Sure, but that is a general sense of arrangements, that's in the background, I don't like to control it too much because the albums are generally created within a time continuum. There is a style and form of arrangement that creates it itself BECAUSE there is the constraints of the time continuum. They are not Operas, they are not Symphonies, they don't work in acts - if you really look into it them are not arranged that way. They are like portals into the context of the right time, any given time. The music is the guide, for me in that sense you know, I follow the emotional leaning towards the music at any given time that leads me to explore that. I don't have too much of a fixed notion of where I am going. In an exploratory sense I just plop myself in the middle of a jungle and work my way out to try find home. Its like being parachuted into the sublime territory of the subliminal consciousness and then finding my way out of that. Its not like: "Yes I want to go to the North Pole, and I go by way of sea or land to arrive there is like the universe of that.
Brian: Do you have like an exploratory sense on your next CD? It might be faster or...?
Brendan: I'm really not sure really, there is always a few notes of experimentalism, just absolute wantonness of abandonment. The throw myself into the music and sound. That's fundamental, the source of the vibration is the stimulus. Experimentation is with lots instruments whether electronic or acoustic.
Ryan: A lot of people on the mailing list have been commenting how this last album is voice oriented, vocal - singing meaning to the words, while other albums you focus a lot on the percussion.
Brendan: Yeah, I wanted to get back to songwriting, celebrating lyricism. It seems to me that a lot of contemporary music today lyricism has taken a backseat in terms of the importance of the music. Its very dance orientated with a beat, instrumental. The vocal doesn't figure into it, its just like vocalization.. if you really sit down and listen to what is being said, its just crass. Its not imparting meaning.. why use words, just use the verse of an instrument. You are not actually seeing something that has meaning, there is a conscious need to sit down and work things out lyrically with a direct relationship with the English language.
Brian: With DCD you created a very new and unique style of music and now that its history and the music is no longer yours to continue, do you want to top that music?
Brendan: <<< shakes head >>>
Brian: How do you plan to deal with DCD fans expectations and desires? How do you differentiate yourself from DCD.
Brendan: first of all, in order to please others, you have to please yourself first. If I'm not turned on by what I am doing, I think its relative and important, then there is no way I am going to offer up that music for people, an "audience". ummm.. Its ummm... if I was making music that was about entertainment, then yeah, I would consider my audiences wishes and I would become part of the fashionable aspects of the entertainment industry and give what the audience demands and that's not what I am about.
Brian: Have you studied any spiritual disciplines/traditions and if so which one (s)?
Brendan: yeah.. uh.. many, many, many.
Brian: A lot of people want to know what *really* happened with the breakup of DCD
Brendan: I don't think so. <<<< laughing >>>> And that part you realllllly want to know?
Brian: How would you compare your EYE OF THE HUNTER with your previous work?
Brendan: Its uhh... there's no comparison really.
Brian: How would you describe the music of this album?
Brendan: Reflective, someone looking into a mirror, coming to terms with their past, present and future... its a real crossroads of experience for me. to impart a state of mind.
Brendan: Yeah, songs like slow, certainly, its kind of like a mixed emotional bag of my Father, he had a stoke , he's had several stokes, last one was really bad, it effected his speech and now he's partially paralyzed. It like all of a sudden its like someone you have know all of your life cant communicate anymore. Its like Gobbily-gouk. And uh..
Brian: Does he live far from you?
Brendan: Not far, no not far, about 40 minutes drive. So yeah, its a song about my father and my self's relationship.
Brian: Are you going to return/remake any Early DCD music?
Brendan: Umm.. No.... not really. The first album was a disappointment production wise. I thought the songs were really strong, but I like the music. There was always a thought in the back of my mind, "yeah it would be really nice to re-record that".. but there is a sense of the spirit of the time, you can never get that back, it would always be different, it would always be 90's record as opposed to an 80's album. And what's the point ya know? I feel like you gotta move on.
Brendan: Did you hear about Price? Because he didn't get the copyrights to his songs he is going to re-record everything he has done in the past (some ridiculous nonsense) <<< laugh >>> Its like: "Get a life, come on".
Brian: From the song "The Carnival is over" and "Into the Labyrinth" there is a line "the procession moves on, the shouting is over". This also the opening line verbatim from a Joy Division song called "The Eternal" from the 1980's... this guy has always wondered if that was an accident or an homage to Ian Curtis?
Brendan: <<< chuckle >>> Yeah, there are homage lines, you'll find them in several songs.
Brian: So they are taken directly from Joy Division?
Brendan: Yeah, there are references in there. Joy Division is a huge influence. Sometimes Ian Curtis's lyrics have become so ingrained that sometimes I'm kinda caught in like "wow, that's in there, its such a strong line - sometimes I kinda forget, that's not my line - I've heard that before. Its sublimation, a subliminal kinda context of undercover. There I realize its kinda there and I kinda create it in a dream process.
Brian: What do you think of the word "Goth". What does that mean to you?
Brendan: Its a misnomer. If you put it in the context the way the Christian Church used it in the middle ages, anything that was uncivilized, any gothic influence was uncivilized of not of Christianity.. what its come to represent is some strange obsession with iconography. Some kind of strange sublimation medieval, cloistered and bordering on the vampirical - Children of the night. And... what that has to do with music is beyond me. Its vague, its nondescript, its all about fashion and clothes and makeup and hair, then it has to do with any music movement that has a philosophy and credo and ethos attached to it.
Brian: Have you contributed specifically to Peter Ulrich's Album? Are the two of you planning to work together in the future?
Brendan: Well, there are no plans on working on Peter's next album. We haven't spoken about it.
Brian: You have said about INTO THE LABYRINTH that Mr. Lovegrove that he is you, is that true?
Brendan: Oh yeah yeah.. its sort of old biographical
Brian: In SPIRITCHASER, there is a song that has a distinctive South American flavor, while in your new album, we hear Jazz. Do you have a personal interest in any of these styles?
Brendan: I'm not a great fan of Jazz music. There is Jazz elements, but its more like swing.
Brian: You said you grew up with like Sinatra and the like?
Brendan: Yeah yeah, uh.. my father was brilliant on singing .
Brian: Many of your songs from the DCD era and from the EYE OF THE HUNTER carry a sense of depth and feeling that make them so special. Is this your intention from the start to share these feelings with the listeners, to expose those feelings?
Brendan: That's where the source comes from anyways, its an emotional depth, feeling that wells up. Getting into kinda like musical production itself blossoms from that. Without that, it wouldn't exist, the music. There are music with witch I am less satisfied because they don't have those qualities because they have been overworked. And they have been looked at pretty much a mathematical and scientific way. And there is too much technology in the whole process and you loose the original source, the emotional context that makes the music - and there is music being produced on albums that is like that which is less satisfying. Essentially, you know, being true to the source I think is important. It adds depth and meaning.
Brian: Will you continue to make use of little know tribal instruments or are your artist directions now more firmly rooted in traditional European instruments?
Brendan: No, this is like a guessing game, "what's he going to do next"?
Brian: I think that's what people really want to know. They want to know where you are going to revisit and where you are at.
Brendan: Its so unpredictable, I really don't know. I have all these instruments and I will get down on occasion and play them.
Brian: Well SPIRITCHASER was kind of a shock. I remember the first time I played it, they had a $50,000 stereo system in the store I bought it in and in the beginning of SPIRITCHASER there is a "rurrr , rurrrr" and I thought I broke something.
<<<<< laughing >>>>>>
Brian: Have you considered starting a label of your own?
Brendan: Umm.. Yes.
Ryan: Curious what it would be called?
Brendan: Its was going to be called BIG TREE. It never happened.
Brian: Have you made use of your studios in Quivey Church besides Peter Ulrich?
Brendan: Yeah, Hector Zazou, I've done work with him.
Brian: Planning on working with anyone else in the near future?
Brendan: No, I am not really into the commercial aspects of it.
Brian: Oh, you mean in terms of $200 a hour?
Brendan: Exactly. its just with friends or people or music I like. I want to help them out if they don't have a record deal or financial clout. If I believe in their music strongly enough I will get involved and help them the best I can. I am not a great collaborator, I don't enjoy collaborations too much. Its either the master or the slave and I'll be the slave to their Idea and do what they want me to do. Or I'll be the master and just do it. I cant do the in between stuff, "what do you think of this? I dunno" creation by delegation and committee.
Brendan: I got a friend coming up to my room, I gotta go meet him there.
Brian: Allrighty, lets go.