Interview with Andi Sex Gang

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Interview with Andi Sex Gang by Kris Prudhomme

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Photo: Lucie Jansch

Andi Sex Interview by Kris Prudhomme 1-13-2014

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Photo: Lucie Jansch

  • Hello Andi, to start off, how have you been?

I am bored with rock n’ roll, it has become obsolete.. shoot down

those fuckers who live in the past..there is no time for self

indulgent fantasies now, there is no room in this House for self

aggrandisement! We are at war for the hearts and minds of all!!”

I am fine thank you and I hope all is good in your garden too.

  • I just recently finished watching Bastard Art, the film chronicling your life starting from the very beginning of your musical career to the present, I have to say I was surprised to learn that you were a squatter at one point, which brings to mind the question, did you ever cross paths with future founders of the Crass-associated Dial House?(aka Penny Rimbaud or Eve Libertine etc) I know you were involved in the punk scene starting out and had a few bands, I imagine like most acts at the time it helped give you the nerve to keep fighting in a music scene that could be fickle at times?

No, as far as I remember, I did not cross paths with those two. I

was involved in a totally different circle of people altogether and

that squatting group were hardcore militants. A mish mash of

individuals, ex bikers, extreme left wing party activists, and a

couple of guys who had past affiliate connections with the IRA. This

group I was involved in employed extreme direct action and when

necessary extreme violent force and that didn’t sit too well the other

organised squatting groups. In our defence we were fighting against

State institutions that employed violent methods at the drop of a hat

and such action as far as we were concerned, invited an equal

reaction. That was the way things were then, it was a way of life for

us..survival. The question you’ve got to ask yourself is this, you

either take it up the arse and do nothing or you fight back.

As for my nerve and resolve, well that had always been with me since I

was a child. My later experience with militant politics gave me good

insight as to dealing with forces that had superior power and

unlimited means at their disposal. So challenging a fatted and corrupt

music industry that abused it’s position and power, was really not a

problem. They were ‘soft as shite’  as we say in old Blighty, but as

for dealing with fickle tastes, well I really wasn’t qualified and

didn’t know how to deal with that. The only thing that is constant is

the fire that burns inside and you must stay close and true to it,

regardless of fickle tastes and changing attitudes. You’ve just got to

see it through.

  • I’ve seen from your work over the years that you like applying yourselves at different mediums and have done spoken word, do you usually prefer more stream of consciousness or something more pointed and with themes?

Whatever takes my fancy at the time really, but actually it’s the

snapshot of expression that dictates the flow of where I go with

something and I never question the direction of that flow, I just

follow my instinct. You can never control the desire to be conscious

or subconscious, it just happens and however it turns out at any given

time..well, just follow it!

I love doing spoken word with music, there is a different freedom to

it than say rehearsing and recording with a band, it is much more

direct and spontaneous. However, some music pieces should to be done

with your trusted companions.

  • After another viewing of the film, it seems that working with staff and management from various labels over the years, including Cleopatra, has left a sour taste in your mouth as well as in the mouths of several of your contemporaries, I suppose it’s no surprise then that a lot of bands want to self release? The main complaint I’ve heard is that bands usually end up in a situation where they have to wrestle away the rights to their own music and then there’s the second struggle to see dime one from any sales made on their music, evidenced by your anecdotes on bad deals dealt to you, what’s your take on this?

Around the late 1980’s, I obtained the rights to all my earlier

material and from that point onwards kept the rights to my new

material, licensing my music to record labels rather than selling

outright. Those moves were the best thing I could have done for

financial independence. I still got ripped off afterwards of course by

labels that I licensed to (with the exception of Cherry Red and

Jungle..as far as I know), but at least owning the ‘family silver’

made everything simpler legally.

With Cleopatra, problem I had with Brian Perera, who owns the label,

was in the way he marketed.. I thought it lacked dignity and taste.

Making fast bucks started to dominate his original ethic and love of

music. Also getting some little minion to write an interview piece for

a mag under my fucking name! It got worse. After I licensed some of my

work to Triple X (his main rival) he did everything to make life

difficult for me, including blocking a distribution deal for my own

releases with the company who distributed Cleopatra. It was all agreed

and ready to sign and then he made his move. After that, so far I was

concerned it was total fucking war. So I sent him a message, a pair of

crutches delivered to his door and hunted him at every opportunity that

availed itself to me. What can I say, I’m not very good at turning the

other cheek.

However, now it is a very different situation for musicians including

myself. Now the internet is the big record store and it doesn’t

discriminate. I say go the self release route..online/hard copy or

both whatever it takes, whatever is available within your means and

reach..keep your costs to a minimum and get your Art out there! One

can argue, ‘yeah easy enough for you to say, you’ve got a reputation

and an audience’.. not when I started I didn’t.. but, before you do

any of that, if you are starting out..first question you ask yourself

is this.. ‘do I believe in my own music?’ Because if you don’t, no-one

else will. It all starts with the music..and that has to be a relevant

expression of yourself. Without that original ingredient, nothing else

matters really.

  • Alright, I’ve gotten a few fan questions from people who’d like to hear from you, “Dancingmoonlight” on vampirefreaks wants to know what inspired you musically and in other mediums and what projects are you working on for future release at the moment?

 Hello Dancingmoonlight. As a small child I was musically inspired

by some of the all time greats, Edith Piaf, Johnny Cash, Leonard

Cohen, The Kinks. My mother’s record collection was just about the

most important education I could have had at the time. Then through

time, I made my own discoveries, T. Rex, David Bowie, Roxy Music, Eno,

Sex Pistols, early Ants, Joy Division, PIL. to name but a few.

However, it doesn’t end there..I am constantly coming across

stuff..old and new that inspires.

oh yeah..and I love the way Tom Waits makes records, there is such a

sense of freedom to his whole feel and sound.

In other mediums as far as Painters go, Otto Dix, Max Beckmann, Marc

Chagale, Picasso..to name but a few. The medium of film has also been

a great influence on me. I like Nick Roeg, Ken Loach, Jean Cocteau,

Luis Bunuel, Jan Svankmajer, Werner Herzog, Bernardo Bertolucci..to

name but a few.

New releases? I have just completed a new solo album, however I need

to remix some tracks on that which I shall do when I return from

Japan. The next album is already written, but no scheduled start date

as yet for recording on that one. I also am working on a follow up to

my Dracula audio book cd. I’ve chosen ‘Jeckyll and Hyde‘..such a

brilliant book.

  • From “DeadBettie” also on vampirefreaks.com, she would like to know what is your favorite book?

Hey DeadBettie.. George Orwell‘s 1984 without a doubt. There are

other great books I have enjoyed over the years such as ‘Perfume‘, ‘A

Greek Anthology‘, ‘Dracula‘ ‘Frankenstein‘ and ‘Jeckyll & Hyde‘ of

course, and everything by Charles Dickens. However, 1984 for me still

sits at the very top of that great mountain of literature as an all

important piece of work. It is poetic in it’s ‘newspeak’ way and

forever modern in that sense. It is brutal in a way that was never

before conceived or expressed.. and most importantly, it was truly

prophetic.

  • Lastly out of the fan questions, Franki from Houston, TX wants to know if you have any tours coming up soon or new music coming out and also, what bands have you been listening to lately that have you caught your eyes and ears?

Hi Franki from Houston. Yes, there are a couple of live shows

coming up. Next week we’re playing 2 shows in Tokyo, then in May we’re

doing a ‘Celebration of 30 years of art attack‘ in the UK and a couple

of European shows. As mentioned above, there are new releases planned

soon.

Lately, I have been listening to Nurse with Wound, Agnes Burnelle, the

Tiger Lilies new album and early PIL..as always.

  • Ok, I know in recent years you have done work with the likes of Lucas Lanthier from the Deadfly Ensemble and Cinema Strange, considering there has been a resurgence in acts that echo the sound and sensibilities of the early post punk scene leading into goth rock (early 80’s before it went hard rock) and deathrock , does it make easier to form collaborations when you see these younger artists coming to understand the musical influences that shaped your formative years? i.e. they know what you’re talking about when you reference certain bands or sounds so you don’t have to explain it to them as much combined with what things that you’ve developed.

Collaborations in themselves mean nothing unless there is a strong

enough reason to do it. With Lucas, he felt like a fellow comrade in

the spiritual and artistic sense, so we were very like minded in that

regard, so it figured that we would share similar cultural tastes.

True enough though, there was very little if any explanation needed

for referencing sounds, ideas, pieces., and it is always good to get a

younger generations’ perspective..everyone brings to the party.. you

know what I mean? I have often learnt from younger people, I have

children and I learn from them.. all the time! It doesn’t matter how

many lives you’ve lived you never cease to learn. There are so many

things that are still as yet unseen to me..what I’m saying is..it’s a

never ending story of discovery.

  • I have to ask you as a sort of elder statesman of dark music, you see some bands worrying more about a look or style before focusing on content and substance , is it better to have a definite stage presence even if this includes strong visual representation as long as there is a “soul” to the music or is it more important to worry about content above all before even considering what someone is going to see when you perform? It’s well known that you enjoy theatrics and have a dynamic stage presence but the lyrics still bite which adds weight.

The music and lyrics dominate the representation of the whole

visual presence onstage, The performance is totally dictated by the

songs represented.

Without soul in one’s music there is no point to it. It will just be

another shallow, superficial piece and all the make up in the world

cannot hide that. You cannot lie with music, that’s the beauty of it.

It’s the most potent of all art forms and possibly the most expressive

too and that’s why it is important to expand the boundaries of that

beautifully expressive art form, further than ever before..we need

that..the world needs that. Music must never stagnate, it’s a fluid

energy. It is a never ending journey of exploration and whatever we

do, it’s never enough. Always search out new horizons.

  • Lastly, is there anything else in regards to your music and the younger generation that you would like to impart to steer them towards their own path in music?

If you have a vision, then stay true to that vision and see it

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Photo: Lucie Jansch

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Live photos of Andi Sex Gang at WGT provided by DJ Jason

 

 

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2 Responses to Interview with Andi Sex Gang

  1. necromos February 20, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    that was great!

    • DJ Jason February 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

      Excellent Interview!

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