You didn't have to be a virtuoso musician, nor good looking.
How did you get involved with music?
I started doing music at 13. It was either gonna be a musician or I wanted
to be a pilot, but my eyesight wasn't good enough to fly so I wanted to get
into music production. At 15 I left school and joined a punk group. To be a
teenager in those punk late 70's was really exciting and allowed you to do a
lot of stuff. It allowed you to write your own rules in terms of how you wanted
to express yourself musically. You didn't have to be a virtuoso musician, or
have good hair and be good looking. You could Just be whatever you wanted to
be. I suppose that came together with Killing Joke. When I was about 18 I
produced my first album there. By then punk had kind of been and gone really,
it was '78, '79 and we were almost considered post-punk. I was always
interested in the idea of being in a band with different individuals. Killing
Joke was definitely a band of different individuals with a totally different
look, style, and sound. I've always liked contrast in the work I do. I like to
embrace these sort of contradictions and work with things that are out of
context. With Killing Joke it was a very tribal, primitive, and vital sound.
That led me really to New York in the early 80's-hip-hop and dancing era and
the industrial music scene. I started making records in the 80's with that in
mind. That lead me into dance music in the mid and late 80's. I got involved
with The Orb, a label called, 'Wow Mr.Modo', and that lead me up to about the
early 90's. I started with rock groups. I've done around forty albums. I used
to do a lot of remixing in the early 90's and late 80's as well. I work very
hard not to be type-cast. I started doing classical music, avante-garde music,
art installation music, pop music, and remixing other people's records.
Sometimes under other names because I couldn't get the work under my name.
People associated me with doing rock or certain types of dance music. In the
early 90's I got involved with the charts music scene with Dragonfly Records
and the international party scene. I've now arrived at a place where I like and
can do all of these different kinds of genres of music. There's not many
musicians or producers that can work in different fields and it's not easy.
I've had to work really hard to do that..
Yeah. Musicians are always tends to be categorized.
Here, as soon as you have a hit with something, you get asked to do ten other
things that are the same. It's very hard when you're first starting out not to
turn down the work and do something else where there's no money. But, it's
different to get a different reputation in a different field, and that's what
you have to do, you have to sacrifice the money and take a few risks. Now the
challenge for me is doing film. I'm doing a soundtrack at the moment. That's
good for me because it's a development of al, those areas from the classical
school to industna Simultaneously I've been working as a writer, writing poetry
and some prose for the last 7, 8 years, and I've been painting and making books
of artwork for the last 20 years. I've just started a publishing company to
publish the books that I'm doing wit artists and writers, mainly outside of
music who.. - share a view of collaborating as a collective different
multi-disciplined events. This year tackling three new areas: publishing; art;
use of the old Butterfly Studios as a gallery space.
Your lifestyle is an extention of your philosophy.
I heard, and you're doing a Druidic thing...
It's a group of artists who work with a spiritual perspective. The idea of
society is to encourage and create a space that allows people to work with
different arts, spiritually combined in a slightly semi conscious way. The
society and myself have strong links to the native tradition here, which is
Druidry. Especially the order of the Bardrates Druids, the order that William
Blake was the chosen chief of in the 18th century. He's a great English
mysticas well as a poet and writer, and a big influence on what I do. He and
the other people of the time created a Renaissance with the Arts and the
Romantic movement. It's interesting, when you look back in hindsight, you can
see that there're some amazingly creative people involved. You can get a feel
for their work and was going in that scene. There are not very many people
doing that day on a contemporary level. I thought it'd be an interesting
experiment to see what would happen if we did set something up & allow it
to come through, it has it's own you Just follow it. What I really wanted to do
as an artist is take some courses next year with papermaking and bookbinding
and make my own books, printing blocks and physically put books together and do
200 limited editions with my own books to encourage the idea that people can do
their own thing and write their own books print their own books and be a poet
and a musician. I think that the work that you do as an artist is a vehicle for
that. I think that leads you to different areas of inquiry of the self.
Eventually you get to a spiritual stop and then you have to question existence
itself. It works on a sort of mundane, sort of magical level. The mundane
things in life like making sure your gas bill is payed, and have you got the
money to do what you need to do creatively. The magical theory is, asking
yourself if you've got the vision to see beyond the mundane and the ordinary
existence of day to day life to be able to have goals and dreams and be able to
focus and sustain your energy and concentration on them so that they manifest
and occur. I think when you look at people who are very successful in their
fields as artists and businessmen the two main qualities they seem to all have
Is one their ability to be very focused and decisive, and at the same time very
open and flexible and respective. That's what a good half of my work here is
understanding the philosophy of that and that's what allowed me to become a
good producer. I think when you talk about lifestyle, that is philosophy, isn't
it? Your lifestyle is an extension of your philosophy.
Don't want to go to kill my classmates.
Nowadays people are presented with so many new philosophies. It is
very hard, isn't it?
It is, and I think that's part of the challenge. You can't buy a philosophy
of your life from a shop and put it on like a suit. You have to discover it.
But I think that's all part of that process. It's like learning anything. You
learn from your mistakes not from your successes. You shouldn't be afraid to
make mistakes or follow philosophies or ideas. For instance, I go into ashrams
and speak with gurus and different holy men and I'll go into church and talk to
priests because you can find truth anywhere. What was important to me was the
feeling of divinity in nature around me; the trees, the wind, everything.
What's interesting is that tradition almost died out in America. In L.A.
someone's prepared to pay 20, 000 bucks to do a workshop and talk about that
tradition In the new age circles, and for them that becomes valuable. The last
100 years no one has been interested in it so it's not valuable. Their society
has changed. To me in terms of being a modern person in the modern western
world how am I gonna find that in a real way? I've read books on Native
American traditions, Shamanistic traditions, and the closest I got to it was
taking acid. Then I got into Leary and the whole 60's philosophy and I could
relate to that. I started realizing that this is part of the bigger tradition
that led me to the native tradition here, Druidry, which is very similar to the
Native American tradition. In the same way with painting, you go to Royal
College of Art and you say what makes a good painting? What makes the criteria
valid or not and they'll find it very hard to tell you what that is. It's all
an intuitive, gut feeling for them. So even with our sophistication and our
technology we can't still tell what is art and what is not. In a very simple
way It's a complete mystery to everyone including most of the artists. The
people don't even know what it is, so how are they going to be able to use it
consciously? For me, that is what it is. It's a philosophy and that mystery
you're trying to find is not out there in boxes, but in here. The native
philosophy not only enables me to focus the approach to what I'm doing but
enables me to keep in balance with nature's cycles and seasons. Open my eyes up
a little wider to the magic around me, which balances out my existence in an
urban environment. That's why society's so fucked up to live in a natural way.
We deny so many aspects of ourselves. It all comes out mutated and we live in a
repressed society which I think creates a lot of problems. I don't feel the
need to walk down the street and kill people or become frustrated enough that I
kill my classmates like in America. I've worked at balancing my lifestyle out
which I try and do as much as I can. I've got a VW camper van which I can just
drive off and park in a field. Every two weeks I have to get out. I have a
garden here and I can grow vegetables and plants and get in touch with it that
way. I still have to combine a lot of other philosophies. I still have to do
Yoga to keep myself fit. I'm quite into a lot of the Indian philosophies
Buddhist and Zen ideas. I have to combine all these things.
You know what they're doing with heroin addicts now in Holland and
I think until the 60's music and literature had the same
I don't know, you go back to the 2 Paris with the Surrealists and it's
pretty rac mean, you know the Situationalists, that where punk came from.
They'd been to some crazy stuff which must have really hard to do in those
days. Everybody was less individual. I don't really tend to think that since
the 60's it's been only us that have been this free, but I think in the 20's,
along with the Victorian period, It was pretty wild. Now the post-modern 90's,
where we've seen it all and as you say we've got so much access to everything
that we don't know what to do with ourselves. I think that's the challenge that
we have today. We're all so individual that we wont join one thing because it
might deny the mother and so we end up actually not doing very much. I think
that's gonna change. It comes people who are doing really positive imaginative
things. They're bringing back c into a monochrome world. And for the last few
years it's been quite unfashionable to do that but I think it's changing and
people are realizing they want more than monochromes and greys and blacks and a
superficial magazine existence.- They want colors in their life and they're
reflecting it in the catwalk and Cashion and with those hippy influences coming
back. I think that will continue. I think it's inevitable. In fifty years time
we'll be living in a completely different way and we're just in the beginning
What do you think about the 90's as an era?
Well, I think it's a lot of changes it? They might appear superficial at
moment because we've come out of the material 80's and there's still that
essence. The changes are more invisible, but they're very strong. I think we'll
see the fruits c those in the next ten years. I think the world is changing;
it's becoming a better place, and that's definitely going to continue.
Everybody wants to change the world in a way and make it a better place and
that s I what's happening. We've had our revolution and we've won it almost.
We're already there. It s only a matter of time before politicians and the rest
of the world catch up. You know what they're doing with heroin addicts now in
Holland and Switzerland? They're giving junkies in prison heroin now. Slowly
weaning them off. and getting them clean, and combining that with counseling.
The crime rate in the prisons has gone down like 90% and the rehabilitation of
getting Junkies off junk and out of crime is like 70%. When you start seeing
those kinds of statistics and that kind of philosophical approach, that makes
me feel very positive. They're studying it here as a model. The whole war on
drugs isn't working, I know if I was in prison I'd want to be a junkie as well.
They're being given another way. I think the whole idea of , treating drugs as
a crime instead of a health issue is one thing that's changing. I think it's
gonna be great. When the education system is changed and everyone gets chances,
then it will be an incredible planet. We won't get a good education system here
for years. But in Scandinavia, everybody gets a good education. You don't have
that problem that you have in America and here. Then you look at Africa and all
the work to be done there... but we're living in the global age. You could
change those things around in one generation.
The last question, if you had to explain your lifestyle in one word,
what would it be?
It's philosophy. It's your philosophy.
I got this off Youth's website. An
interesting article if I may say so... and that last photo came from his