Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Interview with JOHN BALANCE (COIL) from ADN Katazine 7 1985

                                       Geoff Rushton aka John Balance 1962-2004

ADN: Which are the main purposes of COIL?

JB: We want to inform and provoke.We want to show an alternative to the "alternative".Obviously the answer is very complex and will evolve as the group does.Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV developed a philosophy with an urge to change inform and inspire and the core of it. We continue in this line.We were part of it and we are still part of the tradition that change and information are vitally important.The truth of human nature must be revealed and the subconscious uncovered and controlled.In every way possible we wish to free the human spirit.Through noise, inspiration and repetition.As we wrote in PTV "we wish to give people back to themselves." This might be presumptuous and pompous. May be it is; but the fact is, the majority of people are not their own. Guilt, fear and inherited laziness cause us, as a breed, to perpetually fall far short of our capabilities. We are taught servility and told it is a gift. A grace. COIL, with others, fight CONTROL. Insidious conditioning  designed by social climates to keep a check on deviancy.Musically,we have ideas. We want to keep things interesting for ourselves and use new and developing methods and instruments to do this with. Our philosophical ideas are carried by/in the music.

ADN: Would you like to reach the commercial and charismatic success of T.G.?

JB: Well T.G. were never well off. They were comfortable and were able to channel money into the next project.. As for the charismatic success. All I want for COIL is to reach as many people as possible.T.G. have become symbols of many things, and I would rather be remembered for the content of our material and philosophy that be seen as typifying a certain movement. Be it New Industrial or whatever. I am personally very against setting oneself ap as a popstar, even if it's a deliberate Anti popstar status. But you have to play the game in order to reach a public, so that public knows you exist and you are doing something of interest. So we won't go out of our way to be obscure, or hard to approach.


ADN: Does your music have premeditated structures?

JB:Yes, in some cases. We always have an idea first, usually a very detailed,complex and precise one. Because I am interested in Cabbalah and magic I always attempt to "embed" something of that nature into the structure. And on certain recordings such as our 12" single "How to destroy angels" these magical elements will take over and dictate the shape and the form of the whole piece. Other times we start with a rhythm and build onto that. Others it is entirely spontaneous and abstract.

ADN: What about your experience with Belgian label LAYLAH?

JB: They released our 12" ritual music recording. I don't know what to say really. Marc Hersig is the person behind it all and he is a very nice guy. He has released material by Current 93, Nurse With  Wound, Laibach, Sema and us. There is a compilation LP due in January which will feature all those people. Our track is called Sicktone and is like nothing else we have all; we will probably be releasing a mini LP through them in spring. Laylah was LEAH, Aleister Crowley's perfect Scarlet Woman. "Leah Sublime" was a poem he wrote about her. I quote....

"Churn on me Leah
 Twist on your thighs
 Smear diarrhoea
 Into my eyes.
 Sputter out shit
 From the bottomless pit."

                                                        Aleister Crowley

ADN: And what about your experience in Psychic TV?

JB: While we were in PTV it was excellent.We had just started to move and to get somewhere when things went wrong. I am not going into details. I stand by what we did as the intentions, on our parts anyway were pure. Obviously we don't agree with what they are doing now or else we would still be involved. We believe that the organisation has taken over from the individual. Can  I just say that we were not thrown out as PTV claim but that we left in January 84 of our own accord.

                                                                   Psychic TV

ADN: Tell us something about new UK groups and the new English musical scene...

JB: We were talking about this the other day. And I really have not heard anything of them. I saw Portion Control live a long time ago. And I can't remember a thing so it must have made a big impression on me. I like one single by the New Blockaders, and that's all I have heard of them. I do not like the "Wild Planet" ghetto that these groups get put in by Sounds (music magazine) etc. We were on an LP called "The Elephant Table Album" that was subtitled " LP of difficult music..." which I have never forgiven them for. Very few of them stand out as far as I'm concerned, and I think that we do. New groups that I like a lot are The Very Things, The Swans, Sonic Youth. Two of those are from America...I still listen to things like Velvet Underground and I find all the inspiration, information and violence that I could ever need really. I can't listen to T.G. or any of the first wave of such groups because I became involved in it all, and that gives you a totally different perspective on the phenomena. We tend to always be looking forward and not at old forms.... redundant institutions etc.  Forever forward. With only a need back to the past to see if anything can be improved on. "These that do not remember the past....etc."

ADN: What do you think about "Industrial groups" playing commercial stuff now?

JB: It all depends on their intentions and whether their message has changed. I think that SPK have substituted what was often a very interesting theory in practise for something of very little worth at all. Actually I don't think that they are stupid, and I have heard that the money they get is going into some quite worthwhile projects, so perhaps there is a justification there for what they are doing. Sometimes I don't think any justification is needed really, if the group is able to produce something moving and  with inspiration all in itself. I haven't that much again really. I know that in PTV's case for "Dreams less sweet" and the first "commercial" LP, we wanted to mix a message with a sweater coating. Always do the least expected action. Confusion as cover. People are still discovering the meaning and the intentions behind the material there. It was a change of tactics, another camouflage. COIL has gone on further and changed in another way all together. More confusion. I am a great believer in the redeeming powers of chaos and confusion. While people are left wondering, you remain free to walk clear and on to the next project. Out of chaos comes everything. A mass of potential and creative energy. Unfortunately most groups don't understand this or have nothing to say in the first place.

ADN: How do you think music will evolve in the future?

JB: I think a lot of things. There will be revivals as always. But that is not a development. I think that multimedia events will take the fore. Even things in the sixties seemed to have far more flair and imagination than 99% of the stuff today. Take  Exploding Plastic Inevitable (Velvet Underground) for instance. I have never heard of anything that has matched the primitive, primal hand to hand experience of the combination of the music and that concept. Video perhaps might be the answer, but only as incorporated into something.   PTV are working in this area, but I think anything except the very scientific research in this area is very hit and miss. But as Genesis P-Orridge recently pointed out no research has ever been done into what TV really does to you mentally. I think that all areas should be approached and utilized. TV, video ,film, lights sound a lot. And it will probably stay a hit and miss affair for quite a while. At least COIL and PTV are being attacking and dynamic  in their approach to it all. It needs such a shakeup !

ADN: Which are you extra musical activities?

JB: We do videos, as stated, we are writing things and will be releasing records on our label by other people as well. The label is called Force and Form. I am writing a book on male prostitution at the moment with Mark Almond of Soft Cell . Research not fiction. It's an area that brings out emotions and hypocrasy in people. A new nerve....

ADN: Where does your musical inspiration come from?

JB: Ideas really , and the way our minds work. If we are influenced by other grous it is usually because we want to get far away from what they represent and sound like as possible. As I said we have very few musical heroes. Sonic Youth have a phrase.."Kill your idols..."You have to out yourself  off from these things and act on instinct. A pure instinct will reveal a truer path than sitting listening to any group. And if you find that there is nothing inside yourself you feel you want to bring out then it's just as well you don't try. It is really an idea, a stimulus of that sort that inspires me. Dalì, Matta, and theories do more. There are exceptions like the groups I mentioned before, Velvet Underground, The Swans, Sonic Youth etc.... I like to get myself inspiration from dreams and deliriums, I have a mind that is very psychoactive. I hallucinate as matter of every day life. I don't need drugs. And on the occasions that I have taken them I was struck by the overwhelming feeling  that I didn't need them and they opened no doors I hadn't already been through on my own accord. All the influence we have cited in the past still stand. Just because we have left PTV it doesn't mean that our interests have changed. Just the emphasis and the methods to a lesser extent, I think that we react against things a lot and that provides the spur, the catalyst and the momentum to create and continue to create. I listen to things that I'm given, especially where it's the work of a friend. There are many groups that I admire and respect and think are important, but I just don't listen to. I like to be uncluttered. Whitehouse , Nurse With Wound, Current 93 and You've Got Foetus On Your Breath are all important in their various way , but I don't listen to them for entertainment . I do like Mark Almond's material and Scott Walker and some ethnic material especially Tibetan ritual stuff, which is a never ended source of wonder to me.

ADN: Who is your favorite writer?

JB: Sleazy likes science fiction stuff, especially a book called "The tides of lust" by Samuel T. Delaney. I like Dalì (his written work is incredibly lively and reveals his genius far more than his pictures) and "Maldoror" by Isadore Ducasse. I read a lot of surrealist texts and novels and I only wish that far more were available in English. I will have to learn French and Spanish next year I think. Borroughs , especially the theoretical stuff, is another great genius. I like Genet, Austin Spare, Crowley, Lovecraft, Machen, Clarke-Ashton Smith too, all the occult gothic writers. I read a lot of non fiction. Everything I come across really.

ADN: Do you follow any particular philosophy?

JB: A difficult question to answer, because I think that PTV went on about their philosophy at great lengths and it invites criticism and misrepresentation. I think that people are aware of the way we do things and approach life. We believe in individual. In dreams and power of action. Against sleep and passivity. In the power of the orgasm as the key to liberation of the spirit. In that "The Price of Existence is Eternal Warfare"

This is an early COIL manifesto:

The Price Of Existence Is Eternal Warfare

COIL is a hidden universal. A code. A key for which the WHOLE does not exist. Is NONEXISTENT, in silence and secrecy. A spell. A spiral. A serpents SHt round a female cycle. A whirlwind. A double helix. DNA. Electricity and elementals. Atonal noise, and brutal poetry.
COIL is amorphous. Luminous and constant change. Inbuilt obSOLescence. Inbuilt Disobedience. A vehicle for obsessions. Dreamcycles in perpetual motion. We are cutthroats. Infantile. Immaculately Conceived. Dis-eased. The Virus is Khaos. The cure is Delirium.
COIL are Archangels of KHAOS. The price we pay for existence is eternal Warfare. There is a hidden coil of strength, dormant beneath the sediment of convention. Dreams lead us under the surface, over the edge, to the Delerium state. UNCHAINED. Past impositions and false universals. Reassembling into OUR order.
COIL. Who has the nerve to dream, create and kill, while the whole moves every part stands still. Our rationale is the irrationAL. Hallucination is the truth our graves are dug with. COIL is compulsion. URGE and construction. Dead letters fall from our shedding skins. Kabbala and KHAOS. Thanatos and Thelema. Archangels and Antichrists. Open and Close. Truth and Deliberation. Traps and Disorientation.
COIL exist between Here and Here. We are Janus Headed. Plural. Out of time. Out of place. Out of Spite. An antidote for when people become poisons.
COIL know how to destroy Angels. How to paralyse. Imagine the world in a bottle. We take the bottle, smash it, and open your throat with it. I warn you we are Murderous. We massacre the logical revolts. We know everything! We know one thing only. Absolute existence, absolute motion, absolute direction, absolute Truth. NOW, HERE, US.

"Not Knowing What Is And Is Not
Knowing, I Knew Not"
Hassan i Sabbah

Another interview

Another interview

                                            some videos:

Monday, 15 February 2016

AREA in concert April 1977 Teatro Uomo Milano

 Teatro Uomo
Demetrio Stratos:vocals,organ,clavicembalo,percussion
Giulio Capiozzo:drums percussion
Patrizio Fariselli:piano, el. piano,clarinet,synth
Ares Tavolazzi:bass,trombone
Gianpaolo Tofani:guitar,synth,flute