| Band: Gothic|
Interviewer: Julie Johnson
GC: What is the name of your band and who are the current members?
(James Jason) Our name’s Gothic, we’re a dark avant-garde multimedia project and our line-up is the following:
James Jason (me) – vocals, keyboards, synthesizers and poetries.
Davy Jones – lead and rhythm guitars; John Ruin – sound engineering and programming; David Bosch – artwork.
GC: How did you become connected to make music? (JJ) I think I was born to write songs and poetries. I began to compose my first songs when I was only 11, while, on the other side, it took me a little more time to create and elaborate my first lines, though I have joined these two passions of mine only for a few years.
GC:What are your musical influences?
(JJ) Mainly and essentially Celtic Frost, Apollyon Sun, Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows, Skinny Puppy, even if when I’m writing a song my only real influence is... Gothic !
GC: What is your live show like?
(JJ) Our early choice to be a 100% studio project reflects the utter loneliness of our sombre inner spheres we’re “voluntary prisoners” of. Gothic’s art can find its purest expression only in the glooms of our claustrophobic self-isolation... and so, in the moment of composition and absolutely not in that of performance.
GC: Tell us about your own unique style of music?
(JJ) Lunatically unpredictable. Extremely doomy and gloomy. Purely and heavily avant-garde. A huge melting pot where labels like darkwave, electro-goth, post-metal, free jazz, experimental, IDM, medieval dance, EBM, d&b, neo-classical, dark ambient lose their orthodox meaning and melt together... heretically.
GC: What separates your band from all the other bands out there? (JJ) Three peculiarities above all: firstly, Gothic are a dark avant-garde multimedia project of music, poetry and figurative arts (drawings, video and programming) expressing the glooms inside the contemporary human being...and not a “common band”; moreover, we don’t aim at being signed under any label, reaching success, making money and so on because, after 15 years of activity, we are still faithful to our early self-promises: to preserve the sombre purity of those inner demons, who still represent our main source of inspiration, from music biz’s corruption. They, just they condemn us not to repeat ourselves; therefore not only every Gothic release was, is and will always be different from the previous one but the same goes for every single song which can’t be even remotely similar to another track featured in the same album.
GC:How do you go about writing songs?
(JJ) Basically, there are three stages in my songwriting: a) the inspiration, which leads me to choose a title, a mood and a musical style as general landmarks; b) the rapture, which make me rather unconsciously play and record a succession of riffs or sounds; c) the chisel work, rational and often very hard, during which I can take care of every technical detail before the mixing process. The “poetry-writing” goes along with that though it’s more instinctive (but absolutely no less technical).
GC: Pick one of your latest song and talk about everything from writing it, meanings, the challenges of recording it? (JJ) “Forlorn”, our last album’s “war-horse” together with “Victim of Distress”, was a real bet we made with ourselves: I wanted to express pure coldness in order to release the feeling of a dead, merciless loneliness. It’s a very layered song, composed by many different riffs based on an electro-goth inspiration, afterwards developed in an utterly avant-garde bridge where our metal roots, elements of experimental IDM, free-jazz and dark ambient blend perfectly. The recording and, above all, the mixing process was actually very problematic and it took us some months (all this only for 1 song !) and when it was over we were exhausted !
GC: What is your latest news with the band? (JJ) We’re currently taking care of the re-engineering of the previously limited released ten Gothic demos from “Fleeing the Rainland” (2000) backwards to the dreadful “Into the Gothic Gloom” (1989): at the same time we have just begun that long, distorted and dusky path that will lead us to release our next album not earlier than three years... it will be a shocking re-vo-lu-tion in music’s history which will definitively sweep away the existing boundaries of darkwave and avant-garde music: a supreme artistic suicide for the Gothic project... as soon as you’ll listen to it, you’ll immediately understand what I’m meaning...
GC: Where do you hope to be in 5 years with your band?
(JJ) It would be better to ask “what do you hope to be...”... I do repeat: after our next album we’ll be considered without any doubt as one of the most avant-garde and gloomy entities in the dark underground. The most of the medias will say we should be shut up in in a madhouse but I know that 5-6 years later there will be some so-called “experts” who will state: “Hey, d’ya know an underground band called Gothic played stuff like this already many years ago ?”... and I’m ready to laugh at that !
GC: How are people currently reacting to your music?
(JJ) Common people, specialized listeners but above all mags and ezines are shocked by the revolutionary essence of Gothic’s last offer, “Grim” (May 2004). The most of them is so dazed and puzzled as to be unable to express a complete judgement ! And we are even more astonished than them ‘cuz we hadn’t realized we had gone so far...
GC What would be the top 3 reasons for listening to your music?
(JJ) If you wanna to feel dizzy because of something extremely bold, if you wanna to have the creeps because of something extremely dark and if you’re fed up with those goth-poseur bands who repeat endlessly their idols’ style (Christian Death clones, Hocico clones, etc.) and go to Ibiza in summertime just “to knock off from their daily “artificial artful darkness”, well, Gothic are what you need.
GC: What is your best experience as a band?
(JJ) Looking at people who grasps little by little the deep meaning of our music, poetries and images. It seems they become one with our souls... definitively great !
GC: What is your worst experience as a band?
(JJ) The crass ignorance of some (not so many, fortunately) “professional” reviewers who, even without listening to the whole album it took us 4 hard years to release, expect us to become more “mainstream” or more “easy-listening”, so that they can better understand our art...
GC:What is most important to you in your band?
(JJ) Friendship. We feel like brothers and we enjoy every piece of art (sound, word, image) we produce together. I actually couldn’t have only a professional relationship with the other Gothic members. Gothic are a big and deep part of my dark soul and I couldn’t share it with “strangers”.
GC: Do you have a personal favorite song, could be your own or other?
(JJ) Not one particularly. The music but above all the lines of Victim of Distress (2004) make it, among “Grim” ’s tracks, maybe the most representative song of my inner demons, while, looking back to “From Oblivion to Illusion” (2000), L’Ultimo Sogno (1997) [=The Last Dream], Sacrilege Rites of Immolation (1992), Door of Death (1989) are like “my little dead children” I cherish everyday in my mind.
GC:What was the hardest song to write and why?
(JJ) Maybe “Wintered Wings”. I have to confess that when its original version was recorded on our little digital studio I didn’t like it. Not at all. It was a great delusion since it was too... sunny, while, on the contrary, I wished it was the darkest song of the album. Me and John Ruin, our sound engineer, had to work hard for many months before we could get what we were looking after: the sound of darkness was finally engraved on this track but... how difficult it was !
GC: What do you think of the current gothic/ EBM/ Industrial/ noise/ synthpop etc scene today?
GC:JJ) It’s a good period, though not really excellent for this scene. Good because the new darkwave is growing day after day, not excellent because I think the most of EBM/Industrial bands seem to lack originality, limiting themselves to repeat, even unconsciously, obsolete schemes from few major bands. Of course there are notable exceptions who prove the rule.
GC: What music do you currently listen to?
(JJ) All the genres Gothic already played, all the genres Gothic could play in the next future and those, few, genres Gothic will never play at all...
GC: How do you keep changing your music from album to album or plan to change it?
(JJ) As I said before, that’s one the main peculiarities who make Gothic a kinda “foreign body” in every scene we happen to be currently in. I’d like to stress “currently” ‘cuz Gothic are a perpetuum mobile and we ourselves can’t (and don’t want to) know what genre we’ll play on our next release. Death rock, dark-trance, music chamber, death metal, acid jazz... all, I mean ALL is possible and nothing is too avant-garde, too dark when you talk about Gothic, ah !
GC What kind of recording environment do you have?
(JJ) Yamaha Tyros digital workstation, two other PSR-series Yamaha keybs, a percussion synth, different digital synthesizers and a digital integrated studio.
GC:How long did you spend on your latest effort?
(JJ) Four long and hard years ! Being not a commercial band, we need much time to pick out, develop and bring to perfection our best intuitions... moreover, alas, we all must work for surviving this huge lie we call “life” and unfortunately we cannot devote ourselves 24hours per day to the Gothic project.
GC: What is the hardest thing about being in a band for this genre?
JJ) The first arrived pays for all... I mean, contrarily to a sport race, in the field of art the avant-garde artists/musicians are destined to get often the harshest criticism and only seldom enthusiastic praises by those who are able and clever enough to look forward to the future of art... but if we should take care of what people think or expect about/from us, well, a bold multimedia project like Gothic would have never seen the light...
GC Feel free to do any shameless self promotion here of you band, now is your turn to talk about anything you want about your band, ideas, or life in the band.
GC:Do you have any band goals?
(JJ) I only wish I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror when I’ll be old without saying “I betrayed my own principles”. That’s all. And that’s so much !
GC: Can you tell us about your songs on your latest release, anything from messages to inspirations?
(JJ) There are 6 mysteries scattered in Grim: they respectively concern the deep meaning of the numbers 75 and 90, where you can listen to “Feed my Frenzy” and “Am I... ?” (the two ghost tracks), a visual detail featured in the Forlorn video, a message inserted in Feed my frenzy itself, the hidden meaning of the background noise in “Integrationsstatus: Negativ (?!?), the real meaning of ”... Poichè... la Morte... è sulle colline…” (=”As… Death… is on the hills…” - too painful and dreadful to be revealed...) and, finally, the real role interpreted by the two actors in “Noir (Czarny)” (=”Black”). It’s your turn, now...
Now, that you CD is out would you change anything?
(JJ) Everything and nothing. Everything ‘cause I tend to be a perfectionist and since Grim is a living piece of art I guess that if we released it again, it would be different, of course. Nothing ‘cause we all are very satisfied with that and we consider “Grim” as the most representative expression of the so called “Gothic’s spirit” so far.
GC: Are you with a label working on finding one if so.. how are is it to be accepting or what was it like being accepting?
(JJ) Gothic are an independent project in the truest sense of the word. We aim only to preserve the grievous splinters of gloom we bear inside from any source of corruption coming to the so-called music biz... and so... “no compromise” is our motto. Only in loneliness we can feed our deep, sombre frenzy in order to keep on releasing the most authentic gothic music, as we have done so far...
GC: How did you end up in the dark underground scene?
GC: JJ) Our inner demons, the major source of our lunatic creativity, led us to change style album after album. That’s the reason why Gothic have embodied many musical/artistic visions already before the release of Grim: grindin’ death-gloom metal mainly performed by keyboards instead of guitars (1989-1991), death-doomish-punk metal (1991-1993), doom metal performed by synthesizers (1993-1994 !), gothic-speed (1994-1995), art-dark rock (1995-1997), gothic-prog metal(1997-2000), and tons of neoclassical, free-jazz, hard-groove, techno-jungle, experimental, etc songs/riffs/arrangements with some hints of dark psychedelia here and there. That means we have changed musical/artistic approach release after release so far, constantly but without any rational plan, and even often drastically, as proved by the shocking transmutation from Fleeing the Rainland (2000) to Grim (2004). We have finally landed at darkwave’s marshland with our last album, Grim, mainly because of the deep change of Gothic’s lyrics, which are no more metaphorical tales, but hermeneutical poetries expressing those “glooms inside the contemporary human being” I was talking about before...
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