Exclusive Interview with Douglas P. - Death in June, June 2006
Due to the current situation concerning the German censorship of Rose clouds of Holocaust we are nearly forced to ask you about the progresses in this matter. Were you able to achieve an appeal trial?How did your fans react after the adjudication, what about showing support and solidarity with DIJ?
At the moment we are still waiting to hear a reaction to our legal appeal from the other side in the matter. They havent responded in the time frame that was supposedly given. I remember that was what world serpent distribution used to do during my litigation with them. They were always late in providing statements and evidence etc. In litigation this seems to be a normal way of showing contempt for the other side. However, in the meantime I think Rose Clouds Of Holocaust has been put into a less serious category in the index. Fans have been nothing less than supportive but like ourselves I think they all are waiting to see what happens with the appeal.
In an interview with Zinnober you were asked about your relationship towards Germany . If we asked you the question once again, now after you have undergone the censorship measurements, would your answer be a different one?
I have too many good memories about my many times in Germany to let these boring and frustrating experiences influence me too much about how I feel about your country. My first visit was in 1979, or perhaps 1980, and my last was in 2004 and I have noticed the changes. No doubt too, the Germans have also noticed them! But, I think Europa as a whole is going through a strange time in its history. Quite a dangerous time I think. A Lost Time. A Nowhere Time. A waiting to see Time.
Is it true that you dont want to play live anymore, despite a possible concert of solidarity? If you played a concert of solidarity what would be your ideal line-up and location for the show?
Yes, the tour of 2005 was the last time I intended Death In June to perform live anywhere. I had decided this before we started and as the performances were on all levels really satisfying to me I knew it was the right time to stop. Performing live has taken up too much time over the past few years and as Im now 50 I need more time to achieve other things I want to do with Death In June . Something had to be sacrificed and as 3-4 months of every year had to be devoted to live work and all that entails it was obvious the performances had to stop. Time indeed is a formidable enemy but it has to be combated in some way even though we all know what the ultimate result is.
If a concert of solidarity is necessary and can be organised then I would definitely come out of retirement for that . The ideal location would obviously be somewhere in Germany and as regards an ideal line-up then there have been so many offers both in public and privately from great groups that I think it would be superb event. The Final Event. But, I hope that doesnt have to happen. Ironic isnt it!
We also got to know that you would like to retire. How can we fancy Douglas P in pension? Gardening, doing crossword puzzles or playing bingo wouldnt match our imaginations. What are your future plans for the next years?
Ive only retired from live performances. Everything else connected to Death In June is a full time job occupying 7 days a week. Its a real struggle to keep up with all the business, let alone the artistic aspects of being in a successful group. Without going into too much detail because I think that tempts providence and bad luck there are new DVDs to be released, books to be published, new recordings to be written and released etc. I have enough work projects to occupy me for several years yet.
If only I did have more time to work in my beloved garden. When I first moved here many years ago I took 6 months off to build a swimming pool, add a large decking to the house with Runes carved into the woodwork and planted many Australian native bushes and trees in the hope that it would encourage the native wildlife. 12 years on I have counted 36 different species of birds in the garden from the very smallest wrens to the largest parrots and hawks (the norm in any country garden is about 12!) and we often get koalas visiting our trees and we have countless resident ring-tail and brush-tail possums trying to wake us up at night with their battles and sex activities. Its brilliant but, I must admit a little feral these days. But, all my plans to encourage native wildlife by engendering an indigenous environment for them worked beautifully. They know they are at home in Fort Nada . And, so am I!
As Der Blutharsch is also playing its last official tour at the moment, it seems that the magnitudes of Neofolk will disappear from the screen in the near future. This is not only a terrible loss for all the fans, but it somehow heralds a new Neofolk era. What do you think of all the new neofolk projects? Which new bands do you think might reach an equal name and fame like DIJ or DB?
I never really considered Der Blutharsch Neofolk so I dont know how Albin retiring from live work will effect anything in that arena. Personally I dont think he should retire hes far too young and as an originator I think he should push the parameters even further and play in far more countries. He has time and talent on his side. He is only 36, isnt he? A mere child in the scheme of things. I wouldnt ever put any group into a comparison with Death In June, or Der Blutharsch, or Boyd Rice or, . That is too unfair. The new leaders will declare themselves or not!
What are your thoughts regarding the new generation of Neofolk? Do you think that its different or more difficult to play Neofolk today than it was when you started?
They, whoever they may be, are not me so I cant say so as I said comparisons are unfair. I never let anything stand in my way to what I thought was my Destiny. Does anyone else have that commitment and belief? If they have then something will surely happen.
This leads me directly to the next question: When you started to create your new style of music, were you aware that it was Neofolk you played? When did the expression itself come up? Did you have any idols these days or were you just keen on creating something new, different and arousing?
I was never aware I was inventing anything that would become a genre unto itself. I was only aware that I was doing what was natural for me and articulating in a way that was instinctive. It declared itself through me via all of my experiences, inspirations etc. I cant stress that enough. And, I in turn declared myself ready and open for business. The Muse decided to descend and see if I was worthy of patronage. The first time I saw the term Neofolk was Im sure in a record shop called World Of Music(WOM) in Hamburg Yuletide 1992 where I was shopping and I saw my music placed. I merely saw it as a shop trying to figure out a way of selling music they hadnt really heard before and no one had written comprehensively about so no one knew how to describe or explain it. I had no idea that it would before a World-wide phenomenon. Im truly amazed and touched. Thank the Gods I Love a lot of it and have found it personally inspirational.
In your early days you played in the punk band Crisis together with Tony Wakeford. How did it happen that you changed your musical style so drastically? Do you still carry rebellious and left-winged bodies of thought in your mind or do you think that any political terms either far left or far right are needless nowadays? Crisis released a new album some time ago, Holocaust Hymnes, have you ever listened to it? If so, what do you think about it?
Punk was of that moment in Time and it was very useful in so many ways. But, after being involved in it for its natural Lifetime it was only equally natural for Tony and I to move on after the funeral. Of course, we changed. So did a lot a people involved in it.It was only meant to last a short time. It was a much needed wrecking ball to clear the way. And that way I no longer see in black & white or Left & Right. I know were beyond that Time. But, others will always try to hold you back. To continue to deceive themselves let alone others. On tour in America in 2005 I was approached by an American company about re-releasing the Crisis material and as it had been unavailable for at least 6 years and there was a continuing demand for it I said Why Not! Naturally, Ive listened to it as I compiled it and reinvented the artwork for this new compilation Holocaust Hymns. Im happier with it than before. I think the Crisis material has stood the test of time quite well. I like it musically and even the lyrics are strange enough to be bearable. Some of them sound so over the top that they have become something else to my ears at least!
Are you still in contact with Tony Wakeford (SOL INVICTUS)o, Luke Rendall (SEX GANG CHILDREN ?) und Lester Jones (SEX GANG CHILDREN ?) who were actually playing music within the band Crisis?
With the recent re-issues of the first 2 albums by Death In June The Guilty Have No Pride and Burial from 1983 & 1984 respectively I am naturally in contact with Tony. That relationship was put on hold during my litigation with world serpent as he was still distributed by them etc but now that company is defunct our relationship will now hopefully continue for as long as necessary. We have also agreed to officially release some bootlegs that have been made available of our early days together. The first of these will be an official version of The Phoenix Has Risen which contained a lot of interesting early Death In June demos and rehearsals from 1981-1983 which really surprised both of us when we heard it. You never know when youre being recorded!! By anyone!!! That should be out in the Summer with new artwork, nice packaging etc.
Luke, our last drummer, went on to work in Theatre Of Hate which became Spear Of Destiny but I heard he was later imprisoned for armed robbery and upon release a few years ago became a street person and eventually was murdered. I remember how shocked Tony was after he had passed him in a London street one day as Luke was begging for money.
Lester Jones went on to work in a group called Car Crash International which had members of the Sex Gang Children in but I dont think he ever worked with the Sex Gang Children as a group per se. The last time I saw him was when I was sitting in a restaurant near Charing Cross in London and he walked past the window. I was with some Croatian friends at the time and the war was still on in the Balkans and that experience was more important to me rather than making myself known and having a chat about the good old days. That was about 1994.
I have no idea what the others got up to.
Do you agree with the theory that every human being acts politically in his/her daily actions just by case? Do you think that music should be an outlet for political statements?
I dont even agree with the theory that every human being acts. A massive blob of humanity is surely in a catatonic state which I dont believe is anything other than normal for most people. Saying that natural state of being is a political act is scrapping the barrel, somewhat. Its not Marxist, Fascist or Anarchist. It just IS! I dont think that music should be an outlet for political statements but neither do I think that music should be .Everything can be anything. Thats Life. One mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter etc and so on, One mans song about fucking a Roman Catholic priest up the arse at London Airport can be another mans Neo Nazi anthem to anti immigration.
An old forethinker of the left being actively absorbed by various persons from the Neofolk-spectrum, for example Michael Moynihan (Blood Axis), is the founder of the Anarchistic doctrine, Michael Bakunin. Did you ever devote your attention to his thoughts and philosophy, if yes, did he have any influence on your way of acting?
No to both aspects of this question. I read Trotsky and Marx.
As we know your father was a pilot against Hitler in WW2. Did you ever have conflicts with your parents because of the musical pathes you stroke, especially due to the accusations of right wing radicalismn, even if they were untenable. Did your family liked the idea of their son using right symbols on his releases?
My father died a week after my 14th birthday in 1970. I hadnt quite fine-tuned my musical skills my then! My mother is clinically diagnosed as being Paranoid Schizophrenic and wouldnt know the right time of day let alone right symbols.
If you hadnt had the chance of becoming a successful musician how would the normal life of Douglas P. look like? If you could turn back time for 35 years, would you choose the same way a second time? On looking back, are you satisfied with the development of DIJ as a band and its music?
I dont think its a question of chance I think its a question of Will. I am exactly what I am and wanted to be despite attempts by outsiders to make me otherwise. I wouldnt change anything. ALL things led to HERE. There was never any other course for me. I took the path I was destined to and I am totally satisfied with Death In Junes journey and its revelations.
Your latest outing in the newsgroup was rather extreme by publishing a link to your site in a homosexual online magazine but truly effective and courageous. Even though you only spread the truth, it was maybe more than the inhibited average human may bear, which of course conjures a smile on our mouthes as DIJ fans. Are your fans or critics able to distinguish between the private Douglas with all his normal and daily needs and the figure Douglas P. as the head of DIJ? Dont you think that the cognitions of the audience and critics is from time to time a little bit out of touch with reality?
My decision to make that intervention on the DIJ newsgroup came out of a few reasons, some of which you touch upon and some you dont. At the end of the day I was amazed that my profile and my pictures received nearly 7,000 hits in 6 days! I then got bored. Soon after it got to 6,660 I deleted it from the public domain. Im pleased to say that after all those hits in such a short time there was only 1 nasty homophobic message sent to the actual site itself. I thought that was amusing that someone should be in such a desperate need to tell me what they thought of me that they actually joined a Gay dating agency to tell me that they wanted to stick a Swastika up my arse! I love the irony. Didnt they know I already have one there and that I shit runes for breakfast? What a sad soul that French dentist was.
Did you have many Groupies throughout your career? How does actually the behaviour of male, homosexual groupies alter to the one of straight, female ones?
In truth, I have only been aware of 2 incidents where there were groupies at a DIJ show and they were in Italy on the April, 1985 tour where some girls, probably making a nuisance of themselves, were literally kicked out of a dressing room because some real fans declared they were not what Death In June was all about.
And in Los Angeles 3-4 years ago where 2 young guys had somehow got backstage and were busy speaking about how their fathers had sex with them and they loved having sex with older guys. Meanwhile they eat and drank any food and drink that they could get their hands on. Their intention was obviously to eventually get to grips with both John Murphy my percussionist and myself until I told them that they stood a snowballs chance in Hell, made them empty their pockets of anything they had stolen backstage such as extra beers, merchandise, food etc and then they were shown politely to the exit by a huge ex-U.S. Army black bouncer who said I had displayed the patience of a Saint! Im fairly oblivious to such annoyances and had taken their advances as nothing more than amusing.
The harsh reality is that groupies would never be my type. I have specific tastes as my Big Gay Advert clearly showed. Not all of it was tongue in cheek, you know. Theres many a true word said in jest.
You have written tons of songs, different in style, sentiments and meanings. Which one is the most important for you and is there any song you could have better done without?
I have never written anything I thought I could do without - in retrospect, or otherwise. Every song has a special place for me. No one song is more important than any of the others. Theyve all been part of the process that is Death In June. My Life. My Love.
You have played many performances throughout your career. Can you tell us some funny anecdotes or embarrassing incidents? Which of your shows touched you most and why?
In truth this question deserves a book unto itself as there have been so many significant incidents that to name 1 or 2 would not being doing justice to all the other performances from a 29 year career. Its an impossible question to answer in a normal interview format. But, perhaps it would make an interesting book one day , nonetheless.
As we know you have just celebrated your 50th birthday happy belated wishes to that! How did you celebrate it? As DIJ also had its 25 years anniversary, did you have a big party to celebrate these two big events?
My partner and I went to Sydney , rented a huge hotel suite, invited our closest friends and comrades there and made Love, made Love, made Love whilst the others joined in, watched and filmed the whole event. There was an enormous birthday cake made of tiramisu with so many candles on it my partner had to stand on a chair and hold a towel over the smoke detector in the ceiling until I blew all the candles out and the soundtrack to the day were CDs of John Lennons much underrated Mind Games album,which I had happy memories of in the early 1970s, The Whos Live At Leeds which I hadnt heard since my last day at school in 1972 and the great Brian Jones Town Massacre Tomorrows Heroes Today And This Is Our Music. The evening was spent at my favourite Spanish restaurant run by 2 Falangist Lesbians who do the best Martini cocktails and vegetarian/seafood tapas Ive/weve ever had.
It was An Everything I Ever Wanted Day. And, I can watch it and rewind over and over again. Brilliant!
For me the 25th anniversary of Death In June isnt until November, 2006 as it was November, 1981 that we performed our first show in London before the release of Heaven Street 12. At present, I havent given that any real thought. There is too much to do before then.
Within the Neofolk scene authors like de Sade, Ernst Jünger or Schwarzkogler are often the source of inspiration for musicians. Do you think that these influences might be of some certain danger?
Any writer worth his salt should be a danger to someone, somewhere. And, so ?
We collected some quotes and we would like to know if you can say something to them just off the cuff, but before that: is there an existing citation you would connect especially with Death In June?
The first quote is from Masami Akita ...pelting the information associations with excrements, cause the information associations are a bunch of shit themselves..
Scatology is more popular than one would imagine especially on the World Wide Wank.
The second one is from Marco Wertham 2005, where have all the bootboys gone? I mean, those who are left? Those who have been spared by HIV? The sweat still smells the same, but the faces are new...How many of those in the good old days are still alive? Do they still walk the same streets? Some might be married today, they lead a straight life filling their empty hours cruising for virile friendships, and some of them turned themselves into full time human toilets...
Ho Hum. Cest la Vie.
Another quote from Throbbing Gristle records are fetish
It depends on what records! Some are plain shit!! But, then as Ive said thats a fetish to some, isnt it.
We have chosen the citation of Nikolas Schreck from R.Werewolf, who has spoken the sentence First you take a heart, then you tear it apart for the Wall of Sacrifice. Why did you chose N.Schreck for speaking this sentence and what special meaning does it have for you?
Nikolas was in London at that time in 1988. I had invited him along to the studios and it seemed an appropriate thing for him to say. Tibet and I had heard a little girl singing those words as she skipped past us near a WWII bomb site near the studios in central London . Or, at least, we thought we heard her singing that. Maybe it was what we thought she should be singing? Either way, it was the beginning of The Wall Of Sacrifice.
As Nikolas is/was a confessing member of the Church of Satan we would be interested in how important religion is in your life. Are you religious?
Of course I am. As I said in my Big Gay Advert I am a Pagan. The Northern European Spirit seeps through every part of my Work, Love and Life. And Spirit is a word I take very seriously in all its connotations within the Anglo-Saxon language.
Please try to answer the following question spontanously: Which song would you listen to the following occasions:
birthday John Lennon Mind Games
funeral Death In June Torture By Roses
romantic dinner The Beatles A Hard Days Night American original soundtrack with orchestral pieces and strange voice overs.
sex Nothing! I hate music whilst fucking far too distracting! That comes later when Im recovering from my 8th orgasm. Im a repeater. I dont go off the boil after my first orgasm but when I do I like to luxuriate Scott Walker & Flamenco music whilst sipping Martinis and snacking on tapas. Bliss! A post orgasmic ride down Heaven Street .
in the bathtube Years ago current 93s Imperium or Dawn especially late at night whilst watching the snow fall on the roof tops outside my bathroom window in West London. But now I dont have a bath tub and I dont listen to c93.
in a melancholic mood That mood is to be avoided at all times. If I feel that descending then Id put on something exhilarating and uplifting like The Velvet Underground or Nico.
amok run Wagners Ride of the Valkyries
Let us talk about the Death in June art contest. What did you think when you first got confronted with the idea of visualising your songs? Now as you have seen all the pieces of art, what is your conclusion? I guess it would have been very difficult for us to elect a winner. How did you choose the very best? Is there anything you want to say to the participants of the contest?
Well it was extremely difficult to choose the very best because I think there were so many brilliant artworks but I think I eventually chose the most pertinent to the situation Death In June is finding itself facing in Germany at present. And that was for me the paramount inspiration behind the competition.
Overall the standards were amazing. The contributions ranged from blatantly imaginative and contemptuous such as Kruzs contribution of Hail! The White Grain which I loved, to the exquisite such as Andreas Gepperths realisations of Only Europa Knows. The skills and imagination used in all the contributions was very impressive and Im greatly moved that my work should inspire people in such a way. I hope I will be in personal contact with some of the artists in the not too distant future as they have planted a few ideas in my mind I would like to talk to them about.
As a last question: Then my loneliness closes in, so I drink a German wine what kind of wine do you prefer?
At present I prefer Australian reds. Except for some specialist wines and a homemade wine with Waldmeister added that I was given by German comrades last year I havent drunk a really brilliant, commercially available German wine in years. They all seem far too sweet these days.
Im not a sweet kind of guy!
Heilige! Douglas P.
interviewed and translated by Dea.