Interview:2008-Judas Kiss Part 2
Balladeer of Doom - An interview with Douglas P., Part 2
Written by Helene Burkholder
An interview with Douglas P (Death In June)
Part II The Return of the Runagade
Here is the second part of my interview with Douglas P. of Death in June.
Here, he responds to questions regarding his amazing new album, The Rule Of Thirds, and a few more regarding Death in June at this moment in time. Many thanks again, Douglas, for taking the time to answer my many questions; I am in debt to you.
When last we spoke, you said about Brown Book "There was no concern about an 'audience' other than one with the Gods who I knew had Blessed me and were seeing if I was up to their trials.". How do you feel about The Rule Of Thirds, is it the same or are you now more concerned about your fans?
Douglas P: Its not a question of being concerned or not concerned about my fans I have to do what I have to do so my writing doesnt concern, on the whole, an anonymous mass but, me alone. If, after that process, other people then find aspects of that writing attractive or striking a chord within themselves then thats where the Magick extends and I trust spreads. I dont write albums to order and I dont think Id still be around if I did after so many years. Its a strange concept I cannot get my head around. Its not so tempting to repeat myself, regardless of what others may think.
The Rule Of Thirds Dictates My Life for the purpose of this album, what is The Rule Of Thirds? An aesthetically pleasing (yet edgy and out of the ordinary) way of living your life? Does it include Norse archetypal and/or other magickal beliefs?
[Douglas] For decades Ive had this photographic Rule Of Thumb, so to speak, in my mind. Being a keen photographer and arranging, or being involved in some way, behind the camera for almost 100% of Death In Junes photo sessions and artwork over the years its always been there but in recent years the term became to literally haunt me. I couldnt get the phrase out of my mind. And, I began to question why?
It very quickly dawned on me that Ive always lived in a house with the number 3 in it, there is the Holy/Satanic Trinity. The Earth is the 3rd planet from the Sun. There are 3 Aetts in the Runic Futhark, or alphabet. I form part of a 3 way relationship I have with my partner and our mutual lover/best friend. However, at the time of the conception of The Rule Of Thirds I must admit Id fallen in love with another man in England who provided me with great support, whether he knew it or not, during a 13 month period between late 2004 2005. Regardless, for those blissful months I then had 3 lovers in every respect of the word, and in different parts of the World, which helped me get through a very difficult period in my Life. And, besides when I realized what the capital letters of each word spelt TROT - I could hardly resist! On so many levels this album pays homage to my Past, Present and Future. The list of Thirds can go on and on. It truly dictates My Life.
If we focus only on the music, this album is almost oh, let's start a new genre and call it 'minimalist neofolk'. Acoustic guitar, guitar loops and samples, and scattered uneven claps in Forever Loves Decay. In a sense, it made me think of Nick Drake's Pink Moon voice and guitar, no orchestral ornamentation added or required. All bells and whistles (or more fittingly all chimes and trumpets!) gone. Was this what you intended all along, or did time and/or circumstance play a role in how it turned out? Was it to bring your lyrics more to the forefront?
[Douglas] From the very outset I knew that there are so many groups around now that sound like Death In June that I didnt want to end up sounding like some group sounding like me a nightmarish pastiche or cliché of myself forever on repeat. So, with that in mind I decided to concentrate on what the songs sounded like in their raw form, yet still engender and encourage the classic atmosphere of Death In June which I dont think anyone else can mimic. There was a very special moment in our last mid-Winter in Australia on the Hay Plain, which is apparently the flattest place on Earth, when I was driving across it from South Australia to the Gold Coast in Queensland with my Lover. I had written and recorded 9 tracks of the album and I wanted to spend a few weeks off in a very different environment to S.A. to see if I could finish writing the rest of TROT. It was complete nothingness all around with the odd exception of another car every so often. We were playing rough mixes of what Id already recorded and on the horizon formed a double Rainbow highlighted by lightening bolts. It was a stunning sight and we stopped the car to take some photos. But, the CDr of The Rule Of Thirds was still playing in the car and I thought the sparseness was virtually perfect. I could have got the guitar out of the back of the car and began playing TROT there and then in the middle of this vast nowhere with merely the accompaniment of the far off thunder. You didnt need too much to embellish what was already there in the songs. The idea of other people being able to play these songs in forests, or on the beach etc so simply with perhaps some friends also appealed. A French Army officer used to be in contact with me a few years ago and he wrote that he would play Death In June songs on his acoustic guitar to his cadet soldiers at night. TROT is perfect Kampf Fire Music!
The bells and whistles might be gone, but there's a recording of a bird singing! This and other choice of samples are very surprising at first listen. Where did you get them , how did you go about picking those, and know where to place them?
[Douglas] For years Id been recording films/documentaries etc on video cassettes and more recently DVDs without marking on their outsides what they were. In fact, Id been so busy I hadnt even watched most of them and there was a huge pile of unmarked tapes and discs around the TV set in Fort Nada that had been yearning for attention. After writing and recording the final tracks to TROT I decided to hunt for those extra little pieces that could help embellish the album and I decided this was the perfect time to watch and label all of that previously recorded video material. The whole process took a week and a lot of that time was spent fast forwarding, rewinding then randomly stopping to see what there was. It became a sort of video version of cut-up and some choice moments began to reveal themselves. These even included documentaries that featured the voices of friends and lovers of mine so it never lost its personal relevance. It was a delicate balance between dispassionate oddness that, after the usual post-rationalization, suddenly becomes filled with import and very personal references that then, perhaps, become meaningful on a grander scale of things to others? Either way, I feel I achieved what I set out to do. But, it was a time consuming process and I rarely record anything on video/DVD now. I couldnt stand facing a pile of tapes like that again. It stretched back to 9 years of material Id recorded between my house in Australia and my flat in England which I hadnt got around to collating. I still havent watched a lot of it in its entirety. I suppose most of it was only really meant for this purpose.
By the way, the sound of the British Robin singing was downloaded for free from the BBC sound archives. That was the easiest of any of the samples although if you listen carefully to the Rose Clouds Of Holocaust album we also have a Robin featured on that as well. The bird was forever singing in the garden of Jacobs Studios when we were recording that album in 1994. With that sort of echo of the past I also decided to include the sound of the train we recorded at Waterloo Station in London in 1981 and begins the original 12 version of Heaven Street Death In Junes first release. Its now playing at the end of Let Go, the final track on the TROT album. You can read into that what you like. Theres also a reference to The Wall Of Sacrifice which was a ringtone on a toy mobile phone Strength Through Joy gave me years ago. I pay homage to myself in several places throughout The Rule Of Thirds.
One sample that explodes during the song Takeyya is a quote from The English Flag by Rudyard Kipling. This quote is "What should they know of England who only England know?". Using this sample has no doubt deep significance to you and a Kipling quote comes as no surprise, as (I quote Wikipedia) "Many saw prejudice and militarism in his works, and the resulting controversy about him continued for much of the 20th century." (...) "Many older editions of Rudyard Kipling's books have a swastika printed on their covers associated with a picture of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha. Since the 1930s this has raised the possibility of Kipling being mistaken for a Nazi sympathiser". (Apparently you cannot escape these associations! Hahaha!)
[Douglas] Well this came out of the weeks worth of video viewing and promptly declared itself to me. To tell you the truth I wasnt sure where the quote was from as, initially I thought it could be Shakespeare,(I was told by a German friend/fan in Hamburg that it was Kipling after he listened to a CDr of TROT) but the most attractive thing to me was the TV program I sampled it from. Ive no idea what it was called as it was one of those moments where the late night timings are out, probably because a golf tournament is running over time yet again, so all the other programs are out of kilter and I didnt get to record whatever I really wanted. However, the gist of this program was that there is a special British Police unit that does undercover work and one of the main characters is gay, middle aged but always willing to take risks! He infiltrates what is deemed a far right English group and finds out that one of its members plans a suicide bombing of a mosque. This man is eventually thwarted from doing this but still manages to blow himself up in the symbolic surroundings of the ruins of historic Coventry Cathedral. Its a brilliant cinematic moment made all the more poignant by the fact that it was filmed before 9/11, or the Islamic bombings in Madrid and London. Ive no idea what this series was called because the beginning wasnt recorded and the credits at the end were unreadable but, Id LOVE to find out. It had a great musical theme with a hypnotic bass guitar line. I assume the series was pulled from the airwaves due to it touching on sensitive issues. Ive since searched and asked in DVD shops about anything that looked or sounded similar to this TV show and no one knows what Im talking about. I guess that will never reach DVD. But, it was brilliantly ironic, and perhaps even prophetic, and I couldnt resist it.
The last 'proper' Death In June album dates back to 2001 with All Pigs Must Die. Since then, you've been very busy with other projects such as the Alarm Agents album with Boyd Rice, Death In June re-issues, touring, dvd releases, etc. Have you been writing The Rule Of Thirds for all these years, or has it been percolating for many years in your mind only to be written and/or finalised more recently? In what ways was it similar, or different, to writing your other albums?
[Douglas] Like most of my albums, whether Im aware of it or not, they always seem to be percolating as you call it, somewhere in the back of my mind. Im forever writing lyrics whenever/wherever they occur to me so Ive a surfeit of text written on the back of airline boarding passes, hotel note paper, menus etc, and I have a large plastic bag where they all get deposited until I feel the need to write a new album and I feel the Muses are descending. I then start wading through the lyrics and see what immediately jumps out. Theyre then put aside for future reference. That stage started to happen shortly after I returned from the last World tour in June 2005. However, it wasnt until I had to fly to Melbourne in September, 2006 to discuss the closure of NEROZ (relaunched as NEROZ II in March, 2008 with the release of the live CD Black Angel- Live!) that the first 5 songs were written in the hotel I was staying in and words began to form around them. With TROT I wrote the music to all the songs before looking for suitable lyrics. That in itself was a little unusual but it soon became the way for The Rule Of Thirds. Its a pretty mundane attempt at describing the artistic process but you cant really describe the moments when words come into your mind at 3 a. m. and you struggle to wake up from a twilight of slumber to get out of bed to write them down, or the mishearing of something in a restaurant, of the whisperings of a voice that isnt yours in the back of your head. The one constant that does continue is that the writing and creating process is a nauseating one. I feel quite sick when Im writing the material and its always a relief to record it and prepare for it to set forth in the World.
I'd like to delve deeper into some of the lyrics now. Death In June lyrics have always been remarkable and valuable (not to mention influential), but I think with The Rule Of Thirds you have really outdone yourself.
"I once was young and dark My Eyes bright grey blue But, now Time has tamed Me I'm as grey and white as You I look into the mirrorIn fear of only tears But, all reflection tells MeBeware those passing years..."
Here, you are facing yourself in all honesty (which I find a lot of songwriters don't even do; their lyrical maturity stagnated long ago, and they just want be free and irresponsible forever). How do you feel about where you are now? Is the answer to be found in the song The Rule of Thirds ("Live, Love, Die: The Law? This has to stop!") What are your thoughts about growing older?
[Douglas] Its strange that you should pick these words because they were the catalyst for the album as far as Im concerned and came to me complete as is at the bottom of the stairs in Fort Nada late one afternoon in 2005. I already had a chord sequence that fitted the words perfectly and whilst doing a recording session at Big Sound Studios of the stripped back acoustic material Id been playing on tour, and is yet to be released, I played what I had to my sound engineer and he remarked that it could be the cornerstone of a new album. It was! Those moments of having ones aerial that fine tuned are so few and far between that I cherish them dearly especially those words.
My thoughts about growing older are that Ive achieved much with my Life and all original goals, desires, wishes have come to fruition and in so many ways I couldnt be happier. But, also in many ways I couldnt be more unhappy, nervous and pensive. The price of Existence is eternal struggle and that never disappears so there are always irritants and woe just around the corner. There are always worms trying to nibble away at your body until they eventually do have my carcass. Im nearly 52 and I know Ill never see those years again and, realistically, what great years. But, .
The moment I heard you sing "Here comes that feeling again, Down on my life again And, I'm joyless again" I was startled. It was the auditory equivalent of looking in a mirror. It is the shadow of depression looming, a shroud of despair coming to envelop you unexpectedly. Is this something you've dealt with all your life?
[Douglas] All of my Life? All of our lives, surely? You cant really think that, regardless of personal concerns, in the World at large in the 21st Century there is much not to be extremely concerned about? Were on the precipice of a Third World War (that number again!) whose opening shots have already been fired. In a way, Im pleased to be around for it but it still doesnt stop me from being introspective on miserable Winters days in the Adelaide Hills where low cloud cover can descend for weeks on end and I see no way out of the fog of the World.
I love the song Idolatry. It appears to me to be the DIJ song that comes closest to being a 'pure love song'. How did your partner react the first time he heard it?
[Douglas] Its not about my partner! And, he hasnt heard it!! In fact, Ive a golden rule that outside of the writing process, or when Im rehearsing with the guitar, no one that close to me ever gets to hear my work. In the 10 years weve been together hes seen me perform live twice and has only ever listened to a handful of Death In June recordings. It gets too claustrophobic otherwise and your closest friends soon become your next interviewers. Ive learnt from my past relationships.
Idolatry reminded me of Because of Him - the first time I heard it, I was floored by how courageous you were for writing it (It shouldn't be 'an act of courage' in an ideal world, but in the world we live in now with still so much sexual repression and homophobia, it is courageous in my opinion). I love the fact that in your songs you were never 'ambiguous' about your relations, compared to lyrics of many other (gay) musicians. You seem to have absolutely no problem at all talking about you being gay. Have you always been so comfortable talking about it? This is obviously not the case with all gay/lesbians. How come you're different? How do you feel about people/artists who don't want to come out, or who, after 10 or 20 years in the limelight, finally tell the world about it?
[Douglas] Youre assuming that Because Of Him is a gay orientated song but at the time I wrote it I was prompted by distorting lyrics by the Reverend Jim Jones who probably wasnt gay and thinking about Saddam Hussein who possibly was - and it went from there. So,....?
Being gay to me isnt a big deal unless someone or thing/institution makes it so. And, it shouldnt be so. Ones sexuality should purely be rather than be a cause of ridicule, or threat, or subterfuge or even lifestyle etc. But ones liberation or emancipation begins with oneself and I think I was fortunate enough to become sexually mature during the early 1970s where people like David Bowie made it more acceptable and almost chic to be at least Bi-sexual. When I came out to my 2 best friends at the age of 18 it was a complete non-event. Id been wringing my hands fretting over how they would take it for some time. After all I didnt fit the stereotypical effeminate queer portrayed on the television etc so I even initially struggled with the idea that I was in fact gay. However, at the age of 17 I relented to my feelings and everything soon began to fall into place and I very quickly found out that the stereotype was merely that. An easily mocked, easily bracketed, easily contained and easily ghettoized stereotype. That wasnt me, or any of the men I was attracted to and involved with, and I felt the record had to be put straight, so to speak. I was fortunate to have broken the ice easily but difficult times were ahead and I, like so many gay/bisexual men, out, or otherwise, had to deal with a lot of unpleasant situations after I came out. My homosexuality wasnt even legal until I was 21 but Ive never really been one for taking much notice of what the law tells my dick to do. This could be the subject of a book and I could go on and on and still not cover all the bases. I feel one of the best places to look at on the internet that comes very close to expressing how I feel is Peter Tatchells website. Hes a very brave and articulate man mostly known for his association with OutRage and I agree with much he says here: www.petertatchell.net/queer%20theory/beyond.html
"We call angels, they come and go" this is something you've never hidden as well though you have a life partner, you've been very clear about how your sex life includes others. Personally, I would have difficulty getting into or maintaining such relationships, because loyalty and exclusivity is unequivocally part of the love I have for my husband/partner. How does this work for you? Also, some people (not me personally) would say that by being so explicit in your comments, you could be encouraging 'risky' sexual behaviour. How would you react to this?
[Douglas] Youre projecting onto me your own interpretation of Idolatry as though its gospel and asking me to explain it. I was, in fact, attempting to allude to the magickal summoning of Angels not telephoning dial-a-blow-job! And, I defy anyone to point out where Ive ever encouraged risky sexual behaviour!! I was introduced to the wonderful world of full-on sex and its inherent risks at the age of 18 one week after Id had my first fuck. I dont need to go into details but I learnt at an early age how threatening to health and dangerous having sex can be. But, in the 30 + years that have followed it still didnt stop me from taking calculated risks every so often which, in retrospect, were very risky. But, thats me and my choice! And I, and those very close to me, have to live with my conscience and its consequences. I flew very close to the Sun in 2005 and was very lucky but the risks were worthwhile and I was probably inspired enough to start writing a new album. But, it was a tough year on many levels for my close friends and some fell by the wayside.
"My tired heart" This sentence reminded me of a part of your personal life, which you shared on Behind The Mask: Your father passed away in his fifties of a heart condition. Now that you're in your fifties, have you prepared yourself for this? Is this something you worry about, or do you feel you've taken care of yourself enough not to be too concerned?
[Douglas] The males in the Pearce family tend to die in their 50s and that genetic timebomb is never far from my mind these days. Regardless of however much time Ive bought by being a vegetarian most of my Life, or exercising regularly, you can only do so much to delay the inevitable. Hardly a comforting thought. Death has taken a keen interest in me during the past 3 years. I think about dying all the time and I know it will be sooner rather than later.
You've mentioned in past interviews and on Behind The Mask your Epiphany on LSD I was curious if this is what My Rhine Atrocity was somehow about that after all, (black)birds are symbol of illumination and prophetic knowledge Is the use of drugs still a part of your life after all these years, or is it a case of 'that was then, but this is now'?
[Douglas] No, the song you mention and my personal Epiphany in Amsterdam when I was still a teenager dont correlate. Once youve kissed God and have him whisper in your ear what Life has in store for you does one really need to go ask for further confirmation? Its tantamount to doubting the word of Life itself. The last days in Holland back in 74 had me bad tripping for 3 days, see all of my possessions stolen and eventually hitch hiking back to England via Belgium where I was deported when I was picked up by the Police and they found I didnt have my passport. I tried acid once more after that to see if I could handle it and I could and then again a couple of years later when I was on the verge of some very serious trouble. Theres been no need for it since. Drugs are very much part of yesterday.
The Rule Of Thirds offers the listener a clear view of your criticism towards organised religions. Their Deception and Takkeya, in particular, confronts the principle of Al-Takeyya.* *(The Arabic word, "Takeyya", means "to prevent," or guard against. Most religions, including Islam, forbid lying. However, the principle of Al-Takeyya teaches Muslims that lying is acceptable as a preventive measure against harm to one's self or fellow Muslims. In other words, one has the liberty to lie under circumstances that they perceive as life threatening. They can even deny the faith, if they do not mean it in their hearts. Under the threat of force, it is legitimate for Muslims to act contrary to their faith.) I'm guessing that, with your history, the hypocrisy and deception of Al-Takeyya is not something you easily digest Do you believe that religions are and/or always will be a threat to a peaceful world? And aren't you worried that with such songs you're stirring up the old 'DIJ is a racist/nazi/fascist group' again?
[Douglas] What does it say about a religion that even has a specific word for an expedient lie to an infidel such as I? With 9/11, in New York, the Madrid train bombings, 7/7 on the London Underground and much, much more besides I think modern day fundamentalist islam has finally declared its intent in the West and, regardless of the invasion of Afghanistan and the stupid and unjustified invasion of what was basically a secular, Nationalist, Socialist Iraq, these events were always going to happen. They were merely waiting for the perfect excuses. To those sad political anachronisms that fret and fuss about neo nasties being threats to Western democracy, free speech etc and so on they should really get on board the 21st Century and open their eyes to the fact that given half a chance many of the local mullahs and mosques in their part of London, Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt etc will be having all women treated like slaves, gays and lesbians hanging from the nearest lampposts by their own entrails and anyone who disagrees with their generally primitive and intolerant approach to Life beheaded with a rusty knife, live on islamic approved Euro-television. Forget Big Brother this will be Big Mullah! Please lets be honest about this, fundamentalist islam is a reactionary, retrogressive, bigoted, expansionist religion whose main advocates revel in that fact and is Hell bent on terrorizing and subjugating anything in its way. For instance, since the so-called islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 a rough estimate of how many gay men have been executed there exceeds 4,000 which is a figure greater than the total deaths during 9/11. Thats outrageous and as a gay man its in my very basic interests that these revolting animals do not gain so much influence and control in the West, regardless of all their talk about being a benign import which is, going by the constant examples they present to the contrary, patently complete bullshit! Ask Ayaan Hirsi Ali the former Dutch politician, ex-muslim and friend of assassinated Theo Van Gogh for more information!! Christianity in its conservative form has been, and is, problematic enough and the struggle to get the West to a relatively liberal/secular position where thousands of heretics of whatever persuasion are no longer being burnt at the stake has taken centuries. Im very concerned about losing those gains and if that means I get accused of being a racist/nazi/fascist then so be it!
I found the seamless swap of the name 'Jesus' to 'Judas' in the song Jesus, Junk and the Jurisdiction very amusing. Could this song be another criticism of organised religion, or is this a direct pointing of the finger at a deceitful person who uses christianity to miraculously wash away their sins?
[Douglas] Like most Death In June songs JJJ is a far more complex affair. In late 2004 when I was back in England trying to renew some international visas a man came into my Life who was to have a profound effect upon me over the next 13 months - and possibly beyond. He had been a Court judge and a high ranking member of the General Synod, the law makers of the Church Of England, had become addicted to Crack/Cocaine, been subsequently imprisoned and was then, at the age of 57, a high class male prostitute going with both male and female clients. Thats how I met him, operating from an opulant flat owned by the Anglican Church near Westminster Abbey in Central London! We very quickly realized there was more than money involved between us and he became a necessary crutch for whenever I was back in London during that strange period where I felt I flew very close to the Sun and nearly got my wings burnt. He was both friend, lover and whore in England for those strange, sweet days but everything exploded when I suppose it was meant to. As far as I know after his activities were exposed in the press he was eventually made to leave this xtain owned apartment and is now a classical music critic in Scotland blissfully happy with a permanent boyfriend.
You have said in a recent interview that 'All Pigs Must Die' was "the most successfully magickal of all of my albums. ( ) It was directed in the extreme. An extremely channelled work." The betrayal and, may I say, rage you felt then is palpable when listening to that album. The Rule Of Thirds covers those feelings too, but there definitely is a different magick at work it appears to me as being more mature, or more accepting of what has happened, as reflected by My Last Europa Kiss. On the last track you sing "Let Go" Have you let go of those feelings, even though you've "not forgiven or forgotten"?
[Douglas] I never forgive and I never forget my Hatred. Im the wrong person to cross and I go to great lengths to wreak vengeance on those who deserve it. But to preserve some forms of Love and Life it is occasionally best to let go. The Rule Of Thirds and All Pigs Must Die are completely different from each other as far as Im concerned.
There's a lot more I could ask about the album and its lyrics, but I have stop here. I do want to ask you about a recent change for Death in June, and it can be summed up in one word: Tesco. What happened, what is going on?
[Douglas] Simple. As I left world serpent distribution in 1999 because, after 2 years of headhunting me, I finally accepted tescos better deal and way of working I have now left tesco for Soleilmoon for the same reasons! Besides, the united Germany of today reminds me far too much of the old communist DDR with all its forms of censorship and intimidation. I remember going into East Berlin for the first time in 1980 and the border guards at Alexanderplatz were having a field day searching fellow Germans entering that section of their country. An image that stuck in my mind was how they totally freaked out over a kid carrying a book featuring great West German footballers like Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Muller. For whatever reason, this was obviously completely forbidden or offensive and they went mad. They were shouting and hollering pushing the young kid about and waving the book in the air. I was eventually ushered through and left that behind me but those border guards are probably in government now! After all, the current leader, Little Red Angela is an ex-leader of the Communist Youth movement. Being with a company, where I had the bulk of my recordings and monies tied up, which is based in a country where artistic censorship now comes at the apparent blink of an eye, doesnt make any sense to me. Nor is it wise after the litigation Ive been involved in for the past few years with the German government regarding the censoring/controlling of my works that had previously been freely available for decades in Germany. For many good reasons it was time to move on and get the hell out of Dodge.
Last time we spoke you quoted Borat, which really made me laugh. What else in that same vein interests you? (I should just flat out ask if you like Little Britain, or if you find their portrayal of homosexuality, with characters such as 'The only gay in the village!', derogatory).
[Douglas] Little Britain is a work of total genius and Im certainly not so prissy as to be offended by the likes of Matt Lucas, a Jewish Gay guy, portraying a ridiculous charicature far more acceptable than the disgusting stereotypes so prevalent on the British television of the past. Other gems in that vein are The League Of Gentlemen, the 2nd series of Ricky Gervaiss Extras, especially the episode with David Bowie in, and an Australian series called Summer Heights High done by a very weird guy called Chris Lilley. His previous series called We Can Be Heroes is also a real oddity worth watching. Hes recently released a single called something like Mr G which I must try to listen to.
Most of your fans know of your past influences (movies such as The Night Porter, authors such as Jean Genet, etc). What would be more recent interests and/or influences (music, films, visual arts)?
[Douglas] Finding points of inspiration probably gets harder as you get older. The films or music or events and people become few and far between that make an impression. However, those that did at least create an impression in the past few years, and some were even inspirational, were the films Downfall in 2005 (thank you Merrick!) and Black Book, 23, Hitlers SS (an excellent English film from 1985 I recently discovered in a DVD sale) and Control in 2007 and more recently, and surprisingly, The Mist in 2008. Then theres been the recent Andy Warhol exhibition in Brisbane which surpassed anything else Id previously seen of Warhols work because not only was it far larger but it also embodied the time he spent with The Velvet Underground in a far more comprehensive way and the whole huge event had the feeling of a happening unto itself with a lot of interactive media, plus a lot of music and unseen video footage from The Factory and beyond. It was simply brilliant! I came away with a lot of new ideas in my head and felt revitalized.
Musically, I listened to very little last year, which is normal whilst I write and record a new album but, the few titles that did creep in before Fort Nada became a sonic morgue where nothing but Death In June demos and rough mixes get played included the creepily enjoyable The Good The Bad And The Queen (hats off to Damon Albarn, Paul Simonon and their producer Danger Mouse), Githeads 2nd album ( Colin Newman from Wire making the albums that Wire should be making) called Art Pop, the 2nd self titled album from Electric Music (the solo project of Karl Bartos, formerly of Kraftwerk, with no doubt more than a little help and inspiration from Johnny Marr) which took me 7 years to finally find in some cheap sell off of CDs in Tokyo but was well worth every minute of the search. Then theres a new group from the Blue Mountains near Sydney called Belles Will Ring and their album Mood Patterns which has very interesting lyrics besides being musically captivating. And last, but not least, Patrick Leagass latest 6 Comm offering Headless/Let The Moon Speak. I thought that was a great comeback after so many years away from music and it kept me company on many a late night in the office at Fort Nada whilst doing interviews or other such stuff on the computer. Its truly an inspirational piece by an unsung genius I was lucky enough to work with for a few brief years. I actually found that encouraged me to push on with The Rule Of Thirds. A bit of peer pressure, perhaps?
This question, the last question, might appear tremendously clichéd but I'm curious as all hell, so here goes: Would you share with us one thing about you that most people do not know and that would most surprise us? (i.e: do you excel in a certain cuisine, paint watercolours, sewing, horticulture, anything)
[Douglas] As this is probably the last English language interview Ill do for The Rule Of Thirds Ill share with you several things; Im a very good shot with a rifle so, considering my older brother was a sharp shooter in the Royal Air Force and his talents employed in the Mediterranean and Northern Ireland and my father was a fighter pilot during WWII I guess thats one part of my genetic inheritance which is pretty handy. My jump record for parachuting is also very good throughout. Im very keen on and engender native Australian flora and fauna and have some of the local cockatoos, magpies, kookaburras and even koalas, which I find totally surprising, literally feeding out of my hand. In fact, the local koalas frequently walk around the garden and swimming pool during the daytime apparently observing us and even stop to look at the television through the screen doors at night which is quite weird to see. Some years ago I did a whole load of canvas abstract paintings using the spare paint from all the work I was having done when parts of Fort Nada were being built, all with a faux Aboriginal touch thrown in for a certain relevance to my new surroundings. Ive been thinking of selling those soon. Im also considered by some who have had the pleasure of having dined at Fort Nada, or my old flat back in England, to be quite a good cook of thrown together vegetarian or seafood dishes. I never work from recipes. I find it difficult to obey any orders except my own, of course!
Is there anything Ive left out? Yes, definitely. Quite a lot, in fact. Heilige! Douglas P. 13.IV.08.
Interview by Helene Burkholder