CHRIS & COSEY INTERVIEW - July 2006
This new interview focuses on the past, present and current events including the collaboration with Mortal Loom.
When did you, or what happened that made you, realize that you wanted to be what you are now?
CHRIS: I arrived here by a process of evolution. Many events in my life have shaped and directed my life path, I often seem to be in the right place at the right time and have made contact with some outstanding artists and individuals.
COSEY: I always felt that I would be an active 'doer' rather than a passive receiver and never settled for anything less. So consequently I was open to many different experiences that eventually led me to where I am now. Many good and bad things happened but that's what shaped me. I feel who I am now has been hard earned but also a real pleasure getting here. People always assume that you have always been the way you are or that it just happened but that's not the case. Life is struggle and to be a living' contributing individual is hard work.
What is your relationship with the other members of Throbbing Gristle?
CHRIS : Currently in love with one, very good with another and businesslike with the third.
COSEY: I share my heart and soul with Chris, I am very fond and have a good relationship with Sleazy, and am in a period of reconnection with Gen.
What is the thing you remember most about the time with Throbbing Gristle?
CHRIS: The humor, the hard work and the moments of inspiration. I'm already on record as saying: "They were the best of times, they were the worst of times" That Dickens quote sums it up for me wonderfully.
COSEY: How busy we all were, there was so much going on, so many people from all walks of life who we were friends with and worked with. It was a really charged period for us all in many ways. It was a great time for us all as a unit and individually. Like Chris said we had many laughs and fun times alongside the serious aspects of what we were doing. We created a situation that allowed us all to grow. We fed our own needs and tastes which in turn expanded as different opportunities arose. It was a wonderful time but also very fraught at times.
What musical projects are you most amused with?
CHRIS: See answer three above.
COSEY: The ones I did with the Very Rev. LEE. Maul.
What did you think about the 80's in the music industry?
CHRIS: Not as good as the seventies but far better that the 90's
COSEY: Not much really. I didn't take much notice of it...too busy. I'm talking about mainstream music industry here. It was the beginning of a watered down version of the underground electronic music scene. Some good rhythms but lacking in real substance and class. Party music is just that.
What did you think about the 90's in the music industry?
CHRIS: Lacking in insight, not as good as the 70's or 80's.
COSEY: There's very little I liked. I resorted to guitar bands just for the melodies alone. I hate the Ibiza hedonistic pap music. Thumping rhythms devoid of any positive intent. Hedonism can be a very positive thing but the 90's carried on that 80s 'I want it and I want it now' Attitude towards money into personal enjoyment. The trouble with it is that it's done as the thing 'to do' and therefore is devoid of direction or purpose. People tick off little boxes in their minds of having done this or that without really exploring it and themselves. I have a real problem with the superficiality, which was rife in the 90's and still continues.
What do you think about the years to come in the music industry?
CHRIS: I try not to. Major labels are killing innovation and manufactured pop idols are killing music. My sense of nostalgia is growing. As always there is yet hope in the Independent sector.
COSEY: I totally agree with Chris. I listen to classical music on the radio a lot. I hate the inane DJ prattle. I refuse to let morons take up space in my brain. I refuse rap music head room or to permeate the space I'm in. I see such empty music as being a negative charge and I negate it whenever possible. I've begun to regard mainstream music just as I do TV ads. They are irritating, assaulting to the senses and shallow. Therefore useless to me. A waste of precious time. Like Chris I play a lot of old music and new independent music only.
Who is your hero or whom do you look to for inspiration in art and music?
CHRIS: I worship at the Church of Exotika, whose high priests include Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Ennio Morricone and John Barry. I also pray to the altar of Hendrix. My favorite artist is Cosey Fanni Tutti.
COSEY: I'm always stumped when people ask me this because I'm not conscious of anyone being my hero or inspiration. I guess I assimilate and create subconsciously. If I sit and really think I would say Nico opened my eyes and ears to the possibility of truly moving vocals from an untraditional voice. I've always looked to myself particularly when making art because my art is about my take on life. Likewise the music. I tend to create from within and an outside source. Even when I do tracks/art about worldly events, the realization of the work is via my assimilation and the effect of the events on me/us. Like 'Sleeping Stephen', 'Haunted Heroes', 'Silent Cry' etc. So the inspiration is found in the work itself. I am obviously influenced by many visuals and sounds I've seen and heard but I don't set out to do something 'in the style of'.
Are there any songs that you wrote / sang that you are just sick of?
CHRIS: Nope COSEY: Me neither
What do you think the after-life is like?
CHRIS: Hopefully like a good episode of the Twilight Zone, maybe a parallel universe of some kind.
COSEY: A typical Chris reply. I'm not sure what/where I am in now is 'life' are you? Exactly what dimension are we in now? I'd like to think there is a higher dimension other than this but having 'crashed' after my heart op, there was nothing. Where was I then?
Where is your favorite place to be?
CHRIS: Anywhere with Cosey
COSEY: Right up close with Chris, but it's never close enough, if I could I'd crawl inside him.
What brings you the most joy?
CHRIS: Anything with Cosey
COSEY: Sex with Chris and when he laughs. The smile of our son Nick, it just melts everyone, and I know that he is truly happy at that moment.
What brings you the most hell?
CHRIS: Migraine, toothache, paying taxes.
COSEY: Most people.
What music space are you in now?
CHRIS: Early 1960's British film music.
COSEY: Anything that makes me shiver inside.
What current projects are you involved with?
CHRIS: Collaborating with Mortal Loom. Remixing UK band NDOT. Remix for Vidna Obmana. Remastering 24 CDs for Throbbing Gristle boxed set and the entire packaging etc. Pre-production for new C&C album (behind schedule)
COSEY: Ditto on the above alongside: A new artwork- limited edition book entitled 'Confessions'. Preparations for live art actions planned for this year. Contemplating EAR 4 CD.
What are your future touring plans?
CHRIS: Anything is possible but nothing specific. We say never say never.
COSEY: We don't have any but then we don't say we won't do gigs either.
How did you get involved with Mortal Loom?
CHRIS: Mortal Loom sent us some material, which we liked, always a good starting point for collaborating I think. You should hear some of the crap we get sent.
Tell us about collaborating on the Addicted To The Tragedy CD?
CHRIS: You could call it 'music by mail'. They sent us some source material, rhythms, synths and guitars etc. and we recorded new vocals and additional material and reworked the whole arrangement. They are going to further rework our contributions. All very collaborative and satisfying when it works so well, such as this project has.
COSEY: I found it a new experience to work with someone else's lyrics. I re-wrote them to a degree because I need to feel words fit the sounds they go with and that they roll comfortably off my tongue. It's not a case of FITTING words to a 'song' so much as making sure the words and music appear at one with each other. Mortal Loom was open to my moving words around and adding my own so it was a pleasurable experience. Lyrics are very personal so they had to be right.
How does it feel knowing that your work with Mortal Loom will be heard on U.S. college and alternative radio stations in the U.S. and Europe?
CHRIS: Nice. We have fond memories of visiting countless US college stations during our extensive USA tours in the 80's and 90's.
"We have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." (Tombstone epitaph of two amateur astronomers) Both of you have loved both the night and the stars for years. What do you think of Mortal Loom so far and it's own "night and stars" vision?
CHRIS: Admirable and encouraging. More people need to be aware of their existence, philosophy and music.
COSEY: When I look up at the stars from our house the sky is so clear it's awesome and I am struck by my own insignificance. Its vastness scares me. I've realized that I am someone who needs to be aware of a finite boundary even if it's something to break down.
What do you think about the U.S.A.?
CHRIS: A lovely place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there, I'm too much of a Europhile. The words Bush, USA and isolationist are often mentioned in the same sentence, not a good thing. America doesn't own planet Earth, though we on the outside often get the impression they believe it to be so. Nothing personal though.
COSEY: I really love visiting the U.S.A. We have many wonderful friends there and have had many great times. I worry about the present President's reluctance to tackle global issues despite his own people's very audible voice on such matters. We all have to act now to ensure some changes before it's too late.
Since you've had a long and successful history in the music business, do you think the American market has "grown up" at all since you started, or is it still rather "narrow" as compared to greater Europe?
CHRIS: Its funny how the US often seemed ahead of the ROTW in many social aspects, eg; supermarkets, color TV, unleaded fuel and Three Mile Island but undeniably lags some way behind Europe in music trends, cell phone technology and hair do's. I'll never forgive the US for coming up with C&W music and rap, or for that matter Germany for oompah music and Britain for Morris dancing and boy bands.
COSEY: I think the USA suffers from its own induced commerciality. It has to feed the hand that feeds it. A vicious circle, but there are some good (indi) music people out there like Mark Gage of Vapourspace.
What do you think about current POP music in the EU and the U.S.A.?
CHRIS: Summarized by two words: pap and crap.
COSEY: Don't get me started! I'll never stop ranting...
Thomas Paine said, "The more unnatural anything is, the more is it capable of becoming the object of dismal admiration." (Age of Reason, p.292) It seems that much of pop music is just that--cause for dismal admiration, asset is devoid of the most natural thing of all in existence: truth. While your own work continues to have an enormous impact, do you think pop music will ever become worthy of something other than protest?
CHRIS: Not likely is it? And just where have all the protest singers and songs gone eh? I live in hope that the Anti -Globalization movement will conjure up a band and they'll be independent, write good songs, be massively successful and awaken the anarchist in all those Britney Spears tweenies.
COSEY: Nope. Can't see it myself. Hate to generalize but the man and woman in the street spend most of their time escaping reality instead of facing it. Why would they want to listen to music that mirrored their existence? Until people make the effort to make their lives more fulfilling the only music open to them is that which takes them away from where they are in their everyday lives.... nowhere. Nothing music for nowhere people. It's very sad because people could have a 'life' but conditioning has ensured that they buy into the life on offer yet they still feel unfulfilled and don't know why. There has to be some input in order to get something out. In some ways it's depressing to still be saying the same things we said in the days of Throbbing Gristle. But as long as there are people of like mind to ourselves there is always hope!
You have made a long and steady road of increasing your own personal freedom and helping others to find theirs through your many kinds of art. Do you think there are more people with open minds these days, or less, as compared to the early 70's?
CHRIS: In my opinion undeniably less, though it may seem otherwise to many. Commercialization and globalization are insidious tendrils constantly tugging at our thoughts and actions. Even more so in the 21st century we are measured by our skin colour, religion, body image, designer labels, car, household possessions, personal success and of course net bandwidth. Whole countries are shunned for lacking even one of the above.
If you could make one change to the world, what would it be?
CHRIS: Eliminate all weapons, no matter how big or how small.
COSEY: That we all have a respect for and work with the ecosystem to ensure its longevity (and our own). From such a basic acknowledgement of how we impact on things around us would hopefully also bring respect for all living organisms to include one another.
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