QUESTIONNAIRE: David Tibet
I) The music and concept of The Current
The name was taken from the technical phrase used by Aleister Crowley to
define his new religion, THELEMA: "the 93rd Current". At the time of The
Current's formation, Crowley was a major influence behind the group; this was
reflected in the name we chose. We also felt that Current 93 was an
anonymous name, which was felt to be desirable. Although the Crowleyan input
is no longer important in the Current, the name was kept.
The music is religious music in the widest sense of he word; not magickal. "Magickal" is almost exclusively used these days to present a pretentious and pompous form of derivative sound, that has aspirations to areas it could not possibly hope to emulate. In the end, The Current's music is amalgam of all the areas that I find to be the most powerful: Gregorian Chant, Tibetan Ritual Music, Armenian Chants of the Middle Ages, Japanese shakuhachi and koto music and so on. This is mixed with areas of literary influence: Lautreamont, Huysmans, Mirbeau, Soloviev, The Bible. Tibetan scriptures, Lewis Caroll, Bons texts and several other areas.
Current 93 music attempts to instill in the listener a sense of melancholy grandeur.
II) Desired effect and atmosphere.
Some of this has been gone into the last question. I have no interest in Satanism as such: to believe in Satan, you have to be a Christian, which I am not. Occultism was dealt with LAShTAL, the first single, and it is an area which I find to be facile and much overascribed to. The unsettling effect comes about because that is precisely the effect that I look for in sound and art and literature. That which is uneasy makes us stronger. There is no philosophy; all effect is meant to be religious and moving -- Faure's Requiem comes to mind as a piece that achieves this almost perfectly -- although The Current do not align themselves with any religious organization.
III) Current's position in UK.
The material we produce sells in the US, Europe and Japan, and last of
all here. The only groups that I would align the Current alongside would be
Nurse With Wound, although I also admire the work of Crass, Annie Anxiety,
Whitehouse, Coil and The Halfler Trio.
Current stand alone: we are not part of any movement, nor would wish to be labelled as such. I couldn't forsee a blending of melody and rhythm breaking into the market place mainly because I have no interest in it at all.
IV) Positive/Negative feedback.
The bad reviews usually come from the major papers, the good ones from magazines such as yours. There have never been any mediocre reviews; they tend to be violently dismissive, or extremely positive. That having been said, all musics which offer something new and powerful are dismissed by the established media, as they are chronically incapable of noticing a new force even if it vomited in their face.
V) Live Presentation:
As with the sound itself: very bad or very good. Reviews have been all
dismissive, as far as I'm aware. I couldn't really give a fuck. The best
single incident was when I set a large crucifix on fire, smashed it into
slivers on the floor and then threw it hard at the crowd. My, my: see the
people scrabble for Christ's legs, still in flames.
The performances are completely improvised: we have only done two so far, in Brussels and Amsterdam. One consisted of myself and the violinist that works with NWW, and the other one of myself, a drummer, the violinist and Steve Stapleton. No visuals were used, except in red and black. Complex vocal effects are used, as well as up to twenty pre-recorded tapes each with its own source. Future performances will be with Steve Ignorant from Crass, John Balance from Coil and Stapleton operating tapes.
VI) How did group begin.
We started about two and a half years ago when John Balance and I were
still in PTV, and Fritz Haaman was still in 23 Skidoo. We booked a studio
for a week and recorded the 3 pieces that made up the first twelve-inch. It
was not released till after I had left PTV.
The relationship with NWW is as follows: Steve and I are in both groups. With Steve's job is to suggest ways of effecting the sound and of fitting pieces together. He is a sound technician and an invaluable source of ideas on the basic structure of The Current's sound.
Steve's "likes" are very different from mine: German music of the seventies; avant-garde such as Stockhausan, Cage; machinery; sexual perversion especially rubber; surrealist writings and so on. This obviously affects the way the groups differ.
I am motivated politically inasmuch as I loath politics of all types:
especially fascism and communism. All dogmas are equally destructive,
deceitful and full of bullshit. They are easy crutches for people to define
themselves by without actually working the ideas out for themselves and
thinking. Morons. I am very interested in situationalism and anarchism and
nihilism, which I see as the negation of the political death-wish. Anarchism
is an answer of sorts, as long as people realise that the change can only
come from within.
In terms of actual political involvement, I am closely involved with the Animal Liberation Movement. I have just put together a benefit LP for the Animal Liberation Front -- whose slogan is 'Devastate to Liberate' -- who believe in direct action against all and every organ concerned with the exploitation of animals in any form whatsoever.
VIII) Music: influence and enjoyments
The music I enjoy is essentially religious music of various cultures; Tibetan ritual music, Mongolian vocal music, Gregorian Chant/Plainsong, Armenian Chant, Russian Orthodox music. Requiem music -- especially by Faure, Berlioz, Mozart, Beethoven; Japanese shakuhachi and koto music, Zen music, Sufi/Joujouka music. Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death-vital. Palestrina. Gagaku-Japanese court music. Medieval organ music.
IX) The difference between United Dairies and L.A.Y.L.A.H.
United Dairies was the label set up by Steve Stapleton and John Fothergill to release works by NWW and other experimental groups/people. L.A.Y.L.A.H. was set up by Marc Hirsing to release music that he personally felt to be excellent. They aren't interchangeable; NWW are on United Dairies, Current on L.A.Y.L.A.H., but will continue to release records on each others labels.
X) How I Subist Financially?
Classified. John Murphy can't answer the questionnaire as he is in Australia... and no, I don't answer any questions on PTV.
XI) Miscellaneous Business
The NWW piece about Christianity was written by me (Tibet 93). It was tongue in cheek, though you seem to be one of the only people to have realised it. Christ plays no part in NWW. He plays the role of PigFace Christus in the Current, crucified mutton chop of Galilee. The ultimate show-off, now; his message having been corrupted by (as usual) money and politics. It's not Christ himself and his ideas that I despise; it's what he has come to be made into and what he now represents.
There will be selected and brief live works in the world. There will be a new twelve-inch very soon with Steve Ignorant, John Balance and Stapleton, followed by a mini-LP with Coil on the other side titled Nightmare Culture. Then we'll start work on the next LP. NWW will have a book and LP out, entitled Alas, The Madonna Does Not Function Parts I & II. The next LP by NWW is the already finished and released Murray Fontana presents the Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion.
Prophesy for the future:
a) How can there be laughter, how can there be pleasure, when the whole world is burning?
b) the sound of the bell echoes the impermanence of all things. The hue of the flowers of the teak tree declares that all who flourish must be brought low. Yea, the proud ones are but for a moment, like an evening in springtime. The mighty are destroyed at last, they are dust before the wind.
c) The pure form which is haunting social space is recognizable as the death of men. It is the neurosis that preceded necrosis, survival sickness spreading slowly as living experience is replaced by things, images, forms, objects as alienated mediation transmutes experience into a thing, madreporises it. It's a man or a tree or a stone...so prophesized Lautreamont.
d) Has it ever happened to you that you spat on a passing priest? Or wanted to burn down a church, chapel, mosque, or synagogue?
e) We must not renounce our share of violence
93 TIBET 93, London 20/III/1985
Moderator: Paul Lemos
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