Geniuser

The poignant darkness within music can sometimes be thrillingly beautiful. The power within the shadows can transcend imagination, time, and space. Some listeners love depressing lyrics or themes while others may just love the dark image or style of the group. When The Jesus And Mary Chain sang '€œI'€™m happy when it rains'€¦'€, many listeners felt a connection to this psychological phenomenon. In essence, misery truly loves company. Music is a magical art form in which people can discover joy within sadness. Michael Allen, formerly of The Wolfgang Press and Rema Rema, explores this beautiful darkness in his new group, GENIUSER.

The Wolfgang Press was unlike any contemporary music group. They utilized multiple influences to create a magnificently unique sound that transcended categorization. Signed to 4AD, the band'€™s early albums ('€œStanding Up Straight'€ & '€œThe Burden Of Mules'€) were insanely bleak. Lead singer, Michael Allen sounded as if he was literally being dragged to hell. Allen'€™s deep baritone voice was an unlikely driver for any pop group. The wisdom that resonated thru the songs helped to create their exquisite music. Similar to Mark E. Smith, Allen'€™s performance was respected regardless if his voice. Eventually, the lyrics, the intelligence, the passion, and the music made listeners appreciate his inimitable vocal tone. His vocals became more tuned and soulful with every changing album. Influences of soul music slid into the '€œBirdWoodCage'€ LP. When their very successful '€œQueer'€ LP was released, the soul music was intertwined with electronic rhythms and Manchester rave culture. Their classic cover of '€œMama Told Me Not Come'€ displayed their ironic, intelligent wit over thick grooves. Their clever topics and lyrics led to multiple interpretations and their music set them apart from the throwaway bands of that time period. Their final LP, '€œFunky Little Demons'€ was an overlooked masterpiece that displayed the Press honing their sound to an English Soul / Blues style. Excellent tracks like '€œPeople Say'€, '€œChains'€, and '€œShe'€™s So Soft'€ varied in styles, but were linked by the group'€™s cool passion. Years later, every album by The Wolfgang Press is completely unique and magnificently timeless. Like fine wines, Michael Allen'€™s music gets better with age.

After The Wolfgang Press disbanded, many years passed before fans heard new music from any of the members. Andrew Grey released his solo album '€œHomegrown'€ under the moniker Limehouse Outlaw. Lead singer / songwriter, Michael Allen did contribute vocals / lyrics on Limehouse Outlaw'€™s album, but their cult-like fan base yearned for more music. The use of Johnny Cash'€™s vocal sample did excite fans with glimpse of a possible new direction. Unfortunately, years after the album was released, Grey and Allen were missing in action within the music world.

After more than a decade, Michael Allen returned in 2005 with another unique musical contribution named GENIUSER. As always, Allen'€™s new project a complete separate entity from his past work. Geniuser consists of Giuseppe De Bellis and Michael Allen. Hailing from Italy and known for his collaborations with The Orb, Giuseppe De Bellis has released a myriad of music under various names. Drug maestros, The Orb lent them their studio and the magic was ignited. Released on Phisteria Records, '€œMud Black'€ by Geniuser possessed a moody darkness, esoteric lyricism, and an emotional intensity. Allen has not created music this dark since the days of '€œStanding Up Straight'€. Actual songs exist within the darkness. The opening track, '€œUntie My Hands'€ introduces the complicated emotions which lay deep within this album. Tapping into his deep emotional core, Allen sings, '€œ'€¦Untie my hands / Untie my heart / So I can hold again'€¦'€ The mixture of beauty and sadness become the perfect introduction to this expressively complicated album. In the '€œYou Can Lose It'€, the pounding of the thick electronic bass becomes essential like a pumping heart. Allen'€™s thick vocal styles are accentuated by his imaginative lyrics. '€œ'€¦You can lose it / You can fall'€¦'€, Allen sings with a sharply blunt style. '€œThis Is What I Know'€ and '€œThese Times'€ also have Allen using his deep vocal tone to create a unique sound and dark atmosphere within the loose pop structure. The final track, '€œUtero'€ uses a rich, electronic rhythm for Michael to show us the door to leave the album. '€œ'€¦Inside is warm'€¦'€, Allen repeatedly sings, providing multi-interpretations. The '€œMud Black'€ LP by GENIUSER may go unnoticed, but the few who find this gem will be musically rich.

Art is usually not fully appreciated until the artist is gone. Even though Rema Rema and The Wolfgang Press have been relegated to the past, Michael Allen'€™s creativity is shining within the darkness. A new appreciation for Allen'€™s work has grown too. 4AD released the '€œEverything Is Beautiful'€ compilation and just released The Wolfgang Press'€™s debut album, '€œThe Burden Of Mules'€ for the first time on CD. Fans can look to the past and finally appreciate The Wolfgang Press. Others are beginning to appreciate Allen'€™s current collaboration with Giuseppe De Bellis. '€œMud Black'€ by GENIUSER satisfies fans of Allen'€™s past work, but continues his exciting musical evolution. Allen has settled down with his wife and family, but the creativity still flows through his veins. Strange and intelligent, Michael Allen will continue to surprise us within the mud black of darkness.

T.JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€ MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œToo much to mention and little of interest.'€

T.JONES: '€œTell us about the debut Geniuser album, '€˜Mud Black'€™ released on Phisteria Records.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œIt is an album of songs that myself and Giuseppe started work on as far back as 1999. They were ideas for songs that were meant to give a flavor of what we were up to, at that moment in time. We thought that by offering these sketches to the outside world, somebody of taste and position would be interested enough to offer us unlimited resources, so that we could complete the project. That didn'€™t happen.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the title, '€˜Mud Black'€™?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThere isn'€™t any meaning. It was more that I liked the sound of those two words when they were put together. Having said that, I suppose I was looking for something that suggested what we felt the album was about, which is dark, certainly naïve, and deliberately lo-fi. '€˜Mud Black'€™ might suggest something primal and guttural.'€
T.JONES: '€œPhisteria Records released '€˜Mud Black'€™. Why did you choose them?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThey chose us. After Giuseppe and I had finished recording the ideas, Giuseppe went back to Copenhagen to live. I think he had spoken to a couple of people and friends. He told them that he had worked on some pieces of music with myself. People got to hear it and Karsten from Phisteria must have caught wind of this and expressed an interested in wanting to put the material out.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow is this GENIUSER LP different from the previous music you have created?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œIt'€™s different simply because I was working with Giuseppe for the first time. The process, I suppose, was different in that Giuseppe initiated most, if not all, of the tracks. Then, I came along and would maybe introduce the more conventional sounds, bass, piano, and strings. I would then, add a rough vocal idea. We then arranged the track, and I recorded the final vocal.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat inspired you to write '€˜You Can Lose It'€™?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œGiuseppe started most of the tracks. What I remember about this, is that I added the bass part. What I liked about it, was that it reminded me of Can, a group to measure things by, '€˜Monster Movie'€™ in particular. I had the hypnotic nature and the rhythm of that album in the back of my mind.'€

T.JONES: '€œFavorite song on the '€˜Mud Black'€™ LP?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI generally like the ideas more than I like the results. But, I would say that applies to most things I do. If pressed, I would say '€˜Am I Salt?'€™'€

T.JONES: '€œWhich song took you the longest to do from conception to completion? Why?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI think it was '€˜These Times'€™, which went through several personality changes. The idea was a good one, but we couldn'€™t ever seem to get the mood right and I fear that shows.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you do many overdubs while recording? Do you use many first takes, or do you do multiple?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI'€™m not sure whether the term overdubs applies. We put a load of stuff on and then, took it off. Vocally, I sometimes use the first take. I have also been known to spend many fruitless hours trying to recreate the feel of a first badly recorded vocal or badly recorded song.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the name Geniuser? The Wolfgang Press?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThey are meaningless and open to interpretation. That is why they were chosen. Naming a project is hard and ultimately, pointless.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen creating a track, do you have a set theme or idea, or is the music created first?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œMy mind is blank. Music always comes first. From that, everything springs.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did you meet Giuseppe De Bellis and decide to form Geniuser? Was there a philosophy behind it?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œWe met through a mutual friend in Copenhagen in 1991 and kept in touch. Giuseppe came over to live in London for a while and was working in The Orb studio. He asked me if I would be interested in doing some vocals on some music he had been working on. The philosophy is not to lie and not to repeat.'€

T.JONES: '€œMusically, what have you been working on? What is the next release for Geniuser, or both of you as solo artists?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œGiuseppe sends me pieces of music or beats to try and entice me to do something. We have a three songs completed as of Nov 2005 and hundreds with nothing on.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some of your favorite instruments?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œEvery instrument has potential. Nothing is blacklisted in my mind, apart from maybe the saxophone.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhy did The Wolfgang Press split up? What happened?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œWe had run our course and I think we had lost our way. I'€™m not sure which came first.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some of the main differences between The Wolfgang Press and Geniuser?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œGiuseppe is the driving force in Geniuser.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow are you creatively different from Giuseppe? The same?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œGiuseppe is very positive, open, and clear. I am negative and changeable. I like to play the game at convincing myself that I am open minded.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat song / album are you most proud of?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThe most successful album for me is '€˜BirdWoodCage'€™. I like that one especially, because I feel we grew up on that album. It feels like a good mixture between dark and personal. Working with Flood was a great experience too.'€

T.JONES: '€œ'€˜Birmingham'€™ is one of my favorite songs by The Wolfgang Press. Could you expand on the meaning?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œWith most of what I write, the subject matter is not obvious. There are several reference points and deliberate contradictions. But, this song does draw from one source, the true story of the Birmingham Six. They were six Irishmen falsely accused and imprisoned for the bombing of 2 pubs in Birmingham in 1974, which killed 21 people. They were each imprisoned for, I think, 16 years before they had their sentence squashed. I'€™m not sure if they ever received an official apology.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat artists or musicians would you like to collaborate with in the future?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œGiuseppe would like to work with Brian Eno.'€

T.JONES: '€œAndrew Gray released a solo album titled '€˜Homegrown'€™ under the name, Limehouse Outlaw. You co-wrote some of the tracks (which were excellent). What do you think of the Limehouse Outlaw album?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI think it has some great moments. It is a very difficult thing to do, to write on your own. Maintaining the drive and the focus is, I imagine, the hardest part.'€

T.JONES: '€œAndrew Gray worked on the Geniuser album too. Was working with Andrew this time different from the past because of the involvement of De Bellis?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œNot really. Andrew and I have a very good relationship. We understand and know each other'€™s abilities and strengths. We are able to tell each other when we think something is a load of bollocks.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did The Wolfgang Press get involved with 4AD?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œRema Rema was one of the first signings to 4AD, I think in 1980. It was an odd as Rema Rema had split by the time we signed the contract. I have been involved with them from then on up until 1995.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did 4AD treat you? Would you work with them again?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThey were very patient with us and gave us room to blossom. They also allowed us complete artistic control, which was something we felt was very important. It is very unlikely, but if the terms were right, if I felt that they believed in what we are doing, and I liked what they had to say, then maybe.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow do you feel about 4AD as a label?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œAs a label, I think there are few to rival it. Ivo was very clear and resolute in his beliefs. His desire and passion to create something special and unique with every release, was remarkable.'€

T.JONES: '€œWould you ever sign to a major label?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI'€™ve never been asked, so I couldn'€™t say.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe album '€˜Queer'€™ by The Wolfgang Press has several drug references. Were there many drugs around during the recording of this album? What were they? Do you still dabble in drugs these days?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThe only drugs I do are Nurofen. I was never much of a drug user, more an alcohol abuser.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe song '€˜Louis XIV'€™ is an intelligent and clever track about The Sun King. What was it about Louis that inspired you to write this song? Who is the narrator? Is it Louis?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI had recently read a book by Nancy Mitford entitled, The Sun King. I think I was also reading about the Holy Crusades. A lot of the facts and images got mixed up. I do remember that we were in a rehearsal room, playing the song, and the words came out almost word for word as they appear on the record on the first run through. Very curious. The narration shifts between Napoleon, Louis, and an undisclosed third party.'€

T.JONES: '€œAnnie Anxiety appeared on '€˜The Birdie Song'€™ and '€˜Dreams & Light'€™ (from '€˜Queer'€™). How did this collaboration happen?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œAnnie was married to Dave Curtis from Dif Juz. Myself, Dave, and Alan, who is Dave'€™s brother, used to go drinking together. So, when Dave met Annie, I was introduced. I, in fact, ended up being a witness at their wedding. So, we got to know one another very well. Annie is one of the most fantastic people I have met.'€

T.JONES: '€œNow that the dust has settled, do you ever speak to the other members of The Wolfgang Press? What do you think of them now? Will you ever reunite?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI speak to Andrew, probably once a week, and see him when I can. There was talk of reuniting for the 4AD 25th anniversary. But, we were never asked and I must say, I would not have done it.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere will your next album be released?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œWhen and if it gets completed.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite part of your live show?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œWe have never played live. I wouldn'€™t want to play live unless there was a demand for us to do that. The idea of playing to 10 people in some shit hole doesn'€™t appeal to me anymore.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat do you think about conflict between the United States and the Middle East?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI shall allow my silence to speak for me.'€

T.JONES: '€œAbortion. Pro-choice or pro-life?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œPro-choice.'€

T.JONES: '€œEuthanasia. For or against?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œPro-choice.'€

T.JONES: '€œElizabeth Fraizer (of The Cocteau Twins) appeared on '€œRespect'€ and '€œI Am The Crime'€ by The Wolfgang Press. How is Elizabeth Fraizer'€™s creative process different than yours?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œShe can sing. I can write words. Together, we could be unstoppable.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you during September 11th, the terrorist attack on the United States? How has Europe'€™s view of America changed? What do you think?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI was working. I see the pro-war contingents'€™ support of America and the anti-war factions demonizing of America becoming more militant and subsequently polarized, which can'€™t be healthy. My thoughts are mixed. But I do really object to America thinking they have some God given right to pile in to any country to do whatever they like, under the banner of '€˜Keeping the Peace'€™.'€

T.JONES: '€œWord association. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said, '€˜The Beatles'€™, you may say '€˜Revolution'€™ or '€˜John Lennon'€™. Okay?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œOkay.'€

T.JONES: '€œPixies.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œKim.'€

T.JONES: '€œPsychic T.V.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œCage.'€

T.JONES: '€œDead Can Dance.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œLost.'€

T.JONES: '€œSlowdive.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œNosedive.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Telescopes.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œStaring at the sun.'€

T.JONES: '€œPublic Enemy.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œTruth rant.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Dandy Warhols.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThe Andy Darhols.'€

T.JONES: '€œTelevision Personalities.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œNothing.'€

T.JONES: '€œMomus.'€ MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œSusanne.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Jesus And Mary Chain.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œBig hair.'€

T.JONES: '€œPrimal Scream.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œSummer.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Stone Roses.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œFools.'€

T.JONES: '€œSpacemen 3.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œBasement Jaxx.'€

T.JONES: '€œFelt.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œDenim.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Fall.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œGenius.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Brian Jonestown Massacre.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œChurch temple.'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€ MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œAss.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho have been the biggest influences?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œMy brother'€™s record collection, my mother'€™s take on life, my father'€™s beliefs, and my sister'€™s social life when I was 13 to 16 years of age.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen did you first begin making music? How old were you? How did it all begin?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI first picked up a bass guitar when I was at college with Marco Pirroni. In 1975, I was 16. Myself, Cliff, who was my best friend from school, and Marco used to go back to Marco'€™s house and listen to records and fuck around. Marco was friendly with the likes of Malcolm Maclaren, who told Marco about a group he was managing. He invited him down to take a look them. Marco asked me along. We turned up at the 100 Club in Oxford Street and watched a group called The Sex Pistols.'€

T.JONES: '€œ'€˜A Question Of Time'€™ by The Wolfgang Press is an amazing song. Throughout the years, has time been your friend or enemy?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œTime is neither. Time gets blamed for all manner of things. People are in denial about their lives and how they live them. Time comes too easily to hand as an excuse as to why they did or didn'€™t do what they should or shouldn'€™t have done.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho is Derek The Confessor?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œMe, of course.'€

T.JONES: '€œIn The Wolfgang Press song '€˜She'€™s So Soft'€™, you have a line that states, '€˜She'€™s a man'€™. Is '€˜She'€™s So Soft'€™ about a transvestite?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œNo, it is about my first-born and her mother.'€

T.JONES: '€œJah Wobble played bass on the remix for '€˜Chains'€™. How did this collaboration happen? What was it like working with him?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œWe had met a few years previous. I have been a fan of Wobble for a long time and we talked to him about producing, what was eventually to be our album '€˜Queer'€™. That never happened, but we kept in touch. So, when we were looking on our final album for people to remix tracks of their choice, Wobble'€™s name came up. He chose to remix '€˜Chains'€™.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow have you evolved as an artist? As a musician?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI have learnt to listen. I have learnt not to play an instrument and not to write songs.'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have any regrets?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œOf course. I would not believe anyone who told me any different.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe sound of The Wolfgang Press has evolved in many ways. Was this intentional or spontaneous?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThe intention was never to repeat ourselves, which is something I think we achieved.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did the cover of '€˜A Girl Like You'€™ by Tom Jones happen?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œBy complete accident. Our publisher, at the time, was asked to send some songs to Tom Jones for listening to. He had a CD sampler of various artists he had on his roster. I think he pointed Tom Jones in the direction of a Love & Rockets track. Ours was the track before or after. Tom heard our track, liked it, and got in touch. The publisher, however, took full credit for this and dined out on the story for months, as is his way.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Beatles or The Stones?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œThe Kinks.'€

T.JONES: '€œSpectrum or Spiritualized?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI don'€™t know of Spectrum.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some of your favorite films?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œ'€˜Fitzcaraldo'€™, '€˜Casablanca'€™, and '€˜The Loudest Whisper'€™.'€

T.JONES: '€œThese days, what is a typical day like for you?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI get up at 6:30 am and try not to wake the children. I go to work, come home, and try not to shout at the children. Go to bed.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some major misconceptions do you think people have of you or Geniuser?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI don'€™t believe anyone gives us a second thought.'€

T.JONES: '€œAre you in a romantic relationship these days? How has touring, recording, and the rock and roll lifestyle affected relationships?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI am with the mother of my four children. It'€™s the other way round for me. Relationships affect everything I do, thankfully.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat do they think about your music?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œBoth my parents have passed away many years ago. One sadness that I have is that my mother never got to meet Tom Jones, as she was a big fan.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the best thing about living in Europe?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œLiving in London. Knowing you are surrounded by so much history is very moving. I also love the dirt and noise.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe song '€˜Christianity'€™ is a powerful track about not accepting religion. Were you raised Catholic? Do you believe in God? Would you consider yourself a spiritual person? Please expand on the inspiration for the song.'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI was brought up by a father who was a socialist and held no religious beliefs. One of the most important lessons I learnt from him was that I am as relevant as anybody else, no matter what their station. At the same time, I was told to treat everyone with respect until they gave you reason to withdraw that. Respect does not have to be earned. I believe Jesus, fact or fiction, was a good man. Sadly, religion has very little to do with anything he did or said. The motivation for the song comes from my thoughts on religions intolerance of anything different, which is one step away from hate. Religion is a very closed cult.'€

T.JONES: '€œAre there any unreleased Wolfgang Press tracks that you think should have been released?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œNo.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was the biggest mistake you have made in your career?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œNot working harder.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen you pass away, would you like to be buried or cremated?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI haven'€™t decided. Both my parents were cremated and that'€™s what I thought I wanted. But recently, my sister died and she was buried. I like the idea that we all know where she is and we can visit her.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat would you want on your epitaph (your gravestone)?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œBollocks.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some future releases that fans should look out for?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œIf we are fortunate enough to complete the required number of decent songs and someone is willing to put those songs out. Then, that would be a future release to look out for.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is next for you?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œTo work with The Breeders.'€

T.JONES: '€œAny final words?'€
MICHAEL ALLEN: '€œI'€™m searching for the words that haven'€™t been spoken.'€

Thank you Michael Allen!!!

Interview by Todd E. Jones
toddejones@yahoo.com


NOTICE: This interview is property of Todd E. Jones and cannot be duplicated or posted without written permission.
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Severed Heads

Is Severed Heads '€œIndustrial'€ music? Severed Heads creates When people think of '€˜Industrial'€™ music, they think of angry middle-aged men with spikes on their backs in the middle of a mosh pit (doing that stomp-dance where they pound the air). Severed Heads creates somewhat unclassifiable music that can still be categorized to certain genres. The harsh name of the band does have an '€œindustrial'€ ring. The Australian group mainly creates electronic based music. Since they were originally signed to Nettwerk Records in the United States (Volition in Australia), Severed Heads were labeled as Industrial. In contrast to the term, Tom Ellard'€™s voice is very melodic and somewhat soft. Their electronic melodies do not have the aggressive or sinister style of typical Industrial music. At the core, Severed Heads are rooted in electronic pop music. When they do not adhere to their pop song structure, they travel to bizarre musical territory. Although Severed Heads may not be industrial music, the band is industrially productive! Tom Ellard is the one remaining member of the group. Even though musicians came and went throughout the decades, Tom Ellard has been the band'€™s driving creative force. Rooted in electronic music and innovators of the video synthesizer, Severed Heads has a hugely diverse catalogue. In reality, they create bizarre electronic pop music. One of their most respected songs, '€œDead Eyes Opened'€ does not have sung vocals. Instead, the group uses vocal samples of Edgar Lustgarten, reading from '€œDeath on the Crumbles'€ on a BBC Radio Show. Their most well-known album, '€œRotund For Success'€ featured the tracks '€œBig Car'€, '€œGreater Reward'€, and '€œAll Saints Day'€. Their bountiful discography also includes albums such as '€œCome Visit The Big Bigot'€, '€œBad Mood Guy'€, and '€œGigapus'€. With the help of Stephen R. Jones, their use of videos became a staple during their live performances. To fully experience Severed Heads, both eyes and ears were open.

Sevcom Communications used www.sevcom.com to give fans a taste of the music before their purchase. Ellard was one of the innovators in utilizing the Internet for his independent record label. The albums, '€œGigapus'€ and '€œHaul Ass'€ (both by Severed Heads) were self-released without neglecting quality. Ellard also released three albums with a side project collaboration named, Co Kla Coma. After a hiatus of several years, Ellard returned to electronic pop music with the 2002 album, '€œOp'€. Originally titled, '€œLap Top Pop'€, the unique '€œOp'€ album underwent a plethora of upgrades. Each upgraded version included new songs and brand new instrumental tracks.

Tom Ellard is proud of his new 2006 Severed Heads release titled, '€œUnder Gail Succubus'€. Originally released in a metal DVD case, the packaging for '€œUnder Gail Succubus'€ presented multiple problems. Eventually, the plastic cases became the acceptable and accessible format. As an album, '€œUnder Gail Succubus'€ consists of electronic pop songs mixed with the modern vibe created in the classic Severed Heads style. The opening track, '€œSnuck'€ includes a bouncy rhythm and a guitar-sounding melody. Ellard'€™s signature vocal style also remains. Other standout cuts include '€œThree Doors Down'€, '€œInside The Girl'€, and '€œPsychic Squirt'€. A second disc, '€œOver Barbara Island'€ consists of 8 instrumental tracks recorded live on June 21st 2006.

Tom Ellard and Severed Heads is the epitome of independent music. He is the record label. As a label, Sevcom sells the music directly manufactured by the musicians without the typical middle management of record labels. Not only does Ellard have creative control, he has complete control of Severed Heads. Every single song is in the hands of Ellard. If Industrial Music consists of avant-garde music that is electronic in nature, the music of Severed Heads may sometimes be classified using that term. As a group, Severed Heads transcends just one genre. As a word, '€œIndustrial'€ means something relating to the output of industry. In the music industry, Tom Ellard and Severed Heads have complete control of their musical output. Since Ellard has complete control, Severed Heads can be anything'€¦ beyond one genre. Industrially, Tom Ellard is essential to the independent music industry.


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œJust finished another year of teaching. I worked at 3 universities, teaching music and video. Also, casual at a science museum, where I conduct a variety of seminar teaching for high schools and further education. Once you get past a certain age, you want to pass on the knowledge. Been a crazy year for releases too. 2 albums and 2 small books, with more coming.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe new Severed Heads album, '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ was just released. Tell us about the LP.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThe title is very old, from an 80'€™s booklet I created. That and the cover art should tip people off that it hearkens back to an older musical period. I feel that I'€™ve used enough different styles now that I'€™m not trapped in a genre. '€˜Gail'€™ can re-visit some of the old Severed Heads motifs, without too much cloying nostalgia.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œIncluded in the '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ package, is a 2nd disc titled, '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™. Tell us about this.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThat was a live show which was supposed to take place outside, in a kind of demented tiki lounge atmosphere. It was a benefit for The National Art School. As it turned out, the rain forced the whole show inside a bleak white gallery space, where it sounded quite horrible. It'€™s my idea of cocktail music, which I don'€™t really comprehend. So, it came out kind of mangled. As it uses some sampled sounds, I made it a free disc. Free in, free out.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the titles, '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ and '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œAs always, the titles are really open to interpretation. A succubus is a female demon that seduces men. I guess this one wears a badge, like they do at McDonalds. '€˜Hi! I'€™m Gail. How would you like your soul eaten today? Fries with that?'€™ The other one, '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™ is the yang to the yin. As well as being, '€˜Over Barbara Island'€™ is a different girl. The island had to do with the visuals for the live show, which were lurid 3-D island landscapes.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow is '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ album different from your previous album, '€˜Op'€™? Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt'€™s completely different to '€˜Op'€™. '€˜Op'€™ is a cartoon book, funny papers. It'€™s a series of cheaply drawn, brightly coloured cartoon books. The idea with '€˜Op'€™ was not to make albums, or make an album that somehow never got finished. So, it was informal. '€˜Gail'€™ is a real album, formal and sensible. I think of '€˜Gail'€™ as something that gets kept, whereas '€˜Op'€™ would be used like a magazine or a newspaper.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFor the '€˜Op'€™ album, you released upgrades or different versions. Will you do the same for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Gail'€™ is '€˜Gail'€™, finished. '€˜Op'€™ could suddenly start up again at any moment, sometimes free and sometimes pay. I would like to make an '€˜Op'€™ that gets handed out like pamphlets. If a track on '€˜Op 1'€™ were done again later on '€˜Op 3'€™, no one would complain.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFavorite song on the '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œNot favorite, but the first one from which others grew was '€˜Lo Real'€™. Unlike '€˜Op'€™, this album took years. Some things took 4 years. Not every day, but a bit every month. '€˜Lo Real'€™ was one that just kept on needing a bit more work, a bit more. There are all kinds of things that happen in the background and you might not even notice them.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhich song took you the longest to do from conception to completion on '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™? Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Taking Out The Surfing Bird'€™ took the longest. It was first released in 2004 as a different track on a limited edition CD. Then, 2 more movements grew onto that over the years. Some tracks have holes in them that have interesting shapes. It can take time to find the right piece.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow would you describe the music of Severed Heads? How would you say the sound of Severed Heads has evolved?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThere'€™s the same mind set as back in 1978 when we first started making sounds. I'€™m always amused by those who would say, '€˜Oh yes they used to be Industrial, but now it'€™s just pop rubbish.'€™ They fail to see that we have a proud tradition of pop rubbish going back to the very start. One thing that is evolving is the technology. I refuse to use tape recorders any more because the nostalgia exceeds the results. I don'€™t give a damn about analogue anything. We used it when it was appropriate. Now it'€™s nostalgia, which I loathe.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is the story of '€˜Lap Top Pop'€™? What happened?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, '€˜Op'€™ did start as '€˜Lap Top Pop'€™, until all my laptops got stolen. I was writing the album on United Airlines flights. You can usually get quite a lot done on a Sydney to San Francisco haul, although sporadically. But the machines were taken by the usual junkie through the window, and the album with it. So I thought, '€˜All permanence is illusionary'€™, and settled down to do what the fates were directing me to do, which was do an album that was never finished. The first edition of '€˜Op'€™ was such a disaster that I knew I was onto something good.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhere did you meet Stephen R. Jones? How did you eventually form the group?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œStephen R. Jones showed up at our first gig in 1980. Later in 83, he built a video synthesizer, which used control voltages. As the band, at that stage, used the same voltages, he asked that we play live and send him some signal to drive the machine. That was the '€˜Live At Metro'€™ gig that has been on a few DVDs and now on YouTube. A few years later, he joined in. It was five piece band for a while there.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhy did you two go your separate ways?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, he wanted to get on with '€˜grown up'€™ stuff. You get to a certain age and you think, '€˜being in a band is retarded. I want to do something a bit more sophisticated'€™. It was hard at first because I had to take over the video production, but he had taught me well enough that I knew that I sucked and eventually got better at it. Like most of the ex band people, we see each other a lot. Except the dead ones, I only see them every so often.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat inspired the song, '€˜Snuck'€™? Tell us about that track.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Snuck'€™ is not a real word. It'€™s '€˜sneaked'€™. The song is a list of words that don'€™t fit together. Some are things my girlfriend says when she is asleep. The chorus about Target just entered my head one day. Some passing spirit just flies down and puts whole lyrics in there. My bad lyrics are those that I can'€™t quite remember what the spirit said. As for the music, it was part of a jam I was enjoying with friends, re-mangled.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOn the track, '€˜Psychic Squirt'€™, you use lyrics from an older song. What was this all about?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt'€™s a bit of '€˜Do You Know The Way To San Jose'€™ by Burt Bacharach. Listen to the original by The Carpenters and then, look at the city now. See how it changed, like a mutant growth. The track sings about mutant growths. Everything around the world now seems to be a mutation that has grown too big like the props from '€˜Lost In Space'€™. The world is over ripe.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe packaging for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™ is unique. Tell us about it.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBloody metal boxes! It was my stupid idea to sell it in metal boxes. They weigh so much that the postage eats up the income from the bloody album. And then, they get bent in the mail. So, eventually I hope everybody will start buying the transparent plastic version. But, it'€™s part of trying to make people dissatisfied with vaporous mp3 downloads. The most interesting thing is actually the serial number that is embedded in the album. Upload it to a torrent and I have your name and address instantly.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOn the different parts of tracks for '€˜Bruise Vienna'€™, you use acoustic guitars and drums. Although Severed Heads mainly creates electronic music, will you use more acoustic instruments in future recordings?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI really have no idea. I'€™m working on a vinyl box set at the moment of our ancient stuff. It'€™s funny listening to the old guitar tracks. Endearing, cute. It is almost tempting to take up the hurdy gurdy.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œI love the '€˜Op'€™ album. I especially love the songs, '€˜Symptom Symphony'€™, '€˜Out On The Mental Ranges'€™, and '€˜Hippie Bonfire'€™. Will the first version of '€˜Op'€™ be available again?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell it always is. If you have '€˜Op 2'€™ you have the cards. The cards unlock the old album for download. But really, it went hideously wrong. Something to do with mixing tracks on United Airlines flights made it brittle.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œTell us about the purpose of '€˜Op 1.2'€™. These are completely different tracks, all instrumental. Why was this done?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, '€˜Op 1'€™ went crazy. The mix was all wrong, and about 100 copies didn'€™t even play in people'€™s CD players, due to the video track. So, I had to do it again. But in the meantime, I put out a stop gap. You got to download it for free, if you had '€˜Op 1'€™. It was a concession.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œYou stated that '€˜Op 1.2'€™ was much more enjoyable to create. Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBecause it wrote itself. I just went to bed and the next morning, it was sitting there all done. The spirits did it.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhich pop music album do you like more, '€˜Op'€™ or '€˜Op2'€™?

TOM ELLARD: '€œ'€˜Op1.2'€™ for sure. Some albums are effortless. '€˜Co Klo Pop'€™ was effortless. Actually, all the Co Kla Coma albums were lots of fun. '€˜Op 2.5'€™ was less so, but I still enjoyed it very much. Others had me in tears. '€˜Haul Ass'€™ is a record of a very difficult, poverty stricken time. This forthcoming box set is being complete misery, trying to listen to stuff from 1977 with an open mind.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWas it difficult to start Sevcom?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, in 1988, Sevcom was just an idea. It acknowledged that labels were the new bands. But it grew slowly, based on printed booklets and then Otto Ruiter started up a BBS which I took over in 1992. We got a web page up in 1994, '€˜Dead Eyes Opened'€™ was one of the first Internet tracks ever available for download. Then, Stephen M. Jones just walked in and made it all work. He already knew how to run the web thing with SDF, and helped me get the plumbing connected and the heater turned on.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œSevered Heads and Sevcom were one of the innovators of independent music on the Internet. Is Sevcom a success? What has been the key to the success?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhat we did back in the old days of the net doesn'€™t really matter anymore. Sure, we were first at most of it. But, that all gets forgotten in the rush for the next 15 minute wonder. All permanence is illusionary. Fame is a random process. Now, everybody has a Myspace. So, who cares if sevcom made the first MP2 album? Everybody has so many MP3s; they can'€™t bother even playing them.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOn the sleeve for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™, you wrote, '€˜Please share your own music, not mine.'€™ Still, you put a substantial amount of your music on the Sevcom website. How have you been hurt by the Internet?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI only think it'€™s worth reminding that people make records. They are not spawned from the air by record labels. Somebody cared a lot about that track you'€™re uploading. Steal it, but just remember, it'€™s somebody, not some thing. I give a great deal, yet somehow, only that which is stolen is appreciated.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œDo you do many overdubs while recording?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBack when I went from 4 track to 16 track tape recorders, the temptation was to go hog sh*t crazy. And I did on some of those Nettwerk LPs. Now, when you can have as many as you like, I try to use as few as possible. Like Brian Eno says, '€˜Don'€™t overdub, use a treatment'€™.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is your opinion of Pro-Tools?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œHated it until I started teaching it. That'€™s when I had to hone all the techniques. Now, I respect it, but there are so many dumb things in there, like real time bounce downs that don'€™t live in the 21st century. I love FL Studio. It'€™s a big ball of confusion. You can'€™t teach that. It just has to infect you. I use FL Studio a lot.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOut of the myriad of albums you have released, which one are you most proud of? Why?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI think there are a few good bits on all of them, and some utter crap. I really am sad that the Co Kla Coma albums didn'€™t get more attention. I have to say I got bored with the old ones over the years. Some kid will be raving about something I did in 1980 something and I'€™ll be wondering if the rest of my life was just a waste of their time.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhen writing and creating songs, what is the creative process like?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œSpirits. At least it is something that visits and leads you by the hand and shows you what to do. It'€™s sometimes odd that I'€™m teaching, as I think that creativity can'€™t be taught. But I hope I can lead the right ones to the muse and they will have that bright, vibrant, visitation. Composing is being able to see a jigsaw in all the pieces magically assembling themselves.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow are the fans responding to this new album, '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThey'€™re wondering why it'€™s taking so long to get their damn metal box in the mail.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhere did you find the samples for the classic Severed Heads song, '€˜Dead Eyes Opened'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œAha! It'€™s question #1. It'€™s Edgar Lustgarten and his TV show '€˜Scales of Justice'€™. We have a whole area devoted to this question. Look at www.severed-heads.co.uk/faq.html.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œMany people have remixed your songs. Which ones did you enjoy the most?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI heard that Orbital did '€˜We Have Come To Bless The House'€™, but decided not to go with it. That would have been interesting. The Clifford'€™s come up with some pretty funny versions.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFans of Severed Heads are known as Cliffords. They made an album called, '€˜I Can'€™t Believe It'€™s Not Lard'€™, comprised of Severed Heads covers. Which song do you like the most?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIf I said I liked one over the others, it would hurt some feelings. But, I guess the weirder, the better. Some people can mock me while adding some extra something. Just mocking is not so interesting.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe Sevcom web page features exhibits where fellow Clifford'€™s can have their own little page. Tell us about the exhibits on Sevcom.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell that was more Stephen M Jones'€™ idea. He tends to be more egalitarian than me. I just wanted to have a few exhibits by selected artists. Stephen thought it better to have open access, which is part of the SDF ethos. So, anyone can have 50Mb. That may seem small in these days when Google gives you 1 GB. But, we don'€™t use you as an advertising billboard.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are the Sevcom Music Servers?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThe original idea was to supply 8 hours of uncomfortable muzak to fill a working day. I only managed 4 hours before it got snapped up by the film company. They were working on a similar mood and the match was good. Actually, it'€™s less muzak than the idea of '€˜piped music'€™ that'€™s fascinating. I am slowly working towards a number 5.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow did you get involved with the soundtrack for the film, '€˜The Illustrated Family Doctor'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, Kriv, the director, was working on a script and needed a music worker that understood the bleak humour of the film. I was lucky that I'€™d been in the same headspace for a while. So, I could supply and expand existing material. We got along well and I have done a few TVC soundtracks for him since. Doing the soundtrack was relatively easy. It would have been hard if it was a heart warming tale of two young kids or something vile like that. Winning the ARIA award for the music was just plain weird.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is the meaning behind the name, Severed Heads?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt was a joke. We were called Mr. & Mrs. No Smoking Sign, because that was really ugly. Then, we wanted to fool people that we were Industrial and it worked. Severed Heads was a really dumb name, so that'€™s what stuck. Forever. I hate it by the way.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhen creating a track, do you have a set theme or idea first or the music first?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œUsually, it'€™s a notion. On '€˜Op 2.5'€™, there'€™s a track called, '€˜We Choose Moon'€™. Although I used the Kennedy speech, in that, I actually went looking for it, knowing that the track was going to be about moons. Then, I wrote music about moons. Then, the video, about moons. It was a notion that stuck in my head and had then to be made real. Same with pilots. Moons and pilots are part of the uncanny, which energizes music.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat was the recording process like for '€˜Under Gail Succubus'€™? How was it different from other times?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œMy entire life I wanted the one box that did music. I used to sketch the plans for one, back when I had tape recorders, mixers, keyboards, et cetera, eating up the living space. It focuses everything to the one point. Now, I have one machine, the computer, which disappears when you start using it. It'€™s perfect. Apart from that, creating music is mostly brain work, fitting puzzles together, following the flow. I hope to make it entirely mental one day.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œThe song, '€˜Kittens'€™ (from '€˜Op'€™) talks about a father nailing a kid to the carpet. What is '€˜Kittens'€™ about?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œHe'€™s nailing a rent boy to the carpet. Daddy is a homosexual pervert murderer. '€˜La la la'€™. I'€™m sorry, but these songs have meanings that don'€™t really connect up sensibly. It'€™s word music, not poetry.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œMusically, what else have you been working on?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, the live album, '€˜Viva! Heads!'€™ came out the UK and I am pretty happy with that, as it really does update our live recordings to the present day. That'€™s what Severed Heads sounds like live, not like the recordings that were about before. It'€™s a fun album too. And there'€™s at least one box set of vinyl underway.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are some of your favorite instruments?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI like instruments that disappear, ones that become direct pipes from brain to sound. That means I really don'€™t like instruments at all, I guess. Perhaps, I should have played the guitar. Colin Newman once told me that was the least intrusive noise device. Synthesisers are less physical though, so you don'€™t have technique.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œAround what time in your career did you start financially surviving form music?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIn the late 80'€™s, pretty early on. Sometimes, I was even wealthy, which was a feature of those times. I have actually done really well out of music over the years, which puzzles me greatly. I think other people found me useful and steered me this way and that, like a tractor. And as they fed themselves, I got fed too. I never really sat down and thought about how to make money, like I do now. But musical careers are brighter than they are long.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œDo you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhen I won the best soundtrack ARIA award for the film music, I was deprived of that illusion. It'€™s too easy to say, '€˜I'€™m too weird no one will even credit me.'€™ Then, suddenly you win a mainstream award and you have to ask yourself if perhaps, just perhaps, the people who win awards might earn them somehow. Not always, but that win questioned my presumptions about mainstream versus alternative music.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat song are you most proud of?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt depends how drunk I am. Honestly, it varies with the mood. I like those that please and annoy the most. '€˜Gashing The Old Mae West'€™ is useful for teaching. It might be the one that lasts longest in music history.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow has the Video Synthesizer affected your career?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI have two slipped discs from carrying it up stairs. It broke the ice at parties. It gave journalists something to write about, when they sounded bored writing an article. You could use that to liven them up. Now, it gives me something to impress children. Look kids, analogue.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOne of my all time favorite Severed Heads tracks is '€˜Sevs In Space'€™. What inspired this song?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œLet me try very hard to be helpful. After writing this track, I think it comes from Altman'€™s film '€˜Brewster McCloud'€™, which I saw sometime and then stored in the mind pit. The lyrics are about Icarus, but they are again, not supposed to be a narrative. The music has a parrot in it. If you try to find sense, you'€™ll be disappointed.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWho are some artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI guess I am out of the loop these days. Thinking about what'€™s going on right now, I feel a foreigner. I did a lot of this rehashed style some while ago and can'€™t pretend to be still thrilled. Not that no one is doing my thing, but I am not doing theirs. These kinds of offers come at odd moments and I can'€™t presume to predict what is next. I am sure I'€™ll be puzzled.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow did you get the deal with LTM Records to re-release '€˜Rotund For Success'€™?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œJames Nice wrote to me one day and said that I was a fat sh*t. He actually said, '€˜So you hate record companies do you?'€™ I got all embarrassed and felt I should really be more cooperative with somebody who took the time to crack my shell. I think it'€™s simply part of his charter, as we were loosely associated with Factory Australia, back I the day. LTM does Factory'€™s mopping up, and so we are appropriate to include.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œOriginally, you were on Nettwerk Records. How did this deal come into fruition? Why did it end?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œTo get Skinny Puppy on Ink Records in the UK, Nettwerk had to take one of Ink'€™s bands. Actually, Ink wanted Moev, whether Nettwerk really wanted us is another matter. I guess we were okay until Nettwerk finally came out of the closet and admitted they were a frock rock label. I look bad in a frock. Nettwerk'€™s tastes are easily defined by money, and frock rock beats cookie monster any day.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œYou were in a side project called Co Kla Coma. How did this start? Will there be any more albums?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œCo Kla Coma was simply a collaboration between me and two performance guys from Oklahoma. They pretty much just wanted a mention on the records, although I'€™d get samples mailed down, guitar riffs, Christian speeches, all kinds of odd bits. Co Kla Coma had a stage patter about sonic weaponry, a coma tone that induced sleep. We have a film half finished. Later on, one of them moved to Santa Cruz and we could collaborate a bit more. The other guy is now a full time nutter.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œDo you believe in God? Do you believe in a certain religion?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWell, I allow metaphysical ideas. There are patterns in life that are not logical yet often described. I can believe in things, but more in line with Jung than the Pope. There'€™s a big difference between religion, which is social, and belief which is personal. As for God, if you define it, you limit it. Seeing as the definition is that it'€™s unlimited, God is a paradox.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œYou also earn a living besides music. What else do you do?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI say, '€˜yes'€™ really fast and before you know it, I'€™m already raking the leaves and cleaning the gutters. I do a lot of part time jobs, at one point this year I had 7. I'€™m an arts & education workaholic. Books also earn more than music.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat do you think of rave culture? Has rave culture embraced Severed Heads?'€


TOM ELLARD: '€œNo, we looked suspiciously at each other. I didn'€™t like their neo-hippy Mandelbrot bullsh*t. They didn'€™t like our lack of BPM. For a so called liberating movement, they sure had a lot of rules. Rave culture was too confining for Severed Heads.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are the three best things about living in Australia?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhen the bombing starts, we'€™ll die second last, before New Zealand. It'€™s still possible to occasionally find something here that wasn'€™t designed in America, although that'€™s getting rare. Sometimes, the most interesting people to meet are the ones who don'€™t want to live in the center.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat are the three worst things about living in Australia?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt'€™s an island with a small town mentality, a world suburb. The people with fire in their belly leave here. Then, come back when they run out of ideas. Many good things are too far away, too expensive and too hard to get.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat LPs have you been listening to during the last couple of days?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œMagma'€™s '€˜Mëkanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh'€™ because a friend said that I should hear some Magma. A lot of Residents stuff, old and new, trying to work out just where I started to dislike it. A recording of Kraftwerk, playing live as a guitar rock band in 1971, which reminds me a bit of Popol Vuh, which I like.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite part of your live show?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œWhen, it'€™s thankfully over and I did not make a complete fool of myself.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHow has your live show evolved?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIt all fits in tiny little boxes that are easy to carry. It can draw upon a lot of history. It'€™s more likely to be at a gallery than a hall. It'€™s now going back to one off shows, like the very early ones, than hits and memories rock gigs. The idea of a live show becomes perhaps a misnomer.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œAbortion. Pro-choice or pro-life?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI think that moles and bunions have a right to life as do all sundry lumps of flesh and will picket the nearest shoe shop to stop this dreadful flesh trade.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œEuthanasia. For or against?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œI think we should keep people on endless palliative care even after they die. I mean, it'€™s selfish that corpses should not offer the opportunity for moral righteousness. I hope that soon we can dig up old bodies and give them the care they deserve. Of course, we should still kill felons. The State has to exercise power in both directions.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œSevered Heads does not have a MySpace page. What is your opinion on MySpace?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThere was a Severed Heads page, but after some trouble, I got it removed. Frankly, I don'€™t like crap, even if it'€™s popular. I don'€™t like information Nazis, like News Corporation pretending to be hip. Also, I don'€™t like having friends, which I have never met. And if that cuts my sales, well bite me.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œWord association. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said, '€˜The Beatles'€™, you may say '€˜Revolution'€™ or '€˜John Lennon'€™. Okay?'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œFish.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œTelevision Personalities.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œThis Has Been A Reg Grundy Production.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œBoxcar.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œZippy The Pinhead.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œHappy Mondays.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œBaggy Trousers.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œKool Keith.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œL. Ron Hubbard.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œFelt.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œFat and wolves.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œMomus.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œIce cream.'€


TODD E. JONES: '€œEminem.'€

TOM ELLARD: '€œMelts in your mouth, not your hand.'€


TODD E. JON
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