31 years of Blackhouse: 'Blackhouse is not just the antithesis of whitehouse... It's the antithesis of THE White House!
09/11/2016, Dimi BRANDS
I am not very interested in junk like Throbbing Gristle or Psychic TV. Neubauten was good from 1981-1985, but.... And NIN? Give me a break. I'm just not into it. After 31 years of existence Blackhouse did its first ever live performance at the renowned Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, Germany. This live concert was recently released on CD, so reasons enough to have a chat with head and voice Brain Ladd.
On the recently released album Live In Leipzig, which celebrates 31 years of Blackhouse, you say: Blackhouse is half my life. Do you see Blackhouse as your personal child, and in that case how do you feel as parent of what has become of your child, looking back over those years?
Certainly! Blackhouse is my Child. Even more so than a real child, because a real child has 2 parents. Blackhouse has only one, me! How do I feel? Proud, Embarrassed, Ashamed, Confident. Proud of all my albums and my mark on music/noisic. Embarrassed at all the trivial tripe that I've endured, entertained and proclaimed. Ashamed of my childish, arrogant attitude. Confident, because even though I have many faults, somehow I manage to keep going... Fulfilling my goals and destiny. There's no stopping me.
Blackhouse is indeed my Child... and when you look at everything involved... that is quite obvious and apparent. I take full credit. And full blame!
The show at WGT (Wave Gothik Treffen) last year was the first time Blackhouse went live, right? How come you haven’t performed in the past? I can imagine that a lot of people were begging to see a pioneering band like Blackhouse live!?
Yes! The concert at the Wave Gotik Treffen Festival was my first official Blackhouse gig. Why? Simply put, I never even CARED to play a live gig. I had so many albums... LPs and CDs. So many albums.... yet I never EVER played live. So.... why should I?
1. The albums kept coming. There was no "need" to play live.
2. I am Blackhouse. I will do what I want.
3. Denying the LIVE gig only fortified my stance about #1 and #2.
Sure, many many people (concerts and festivals & etc) asked me to play. For sure. I've been around for many many years... decades. People ALWAYS asked me to play! But... WHY? Why would I want to even consider it? The Wave Gotik Treffen asked me to play. Year after year. I always denied. The question was WHY? I outlined my fears... my requests... my demands... And at every step of the ladder, WGT came through. They answered me. They reassured me. They calmed me... They are the best. No doubt. THE... BEST. How could I possibly say NO to such warmth? I accepted, the rest is History!
Live In Leipzig focuses on the early Blackhouse years, the fans see the first albums as the best material you did with Blackhouse. Do you share that idea, or was it to satisfy the loyal fans to mainly use songs from these records?
First, I have an obligation. That obligation is doing the BEST I can possibly do when someone supports my Art. It's no secret that the first few albums by Blackhouse are favorites. Come on. And so I know, that the songs from those classic LPs and CDs are.... well... "worshipped" by Blackhouse fans the world over. Those classic songs are known & respected and adored by BH fans. How could I NOT play them live at my first gig??? Come on! And after 31 years on NOT playing a single live gig? I knew the burden was on me to deliver a Blackhouse concert that would be respected & loved. Remembered. I think I did that. I know I did it.
Second: "the best material you did with Blackhouse"??? Man, I just re-listened to Shades Of Black (1995)... an album I used to despise listening to. IT SOUNDS SO GREAT! It's a great album! And believe me, I am VERY VERY picky about my albums.
So, I'm not sure what is "best", because when we examine that, the microscope we use is tainted with the bias of the times. Frankly, I look back at the last 32+ years, and I am confused about it all.... And I'm the guy who made it. The ART is creating me. I'm not creating the Art. I'm just a vessel. A loudspeaker.
What’s the relationship between Blackhouse and Whitehouse? I was told Blackhouse was a positive response (by bringing the word of God) to the negative messages of death, hate and brutality that Whitehouse brings. Although there are also some musical similarities...
Of course, I was a big fan of Whitehouse. BUT.... I just didn't like the content of the lyrics. So I created the antithesis of Whitehouse : Blackhouse. In the original years, I sent a copy of the Blackhouse material to William Bennett of Whitehouse. He liked it, and said so.
So I forged on... I paved my path as I laid it. I took every opportunity offered to me. Sure, I made some mistakes... because I am a human. I am not perfect. I'm not a robot. Nor a God. I'm just a guy... I do what I want. Even when it turns out to be a mistake. The rest is history.
Are there other plans to play live and was the concert in Leipzig the beginning, or was it just a one-off?
As it stands now.... It absolutely makes NO difference if I play live again or not. I've been offered other gigs... and frankly, they just don't measure up. I'm not interested in stepping DOWN. WGT is a HUGE festival... a HUGE opportunity. I'm very blessed to have worked with them. They say they want me back... I believe them. If WGT festivals are the only festivals or gigs I play, that is fine. I'm not looking for lesser gigs, charity or hand-outs. WGT is EXACTLY what i was looking for in regards to an actual live gig. I'm so blessed that it became a reality. VERY blessed.
To sum it up: I really don't care or even NEED to play another live gig. EVER. But if I did, I would play WGT. They know what they are doing, and they treated me with respect. That's what I care about.
Blackhouse released the album Ignite Blackhouse Youth, on which the collaboration with legendary rapper Craig G immediately catches the eye. How did that collaboration come about?
Besides making excellent concerts in Leipzig, I also make new musical albums. Ignite Blackhouse Youth is one of those albums. I write songs.... many many songs.... I have ALBUMS of material.... not yet released. Because I am creating musical ideas every day. I can't help it. It's a sickness. I'm infected.
So I make these albums and I pitch them to labels I know. Ignite Blackhouse Youth is one of those albums. There are 3 songs on IGNITE that have Craig G on them. Why? Because I love OLD SCHOOL classic rap & hip-hop, and CRAIG G is an old school hero to me. I heard him on MTV raps... on TV... with Marley Marl's The Symphony.... I mean... we're talking 1988 or so... when MTV was actually Music TV. So I heard Craig G and I loved what he was doing in the field of RAP. I enjoyed his solo albums. It pleased me. And when I was on MySpace, I saw him on there and contacted him. I requested that he rap on some of my beats. What a request!!! Well.... guess what... he did. The rest is history.
Rap is not the music people would expect Blackhouse to mix in its sound, do you have a special bond with that kind of music, and are there other surprising styles you really like, or you would love to use in Blackhouse’s music?
I enjoy many styles of music. MOST. I'm not too fond of "folk" music or "contemporary country". Come to think of it, I'm not too fond of contemporary ANYTHING. I just don't enjoy modern music. The production stinks... the sounds stink... I'm not a fan of the lyrics. Sorry. I guess I'm just an old geezer. AS IF.
On the other hand.... I am a fan of many many musicians... Pop and Poop. I like it all. As long as IT is good.
In regards to RAP, I must say that I find it exciting. At least the original (old school) rap. I WISH, WISH, WISH that I could credit Kraftwerk for delivering electronic beats to the masses. I'm a huge fan of Kraftwerk. For sure. But when I walked into the video store (1984), and this stupid young punk was listening to some intense beatbox action... ??? I asked him what it was. 2 Live Crew. And I'm no fan of 2 Live Crew.... but... really? It sounded awesome! It was RAP and HIP-HOP that delivered electronic rhythms and drum boxes to the masses. I'm eternally grateful. Thank you, Hip-Hop! Love - BL
Do you follow the current noise and industrial scene? We can say that Blackhouse is a pioneering band in the genre, are there some acts you really like, or is that not the music you listen to yourself?
I am not very interested in junk like Throbbing Gristle or Psychic TV. Neubauten was good from 1981-1985, but.... And NIN? Give me a break. I'm just not into it.
I like the old school stuff..... give me the Asmus Tietchens, the Leichenschrei, the Minimal Man. That's where my heart is. I hear music nowadays... and I am dismayed. I don't like the production... the mix.... the sounds.... It just doesn't speak my language. I prefer warm bass tones... dynamics.... I just don't hear that when I listen to modern music. Perhaps it's the auto-mastering tools. I'm just looking for something with more... Depth.
Bringing the word of God, combined with heavy electronics is an unique way to work. Can you tell us why you are so devoted to God? I’m an atheist myself, and I never felt the urge to read the bible while listening to Blackhouse, but it seems interesting to me to hear you talk about it.
Rebel Yell! You... and I.... "our" generation(s)... we've been taught that "Jesus ain't cool" or "Jesus is square". Frankly... the way I think about it: Jesus is the rebel yell. Jesus = the Johnny Rotten. It's far too easy to embrace a life of sin and lies and lust. Jesus is the alternative to that OBVIOUS lifestyle. Make no mistake: As a human male, I have been exposed to... a lot. Believe me. But what I have found is... that... it's easy to succumb to the pleasures and the sins and the slippery sloppy slope. Why knot? It feels good, right? But it's empt, meaningless, stupid and Easy. Try standing up against it. It's worth it.
In a world that is dominated by terrorist who abuse their religion to justify their attacks, what do you have to say as a religious person about this?
Come on! Terrorists have nothing to do with my vision. I'm not interested to FORCE people to believe what I say... I am fully confident that I can convince people what is RIGHT by using my words and my logic, my beliefs and my example. Remember: God doesn't FORCE people to believe His doctrine... He allows freedom of choice. We all choose Our Path. It's total FREEDOM! Thank God.
As an American, what’s your opinion about the coming elections? Benny told me you are really into Donald Trump, a very controversial person who doesn’t get a lot of respect here in Europe. Why does he get your vote, and how do you see America’s future, and the rest of the world?
Trump? Schlump. The only thing interesting to me about Trump, is that he is indeed the Johnny Rotten of the elections. He's NOT a career politician! I have not been paying his salary my entire life! Thank God. He's the antithesis of Hillary Clinton or Bush or Obama! He's a free man. He doesn't need or accept bribes from lobbyists. WE constantly hear that the President is just a puppet for the corporations that $upport him. Trump is clean. He owes nobody. It's exciting!
I sincerely hope he ruins it for Madonna and Bruce Springsteen. (ie: Hillary & the Bush family & all the damn 0bamas!!!) They deserve the shame. Why? Take a look. What have they brought us, except shame & malcontent??? Nichts!
In the beginning Blackhouse was presented as a duo Ivo Cutler & Sterling Cross, which are both you. Why did you choose to perform under these two alter egos. And why two instead of one?
I decided to create a story for Blackhouse, so I created some characters and created their background. Is it really any more "fake" than Genesis P. Orridge & the Temple of Psychic Youth? Come on!
When I created Blackhouse, I decided upon a firm upbringing. I created the names, the hometown, the reactions. EVERYTHING. Why? Why KNOT? Politicians create fakery everywhere they tread... and people VOTE for that fakery. That fakery RULES people... That fakery demands payment in taxes. If you dishonor that fakery, you go to jail. Blackhouse is nothing like that. Blackhouse just IS. It's ART. That's all. ART. That's what I do. I don't charge you taxes. I don't collect welfare (like politicians do!). I'm just not interested in that. I'm actually against it.
Do you still feel the urge to bring the gospel these days? On Ignite Blackhouse Youth it’s not as distinctly present as on the first albums, or am I wrong?
Well, you know I undulate between albums that are more preachy, to albums that are more hopeful, to albums that are more cold & machinic, to albums that are more about me... and how I am feeling. Ignite Blackhouse Youth is all that & more. My main thrust for IGNITE BLACKHOUSE YOUTH : The title says a lot. People are far too apathetic when it comes to politics. Why politics? Because politics rule our lives. Politics control us. We are all slaves to whatever politicians do. It's also mass media. Mass media controls us... controls the way we "think". It's all designed to brainwash us, and make us obey the... (you guessed it) POLITICIANS. Brainwashing. It comes in all shades and facets. Whether it's the War On Terror© Or the War On Drugs©, ya got Politics there... and the media.... Brainwashing...
I'm not having it : I want the YOUTH to recognize it. To be offended that politicians and mass-media that thinks they are so stupid. And it's not just the YOUTH. I want to ignite the fuse under all people. Come on: the stuff they are teaching & preaching is garbage! I want people to rise up in opposition! I want to light that fuse! Whether it's Global Warming (which I call GULLIBLE WARMING) or the "refugee crisis" (which I call... INSANE & DISCONNECTED) or geo-engineering (Chemtrails) or television, Hollywood, hit record labels or 911.... I know they are lying to us. Many other people realize this, too. It's time for us to stand up & question the rhetoric. That's my message with I.B.Y.Blackhouse is not just the antithesis of whitehouse... It's the antithesis of THE whitehouse. I don't care if it's Bush or 0bama or Clinton... I know I am against it!!!!!!!!!
Trump? eh..... I'm not so sure he is Evil. We'll have to watch - eh?
How does it really feel to operate as a christian soul in this genre, dominated by heretics?
Lonely. But that's just because there are SO MANY people out there who feel the way I do... But they are AFRAID to state so. SO afraid they will be judged as "uncool" or "racist" or unhinged. But really. Is it unhinged to NOT believe what the lunatics say??? On the Contrary,......
De Nederlanstalige versie van dit interview kan u lezen op Dark Entries Magazine.
MOREGO ABOUT THE IRANIAN DARK AMBIENT AND INDUSTRIAL SCENE •
DIRK SCHEUBER • The worst thing is to lose myself
BREAKING BARRIERS • People who do not want to take a sincere position, should not think they have anything to do with punk.
CONTROLLED BLEEDING • I never really cared much about the business of selling records
DANIEL HALL • An artist is as good as their reference.
KOBAN • We really didn't have a sound we were going for initially.
FORCED TO MODE •
LAHKA MUZA • Bands like us were 'outlaws'
SIGNAL AOUT 42 • Don't worry, the sound of SA42 is tickling me again!
STRUGGLER • We had our dark days. It was the whole environment that set these marks on it but still, we also had a lot of fun.