The times I ignored my intuitive feelings are the ones where I made mistakes.
28/09/2011, Chris KONINGS
One of a batch of groups forming the so-called "industrial" scene of Sheffield in the early 80s, Clock DVA's first release was, appropriately, on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial label. Next came the critically acclaimed "Thirst" and in 1983 "Advantage" on Polydor. Several breakups and tragedies later "Buried Dreams" finally arrived in 1989, marking the end of the 80's with a view on the technological leaps that were about to come. After a few more experiments up until 1994, DVA hibernated, only to resurface again in a new millennium. After a sixteen year break they performed again at WGT and soon both DVA and TAGC can be experienced at the Bimfest.
Hello Adi. How do you perceive music?
I think and feel that sound and music play a vital and intrinsic role in our life, and within our culture, from the very beginning the role of Sound and Music has been fundamental to human culture, in its spiritual and social use, because it’s a psychophysical and omnipresent energy which is integrated in the physical and human psyche. Music transcends semantic language with its ability to open the subconscious and conscious mind to areas beyond what we can normally perceive. That’s why music has been referred to as sacred and magical. Most people don’t normally think about music but experience it, as sound and its myriad and associative power is so integrated in the fabric of human life we take it for granted, but if we removed it, our sense of loss both mentally and physically would be unimaginable to us.
Jacques Attali wrote “It is necessary to imagine radically new theoretical forms, in order to speak to new realities. Music, the organization of noise, is one such form. It reflects the manufacture of society; it constitutes the audible waveband of the vibrations and signs that make up society. An instrument of understanding, it prompts us to decipher a sound form of knowledge”. Music is a powerful and vital dimension that can aid us in developing a more intelligent and advanced society if used in the right way.
Truly fertile Music, the only kind that will move us, that we shall truly appreciate, will be a Music conducive to Dream, which banishes all reason and analysis. One must not wish first to understand and then to feel. Art does not tolerate Reason. (Albert Camus)
What can we expect from both gigs?
New and old material, but not just a rendition of old material but updated and modified versions, as I wanted to try and bring some new points of interest in to them as for me the idea of straight forward renditions is not so interesting, DVA is a functioning and experimental platform, I am not doing live performances to play old material but I can appreciate people have there favorite tracks so its trying to find a blend that allows for this to happen in a more creative way. In the DVA set we will cover new material for a forth coming album to be released in 2012 and some material from Post Sign which is due for release later this year.
On the TAGC set we will be performing and projecting most of the Material of the forthcoming Meontological Research Recording Record 3 Transmission from the Trans-Yoggothian Broadcast Station, which takes the form of a DVD hardcover book, each track will have a represented chapter in the book which explores the conceptual base of the piece both in terms of its audio and its visual representation. I see it has a series of invocatory pieces, this release for me sees a realization of the whole Meontological basis culminating with direct collaborative piece with Micheal Bertiaux, the head of the OTOA and the ‘La Couleuvre Noire’, and the originator of the term Meon and its multi dimensional conceptual basis, and with Barry William Hale, an Australian visual artist and magickian who has done very interesting work and publications
Can you explain what Clock DVA is all about?
The mission of DVA was and still is to push the envelope of sonic and visual mediums, by experimentation and research and development of sound and visual mediums. From the first performance of DVA, visual information was utilised in the form of films and slide projections. These visual mediums along with artwork for sleeves where integral to the concepts and the corresponding sound. Film was treated as an equal discipline, not merely as a lightshow for stage work. Over the years the use of Film and Video has developed within DVA, resulting in a number of films that are foremost Film & Visual works. The sound of DVA has been diverse but always had its own unique perspective I feel, exploring and experimenting within the format of the song to bring something new into this in order to keep the vitality alive.
A lot of things were going wrong when you were signed to Polydor during Advantage. How are things going with Mute Records?
I would not say things were going wrong, in contrast the accessibility of DVA's sound was widening, and in terms of Media coverage and recognition from a wider audience this was increasing. My intensions were to break from the mold of the Industrial tag by exploring and working again within the conventions of Music to subvert and expand the format and widen the audience and blur the definitions. I think this happened on Advantage, I feel it achieved this, but also at the same time expanded the clichés of that genre, where in certain individual ego's within the group where affected by the adulation and recognition.
This was the problem, not the Sound or Vision, if DVA had kept to the same formula I think it would have gone to a more commercial and wider audience so for me the event was a positive one in many ways as I then had the possibility of developing the Anti Group which I had always wanted to be an active and creative research project.
Mute have recently ironed out a number of issues within its EMI Distribution over the last few years which has resulted in a lot of delays not only for myself but for others too.
I read there is a huge compilation on the way on Mute? Can you tell us something more about it? Will it be available at the Bimfest this december?
Yes that’s right. We are very much on course right now, the re-designed sleeves have a 12 page booklet with new artworks plus the original context, the box will contain 8 cd's and a 120 page booklet. There's also new unreleased material on each album, all are from the original DAT masters and analog sources. The scheduling of this is in progress as I am currently in pre production with the re mastering etc, also there’s a DVA exhibition being planned right now for Feb/March 2012 in Europe which will cover DVA history from 1978 to current work, which is a very great project for me on many levels. The Mute release will definitely be in 2012, it’s a question of timing which is at the moment in planning. It contains the following albums:
HOROLOGY II *
WHITE SOULS IN BLACK SUITS
HOROLOGY II *CD (archival)
PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED ARCHIVE MATERIAL FROM THE PERIOD 1977-1979
Available within BOX EDITION only.Edited & abriged version of HOROLOGY Due for release on Vinyl on Demand is a 6 LP archival albums in Embossed File with full format Color book and DVD.
There is one thing consistent when I look at your discography, you always choose for renewal. Everything ended in 1994, has renewal come to an end? Or do you translate your ideas in a different way now?
For me in many ways it is essential to create and experiment with form, within the format or template new forms can be developed in many ways. I think it’s vital that we experiment and try to create a new way to express the evolving culture and the psychological mind set of a new generation, only by stretching our horizon in to unfamiliar realms can we find a way in which to convey these new feelings and thoughts. I have always believed that change is fundamental to change, and as Hegel stated that there is no absolute truth, it is always changing in its perception from each generation.
You were always a pioneer with revolutionary albums like Buried Dreams and the multimedia project TAGC. Is there new music on the way?
I am working on new material right now for a new album, some pieces are based on ideas and existing recordings I made in 1996 when I was planning to collaborate with Brian Williams (Lustmord) and Graeme Revell and Paul Haslinger out in Los Angeles, but I was let down by the Italian Label which I had negotiated a deal with after Contempo, which took over a year to arrange due to issues on publishing and Contempo’s demise.
All the new material is exploring a certain theme and ideas within its framework, exploring and developing ideas from past innovatory ideas and developing new ways in which to expanded and enhance these ideas in a new form. There’s two imminent releases due the First is a DVA album entitled Post Sign which from its Title suggests is a collection of material after Sign.
This was material I recorded exploring further the Ideas of Sign and looking at the hidden and more darker aspects of the space program and the science behind it. All the material dates from 1995-1998, and will be the first release on Anterior Research, my own production company/label which was formed in 1988 to oversee all DVA productions but remained until now as a purely organisational project.
I think it's great that you are finally performing again because your music is from before my time and now I have a chance to see one of my idols live in action. But what is the value of your return after a break of so many years?
I think the value lays in the fact that the transmission of sound in a live context is not something one can experience outside of the live context, there’s the strong and powerful connection of the Human element, the spirit if you like within the performance and also the element of power that is conveyed both visually and through the audio transmission. For me also it’s a way in which to develop the music as Live Performance, it involves a discipline and the need to practice, which in itself is a form of ritualisation to finding a form and perfection within the work.
In 1985 you said: "There is a lot of confusion. A lot of information is useless. A lot of news is pointless in reality because it has been tampered with. They only show one side, that what they want you to know." What to think then of the internet? The sheer amount of information masks the truth even more...
Like most things it can be used in a positive way or it negative way, and it’s increasingly being exploited by cyber criminals but it’s inevitable in any system or society such as this, that there will be people who will exploit any system by whatever means that are available in order to make money. And while ever we live in a system that is based fundamentally on a economic and capitalistic and materialist doctrine we will have this problem and these problems are the reflections of its imbalance.
I think the internet is an amazing thing as it does allow for the flow of information, the down side is the increasing amount of inaccurate information. The internet or the concept of a vast and generative machine/computer system has been thought about long before its emergence. Buckminster Fuller had envisioned something very similar in 1962 which he wrote about in Education Automation: Freeing the Scholar to Return to his Studies (1962) R. Buckminster Fuller.
Is that why black and white is so prominent in your work? The need for only the essence, without distractions?
I agree with you that it is stronger to minimalise things to its purist form, less is more. All colors have symbolic meaning and associations and numerous other properties and powers that can affect us. Black has always been associated with night or space, but also has wrongly been associated to negativity and darkness.
Where as white is recognized universally as pure and positive. I think the Victorians in particular made white a sign of purity and virginity. Alchemy assigned specific colors to specific processes like nigredo Nigredo, or blackness, in the alchemical sense, means putrefaction, decomposition. By the penetration of the external fire, the inner fire is activated and the matter starts to putrefy. The body is reduced to its primal matter from which it originally arose. On the mythological level, nigredo signifies the difficulties man has to overcome on his journey through the underworld. Nigredo is sometimes called ‘blacker than the blackest black’. Hercules had to accomplish twelve, almost impossible tasks. The pilgrim traditionally encounters shadows, monsters, demons. In the ancient mysteries the candidates had to undergo difficult, sometimes painful and even dangerous initiation tests.
As a painter I know the power and depth color has, and many artists and philosophers and thinkers have theorized and wrote works about it, Paul Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually mastered color theory, and wrote extensively about it. Theory of Colours (original German title Zur Farbenlehre) is a work by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe about the poet's views on the nature of colours and how these are perceived by man, published in 1810. It contains some of the earliest published descriptions of phenomena such as coloured shadows, refraction, and chromatic aberration.
When you look back on your career with all the highs and the lows, can you imagine having done things differently? That it might have been more fate then choice?
Its always very easy with hindsight to know what you could have done to achieve something positive or avoid the negative, one can see clearly with the passing of time and with inner growth from experience. But at these junctions in life, we base it on our feelings at that time, and this can only be based on the experience and knowledge we have at that particular time.
Without experience it is only theoretical or conceptual, Shunryu Suzuki-roshi (1905 - 1971) A Za Zen Buddhist who I think makes some very solid sense, said “Experience not philosophy” which is true, the direct experience has more value than a virtual one, which is something that is happening increasingly within society as computer games and environments become more immersive, so the connection between human feelings and empathy and direct experience are being eroded and become absent, resulting in a increasing lack of empathy. Where the society becomes less engaged in its collective well being and is focused on the self. Philip K. Dick wrote about this narrowing of empathy in Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep.
It’s socio-political at its centre, by reducing everything in to a system of numbers as within everything there is a mathematical code, a program if you like that lays behind everything, Pythagoras had stated about 2500 years ago that all was number, and number was in everything, the Kabala is based on the numbers that words and their deeper meanings concern.
But to get back to your question, I acted mostly upon intuitive knowledge which I believe should be our prime source on which to base our personal decisions, the times I ignored those intuitive feelings are the ones where I made mistakes.
Your best known song is probably "The Hacker". What song has a special place in your heart and why?
Maybe this is due in a large part to the fact that it captures a zeitgeist of the time, and era in which it was released, I personally feel there are other pieces that are more important for me but this is purely personal and connects to private experiences.
A track like Velvet Realm or Return To Blue, Beautiful Losers, Triumph Over Will etc. are more poignant and meaningful for me, but this is my personal feeling. But I would say there is an inner emotional truth in these particular tracks and the subject matter is very different to the Hacker as are many other DVA tracks that art concerned with a paradigm, or philosophical idea.
What can we expect from the Clock DVA performance? Will you play songs from Advantage? Or 4 Hours?
I think as I said previously there is no furthering of ones owns capacity or a development of self, if you are engaged in just rendering material which has previously been released and also played live. I want to find a balance between the New and the old, but DVA are not a tribute group, for me the emotions and feelings I had in the past have changed so I can not bring that level of feeling I had then back into certain pieces now. So it was better to try and inject some new and interesting elements into some of the older tracks that are more involved in conceptual ideas than emotional ones.
This makes it interesting for us as it results in some interesting elements that are generated live, as well as for the audience.
Thank you for this elaborate interview!
DEADCIBEL • You simply can describe it this way: [de:ad:cibel] signifies loudly mixed and aggressive music!
CONTAINER 90 • When I describe our music for grandma...I say we play punk on synthesizers.
RELIGIOUS TO DAMN • I'm about pushing moods now, really intense ones, less timorously.
EVI VINE • That’s the story.… the reason we do this
WELLE:ERDBALL • They suddenly played Milli Vanilli and we just looked at each other and knew we had to do the music we wanted to hear ourselves...
PANKOW • All those people trying to achieve an eighties sound show have an appalling lack of creativity… trying to revive ghosts from the past !
PARADE GROUND • Body Farm are offering gigs of another dimension : the tearing off of one’s body to achieve some sort of choreography of chaos
SECTION 25 • Beth has a much better voice than me and is a lot easier on the eye...
AGENT SIDE GRINDER • I don’t really see us as a post-punk band. We’re more an industrial/electronic band.
A.A.A.K. • They don't understand us. Most of them have brains that are far too small to receive our messages.