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Gerhard Hallstatt with a rock painting discovered in 1911 by Jean Sibelius. Photo (c) Sebastian Devamitra Porceddu 2012

Gerhard Hallstatt with a rock painting discovered in 1911 by Jean Sibelius.
Photo (c) Sebastian Devamitra Porceddu 2012

Like the music which he composes and records under the name of ”Allerseelen”, Gerhard’s writing does not easily fit any ready-made label or category. While the majority of people are content to travel the iron tracks laid down by their religion, politics, peer pressure, or brand-name culture (no matter that they are always crashing into each other), he follows a mercurial path: quick, elusive, and a little mischievous. When I first met him at a conference in Vienna, I was immediately attracted by his friendly persona and lack of posturing. As I got to know him and his writings better, I admired the way he was following his own star wherever it lead, with no possible financial or professional gain.

– Joscelyn Godwin in his foreword to Gerhard Hallstatt’s Blutleuchte.

It was a December evening in Turku the last year. We sat down at restaurant Koulu, talked and enjoyed some beer and salmiakki shots. Like Joscelyn Godwin, I got an impression that Gerhard was very friendly, not posturing, and he was clearly following his own star. His music, writings, photography and travels had formed a multifaceted living piece of art from well over two decades of pursuing his unique path. I had for some time thought about making an interview with Gerhard and meeting him made me think that it was the right time for it. Gerhard liked the idea and I started to write an interview for him.

In the following interview Gerhard tells about his writings, music, travels, inspirations, panteism, Christianity, mountains, and many other things, such as sauna, Koskenkorva, salmiakki, Pippuriset pääkallot, Santa Lucia and Jean Sibelius.

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For those readers who don’t know you yet, would you give an introduction of yourself – who are you, what have you done and what are you doing nowadays?

I started in my youth recording on old cassette recorders strange music that consisted of loops of kettledrums, violins, metals. I wrote surrealistic poems and texts on loud type-writers and also started at an early age taking photographs. I still have today hundreds of diapositives that I should digitalize one day.

I was very much interested in alchemy, and this fascination inspired all my artistic activities. Still today, twenty years later, I am in some way working very similar although nowadays computers are of course involved. But still today I am recording in a very old-fashioned way, without using a computer programme. The cassettes became CDs, the little photocopied booklets that I did in my youth became printed magazines or books, and the camera I am working now with is a digital one.

I was very much interested in alchemy, and this fascination inspired all my artistic activities.

I myself did not change that much, I do not feel that much different from the time when I was 17. Still today I am full of enthusiasm, full of chaos, and hopefully this will remain like this for the next decades. ”You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star”, like wonderful Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. I see myself nowadays like a kind of troubadour in a telectronic age, spending a lot of time on music, poetry, travelling to present these songs to a smaller or larger audience in various countries – and sometimes I am performing these songs in old castles too. But apart from travelling I also enjoy living in Wien which is definitely one of the most beautiful cities of the world. I did not grow up in Wien. I was born on the country-side, the first large city that I got to know was Berlin, I was staying there some weeks when I was 16. Wien I only got to know when I was 17.

You played live in Finland again, at Tampere, on 7th of December 2012. How was it? It was your second time here, right? How did it differ from your previous gig in Turku in 2007?

Allerseelen live in Moscow 2012. Photo (c) Miss Goodwrong

Allerseelen live in Moscow 2012.
Photo (c) Miss Goodwrong

The live performance in Tampere was our second concert in Finland. The first had taken place in Turku in October 2007. Then the line-up was very different, in Turku there were on stage Marcel P. on bass, Dimo Dimov on drums and I. But as both have been very busy with studies and working, since 2012 the current line-up of Allerseelen is consisting of Christien H. on drums and Noreia on bass. Both concerts were thus quite different.

Some new songs we were performing in December in Tampere for the very first time on stage – and two of these new songs were inspired by my Finland preparations: The song Grünes Licht / Green Light was inspired by magnificent aurora borealis photos. Unfortunately I did not see these wonderful lights when I was in Finland. Hopefully another time. Another song, Neunmondmesser / Nine Moon Knife was partly inspired by the Finnish knife puukko and the Kalevala moment where Kullervo finds a stone in his bread that destroys his only knife. Both songs will be on the next Allerseelen CD Terra Incognita.

On our Tampere guestlist was even Kiira Korpi. Unfortunately she did not show up – it would be great to see her dancing to some of our songs.

You traveled after the concerts in Tampere and Rakvere, Estonia, for some time in Southern Finland – what kind of impressions you got from these places? Where did you go, what were your favorite places, experiences? What was your impression of Finland?

Unfortunately I did not have time to see the paintings of Hugo Simberg in the Tampere cathedral. I like very much some of his works. After our Tampere concert we had to leave really early to travel by bus and ferry-boat and another bus to Rakvere in Estonia. We were performing there the next evening.

After some beautiful days in Rakvere and Tallinn, I returned for two weeks to Finland. It was a wonderful experience. When we performed in Turku in October 2007, I really enjoyed the traditional sauna combined with short baths in the cold sea. Already then I had been looking forward to another visit in Finland, hoping that this would happen again in the cold months of the year. And I had good luck. This December I spent again some time at saunas in various places – and it was wonderful to roll naked in the snow after the sauna.

Santa Lucia procession.Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt 2012

Santa Lucia procession.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt 2012

I also saw two beautiful Santa Lucia processions in Turku and Inkoo. I even filmed the Santa Lucia procession in Turku but still have to work on this video. In Turku there were many people watching the procession of Santa Lucia with the burning candles on her head. But in the small church of Inkoo there were not many people.

I was with a friend because I had seen photos of the danse macabre paintings inside this church. We did not know about the Santa Lucia procession there. I was glad to take some beautiful photographs combining lovely young girls with their candles and the kuolemantanssi frescoes.

The fortified island Suomenlinna was very impressive too. This might inspire another Allerseelen song. Some places that I had intended to visit were closed, for example Ainola, the house of Jean Sibelius in Järvenpää, and the wonderful castle Olavinlinna. So there are many reasons to return. Also I really enjoy lakritsi, salmiakki – as sweets as well as alcoholic drinks. Only some days ago I saw a photo of the absinthe spoons that are on display in Jean Sibelius´ house in Järvenpää – I did not know that he was drinking absinthe too. So I have at least a little bit in common with Jean Sibelius.

What have been and are your biggest influences in music, literature, and art in general?

Berlin was maybe the place that changed my life most as there, living for some time in a squat, I got to know the music of Einstürzende Neubauten, Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, Abwärts. I was there when I was 16. I was again in Berlin when I was 18 – and then I saw there SPK live which had been a big influence on me together with the industrial music of Throbbing Gristle.

Gerhard Hallstatt, Schwedenhöhlen, Niederösterreich. Photo (c) Zeke Maziur.

Gerhard Hallstatt, Schwedenhöhlen, Niederösterreich. Photo (c) Zeke Maziur.

One of my favourite writer was and is Arthur Rimbaud – his magical symbolism, his travels, the mysteries in his biography, also his sudden and surprising decision to stop writing. When I was 17, I spent some weeks in France, visiting the village where he lived, visiting his tomb and travelling to many other places in France. When I was 19, I was again in Northern France, I saw there Psychic TV live in Rouen.

I am inspired a lot by writers like Antonin Artaud, Hermann Hesse, Ernst Jünger, Friedrich Nietzsche, Rainer Maria Rilke. The Industrial Culture Handbook published by Re/Search many years ago was a real book of revelation for me: Suddenly I came across a counter-culture that combined controversial musicians, heretic writers, revolutionary artists, cultural outlaws. I liked and still like very much the art of Man Ray, Edvard Munch, the Pre-Raphaelites, I love films by Jean Cocteau, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Pier Paolo Pasolini. In fact, my artistic pantheon contains of dozens of artists that I might consider as inspirations, masters, muses, and a list would be really long.

How you came up with the names Aorta, Ahnstern and Allerseelen? How they manifest the substance of their vessel and aim – and what are their aims?

I am inspired a lot by the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, and I also like very much his words “Of all that is written, I love only what a person hath written with his blood. Write with blood, and thou wilt find that blood is spirit.“ So there were many reasons to chose the name Aorta for my record label and also the magazine. Whereas the word heart had been used too often in too kitschy contexts and the concept of blood was too often too strongly connected with destruction and war, the word Aorta still contained some innocence beyond kitschy or romantic visions of love and war.

Drums of Calanda, Spain.Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt

Drums of Calanda, Spain.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt

The name of my book Blutleuchte – which is also the name of a Finnish music project – means Blood Lantern. This title was inspired by the cult of the Blutleuchte that had been founded by Alfred Schuler and some other poets and philosophers around Stefan George in Munich around 1900. They believed in the pagan blood of prechristian antiquity and wanted a pagan renaissance. Alfred Schuler was also a big inspiration for Rainer Maria Rilke.

Ahnstern was an old German word for the planet Saturn, I had discovered this word in a book on runes. I used this name for magazine after I had published twenty issues of Aorta. The record label Steinklang also uses this name as sub-label.

There are many reasons why I chose the name Allerseelen. This name was partly inspired by Georges Bataille, by Pier Paolo Pasolini and especially by the concept of the Dia de los Muertos in Mexico the rites uniting life and death in early November. Only some years ago I found out that very similar traditions also existed in Austria and still exist in Bulgaria.

What it means to be an artist in your case?

Without art, life would really be boring, a waste of time. I have been accustomed for all these years to either working on something in music or poetry or photography. I am lucky that I may combine all these arts in the Allerseelen releases.

Without art, life would really be boring, a waste of time.

Human bones and leaves in a small lake. Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt 2007.

Human bones and leaves in a small lake.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt 2007.

I could not even imagine a life without art, without being surrounded by books, paintings, records. If I had to choose between a life without art, without aesthetic addictions, artistic obsessions and a death with art, I definitely would choose this adventurous terra incognita named death. It seems that I have the romantic impression that the realm of death is filled with art, beauty, poetry. In my youth I was also obsessed with death, I was collecting human bones and skulls, and I was fascinated by the stigmata of Catholic visionaries. I wrote about this in my magazine Aorta, these texts were then also published in the book Blutleuchte. This was definitely inspired by blood-stained Catholicism in my childhood, the theatre of cruelty that I got to know in churches and at school.

You have been doing your projects for quite long time already. How your approaches and interests have changed during the years? What subjects you don’t find anymore so important or interesting, what subjects have lately emerged? What subjects have continued to interest you?

If I am in love with something, I may be really stubborn. I still have the same interests that I had in my teenage years: art, occultism, surrealism, symbolism, travelling. In the past some people saw Allerseelen in a political context – but I was never really interested in politics. Politics were only of interest for me when they were connected to art or occultism. Thus I was and am still very interested in the biographies of magical monarchs like Ludwig II from Bavaria or Rudolf II in Prague or Frederick II in Italy.

Les Agudes, Catalunya.Photo (c)Sabinita 2002.

Les Agudes, Catalunya.
Photo (c) Sabinita 2002.

There is a still a lot of fever inside my head and heart, an ardent enthusiasm for utopies and visions. I do not feel adult at all. I am still living in a quite archaic way, surrounded by books, heating with wood. I do not download music, I am not accustomed to read electronic books. I always knew that time is more important than money. An archaic life without many responsibilities, in some way similar maybe to the way of life of E.M. Cioran in Paris, had been my dream when I was 17 – and it became reality. Hopefully this dream still will be reality when I am 71.

I still have the same interests that I had in my teenage years: art, occultism, surrealism, symbolism, travelling. In the past some people saw Allerseelen in a political context – but I was never really interested in politics.

Basically I am interested in things that combine culture and nature, paganism and christianity. I visited cromlechs, dolmens, menhirs in many countries. I have always been fascinated by magical and tragical biographies. This is why I wrote in my magazines and in my book Blutleuchte about visionaries and artists like Kenneth Anger, Bobby Beausoleil, Leonora Carrington, Corneliu Codreanu, Otto Rahn, Leni Riefenstahl, Viktor Schauberger, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Karl Maria Wiligut and many others – all their lifes had magical and tragical qualities. All these fascinating and more or less controversial personalities still today are interesting me very much. If I wrote today about these artists and occult or political or ecological visionaries, my texts would definitely be different. But I am not certain to which extent they would be different.

What is or are your own favorite Allerseelen records and why?

I prefer the last two CDs named Hallstatt and Rauhe Schale. Both contain for me very intense memories. My recordings are always very individual and personal, even today when I am working on stage and in studio with various other musicians.

Allerseelen: Hallstatt. Ahnstern/Aorta (2007).

Allerseelen: Hallstatt.
Ahnstern/Aorta (2007).

Allerseelen sometimes have been compared to a group like Laibach – but this only makes sense in a superficial way. Maybe because of some musical elements, maybe because of the use of sometimes dangerous symbols. But Allerseelen never has been a collective, and the Allerseelen lyrics and visions are very subjective. In many ways, the Allerseelen CDs are acoustic diaries. For me they represent microcosms that are manifestations of a certain period of my life with specific experiences and impressions, beautiful ones, powerful ones, sad ones. Each song has a special story that quite often is only known to me.

In many ways, the Allerseelen CDs are acoustic diaries.

I also like the very early Allerseelen recordings that I released on cassettes with dozens of loops that I recorded with a bought violin and kettle-drums that I had stolen from a church. Although usually I am not listening to my own recordings. I love my songs when they are slowly coming into existence, when I feel a certain sacred marriage between rhythms and melodies and lyrics. When a song is finished, I usually stop listening to it. Probably because I already know it too much by heart. The process, the path has always been more important for me than the result, the peak, this is for me as valid in music as in travelling, as in the mountains. If life is the path and death is the peak, I am also definitely more interested into the path.

Blutleuchte is a book of yours that came out the last year. What the book contains? How you got Joscelyn Godwin to write the introduction to it? I remember you mentioned to me in Turku (while having beer and salmiakki shots at Koulu) that he is a friend of yours, do I remember this correctly?

Gerhard Hallstatt: Blutleuchte. Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt.

Gerhard Hallstatt: Blutleuchte.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt.

I liked our evening at Koulu in Turku – and I hope to return there soon. Joscelyn Godwin is a real renaissance scholar. He wrote several fascinating books about alchemy, magic, music and various other topics. We know each other for several years. We met various times in Wien, and I also visited him when he lived for some months in Venice. He had been a subscriber of my magazines Aorta and Ahnstern, so he already knew all the texts of the Blutleuchte book before I asked him if he might like to write a foreword. These now completely sold out magazines Aorta and Ahnstern had been bi-lingual magazines in German and English about my experiences, impressions, studies.

Some texts were like travel diaries – I wrote about my travels to little villages in Italy and Spain, about my visits at castles like Montsegur in South France and Castel del Monte in Apulia. Other texts, like small biographies, were the result of patient researches at libraries. I always wrote about artists and visionaries that were fascinating me. And I wrote always also about my own fascination.

So far there are already American and French editions of my book Blutleuchte containing all these texts and I think that in 2014 also German and Spanish editions finally will be available too. I am looking forward to these editions. All of these will be available via my Aorta Mailorder.

You have a strong interest in occult, pagan and folk related subjects. Which one of these describe you the best: an atheist, an agnostic, a pagan? If pagan, what kind of a pagan?

I would call myself a pantheist, and my pantheon is nature, this is why I spend as much time as possible outdoors.

I would call myself a pantheist, and my pantheon is nature, this is why I spend as much time as possible outdoors. I have been interested in a lot of different traditions, alchemy, kabbala, magic, shamanism, tarot. As an artist I always have been considering everything from an aesthetic point of view, and this is valid also for the world of occulture. This is why I may be fascinated as much by a Tibetan painting as by a Catholic fresco, by a rock painting in Finland as much as by a petroglyph in a temple on Malta. I am fascinated by Mithraism and visited various Mithras temples in Austria, Italy, Slovenia. Some weeks ago I visited a very small Mithras grotto close to Dubrovnik in Croatia. But I do not consider myself as follower of Mithras.

What do you think of Christianity and catholicism?

In my pantheism there is also a lot of place for Christian traditions and myths that very often have their roots in pre-christian, pagan traditions – like for example the beautiful Santa Lucia processions in Scandinavia. All Christian plants seem to have pagan roots.

I am a pantheist who is also fascinated by Christian mysticism, I like the writings of Meister Eckehart, of Saint Hildegard. Christianity is fascinating as a strong syncreticism with so many aspects borrowed or stolen from the mysteries of Isis, Cybele, Mithras. Catholicism is a bloody myth – but I still have to meet a Catholic who really believes in the most important dogma that bread is turned into sacred meat, that wine becomes sacred blood. I never met anyone who believed this. I suppose that all over the world there is thus only existing a hard core of maybe only some hundred or thousand real Catholics.

Cocullo, Abruzzi, Italia. Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt.

Cocullo, Abruzzi, Italia.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt.

I am fascinated by several Catholic phenomena like stigmata. Years ago I did a lot of research on the stigmatized Therese von Konnersreuth in Bavaria and wrote about this in my book Blutleuchte after a visit in the small village Konnersreuth. In Blutleuchte I also wrote about the bloody Semana Santa drums of Calanda in Spain that Luis Bunuel used as soundtrack for some of his movies. I was two times in Calanda. And also in the small village Cocullo in Italy I was impressed by a nowadays Christian procession with living snakes on San Domenico– this tradition definitely has a pagan, pre-christian root. Maybe soon I will travel there again…

Actually especially Catholicism is a real pantheon and pandemonium with all its Saints, with its colourful hell and more or less pale heaven. In the Kansallismuseo in Helsinki I was incredibly fascinated by a very realistic sculpture of the pagan Lalli who had killed bishop Henrik. The dead bishop was standing on the bloody body of Lalli who had very beautiful eyes and held a book in his hands. I identified immediately with this pagan and his book. Only later I was told details about the life of Lalli.

You have traveled a lot. Where you have been, what traveling means to you – pilgrimages? I recall you have described your travels as ”magical mystery tours”. What places have made the deepest impression on you and why? What are the most special experiences you have had during these travels?

Luckily we have been invited with Allerseelen to perform in a lot of countries in Europe. We also performed in North America and Russia – and I always try to combine these concerts with some explorations of culture and nature in these countries. It would make me sad to visit for example Helsinki just for one night.

Basically I am very curious. So very often I am returning from countries with dozens of wonderful experiences and impressions that may inspire new songs. From Finland and Estonia for example I came back with great Kalevala and Kalevipoeg impressions. I am learning a lot in these concert travels. I got to know new artists, musicians, writers – and I came back also with a lot of lakritsi, salmiakki, strange sweets like Pippuriset Pääkallot and delicious drinks like Leijona Pastilli Shot, Koskenkorva Lakritsi.

Cocullo, Abruzzi, Italia.Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt

Cocullo, Abruzzi, Italia.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt

I had very strange experiences when I travelled in my youth alone to the Italian volcanoes Vesuvio, Etna and Stromboli. I have not yet written about these experiences but will do so one day. I still have my diaries, some photographs and even some super-8 filmings that I took on Etna. I had not been well equipped at all, no good shoes, not enough water, not enough realism. A lot of dangerous things might have happened. Nowadays I would go there again much better prepared – with good maps, with more water – and I would not go there in hot August like I did when I was 18. I did not have enough water when I was on Etna and had already some hallucinations before I finally knew that I had to return to survive. I wounded my foot when I wanted to climb inside the crater of Vesuvio. And on Stromboli strange things happened too.

In these days in Southern Italy and Sicily I had with me Also sprach Zarathustra. In some way I was as crazy as the volcanic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. While I am talking about this, I feel again a very strong desire to leave again for these volcanoes – there are only paths as volcanoes do not have peaks. “For staying is nowhere.” (Rainer Maria Rilke: Duineser Elegien)

You mentioned the castles Montsegur and Castel del Monte. Can you tell us something about them?

Montsegur, Ariege, France. Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt.

Montsegur, Ariege, France.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt.

Usually the most impressive places are those where I am travelling alone. In this I am very close to the Steppenwolf described by Hermann Hesse in his famous novel. I visited the Cathars´ castle Montsegur in South France two times. The first time it was magical and intense, I had slept outdoors in my sleeping bag for several days, I had walked for hours. It was a real tour de force.

When I arrived in the late afternoon at Montsegur, I was the only visitor. It was raining a bit, and I knew that I would stay there over night. I also spent nights in other castles of the Cathars, these nights at Queribus and Peyrepertuse were intense too. During my second visit on Montsegur I felt like an average tourist as I was not alone. It was the same castle yet it was not the magical Montsegur that I had witnessed in my first visit. I really believe in the well-known saying: The path is more important than the peak.

Usually the most impressive places are those where I am travelling alone.

The next time I will again travel alone to Montsegur to spend there another night. I was visiting the octogonal Castel del Monte in La Puglia, Italy, in a very similar manner, walking for several hours on small roads towards a magical castle that looked from the distance like a white crystal on a hill. When I was going there I did not know where I would stay over night. I did not care as I also had my sleeping bag with me. My travelling then was in some way close to the travels of Arthur Rimbaud. While I am telling this, I feel a strong desire to visit both places again in the same Steppenwolf manner – alone, walking a lot with a backbag filled with a sleeping bag, with maps and books and water and a knife.

Lastly, what about mountains? You often mention mountains in your songs.

Vihren, Pirin, Bulgaria. Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt 2007.

Vihren, Pirin, Bulgaria.
Photo (c) Gerhard Hallstatt 2007.

Mountains have been very important for me in the last ten years. And usually I like the paths up to the peaks more than the peaks themselves. On the peaks I usually feel a certain emptiness. I felt this emptiness also in the castle Montsegur. ”Six thousand feet beyond man and time” is a good description of Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote about his years close to the wild mountains of Engadin in Switzerland, high above manhood, high above average life.

Julius Evola wrote several essays about this in his Meditations on the Peaks, inspired by his tours on difficult mountains in Austria, Italy, Switzerland. I hope to visit one day the glacier where his ashes are buried.

Some days ago I was sleeping alone in a mountain hut on the mountain Schneeberg in Lower Austria that has a room for emergencies that is always open. On a height of over 2.000 metres, I was drinking Koskenkorva Lakritsi and thinking of my beautiful days in Finland.

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Vielen Dank für das Interview, Gerhard!

There is going to be a review of Gerhard’s book Blutleuchte and Allerseelen’s CD Rauhe Schale in the blog in a near future.

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Related links:

Allerseelen

Gerhard Hallstatt: Blutleuchte

Aorta Mailorder

Gerhard Hallstatt: Blutleuchte + Allerseelen: Dein Herz schlägt aufwärts

Allerseelen: Das Feuer fragt

Allerseelen: Wo ist das Leben

Allerseelen remixed two songs of Agalloch for the Agalloch DoCD / DoLP Whitedivisiongrey:

Allerseelen / Agalloch: Dunkelgraue Stille

Allerseelen / Agalloch: Nur noch Asche
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I guess everyone who knows a bit about the Finnish noise scene is familiar with Pekka PT. The man has been around for quite a while with his many projects. In the following interview you will find out about Pekka’s many projects and sources of inspiration, of what Otto Donner did during one of his gigs, what former Death In June member Patrick Leagas said about his vocals, of what is good and bad noise like, of noise scene in Finland and elsewhere, as well as of what Pekka thinks about spanking, G.G. Allin, Pekka Siitoin, toilet humour, and of many other things!

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Pekka PT speaks!

019bIf this interview could take place anywhere, anytime, real or imaginary space, where would we be making this interview?

The place where they’re waiting for Godot.

Who are you, what do you do? Could you tell us about your background, all the projects you’ve been working with and being part of? Which one of those projects has been the most important to you – or should they be considered first of all as an organic whole?

I’m Pekka PT, I’m over 30 but under 40 years old and I live in Southwest Finland. I’m underground noise musician, family man and blue collar worker.

My main project at the moment is called Sick Seed. It’s power electronics with heavy industrial leanings and some noise thrown in as well. What I do is structured, pretty much song-oriented material with lyrics that handle my different interests.

Then there’s SSRI, which is harsh noise with psychedelic and industrial elements. I felt that the relatively strict approach of Sick Seed wasn’t enough and needed another outlet for my noise doings.

The two above are a continuation of my earlier noise project Gelsomina. It started as a pure harsh noise project with an aim to make as pure and “radiant” noise as possible. Having accomplished that, or at least having worked on that as long as it was satisfying, I moved to more organic, lo-fi, industrial sounds and moods and then came a time when everything was so different it was time to shed skin and begin a new project. Gelsomina did several releases in different formats and some of them were even somewhat critically acclaimed.

Paraffin Affiliates was a free-noise improvisation band in which I played guitar. We released one CD-R album and played a few gigs.

Skullpture was another improvisation band but with more drone approach and mostly done with guitars. We did a few CD-R releases. We were and still are good friends, but as far as I remember, all the recording sessions were frustrating and very unfriendly for some reason.

Speaking of old projects, there’s Clay Figure, which was my first serious recording project. No-limits four-track experiments. This project did a few CD-Rs and tapes, started to turn into a real band and then folded, but now I’ve resurrected it and done a comeback tape and there’s more to come. There’s a chance that I might merge Clay Figure and SSRI at some point but we’ll see.

There’s also Peenemünde, which is a collaboration project of Pentti Dassum and me. Industrial noise. We have one CD out and a second one coming up sooner or later.

sickseed5I play guitar and sing in scum metal noise rock band Chains Of Death Command. It started at first some years ago and we did one tape and forgot about it. Now the band has been resurrected with slightly different line-up and we’ve released one 7” and played one gig, recording of which will be released on tape very soon. The first tape will also be reissued since it was very limited and people have asked about it. We’re currently working on new material and there are plans for a couple of split releases.

I’m a session member of Verde, which is a kind of experimental electronic krautrock laboratory. Studio and live line-ups have featured a lot of different musicians from underground amateurs like me to professional and academically educated musicians. This band is always great fun. Hopefully we can release a new CD some time this year.

I’m also a session member of Johannes Faustus, an artrock band that just released its first album and we’re starting to rehearse for (possible) gigs soon.

There are/have been some others but they’re either just beginning or meaningless past. Besides, aren’t all those listed more than enough?

Priorities of projects change, but at the moment Sick Seed, SSRI and Chains Of Death Command are the most important ones. But yes, it’s all also an organic whole. Ars Magna. There’s a lot of overlap and I often recycle sounds and ideas from one project to another.

I have an impression that your projects’ names are well thought to describe their contents – is this correct? Would you tell us something about how you came up with the different names for your different projects.

Absolutely correct.

The name Gelsomina was chosen because it was very “non-noise.” I took it from the movie La Strada, which I was obsessed with, especially the Gelsomina character, at the time.

gelsominaSick Seed was first the title of Gelsomina’s “sex noise” tape. When I decided to quit Gelsomina and move on, I felt the continuing project needed a more suitable name. At the very beginning it was very much connected to sexual frustration and deviance and that’s what the first Sick Seed tracks were about. The scope did broaden quickly, though, and now it’s more about social “issues” and personal search. Self-therapy. There’s sick seed in me that needs to be discharged before it eats me inside. There are many things around that have grown from sick seed and there are malevolent forces that sow sick seed.

SSRI officially means selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, but it also means Sick Seed Recycling Industries. Most sounds that I use on SSRI are recycled and reworked from my other projects.

Clay Figure name was taken from a pic I saw in some art book long ago. There was this installation titled “35000 Clay Figures on a Field” that had a room full of small, crude clay figures. I was first going to use that full name but luckily came to my senses. Clay is material that can be easily molded and it has this earthy quality and working results in amateur hands are often very crude, so it was perfect for what I was doing musically with that project.

On the other hand, I think all these names have started to live lives of their own, separate from their original meaning, ideas and connections.

In addition to noise releases you have put out a quality live c-tape of Keuhkot. What’s the story behind that release?

Keuhkot tape was released by Arkisto, a label that I run in co-operation with Pentti Dassum of Umpio, Nekorekords and many other things. It’s dedicated to reissues, unreleased unearthed old material and authorized live bootleg recordings. There’s not much of a story and I wasn’t personally involved in anything. Pentti had that recording and he acquired permission from Kake Puhuu for a release.

Who and what have been and are your biggest influences and sources of inspiration as an artist?

More or less directly influential bands/artists at the moment: Einstürzende Neubauten (until Tabula Rasa album), Con-Dom, Vivenza, Etat Brut, early Merzbow, latest Grunt albums, Brethren, Eric Lunde, early Swans, K2, early SPK, Brume, Nurse With Wound, early Contagious Orgasm, IRM (mostly lyrically), etc… Lots of “early” stuff it seems. Everything was better before and the first demo was the best.

My early noise influences were C.C.C.C., Incapacitants and Borbetomagus but I’m not very interested in any of them anymore.

Writers, thinkers, people, etc.: William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Philip K. Dick, Robert Anton Wilson, Samuel Beckett, Stephen Baxter, Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Aleister Crowley, Uuno Kailas, Kurt Vonnegut, Alan Moore (especially Promethea), Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, etc…

Other things: Dada, Discordianism, Surrealism, Vienna Aktionism, Art Brut, science/speculative fiction (everything from serious/hardcore to total pulp trash), The Church of the Sub-Genius, Chaos Magick, Tarot, occultism in general, 1970s and 1980s exploitation cinema of all kinds (other cinema as well, although I’m not nearly as big a film freak as before), Gnosticism, abandoned buildings, decomposition, metal objects scraping concrete surfaces, survivalism, etc…

sickseed2What kind of instruments and equipment you use in making noise?

Anything, no limits, although I usually prefer a physical sound source. Metal junk with contact mics, synths/oscillators, effect pedals, bass, guitar, tape manipulations, anything. It often goes in phases where I concentrate on one instrument or source of sound for some time and then move on to something else when I feel I’ve got out everything I can at that time from one thing.

The only common thing with everything is that I do final editing on a multitrack software on computer.

How many gigs you’ve done thus far and where have you performed? Most memorable gigs, incidents, memories in general from these gigs?

All bands and projects combined, I’d say around 50 or a little more. Not much but there aren’t that many opportunities for this kind of music. Nor will I play just anywhere. I’ve played in pubs’n’clubs, private venues and festivals. Mostly in Finland but Gelsomina did a small UK tour and Paraffin Affiliates played in St. Petersburg once.

Most memorable gigs are Verde playing at Kaustinen Folk Music Festival and another Verde gig at a musician friend’s birthday party where we were spontaneously joined by Otto Donner. When Gelsomina played in London, former Death In June member Patrick Leagas commented that my vocals sounded like Hitler. There have been good and bad times at gigs, but luckily mostly good.

What tapes and CD’s of your own creation are available currently and where one can get them?

Sick Seed’s debut album The Great Corrupter is available from me in both LP and CD format and the label (Filth & Violence) should also have them. There’s also a tape version coming soon. Sick Seed Live + 1 tape is available from the same label as well as from me. Man And Machine 7” is available from me and the label (Turgid Animal). I don’t have copies of Elephant Man tape left but the label (Obscurex) should have. The same label also has Peenemünde CD and Unclean / ABNTR / SSRI split tape and you can get those two from me, too. Shift / Sick Seed split LP and CD are available from me and probably from label (Freak Animal) and Shift as well. I also have plenty of copies of Chains Of Death Command 7” and last two Verde CDs.

– – –

Noise and the scene

How you listen to noise? Is c-tape the only true format for it?

sickseed6Either I concentrate on it fully or play it as background music for reading. I think noise should be listened to loud enough so you hear all the details. Listening to it REAL FUCKING LOUD isn’t necessary to me though there’s time for that every now and then. Good noise works at a reasonable volume, too, I think.

C-tape is traditional format and it’s still the most reasonable for small editions that noise releases usually are. Some noise fits better on tape, some on vinyl and some on CD. I don’t care what is “true” and what is not, especially since things described as true kvlt grimmfrostbitten are usually everything but.

How do you define ”noise”?

I’d rather not, but if forced at gunpoint, I’d say something like music, sound art or “aural object” that abandons melody, harmony and rhythm and replaces them with loud, abrasive, dissonant sound. That’s a crap definition, I know.

What do you listen to in noise?

Sound, details, interaction of different elements, composition, rhythm (not in “beat” sense). I’m not necessarily looking for originality but it certainly does no harm.

Why you listen to noise?

I like it, simple as that. It speaks to me. It interacts with what I have inside me. It’s the sound of destruction and building, decomposition and growth, full cycle, aural Alchemy.

How much you listen to noise in relation to other kinds of music you listen to?

I think I listen to other kinds of music much more than noise although it goes in phases, too. I haven’t noticed any certain times, situations or states of mind that would define what I want to listen to. It seems completely random.

Is noise music?

I think it is but what is music?

What is good noise like? What is bad noise like?

PekkaPTlive4Good noise is done because it has to be done, bad noise because it can be done. As said above, originality is not necessary but I loathe old farts who ride on their past and shit out one scene product after another. I don’t mind humour in noise unless it’s some post-modernist ironic piss-take. Good noise is passionate, bad noise is a product for target audience with no heart, brain or balls.

If one listens to noise a lot does it mess one’s ”biorhythms” and body up? Will plants die at home?

No, it heals them. Plants also, no need to water them anymore.

What are noise artists and listeners like – is it possible to make some general notes about them? How homogenous are these people in their age, style, political views, approach to life in general, etc.?

Male, 20-40 years old, background in other kinds of underground music, interest in “cultural extremes,” politically/ideologically either nihilist or into one extreme or another. That’s a broad generalization off the top of my head and there are exceptions. Education and family relations seem to vary a lot.

What do you think of the scene nowadays here in Finland and elsewhere? Where do you think the most interesting artists come from right now?

Finnish noise scene has been extremely strong for some years already and seems to continue that way. There’s a lot of variation in styles and people do their own thing instead of copying others or following trends. Most newcomers are very promising and bring something new to the table.

I can’t say much about scenes abroad since I don’t (have a chance to) follow them as closely. There’s been a lot of good stuff coming from Sweden all the time but it seems they’re now more productive and enthusiastic than ever.

You can talk about German style or UK style power electronics or Japanese noise or US noise, even Swedish sound but I don’t think there a special Finnish sound. Maybe it’ll take a foreigner to point out what it is?

I’d say everything from Finland and Sweden is worth checking out these days, with other countries there’s much bigger percentage of hit and miss.

Noise scene has its controversial elements, maybe especially in live settings. Have you been at some gigs where you were worried about the act in one way or another? Have you experienced or heard or seen of some noise act that you think did develope into something unacceptable or such? How people inside the scene approach these elements? How often artists just play with controversial elements because of shock value, how often there is some well thought points and intentions behind them?

sickseed1Some time ago I saw a performer cut a deep gash on his arm with razor blade. It looked bad (and actually needed 30-40 stitches afterward), but he just kept playing and rubbed blood from the wound on his face and equipment.

Once someone had a backing video of extreme pornographic material at an all-ages gig. I was sure there would be consequences but apparently there weren’t minors present or nobody cared. Another time someone had a backing video that showed cumshots on dead/dying rodents. That did cause some fuss, which was no wonder as it was a kind of crossover gig with plenty of unsuspecting audience.

I agree there are controversial elements but I don’t think they exist to the degree that outsiders and/or newcomers often think. It’s those elements that easily get anyone’s attention so it’s no wonder. I can’t say what’s the ratio of shock value (nothing wrong with trying to shock people, it’s just the attempts are usually in vain – most noise listeners are very much jaded) and serious content but I think it’s rather easy to spot who’s playing with taboos and controversial elements and who’s into them for real.

How are you inclined politically and ideologically? Did you vote in the last presidential elections?

I used to think I’m “Third Position,” but I’m not sure what it means anymore… I believe in individual nation states with their own customs and characteristics instead of one big consumerist multicultural sewer. No one should be ashamed of their heritage and no one is responsible of their forefathers doings. I’m anti-plutocratic, anti-globalization, etc. Most importantly anti-stupidity and anti-evil.

I did vote in presidential elections. My candidate was the one I thought would be the smallest evil. He wasn’t elected.

– – –

Associations

What the following things and persons bring to your mind?

Turku

Finland’s true capital.

Sweden

Bögjävlar.

Freedom

Is it freedom to (do) something or freedom from something? Either way, I doubt it really exists.

Hippies

People who ask you for cigarette, get angry when you don’t have any and then pull a pack out of their own pocket.

UFO’s

I’ve never seen one, which doesn’t mean they wouldn’t exist.

Jodorowsky

Influential film director, thinker and magickian.

USA

Scapegoat for things everyone’s guilty of.

Firearms

We had hunting and sporting guns at home when I was a kid. I lively remember the sounds their moving parts make. The sound of authority, responsibility and respect.

Sauna

Peace and relaxation.

G.G. Allin

Hero and embodiment of free spirit.

TV

Vampire, both psychic and physical.

Nuclear war

Obsolete.

Pekka Siitoin

Another hero and free spirit, the Great Blasphemer and True Man.

Spanking

For naughty boys and girls.

Genesis P. Orridge

Once a pioneer, now something else but I’m not sure what.

Cryopreservation

Useless. Life is here and now.

Hate crime

Carnivore put it well: “Xenophobic tendencies instilled in us at birth are mislabeled racism.” I think “greed crime,” ie. economic crime is much bigger problem and root of all other crime.

Death penalty

Ultimate means for state to use its power.

Toilet humour

…or no humour at all!

– – –

Future etc.

How your own music and approach to it has changed or developed during these years? Where do you think you are going with your music in the future?

PekkaPT5I’ve of course become more skilled and have tried a lot of different new equipment. I’m also not that interested in most extreme noise anymore, but moved towards more organic industrial sounds. I used to aim at sound that’s radiant like sun, if that makes sense, but now my ideal sound is that of decomposition and rotting, that of wood creaking, that of shoveling earth.

Starting to use vocals with Sick Seed and already in the end of Gelsomina was a big step. At that point I felt confident enough to start shouting and also that I could write lyrics that are good enough. I think I write good lyrics already but I want to become even better. I’d also like to use more varied vocals (not melodic singing though) in the future.

Can’t say for sure where I’m heading but I’d like to become better in cut-up techniques and learn to use different kinds of tape machines better. I’d also like to keep experimenting with combining noise and “real” instruments but it’s a slippery slope. I’m a guitar player at heart so I’d like to practice guitar more and utilize it more in my recordings.

How do you see the future of noise in general?

Same as its past. Art, entertainment and subculture for a small circle of people.

What kind of plans or visions you have for your distro? What kind of releases and publications we will see in the future? Do you have confirmed gigs in the future?

If everything goes well, there will be Mania / SSRI split tape and K2 tape out in February. There are more planned releases but I won’t talk about them yet lest they get jinxed one way or another. Next Arkisto release will be a Sewer Pyysalos tape (total cut-up insanity, their two CD-Rs reissued) and there are some very interesting relics waiting for Arkisto treatment so stay tuned.

pekkalive6As for gigs, there will be a Sick Seed record release party in autumn or early winter and there’s been talk of one gig abroad in spring 2014 but we’ll see. I’ll also perform as a member of Sonno Ferrum, a kind of “metal junk super band,” in May.

What makes you happy?

To crush my enemies, see them driven before me, and to hear the lamentation of their women. That and quiet family life.

– – –

Thank you for the interview, Pekka!

– – –

Some related links:

Pekka’s distro Untergeschoss.

– – –

Keikkaraportti: Live: SSRi, Umpio @ Kirjakahvila, Turku 28.9.

Live: SSRi @ Kirjakahvila, Turku 28.9. (1, 2).

– – –

Pekka PT – Gelsomina/Hard & Obscure/Sick Seed interview.

Untergeschoss 2012 interview.

– – –

Arkisto / Umpio / Nekorekords.

Filth & Violence.

Freak Animal.

Obscurex.

Shift / Unrest Productions.

Turgid Animal.

Verde.

– – –

 

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Boyd Rice: An Embodiment of the Wolf’s Hook

As many of you know, I wrote an article “Church of Satan is dead” some time ago. That article got me in touch with a documentary movie maker Larry Wessel, who’s interview “Larry Wessel speaks!” I then made. Wessel’s latest movie, Iconoclast, was six years in making. The result is a four hour long ride that goes through Boyd Rice’s life in three parts. This includes a good deal of history of pop culture and art too. After watching the movie I knew I wanted to write a review of it. However, after reading Carl Abrahamsson’s excellent review I thought I would have nothing to add to what he had said, because he put it all so well. You can find Abrahamsson’s review from here. Well, I thougth I could still write something about the documentary. If nothing else, I could write down my notes of the contents of the film and some of my rambling notes in between. What follows might be boring reading as it pretty much just lists the contents of the film. For those who are interested in Boyd’s art, life, and persona and have not seen the film yet, my notes and ramblings might still be interesting. So, with this note, or warning, let me begin.

Part One: Lemon Grove

Part one of the movie starts with Boyd reading his poem Secrets:

That is most powerful which remains unknown

Except unto you, and to you alone

There are secrets that slumber behind these eyes

And I stand by my secrets, my truths and my lies

There are secrets that soar where the eagle flies

Above man’s truths and beyond his lies

There are secrets that slither like snakes in the night

Coiled in shadows, far distant from light

There are secrets that confront you in the midday sun

Yet remain unknown to everyone

A secret burns bright when its law is obeyed

But is doomed to fade when that law is betrayed

For that is most powerful which remains unknown

Except unto you, and to you alone.

It seems to me that in some poetical way the ethos of this poem carries through the whole documentary. I don’t know Boyd but it seems to me that the poem carries the spirit that is present in all that Boyd has done and what he is like. He is difficult to label, he is multidimensional. He is often labeled this and that, often as something sinister and suspicious. But the truth probably lies somewhere between the lines, one could say between the opposites. I was reminded already at this point of the film of the wolf’s hook rune and how it really well seems to symbolize the essence of Boyd and his work.

After that Bob Larson does exorcism, Boyd goes to a tobacco store and buys a whole box of Samuel Gawith snuff. Wait! Is that that nasal tobacco? Yes it is, you can see Boyd taking it later in the film, in part three of the documentary, at the Absinthe studios. I have never tried nasal snuff, but I enjoy a lot the kind of snuss (especially portioned General) that you can buy in Sweden (I am having one portion under my lip right now while writing this).

A family history follows. A whole bunch of old pics. A story of a neighbohour average man’s everyday routine and how Boyd decided he will never be like that. We hear of a tv prank and a good deal of a tiki-culture. Already at this point my idea of Boyd starts to get new dimensions. I did not know that much of his interest in tiki and of things related. My idea of Boyd had previously been formed pretty much through some of his NON-recordings and his association with the Church of Satan. I think I am not the only one  like that. Much more interesting new dimensions to Boyd and his works is about to follow. This is getting really interesting.

We hear what happened in 1969. We hear of a Dark Shadows character who said: “Two natures have always existed in man, one good the other evil, perhaps with this we can bridge the gap in man’s divided nature”. Boyd comments on this: “And like a portal opened in my soul”. I am again reminded of the wolf’s hook rune and its essence. It is becoming apparent that the symbol has found a resonance within Boyd very early and that he has ever since worked to unfold the symbol’s mystery.

“Two natures have always existed in man, one good the other evil, perhaps with this we can bridge the gap in man’s divided nature”.

We hear of Strange paradise. We hear of Anton LaVey, Charles Manson, and Tiny Tim – how they were totally different and still much alike. We hear a story about Martin Denny. We hear a story about a man who lost his keys in Italy and found them from Florida. We hear about decadent Hollywood and its coolness. Rodney Bingenheimer. Glamrock. Principal in a nazi uniform poster prank. We hear a story about Boyd making a life size cross in high school and his work at Taco Bell – and of eating a moth there every now and then. Bean-qhr-qwr-qhr. We hear about how to make photos of things that does not exist, St. Jean Cocteau and Captain Beefheart’s nightly calls. Then Boyd tells about dada, surrealism, alchemy. I like it all, I can totally relate to what I hear. An image of Boyd as an artist starts to surface, an image that is new to me. The guy starts to get more and more interesting, minute by minute.

Boyd tells us how “women like it weird”. He tells us of his open-ended paintings, and again the wolf’s hook rune comes to my mind. The principle is there again. Skinned sheep’s head gift to the first lady is pure gold. A priceless prank, instant art performance. Next we hear how Boyd was living dada real. Steve Hitchcock illuminates us about how magic and alchemy is part of what Boyd does: “Boyd was someone who introduced me to the idea of alchemy of thought, where by you take negative or valueless proposition and turn it to your own advantage, by sort of inverted perception of it, which can be done, it takes a disciplined mind, a disciplined mentality if you want to make use of that, but it certainly is a valid principle”. Do you see the wolf’s hook and its principle at work again here? I do.

We hear of Boyd meeting Genesis P-Orridge. We hear of 1977 and the famous The Black Album, Boyd’s deal with Mute records, the birth of NON, and why punk was just glam rock with harder edge. Next we hear of something in which Boyd was again ahead of the time: Pagan muzak record that can be played with different speeds. This happened years, years ago. The first time I heard of such a record was when Butthole Surfers’ Hairway to Steven came out in 1988. Before of that I had for my own amusement listened to lots of records with different speeds – pretty much with the perspective of “open-ended paintings” of which Boyd spoke about earlier in the documentary. You can find the same thing interesting with different angles, perspectives. Things are most of the time not black and white, but composed of many colors and shades.

Who invented tape-loops? It was Boyd. He tells us how nothing in the world is fixed. We hear of “the world’s weirdest record”. We hear of the first NON show, which was “louder than Led Zeppelin”. There is a note of music as sounds, not so much as songs. Iitywimwybmad. Roto-guitar. Stuff ahead of the time. Live sounds from that part of the documentary remind me of some amazing underground noise gigs that I attended at Some Place Else in Turku, South-West of Finland around 2004 and 2005. Boyd did that kind of stuff about 30 years earlier. I find that rather impressive.

Part two: San Francisco

Part two of the movie deals with Boyd’s years in San Francisco area. We hear of Incredible strange films and research involved. Director Ray Dennis Steckler is revealed to be also actor Cash Flagg. The amazing scopitone machines are introduced. Boyd tells us of “close-ups of tits shaking a few seconds too long” and girls doing dances in bright colors. Sounds and looks good to me.

Then comes something I knew there was going to be covered, Boyd’s association with Anton LaVey. “Living in San Francisco it was inevitable that our paths would cross”. Blanche Barton tells about getting to know Boyd and why Boyd and Anton got so well along. “Role of the Devil has to be… one that challenges”. Barton also tells that Boyd also understood the trickster, prankster side of satanism… which is something that not everyone understands. Coop, the artist, tells about “making it hot for them”… and that “of course that applies to Boyd, perfectly”. We hear of Blinky the friendly hen’s funeral and resurrection. Vampire aesthetics. There is a note about romance and cultured gentleman in a vampire – and how below that side is a beast. A perfect wolf’s hook principle at work again.

Stanton LaVey, Anton LaVey’s more known daughter’s son, appears briefly in the film too. His first sentence in the film is “Boyd did fuck my mother!” which is followed with a warm laugh. He clearly has positive thoughts of Boyd. It seems that Boyd has had much warmer relationship with Zeena than I had. Back in the late 90’s and early 2000 I met Zeena few times, corresponded with her and it was an ongoing argument. Zeena and her husband Nikolas thought that I was trying to put too much love into the left hand path. They even called me “Jesus of darkness”. But that is another story.

Beth Moore-Love is an artist who I was not familiar with earlier. We see some of her amazing paintings. She says of Boyd: “He’s very intelligent. I like people who not only think outside of the box, but outside of the entire packeting industry… Boyd is one of them”. Boyd tells a chilling story of San Francisco’s Chinatown and its rats. It is very easy to believe. I lived in the city for some time in 2004 and Chinatown was one of my favorite places there. I visited it quite often and wondered about the smell of the place. Rats fit in the picture well.

“He’s very intelligent. I like people who not only think outside of the box, but outside of the entire packeting industry… Boyd is one of them”.

Next Boyd tells us how all the women who he brought to LaVey’s house had the next night a dream of having sex with LaVey. Boyd tells of LaVey’s different alter egos, the crime boss, the china man, and how LaVey could keep with a role for hours. The stories are hilarious and Boyd cracks up telling them. To readers of LaVey’s works it comes as no surprise that LaVey was living in a sort of alternative reality or realities he chose to live in. We hear very interesting angles on the subject. The famous Johnson & Smith’s catalogue is covered, and how “consternation” is the word related to it. Whoopee cushion. Remote controlled fart machine. How Anton programmed his keyboard with different fart sounds. The movie has been very fun already from the beginning, not just at this point. Barton tells how she and Boyd got Anton to record his music. It is very much likely that without them there would be no recorded music of LaVey.

Then comes the part dealing with Charles Manson. “Two minutes after meeting him he is giving me this you-are-me-and-I-am-you -routine”. Boyd tells us how Manson has one feet in the world of a fantasy, another in reality. We hear a story of Charlie telling to Boyd about taking a helicopter and visiting Ajatollah Khomeini. We hear that there are secrets Manson has told to Boyd – and which Boyd has promised to not tell to anyone while Manson is still alive (this reminds me of Boyd’s poem Secrets, with which the movie begins). Why Boyd got in touch with Manson in the first place? Why he seems to have interest in individuals who have been labeled very “sinister”? Some of Boyd’s associates gives a perspective on this: “Boyd has always been sort of attracted to those people who disrupt society in some way, that cause, that show the limitations of what we pretend to be civilized, I don’t want to put words into Boyd’s mouth but I know that’s part of what attracts him to this stuff”. I think this is a good angle to the question. The documentary gives a broad context where one can reflect on that. I think the documentary also gives an idea of the wolf’s hook rune, its essence and principle in artistic action – pursued by a questioning mind that does not see things in black and white but as “an open ended paintings”. Things are not fixed. In his pursuit Boyd is not afraid of putting himself in positions where he can easily get misunderstood. He is not so much afraid of social pressure as most of the people are.  Such a courage in looking at the human equation is hardly a bad thing. I would rather argue that seeing things in black and white is a bad thing. Finally, we hear of how Manson got into a solitary confinement for two weeks because of a bullet that happened to be in Boyd’s pocket – and how that ruined their relationship.

“Boyd has always been sort of attracted to those people who disrupt society in some way, that cause, that show the limitations of what we pretend to be civilized, I don’t want to put words into Boyd’s mouth but I know that’s part of what attracts him to this stuff”.

Then the documentary comes to the symbol that I’ve already mentioned few times, the wolf’s hook rune. We hear of the balance point between creation and destruction, “exactly the meaning that has been the guiding force in my life”. Adam Parfrey enters the picture – the guy is “on the same wavelenght “with Boyd. We are informed about the Apocalypse culture, 8-8-88 at Strand Theatre, San Francisco. We hear of the nazi accusations Boyd has been thrown with. “Boyd was not, is not, and will never be a nazi… you could take it as seriously as the Producers movie”. Anyone who has watched the documentary thus far must agree with that.  To say that Boyd is a nazi is absurd. We hear about the victim culture that likes to whine about everything. We learn of a mexican poster and ABBA-book that was stolen from Boyd (whoa – I did not know that Boyd likes ABBA. I have always liked them too. In my article “Church of Satan is dead” I pondered how much common ground I might have with Boyd. It seems there is much more than I thought). The San Francisco part of the movie ends with a story of Boyd moving to Denver. We hear why the place is cool. We hear that the building Boyd lives in was built in 1890. We hear how Boyd had a Carnival of souls welcome to Denver.

“Boyd was not, is not, and will never be a nazi… You could take it as seriously as the Producers movie”.

Part three: Denver

Part three deals with Boyd’s time in Denver and the stuff he has done since moving there. There is a recording session at Absinthe studios. Fredrik Nilsen gives another perspective on Boyd that tells of his wolf’s hook nature and approach to things: “He is a scholar of evil. He’s not evil. In fact, he’s a very sweet, loving, guy. But he seems to have an incredible knowledge of the nature of evil and he seems to be willing to chronicle and look at it in a sort of… empirical way, I’m not sure it is empirical… aesthetic way. And I think he is pretty great”. We see a footage of Boyd’s guest lecture “Regarding evil” at Massachusetts institute of technology. We hear of Oswald Mosley and his ralleys – and how his symbolism influenced Throbbing Gristle and David Bowie. We hear how Marilyn Manson (who has called Boyd his mentor) also used the Mosley symbolism after Boyd noted to him about it and about “a cross between glam rock and Nürenberg rally”. We hear about how to manipulate archetypes – how to step into a role you want to be in and how it then flows into you. There is a funny anti-fascism demonstrators talk with Boyd. After that there starts a really interesting part where Bob Larson talks with Boyd. He says with a big smile: “Bob has been working with me for the past 14 years… he doesn’t give up”. Boyd’s sense of humor is great and a watcher of the documentary is blessed with tons of it.

“He is a scholar of evil. He’s not evil. In fact, he’s a very sweet, loving, guy. But he seems to have an incredible knowledge of the nature of evil and he seems to be willing to chronicle and look at it in a sort of… empirical way, I’m not sure it is empirical… aesthetic way. And I think he is pretty great”.

We hear of the Partridge family & Partridge family temple: “Our religion is based on fun”. We hear of archetypes on TV. Giddle Partridge speaks. A story of Boyd as a catholic priest “blessing” kids rosery beads is pure prankster Boyd. Gidget Gein speaks how his idea of Boyd went up and down. The subject of social darwinism is touched upon. Another angle to wolf’s hook is given: Abraxas – an entity that is good and evil at the same time. We learn that Boyd has Charles Manson’s copy of the Bible. Bob Larson tells Boyd that “maybe you need an exorcism”. Boyd and Bob talk about paradigms of reality, good and evil. All in a very good spirit, pretty different from what it was like in Bob Larson’s radio show in the early 90’s. Boyd tells about Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard and about Lions Lair and women who got spontaneously naked for him there. We hear of Tiny Tim and his phonecalls, talk about women. Nutcase letters LaVey got. LaVey’s guns. We hear a hilarious prank that Boyd did with “Got milk?”-campaign’s billboard that featured David Copperfield. The billboard had  a picture of Copperfield’s face with some milk on his upper lip and a text saying “What’s the magic word? Calsium”. Boyd changed “Calsium” with some paint into ”Cum”. I once made a similar prank with Canal plus billboard… maybe you guess what I painted it to be? Margaret Radnick tells about Boyd’s love letters to her. Boyd’s friendship with Rozz Williams is covered. Douglas P. tells an amazing story about nazi-monkeys attacking old German men with bananas. Boyd’s bar Tiki-Boyd as an alternative reality is covered.

The talk between Boyd and Bob Larson continues. If there has been lots of interesting, even surprising turns in the film thus far, it gets even more such at this point. Boyd and Bob talk about some kind of possibility to survive death, and Boyd even tells that he nowadays thinks that some kind of reincarnation of consciousness might be possilbe. Bob comments: “You may have to turn back your Church of Satan card!” Boyd: “I tried and they wouldn’t take it!” Bob: “What happened to your old misanthropic idea of things? Obviously you must have mellowed in your hatred for humanity”. Boyd: “I’m still fairly misanthropic, I just don’t think I’m not actively misanthropic. Because I’m a very happy individual and I just find it if I treat everybody with a certain degree of civility they usually treat me with civility so generally they’ve used to people treating rotly and when somebody comes along who is nice to them it is big change for them and I gotta see the best sides of everybody if I treat everybody decently and they in turn are nice to me”. Bob says back in amazement: “Do you realize what you just said? You have just recited a part of Sermon of the Mount. You have just articulated one of the most important ethics that Jesus taught! Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you”. Bob continues: “At least you’re not at this point trying to bring back Thor and declare total war!” Boyd says smilingly: “Yea, I need to change the lyrics…” We hear “People” with improvised lyrics. The movie ends with Boyd’s poem, just like it started. The ending poem is Boyd’s Gift:

On my own

Hour after hour

Sipping cocktails

And reading Schopenhauer

Living in a world

Without imagination

I see that hope

Is a lack of information

I turn my back

I shut the door

I lock the key

A prisoner in my home

But it’s lovely to be free.

After that we hear Boyd singing Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun. The film ends.

As I said, the movie is multidimensional. It covers a lot. It is funny as hell. It is thought provoking. It is surprising. It gives a picture of Boyd that one might not expect. Anton LaVey said once that “Boyd is a true iconoclast” and one cannot but agree. As it has most likely become clear, I would like to add that Boyd is an embodiment of the wolf’s hook rune, the symbol he has carried with him since his childhood.

Larry Wessel has made one hell of a film and I highly recommend it to everyone who is even cursorily interested in Boyd and his art. This documentary is a classic.

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