Interview:1990-Silverstar Club

Thanks to Jun Ohira.

From Japanese magazine “ Silverstar Club “ interviewer : Kenji Kikuchi

in Tokyo,Japan around 1990

■ How did you become interested in Mishima?

DOUGLAS: In 1980, I was shown what I thought up until a few months ago was one book called “Otoko no Shi” (Death of a Man). It was very, very Important for my life. These were pictures of Yukio Mishima in dramatic scenes of death. He was portraying death. It was a series of photos that were taken, in fact, shortly before he did commit suicide. This book stuck in my mind. I didn’t read any Mishima until 1985, but he was always there as a shadow. But it took me four or five years to get down to read his books. When I started to read his books, they became extremely important in my life. They really helped me in a very, very difficult period and continue to do so.

■ There is a song “Death of a Man” which has the theme of “Tate no Kai” (Shield Society:a kind of private army which was organised by Mishima.)

DOUGLAS: Yes. That was dedicated to Yukio Mishima. See, I was really Introduced to all these things at the same time in 1980. So I started to read Jean Genet and Yukio Mishima and it came at the right time – I believe all things happen always at the right time. So, it might have taken me four or five years to actually pick up books by these authors I was introduced to in 1980. These are some of the most important influences in my life. They made me realise I was not the only one writing like this.

■ You said that the French song, “C’est Un Rêve” (It is a dream) was dedicated to Mishima in your last concert in Tokyo. But actually I found the name of Klaus Barbie, who was an ex-SS captain and was arrested in Bolivia, in the lyrics. Why is it that?

DOUGLAS: Because, once again, Klaus Barbie was used as a symbol. It’s not a song about Klaus Barbie. I think there are millions of Klaus Barbies, you can just look to Northern Ireland to see that…..But I think in Death In June, one meaning has several different references at the same time. It was dedicated to Yukio Mishima. He would appreciate the martial element.

■ What do you think of the death of Mishima?

DOUGLAS: I think excluding the political element and having read “The Decay of the Angel” and read the whole tetralogy, to me, I think he finally found happiness.

■ Happiness?

DOUGLAS: Yes. He and Morita dying together is very Important. It was best to die while he was happy and supremely fit. His Idea was at the age of forty five, he was only going to go down hill.

■ Politicaly, it means nothing.

DOUGLAS: I think possibly the effect was more felt outside of Japan. It attracted attention to Japan and brought attention to the other levels. It brought attention to the Japanese traits outside of ‘what terrible warmongers they are” and “what beautiful flowers arrangers they are”, these kinds of cliché. There’s also a mad side to you. You will say right, full stop.

■ Is “The Wall of Sacrifice” the last album of Death In June?

DOUGLAS: I don’t know. That was conceived as the last album. I felt it was the most difficult album when I was making it.

■ How was it difficult?

DOUGLAS: Really painful.

■ Painful?

DOUGLAS: Yes. Really difficult to do. I was very ill physically and mentally during the making of it. There are three albums I have done just by myself in the past. “The World That Summer” has some kind of hope attached to it, to some degree. “Brown Book has a kind of resolved acceptance of the situation. “Brown Book” and “The Wall of Sacrifice” leave me in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know where to go.

■ What kind of things do you want to achieve as Death In June?

DOUGLAS: Love. Everything revolves round love. Life is worthless if it’s without love. Again, love takes everything, doesn’t it? Because people do the most horrendous things for love. Love is the reason for life and death. Without death, we don’t have life. One needs the other.