Interview:2007-Heaven Street

1. Douglas, first of all a few words about your last release, the “Abandoned tracks”. How did you decide to release it right now?

Basically the main motivation was that I was getting so many requests from people for the tracks that were featured on rare compilations or deleted singles etc. I realized I could combine those with some new/remixed material and it would provide almost a ‘new’ album. It certainly sounded like a whole concept after I listened back to the songs featured on AT despite a lot of the tracks being quite old. But, it’s the new, unreleased/remixed tracks that really are the attraction for me on this release. I feel they are better than the originals.

2. Why did you call “Alarm agents” as D.I.J & Boyd Rice since it is not the first collaboration with Boyd? Also Boyd has the main vocals in this album…

As Boyd and I had agreed that this would be our final collaboration we thought that after 3 really successful ones where it was Boyd Rice and Friends, or Scorpion Wind or Wolf Pact/Boyd Rice And Fiends we knew it was about time it was a Death In June and Boyd Rice collaboration. Besides, a lot of the music featured on the album was earmarked for my forthcoming new DIJ album but Boyd’s lyrics fitted so well with that music I knew it was best to combine the both . It was meant to be for that moment in time.

3. Which collaboration after all these years do you consider as particularly important?

They all are! They all have their Moment In Time!!

4. In various albums there is a combination of industrial/experimental loops with more classic and melodic neofolk songs. What expresses this combination?

The process itself determines the outcome and articulation. It’s a very natural, organic experience. Quite nauseating – like being pregnant and giving birth. A disgusting relief and needs an outcome.

5. Specifically, you have collaborated with Ian Read. Are you still in contact with him? How do you see Fire And Ice today and all the image behind this project?

Ian runs NER mail order for me in London and has done so for some years now.

I have performed one of the best performances of my career when Fire + Ice supported Death In June in Zagreb Croatia a couple of years ago. He did a cappella versions of Fire + Ice songs and it was quite a mystical and brilliant evening. So, that’s what I think of Fire + Ice. It is a charismatic entity.

6. Looking at the re-issue of “Crisis” what feelings do you have?

Better than I thought I would! The songs have stood the test of time quite well and I don’t feel bad about that. We were an odd group and I was wary of its aura but I think it’s now okay. Once again, it was a case of people requesting Crisis material and although Tony Wakeford and myself did compile a previous CD compilation in the late 1990s that hadn’t been freely available for over 6 years. So, after Apop Records approached me on tour in America in 2005 about the idea of a Crisis reissue I knew it was time for another, better thought out one.

7. For the readers of “Heaven Street” that they are not familiar with the case, tell us about the latest “Rose Clouds of Holocaust” being banned events…

Basically, all I can say at this moment is that after 10 years since its initial release someone in Germany decided to complain to the Police about the words “Holocaust” and “Swastikas” which are part of the album. Of course, they have been taken totally out of context but what isn’t when someone is trying make a political point? A court hearing has since taken place and a decision was taken by a German government body to ban the album at the end of 2005 and place it on what they refer to as the ‘index’ which is a list of banned music, books art etc We are now awaiting a legal appeal against this decision.

8. In the press announcements for the above case, you explain for the first time a lot of matters concerning Death In June. Did this matter influenced you so much or there are more reasons?

This is a very serious question of artistic censorship by a European government. In a World with ever increasing infringements on civil liberties this had to be challenged.

9. All these censorships, ban of concerts and try to control DIJ and not only, do you consider them as simple government’s decisions or they found their way to the public? Do you believe people will ever take force against these disgusting decisions?

I don’t think these decisions are simple at all because, as I’ve already said, the banning concerns an album that has been freely available for over 10 years. If it was legal yesterday and the day before that and the week, the month and the years before that then why has it suddenly become illegal today? That makes me think that there are far more insidious forces at work behind the scenes. At the moment I feel people are waiting to see what happens to Death In June’s work and the legal decisions that could be made before they react in any way. As of the end of February, 2006 ‘Rose Clouds Of Holocaust’ has been taken from the more serious B category and placed on the less serious A category on the Index. What will happen after that – who knows? Our appeal could take some time yet.

10. Is it true that you will stop the live concerts?

Yes! Before I started the last DIJ tour in March/April/May 2005 I felt that it was time to stop. Thankfully, all the shows were exceptional in one way or another with Death In June performing well and the atmosphere between the audiences and the group being one of ‘Kameradschaft Death In June has performed in over 25 different countries around the World in its Lifetime and I think that besides this being a far better record than any other group in this independent field it was taking up too much time from other DIJ related matters. The last show was in Brest in Brittainy, France which is also named Finisterre – meaning The End of the Earth. What better place for Death In June to perform its final ritual!

I’ve a lot of plans such as the release of books, DVDs new recordings etc for Death In June but I need the extra time to make these plans a reality. I really enjoyed the last tour but after 25 years and 25 different countries it was a perfect time to say “Good Bye!”

11. Can you be more specific for these projects, books etc? All these future plans.

A lot has happened even in the year that has passed since the last Death In June performance;

I’ve continued to reissue the major Death In June titles so the first album ‘The Guilty Have No Pride’ was re-released just before Yuletide 2005 this time coupled with a never seen before DVD of one of our very first shows in 1982.

1984’s ‘Burial’ album, the last recording the original line up ever wrote together, should also be reissued on CD in the Spring of 2006.

An American film has been released called ‘The Doctor’ which I did a lot of voice over work to for the actual film itself and also on the soundtrack . The DVD of this film was issued some months ago and the soundtrack has been released on double LP and CD this week in the U.S.A.

Late last year also saw the release of ‘Behind The Mask’ which is a documentary style video shot in New York last year which features an exclusive and very candid interview with myself and videos filmed for several versions of tracks never heard before.

We are about half way through writing a book, as yet untitled, about Death In June that will initially be published in Italian and that will almost certainly be accompanied by a CD of acoustic versions of well known DIJ tracks. I’m presently completing the mixing of nearly 40 of these songs so there are probably 2 albums worth of material there that I’d like to release in some way. That book will hopefully be published later this year and also be released in English at some stage later.

Among other book projects planned is one featuring all the chords and lyrics to most of the songs plus a sort of Death In June scrapbook featuring press articles, rare photos etc and so on.

Years and years of video footage will also have to be viewed as I want to use this material to illustrate a planned DVD compilation of many DIJ tracks.

And, of course, the struggle to write new material continues for a brand new Death In June album which almost certainly will not be called ‘The Concrete Fountain’. After 9 years since I first thought of that title I have to accept that is was a doomed title for a project.

So, as you can see there is a lot of work involved in so many projects but much has already been achieved and I plan to achieve a lot more in the coming months/years.

12. Some years ago you have played in Athens. At Dark Sun club it was an acoustic set and the previous day you performed with NON/Der Blutharsch. What memories do you have from your visit in Greece?

Also recently issued is the DVD ‘Live In New York’ which has been over 3 years in the making. It’s an excellent example of how DIJ became so stripped down in its approach during the last few years and it’s really courtesy of that unique experience in Greece that inspired me to strip Death In June down to almost the bare essentials of the songs. The show at The Dark Sun Club inspired me to go in that direction. To really demonstrate what Purity Of Intent can achieve. Athens gave me the confidence and showed the way.

13. A lot of bootlegs of DIJ can be easily found. How can you or any other artist control or this thing with illegal recordings?

In truth, very little except bootleg the bootleggers. I did it when we put the bootleg ‘Only Europa Knows’ onto vinyl and we plan to do this with ‘The Phoenix Has Risen’ which will soon be officially issued in much better packaging and made more freely available. It’s one of the more interesting bootlegs because when I first heard it some months ago the CD featured demos and songs that I couldn’t even remember playing from the very first days in rehearsal studios. That’s worth us controlling.

14. In the past you have trusted Albin Julius to write the music for two albums of Death In June that are important and exceptional moments in the bands history. How do you see these albums nowdays?

When the albums “Take Care & Control” and “Operation Hummingbird” were written in the late 1990s they were perfect for that particular moment. Once again, like other releases, they were perfect for their “Moment”. And, that I think is very important in the understanding of the history of DIJ

15. Which are the most pleasant and bad moments in the history of Death In June?

The most pleasant moment in the history of Death In June is that after 25 years Death In June is still here and still a major cultural force in the arts. Why else would people wish to ban us? There are no bad moments that stand out. Once a village has been burnt we march on. No tears!

16. So you consider that DIJ are now far away of being a simple band and have emerged to a whole cultural force?

Yes, I do consider Death In June to be a cultural force. From the very beginning Death In June was never going to be just another “simple band”. I always knew that. I always ‘felt’ that.

17. In all these years, DIJ have influence numerous groups. Which of the newest bands do you like?

Fortunately I like quite a few of them; Forseti, Strength Through Joy, :Of The Wand And The Moon:, Decadence, Dies Natalis, In My Rosary, Werkraum, Darkwood, Luftwaffe all immediately spring to mind but there are many others whose work I enjoy. I’ve been lucky in that respect that I appear to inspired quality as well as quantity.

18. DIJ also started and the aesthetic image of the scene (runes, martial etc). How do you see other bands following it?

Death In June from the start wore Runes on our clothing when no one else did and alluded to and sung about them in our songs from the very early days. We were part of the wider resurrection of interest in European indigenous culture/beliefs etc and that continues to that day. Others that have followed are a welcome part of that procession that looks back to the Past but hopes to influence the Present and the Future with that lost knowledge and Belief. The more the merrier!

19. You were involved in the Yugoslavia’s war. What was that brought you closer to the Croatians fight?

Before the war in former Yugoslavia I had a lot of contact with people there and had even holidayed throughout the country. I then learnt that most of my contact was with Croats so I had fans that would later become close friends in war zones and the armed forces of that country fighting for their Lives. When DIJ was asked to perform in Zagreb it was only natural for me to accept the offer. We were the first British group to perform there during those dark days and it was my experiences there during that time that brought me closer to the Croats and their allies. It was a very serious time in my Life and one of which I’m very proud.

20. A lot of books concerning DIJ have appeared. What is your opinion for them?

Well, in truth there have only been 2 books entirely about Death In June that have seen the light of day; ‘Misery And Purity’ and ‘Le Livre Brun’

I thought ‘Misery And Purity’ was a wonderful work of obsession – purely subjective. Unfortunately some people have regarded it as a bible of apparent ‘facts’ which is far from reality.

The French ‘Le Livre Brun’ was due for a re-edition over 7 years ago but nothing happened. However, it served a purpose when it did come out.

I know DIJ gets mentioned in other publications but I’ve got no real opinion about them except that I probably help sales!

21. Can you explain the behaviour of World Serpent against DIJ and all the musicians that were involved with them?

Never underestimate the egos and greed of fools who don’t know a good thing when they have it. They were very stupid people who ruined a very important moment in musical/cultural history. But, wsd showed it was weak and not deserving of longevity.

22. How do you see the place of tradition in the modern world?

Our Saviour from the ever spiralling descent into the blank nothingness of the Now.

23. Since you don’t live in Europe anymore, do you watch the current political acts in Europe?

Of course I do. Australia is not divorced form the rest of the World. But, in reality I now experience a more European state of mind and existence than I ever did living in London. In Australia the basic culture is naturally Anglo-Celt but I can go to the very best German and Spanish restaurants or attend, along with thousands and thousands of others, the annual Greek Glendi or the Italian Carnevale where besides all the brilliant foods and atmospheres I get to see great artists from those parts of Europe etc and so on. It extends a lot more than that but ironic as it may seem this is the New Europe. I hope it stays that way, although of course there are the usual dangers of the Time we are existing in.

24. You have always saying that Yukio Mishima is a great influence for you. Going back to the past, to the beginning of you career which other personalities would stand as him (either musicians or artists generally)?

Certainly Jean Genet the Gay French novelist, John Lennon for inspiring me to pick up a guitar and write songs, The Clash for making me want to form a group in 1977, Francois Truffaut’s film ‘400 Blows’ for encouraging me to cut off my long hair in the mid-1970s, Dirk Bogarde for his role in ‘The Night Porter’ and ‘The Damned’, the films ‘The World That Summer’ and ‘Night Of The Hunter’ The Velvet Underground’s first album, anything by Gilbert & George – even the way they walk – and, and, and,….a Lifetime.

My Lifetime.

25. Is there a specific time in History that you would like to live?

This is the best Time. Think of what we are seeing unravel before our very eyes! It is Beautiful and Ugly all at once. This Is The Best It Will Ever Be Think Of The Things That Will Never Be!”Heilige! Douglas P.

26: The last words belong to you….

Take Care And Control~

Panos Dallas – Man0s K.

Heaven Street #4 (2007)