Last December you performed in Budapest again as part of your regular European Tour. What sort of memories do you have of the event?
Well, first of all there’s nothing ever truly “regular” about any Death In June tour, wherever it may be. But, outside of that I very rarely ever remember actual performances themselves. Merely fragments of them. I tend to remember more things about a venue or city and I do remember passing you several times in the long, stark corridors of the venue that led from stage to dressing room etc. Both of us deep in concentration and lost in our own thoughts about the evening ahead. And I remember the great vegetarian food that was provided for us at the venue and the Death In June cake that was also given to us. In fact, the venue itself was memorable because of its mixed history – from convent to communist university to Death In June performance venue etc. It was a good place to be. Budapest, in one way or another, has always been good, kind and memorable to Death In June over the years we’ve performed in that beautifully historic, impressive and imposing city. I have a lot of brilliant memories stretching over the decades about Budapest.
How was the tour in general, what were your impressions and were there any particularly memorable experiences?
All the tours of Europa and the USA since I came out of retirement in 2011 have been great and there are always memorable experiences but, as I previously said, very little to do with the actual musical performances. I remember more of the earlier shows in the early/mid 1980s than I do about ones I did a few months ago. Regardless, things that stick in my mind about the tours of November/December 2014 include watching U.S. fighter jets dramatically taking off, sometimes vertically towards the Heavens, from the comfort of my hotel room window in Portland, Oregon as the military aerodrome was situated behind some trees across a lake opposite the hotel Miro and I were staying in, careering in a taxi apparently out of control on ice covered roads through several red traffic lights in a blizzard hit Cleveland, Ohio on the way back to our hotel after the show in that city which got hit by a sudden snow storm, wandering the cold streets of Berlin at Yuletide, which I always find emotive on so many levels, buying gifts for my family to put under the Yuletide Tree back in Australia and Stollen cake for the table, the bleak, cold Winter light around the harbour in Helsinki which I always love looking at, dining in a really nice, romantic restaurant in a Medieval town at the top of a mountain somewhere in Italy the evening of one of the shows in that country. The list could go on and on. Perhaps one day I’ll write a book about all those different tour experiences if I can remember them all as I get older? During those sometimes sleepless nights when I lie in bed listening to the silence of the Adelaide Hills those memories do come to pleasantly haunt me and it’s perhaps then I should write them down. But that would disturb my partner so,…..maybe those memories will always remain quietly in my head?
You have been working with John Murphy for quite a while now, whereas Miro Snejdr is a new addition, joining you only a few years ago, yet making this trio line-up a very powerful one. How do you see your collaboration with your two fellow musicians?
Miro and John are totally different characters and bring different things to the live Death In June line up that I really appreciate. Each one is a different colour to the musical palette of Death In June and they can swap those colours around at any given performance depending on their moods and the particular circumstances. I really like the certainty as well as the unpredictability of all our performances when we’re put together.
What can we expect in the near future from DIJ? Fresh songs, an album, maybe?
I started doing demo tapes of some new songs late last year which I could no longer keep in check. They kept calling to me at sound checks or rehearsals and eventually I couldn’t resist their sounds in my head. But since I did those very basic recordings I can’t face listening to them again. The time isn’t right. For the moment they’ve been exorcised from me. They’ll declare themselves again when it is the right time. The working title of the new album is ‘What Will Become Of Us?’ but I’m sure that will change. If I ever actually finish writing and recording it, naturally. That isn’t a certainty. What is in Life?
Last year saw the release of the latest version of The Wall of Sacrifice and The Corn Years on vinyl. Wall of Sacrifice is one of my favourite records but what were the general reactions to these releases?
I don’t really get to see “reactions” to releases I simply know they sold well. Both titles were always favourites of mine and are important in my Life and the general canon of work by Death In June so I’m very happy they came out so well as reissues 25 years after their initial releases. They look and sound great. I owe those albums a lot. I can definitely say I wouldn’t be living in Australia without them for instance. They are that important in my history.
I have read previously that Night Porter is one of your favourite films. When was the last time you have seen it and what does it mean to you today?
It’s been years and years and years. I have a vast library of different VHS video cassettes of films, documentaries etc stacked against a wall that stare at us from behind the TV set in Fort Nada’s main room which I haven’t looked at in at least 5 years. The last time I looked at any of them was probably during the recording of the Peaceful Snow album in 2010 when I was listening for samples to possibly use, or information I needed to inspire me. But the original inspiration is never not there. If it was sincere in the first place how could it be otherwise? I don’t need to keep re-reading a great novel by Yukio Mishima or Jean Genet to remember the effect they had on my Life when I was so much younger. The same applies to films, records etc. True Love never dies because True Love knows no end. It goes on and on,……………….until we cease to Exist.
Klaus Barbie, Bin-Laden, Kadhafi… Who is next?
The choice is yours/ours to make. On the news every night ,……………….
You are making references in various forms to Eastern European culture, traditions and art quite often. The cover of Peaceful Snow / The Maverick Chamber is a good example of this. What do you find interesting in Eastern Europe?
The history, the pathos of the obvious suffering of recent times. It’s been at the forefront of modern European history and with recent events in Ukraine continues to be. How could this not be attractive and interesting to someone like me?
– What records do you listen to nowadays?
The new recordings by David Bowie and Morrissey have kept me in good stead for some many months as well as some of the old back catalogue by Paul McCartney especially ‘Driving Rain’. Other than that there’s been a lot of silence in my head which I prefer after any tour and that’s the way I’ve liked it for most of this year. 2015 has been a weird, pensive one. So far.
In fact, in place of music I’ve spent a lot of time late at night watching DVDs of entire TV series such as ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘Fargo’, ‘Peaky Blinders’, ‘The Vikings’ or ‘Sherlock Holmes’. They seem to have replaced films for me as I haven’t watched a film that moved or really interested me in over 10 years. That was ‘Downfall’/’Der Untergang’. Nothing’s come close since. I go to the cinema in the hope that one day there will be another film that stirs my soul but nothing but disappointment awaits. These TV series however are good and different so I enjoy those on a different but still good level.