Interviews

Spiral Tribe Interview

Mark Harrison tells Neil Transpontine about the origins of Spiral Tribe, their crucial role in formenting early 1990s free parties and teknivals, and what they did next… and are still doing

1. Spiral Tribe, and similar sound systems brought a different energy into the post-acid house scene, it felt like their roots were less in warehouse soul and funk (like many in that scene) and more in alternative sub/counter-cultures. Echoes of 1980s free festivals, anarcho-punk squatting, maybe even Psychic TV (importance of symbols etc). In that context, can you tell us a little about how Spiral Tribe came about? What kinds of things had people been involved in before it came together?

There were as many threads that wove together to form Spiral Tribe as there were different individuals involved. There are just too many people to list here in this short article.* Many people drifted in and out, others stayed, but without them all, working together as a collective, none of it would have been possible. Having said that, in the very beginning there were just four of us who were dedicated full time to making it happen.
Debbie Griffith, aged twenty-nine at the time, was a painter and decorator and occasional nanny, who lived just off Kilburn High Road. Simone Trevelyan, who was nineteen, worked in a disco equipment hire shop in Kentish Town. My brother, Zander Harrison, twenty-seven, a tree surgeon, worked all over West London. And then myself, Mark Harrison. I too was twenty-nine and had just moved down to London from Manchester where I’d lived for five years. Much of that time (if not all of it) I’d spent in the Hacienda and so I was at ground zero that Wednesday night when Acid House and ecstasy were unleashed. The world was never the same again. [Read more →]

Emencified Shrill Out: Nomex at the Controls

Interview by John Eden

Nomex should need no introduction to Datacide readers, but here goes anyway. One of the organisers of the seminal “Dead by Dawn” parties held in the mid nineties at Brixton’s 121 Centre, Nomex contributed visuals, abstract/harsh performances and much more besides. His releases on his own Adverse label have included everything from vinyl abuse to the sounds of bones in the Paris catacombs. The Nomex discography also includes output on Praxis, Cavage, and Reverse amongst others. Despite performing across the globe (from Teknivals to art galleries) he is still a purposely-obscure figure to most. What follows is the only print interview I am aware of.

Were you involved with any music/sound projects before Nomex?

That’s not music”

 Yes – many! [Read more →]

An Interview with Slepcy (2001)

An interview of Polish breakcore masters Slepcy by stevvi, originally conducted in May 2001 (and if I remember right published online on c8), published in Datacide Eight in 2002 in print, and reposted by stevvi on the c8 forum. Unfortunately their discography only extends to a handful of releases, but particularly “Absent Opera” on Kool.POP remains an outstanding example of the experimental approach and depth of breakcore ca. 2000.  [Read more →]

Spannered – Bert Random interviewed by Neil Transpontine

‘Spannered’ is a fictionalised account of the free party scene, spanning a lost weekend in the mid-1990s. In this conversation with Neil Transpontine, the novel’s author Bert Random reflects on free parties then and now, the famous Bristol scene and much more. The book is available from http://www.spanneredbooks.com/

1. Spannered reads very much like an insider’s account of the 1990s free party scene – written by somebody who was intimately involved in it, rather than by a writer who stumbled into a party in search of material for a novel. Can you say a bit about your involvement at the time and the squat party scene in Bristol (maybe mention some of the sound systems, places where parties happened etc.).

There had always been squat parties and random dances in Bristol, ever since I was a teenager. Like loads of Bristol kids of my age, I was first drawn into skateboarding when I was 13 or 14, which led to punk and graffiti and hip-hop, and then into dance music and raving. There were things happening everywhere: in squats where my mates were living, in places like the Pink Palace (which was a four-story building right in the middle of town that was filled with skate-ramps and painted with huge pink balloons on the outside), in the basements and back-rooms of dodgy pubs, and in weird, derelict, places tucked around the edges of Bristol’s inner-city. [Read more →]

The Dog’s Bollocks – Vagina Dentata Organ and The Valls Brothers (Interview)

The passing of time has not been kind to many of the “stars” of industrial music or “extreme culture”. Sought after limited editions often seem limp when finally downloaded, or ossified in expensive box sets. The futile attempts at commercial crossover look embarrassing rather than courageous in retrospect. And I’ve lost count of the people whose revolutionary ideas and references inspired me as a teenager now seem like pantomime versions of themselves.

Over exposure seems to be the main pitfall, and it’s surely no coincidence that the least prolific veteran of the extreme noise/art scenes of the early eighties remains the most interesting.

Jordi Valls worked extensively with both Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse in their earliest incarnations, organising live events for both acts in London and Barcelona.iii

In 1983 he released the first of a series of remarkable albums under the name of “Vagina Dentata Organ”. From the outset VDO’s work was characterised by a minimalistic and surreal approach to field recordings. His debut “Music For The Hashishins: In Memoriam Of Hasan Sabbah” evolved out of the recording sessions for Psychic TV’s classic “Dreams Less Sweet” album. [Read more →]

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