COTTON FEROX INTERVIEW - DOMINIK TISCHLEDER, BLACK, GERMANY 2003

- What are some of your earliest memories and how do you think they are relevant to a person that are you today?

CA: There's always been music and art in my family, so I think that has contributed greatly. Although I can't remember the actual moment, Ornette Coleman came by my parents' place with a cradle when I was just born. My father ran a jazz club in Stockholm in the 60's, "The Golden Circle", so, whether I understood it then or not, I hung out very early on with very weird musicians and artists. I realise now that that's probably had an impact on some crucial level.

- I think your music (in this case no matter if it is with WHITE STAINS, TAN TRICK or COTTON FEROX) creates often a very sensual, erotic atmosphere, is this a sort of atmosphere you try in some ways to create? I also think of your publishing nostalgic swedish erotica pornos, why and how you became interested in such forms of erotica or sleaze (anything special about swedish erotica)?

CA: I've been very interested in sleaze for a long time, but I think it's fading. The texts on the tracks "Red Light Glow" and "Deep in the night" on the album are about my own relationship to things I've been fascinated by: striptease, prostitution, pornography, etc, a world of its own with its own rules and moral codes. If others can perceive a sensual and erotic streak in the music, I think that's great. When we toured Germany in 1993 with White Stains, women actually came up to us and said exactly that: that the music was sexy. It was a big but nice surprise for us. But when it comes to actively striving for a union between eroticism and art, photography has been my main medium.

- What can you say about the lyrics of COTTON FEROX first time hurts (general concept?, is "Modern World" inspired by Evola, who wrote the very poetically german lyrics to "Volatile Eternity"...)?

CA: We tried to be open-minded and didn't really conceptualise at all. Michael Gira was also invited, but he was too busy this time around. So he'll probably be on the next album. I think we'll continue to work with interesting people, musically or intellectually and that's something that will colour the albums as entities. "Modern World" is definitely inspired by Evola's "Revolt against the modern world". That book and his "Men among the ruins" are like medicine to me. I do get affected by contemporary culture and it's not healthy. As for "Volatile Eternity", it was written by the German poet Albrecht Haushofer. He was the son of Karl Haushofer, the third Reich's geopolitical theorist. I find it a very moving poem – a political and very personal reflection at the same time.

- M. MOYNIHAN and GENESIS P´ORRIDGE need no further introduction, but please inform our readers about KRISTER LINDER (the wonderful voice on "Phantasmoplasm"). Did these tree artists just follow your ideas on the record or did they contribute to the music or lyrics?

CA: Krister is a very fine singer indeed and has been around for some time in Sweden. He started out as a regular popstar, but drifted more and more into stranger music: experimental drum'n'bass and ambient stuff. He's produced some really brilliant other-worldly music, but it's his voice that's truly magnificent. It was an honour to work with him again. He mixed my solo album (Oiling Noregs vs Deform Project's "Outside the Centre of Myself") in 1999 and really added a lot of atmosphere to that record. Michael Moynihan recorded his own translation of an old Ernst Jünger text. He really got me into Jünger some years ago, something I'm very greatful for. The Genesis piece was recorded with Gen in Stockholm earlier this year, when we recorded the second Cotton Ferox album. It's all with Gen and it's a delightful journey into sounds and insights. It will be released in the autumn of 2002.

- How would you describe COTTON FEROX to someone who hasn´t heard i yet?

CA: Well, one of our ideas behind the project is that it's supposed to be contradictive to a great extent. I don't think we'd fuck up something great just to mix in contradictive elements for the sake of it, but so far I think we've succeeded in creating a strange mix of many things. There are elements of ambient, dub, regular song structures and many weird soundscapes. Thomas Tibert is a genius, that's all I can say! Plus all the vocal bits on top. I hope it creates an active interest in the listener. We want the actual listening to be an emotionally and intellectually active process. Sometimes it's definitely not easy listening, but we hope it's worth the effort.

- Would you like to start a concert tour with COTTON FEROX, perhaps with a special performance?

CA: We're planning for concerts and possibly tours too. It's our hope that all the gigs will be special performances. I don't think two gigs will ever be the same. So far, we've worked together with Swedish video artist Mikael Prey (Fetish 23) and Simon Kane from London with video projections when we've played live. We do want things to be very visually stimulating too.

- Why did you stop making music under the name WHITE STAINS?, my impression from your story on your homepage is that the last tour was perhaps a little bit "too much" for you...

CA: I worked very closely together with Peter Bergstrandh, who's an excellent and very creative musician. But we'd worked really intensely together for four years and we just felt it was enough. I do remember us having some naive ideas about actually making money off the music, but the German tour in 1993 left us with four Deutsch Marks... To share! The final album, "Why not forever?" was released by Danse Macabre just after the tour, when in fact they had promised it would be out before the tour. There were many things that made us just want to kick back for a while.

- What is the Institute of Comparative Magico-Anthropology? (latest and general activities, current status)

CA: It's an idea that sometimes leads to manifestation. The first big project was called "Bardo Tibet" and consisted of a lot of research, several months in Northern India in 1996 and several months in Nepal and Tibet in 1999. We were interested in their views on magic, rituals, etc. In 2000, a great book came out with the same name, with Max Fredrikson's fantastic photos and a lengthy introduction by me. What's next? All I can say that it's a slow moving project, but there will be more expeditions and more book projects. The "Bardo Tibet" book was a great step forward for The Institute.

- You are well known in the area of magick, is this for you more an interest or way of life, which resonates in your various art projects or is traditional ritual magic of concern to you in your daily life?

CA: The most important thing is always to integrate any wisdoms or insights into daily life. Rituals and occultism have no value in themselves to me. I used to be very interested in those topics and have certainly devoted a lot of time to exploring various traditions and schools. But what it all comes down to, at least according to me, is that you have a life and you have a will. If those two aren't united, bad things come. If they are united, on the other hand, miracles will happen. I work hard with trying to stay on the United path.

- Crowley is regarded my most schoolars as a magus, who was basically on a mystic path (in the sense of annihilation of the self) Do you see yourself as a mystic too in that sense (I ask, cause you are said to be a member of the OTO and the COS and for "satanists" is the annihilation of the self more a disqualifying factor)

CA: What can be seen as something of a philosophical conflict, I think can easily be viewed from a kind of taoist perspective: Why choose between one or the other when you can integrate both? I see no discrepancy or conflict. The concept of "self" is really just a psychological term that's hard to understand. It's all just theories and names anyway.

- Satanism is one term that can still really cause much confusion, because it was and still is (besides LaVey) mostly used in a polemical sense. Do you think "Satanists" (like you) use this term just because it fits to the concept or is confusion (frightening people etc.) part of the "game". Your thoughts on this...

CA: I have absolutely no interest in confusing or provoking people. I just do what I feel I have to do. It's strange how certain phenomena and terms are charged with such a potent glamour. I will never deny the inspiration from LaVey. I will never not call myself a Satanist. But I'm not on a path where I feel I have to introduce myself with the term or shove it down people's throats. The best thing you can do is, I think, to inspire other people to think and act for themselves.

- You (like LaVey) seemed to be fascinated of long forgotten treasures in the area of cinema, what movies did you enjoy lately?, do you see a certain "power" or indulgence in alienation and in doing these kind of "occult cultural archaeology" ?, please describe your fascination...

CA: I think that one trustworthy navigator in life is resonance. For me, it's OK to feel resonance without having to analyze why I feel the specific resonance. It has to do with aesthetics, childhood memories, significant phases, personal quantum leaps and transformations, etc. Alienation is an interesting thing in this respect. I've found solitude, darkness and silence to be among the most creative states of existence. The feeling of being outside, looking in, has followed me all through my life. Hence, I think, the fascination for voyeurism and weird kinds of anthropology. I'm also a strong believer in the power of talismans. Not necessarily inscribed with demonic or angelic sigils from ancient esoteric lore, but rather just objects, places or whatever that have inspirational power because they've belonged to certain persons or because they've been part of something that means something to you. Art is very potent in this sense – a great non-rational way to leave seeds of change in various places and dimensions. As for movies, it's just obvious: Why spend time with "Tomb Raider" when you can watch "The Maltese Falcon"? I think the shit around us is becoming so overwhelming, that it's no wonder that watching a movie with real sentiments becomes a sacred act of time travel and holiness.

- Magic is of course also often used in a purely aesthetic sense (adjective magically), why do you think that is and where do you see the relation between Magic and Music, especially as regards COTTON FEROX and your earlier works.

CA: That's an interesting question. On an intellectual level, I hope that the material presented will make people go "What do they mean? What's this supposed to be?" or "That's fantastic... I have to check this out!". To be seeds of their own magical development. On an emotional level, I hope the music can conjure atmospheres that are conducive to altered states of mind. Not as escapism, but as interesting and inspiring vibrations to higher explorations within. I think I've looked at things from that perspective all along, in all the music I've been involved in creating, alone or together with other people.

- You always had a lot of different activities running, could you please inform our readers about future plans and/or current status of LOOKING GLASS PRESS, FENRIS WOLF, BULT, TAN TRICK, editing MAGICAL LINK etc.?

CA: Looking Glass is no more. That was a publishing company that lasted between 1994 and 1998. Although we worked very hard with commercial advertising to make ends meet, the financial strain was too much. I moved on to another company instead: Übertext. It's basically a company to promote my writing and photography, but it has also been the publisher of the art magazine BULT. Fenris Wolf will be out again. I know, it's been ten years since the last issue and noone really belives me anymore. But who cares...? BULT no 2 will be out this year, and will be presented as a book rather than a magazine. Loads of goodies in there. Tan Trick is no more, because Cotton Ferox now reign supreme in the musical fields. However, there is a Tan Trick album, recorded in 1994, that will be released in 2002. Finally!

- Talking about sweden and perhaps "stereotypes" or "clichees", what do you think about…

1.) Astrid Lindgren

She's been a big influence on most Swedish kids, I think. In these times of shoot'em up computer games and moronic docusoap TV, her works are highly praised and rightly so. In a culture that breaks the spells of human fantasy and enchantment, she actively tried to weave the spells. There's an anarchic, childlike, optimistic and benevolent spirit in all her works that still doesn't shy away from the fact that life contains many dark elements. Her death recently probably made the Swedish population realise how influential she actually was.

2.) Abba

Well-arranged pop. I'm not disturbed by it but I'm not enthusiastic either. I think they've managed to live on simply because of the overall negative inflation of the concept of Quality. When the total crap is overwhelming, the quality stuff stands out.

3.) Swedish Death Metal like Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed

I've never had any relationship to that kind of music, so I couldn't really say. But I'm certain they've worked hard for their success, so I'm happy for them.

- We have here in BLACK one "standard" questions, what are your last bought records? and by the way, what was the first record you bought in your life?

CA: Actually, I haven't bought any records in a long time. I do get sent interesting things from friends with labels or just people I meet. And I do occasionally buy old spoken word records, to see if there's something that could be used live or sampled somehow. As for the first record, I can't remember either. It was probably some nonsense. However, when I woke up to music seriously, around 1978-79, I was in a state of bliss constantly. I remember hanging out at Pet Sounds, the best record store in Stockholm at the time, eagerly waiting for the British music weeklies and the UK and US imports to arrive.

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