1) Hi DJ De´Ath, how are you enjoying the summer?
Despite being a Snake and a Leo I’m not a big fan of summer. The heat is fine but I don’t like its brightness and I can’t spend a lot of time out in direct sunlight without burning – I guess I am just really in touch with my vampire side 😉
2) How many gigs and festivals did you manage to see this year so far?
I don’t think I have been to so many this year. I’ve been to the Wave Gotik Treffen for the 13th time and Amphi festival for the first time. The other gigs I have seen are The Bravery, Killing Joke, The Stranglers, In The Nursery, Sieben, Job Karma, The March Violets, Sol Invictus and 6<omm.
3) We will be honoured to see you in the Czech republic for the very first time in a couple of days – do you know Prague a little bit? Or maybe some
It will also be a honour for me to play in Prague for the first and hopefully not the last time. I have never visited Prague before and completely without the use of google the things I know about Prague are as follows it’s a very old city, Franz Kafka, Jaz Coleman has lived there and conducts the philharmonic orchestra, The Prague Spring uprising. I also no its not in Prague but I have heard about the bone church at Kutna Hora being a lover of skulls I hope to see one day.
The only Czech bands I know so far are Xiii Stoleti and Alvarez Perez
4) Let us travel back in time if you don’t mind. You did a lot of big things for the UK scene – according to your pages you were the first DJ who
started to spin deathrock and mittelalter in UK, you also invited a lot of famous bands for their gig debut to UK – Antiworld, Angelspit, The Birthday Massacre, The Cruxshadows and many others to name a few. But what did you do before all this? How did you get to the scene anyway?
I guess I’m lucky enough to have seen the best decade for British alternative music 1977-1987. I remember being at school when the punk scene exploded and secretly listening to the sex pistols(so my parents didn’t hear) from records borrowed from a friend. As a teenager I listened to some punk but was heavily influenced by 2-Tone and listening to ska so I would be dressing like a rudeboy whilst I was at school. I remember going to school disco’s and when they played punk – the punks would be pogoing and at the same time the metal kids would be head banging but when they played metal and punks started pogoing to Black Sabbath the metal kids would get angry and start fighting.
The first Goth band I saw was The Cult supporting Big Country at 20,000 capacity venue in 1984. Later that year I was in a fish and chip shop and the video for Love Like Blood from Killing Joke came on, and I was total blown away by this song. I dashed out and bought a ticket for their night time tour and from this moment I became Goth – dressing in Black and going to 5 or 6 concerts every week.
In the early 90’s the UK alternative and especially the Gothic scene was starting to die but luckily I had a few contacts overseas who made me aware of new bands coming out of Germany like Love Like Blood, Goethes Erben, and Garden of Delight. So I started buying lots of German Gothic music and travelling firstly the length of the country to every foreign Gothic band coming to the UK and then eventually visiting the WGT for the first time mainly to see Ikon who unfortunately cancelled 4 weeks before.
My friends convinced me I should do a DJ set since I had so much new and interesting and new Gothic music and they were tired of hearing the Sisters temple of Love each week so on 4th July 1999 I made a DJ debut in Leeds and the rest as they say is history.
5) Is there any band that you are particularly proud of to bring to the UK for the very first time?
ASP, Antiworld, Butterfly Messiah, The Last Days Of Jesus, Ikon, The Birthday Massacre – I suppose all really
6) By the way… a lot of organizers and DJs also make their own music – what about you? Did (or still do) you have a band or create your own
songs? (And if not, how do you think “DJ De Ath´s band” would sound like?)
Before I started Djing I did briefly play the guitar and write some songs. I also made a home recording of four of them on a cassette which is gathering dust somewhere. I also made a one off ambient project called Perpetual Deathic mainly just my vocal speech sampled and unusual electronic music.
Recently I have started learning to play the guitar again maybe I will do more with it this time.
If I was to make a band it would sound something like – Vocals- Anna Varney/Carl Mccoy/Lux Interior, The Edge/Geordie KJ/ Poison Ivy- Guitar, Raven/Patricia Morrison – Bass, Nook die krupps/ Nigel Preston The cult – Drums, Suicide Commado/Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio Keyboards/Samples.
7) When I’m browsing the list of events you organized, it seems that there must be a really strong scene in Leeds. Do you think that all this would
be easier to do in London? What are the differences between the scenes in London and Leeds?
There has always been historically two scenes in the UK the Gothic one in Leeds – Sisters, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The 3 Johns, The Cassandra Complex Ghostdance, March Violets etc- The Drum machine and wearing black in Goth music was born in Leeds. London was the Batcave sound Specimen, ASF, Bauhaus, Siouxsie etc.
London is an easier location to make events and parties as its very easy to get to from overseas. Maybe sometimes 60-70% of concerts in London are made up of overseas visitors. Leeds is harder to get to and transport is not as cheap to travel to Leeds. We do get some overseas visitors but mainly its local people.
The scene is nowhere as big as it used to be but the people who come to events are very enthusiastic and friendly.
8) The famous festival Beyond the Veil in Leeds is also yours – but I haven´t heard of it for a while. What happened to it?
BTV has been run 6 times and it was decided to give it a rest for awhile and my co-organisers have no longer the time to make it. Maybe it will return for a 10th anniversary special but it usually takes 6 months or longer to plan it.
9) You as a DJ spin not only gothic/death rock, but also many other genres, including electro. It seems that you don´t have a problem to take electro
acts as a part of the gothic scene, right?
I like all the sub genres of Gothic music and from speaking to people at my events or when I travel to places a lot of people do like a mixture of genres of Gothic music, but what I think happened with a electro some DJ’s at mixed genre clubs decided they would only play electro music which alienated some of their audience. Then some clubs started just playing guitar music which again alienated another part of the audience. With a mix you have a good chance to hear something new or interesting, its easier to take a break from dancing if its not your music for a couple of songs, its more challenging for the DJ.
10) And what is your opinion about the “oldschool conformists” who think that electro music has nothing to do with the gothic scene and therefore
it shouldn´t be played at parties, festivals and so on…?
The Gothic scene is constantly developing. I believe it has its roots mainly in Punk music, however punk was also about change and challenging the norm. I can remember that when bands used a drum machine they weren’t regarded as being the same level as a band using a drum kit just for that reason. It could be argued that Front 242 just developed the drum machine and took it to its next level.
When I was at Amphi they had a very good line-up on one stage Der Fluch, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio,Clan Of Xymox, In The Nursery, Diorama, Das Ich ,Feindflug, Kirlian Camera & Covenant. The mix seemed to work well and the venue was packed all the time. A lot of people saw ordo for the first time and liked it even though normally they might only see all electro bands.
11) That leads us to the question – what do you think about the current state of the scene? Is it getting bigger, more diverse, do you think it
still has the spirit that it used to or not anymore?
Its difficult to talk of growth or non growth in the scene as it varies country to country. Germany is still the big scene in the world, however there are growing scenes in South America and to a lesser extent China. There is a particularly strong gothic spirit especially in Eastern Europe I would say more so than in the west. When I have Djed in the east there has been a good reaction from the crowd and sometimes very emotional where in the west its more controlled.
The scene is definitely getting more diverse which is good when so many cultures can mix through gothic music.
12) Gothic scene is well connected with a strong visual not only of bands but also of the followers. Unfortunately, in Czech most of the people,
who are getting closer to their 30´s, have an attitude like: “Oh, I´m too old for this teenage masquerade, because of my job and blablabla…”. But you clearly show that people actually can keep their image even if they´re not in the teenage years anymore. So, could you reveal your recepy to our
readers how to keep a highly stylish goth look while having an ordinery job,living the life among “rodinary” people and so on? (voluntary – by the
way what do you do for living? Is your image sometime an obstacle in your interaction with the world?)
For sure the easy option is look like everyone else and then you fit the conditioned pattern for the social norm. Maybe I’m a teenager in reverse as for a time I had short spikey hair when I was into punk and ska music. I guess I am very much attached to my hair and it connects me very much with the 80’s spirit. I appreciate it can be very hard more so in some countries than others to dress and look different to the crowd. You might be called a Satanist, be shouted at, beaten and in the worst and saddest case killed for being different.
I can say I really love gothic music and diverse style that goes with it and that you can dress without exactly looking the same as someone else. I also know from experience that its hard to be treated fairly in the workplace as you are judged on how you look and not your ability to do the job. For work I dress down, so I would tie my hair back, make it flat, where studs in my ears and not wear my rings or makeup. I started work in RBS bank at the lowest grade and managed to progress to Bank Manager. Sure it took me longer because I have long hair. I have no problem wearing a suit and yes sometimes I wear all black but it looks very smart.
Its also hard working with small minded and ugly people. There is far more intelligence and beauty in the Gothic scene. And be sure I look forward very much to the end of the working day so I can listen to gothic music and dress how I like.
> 13) Is there anything you would like to tell to our readers?
Life is too short so try and make the most of it. You only live twice once when you are born and once when you die. Look forward to see you all soon.