What defines Punk?
This interview was done by an employee no longer with Headwormz Records. To maintain the tone of the interview, and to not inconvenience the artist, we decided to publish it anyway.
It isn't often I find myself at a loss for words. However, that is precisely where I find myself in trying to put some kind of label on the work of Gothic Funk. It's not really IN a genre so much as it is bouncing around from one to the next. It's free flowing, and different, and changes tempo and tone, and listening to the catalog, you find yourself having no idea what is coming next, but not at all in a bad way.
And that what punk is supposed to be, isn't it? Bands saying what they want, how they want, and not given two fucks what anyone else thinks; that's punk.
It's for this reason I decided to reach out them and see what they had to say about their own music, creative process, etc.... and I found the person behind the music to be as interesting and free flowing as the music itself.
I typically attack these as basic Q&A sessions and edit things down a little and all that, but this one I think it better not to paraphrase. The responses, shown in black below are exactly as they were given to me, word for word, because I think anything other than that would do a disservice to the person answering.
The images, imbedded within the responses are of the artists own creation, and provided for use: just a few of thousands they have made in a similar fashion.
I'll end this long worded preface with 2 things:
the response I got on twitter when asking for a song Gothic Funk would like included with this article.
An embedded player from the Gothic Funk spotify artists page.
First, let me say thanks for you taking the time to answer these questions. I know you get a lot of requests, and you turn most of them down, so I'm humbled you agreed to talk to me.
So lets start with the obvious, why DID you agree to answer these?
I had a feeling you would ask me the right questions, the relevant questions as to what I'm all about.
Can you tell me about yourself, your other projects, and what you are trying to achieve with Gothic Funk?
I have so many ideas that I would like to pursue, but they are ideas that need the support of a committed team, who would pursue projects and finish them. During all these years I have struggled to find such musicians so I have kept such ideas close to my chest, knowing if I went public with them someone would hijack those ideas before I had a chance to put them into practice myself. All I can say is, they are quite innovative; when I present them to a business advisor for the UK government, he confirmed there were no businesses out there like it. But he also said how difficult it would be to get them off the ground because they cover a wide scope, because there is nothing to compare them to, and because musicians are so unreliable and impatient.
There is so much tell about my rosters on Reverbnation, various promotion schemes I've tried, my connection with songwriter/music producer, Ian Levine, become
executive producer on his vinyl releases. Google Ian Levine and you will discover he has 40 million record sales to his name, recordings done, with some of the most famous artists of the past 60 years. Some interesting developments could come out of this new alliance benefitting hundreds of musicians, but sadly, they choose to be taken in by scammers instead of someone who genuinely has their best interests at heart.
So finally, I will just reel off some of the names I put my music out under: THE GAY SILHOUETTES, ACID HOUSE OF HORROR, VEGAN ABORTION, JULIAN AND THE WIKILEAKS, FLOYD PINK AND THE PUNKS, UN-AMERICAN HOUSE, AMPHETAMINE ORCHESTRA, PSEUDO CELEBS SUCK, POPE SUCKS, THE AMYL NITRATE QUARTET, GOVERNING ANTIBODY, STEVEN DOES, STE VAN HORNE, STEVEN VELLOU, MUSICIANS WITH VISION, PANGAEAN PEOPLE, PANGAEA'S PEOPLE, to name a few.
I've seen a lot of your back and forth on twitter with other artists, chastising spotify and the stream groups. Would mind filling everyone in on what you mean by stream groups, your position, why you think its bad or a scam? Generally, give us the story behind all this:
Because, in the past, 12 years ago on Reverbnation, I ran a streaming group that involved using hundreds of computers, I know how it ends, and I also know how much it hurts those not getting that kind of support. It is a scam that primarily fulfills the selfish goals of the administrators at the expense of musicians taken for sucker, musicians who foolishly believe those running the scam have their best interests at heart.
I reached number 2 on the Reverbnation global account, that's all the charts combined and I have feedback from another musician to prove that. To achieve that in such a short space of time proves these guys running streaming groups now are
amateurs in comparison.
My number 2 spot didn't prove my music was the second best on RN, it proved I'd figured out how to manipulate the system better than any other musician. When I call it a scam that will go horribly wrong I speak from experience; I may even be the first one to do it on a music site, I don't know.
It isn't about community spirit, it's about blatant exploitation, it's fraud, it's rigging the system, it's about explotiating the support of gullible musicians to further their own ends.
Some musicians are noticing listeners are being removed from their totals by spotify, or their tunes are being removed; that's a response to the efforts of Streaming Groups faking listens, rigging the algorithms/ I can see it how it all ends because I lost my Vegan abortion account, the one that got to number 2 when Reverbnation started getting lots of musicians who were left out in the cold. Everyone in my Streaming Group shot up their respective charts, while those not in them became invisible.
Since then, I've come to empathize with musicians treated like underdogs, so my support for them is genuine. Yes, I want my music to be heard but NOT at their expense.
I dislike those who exploit, and I find it impossible to turn a blind eye to it! I am controversial BECAUSE I genuinely care!
You have said many times you will continue to support artists the proper way. Do you care to elaborate on that?
Making it inclusive, not exclusive, making support a level playing field, then letting the music speak for itself. I am not the one to judge who is in and who isn't who is worthy and who is not, different listeners have different tastes. I may not relate to certain music but I can relate to the talent behind it. I do have eclectic tastes, which means I won't pass final judgement on what is acceptable and what isn't. Other musicians with narrow tastes actually believe they are qualified to do that!
Because my own music can't be pigeon-holed, the only musicians really qualified to offer an informed opinion are those who have musical tastes that know no boundaries and such musicians are a rarity.
Yes, I do also want to bring my own music to the attention of the public and that is part of my motivation for supporting other musicians, but I also passionately believe UNSIGNED, INDEPENDENT & UNDERGROUND music is the most authentic, inventive and It is criminally overlooked, dismissed, devalued, and I would like to be involved in changing that mentality, challenging what is a coldblooded, mercenary music industry.
If you were in my shoes and looking for more bands to talk to - bands that deserve attention - who would you pick?
If you'd have asked me that a few days ago I would feel more confident about naming a few, but discovering some of them have sold out to Streaming Groups alters things. I will need to think about that for a few days, review those artists that give evidence they are genuine about shining a bright light on great unsigned talent, not just their own, but each of us that shares their struggle. Ego must not dwarf the talent a musician possesses; I look for that quality in musicians!
When you sit down to create a track, or write a song, what the process like?
I never have a plan, I never thin about what I will do beforehand, I just press the start button and see where it takes me; no roadmap, no destination; I only know it when I reach it, which probably explains why my music goes in all sorts of directions. It's an approach that works for me. whilst one involving intent wouldn't because, in a way it would be forced, and that just isn't me. Difficult to pigeonhole my music because I follow no formula, no recipe book, and not knowing the so-called rules involved in music plays to my advantage too, disinhibiting my creative approach, I just go with what sounds right. No intent yet the end product sounds like there is intent.
There is more intent in my lyrics though! The board at Oxford University described my lyrics as unique and ingenious. I think they believed something big would come of it, but they couldn't be wrong; few listeners can recognise or even care about exceptional lyrics, and few can relate to music that can't be pigeonholed!
I am, removing the questions I asked that prompted the responses that follow, and just going to leave this, in closing, in the artists own words; a singular narrative, that by itself was well worth the time to do the interview.
Hype and numbers, just a smokescreen! Some of the best unsigned music I've heard is the most overlooked, some of the worst music, the excessively hyped, boasting huge followings.
My plans, and I have many of them, are largely dependent on the mindset of other musicians, and that doesn't seem to be changing for the better. I will continue to warn musicians, try to win rescue them from fraudulent support, but by doing so I make a lot enemies, coming into conflict with the con artists.
I continue to pump out tunes here in Crete, but been waiting for new music equipment to arrive from Germany and UK, much of my gear is in Canada and UK.
I finished another instrumental yesterday, thought, called TALK WITH A LIMP.
I have hundreds of instrumentals still waiting for vocals to be added, so I don't have much time to catch my breath. The ideas never dry up but I have a feeling they would if I changed my approach, creating with intent.
The innovative ideas I spoke of, as I said, are something I want to keep close to my chest until I find some musicians to work with who are as focused and passionate as I am!
Hype and numbers are a huge psychological factor, a huge obstacle to musicians who have an unabandoned, disinhibited, creative approach. As my song says, this is THE SPOONFED GENERATION, the marketers deciding trends and tastes, and the likes of American Idol, X-factor, The Voice have cemented that SPOONFED MENTALITY!
Musicians that offer something different, unique, innovative, intelligent, ought to be the ones that receive the adulation, but what we see is the opposite/1 Safe, tried and tested formulas, manufactured, mass-produced, all production no substance, showcasing juvenile lyrics about sweet nothings, is what the public wants; it gets all the hype, criminally overrated, and trying to shatter that status quo is an immense obstacle, impossible to overcome individually. which is why I believe in the collective approach, only on a massive, unified, scale....break down the barriers FIRST, then focus on our individual dreams!
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