Just Say Gnod

 

Gnod Zammo

A couple of weeks ago I got the chance to interview Paddy Shine from Gnod for Narc Magazine, about their recent Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine album (probably my favourite album of the year so far) and the current tour, amongst other things. Paddy was open, honest, funny as fuck and generous with his time, which meant there wasn’t room to include the whole interview in Narc. So here is the largely unedited full transcript…

Salford-based collective Gnod have been making music in all manner of styles and configurations for over a decade now, embracing everything from psych and doom to techno and at the same time becoming key figures in the development of the community of artists and musicians working within the now essential Islington Mill complex. At the end of March, the band released perhaps their most astonishing and uncompromising album yet, the bluntly titled Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine, a five-track howl of anger delivered in a particularly ferocious style. But as Paddy Shine, one of the central members points out, it’s not necessarily what people imagine it to be.

“Let me start from the beginning, actually. The album tracks and the title were all written pre-Brexit, pre-Trump,  yeh? Everything was already decided, you know? And the album is as much introverted as it is screaming out about things. It is definitely calling out what’s going on around us , that’s pretty evident from the title and the songs – the anger in it – but the title was as much a poke at our collective apathy. It’s like that old ‘Just Say No’ Zammo campaign and all that… we thought, this is a good little poke at ourselves, how the fuck are we supposed to change the situation here. It’s funny, it is a political statement but it’s also taking the piss a bit too, and I think a lot of people have missed out on that side of it, because the album got released after Trump got inaugurated. All of a sudden we started getting all these email from people going “Yeh! A fucking anti-Trump album”, and we’re like “yeh, alright, it is that but it’s not just about Trump, you’ve got to take a look in the fucking mirror.” Change starts at home, doesn’t it? That’s the point we were getting at and the last three albums that we’ve done have been this progression – Machines was a very introverted look at our living situation, and how we felt we were contributing to our community. And Mirrors was sheer rage, basically. And this one was supposed to be a kind of raging bit of fun. When we play these tracks live, we’re playing them like there’s no tomorrow, really. It’s nice to finally tell someone what the album is, because a lot of people think we’re jumping on some sort of political bandwagon, whereas to us it was a continuation of what we already do, really.”

And what came first, the content or the sound?

“We started writing those songs well over a year ago, 18 months even, that’s just how they were when they were written. And how we always seem to work is that we start writing and a developing a new set before we go on a new tour, hone it down on the tour, and as soon as we get back we go straight into the studio and record it. So there was no great agenda, it was just a constant natural process, no “okay, let’s get angry and some political stuff”, that’s just how we roll. “

2 web Red contact

How’s this tour going to work live, in terms of line-up and instrumentation?

“There’s new tracks, old tracks and stuff from Just Say No. Personnel-wise, it’s the core four of us, with a new drummer and Fish (aka Neil Francis) joining us back on the vocals again. We’re pretty stripped down instrumentation- wise, for the full band stuff it’s just two basses, two guitars, vocals and drums. Pretty stripped down for a Gnod thing. But we’ve been getting more interested in electronic sets, so we’ll be doing some of those on this tour, which is nice because hopefully people are starting to get into the weirder electronic things we do. “

Have you found that the way you constantly shift styles has alienated people?

“It’s cool, people are starting to get down with that, At first, we had so many weird reactions, throwing things at us and shouting [adopts French accent]: “where’s your fucking geetars, what iz this shit?” But we love that, it’s great to do people’s heads in. I love going to a gig and getting my head in by a band, I might have some expectations and I want them blown out of the water!”

(There follows a long chat about the first time each of us saw Circle, followed by a discussion of possible musical influences in which I suggest the blend of anger, dub and fucked up guitar sounded like World Domination Enterprises. Surprisingly, Paddy hadn’t heard of them so I sent some links. Response? “That guitar sound man whoaaaa, fucking sick!”)

I wanted to ask you about Crass – to me there seems to be a parallel in the way Crass operated and the way Gnod do now – involvement in the underground, Islington Mill, things like that. Were they an influence?

“Definitely! It’s simple really: when I was about 12, 13, I discovered Crass through a friend’s uncle’s record collection that he gave us, and after about a year of us deciphering what the FUCK they were on about – we were just young lads growing up in Ireland, we could barely understand a word they were saying, know what I mean? Ever since then Crass, and Penny Rimbaud and Dial House, have definitely always been hugely influential, the way Crass went about doing what they did and pretty much changed the record industry and showing young punks that there was an alternative to big business. I don’t think they get enough credit for doing all that… People slag them off because they think they were some sort of rich kid punks or whatever, but they were true punks.. they set up spaces, and a lot of the bands I love from the late eighties and the early nineties, the weirder stuff, that all comes from Crass somehow “

And does that feed into Islington Mill?

“I don’t know how many people in the Mill are aware of Crass and what they did, or Dial House. We’ve got so many different people from different backgrounds…  we’re just doing what we do. I mean, obviously I’m influenced by Crass because I grew up listening to that stuff and being really interested in how they approached things. But I can’t speak on behalf of the rest of Islington Mill. The only way I could answer that would be in about ten years time when I’ve got a bit more perspective into how it all happened and how it all worked. Because when you’re in the middle of it, you’re just doing it, aren’t you? This place is organised chaos and that’s the glue that holds it together really, the chaos.”

Mill

Can I ask about the track Real Man? Is it a particular person or a composite of a particular type of bloke?

“It’s a whole bunch of people, that’s kind of been whittled down to one head, but it’s a head with a million split personalities.. . (laughing) You’re going to ask me about the Mark E Smith lyric aren’t you?  (Real Man has some lyrical nods to Hip Priest). It’s not about MES but I just had the opportunity to rip off some Fall lyrics cos they fitted. I have to work for a living, I’ve got a job, and a lot of my lyrics are informed  by what winds me up. And work FUCKING winds me up. Being surrounded by fucking dickheads particularly informed Real Man. I don’t like to explain my lyrics too much, it might ruin someone’s own interpretation.

Since I lined up this interview, I found our you’re releasing a live tape through Joe Maclaren’s Concrète label and now I’ve heard about yet another Gnod project, the Temple Ov BBV – can  you tell me something about that?

“We got invited to go to Eindhoven Psych lab last year, to do a residency which was to go in and jam with Radar Men From The Moon and then do a gig with them at the festival. But we said ‘fuck jamming, let’s write a really sick album!’. We had to jam a bit to get to that point obviously, but the idea with these things is usually the bands go in and wig out and play over each other and hope that something good happens. But we wanted to write four or five really good tracks and team up as Temple Of BBV. BBV is brain – blood – volume, which is directly linked to trepanation…

(There follows another long digression about trepanation, which seems to be cropping up all over these days, before moving onto microdosing)

 

“I’m a massive advocate of that, I’ve been microdosing myself for two years on various things from psilocybin to LSD and it’s had a massive impact on my personal life. I’d be well up for giving trepanation a go if I could find somebody to do it. I  just want the right medical procedure, you can do it in South America for a couple of grand. It’s only in western Europe where it’s taboo. It’s the oldest surgical procedure In the world, and it still gets practiced.

Anyway, going back to the album! This album was themed around BBV and… I don’t want to use the word enlightenment…  but something LIKE enlightenment through trepanation, or the idea of it, freeing yourself and regaining some kind of paradise lost, you know? I’m fucking pleased with it, there’s 11 or 12 musicians playing on it, a lot of it’s live, and everybody worked really hard. We only had 3 ½ days but it was one of those things you walk away from and go, “yeh, this is why I do music…“

When you play Newcastle in May you’re sharing the bill with White Hills, and  I know you go way back with them?

“We nearly always do a show with them on every tour, and we see them at festivals. We’re good friends… We did the Liverpool Psych Fest and Dave joined us on guitar for the gig, which was good craic but I don’t think he’ll ever do it again! We were out of minds and he was like, [American accent]: “how my god, how do  you guys fucking do this?!”

 

I’d really like to thank Paddy for taking the time to do this….

 

 

 

 

K-Punk Ist Nicht Tot

So we’ve lost author / blogger Mark Fisher. I don’t think we ever met, but in the days when the blogosphere was still a thing, his K-Punk blog was an inspiration and we corresponded a few times. I’ve only read Capitalist Realism and a bunch of his articles but he was a visionary writer and seemed liked a lovely guy. Thoughts out to his family.

This sound piece based on his writing in Ghosts Of My Life, first broadcast on Resonance FM, is well worth a listen.

 

16105989_10154918975021060_7646169596632997849_n1

 

c2i_7mixuaeis7u1

 

‘You stupid, vulgar, greedy, ugly American death-suckers.’

wsb2014_23

Happy Thanksgiving ‘Murika, Brother Burroughs leads us in prayer ahead of the feast. . . makes a change to switch from Ballard to WSB if not a stretch. Two sides of the same coin in many ways. Thirty years have passed since Uncle Bill penned this jaundiced litany of American ‘acheivement’. It rings true as ever, if not more so for this phenomenal horrorshow of a year. The sense of desperate panic and alarm at what has been uncovered in every think piece article looking for a scapegoat – Burroughs pretty much always saw it this way, he’d be appalled but unsurprised by events you expect.

Thanks for the AMERICAN DREAM to vulgarize and falsify until the bare lies shine through…
. .  Thanks for the last and greatest betrayal of the last and greatest of human dreams.

Up at the top there is a piece of Burroughs’ work called ‘Star Spangled Banner’. Beneath are some of Keith Haring’s from their ‘Apocalypse’ collaboration. ‘Success will write apocalypse across the sky’.

Down at the bottom there, some more comic wisdom from Burroughs in ‘Why I Stopped Wanting to be President’

haring-apocalypse-9haring-apocalypse-6keith-haring-apocalypse-i-1988-web

‘loathsome mis-shapen bulbous plants spring from their bones.’

 

burroughs.jpeg w=450

 

happy birthday JG Ballard

ballardmallratghost

J G Ballard would have been 86 today. He’s been dead for several years but you could be forgiven for thinking he’d been taken on as a scriptwriter by the producers of the cosmic farce – more and more his curious and curiously perceptive visions of the world we build for ourselves and how we act within it are echoed all around us. Last week’s election of Trump is only the most garishly loud and obvious example. No such deus ex machina called the shots in his fiction though, his characters building and destroying their worlds out of their own psychological quirks and obsessions. So I think he would have turned their offer down, perhaps to haunt the abandoned malls and swim in the drained pools or lie beneath the flyover. This week a national newspaper took to task a national sporting hero and beloved tv presenter over his use of the word dystopian in a tweet. The same publication cropped photographs of a political figure walking in order to create the false impression he was dancing, all to serve it’s own political narrarive. Meanwhile the clearest evidence yet that the planet is set to become a Ballardian drowned world/heat-scorched waste littered with abandoned, useless planes, trains and automobiles was ignored in favour of analysing the troubling psychopathology of the man who is to become, effectively, our new king. I’m reading ‘Kindness of Women’ at the moment but it feels as if ‘Hello America’ is coming to the boarded up multiplex soon.

jgbhs

My impression is that the original punk groups were reacting in a very direct way against the establishment music scene – someone like Mick Jagger is as much a part of the show business entertainment scene as Frank Sinatra or Bing Crosby . . . he’s a completely socially accepted and integrated performer. What is interesting now is the time span between the ‘rebel’ – the ‘revolution’ – and total social acceptance is getting shorter and shorter . . . in the future you’ll get some radical new idea but within 3 minutes it’s totally accepted, and it’s coming out in your local supermarket . . .

JGB in interview with Jon Savage 1978

d517591deb5ff222075e02efbf8b2e93

 

red-ts-421-j-g-ballard-t-shirt-copy

Ronald The Donald

trump-reagan-mcdonalds-575x341

or WHY I WANT TO FUCK RONALD REAGAN DONALD TRUMP

[1967] by JG Ballard [edit ]

RONALD REAGAN DONALD TRUMP AND THE CONCEPTUAL AUTO DISASTER. Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (GPI), placing Reagan  Trump in a series of simulated auto crashes, e.g. multiple pileups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Presidential assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subject showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic surrounded the image of the Presidential contender.

Subjects were required to construct the optimum auto disaster victim by placing a replica of Trump’s head on the unretouched photographs of crash fatalities.

In 82% of cases massive rear-end collisions were selected with a preference for expressed fecal matter and rectal hemorrhages. Further tests were conducted to define the optimum model-year. These indicate that a three year model lapse with child victims provide the maximum audience excitation (confirmed by manufacturers’ studies of the optimum auto disaster). It is hoped to construct a rectal modulous of ReaganTrump  and the auto disaster of maximized audience arousal.

15027569_1256227734398525_3560894448462864118_n

Motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan Donald Trump reveal characteristic patterns of facial tones and musculature associated with homoerotic behavior. The continuing tension of buccal sphincters and the recessive tongue role tally with earlier studies of facial rigidity (cf., Adolf Hitler, Nixon, Reagan). Slow-motion cine films of campaign speeches exercised a marked erotic effect upon an audience of spastic children. Even with mature adults the verbal material was found to have a minimal effect, as demonstrated by substitution of an edited tape giving diametrically opposed opinions…

INCIDENCE OF ORGASMS IN FANTASIES OF SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH RONALD REAGANDONALD TRUMP. Patients were provided with assembly kit photographs of sexual partners during intercourse. In each case Reagan’s face was super imposed upon the original partner. Vaginal intercourse with “The Donald” proved uniformly disappointing, producing orgasm in 2% of subjects.

Axillary, buccal, navel, aural, and orbital modes produced proximal erections. The preferred mode of entry overwhelmingly proved to be the rectal. After a preliminary course in anatomy it was found that the caecum and transverse colon also provided excellent sites for excitation. In an extreme 12% of cases, the simulated anus of post-costolomy surgery generated spontaneous orgasm in 98% of penetrations. Multiple-track cine-films were constructed of “The Donald” in intercourse during (a) campaign speeches, (b) rear-end auto collisions with one and three year model changes, (c) with rear exhaust assemblies…

49175c50e137a6e4370866ca38e32e48SEXUAL FANTASIES IN CONNECTION WITH RONALD REAGAN DONALD TRUMP. The genitalia of the Presidential contender exercised a continuing fascination. A series of imaginary genitalia were constructed using (a) the mouth parts of Monica Lewinsky, (b) a Cadillac, (c) the assembly kid prepuce of President Bush…In 89% of cases, the constructed genitalia generated a high incidence of self-induced orgasm. Tests indicate the masturbatory nature of the Presidential contender’s posture. Dolls consisting of plastic models of Trump’s alternate genitalia were found to have a disturbing effect on deprived children.

TRUMP ’S HAIRSTYLE. Studies were conducted on the marked fascination exercised by the Presidential contender’s hairstyle. 65% of male subjects made positive connections between the hairstyle and their own pubic hair. A series of optimum hairstyles were constructed.

THE CONCEPTUAL ROLE OF TRUMP. Fragments of Reagan Trump’s cinetized postures were used in the construction of model psychodramas in which the Donald-figure played the role of husband, doctor, insurance salesman, marriage counselor, etc.

The failure of these roles to express any meaning reveals the nonfunctional character of Reagan Trump. ReaganTrump’s success therefore indicates society’s periodic need to re-conceptualize its political leaders. Trump thus appears as a series of posture concepts, basic equations which reformulate the roles of aggression and anality. Reagan’s personality. The profound anality of the Presidential contender may be expected to dominate the United States in the coming years. By contrast the late JFK remained the prototype of the oral subject, usually conceived in pre-pubertal terms. In further studies sadistic psychopaths were given the task of devising sex fantasies involving Trump Reagan. Results confirm the probability of Presidential figures being perceived primarily in genital terms; the face of LB Johnson is clearly genital in significant appearance–the nasal prepuce, scrotal jaw, etc. Faces were seen as either circumcised (JFK, Khrushchev) or uncircumcised (LBJ, Adenauer). In assembly-kit tests TrumpReagan’s face was uniformly perceived as a penile erection. Patients were encouraged to devise the optimum sex-death of Ronald Donald Trump Reagan.

–J. G. Ballard

(At the 1980 Republican Convention in San Francisco a copy of the Reagan text, minus its title and the running sideheads, and furnished with the seal of the Republican Party, was distributed by some puckish pro-situationists to the RNC delegates. It was accepted for what it resembled: a psychological position paper on the candidate’s subliminal appeal, commissioned by some maverick think-tank.)

dumpster_34256

wiki on Ballard’s original

Iron Maiden Moves

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/9/15/1442327293186/7c960a6a-18c5-4cfa-888d-d43f9059639b-2060x1236.jpeg?w=620&q=55&auto=format&usm=12&fit=max&s=3a01289fdfd971c009c9361d4ea646e5

An excellent interview with the greatest living Geordie has shown up on, of all places, the Vice website.

“When I tell him that watching him play live guitar instrumentals often makes me think of the power of heavy metal – even though the show is just one person and an acoustic guitar – he calls heavy metal “honourable” and reveals that one of his great musical epiphanies was when his sister played him Iron Maiden’s debut album for the first time: “It was the start of everything.” He adds: “Sometimes I catch myself doing a ridiculous Iron Maiden move with my guitar, but then I remember: there are no ridiculous Iron Maiden moves.”

… fades in quietly

Peelenium Mipple

charity shop finds this weekend, two for £1:50. How could I refuse? Ballard is everywhere again, as well he might be – there’s a dramatisation of Concrete Island on Radio 4 Extra in a couple of hours. A couple of his short stories on Radio 3 last night. A restaging of his ICA exhibit of crashed cars in Peckham earlier in the summer and High Rise the movie of course…

In High Rise, thirty-five years before the iPad, J.G. Ballard – the only writer capable of really understanding the 21st century – saw the tide of progress carrying us into a “landscape beyond technology.” Surrounded by broken washing machines and clogged-up air vents, the productive apparatuses of society transformed into a set of symbols, his hero Robert Laing senses a “future that had already taken place, and was now exhausted.

also coming up this week J.G.Ballard Day  at Birmingham City University UK on 29th October 2016 which will feature a talk by  RE/Search founder V. Vale who will also be making available a limited edition zine ‘In Celebration of J.G. Ballard’ featuring Vale’s final interview with him and other material.

jimballard

I used to have a nice hardback copy of The Kindness Of Women, but I’d never read it and I lent it to someone. This is a pretty ugly little paperback but perhaps I’ll read it this time. I’ve not read anything since ‘Miracles Of Life’ and it would be a good idea to go back and read the things I’ve missed. I discovered Ballard in the 80’s through a charity shop purchase of an ex-library copy of ‘Atrocity Exhibition’. Something of a baptism of fire for my tender and not particularly literary brain. Much as I loved his writing I suppose I just thought I’d found a writer I liked, only much later coming to appreciate how widely he’s regarded as a singular and important voice. I had heard of him but I think it’s almost a dead certainty that Joy Division are the reason I picked up and bought that book. Indirectly then, it’s probably John Peel’s fault.

The Cavanagh book appears an outstandingly nerdy, trainspottery undertaking and I would possibly have only given it a second glance and not a third. But 75p in ‘as new’ condition, who am I to say no to that? A quick flick through it reveals it’s not a tediously detailed inventory of every broadcast but a random sample of Peel shows, the music they contained and the news of the day. The sort of cross pollinated index of material Ballard included in Atrocity Exhibition but diluted with somewhat mundane commentary. Still, he seems happy to take Peel to task for hypocrisy over dismissing LL Cool J as misogynist while celebrating The Beastie Boys ‘License To ill’ at the same time, so there’s hope for it. This time of year is when John Peel day happens although it seems to have fallen off from a specific date, and is no longer ‘officially’ put forward by the BBC. Which is just as well to my mind, kill yr idols and so on, nothing worse than a bunch of middle aged old men lecturing youth about how rock ‘n’ roll was done back in the good old days. Although he often engaged in a bit of it, nostalgia is antithetical to the spirit of discovery Peel is revered for. Keep It Peel type events should be a bunch of bands not even formed when he passed away surely? Here’s the posters for a couple this week featuring a raft of Peel show veterans. Apparently The Nightingales are reborn and still an intriguing proposition, I don’t know about that. The Band Of Holy Joy are keeping their end up, having popped up in today’s earlier post about 23 as well. The revivified Wolfhounds is something I’d really like to see, they’re playing with The Membranes and Folk Devils somewhere for another one. I believe the Sisters of Transisitors are playing the Preston one now and Christ. are involved in it in some way. It all sounds rather good, so maybe I’m wrong. There are still plenty of vital and interesting musicians around who’ve been doing it long enough to have been played on his show. Keeping alive that flame of the search for the new is no bad thing is it?

 

unpeeledun-peeled-16_0