Friday, February 24, 2012
Tronics have just received the reissue treatment from What's Your Rupture? and it's a pleasure to share an interview with the mysterious man behind the band, Zarjaz, about why now, the supernatural and his love of Hip Hop...
How did you and What’s Your Rupture? come to work together?
I have known Kevin at WYR? for a few years through Rock n Roll. We were hanging out long before I decided to let Tronics out. He’s one of those few special people that come along in Rock n Roll every now and again. Watch that man! Like the radio show Pizza Party he does with Max Wowch. It’s so great. Those guys should be on TV. When it came to the question of Tronics releases we worked it out.
It's great to have this Tronics material available again, what lead to the decision to reissue it now?
Even when Alan McGee came to me in 1984 he was asking me to re do Tronics. Since then I had been getting requests to reissue Tronics practically constantly up to the present day. Eventually, a year or so ago, people around me began to convince me that people obviously wanted this music and whatever reasons I had to hold it back were not as important as letting them have it. So it was at this point that I began to work it out with WYR?
What was the first type of music that made an impression on you?
The first music that had a real effect on me that I felt was greater than nursery rhymes was hearing M.A. Charpentier’s Te Deum, that they used to use for TV show introductions. I remember I used to wait for it and blow my mind when it came on. After that I would wait for the Fireball XL5 theme tune. After that I saw T-Rex playing “Hot Love” and that got me into Rock n Roll.
I read you like Comet Gain and Crystal Stilts, any other contemporary bands you follow at the moment?
Yes, I like Comet Gain, Crystal Stilts, The Pheromoans, The Dictaphone and The Dimension. I am into a new band called Behind The Mask, coming out of Leicester in the UK. The Rancid Hell Spawn have a great new E.P. I like it when things come along and show me that the world hasn’t totally slipped into mainstream unnatural selection.
You’ve pre-empted and predicted many shifts in contemporary music in the past, what do you see coming next in music?
I think there will be a substantial wane in popularity of gang related/urban styles in popular culture. Steve Dore will write a definitive book on popular culture. Rock N Roll will become more inane and there will be more glitter, more metallic surfaces, exoskeletons and more colorful, with neon red and purple Jimi Hendrix hair styles. The thing to watch out for will be a new form of Punk Rock that will explode out of Shanghai. It will be mainly female and going at a million miles an hour.
Did you know the Mayans predict the world will end this year?! What do you make of that?
The Mayans shoulda read Gilded Gutter, then they would know Rock n Roll will never die. In the long run, in 2013 we will be saying “Hey, Mayans, where are ya?” and reading Gilded Gutter.
What do you foresee the world's future to be?
I get into trouble. I’m not allowed to say. If I say then they start asking when they will die. Then they say I’m evil. Then the villagers are chasing after me and I have to escape to Paris (again) with just the clothes I’m wearing and not enough money to buy a sandwich. Sorry, baguette.
What can you tell us about the upcoming second Freakapuss album?
I have released quite a few things during the making of this album. I could have released it a few times over but something extends it and I won’t just push it out. I’m nearly on it, unless something comes along to extend it more. Making music is like a loco urge that will not go away until it’s finished so I guess this one will be totally loco. I think there is something in my music that it often takes a particular kind of person to know it. I think this album is so totally intense that I only hope there will be someone who will understand it.
Track "Honesty (Is the dumbest policy)" I think is from this second Freakapuss album? It references News of the World in the press release, what did you make of the phone hacking scandal?
They coulda waited for me to finish the album. I issued the download just so people wouldn’t say I wrote it after the scandal. The hacking was bad enough but it’s the monopolizing and control by a small group of people that I think is the trouble, just like the music industry, so I hope this will spill over to the mainstream music industry and open it out for more people to get recognition.
This track dates back to 2002 and was released in 2011, what’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent writing an album or song?
I generally don’t manage to write things in a few minutes like some people do. Most of my music has been intensely labored over. The Freakapuss album is taking long enough but La Leggenda Del Block (II) took over 300 years.
This was a download only track, how do you compare being an artist from pre to post internet era? For someone who enjoys anonymity it must be a useful tool...
You’re totally right. It’s not just the ease or the convenience, although it is both of these but it just feels right. I remember arguing with musicians in the 90’s about the Internet and saying to them that they had the same attitude towards it as people did when books were first printed. There are things I won’t get involved with like FaceBook and MySpace. I’m not against them I just think they are too personal for me. There’s something about the Internet like the kind of ethereal quality that suits me. I always remember someone saying that no one knows exactly, ultimately where all the information on a computer goes. I like that and that’s how I feel about myself. I’m kind of here but I’m not at the same time.
Mystery surrounds you and Tronics as you’ve kept out of the limelight, do you think anyone sees the whole Tronics/Zarjaz picture? What would you like people to know about your work that may be they don’t?
I think modern music, art and films tend to play along too much with what large groups of stereotypical people want. My music doesn’t do that. The downside is that my music often isn’t instantly in peoples comfort zone.
I should like people to know that although I like recording studios, I prefer to record on location, sometimes at home or in a hotel. But wherever it is written or recorded, all my music, if it is Tronics, Zarjaz or Freakapuss, it’s all made with the same spirit. Freakapuss is really Tronics with a different name. Rock n Roll came from European ancient music, just as much as from Africa so I would hope this would correlate to people listening to my music.
Website Freakapuss mentions an interest in Hip Hop – I’m interested to know what type of Hip Hop you’re into?
My favorite Hip Hop tracks would be “Flava In Ya Ear (Remix),” by Craig Mack and “Ya Bad Chubbs,” by Chubb Rocks.
I’ve read about your beliefs in the supernatural, what do you say to skeptics?
You will never convince a skeptic until they become unskeptical first. Maybe I look at reality differently but I don’t need to be convinced.
No human has seen a black hole in space. We are told by theorists and scientists that they are there so we believe them. We have no reason not to believe them. We have come a long way since the Inquisition. Or have we? The minute someone says there is an afterlife with a zip code on this side, out come the skeptics.
It takes time to realize some things like why particular things happen but now I see it all as real as anything. Give the skeptics a few hours with me.
Have you personally had any supernatural experiences? If so, can you tell us about any?
I know things people shouldn’t know so I don’t tell them anymore. Sometimes when people know it has a terrible effect on them. But I will say this; VTQVE NOSTRA REGIO TAM PRAESENTIBVS PLENA EST NUMINIBVS VT FACILIVS POSSIS DEVM QVAM HOMINIEM INVENIRE.
And, if you want to know or if you want to see something, “Paranorma Jean” is on the Freakapuss album. Play that and I guarantee something will happen.
What’s something you’d like to accomplish creatively that you feel you haven’t yet?
I always have the loco urge. I have some film ideas that I would like to see. I would like to produce more bands.
"I’m full of dust and guitars’ – Syd Barrett, if you were cracked open what would be inside?
A chocolate cake.
Find Tronic's reissues at What's Your Rupture?
Zarjaz is playing on Tuesday May 29th w/The Pheromoans and Way Through at Victoria Dalston - for more details click here