Spinoza Ray Prozak Interview
this was an interview done to support the gay christ records site a few months back. i've lost the original email, and have not yet heard back from the people putting it online, so here it goes for the sake of posterity.
Thank you for writing back. I am saving the questions so you can just answer by number if you wish. I am a metalhead, not quite as underground as you guys, but I understand where your coming from. I am doing this for a nonmetal site though, so some of the questions arent as genre-specific, and more broad :) Thank you
thank you for doing this interview. these questions seem thoughtful and to guide the reader toward a useful perspective on metal. i'll answer with an ear for those who are not already immersed in the subculture.
1) This website is like ten layers deep into the underground heavy metal scene. Tell us what your ultimate goal is with Gay Christ Records.
with gay christ records, i hope to record in transmissible format the works of previous and current generations of metal that are at risk of being lost through the lack of focus in the current system on things which are too niche-market to bring any enough money to support their reproduction. in most cases, this means demo tapes, which are "proof of concept" offerings from band to fans and labels before their release of any full-length or professionally recorded materials. these are sometimes tacked on to re-releases years later, but rarely with the original artwork or tracklisting; our goal is to keep a library of these originals and to pass copies of them on to new generations of metalheads and researchers interested in the origins of this subculture.
2) The majority of people reading this think that the heavy metal scene is the shit on the radio nowadays. Can you set the record straight on the underground scene, and your feelings on the "metal" (loosely using the term) popular today?
the industry that manufactures the stuff for radio play seems to murder everything it touches. it slights classical, turns blues into comedy, hybridized jazz with muzak and not unpredictably, has created a "metal" variant for radio that is warmed-over rock music with some metal technique and satyrical metal posturing thrown in to give it texture of some sort. it's kind of like making health food by coating bran with cupcake icing.
currently, it's popular to make "open-minded" and "new" (or "nu") metal by mixing in known, proven styles for generating radio hits with the fragmentary remains of heavy metal from the 1970s. most serious metal artists have stayed on the off-radio paths since the late 1980s when metallica began to see success and slowly change toward become early friendly, poppish music.
there is some truly great pop music out there and i'll never complain about it, but that usually arises from some people who found making mainstream music easy enough that, desperate, they turned to art for a way of making their task difficult and more interesting. but the majority of it is crap with nothing to communicate aesthetically or intellectually. such is the case with your limp bizkit, korn, etc. types of music where image is communicated before music, and the only vaguely philosophical component is a fatalism designed to convince people that doing nothing is a form of activity, as long as you're angry while doing it.
3) A lot of the bands listed on Gay Christ Records seem like heavy death/ black metal stuff. But as it turns out, the names of many of these bands can be misleading. Do any of these bands have misleading names, and what are they?
some, like erevos, are leaning more toward the ambient end of music and have little do with metal per se; others like i shalt become are mellower than heavy/death black but still well within the genre. most however are within the death/black genre but do not necessarily aim for being examples of the heavy end of the style. in general, i'd say names can be misleading in metal as anything with a serious yet vaguely epic sound to it looks like a metal band after a little while of reading these names. several people have written in to ask if "kraftwerk" was a german metal band.
4) In your logo picture, is Jesus opening his mouth for cock, or is he just surprised?
he's expecting a surprise ;)
5) Let's say I've never heard one artist from your list of demos. If you had to pick one for me to hear, what would it be and why?
probably supplication, because that tape has no benefits of technology, setting, or age and experience to help it, yet from the people who created it flowed a brilliant and lucid if slightly clumsy form of art which unlike many more advanced forms, exactly expressed what it desired in a sensation of change of thought that addresses much of the question of existence in our current time. that is an esotericist view; from any other perspective, i should probably pick one of the underground classics like veles or profanatica for an example of what metal can be when it drops pretense in favor of raw, disturbing artistry.
6) Have you received a lot of material from this website? I would think that the amount of people with out of print, classic heavy metal would be rather low.
it is, but luckily they're fanatical. we have received almost all of our material in donation and consider ourselves lucky to have had such benefactors in the underground. while the underground is small, its high entrace requirements filter the stream of potential applicants to a dedicated, mostly thoughtful audience.
7) How would you kill me if I sent you the "Marilyn Manson & The Spooky Kid" demo tapes?
by putting them on a reel-to-reel loop and making you listen to them... ad infinitum.
8) A few of these bands have changed their style. Which ones can you not stand anymore, and would you like to pass their demos around at shows to sicken their audience?
excellent question! most probably carcass, who turned into 1970s style heavy metal with very preachy lyrics, causing the early live recording we have of them to be a face-blanching affront to the aesthetics with which their newer fans are accustomed, and therion, who are still attempting to put out quality material but have gone to a more predictable mainstream sound while integrating the classically-styled orchestration that their primary inspiration, celtic frost, aspired to use. also emperor, who i think have given up but at this point are making one-dimensional entertainment compared to the epic art and grander ambitions of their earlier years.
9) I've heard someone say that there is no way a metal site can be popular without a picture of a hot chick? What would you say to that person?
i would ask them to gain some perspective on the issue. first, people who require hot chicks are probably not going to find much of interest in the more cerebral metal we favor, and second, without regarding women or anyone else as "equal" it seems to me that objectifying them in that manner is a dishonorable behavior.
10) I think that is about it. Thanks for taking the time and you can add anything else here.
thanks for some great questions. the only thing i can think of adding is this: there are many metal sites, but few last for any appreciable time. they exist because their creators suppose they will gain some social status, respect or "power" from the existence of another metal website. these websites usually skim the surface of the music itself and talk about appearance. the gay christ website and its parent websites, anus.com and hessian.org, seek an academic study and political activism of the metal culture itself, which is something that arose from the combined opinions, art and actions of those who helped build metal as a community. there is something we share by liking this music and while few articulate it formally, we attempt to as a matter of pride in what metal is and a mission to help it become what eventually it will want to be.
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