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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Shadow Project



From the remains of Christian Death, Superheroines', and Mephisto Waltz, emerges a new audio experience created by Rozz Williams. Shadow Project was formed in San Francisco in 1988 by Rozz and Eva O. (of Superheroines) to, among other things, focus on the struggle of opposing forces... namely Christianity and Satanism. In 1991 Shadow Project released their debut album, and more recently have released "Dreams for the Dying" LP. This new material from Rozz and his bandmates incorporates an early gothic sound with a slight dash of Musique Concrete. This should not come as a surprise to many people, as Rozz was behind another project, Premature Ejaculation which spawned some very memorable works influenced by traditional Musique Concrete soundforms. Photos courtesy of Cleopatra Records. Rozz/Eva photo by Iggy Vamp.

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Interviews with: Rozz Williams- RW, Eva O.- EO, Paris- P, William Faith-WF, and Stevyn Grey- SG.

Paris

AC- So, what's your name?
P- My name is Paris.

AC- The whole thing... and basically all of it?
P- Yeah.

AC- Are you one of the new members, or have you been with Shadow Project the whole time?
P- I've been in for about two years.

AC- What got you into it?
P- I was a friend of Eva's, and I liked the music and they liked the way I played and it happened.

AC- Any thoughts on what it's like playing in a group like this?
P- Well actually before I joined Shadow Project, I never even knew of Christian Death or Superheroines or anything like that. So it was all new to me and I just took it from a fresh start.

AC- Kind of your first exposure to the whole scene?
P- It wasn't my first exposure to the whole scene, but it was my first exposure to playing on stage in front of an audience.

AC- How do you feel about it now that you have been doing it for a while?
P- I love it. I wouldn't do anything else.

AC- What's the worst thing that has happened to you in a club, in front of an audience?
P- Let's see... the worst thing that's happened to me while I was playing, was in New York. We did a show and... at The Pyramid, and we were doing the end of "Into the Light," and I do a solo thing at the end. The audience started clapping before the song was over and I kinda got mad. It ends on a loud note anyways, but I got a little carried away, and I knocked over all my keyboards. That was probably the most embarrassing thing, but I liked it anyway. I enjoyed knocking over my keyboards.

AC- Kind of a release thing. What's your opinion of the whole "Goth" scene? What's it like working with people who essentially are responsible for starting the scene as it's known today?
P- They're just people, and they're my friends, and I love them. I don't treat them any different than that.

AC- What's the biggest rush you get out of all this?
P- There's a couple rushes I get all throughout everything. Sometimes I get... before every show I get nervous. I get butterflies. But that could be the day before or an hour before the show, or as I'm walking onto the stage. It doesn't really make a difference. I always get that feeling. And that's a rush in itself. There's also another rush I get when I'm out there on stage doing a solo thing... nobody else on stage. I get a great rush out of that. And I get a rush when people slam dance.

AC- The phrase, "Living above the chemist" how common is that? Substance abuse and things like that in this band?
P- Okay. Out of the last four shows, two out of four of them ended up like that.

AC- There was a very heavy religious theme in a lot of the early Christian Death material. Is that present with Shadow Project?
P- Yeah, but it's... there's a lot more to it than that. It goes way beyond religion. It's about real life. Being real. Reality.

AC- What kind of reality? Is there a cohesive philosophy to the whole thing?
P- As far as Rozz' lyrics go, you'd have to ask him. But I'm sure everything you hear out of Rozz' mouth is open for interpretation, and as far as the musicians go we play what we feel and if people can't understand what we're playing then they don't understand how we feel.

AC- How does this apply to you?
P- It's something I have to do.

AC- So even if you knew nobody would ever hear you again, you'd keep doing this.
P- Oh yes.

AC- What got you started playing keyboards?
P- It's something I've always wanted to do. My mother had a piano in the house and I liked to play it. Then I found out about electronic keyboards, so I started getting into that. I conned people into buying them for me, and now I have a whole bunch of them, and I love to play them. I never want to play anything else. Except maybe the bagpipes.

AC- Solo projects. Tell me about it.
P- Okay. It's called EXP, and it's just starting out. We did one performance, it's more theatrical than musical, but I do have soundtrack stuff for it and I'm going to expand on it and make it more musical as time progresses. Right now I have a 90min. tape that I'm trying to get mixed and mastered... give demos out to people.

AC- How is it different from what you're doing now?
P- It's totally different. It's more atmospheric. It doesn't have a full band. It's always me and one other person. The one other person is always different. So, it's just me working with a lot of people.

AC- What do the letters stand for, anything in particular?
P- Experimental, or Experimentation.

EvaO.

AC- How do you like touring?
EO- I love it. I want to do it for the rest of my life and never have a home. That would be the best dream to come true.

AC- Any particular experiences while touring, good or bad, come to mind? Preferably good since we've already been through bad.
EO- I love New York.

AC- Any particular reason why? People... buildings?
EO- The people are great, the buildings are great, it's really just like a dream-world to me. It was really nice there. We actually ran into a lot of bad luck, but I still had a great time and I can't wait to go there again.

AC- Just as kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing, any fashion tips for would-be deathrockers?
EO- Wow... I don't know. Everybody wear dog collars so I can grab you and carry you around by your chain.

AC- How do you guys keep your white face from falling off when you're playing?
EO- I put powder over it. And I mix mine with regular stuff. I don't know. Mine comes off when you start sweating. Unless you get waterproof stuff. I don't think they make it though.

AC- Any closing comments?
EO- I was told to say something... but I guess I won't.

AC- What what what?!
EO- Oh, nothing. Let's see... any closing comments. Enjoy love.

William Faith and Stevyn Grey

AC- You guys said you came from the same background. What background is that?
WF- We were originally in a band called Mephisto Waltz. We have been for some years.

AC- What was that like? Is it any different from what you're doing now?
WF- Well, it's a completely different style of music as far as the artform itself. We were working with a person by the name of Berry who used to be in Christian Death for a while and we did a little bit of that material, a lot of his own material which is vastly different from a lot of what's going on these days. At the moment things are in limbo with him. We're not exactly sure what's been going on. He's been busy, we've been busy. It's possible that we'll work together again soon. In the meantime Stevyn and I were offered by Rozz and Eva to Join Shadow Project. We've been on tour with them in Germany previously (with Mephisto Waltz) and they expressed some interests towards Stevyn and I joining their line-up, and we have. So, we've been working with them for a while now. It's been a really great time. They're wonderful people to work with. Working with Paris and Rozz has been a really great experience, and they're all fun. The music is very powerful. Very energetic, which I like a lot.

AC- What are some of the more unusual things you have noticed about your work?
WF- An audience's interpretation of things can usually catch my interest to a massive extent. With the different bands I've been in I've gotten all kinds of different responses as to what the people think the material is supposed to be about. I've always preferred that people take their own interpretation of it because that will usually give them a little more of a personal bond with what I'm doing. Overall, it's been really interesting to hear some of the interpretations of some of the material we've been doing in different bands. Some people think I'm a complete, total Satanist. Other people think that I'm some sort of sexual deviant. It's really interesting. There's all kinds of different interpretations of what goes on. Plus the general population, you know... John Q. Public's interpretation of what's going on here is really funny. I always get a kick out of that as well. When they ask me what kind of a band I'm in and then, you know obviously saying, "Gothic Rock" or anything like that, that's when most heads sway. So when you end up trying to equate yourself to a band they understand, you end up saying something ridiculous like U2.

AC- What's your take on the whole religion thing? Does it hold any significance for you regarding what you're doing now?
WF- It's a personal thing, as far as religion goes. I don't have a religion per se'... it's my own personal beliefs more or less. However, overall it's rather involved... as far as organized religion goes, I despise organized religion to the fullest extent.
SG- I believe that everybody should do what's in their heart. Follow their heart, no matter what that is. If their conscience tells them that's what they are supposed to be doing, then they should go ahead and do it.

Rozz Williams

AC- Are you dead, physically speaking after a show?
RW- I'm... no, I'm not dead.

AC- How do you feel after a show?
RW- It all depends on the audience. If the audience is enthusiastic then I'm pretty much up and into going out. If the audience is pretty slow and just like sitting there or whatever, it kinda makes me upset because I'm putting everything that I have into what I am doing. And then I look out and see these people just standing there looking like...

AC- Fish.
RW- Right. Like that's the way they're supposed to be. "Oh, this is Gothic-Rock so I guess we're just supposed to stand around." Believe me we're not Gothic-Rock. We're beyond labeling. We do not label ourselves. We dabble in everything that interests us. I don't know... I try to keep people going, through the energy because I feel it only fair that if we're putting so much into something that we would like something back. In return, as far as audience reaction. It's all up to them, you know. But there are certain points where... I mean if someone's going to be... if the whole audience is going to be sitting down on the floor while we're playing then I will literally step off the stage with my microphone stand or anything that's handy and start breaking some heads open. Because it's like, I'm sorry, if you want to just sit... go home and listen to your records. Don't come to a show. Why bother? Why bother wasting your money? Why bother doing any of it? If you're coming to a show and the show is energetic and you're seeing something happening in front of you then get involved in it. Get involved. That's why earlier I was saying, "Wake up people!"

AC- What did you mean by that?
RW- I meant wake up. I'm so tired of seeing people standing around not looking at their own lives, at their own situation. At anything that's going on around them. People are so blinded. People are so locked in fear. They can't do anything. They're terrified of themselves. That's all I was trying to say tonight, was look at yourselves. Take a look at yourselves. Is this who you really think you are? Is this who you really feel comfortable being? If not, then be something else. If you can't be happy being something else, then kill yourself or I'll do it for you. Because there are too many people on the face of this earth. It's a waste. There is too much waste of human flesh on the face of this earth, and it's either wake up and say, "This is who I am, this is what I am going to do with myself, this is how I enjoy myself, this is my belief system, and this is how I am going to live my life." I see so many people who don't do that. They follow. They're followers. Half of the world are followers. There are not many leaders. Followers, to me are worthless. They're beyond contempt. They should be killed. If someone doesn't do it... that's why I admire certain killers. Because, somebody's gotta do it! If they don't do it themselves... you know I get these letters, "Oh, I tried to slash my wrists last week and I was listening to your record and the blood was spilling from my veins... and it was oh-so-gothic." It's like, "Okay give me your address and I'll come over. I'll slit your fucking throat. I'll do it right. I'll kill you dead, because you're worthless." You know what I mean? It's like wake up, face up to who you are, be who you are and live it or get rid of yourself. There's too many people here already.

AC- If all these people have no concept of who they are, what do you think it's going to take to "Wake them up?"
RW- I have no idea. I'm hoping that what we're doing musically will be able to open a few eyes and say, "Well, look. These people are up on stage doing this and living their lives and being who they are so possibly we can do the same thing with our own lives." You have to grow with that. You have to find that within yourself. No one can give that to you. I can't give that to anybody. A television evangelist can't give that to anybody. Bozo the Clown can't give that to anybody. You have to find within yourself who you are, and what your belief system is. Who you are going to live your life by. You should be yourself. Hopefully with our music what I would like to think... that we're doing to some extent is opening some eyes. Or opening some doors. Letting people say, "Okay, maybe I am a little insecure. Maybe I am a little fearful of what I'm doing... because I live with my parents and my parents don't like what I'm doing. I go to school, and school doesn't like what I'm doing." Fuck all that shit! You do what you need to do to live, to survive. That's what we're trying to get across in our music. Survive. Fucking be yourself. You don't have to be a person that comes up to me and looks exactly like me, or thinks exactly like me... or whatever. If you have strong convictions and you have beliefs and you are living your own life for yourself then I have a great respect for anyone who does that. I don't care what they look like, what their job is, what they do. If they have a strong conviction in what they are doing and a strong belief system in what they're doing... then all of the power to them. That's wonderful. I just get so sick of seeing followers. They're just following trends, looking at other people around them. Fuck that crap. Those people are on the list of the people that should be killed.

AC- In the years that you have been performing... you're basically one of the few people that has engendered a lot of followers. How do you feel about that? To know that what you created some time ago has had this result. RW- I don't care. I'm doing this because I believe in it. I'm not doing it to find followers. I'm not doing it to have people come and say, "Oh this is so wonderful." I'm doing it because it's what I believe in. I could care less if there was no one out there. I would do it nonetheless because I'm doing it for myself. If people get something from it, then great. That's wonderful. I have no interest in making people want to emulate or copy or follow, or be any part of that. That's of no interest to me, I don't care about that at all.

AC- What specifically are your beliefs when relating to others?
RW- The way I choose to get by in doing it is being as honest as possible about it, and laying my cards on the table. Saying, "This is who I am, this is what I am about. If you can deal with it then that's great." If I can walk into a supermarket and get respect from a person who happens to be there... I show no disrespect toward anyone. I respect everyone...

AC- Whether or not they have done you a wrong?
RW- Exactly. But, If it comes to a point of someone getting in my face and directly telling me, "I don't respect you," then I'm willing to take them out. They're useless. They're just dead flesh and I would have no second thoughts about it... killing anybody like that because I've lived so many years dealing with bullshit from people. I'm just living my life. If people can't deal with that, that's their own fucking trip. That's their own fear, that's their own insecurity. If they just leave me alone... fine. If they get in my face about it then they're going to get in some trouble about it. I will take action. I will take the closest thing at hand and break their head open.

AC- Have you had cause to do this in the past?
RW- Oh yeah. I'm sure it will happen in the future again. I kind of look forward to it, to some extent.

AC- For a long time I have been very interested in your views concerning religion. Your music tends to be very anti-religion. Are you directing your songs against Christ and God, or just towards religion in general?
RW- I believe in God. I believe in Satan. That's one of the lyrics in one of our songs, "I am Satan, I am God." To me there is no outside force. It's in me. I am God. I'm the one who creates my own life. I'm the one who deals with everything in my life. And I'm Satan in my life... if you want to put it down to terms like that. I don't particularly like using terms like that, because I don't respect organized religion.

AC- What is your definition of Morality?
RW- I don't necessarily believe in morality. Morality is what you make of it. If my morality was to go out and kill a few people... then that would be morality. There is no morality. There is no universal morality. It doesn't exist. It's the same thing as everything else. It's what you choose to make of it. I have no idea what morality is. Morality is my stealing a tip from a table at a restaurant if I feel like it. Or leaving a fifty dollar bill for a tip at a restaurant. Morality means nothing. It's just a word.

AC- You mentioned earlier there were certain killers you admired. Who and why?
RW- Charles Manson, because I admire his truthfulness and I admire his philosophy. I think that the only reason he's locked up is because he tells the truth and that's why he's in jail. Because he's a truthful person. He opens up.

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Late in 1992 I was buried in work and far behind schedule with putting together the next issue of Antocularis. Because I didn't have much spare time I asked a friend, Damion Tidd to help me out. Rozz Williams' new group called Shadow Project was going to play at a venue in San Francisco and I had set up an appointment to meet them and do an interview with the band. I couldn't make the gig to do the interview in person so I asked Damion to go and do the interview for me. He readily agreed. On October 6th, 1992 Damion met up with Shadow Project and talked with the band members separately, backstage at some dive in the city. I was going to include this article in Antocularis issue #3, but I decided against it. Shortly thereafter I shut down my magazine project and this interview ended up in a file folder where it sat for the past 14 years never having been read by anyone besides myself and Damion. So, here is a lost interview with Rozz published for the first time.

Rozz Williams committed suicide on April 1st, 1998. http://www.rozznet.com/

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