Stained Productions- Edward Ka-Spel

From: Greg Clow Aka: ecurrent@sizone.pci.on.ca – ecurrent@io.org

Well. I finally finished transcribing the interview that I did with Edward on Nov 16. What follows here is the complete, unedited interview (a full 60 minute tape). Well, I did drop out a couple of bits where the conversation shifted focus away from Edward (like the point where I told him that I’d met Harlan Ellison a couple of years ago, and he got rather excited and started asking me “what was he like??”… heh.). Also, after the tape ran out, we continued talking for another hour or so, but it was more general gabbing than an interview type thing, so most of the important stuff is included below. As you might expect, I’ll probably be editing this and moving stuff around quite a bit before it actually gets published (February is the likely date, which’ll give me the chance to include a review of the new album as well, I hope). Anyway, here goes…


GC: How did the Dots come together, and what inspired you to do so?

EK: It was way back in 1980, when I met up with Phil (Knight aka The Silverman, the LPDs keyboardist) again – he’d been an old friend that I’d hung out with here and there in the 70’s. Our friendship had sort of come about since we both liked weird music, and there wasn’t so much of it about in the early 70’s, so what there was of it was to be cherished, and the few people into it would tend to find each other. Anyway, we’d drifted apart for a few years. I got a sort of regular job, and he got a regular job in another part of London. Then I moved, and it was into his area, and I was I suppose looking for something to do in a way, since I was kind of bored with life as it were. I’d just come out of a split with a girlfriend and things like that, and Phil called up out of the blue. He’d found out my new number from my mum, and for some reason he got in touch with me, so we got together. He was living in a house with a girl called April, and she actually became the third member of the Pink Dots.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, we all went to this free festival at Stonehenge, and we had this really amazing experience in the middle of the night. We were lying in our tent, and we heard this great music from somewhere far away. There was this band playing at the end of the field, with a full light show, and they were just sort of improvising on four synthesisers and a guitar. So we wandered up the field, and *we* were the audience, just the three of us. And we still don’t even know the name of the band! In a way, I think that’s where the Dots were born, because it changed something in all our lives. We came back determined to create something. I bought a really cheap synthesiser, a drum machine and amplifer, and there was already a piano there in the squat, and we just started playing together, even though two of us had never played music before. We liked it so much that we tended to play for 15 hours at a time by single candlelight in this broken down old house.

This was a time where there was a heavy cassette culture in England. Lot’s of people were recording cassettes in thier rooms and putting them out the next day by themselves, which is something that I really like – as an idea, there’s something really fresh about it. Basically, we started doing it too. Some people heard our cassettes and wanted to put the stuff out on vinyl within a few months, so we were lucky in that way. From there on, the Pink Dots became the institution it is now (laughs).

GC: So you were aware of the stuff that was happening in the late 70’s and early 80’s like Throbbing Gristle?

EK: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, Throbbing Gristle were a really impotant band in the *way* they did things. They said “Look, we can’t play, but listen to it”, and when you listened to it, you were really excited by it. They believed in direct communication with the people who got into them – you could phone Throbbing Gristle, whether you knew them or not, and somebody in the band would actually answer the phone, and I always liked this level…

GC: Sort of the breaking down of the barrier between band and audience?

EK: Yeah, and we actually picked up the strands of that in that our communication is very direct: if anybody writes to us, we write back. It’s just always been our tendency.

And I think the popularity of the Pink Dots has grown through word of mouth, through people telling their friends about us and playing it for thier friends, and friends playing it for *their* friends. That’s how we’ve always wanted it. I mean, the media and the promotion machine hasn’t played much of a part in our growth in popularity – it’s always been a very organic thing.

And the music itself – well, it’ll always be the way that it is. We’ll never try to commercialize it, since we’ve never wanted to be “rock stars”. There’s no fun in that. If that’s what you want, you may as well take a job in an office, ’cause being a pop star is a job. Basically, we’re pleased with our underground heritage (laughs).

GC: What led to the move from London to Holland?

EK: I had a Dutch girlfriend at the time, and it was a good reason to move. The rest of the band followed about a year later. Since then the band has changed in it’s membership many, many times.

GC: Besides yourself, have there been any other constant members of the Dots?

EK: There’s no other *constant* member, but Phil was there at the start and he’s there now. He spent about 6 months outside the Pink Dots in 1981, but in a way you could say he’s been a constant as well. It just didn’t feel the same without him, really. It was actually through a disagreement with another member of the band that he left, but when that member of the band left, Phil came back.

It was interesting the way he rejoined the band as well: we had our first official show in Cologne, which was quite a weird prospect, because we’d hardly played at all live, and we were invited to play this festival. It turned out to be quite a big deal – about 400 or so people had showed up, and we were headlining! We sort of thought “How can this be, we haven’t even played a gig yet?” Anyway, Phil drove us over, ’cause he was the only guy we knew who had a van. And in a real state of, uh… well, it was a really emotional night, and we simply invited him back into the band on the night of the show. But he didn’t have any instrument with him, so he played a CasioTone on stage! (laughs)

GC: Are there any other bands that you feel a connection to, either through a similar philosophy, or through friendships?

EK: Well, for sure, bands like Current 93, because we both go back a long way, and David (Tibet of C93) is a good friend. And Nurse With Wound for sure, ’cause they’re alway changing, but they always maintain a level of excellence and Steve (Stapleton) always does exactly what he wants to do. The way he looks at it all is, I think, very similar to the way I look at it all. I just wish more people were listening to Nurse. Maybe he’s the best one of the lot, the most talented guy around.

GC: Do you think their lack of popularity comes from the fact that their music is a bit more “difficult” than the Pink Dots or Current 93?

EK: Yeah, but some of it has great appeal, though. I mean, it’s all sound, and it’s like something that delightfully dances on your ears. And the thing is, Nurse has actually gotten stronger as the years have gone on, and yet strangely, it seems that Steve had more success in the earlier years. I think it’s time that people really gave a listen to his stuff.

GC: What brought about your solo work? Was it a case of your coming up with material that you didn’t think would fit in with what the Pink Dots were doing?

EK: In a way it was – it was in 1984, and I wrote two songs that I was fiercely proud of. Now the Pink Dots had always been not *exactly* a democracy in the early days. I was – well, I wouldn’t call myself a “dictator”, but I was very firm in what I wanted. But after much discussion, we were agreeing to try to democratize the band a bit. I thought “fine”, until these two songs, which were “Even Now” and “Suicide Pact”, were actually rejected by the rest of the band, and I thought “Ahhh… well, I’ll just do ’em myself”.

So, I put together the first EP (DANCE, CHINA DOLL) and the first album (LAUGH, CHINA DOLL), and In Phase wanted to release it, and I found myself very pleased with the results. The problem within the band resolved itself very quickly, but by this point I enjoyed doing stuff by myself, and it put it into perspective. There’s a side of me, I suppose, that does want every note to be like this, and to be played this way, and have these sounds in it, and it isn’t really fair if you are in a band to sort of crack the whip. But you can crack the whip with yourself. I think having a strong say in a band in one thing, but being a virtual dictator is another.

GC: So when you initially come up with a song or a piece of some sort, does something go off in your head saying “This would work well with the Dots”, or “This would work well as a solo piece”?

EK: No, usually I throw them all out to the band, and my pride isn’t hurt if they say “no” here and there. I think the process only went wrong around the time of ISLAND OF JEWELS, which is actually my least favorite Pink Dots album. I think it’s an awkward listen, and there’s a lot of tension in the band. It’s when democracy got too… well, it got silly. There’s one track in particular on it that I’m always sad when I hear because I know what it could be – that’s “Shock of Contact”. I think after ISLAND OF JEWELS, once again the thing resolved itself. Noone was completely happy with it, but ANY DAY NOW (the following album), I think everybody who’s been in the band until now really stands by that record, and considers it a bit of a landmark.

GC: I think ANY DAY NOW was sort of a breakthrough for the Dots in a sense, since it was the first LPD album to get widespread North American release.

EK: Well, in terms of popularity, there’s been two breakthrough albums for us: ANY DAY NOW was the first, and THE MARIA DIMENSION was the second. MARIA was one that sold a lot, and it still does. And we did the typical Dots thing after MARIA DIMENSION, and went as obscure as possible with SHADOW WEAVER and MALACHAI. I think artistically, MALACHAI is a little landmark for us because it’s as wild as the Pink Dots have ever gotten, and I’m very pleased that we did that. Not everybody gets into it, and I can see why and respect thier opinions, but I like it.

GC: From personal experience, I know that a lot of people that got turned onto the Dots through THE MARIA DIMENSION don’t really know where the two SHADOW WEAVER discs are coming from in a way…

EK: Especially MALACHAI. SHADOW WEAVER people could get into more, but – you know, it’s nice to keep things changing all the time. It keeps fresh blood running in the band. We’ve just recorded a new album now, and it’s completely different again – it’s a gentle album, actually, and very dreamlike. We worked with cEVIN (Key) from Skinny Puppy on it, he came over and did some drums on it for us. It’s a very arranged and complete sort of record. It’s really like nothing we’ve done before. It’s still the Pink Dots, but it’s like another stage in our development. I’m curious to hear what people will think.

GC: Speaking of cEVIN, what brought about the collaboration with him as Tear Garden?

EK: That goes back to about 1982 or 1983. The first I heard of cEVIN was when he sent me a letter with a photograph collage of all the Pink Dots things that he’d managed to get, and I thought “Wow, Vancouver, that’s a long way away!”. He really liked the band, and he wanted to get all the tapes and everything. He always mentioned that he played in a band, but he would never talk about it, he’d just say “it’s a bad band, it’s a bad band” – and it turned out to be Images In Vogue. Then in one letter he said that’s he’d started a new band that he was much happier with, and he even told me the name of this one, Skinny Puppy, so I thought “Wow, that’s great!” (laughs)

So in 1986, I was given the phone number of an agent in Vancouver who was very active with sort of “weird” and electronic music. Since I was getting a lot of letters from Vancouver at the time, I thought “Well, I’ve never been to North America, so maybe I could play there.” So I dropped him a letter proposing that if he could arrange a couple of solo shows, since it wasn’t practical for the whole of the Pink Dots to go over and it would cost a fortune, that the money that they would make would probably cover the airfare, and that’s all I was interested in. I could stay with friends, and I said “Why not? It should work.”

I didn’t hear anything for about a month or 6 weeks, and then there was a phone call in the middle of the night and it was the agent. He just said “Yeah, I’m gonna do it”. So I came over, and he’d arranged three shows on successive nights in Vancouver, and cEVIN said “Oh, I’m gonna do your sound for you”. He was quite excited, and he sent me a tape of the instrumental version of “The Centre Bullet”, and said “if you write some words for this, we could record it together in the studio”. I wrote the words on the airplane, and we recorded it and really liked it, and then we went on to record the whole first Tear Garden EP in about 3 days.

That was the start of a really good friendship, and a really good working relationship, too. cEVIN is one of the best people I’ve ever, ever worked with. He really has tremendous energy.

GC: When did the Tear Garden change from what it started as, a collaboration between you and cEVIN, to what it is now, a project involving a lot of other people as well?

EK: It was a decision at the beginning of LAST MAN TO FLY, although in a way, it was “You and Me and Rainbows” (from TIRED EYES, SLOWLY BURNING) which changed everything. TESB is a peculiar album in that for the first side, all the music was there, and all I had to do was put words on it, which was a little unsatisfying in a way, because we were only given ten days to do the whole album. But since the material on the first side could be done very quickly, we decided to spend a lot of time on “You and Me and Rainbows”, which is, I think, in a way the crown of that record. A lot of that was improvised, and we didn’t decide where it was going to go beforehand, and that idea was the basis for LAST MAN TO FLY – we would simply go into the studio and play and play and play. There were some bits that we planned beforehand, but when you put it all together, you have a really nice simmering pot.

SHEILA LIKED THE RODEO was recorded at the same time as LAST MAN TO FLY, and the second half of it is literally the improvisations that happened on the spot. Everything was done simply as it was played and put down onto tape, and edited very skillfully afterwards.

GC: Was it a conscious decision, then, that so many people would be involved, or did it just sort of come about?

EK: It was a conscious decision that it would be cEVIN and Dwayne (Goettel of Skinny Puppy) and myself and Phil. Martyn (de Kleer, Pink Dots guitarist) became a part of it actually when we were there in Vancouver after our show. cEVIN liked his guitar playing and said “Do you fancy going on with Tear Garden”, so Martyn was suddenly there. Ryan (Moore) was a bass player who had played on the Hilt records, and then – this is where it gets complicated even further – Ryan is now a member of the Pink Dots. He flew from Vancouver, now lives in Europe, and is a really great member of the Dots. There’s this family, in a way, between Skinny Puppy and the Pink Dots – there’s always been a lot of connections.

GC: Have you ever tried to compile a Pink Dots family tree?

EK: (laughs) It’d be too complicated. One thing that does please me is how Skinny Puppy have evolved over the years. I mean, it gets more and more interesting all the time. LAST RIGHTS is not an easy album, but it’s a *great* album. It’s one that you can play in ten years and… it’s like this huge landmark. What I love about it so much is the emotion. It’s such a shot of emotion and pain – Ogre’s performance is amazing.

GC: I really felt they were building towards something with TOO DARK PARK.

EK: Yeah, that’s a good record.

GC: It felt like there were a lot of really good ideas that had started gelling together but they weren’t quite “there”, but with LAST RIGHTS, everything seemed to solidify into a very intense album.

EK: Well, I’m very anxious to see what comes next.

GC: On some of the Pink Dots albums, such as THE TOWER, there’s a very apparent “concept” running through all of the songs. Do you consider every Pink Dots album to be a “concept” album?

EK: It’s very difficult to talk about individual “concept albums”. The whole of the Pink Dots, in a way, has a very, very wide concept, like an ongoing tapestry where characters reappear and themes are taken up again. It’s like this story which is so vast that you can’t pin it down but you intuitively feel the links. Apart from THE TOWER and ISLAND OF JEWELS, there has never really been what you could call a “concept album” by the Pink Dots – that is, we’ve never really set out to make a “concept album”, but some of them have kind of worked out that way. I suppose it depends on what I’m busy with lyrically at the time. The next one will certainly be called a “concept album”, but it was never conceived as such. It goes around in a kind of circle, and it feels like everything relates to each other. It’s very complete.

GC: What was the concept behind THE TOWER and it’s sequel, ISLAND OF JEWELS? The war imagery is very obvious, but which war specifically is it referring to?

EK: Well, THE TOWER came out around 1984, and while I’m not a political person, I know what I don’t like, and I certainly don’t like the sort of politics that Thatcher was imposing on Britain at that time. THE TOWER was a projection of what things were going to be like. Thatcher had just been voted back in and I couldn’t believe it, so I proposed the idea that they would reopen the Tower of London, which is one of the oldest political prisons in the world, and it would be there for the deviant. Except they would extend it this time – it would be Tower Complex and Tower Town. On ISLAND OF JEWELS, it’s Tower World.

GC: Why did you do ISLAND OF JEWELS as a sequel several albums later?

EK: Because it didn’t go away. It got worse.

GC: I’ve heard that the titles of several early Pink Dots albums were taken from a Indian Tarot deck.

EK: Well, not intentionally. CURSE had a tarot card on the cover, THE TOWER is the name of a tarot card, and THE LOVERS is the name of a tarot card, but it was accidental up to that point. ASYLUM was recorded at a very, very troubled time for the band. We almost split up during ASYLUM. We’d been roughly treated by the only manager we’d had in our history, we were depressed and having breakdowns – there was a lot of bad shit going around. But still, we recorded ASYLUM, and you can hear this troubled feeling on the record. So at the end of it all, when we were listening back to it, the band really all came together again. It was a very special night the night we listened to ASYLUM. And just to finish the evening, we decided to see what the fate of this album would be and we looked to the tarot. And the card we pulled from the deck was Asylum, and that was obviously the title that had to be, because we were all looking to escape from somewhere. We were all looking for something to escape to. It’s full of desperation, that record.

ISLAND OF JEWELS (also a card in the tarot deck) was conscious. It was a conscious decision. And that’s when it stopped (laughs). The minute that we made a conscious decision to name an album after a tarot card, then it was time to stop.

GC: Even though you say that the whole of the Pink Dots has a very wide concept running through it, do you still look at each album as a separate entity?

EK: Each album is an album full of memories for me. I mean, THE GOLDEN AGE is a very sad record for me. It’s when the band lost four members just like that for varying reasons – they couldn’t stand the touring any longer; they couldn’t stand the poverty any longer; and the saddest thing of all was that Patrick (Wright, violinist/keyboardist and long-time Pink Dot) left after recording the album. He was a very important member of the Pink Dots and nobody wanted him to leave. We actually had to build the band back from scratch after that, and I think that’s why THE CRUSHED VELVET APOCALYPSE is so fresh. And THE MARIA DIMENSION also maintains the freshness, I think.

THE MARIA DIMENSION was recorded very much by myself, Phil, and our guitar player, Bob (Pistoor), who was a tremendous guy, and a very essential part of the music that we made. He was the most dedicated Pink Dot, apart from the originals, that we’d met for years. And he died. And that’s why SHADOW WEAVER is the album that it is, because it was after this… like this horrible lightning bolt from the sky. So, yeah, each album just has so many memories.

GC: So, what’s next?

EK: There’s a lot of stuff. Solo, there’s a couple of things just released. One’s a retrospective of rare tracks and things like that, LYVV CHINA DOLL.

GC: It’s different from the original cassette release? (The original cassette was one side studio tracks and one side live.)

EK: Yeah, it’s the studio side from the cassette, and it’s got about 20 minutes of little experiments added on. Because a CD can only hold so much music, it seemed silly to put the studio side and just a couple of live tracks on it, it just didn’t feel right.

There’s also a 10 inch mini-LP just out called THE ILLUSION. I’m very proud of that. And I’m busy right now with a new solo album – THE ILLUSION is actually quite old, it was recorded about 1 and a half or 2 years ago. The new album is something that I’ve been working on actually for a year already, and it’s a very complex piece.

GC: Will it be the next in the CHINA DOLL series, or something seperate?

EK: It’ll probably have a different name. It’s the official follow-up to TANITH & THE LION TREE. But I don’t know when it’ll be finished, it’ll probably take a while.

There’s a new Mimir (a collaboration between members of the Dots and H.N.A.S.) that’s coming out – it might even be out now. Christoph (of H.N.A.S.) is releasing it himself.

GC: I also saw something mentioned that Robot (the label that released THE ILLUSION) will also be putting out a solo 7 inch.

EK: Probably a double 7 inch.

GC: Will that be live or studio material?

EK: All studio. There’s no plans to release live solo stuff, apart from Robert (Oliver of Freedom In A Vacuum Records, and curator of the series that Edward performed as a part of) who might release some tracks from the live concert on a compilation CD.

GC: Is the CHINA DOLL series over for you, or will you go back to using that name at some point?

EK: Whether I’ll use the term “CHINA DOLL” is debatable. What it is that I’m working on IS the third part of “The aaAzhyd Trilogy” (aaAZHYD CHINA DOLL and KHATACLIMICHI CHINA DOLL being the first two parts). That’s why it’s taking so long, because it has to be quite enormous, it’s gotta be a work that I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life. I’ll take it apart a hundred times before I’m totally satisfied with it.

GC: Do you see anything happening in other music today that you consider interesting or exciting?

EK: One band that I’ve heard a CD of in the last year that I was absolutely thrilled by was Miranda Sex Garden. It was absolutely so well done, and had such an edge to it. I love to be suprised by that, because in earlier days – around the turn of the 80’s – you were suprised every week by something that came along. Now it’s much harder.

GC: Do you think that’s because so much has already been done, or that people are just getting more complacent?

EK: It’s a bit of both. I mean, it’s hard to be completely original these days. And too many bands are career-orientated these days. But it’s a much harder climate to work in, so I can see why they’d be that way as well. In the Pink Dots, we’ve been through times of such poverty. I would eat maybe three times in a week, and stuff like that –

it was ridiculous. I don’t recommend poverty, it’s not fun. It might be very romantic to the outsider, but it’s not very romantic when you’re actually living that way. So, I can see why people don’t volunteer for it. But I think the Dots are an example that you do come through it, and you don’t have to commercialize the music. You don’t have to compromise at all. You just have to work at it. There’s a lot of hard work involved, and you have to *tour*.

GC: Are the Dots on the road pretty much constantly?

EK: We tour a lot, maybe 5 months in a year. It’s a bit hard, really, with a wife and a little baby.

GC: Does she come along with you?

EK: Well, she used to, but it’s kind of impossible now with the baby. (laughs) She’s great, she really supports me, and that’s all I could wish, ’cause I’d probably whither away without touring. I need to do it.

One other band that I must say I was really impressed with is Parade (who opened for Edward’s show at the Music Gallery). I like the decisions that they’ve made, and where they’re going – it’s very exciting, I really like them a lot. I liked them when they opened for the Dots here a couple of years ago, but they blew me away this time. And there’s Mauve Sideshow. That’s a good new band. They haven’t been around long, and they sound unlike anything else. It’s the outgrowth of Kangaroo Kourt. Yeah, when I hear something like that, it makes me feel really warm – knowing that there are still guys who do it to make a strange kind of headspace, and they do it well.

GC: Do you read much, or see many films?

EK: Not much, since I’m usually so busy working. I’d like to see more films. I went to see “Jurassic Park” (laughs). It’s the first movie I’d seen for a year. We had a babysitter for a night, so it was sort of like, “well, what the hell, let’s go see what everybody’s talking about” – and I really enjoyed it, it was good entertainment.

I read when I can. I’m particularly fond of Harlan Ellison. I really like Robert Sheckley – he’s one of the few people who makes me laugh out loud on tube trains and get the whole carriage staring at me. Yeah, mainly sci-fi writers. In a way, I think “science fiction” is a pretty poor term for what these guys are actually doing. Guys like Ellison sort of defy catagorization, I think.

GC: What brought about the decision for the Dots to start their own CD label?

EK: Poverty again, actually. (laughs) We’d had a very good couple of years after THE MARIA DIMENSION. It got to the point where we moved to a place that’s not very expensive by Canadian standards, but very expensive by Pink Dots standards – it costs about $800 a month between four of us. That’s a lot – it sounds crazy, but it really is. This year, unfortunately, has turned out to be one of the worst years financially that we’ve ever had. It’s due to a number of factors: we had $3000 stolen – pickpocketed – as we began the American tour, in Amsterdam airport, before we even got on the plane, and that was a BIG blow. SHADOW WEAVER and MALACHAI did not do so well. All these factors added up to sort of warning lights all around, and it was sort of like “what could we do to put this on level again?”. And the fact is, if you release a CD yourself, and you sell 1000, it’s the equivilent of selling 20,000 CD’s through the record company.

GC: Even through a small company like Play It Again Sam?

EK: Play It Again Sam isn’t a small record company anymore, they’re a big record company. And that’s not bad mouthing them, they’ve been more than fair to us. So anyway, we came up with the idea of starting our own label. And the thing is as soon as you start the idea of your own label, the idea of the money you’ll make becomes extremely secondary – I mean, “Four Days” is our first release (a CD re-release of a cassette only album from 1990), but our next release is going to be typically obscure: an album of 300 copies, which will make us absolutely no money at all (laughs). But everybody’s very excited by it, and Play It Again Sam (who will remain the Dots label for thier “major releases”) don’t mind because it doesn’t get in their way at all. We’ll do it mainly from home – people can write to us and order them directly, and it builds the relationship with the people who listen.

GC: Will the 300 copy album be new or old material?

EK: It’ll be new stuff. We’ve already got it recorded, in fact. Another future project is that we may re-issue the tracks off of that 3 inch CD (initial copies of THE MARIA DIMENSION in Europe included a bonus 3 inch CDEP) as part of a compilation.

GC: That’s good, ’cause I don’t think many copies of that release made it over to North America.

EK: Yeah, it’s frustrating for us, and it’s heartbreaking as well. I don’t understand why it was so hard to find. It’s not like it’s *that* limited – there were 3000 of them. But after 2 months of it being out, I didn’t see it anywhere either. People are asking and asking about it, and we’ve heard stories about it selling at record fairs for 100 dollars and stuff like that – that was never our intention. I mean, “Four Days” was done in an edition of 100, and it took us six months to sell 100, because we only allowed it to go through the mail. It was there for everyone, and it wasn’t expensive either – it was 12 dollars or something. So then we thought it logical that something like the limited MARIA DIMENSION would be around for a while.

GC: What’s the situation as far as CD releases of your solo material? Of the three that have been released on CD, only TANITH and aaAZHYD seem to be easy to find…

EK: Oh, aaAZHYD is *lousy* to find on CD! In Europe, aaAZHYD and TANITH are basically unavailable. I was happy to see that TANITH is easy to find here. CHYEKK is unavailable – it’s been unavailable for a number of years. I had a fright the other day ’cause I thought I’d lost my own copy (laughs) – but I found it, it was under the couch or something.

As for the other stuff, I don’t have the masters. I actually used bootlegs that I did myself for LAUGH (the re-release) and THIN BLUE LINE (a vinyl-only retrospective from a couple of years ago). THIN BLUE LINE is likelier than LAUGH to be released on CD simply because of the quality of what I have to use. KHATACLIMICHI will come out on CD. EYES will come out on CD, ’cause that’s the rarest of the lot. But I just wish some of the more recent releases were available – like I said, aaAZHYD is horrible to get.

GC: Is that Torso’s fault (the label aaAZHYD is on)?

EK: Yeah, plus the fact that I can’t even afford to get copies of aaAZHYD. They sell it to me at 25 guilders (around $18 CDN) a shot! But I don’t think it’s around anymore. Torso might still have some there, but I don’t think so. It’s a shame, because it’s the one that people want a lot.

The things that have already been re-released have already disappeared, and Torso is too big a company and PIAS is too big a company for the solo stuff – they can only sell 4 or 5 thousand of them, so they’re not so interested in them. The only real reliable way to get this stuff is again directly from us – when something new comes out, it’s there for a while from us. But when it’s gone, it’s really gone. Like THE ILLUSION – it’s ominous that it’s going to disappear very, very soon. But we have copies over there. Kevin at Robot is great – he could afford to press 1000, and that’s what he did. He’s already sent me 65, and he’s sending another 35. We’re not selling them to distributors, just to people. We’re finding it hard to cope with the number of people who actually want it, and it’s tending to get very expensive in Europe. I’ve seen a wholesale price on it which is the same as what we actually sell it for, and that means it’s gonna be ridiculously expensive in Europe. I know the price that Kevin is selling it for, and there’s no real excuse for it to go up like that.

 

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