Chain D.L.K.: So first off, how was the tour with Death In June and Non? You guys put on an excellent show at the Congress Theatre here in Chicago (readers see review under the Concerts and Events forum).
Luftwaffe: J1: I’d say that was our best show yet. The venue was perfect and the sound was flawless. It’s nice to play a show without being compromised by technical difficulties.
b9 InViD: We appreciate the kind words, and feel that the Chicago show at the Congress Theatre was our best performance to date. We were not, however, touring with Death In June. We were rather merely asked by Douglas P. , via Tesco USA, to perform on that single date. That was ultimately, from my perspective, the greatest compliment to our art.
Chain D.L.K.: How did it feel, as a relatively new band, to have Douglas Pearce of Death In June dedicate a song to you?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: It was a brilliant moment. Moreover, the fact that the particular song was “Kameradschaft”, meaning Camaraderie or brotherhood, was a flattering expression of friendship. I had not been so moved in a long, long time.
Chain D.L.K.: For those who have not had the honor of hearing Luftwaffe yet, how would you describe just your sound to them?
Luftwaffe: J1: Thank you. We combine many different styles and influences. Besides myself and B9, our work is also flavored by N2 ItinitI and Sasha Feline of Valence who have collaborated with us both in our recordings and our live performances, including the show at the Congress Theatre. We also have collaborated with noise artists such as Nookleptia and David Oakspawn of State Research Bureau. We have been influenced by everyone we have collaborated with and it lends our music a great deal of diversity which makes it hard to definitively describe our sound.
Chain D.L.K.: How would you explain your philosophy? I’m sure there’s many out there who are not familiar with the ways of Solipsism.
Luftwaffe: J1: I don’t know that I would place solipsism at the core of our philosophy. I don’t see our evocation of solipsism as a statement of fact, rather I see it as an orientation. For me it is a nostrum against the age-old dilemma of the individual within a social context. As domesticated beings we are forced to live in a society and to interact with society both as an individual and as a component within that society. In terms of will and self-determination it becomes difficult to determine where the society ends and the individual begins. Of course this is intolerable to the artist who strives towards self-expression yet finds all their work marred by this unwanted social conditioning. Typically the artist resorts to using their art to combat and condemn society. Unfortunately this only serves to make society more real and in fact strengthen and define social structures. Even in rebelling, the artist ultimately capitulates to society by adding to the dialectic that all structures require in order to exist. My solution to this dilemma is to simply not acknowledge society, to mentally negate it, to withdraw from the dialogue. There is a popular bumper sticker that reads, “Kill your television”, I agree, but why stop there? As I am a part of a species that is by nature domestic, this can only be achieved by endeavoring to adopt a Solipsist perspective.
Chain D.L.K.: How would you compare it to the ideas of Nietzscheism, Marxism, or even the philosophy of Shopenhauer? Reading up a bit more on it, it seems to have a bit in common with Schopenhauer.
Luftwaffe: J1: I will say that I believe it to be compatible with Nietzsche’s ideas concerning the primacy of will. It has little in common with Marxism as the problems it strives to address are individual rather than societal.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you get to the name Luftwaffe?
Luftwaffe: J1: Luftwaffe began as a one-time performance art project B9 and I were going to enact at an event B9 had organized to display the work of various local artists. We were then playing in separate bands and intended merely to bang on metal, make electronic noise and shout rude abrasive rhetoric. Luftwaffe seemed the perfect name for such an endeavor. As B9 and I began collaborating more frequently and began to develop and explore our own ideas the name Luftwaffe took on a greater significance and we chose to retain it. Luftwaffe means “air weapon” or “the sky, armed”. Sounds travel through the ether and the sounds we make are designed to inflict harm.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice a uniform look going on to the band with all black and blond hair? Is every naturally blonde or was it bleached to gain that uniform look?
Luftwaffe: J1: We do strive towards a uniform look but believe it or not, we’ve all been bleaching our hair long before we met and male pattern balding and peroxide is doing to my hair what scissors and clippers do to B9’s.
b9 InViD: I do augment my hair, although it was as white when I was a child.
Chain D.L.K.: Joining alongside Death in June and Non, you have endured a lot of wrongful Nazi accusations for your militant stance (does anyone else smell a Laibach-type scandal happening all over again? ). What would say to the accusers and for those who only know the accusations of the band?
Luftwaffe: J1: I believe that the act of perceiving and interpreting art is a personal idiosyncratic process and it is a creative process as much as is the creation of art. I would think that anyone who concludes we are Nazis on the basis of our song lyrics is engaged in such a process and their conclusions reveal more about themselves than it does about us. I am happy to say that it is a very small minority who regard us in this way and I do very much appreciate your review stating as fact that we are not Nazis. Having to justify myself is an unwanted distraction from my artistic endeavors. Beyond that I am opposed to censorship, regardless of what is being censored. If you don’t like something don’t read, watch, or listen to it. The censors of the left are no better than those of the right, and they are the lowest most pitiful manifestations of humanity. It is the most wretched form of insecurity that demands that everyone thinks as oneself. They merit nothing more than contempt and ire.
b9 InViD: We make no secret about our intentions and our cosmology. If one explores our art, these will be made clear. It is a waste of time to expend energy explaining what we aren’t, when we must use our time to expound on what we are. There are those who justify their existence vicariously through ignorant derision of the creative power of others. Their names will die a much-deserved death and will ultimately be forgotten.
Chain D.L.K.: Where did some of the samples come from, such as the “Pray for Mojo” sample in “The Dead Do Not Revolt” (I’m thinking of the “Pray for Mojo” episode of the Simpsons where Homer had the monkey, but I may be very wrong)?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: Although a magician does not reveal his tricks, and a musician does not reveal his samples (there is some fun in hearing a band’s sample source by random chance), I will tell you the source of that one. I will certainly misspell the Swahili, but phonetically it is “Tiga Moto! “, and comes from the excellent Barbet Schroeder documentary “General Idi Amin Dada”. It is the opening to a speech by Amin, and for a goodly amount of time I was unsure of its meaning. On a business related errand, I took a taxi and noticed a Ugandan flag hanging from the rear view mirror. I asked the driver if he was from Uganda, and he replied he was and that he spoke Swahili. I said that Idi Amin began his speeches with; and as I said the phrase, he immediately completed it and repeated it over and over with vigor “Tiga Moto! Tiga Moto! ” He said that it basically meant, “Let’s go and kick their ass! ” He, then he became distressed that I would have such interest in Idi Amin. I did give him a liberal tip, however!
Chain D.L.K.: How do you prepare the anger for the live show? Does it come natural or is there a routine you do to heighten the mood?
Luftwaffe: J1: I haven’t really thought about that, but I am flattered. I suppose, as Marshall McLuhen has said, “the medium is the message”. I think the presentation of our work is inseparable from the material being presented. Speaking for myself, the words I write create the manner in which they are articulated, believe it or not I do the same routine even in the recording studio, I don’t think it would sound the same if I didn’t. Of course I’m not like that on aday-to-day basis. I’ll admit that sometimes during performances I’m a bit nervous that the monster I’m gleefully creating just might turn around and bite me.
b9 InViD: A half an hour in public is all the anger-development I need. Try riding the L train at 5pm M-F.
Chain D.L.K.: Talking to you guys, you seem to have an avid interest in World War 2 history (hehe I’m guilty as hell on this one! ). Where did the interest start foryou?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: The interest in that period revolves more around me than j1. It all stems from historical conscienceless ness, and also from my interest in ancient Rome. In “Theatre History I”, one of many theatre classes I took in college, the great lack of regard for humanity in the form of Roman Theatre and Spectacle was introduced to me. Some examples: At one point a life size hollow bronze bull was used in the Circus Maximus, and prisoners/xians were put inside and a fire was lit under it. The cries of pain from within made the bull seem to bellow, which amused the crowd. One of the many C Caesars, who was 17, decided to stage Greek Tragedies with slaves/prisoners as actors who would actually enact the rapes andmurders—even the eye-gouging scene from Oedipus was enacted, with the reward being freedom for the newly blinded slave. The lack of regard and conscience from that time was certainly something that could be explored, but being tactile, I enjoy artifacts and remnants of such things. With the ERA from 1923-1945, not only is there such a titanic amount ofinformation, which allows constant discovery of facts and events in; but, also the world is filled with an abundance of artifacts, which lend another dimension to the history. In both time periods, it is not the political ideologies that I adhere to, but rather the Nihilistic methodology and side effects. Go back intime and accuse Claudius, Tiberius or Hitler of Nihilism and expect to be dispatched; but those were the side benefits of the doctrines. In the constantcycle of it all, we are beginning to experience the exact same conditions in our time. We need a Tabula Rasa.
Chain D.L.K.: How does that period, the struggles and tragedies of it, come through in the music?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: None of our music really reflects the Second World War or history of that time. Our music reflects, in part, a nihilistic view in which regard forhumanity is negated. Through Solipsistic enlightenment, it becomes clear that the greatest number of people are merely phantoms being created through the collective subconscious, and thus have no substance in the truest sense. Disregard for their existence is only natural and requires no secondthought.
Chain D.L.K.: I also read where you make a lot of your own symbols. How did you come up with the ideas for them? Was it something long and drawn out or more stream ofconscience?
Luftwaffe: J1: The symbols serve two purposes, they are an artistic aesthetic and they are an expression of identity. The symbols we create are an attempt to communicate complex ideas in shorthand, yet after they are created they take on new meaning as we observe and define them. As I have said, observing and interpreting art is as much a creative process as is the creation of art. The symbols we deploy allow us to take part in both sides of this on-going creative process. Moreover, the symbols identify us and set us apart. During our live performances we display banners imprinted with our symbols, in doing so we are claiming that space. It is a form of communication that our art be presented alongside symbols of our making and that it be cognitively associated with them.
Chain D.L.K.: The whole neo-folk scene has an affinity for symbolism. What is your take on their effect on people?
Luftwaffe: J1: Symbols have always been the basis of human interaction. In fact sociologists speak of “symbolic interactionism” as the definitive basis of humanconsciousness. Throughout history and within all cultures, all levels of society from civic to religious sectors have deployed symbols. In the U. S. a red octagon will always mean stop. A star will always denote some level of authority. In fact what are the letters of the alphabet if not symbols? A symbol is simply a representation. It stands between the observer and the observed. The neo-folk scene tends to make frequent use of more archaic symbols, I believeit is to take people from their contemporary environment and create a new imprint. It is a powerful form of communication and a vital part of creating anew culture.
Chain D.L.K.: What does the hand sign you guys do in the green photo mean?
Luftwaffe: J1: I call it the sign of opening. It’s a manual representation of the Trephane Form.
b9 InViD: In the photo to which you refer, the spherical hand gesture I am doing is in reference to the Event Nihility. The Event Nihility (1966) was thepoint in time in which the Horologist John (J1) Constance trepanated, transcended time and became Mein Nihil, The Etic Phantasm. The sphere is representative of the Meta-Kronosphere, the sphere of existence in which all-possible events are held. The forehead placement represents the trepanation and placement of the Trephane Clock, a device (inserted in the trepanned hole) upon whose shape our symbol is based.
Chain D.L.K.: You guys come from Missouri, a very unusual place for such music. How does that environment affect the music in general, versus if you lived in the Upper Franconian Woods in Germany?
Luftwaffe: J1: We probably wouldn’t fit in too well in Upper Franconian Woods in Germany. I’m originally from San Diego and moved to Missouri seven years ago with my brother and his girlfriend. It was there that I met B9.
B9: I am not sure that our music has a usual place.
Chain D.L.K.: I also read where you are into Skull Trepanation. What exactly is this, and does it figure into the music?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: Skull trepanation is the making of a hole in the skull in order to restore brain pulsation, and increase consciousness and Brainbloodvolume. It is the oldest form of surgery, next to amputation, and has been practiced for over two thousand years. Before the age of physical maturity, the skull sutures have not yet sealed thus allowing the brain to pulsate more freely with the heartbeat. This freedom of pulsation allows children to learn, experience more active spatial creativity and gives them more energy and expanded consciousness without augmentation through various vices. Upon maturity, the sutures seal thusseverely reducing the space in which the brain can expand. Skull trepanning recreates the space necessary to allow restoration of proper Brainbloodvolume. The modern movement was begun in the 1960s by Dutch Scientist Bart Huges, who used an electric drill in front of his bathroom mirror, and expounded on theexperience and results in his works “Trepanation: The Cure for Psychosis” and “HOME SAPIENS CORRECTUS (The Mechanism of Brainbloodvolume) “. Other trepanees ofthe time are Joe Mellen (author of Bore Hole as well as several trepanation folk songs, which we are recording) and Amanda Feilding, who not only made a documentary film of her own self-trepanation, but also has run for British Parliament on the platform of “Trepanation for the National Health” or state funded trepanation on demand. I recommend the documentary “A Hole in the Head” available on TREPAN. com. Our interest in Trepanning is in reference to John Constance, the horologist who used trepanation as a medium for transcendence of time in order to restore time’s sentience.
Chain D.L.K.: You guys are also philosophy writers, with a few pamphlets passed at the shows. Do you ever plan to make a major publication of these works?
Luftwaffe: J1: Aside from philosophical essays we are also writing some works of fiction. N2 ItinitI has been exploring techniques of bookbinding. Our intention is to produce a handmade volume of our collected works of fiction.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you get into speaking German? You guys did one song where you spoke it quite fluently, to the point I thought you were from Germany!
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: I learned German in college, albeit my last trip to Germany proved to me how marginal my German actually is, although it has improved since. The German song we do is one that we have modified; yet the lyrics are not ones that I wrote independently. It was originally titled “Sturmstaffel Marschleid”, the Sturmstaffel being a division of the Luftwaffe in which the pilots flew wearing body armor and in specially armored planes in order to ram and essentially scythe enemy planes from the sky (Ich Ramme! ), although the tune does not really reflect that. I reworked some of the words so they would be in reference to Kalki as opposed to any sort of aviation. The music itself is our own, and performing that song tends to blow out my pipes and leave me hoarse for a week.
Chain D.L.K.: How did you start to incorporate military style drumming into your formula?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: This is in great part attributable to our good friend Jeremy Engel, who performs with the band Dripping Rictus. He was in the Drum Corps in High School, and was a marching drummer who played the Quint-toms. After he told us about his history in drumming, we invited him to rehearse with us and he played our songs as if he’d been with us from the genesis! He is a great asset, and will be appearing on future recordings and in performances.
Chain D.L.K.: Does it ever pose a problem switching between the anger of the military pieces and the controlled freneticism of the neo-folk pieces?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: I find both avenues equally as angry.
Chain D.L.K.: There also is a very nihilist edge to the lyrics? In Nietzscheism nihilism signals a death of the will and a hatred of self, yet also many others argue it is from the constant futility of trying to change everything around oneself. What is your take on Nihilism?
Luftwaffe: J1: Well said. The later is the product of the former. I consider nihilism as a death of the spirit. Whether or not Nietzsche was ultimately a materialist is hotly debated and is, indeed, debatable. Nevertheless Nietzsche chose to deploy materialistic terminology and thus relegated the realm of the spirit to “will”. Unfortunately N2 ItinitI is far more well versed in Nietzsche than am I, but I believe Nietzsche was fore heralding an age of rampant nihilism. I believe that age is now upon us, it is on one hand a unique crisis that could be the death of our species. However, it could also be a point from which to evolve from. It could be the catalyst to change that would bring humanity to a long overdue maturity. Whether we are entering a chrysalis or a coffin just may be the choice of this generation.
B9: I believe that Nietzsche was fore heralding an age of Nihilism. He seemed to see this as a frightening prospect, but at the same time, as a test that humanity must endure. We have entered that age.
Chain D.L.K.: What inspires the Nihilism?
Luftwaffe: J1: It is inspired by its advent. The age of nihilism is upon us. The veils that have mercifully shielded us from the one consistent object of human endeavor–transcendence–are being pulled aside and we are seeing the cathedral to be barren. No God. No wisdom. No love. We are children without a parent, we have no one but ourselves and how insignificant and transitory we are! If this crisis is going to be dealt with it must be acknowledged. It has always fallen to the artist to open up a window to the world and force people to see and feel things. Mere words or ideas will not suffice. We are striving to do this by embracing nihilism, making it ours then spewing it back at the world. Is it going to be a chrysalis or a coffin? I don’t care which, but I hope humanity meets with one or the other soon.
Chain D.L.K.: Does the Nihilism proceed or supersede the idea of a Solipsist revolution, such as the law of destruction before creation (remember everyone, destruction is not an enemy of creation, it is an ally to creation! )?
Luftwaffe: J1: Yes! Destruction is a necessary precursor to creation and often-different parties are called upon to fulfill these respective duties. My role in this endeavor is and always has been that of destroyer. Some of us are to some extent considering potential solutions to this crisis, but we are aware this is, at present beyond us. What’s needed now is the destruction and abandonment of anachronistic structures and institutions. Beyond that, at present we are neither considering or advocating a “solipsist revolution”, it is simply a personal orientation, and an intermediary stage to invoking that which we are striving to manifest.
Chain D.L.K.: In the subtler context of Nihilism, the unseen kind, how would you compare the Nihilism and self-destruction of the human versus the destruction an animal commits by instinct?
Luftwaffe: J1: That’s a fine line. The essential reasons are, perhaps the same. Yet as domesticated primates we have this thing called language which permits us to justify our actions but also encodes them, preserves them and compels us to remember. In a word, conscience.
Chain D.L.K.: Does it feel odd being a more organic band in a scene (the Goth scene, which neo-folk falls under) where club-oriented songs are taking over?
Luftwaffe: J1: I have somewhat grown out of the gothic scene. The music we’re creating both individually and collaboratively, is being created for our own benefit. If other people enjoy it, that’s great; but, on the whole we are our own target audience.
B9 InViD: I don’t feel us to be part of any scene. There seem to be a few bands of a similar ilk scattered around the globe, but the overriding themes do not seem terribly club oriented.
Chain D.L.K.: The Goth scene is very much looking for something new in direction, even branching off into synth-pop and even making up the dreaded Future-pop. Do you think neo-folk and march music could penetrate the genre one day?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: The penetration has already occurred. Those who desire more to their music than a mere scary techno-beat to flail about to and shake their PVC ass, have been seeking out the more intellectually geared Neo-folk genre. Art with a solid vision, as opposed to being made simply to get people on the dance floor, is the next phase in the evolution of gothic interest. The gradual decline that I have noticed in Goth club attendance (my own attendance being in decline also) is based on the loss of meaningful music, which is replaced with Electro Goth Dance, which has no ideological goal, nor to be frank, any soul. When one stays home, he or she can be their own DJ, evade the cover charge and enjoy diversions generally frowned upon in public places.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice you guys both speak with a very Lovecraftian prose. Is this from avid reading or from another source?
Luftwaffe: J1: I am an avid reader. I never regarded our prose as Lovecraftian, but thank you.
B9 InViD: I have not read any Lovecraft, so it seems my poetical style has no firm basis in that regard.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you guys have any publishing and writing experience on a college level?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: My degree is in Acting, although I wrote a stylistic analysis of a play called “Miracle” which appeared in the published and translated edition that I presented at The Eastern European conference at the University of Missouri in 1996. Sadly, I don’t have a copy of the play script.
J1: I was a journalism major a at San Diego State University and served an internship as managing editor for a publication put out by a non profit organization.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you ever considered writing a novel someday, kind of like a Solipsist parable?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: I have written the greater part of a screenplay based on the philosophy of John Constance, titled “Event Nihility”. When it is completed, I intend to begin producing it as a film. There are a few of our writings on our site, as well as more in the “Et Nihil 1” publication that accompanied our album “The Trepan of the Clock”.
J1: Yes, but my attention span seems to lend itself better to short stories.
Chain D.L.K.: Are the flutes going to become a regular part of the band or is this just for a couple of songs?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: Sasha Feline (Valence/SCSI) is skilled in several instruments as well as being an excellent vocalist. She played flute in the Oct 20th and will in the Nov. 8th shows, in lieu of our violinist. We hope Sasha will be a long time collaborator, and will play flute on our new recordings.
Chain D.L.K.: When you said “We’ll rip your world to shreds” was this more of a context of man as world or the world in general?
Luftwaffe: J1: All we have of the world is our perception of it as it is broadcast to us via our senses. There is, thus a proprietal aspect to our relationship with the “world”. When I say “we’ll rip your world to shreds”, I am referring to tearing down peoples’ perceptions, and relieving them of any sense of security.
Chain D.L.K.: When I see the title of Sugarlack, I keep thinking of Hypoglycemia (a reverse form of diabetes), but I’m thinking I’m wrong on that. Where did that title come from?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: “Sugarlack” is one of several Trepanation folk songs written in the 60s by British trepanee and author Joe Mellen. We plan to record all of his songs “The Great Brain Robbery”, “Brainbloodvolume”, “Talking Hairless Ape”, “Little Adult” and release a complete CD of them this winter (packaged with a 1/8 inch drill bit, for restoring proper pulsation) which will be titled “Brainbloodvolume”. I contacted Joe Mellen via email with our intentions, and he gave us his lyrics and blessing. Old school folk singer Julie Felix recorded “Sugarlack” as well as “Brainbloodvolume” in the 60s. I recently got the album with the former, which is not as morose as our version, but groovy nonetheless! I emailed Julie about writing some liner notes for the CD, yet she has not yet responded, sadly.
Chain D.L.K.: Who is this Adam Qadmon mentioned in “36 Faces of Adam Qadmon”?
Luftwaffe: j1: The concept of Adam Qadmon derives from Kabalism, an esoteric Judaic tradition which was revived during the European occult revival. Adam Qadmon represents the perfect man–Adam prior to the fall. It is the esoteric reclamation of the Garden of Eden. The 36 Faces of Adam Qadmon was inspired by a story that N2 ItinitI is writing.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of your favorite authors?
Luftwaffe: J1: Phillip K. Dick, Christopher Priest, Jonathan Letham, Neil Stephenson, Olaf Stapledon, Thomas Ligotti, Kobo Abe.
B9 InViD: Antonin Artaud, Andre Breton, Tristan Tzara, Amiri Baraka, Charles Marowitz, Maritn Esslin, Jane Arden.
Chain D.L.K.: Favorite musicians and films? What bands would you recommend in the current scene of music?
Luftwaffe: b9 InViD: The majority of musicians I enjoy I now know personally. The films of David Cronenberg top the list (in my humble opinion, he is an infallible director): Scanners, Videodrome, The Brood, Dead Ringers, eXistenz, Rabid, The Fly, Crimes of the Future, Shivers÷my goal as an actor is to be directed in a Cronenberg Film. Others: Salo: 120 Days of Sodom, films of Jörg Buttgereit, Nekromantik I and II, Der Tötesking, Corpse Fucking Art (doc), A Hole in the Dead (doc), Idi Amin Dada (doc), Mosley, The Dark Backward, Forbidden Zone, Tron, Robocop 2, Marquis, The Thing, Romper Stomper, The Quiet Earth, Phantasm (s), Up in Smoke, Wild at Heart.
Chain D.L.K.: What is your take on the current state of the Goth scene?
Luftwaffe: B9: It is desperately seeking new avenues, but is falling short of finding them.
Chain D.L.K.: How are you guys enjoying the more political environment in Chicago where more liberal politics can flow, versus the massively conservative Missouri?
Luftwaffe: J1: I have lived in several cities and find that people tend to be the same anywhere in the US, and the differences are minor.
b9 InViD: The women are more flaky here.
Visit Luftwaffe on the web at:
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton] [proofreading by Erica Breyer]