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INTERVIEW WITH CARL MCCOY
FIGHT AMNESIA MAGAZINE


On the 26th of March, Andreas from SPV gave us a call and asked if we would be interested in doing an interview with Carl McCoy at the Café Zentral, in Cologne the next day. So we set off on the 27th, listening again to the new Nefilim album in the car and wondering how we could fit in half an hour the thousand questions that came to our mind to ask a person whose work we appreciate so much and whose music has been for many years a ship sailing us in the seas of our own feelings as well as in his. Still, it's imposible to cover a person and a life's work within a few pages. So this is just a glimpse into Carl McCoy's world and current activities...

Janis: First of all a stereotype question. Could you tell us something about the members of the band?
Carl McCoy: This is Cian, my bass player. He's worked with us on the album. There's another two musicians I've been working with, Simon and Paul, guitarist and drummer. And that's really the core of the recording musicians and projects.

Janis: Is this the same line-up we saw you at the Zillo festival in 1993?
Carl McCoy: Yeah.

Janis: As far as we know from the Zillo festival as well as from bootlegs, the material for your album already existed a few years ago. Why did it take so long to be released?
Carl McCoy: Most of the material was pretty much in a finished state a couple of years ago, yeah, but not all of it. The reason it took so long is because we went into the situation where we had to finish everything and mix it and stuff like that. And we worked with a couple of different producers and it weren't happening. So we were wasting a lot of time with three different producers and I didn't like the results basically. So, we scrapped it and started again. You know, it wasn't working out well. All the technology and the live side of what we were doing wasn't blending right, it was all too separated. So it was either sounding like a Rock band or sounding just like a lot of samples and stuff so that it didn't work. So I went to sort of make a decision and said: No! So, we spent probably about a year and a half with our time wasted with other people really.

Janis: I know what you mean.
Carl McCoy: Yeah. That's the main reason why it took so long. It wasn't really what I thought it would be. It was a bit out of our hands. So, like about a year ago I just took it into my own hands and sort of organized the whole thing and we finished it. It wasn't the way we planned it, but that's the way it turned out.

Janis: We listened to a demo of yours a few years ago and there are two songs "Red 777" and "Sensorium". What happened to these songs? You didn't feel that they fit the concept of your album?
Carl McCoy: Not five years later, no. About four years ago, great, a crossover. It was in between what I've done and what I'm doing now, but to release that stuff now it doesn't fit. You know, it doesn't fit at all. I mean there was a lot of material that people will never hear that was just gone by the way side, you know. I had to make a decision on what belongs now and what fits.

Janis: We got a promo-paper by SPV and it says that the album was completed in total isolation and that you were involved not only as the singer but as a musician, composer and sound engineer as well. What I'd like to ask is where does collaboration with the other members start for you and where does it end?
Carl McCoy: What's finished, I suppose, you're talking about, the finished album.
Janis: I mean the whole development of the band. How do you collaborate and communicate with the other members when you compose a song, when you mix or produce the album.
Carl McCoy: Well, every song has probably a different answer really. I mean, at the end of the day there was some collaboration on the writing side, musically and that. Some of the songs are written by all of us, some are written by a couple of us, some are written by me. There's no rules or anything as far as that goes. It has turned out the way it has and now I think it's just the way it is. Who knows how it's gonna end up.

O.K. We have now some questions about the album, like about the title. We are Greeks and the title ZOON means in Greek something that lives. It comes from "zwon", which means a living creature.
Katerina: It means animal.
Carl McCoy: Beast.

Katerina: Yes, exactly: beast! zw means live and on means being. Is it this, for you?
Carl McCoy: I think it's a great title. It suits. I mean I sort of adopted the name and made it what I wanted it to be, but that's where it was derived from, the Greek, yes.
Not many people know that. So that's quite cool, I think, that somebody spotted it.

Katerina (showing a drawing done by Carl McCoy, from "The Watchman" fanzine, where the word ZOON appears among others): Is there a connection between the album and this drawing then?
Carl McCoy: Well, there's obviously a connection, cause I've done all that stuff myself, you know. So, everything I do is all connected, isn't it? There's this huge web and so they all are interconnected. With that particular illustration you're talking about?

Katerina: Yes.
Carl McCoy: Mmm, not really! Everything fits and everything belongs to everything else and everything that I've done in the past is interconnected.

Janis: We have found some parallels to your drawing and this one (showing a drawing illustrating the Kabbala, from the book LIBER NULL & PSYCHONAUT by Peter J. Carroll).
Carl McCoy: What's that? LIBER NULL?

Janis: Yes. For example, there are some similarities with your drawing, like depression and elation and pleasure and sex and in between is pain and in your illustration ZOON is in the position of pain. To me this means that ZOON is something that has life and consequently it feels pain. Do you see any connection to this? Like that life is combined with pain and everything that lives experiences pain?
Carl McCoy: Yes, I understand what you're saying. Yes, obviously, it has to.

Janis: We have discovered this effect of the double in your whole work. People tend to discriminate between good and bad, between opposites in general and they cannot comprehend the complexity of the human mind. What we believe is that all powers are needed in order to advance. For example, you know William Blake
Carl McCoy: Yes.

Janis: He writes in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" that "Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. Contraries are necessary to Human existence."
Carl McCoy: You can't have one without the other, that's what you're saying?

Janis: Yes. So, philosophically, do you consider the Nefilim as a negative power or as an instigator to thought and action?
Carl McCoy: To sum it up in a few words, I wouldn't say it's a negative power. I mean that's down to the user, isn't it?

Janis: Yeah, I mean negative, the way people consider negative or evil or bad.
Carl McCoy: Well, that's down to the individual how they want to interpret it. It's all there, mate. Would you feel it's negative?

Katerina: No, we don't feel that the Nefilim is something negative. We think that it's in us as an essential power in order to advance...
Carl McCoy: That's right.

Katerina: ...it can bring progress, it can be the instigator, the force to go ahead and to think.
Carl McCoy: It's not negative to me.

Janis: Negative powers are for example any political powers...
Katerina: Or ignorance.
Janis: Yes, ignorance, resignation, apathy, ...
Carl McCoy: Man made negative. I know exactly.

Janis: We know a line of yours which is "We must suffer, to free our pain." Does pain represent for you a creative source and how do you define this freeing kind of suffering?
Carl McCoy: It is a very creative source, yeah. I mean, you have to experience that, otherwise you're never going to better yourself. I think I would never be a person to be able to write the type of way that I write and the sort of music that I write if it was all very "comfortable", you know?...
I have had to experience a lot of situations which had been very odd and painful and therefore always something positive comes out for me, or something creative. And that's something I can only go for, it's not something that someone could inspire me. It's something that I have to do. I'm sure you know that, it's something that you have to do yourself and go through. So, yeah, I find it very creative.

Katerina: But most of the people today avoid to suffer or to feel. They just want to be "happy" and comfortable.
Carl McCoy: Yeah, but if I wanted that, I would have just carried on doing what I was doing and just sailing along with it on a cloud, but No. It's to do something which I feel was very challenging to myself and to better myself and achieve my own goals, then each time you have a high point you got equally after the low point. And it just so happens I feel like it has taken a lot out of me creating this album and therefore I've been down lower than I've ever been, but also I've been up higher as well, to extremes.

Katerina: Have you been trying with your lyrics to show people that they have to try and to suffer in order to change themselves to the better, instead of being content in their small "happy" world?
Carl McCoy: No, my lyrics are not there to drive the people to think that it's the same for them that works for me. You know, that's the only way I can stress really. That's for me, it's not for other people. They've got their own lives and they've got their own ways of doing things and I wouldn't like to say "It's the right way of going there, being creative or something else."

Katerina: Yes, it sounds like a way of freedom and making choices and experiencing. I noticed when listening to the new album, a verse that says "this world of fucking hypocrites and liars". So this could be a way to push people to realize some things, or not?
Carl McCoy: That's the world from my eyes and it's a very untrue world out there, isn't it?... I'm aloud to say what I feel and it's all about feelings anyway really. It's not always so literal. It's not a statement as such for the people to be able to interpret and say "Oh, Carl McCoy thinks this and thinks that". It's true and it's not true.

Katerina: I didn't mean it like this, leading people or telling people what to think. I mean that Art can become a Hammer to change things.
Carl McCoy: Art is important. Magic and Creativity is the same thing.

Janis: Talking about Arts, there seems to be a big connection between lyrics, music and the Artwork.
Carl McCoy: It has to be. I can't have the one without the other. I mean, I couldn't just do music, because it's a very visual thing for me. It's another outlet. It's just like another way of me just being able to express a few ideas, "paint the picture". That's all I'm trying to do really, I think, it's to "paint the picture". You can read it in what way you want. When you separate the lyrics from the music, I don't always think such a good idea that of people. It doesn't work. It has to be done hand in hand.

Janis: O.K. Let's go back to the music. Your new songs bear a huge aggressiveness, which is expressed musically by somewhat Death Metal and Industrial elements, but your lyrics come from the same sources as they always have. What is the particular effect that aggressiveness gives to your new lyrics?
Carl McCoy: Now that you've mentioned it, it's like just another side of my personality. It's something that I couldn't have an outlet with the form of the band that I was involved before. So, I've found a new edge really in music to be able to acheive that other outlet, because otherwise I would just burst. It has always been in me. This is another part of me. And "Elizium" is like a very instictive kind of suppressed time. So with this album it had all to come out really.

Janis: I also think that there is a lurking melancholy all through the album as well as a feeling of being on the run, like a haunting effect.
Carl McCoy: It's been a lonely process.

Janis: I can understand that. Is this melancholy and this haunting touch connected with an apocalyptic vision concerning the development of the Earth or of the world as a whole?
Carl McCoy: Well, times have changed, haven't they? You're talking about five years have gone so that you have to update your thoughts and feelings. The "Nephilim" album was, by contrast to what I'm doing now, looking back, it was very old, very ancient, in fact, in what was being dug up on that album visually. And this album has been brought more up to date. I feel it is the same thought form running through it. It's just a different era really.

Janis: Do you think that your new songs are directed to your former audience or do you seek to approach a new audience with the new NEFILIM album? You know, the former audience was more Goth oriented and the new stuff is more aggressive...
Carl McCoy: I don't feel I'm aiming to any different, particularly, audience. Maybe, yeah, it can be more appealing to some other people, cause it has an added dimension, but I don't feel I've thrown anything away. And it's only one album as well. This isn't IT. This is my next album. It's a different album from my last album. I've been dealing with different thoughts and different feelings and times moved on. It's looking to the future this album, as well. I'm fed up with looking back, I'm looking forward. And so I feel that there will be some probably old fan base that probably don't like what I'm doing. But I think the fan base I had before, what they were into, where they were going, it wasn't developing, that wasn't going anywhere. The whole scene was pretty stagnant. It went as far as we went, from my point of view that is. It kind of went as far as we went and so I think that adding a new dimension and a new audience is great. Cause that's just like expanding the whole idea with what I'm doing and to me that's positive. It needs to be done. And I'm sure a lot of people will feel the same. No one wants to keep here in the same thing, turning round and round in circles. I've been round once or twice already. And I don't want to be going round again doing the same thing. So, no, I don't feel I've alienated any of my audience. Hopefully the ones that had ears for what I was doing and that were into the aspects which I put into the band will still like it. In fact, I think they should like it more, cause it's much more me. It's very uncompromised.

Janis: You said in the last issue of Watchman that you don't like Heavy Metal, that you hate it.
Carl McCoy: Yes. Heavy Metal in the cliche, old-fashioned, Iron Maiden and that sort of stuff. But Heavy Metal nowadays is very loose. I don't like any of these categories and these terms anyway, Heavy Metal, Goth. The lot doesn't mean anything to me. You know what I'm saying?

Janis: Yes, I'm of the same opinion as you.
Carl McCoy: I think we're an alternative to that, as well. I've always felt that I don't belong here or there or anywhere really and I still feel the same about that. We might have a Metal edge on this album, but that's just to help get the energy and power out of the music, which was lacking with what I was doing before.

Katerina: By looking at the titles of the songs, it seems to me that there is a concept or a cycle of life.
Carl McCoy: Yes, it is a complete circle, this album. It took me three albums to complete this circle before, but this album does it in one album. So I'm pleased about that. So, it is a concept, but I don't like the word concept.

Katerina: So, we can interpret it as we wish, since from every form of Art one gets what it means to him/her personally. But can you tell us what it means to you?
Carl McCoy: To me it's a very special album. I had to make massive sacrifices to be able to do this. And so it's very special to me, but to literally explain what it means to me is a very odd thing to translate, cause it normally comes across looking cheap. It's all there on the album, the feelings, the thoughts, the words, the music. It's up to people's interpretation. Do you like the album?

Janis: Yeah, we like it very much. Well, originally we had some problems with it.... (laughing)
Carl McCoy: Yeah, it's not instant, but the thing is that I don't think I've ever made an instant album. It has always taken a while to digest.

Janis: I like that each time I hear it I discover new things and this is important to me...
Carl McCoy: Great.

Janis: ...That's what I?m searching in music, because I do music myself.

Katerina: Perhaps you would like to say something about your future plans. Any dates which are confirmed, videos. We saw your video on MTV after the small talk with Vanessa Warwick....
Carl McCoy: (laughing) Well, it had to be done, didn't it?

Janis: Yeah, that's what we thought as well...
Carl McCoy: That's right. I mean, I'm not going on that show just because I think we've got this metal edge or anything like that. They asked me to go on there and to me it's all outlet. I don't care who buys the record, I just like people to appreciate what I'm doing. I'm not trying to appeal to certain people. Mostly I hope my old fans like it, that's what I wish. I hope that they like it firstly and understand what I've done. Not all of them will, but I think that the genuine core of them, that audience will. As far as dates go, we're doing some small gigs over in England and stuff like that, just because we haven't played for so long and we don't want to go out and absolutely just go for it. I think we would rather be more confident in ourselves and what we're doing and build it up gradually again. I think we're doing a festival, the ZILLO festival in summer. That's pretty much confirmed. I don't know what the date is though...

Janis: ...14th-15th of June...
Carl McCoy: Oh well. There you go. People have been speaking already. We'll be gigging over, of course we will, I want to. I like this country.

Janis: A full tour for Spring or Winter?
Carl McCoy: Hopefully before winter. I hope so. It's a bit confirmed at the moment. There's a lot going on, all of a sudden. This has only just started happening, so... anything could happen in the next half hour.(laughing)

Janis: True... And are you working on a second video-clip?
Carl McCoy: Yeah, there has been talk. Whether we'll take something of the album or not I don't know. I would like to take another track of the album, to do a video for an album track as opposed to single. I've never got on with singles. Singles have always been a funny area for me. I thought you can't just squash your year ideas to represent you into three minutes. The album is mostly important, but if I can do a video to an album track then that will please me.

Janis: Well, that's all for now, as other people are waiting, too. Thank you for this interesting meeting and good luck with everything!

Before leaving the room both Carl and Cian wished us all the best with "Into the Abyss." We then went out at the bar and had some drinks and couldn't help thinking that it would be just great to go on discussing with Carl and Cian, as during the interview we found our thoughts and theirs intertwining. Yet, the conversation is taken up anew every time we listen to the new album. Instants like this interview leave you with the same feeling that you experience after having listened to powerful music, read a "disturbing" book, entered the hidden world of a work of art or discussed with people that have the ability to listen, think deep and speak sincerely. That is, it spurs you on to plunge into your own sea of thought and experience.