Tony Wakeford has been playing music for
over 20 years now, and since he created Sol Invictus, his musical career
has been evolving ever so much with the years, creating his own personal
sound that is immediately recognazible amongst all others, by releasing
the best records you can listen to on earth. Each of his new projects brings
new directions, the latest being the amazing and beautiful "Three Nine"
with Matt Howden. Here is a small interview with Tony the apocalyptic troubadour,
the man with the most extraordinary sense of humour. Anyway a man who's
promoting the wonderful "cassoulets du Périgord" on the internet
can't obviously be a bad man.
* * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * *
Heimdallr : First of all, I’d like to ask you about Sol Invictus’ latest masterpiece, "In a Garden Green". The general atmosphere that I feel seems to me that of a symposium in a Renaissance garden, it reminds me Thomas Moore’s "Utopia". Where you inspired by that work, and what do you think about it?
Tony Wakeford : No, I was not, and I don’t know the work enough to comment. I havelong had an interest in and love of gardens and horticulture and in the symbolism and folklore entwined with it. My idea of heaven is an English Garden on a rainy day.
I was surprised to find a beautiful version of "Ave Maria" on the record. Sol Invictus has always been presented as a "pagan" group, and actually quite a few of your lyrics showed an open hostility to Christianity: I think, for example, of "Angels Fall", "Kneel to the Cross" or "Black Easter". Why did you choose to include that traditional prayer in "In a Garden Green"? Do you believe that, whether we want it or not, Christianity represents an important part of our cultural inherit?
Well there are many elements to Christianity I am against, but I find a lot of what passes as anti-Christian to be infantile and crass. If I find something beautiful, that’s good enough for me. There is too little beauty in the world as it is.
"The world and all its people die for dollars and for dime". Corruption and soulless materialism have always been amongst the main aspects of our age you criticise. "Gold is King", featured on "Trees in Winter", deals with the topic of usura and includes in its introduction Ezra Pound's famous Cantos XLV. What do you think should be done to fight western world's thirst for bullion?
I have no idea. I am as greedy as the next money-grabbing parasite! The fact is with the decline of religion and any concept not based on materialism, we only have money and the abyss.
Was "Against the Modern World" inspired by Julius Evola's homonymous book? Are he and Ezra Pound amongst your main inspirers? What are the most interesting and stimulating topics you find in their work?
Not at all. I tried to read one of Evola's books once but gave up. I just liked the phrase. I am nothing if not shallow. I think Pound is one of the greatest poets ever, although some of his work is mind-numbingly obscure. I disagree with his antisemitism but that should not blind people to his worth as an artist.
"Without love we are lost. Without love we are dust. Without love
we lose our souls".
What is your conception of love? Have you found love in your life and do you believe it is essential to our souls?
I have found love and I think it is essential to me. What it really is I don't rightly know! But I do know I am closer to dust without it.
Another theme which you have particularly at heart is our beloved
Europe. What have your feelings been towards the "Austria case"? Some newspapers
felt pleased to witness the first strong signal of aEurope finally united
not just on the economic side but also on the political one. Do you believe
that the EU is what our Land needs in
order to survive?
The EU is a corrupt, controlling, homogenising bureaucracy. What Europe needs is more diversity and creativity and less faceless timeservers on the gravy train.
In "English Murder", also featured on "Trees in Winter", you define
England as a "septic isle". Do you feel yourself as English and are you
deeply tied to your Land, or
do you feel your roots more as continental?
I do feel English. And I think my work is very English. There is a lot that is twisted in the English soul, but that is why it's been a home for a lot of creativity that has reacted to it and by it.
What is the European country you'd like to live in the most?
It changes. Parts of France and Italy still draw me. I like Brugge a lot. I have to say Portugal seemed very attractive on my last visit.
What do you think of the U.S.A.?
Very mixed feelings. Although founded by Europeans, it was based on
a rejection of Europe. Capitalism can be exciting and creative. It can
also produce mind-numbing horrors, but so can economic and politically
centralised totalitarianism. I found LA disgusting and the endless malls
and global brands depressing. But to be fair, so do a lot of Americans.
I'm pretty curious to ask you what your general view of humankind's
history is. Are you utterly pessimist, or do you see any light of hope?
Do you believe it is still possible to build a different and better society?
I am pessimistic. It may be me getting old, but people seem increasingly vicious and stupid. There is a sense of barbarism in the air.
Coming back to the musical field, I feel very glad to see the Tursa
family growing up day by day. Could you tell me something about Sieben's
debut album and your work
with Tor Lundvall?
Well, one of the major plusses of what I do is that it has led me to meet and work with very creative people. I consider Tor a very good friend and think he is a great artist. I am proud to the Sieben CD on Tursa. I have worked a lot with Matt recently and admire him, especially as a fellow food groupie.
After "The Killing Tide", Sol Invictus' works have been issued only on CD format. Did you finally give up with vinyl?
Well, up until now, although later this year, a past concert of mine will be released as a special edition LP by Wolf Age from Italy.
There was a time when all the artists from the so-called "apocalyptic folk" scene seemed to be part of a single, big family. On Current 93's "Swastikas for Noddy", you could be found working side by side with Tibet, Doulgas P., Ian Read, Boyd Rice, and many others. Now it seems that each one has taken his different path. Do you still get on well with those artists?
Well, people develop and take their own paths, which is natural and healthy. And like most families, they sometimes fall out with each other.
Last but not least, I'd like to ask you a small curiosity of mine
about your signature.
You're used to put an Algiz Rune sticked onto a Wolfhook Rune between your name and surname: could you explain me the meaning of those two runes put together?
No. I made the mistake of using it publicly when it was a private sigil
and should not have been used on covers, etc. I don’t use it anymore.
Thank you so much again for your time and kindness.
Its been a pleasure.
Ragnar Redbeard for Heimdallr webzine
"With a frown, the sun looks down..."