As a child, the decision
to choose music first as a release and then as a medium in which to express
myself was very natural...
Could you present your
musical career from the beginning and what made you decide to start playing
I grew up with music
and the songs and bands I listened to provided a background to my life.
Music can be very powerful
and can stir the soul. A 4-minute track can take you back to places you
have been or lead you to places painted by your imagination… it is more
instant than say, film or books.
My musical career began
by playing guitar with numerous punk and post punk bands; the only one
worth mentioning is ‘Flowers in the Dustbin’ (1982) whom I left to front
‘Toms Midnight Garden’ (1983), which sort of progressed, into ‘While Angels
Cynical?… Maybe – I like
to think that I’m a realist… but with the loss of innocence and the balance
tipping greatly towards all that is wretched, my outlook is pessimistic,
albeit with an optimistic slant… we should be happy that things cannot
go on for much longer the way they are. The bottom line is that the human
race is like a slug sprinkled in salt, writhing, slowly melting, each minute
closer to nothing. All we can do is be together, as comrades, at the end
of it all.
Where does the name
While Angels Watch come from? It sounds rather cynical to me, but in an
objective way. Did you want to introduce a special signification?
As far as the name is
concerned, it originates from a dream I had about the apocalypse. Also
at the time we were doing photos in graveyards (just after Death In June’s
Nada! came out!) and of course all these stone ‘angels’ were ‘watching’
over us (ho, ho). The name has grown to have additional significance
to me and rather than go into depth here try the following link:
The last work I did as
While Angels Watch was actually in 1991 (10 years ago), and if you look
at other artists then maybe that isn’t so unusual.
Why did it last about
15 years until you decided to start playing under the name W.A.W. again?
I have never ‘marketed’
While Angels Watch until now. I’ve just been happy to do what I do and
listen when the mood has taken me.
The intensity of the
material I was writing became too much for me. I was exhausted, and to
speak about these things in any depth would be to breathe life into demons
that I battled hard to defeat.
Between 1986 and 1991 there
were 3 cassette releases. I am interested in the idea of releasing a double
CD of this material sometime in the future… when the funds are available!
Will the material you
wrote years ago be released again one day?
Details will be published
on the website, www.falling.org.uk, in due course.
I believe my music has
developed with me, and along the way has reflected my interest in different
musical branches, i.e.; some of the earlier material has a more electronic
feel, and some of it is more guitar orientated.
How do you think your
music & inspirations have changed over the years?
However, the inspiration
to write comes from something much more primary within my psyche and remains
I have always been the
nucleus of W.A.W. I have usually sought assistance from one other
individual and I did ask Patrick Leagas this time round, because one of
his talents is creative percussion. However, he has been very busy with
his own projects so it wasn’t to be.
What’s the current line-up?
Would you like to collaborate with other artists?
I am always open to
interesting collaborations… one of the classic albums of my generation,
‘Swastika’s for Noddy’, is a great example of successful pooled resources!
Pat yes / Gary no.
Do you still have contact
with Patrick Leagas & Gareth Smith?
I do not know whether my
music would interest WSD, as I have not approached them.
Your postal address
is similar to most of the ‘old’ WSD bands. So why are you not distributed
by WSD? It is strange that your project doesn’t interest them, as your
music sounds very close to artists they distribute, or used to distribute.
I believe Mr Wakeford approved
of the arrangement.
You made a wonderful
cover of Heroes Day; I suppose Tony Wakeford listened to it. What was his
reaction? What was your motivation to choose that song? Did you think about
other songs for a cover?
I had already recorded
‘Heroes Day’ for the demo tape ‘Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate’ so
no, I did not consider any alternative songs to record for the Cynfeirdd
CD as the song had already ‘chosen itself’.
It is very unusual
for me to record a cover version and is a mark of respect to Sol Invictus…
just as the song itself is a mark of respect to those it was inspired by.
Yes, I have recently approached
a small number of labels that I have respect for. The feedback that has
resulted so far (October 2001) has been positive… and I can confirm that
there will be a spring 2002 release.
Have you contacted other
Not personally, but I am
familiar with most of the artists taking part and am looking forward to
Heroes Day will be featured
in the Cynfeirdd tribute to Sol Invictus, do you know the other bands taking
part in the project?
I think Yann must have
read your review of the promo tape and appreciated your description of
my work…He wrote to me describing this compilation. I was very interested
in the inspiration behind it and the proposed presentation and immediately
knew which song I wanted to record for it. I asked Yann to trust me to
provide something suitable – which he gratefully did.
How did you get in touch
with Yann from Abstract, as ‘Sister of the Sea’ is featured on the recent
Abstract compilation ‘Le Jardin des Supplices’ (The Tortured Garden)?
This release has brought
together eleven bands from around the globe and the arrangement of the
eleven tracks on the CD flows perfectly, providing the listener with a
When Ian Read used to sing
with Sol Invictus I thought that his voice complimented Tony Wakeford’s
extremely well and was important to the band. When the two parted company,
and this is only my opinion, I think it took both bands a couple of albums
to produce something musically outstanding again. I appreciate Ian Read’s
work very much and thought that ‘Birdking’ was an exceptional album.
You may play live with
Fire+ Ice in the near future. What do you think about Ian’s project and
would it be possible that you contribute one day as a guest on the next
Fire + Ice album, like so many did with Birdking?
If Ian would like me
to contribute, I would happily do so, but that question should be directed
his way. I can, however, reveal that Ian will provide vocals on a
track for the forthcoming While Angels Watch album.
My relationship with Ian
is that of friendship. We lived together in the mid 1980’s… oh heady days!
How did you meet Ian
Read? Are you well introduced into his runic & magical world?
I admire Ian and the
amount of work he does… In no way could I, or would I, claim to have an
equal understanding of the runic mysteries and magic as he.
I have always been
interested in the magical world… the everyday one rarely interested me
as a child. The first books I read concerned myths & legends, time
travel, spirits, which I read to a backdrop of Hammer horror and film noir.
As I grew older I craved more practical literature that might aid the realisation
of some of my more passionate fantasies and with interesting results...
all I would say is be careful what you wish for!
I no longer practice
magic (k) and haven’t for some years and I have never been part of an order.
My interest defined a very lonely journey both rewarding and terrible.
“To know the tears of the world…”
I am ashamed to say that
all I have heard from Karl Blake are his very worthy contributions to Sol
Invictus. Rumour has it that Karl can be quite an uncompromising
chap, and it would not surprise me if this were the main reason that he
does not command a wider audience. I am sure that those he reaches do not
underestimate him but only respect him more.
Your beautiful music
strongly reminds me of Karl Blake & Shock Headed Peters, his voice
and music. I think Karl is one of the most underestimated artists in the
musical world, what do you think about him?
I did not notice it on
Burn Like Ice has got
some Nick Cave’s likeness, and Our Last Fanfare, Silence reminds me sometimes
to Ian Curtis’ Decades. Did you notice it and where they artists you’ve
been listening too?
Last week I listened
to Nick Cave for the first time (I borrowed a compilation CD from a friend
for the purpose of this interview - I liked the ballads) and would agree
that there is a similarity of style – however, it is purely coincidental.
I guess it’s not very
trendy to say these days but Joy Division were a big influence in my life,
especially during the early 1980’s.
Although not many people
would see it in my new compositions, in the earlier material they would
probably notice some similarities.
I have not arranged this
with the Tursa camp yet. Unfortunately there have been some problems taking
up my time and energy lately and all the live stuff is on a back burner
for the moment.
I read that you will
play a short set at a Salon Noir evening. When will this happen and which
is the other band playing?
I am pleased to announce
that there will be a full-length CD released on Cynfeirdd spring 2002.
I guess you have enough
new material to release a full-length album. Would you be able to release
it immediately in case you find a deal with a label that interests you?
I will be recording
this at Matt Howden’s, Redroom Studio and am very much looking forward
to working with him – he has come up with some suggestions that echo my
thoughts - even if it means travelling to the cold Northlands... I am sure
it will add to the atmosphere!
The release will include
‘proper’ recordings of the 4 tracks on the demo tape plus new material.
Whatever I could tell would
surely be surpassed by the contents of his site. So without further ado…
Can you tell me anything
about Louis Lenoir, who’s responsible for the picture accompanying your
notes for Heroes Day on the Sol Invictus tribute?
Thank you for your appreciation
Stéphane … it is motivational to be mentioned alongside those bands…
I need a lot of motivation!!
I’ve been waiting for
ages to listen to some superb music as yours, which has found again the
same magical spirit there was in the first releases of Sol Invictus, Current
93, Fire+Ice, Coil and all their friends, and putting some “refreshing
blood and air” into it. Which are your main influences for composing music
and which are your favourite subject matters for writing lyrics?
I usually start composing
a song on my acoustic guitar… I have a rule of thumb… if you can make it
sound good on an acoustic guitar, it will sound even better once the other
instruments are there! At the moment I prefer writing two or three different
melodies over a primary melody. This allows me to use different textures
(by using different instruments). Once I get started it all falls into
place fairly quickly... the complete process is very subconscious, quite
I pick up the guitar
when I need to create appropriate music to accompany the lyrics that I
What gets me off my
backside to write the lyrics are situations or events that effect me deeply
or things that I see as true injustices… or a yearning/aching for something…
or sometimes I just want to tell it like it is – or at least how I see
There are books… but if
I am to name but one, then the first that springs to mind is ‘The Little
Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Is there a book that
particularly impressed you in your life?
The answer(s) to this question
are complex because to deal with them one must discuss the roots of the
multi-level political and cultural issues/problems that are prevalent in
Europe today. This would mean an essay!
It is obvious that many
people in general, in Europe (and anywhere else), become more and more
stupid and ignorant, and that by mimicry, they vote for politicians that
look alike. I’m rather pessimistic for the future, how do you see it, especially
in Europe – and not only with material problems, but also concerning intellectual
and cultural problems?
You mention people that
copy each other and all vote for similar politicians… for example, Europe
has an excess of ‘do-gooders’ who earn a lot of money by creating
politically correct fashions that are then taken up by the respective governments
and in turn by the media, suddenly it’s European law and is then indoctrinated
into the general population. In general, I cannot see anything ‘good’
about what these people ‘do’ at all – only confusion and persecution of
the ordinary man.
But this is only one
small point out of a big melting pot – and after all, I am but a humble
musician… any opinions I have will serve no purpose here - my outlook,
action and attitude find there way into my songs, which in turn (of course)
are open to interpretation.
I have never been a royalist
and don’t consider myself to be one of Queen Elizabeth II’s loyal subjects,
although I can appreciate the tradition and heritage of a Royal Family
from an historical viewpoint. I must admit to feeling a bit sorry for them
actually - whatever role they may have had in the past, it is now redundant.
I live in a country
in which there has never been a king or queen. What do you think about
the royalty in Europe and in England?
I chose it instinctively…
it has the right essence.
What is the concept
behind the word “Falling” you use for W.A.W. Why that word?
Dreams of falling,
falling angels, the feeling of falling, falling countries, falling race,
falling governments, etc, fall (the season) - we are in the autumn of our
times and the winter nears.
I am not well travelled,
but have always been drawn to the South of Italy and Napoli in particular.
For a reason I am yet to discover.
Is there a country or
place in the world you particularly appreciate, and for what reason?
I am interested in architecture,
but only as a voyeur!
Are you interested in
architecture, and do you like old ruins, stones, statues?
Old ruins and stones
I love. I enjoy standing amongst ruins and stones, letting the experience
wash over me. I have also been in some old buildings and experienced rather
Statues provide me
with a different kind of appreciation - of beauty… of spoilt beauty… sometimes
imperfection, and sometimes it is the imperfection that is beautiful.
If I had more time photography
would fill it…. and I know I’ve got a novel in me somewhere!
Apart from music, do
you have any other artistic activity?
The time traveller in H
G Wells’ ‘The Time Machine’
What would you like
to be reincarnated into?
If you don’t know your
self you cannot develop. To know your self you must start with your beginnings.
But if you mean maintaining 100% racial purity (in its most pure form inbreeding!)
then no, I don’t think that’s particularly realistic or important.
Is it important for
you to look after your roots?
I think it is important
to preserve your culture. In England we have a multi-cultural society and
the ethnic groups all appear to preserve their culture, whatever their
racial origin. It seems to me that a growing amount of English people no
longer remember what their culture is and as a result are either ignorant
racists, “Americanised”, or mad PC lefties!
Aha, you have saved the
most difficult question until last!
Finally, which are your
5 favourite albums ever and the last 5 albums you bought?
I honestly cannot tell
you 5 favourite albums ever because sometimes on an album you will get
3 outstanding songs amongst 9 average ones… I can give you an idea of 5
artists who have had a big impression on me over the years (in no particular
Last 5 albums bought
Boyd Rice & Friends
Brown Book (Re-release)
Death In June
I don’t get out a lot…
for your ongoing interest and support.
While Angels Watch
London WC1N 3XX
Web : www.falling.org.uk
webzine, Stéphane F. , Novembre 2001