Interview : Simoneh
After 20 years of career with Whitehouse, if you look back to the very early days of the band, which are your impressions, what do you feel?
I'm still proud of everything I've done right from the beginning.
What do you think of today´s so called "power-electronics", a genre Whitehouse somehow contributed to invent? What is your opinion in particular of Japanese "Nipponoise" and the most recent developments of noise music (Brighter Death Now and so on)?
Not much, I'm afraid. The old longhaired prog rock fans who make the
so-called Japanese noise are dead. I think they were
always living on borrowed time. That genre totally depended on the then Western interest in exotic Japanese counterculture that was fashionable in the late 80s when it all started. Things like Japanese pornography especially bondage, oriental schoolgirls, the new wave of video games, manga and anime etc, the alternative aesthetic that Japan offers. A Masonna or Violent Onsen
Geisha or whatnot CD with their, you know, 'obis' . Obis? Yeah, you know the cute little outer covers on the spine with the names in Japanese. I think that's what they're called. Well, and the at times exquisite, even sexy, presentation must look fantastic on any coffee table when heavy metal fans or the like come round to tea. I guess nobody can fail to be impressed
with your 100 CD 'Merzbox' with the free 'Merzposter', 'Merzbook', 'Merzmobile' or whatever etc. (luckily it doesn't really matter that your 'Merzrom' or other discs won't play properly) - but then you must think 'what about the music?'. I'm asked about the difference between Whitehouse and all these 'noise' bands. Aside from my own subjective and personal judgments, the one fundamental difference is that people actually listen to Whitehouse. I defy many of these Japnoise fans to look me in the eye and really tell me they regularly listen to that music. Most of them are rock and rollers. Where's the content? The use of extreme sounds and noise can be very powerful utilised as a tool but not as a means in itself other than as I said as a sort of 'coffee table' statement.
Can you describe how does a Whitehouse Live Action works? Which songs do you play usually, and what are the general reactions of the public?
Recently the sets have been non-linear in approach built around the
structure of 6-8 songs, split 50/50 between newer and
older material. The reactions of the audiences are many and varied and usually wholly unpredictable.
About that, I would like to ask you if you are interested in which kind of people listen to your music, I mean, what is a Whitehouse fan like, how do you imagine him/her to be ?
There are no preconceptions - as the live shows are evidence, there
are people interested in Whitehouse that are young, old
and of both sexes. That is as much to do with the longevity of the group as much as anything as we still continue to attract many new fans of new generations.
What do you think of the speculation which affect Come Organization´s original vinyls? Normally, one´s asked impossible prices for one of those LPs!
In one sense it's flattering that they fetch such high sums. One of the reasons Susan Lawly was set up was to make the original material available in high quality digitally remastered format, and also to stamp out the Heemann bootlegs and pirate LPs.
Was "Whitehouse" actually the name of an erotic magazine or something like?
Yes, but also the name of the virulent anti-porn campaigner Mary Whitehouse (only famous in the UK really).
What is your opinion of pornography and erotism? Many people can´t even distinguish between them!
I don't see a difference, or importance in differentiation.
Why are you so interested in deviated or perverted sexual behaviours? What attracts you so much in sexual violence, sexist language and attitude, and the like?
Why is anyone interested in anything? We all have our personal tastes.
What do you think about fetishism, S/M, bondage, and in general all the sexual practices which deal with the dicotomy "pleasure and pain"? In our culture there´s always been a strong interest in the connection between those two extreme sensations.
I'm only interested in it if there's a degree of honesty - in other
words I'm not interested in simple fetishism and play-acting
as evinced in so many clubs' where people go merely to pose and dress up.
What is William Bennet´s actual opinion of women?
I'm not the mysogynist a lot of people assume.
I´m sure about that! A nice question: have you already met
some female Whitehouse supporter and what are their opinions
about your work?
There are a lot of women who are interested in Whitehouse - too many for me to generalise about their opinions. Again this applies to Peter Sotos's books - it might be surprising to many how many women really love our work.
About the instruments and technology you use to produce the sound, do you constantly update them, or are old and cheap synths and the like still good for your purposes?
In particular with regards to live shows, we do update our equipment
line-up regularly, as technology changes and powerful
music-making tools become more portable and more powerful.
I find the works of the second period, such as "Thank your lucky
stars", "Just like a cunt" or
"Mummy and daddy" more sarcastic and acidly ironic than the early ones, which sounded really claustrophobic and disturbing. Do you feel your general attitude has changed a little bit ?
Yes, I believe we have changed and evolved a lot over the years and
the course of each release, although I don't assimilate
the newer material with songs like 'Thank Your Lucky Stars'.
Do you believe in a god or in a supernatural reality?
The Catholic Church is still concerned about sex. During the centuries
they´ve invented every sort of incredible bullshit to condamn
it. What is incredible is their behaviour towards masturbation, which actually
has not changed since I guess the Middle Ages! I read that in past centuries
every sort of sadist arrangements were use to prevent a boy from masturbatiing,
such as tying him up to the bed at night, or lock his penis into a spiked
metal ring, so that if he got an erection, it would have stabbed!
And for girls they simply used to remove "surgically" the clitoris, for preventing her from feeling pleasure. In my opinion, this goes even beyond every Whitehouse album!
The criminal history of the Church and its followers is extremely long
and stained - and ironically all based on the legend of
Jesus Christ, a man who never even existed.
You stated "Jesus Christ, a man who never existed". Could you tell me some more about that? Have been particulary interested in this topic lately?
I don't really want to get too much into this - it's too big a subject. There are some good links at the Susan Lawly website in the 'recommended reading' section and the 'links' page.
During the years Whitehouse have seen the collaboration of artists like Steven Stapleton, David Tibet, Glenn Michael Wallis, John Murphy; what was it like to work with them, and what do you think they bring to the band?
Each brought a particular skill, whether it be a lyrical idea, some
live playing, some artwork or whatever, at a relevant and
Are you interested in serial killers? Do you think hey are a typical product of 21th century society, and what is your opinion about in particular American "serial killer culture" (movies, TV shows dealing morbidly in details about their actions, etc.)?
In the early 80s I used to be interested in a small number of serial
killers but now I have little time for that kind of material,
so cartoon-like in its content.
LPs on Come Organisation 1980-85:
- Birthdeath Experience (Come Organisation 1980)
- Total Sex (Come Organisation 1980)
- Erector (Come Organisation 1981)
- Dedicated To Peter Kürten (Come Organisation 1981)
- Buchenwald (Come Organisation 1981)
- New Britain (Come Organisation 1982)
- Psychopathia Sexualis (Come Organisation 1982)
- The 150 Murderous Passions (Come Organisation/United Diaries 1982) split with Nurse With Wound
- Right To Kill (Come Organisation 1983)
- Great White Death (Come Organisation 1985)
All Come Organisation LP have been reissued by Susan Lawly, except for "The 150 Murderous Passions", reissued by United Dairies/World Serpent.
- Thank Your Lucky Stars/Sadist 7" (Susan Lawly 1988)
LPs and CDs on Susan Lawly 1990-2001:
- Cream Of The Second Coming (Susan Lawly 1990) anthology
- Thank Your Lucky Stars (Susan Lawly 1990)
- Still Going Strong/Ankles And Wrists 7" (Susan Lawly 1991)
- Another Crack Of The White Whip (Susan Lawly 1991) anthology
- Twice Is Not Enough (Susan Lawly 1992)
- Never Forget Death (Susan Lawly 1992)
- Halogen (Susan Lawly 1993)
- Dictator 3" (Fanatics 1995) made by Japanese fan club
- Tokyo Halogen (Fanatics 1995) live made by Japanese fan club
- Quality Time (Susan Lawly 1995)
- Just Like a Cunt CDs (Fanatics 1996) made by Japanese fan club
- Mummy And Daddy (Susan Lawly 1998)
- Cruise (Susan Lawly 2001)
Dedicated To Peter Kürten, Greath White Death, Quality Time, Cruise.
Official web site:
Very interesting unofficial web site:
Heimdallr webzine, February 2001