May/June issue, 2001, France
Interviewer: Yannick Blay
Ceased publishing 2010
Do you do special searches (historical, literary) so as to feed your creation? You’re pretty much interested with the past or mythology, aren’t you?
I find ideas, or they find me. There is nothing methodical… though in the spirit of Steppenwolf’s Magic Theatre, I suspect that more than chance is involved.
What does represent Ariel to you (already present on Alexandria)? A kind of allegory of your music? Do you see an angelic quality to music?
I don’t experience Shakespeare’s Ariel as angelic, more as playful: “to the elements be free” (The Tempest). What is an angel? Is it a sexless waif with a halo floating over a golf-green? Or a flawed, romantic ghost as in the film Wings of Desire?… William Blake suggested the creative impulse is daemonic. It’s been said by Rilke, the sublime is an angel that disdains to destroy us.
Is your music supposed to restore life to shadows from the past?
Are you thinking of Czeslaw Milosz: “What power can restore life to shadows”? I feel this to be a plea for something subtle, poetic or amorphous in the soul; freedom from rigid, prescriptive theories. Our facades hide a shadow and a silence. Perhaps it is not failure we should fear, but those who would set torches to its long shadow. “Be the magic power of this immense midnight at the crossroads of your senses” (Sonnets to Orpheus – Rilke).
What’s so special with blackbirds?
When we open our windows we are greeted with their song, and see them playing underneath the fig tree. I like what Wallace Stevens wrote: The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds. It was a small part of the pantomime. The river is moving. The blackbird must be flying… I also love indigenous birds such as the magpie, kookaburra (and) fairy wren.
You’re very interested with nature and animals, aren’t you? Do you see your music as a ‘Symphonie Pastorale’?
One of my favourite pastimes is walking through forests and mountains of Australia. I like these words by Rilke: “and all that’s printed in roots and long unruly stems she sings a song”.
‘Fortress’ is another keyword in your lyrics. What does it represent symbolically?
The Fortress in my albums is a place of exile, which may symbolize protection or isolation.
We can’t help thinking about Loreena McKennitt… What do you think about her work?
Loreena is one of several mentors… I agree with Virginia Woolf that women are disadvantaged by reluctance to be influenced… It is possible to accept nourishment (while being original).
Could you tell us a bit about Karan Wicks? Does she visually express what you want to do with your music? What other painters do you like?
Karan describes her art as Creative Expressionism and is influenced by Frida Kahlo. Some of her paintings capture the spirit I am trying to express. I also like art by Odilon Redon, Marc Chagall, Arnold Boecklin, Giorgio de Chirico and Gustave Moreau among others.
Did you see Prospero’s Book by Peter Greenaway (re. The Tempest)? Did you like it?
Yes, I enjoyed it. He seemed to have filmed it at a nudist colony.
You’ve worked with Sean Bowley. Is Eden still alive?
Sean’s band Eden had various incarnations. Pieter Bourke moved on to work with Lisa Gerrard. Sean is working on a solo album. Having heard some of these new recordings, I feel his vocal expression has mellowed to less goth-rock, but the melancholy, ghostly spirit is very much alive.