INTERVIEW: Arkasai (Arkham Asylum)

By JHR

Chain Border

This is... a bit of a mess. What was supposed to happen was that I interview Amon Zero – the chap nominally ‘in charge’ of Arkham Asylum (Or at least that’s what they were when all of this kicked off. Now they’re Arkasai, and by the time this makes it to print they’ll be a greengrocer’s shop on Bath road in Reading. Probably.) and that interview turned up in Legends at about the same sort of time their new CD hit the shops. Apparently they call that ‘forward planning’ in the record industry.

What actually happened was this: The interview itself was conceived (in the howling, sweaty and somewhat shameful sense of the word) in an alcohol-fueled haze halfway up the river Ouse, which runs through the otherwise blameless city of York. Had I any sense of precognition, or indeed any sense at all, I would have run screaming, dived overboard and swum quickly to the shore. As it was, even the vague plan constructed among th e ruins of a startlingly-sized bar bill fell by the wayside, victim of a puzzling sequence of events. Its replacement was a terrible thing. We assembled in a flat overlooking the kebab-clogged heart of alleged ‘youth culture,’ Camden, several hours after Arkham Asylum had turned up. Those several hours had been spent in drinking themselves into a lurching mob. Things went downhill from there, though I have no particular memory of the proceedings, other than what I’ve been able to piece together from the tapes. Those tapes seem to have been liberally soaked in rough cider at some point, which may or may not explain the Burroughsian cut-up nature of the ‘interview.’

Perpetrators:
J – JHR
A – Amon Zero
L – Lee Chaos
n – May or may not be Angel Arkham
? – I have no idea at all. Sorry.
M – (Blue) Mel

[Tape begins.]

J: "...I've no idea what's going on."

A: "It sounds like some kind of big gay sex analogy."

L: "What does?"

A: "Well, top and bottom interview."

L: "Of course it does."

A: "Would you like to be the top or the bottom this evening?"

[Laughter.]

A: "Let's flip a coin..."

L: “I'm not going to tell you when I swap from one to the other, you'll have to work it out for yourselves."

A: "I think we're actually feeling more...primed, now. After, you know. So, are you going to throw questions at us, or are you going to muse on life, the universe and everything or are we going to continue in the rant in b-minor we were on when you guys came into the Dev?"

?: "The latter."

J: "Yeah, that. Though I'd like to hear the rest of your thoughts on the place of metal in hip-hop."

A: "Oh God."

ArkasaiL: "But isn't it kind of sad? Because the whole point of the metal/hip-hop convergence thing was to drag it into the charts and capitalise on both fanbases."

?: "Was that really the whole point?"

L: "Run DMC and Aerosmith was, Anthrax and Public Enemy was. They were the two big collaborations that made it take off. It was just a marketing device."

A: "Maybe that was the commercial end of something actually quite interesting?"

L: "Well, maybe. Or you could say it was just someone in a suit who said 'Let's band these two bands together and pool their fanbases.'"

[Tape noise.]

?: "We were talking about Blow Up before, right?"

A: "That's because of John's review of Arkham. I thought it was lovely..."

J: "Thank you."

A: "...But I was trying to describe certain Blow Up references..."

[Tape noise.]

M: "Jazz."

J: "Jazz?"

M: "You were talking about jazz."

?: "Jazz with a J? Dave has fallen out bigtime with..."

A: "No, no. Jazz with a J. The music."

?: "Oh, right. Jazz. Yeah."

[Laughter.]

J: "Ah, now. That's an interesting thing..."

A: "What's that then?"

J: "Would you consider Arkham as potentially a jazz band?"

L: "Answer carefully, this may save a labeling argument."

A: "Oh God."

J: "If 'rock & roll' is basically the three-minute popsong...”

An: "Jazz is like, more sort of opposite that, though."

A: "Yeah. Hang on though, if you listen to 'Machine,' that's exactly what you do."

L: "But Arkham basically comes in two flavours anyway, unless I'm mistaken. There's the girly popsongs that have been destroyed to within an inch of their lives, and jazz."

J: "I mean, if you say that jazz is like, Keith Jarrett, who just turns up at a piano, makes stuff up and then goes away again... I can't stand it myself."

[Laughter.]

L: "I just had this vision of Al Jourgenson being in the piano and going 'Aaah! Let me out!'"

A: "Um, yeah. I'm a John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk kind of a guy, but...I don't know. I might be wrong, but when it comes to Arkham I think Lee had it right. In that Angel does a lot of stuff that might be considered jazz and a lot of people say, ‘There's no melody in there whatsoever,' but I think melody is like a pattern recognition thing. It's...in there. But I think something that we’re interested in more than ever is cutting it up as much as possible, both between songs and across songs."

J: "In the Gysin/Burroughs sense?"

A: "Yes, absolutely. Using Cubase or Acid-whatever and then looking for patterns to emerge."

J: "Cutting up across an entire album?"

A: "Absolutely. That's so what we're working on right now, but we haven't got anything to play it on to bear out the truth of my words, so you'll just have to wait. We've always done that to some extent, though. I mean Special Victims Unit on the second album – we were just saying before that that's not really the band at all. I mean it's a couple of things that Angel's done, one thing a Belgian guitarist has done for us that's been piled up into lots of layers, we got a mate in who was pilled up and very inspired and comes in the next morning wondering what the hell he'd committed to. Lee cuts that up. And we pour it all back into the mix and viola! Track!"

J: "So you're almost taking one step away from 'A band' and it's a virtual ensemble?"

A: "Oh God yes. Please, Bug. Speak now."

B: "Huh?"

[Laughter.]

L: "Well, yes. This is the way it works because the band were half working in Brighton and half in York, so the whole first draft of the album as I received it to do anything with was made out of a whole bunch of file-sharing stuff that was built piece by piece. I mean, the stuff that Angel and Amon did was recorded at a gig, so I had the backing tracks, recorded that onto multitrack, then took that live gig and that was the basis for the tracks that were put together for the album. So the band had, like, barely rehearsed and were put together for the one gig which completely detonated and then we used those as either the main recordings for, or the sketch recordings for the advancement of, what we did on the album. So that was the drill, and then we went back and reviewed the stuff we'd collected and that was…it."

J: "There's a school of thought that says that DJ mixing, rap music and whatever else is essentially post-modern because it's recycling..."

?: "Define post-modern first..."

A: "Right, as much as I'm bored to hell with the term 'post-modern' I am of the humble opinion that most people who automatically say 'post-modern is a bullshit word' haven't stopped to think about what it means. Either that, or they're extraordinarily jaded and they've done lots of courses [of] post-modern theory on architecture, history or whatever..."

L: "Let's assume we're mostly of the former category..."

[Laughter.]

A: "Yeah, ok... In order to really know what post-modernism is you have to think about what is modernism and what is the apparent relationship between modernism and post-modernism, right? Modernism, even though it's a term that's been used again and again across the centuries is all about 'onwards, upwards, optimism, progress.' It was the kind of spirit that, even though you didn't see it blowing up until the twenties and thirties, was supposed to have died with World War One. It was like The Enlightenment on steroids. Like, 'We're going to build on what has come before, we're going to get rid of un-rationalism, we don't need God anymore and every effort we make is a stepping-stone for the next effort.' Right, World War One comes along and apparently fucks it, if that doesn't then fascism, communism and World War Two really fucking do it, then the atom bomb comes along, God is dead and it's all Game Over. Right. Then Post-modernism turns up. Post-modernism is a reaction to everything that is 'Modern.' To some people, post-modernism means going beyond the modern, so it's like late, high modernism. To other people, it's anti-modernism, so it's like classicism dressed up as something else – you've got greek statues next to some godawful California mansion. But it all gets called 'post-modern,' and one of the defining features is that all this shit has happened at the same time that there's been an explosion in information technology, the information economy, so anything that involves commodifying something, spreading it around as information and being self-referential and eating that information again is like...what was that Pop Will Eat Itself tagline again? Sample it, eat it, loop it, fuck it. Something like that.”

A: "But even in 1991, people were leaning towards something called 'post-post-modern' – to my mind, post-modern was about taking something. If 'modern' was about trying to be proactive and onwards and upwards, post-modern was all navel-gazing and sort of like the philosophical equivalent of an indie band just standing there and mumbling away with their guitars. Shoegazers. And even at the time when that was coming out, people were saying 'post-post-modern' like they were being clever. But the thing is, whenever you say something's 'post-post-retro-neo-fucking-quasi-pseudo-this that or the other,' that's post-modernism in a nutshell. In order to actually be 'post-post-modern', you'd have to be Something Else that isn't reacting, which I think would be modern again.”

L: "When you defined modernism and you said that it's 'just a stepping-stone' for something else and you're always looking forward, I thought 'You've just defined the band.'"

A: "Yes."

L: "So effectively you are a modernist band."

A: "Yes. I like to think so. Angel's looking at me like 'What are you talking about' but I've always felt that way."

[Tape noise.]

J: "... As long as it's going round, that's ok. I can just make this stuff up..."

A: "Why is Bug asleep? He said all the interesting things for the last three hours..."

L: "Has he burned himself out too early?"

?: "He did. He peaked about an hour ago."

L: "Goths. De-inventing the haircut because they want to make their hair longer by adding extensions."

M: "Who does?"

L: "Goths."

A: "It's not like they're the first..."

L: "I would argue that goths actually do have something to hide and that's why they do the whole hair-thing."

J: "Yeah, personality."

L: "Exactly. It's a diversionary tactic."

M: "Big hair makes you look thinner."

L: "Does it? Well, there you are then. That's why."

?: "Where does goth start and finish these days?"

L: "Not soon enough."

[Tape noise.]

?: "... There's shitloads of stuff out there that's amazing and I've never given it a chance because I'm too busy trying to conform to this thing. And that's the point where you take your Marilyn Manson t-shirt and you're like 'Fuck this. This is retarded.' I like, used to be a tradgoth and into all that stuff and then I went upstairs at Slimelight and suddenly everything went neon pink...and it stayed like that 'til I came down and went 'Shit. I fucking hate pink.' And that was the end of that really."

A: "We've all been though the pink phase, though being a guy in New Zealand kinda limits the pink fashion options."

[Tape noise.]

L: "Are you going to tell me you went around with a roll of lino under your arm?"

[Tape noise.]

A: "... It will be less spontaneous, but you can edit it as much as you can."

L: "Are you divining for sense?"

ArkasaiA: "We can do that in addition to anything else you choose to do."

L: "What you're doing here is setting up the electronic equivalent of a toilet door. You need to understand that. Before the night is out, it's going to say 'Amon is gay.'"

A: "I'll take that risk."

L: "Damn your cavalier attitude to technology!"

[Laughter.]

J: "Right. I'm going to get my jacket, open that beer and then we're going to have a look at the tube-shelter."

L: "Tube-what?"

J: "Tube-shelter. Underneath Camden market."

L: "I'm excited, but I don't know what you're talking about."

J: "I give up. I seriously give up."

?: "It took you this long?"

J: "The Arkham interview is going to be 'Ararah raah raah araa rah ra aghrah!'"

L: "I'm not hearing Hunter S. Thompson talking here..."

J: "You Wolverhampton bastard, you! You killed my parrot!"

?: "Killed ma parrot? I fucking kill yer!"

J: "Ya fucking bastard. Ya bastard you..."

[Tape noise.]

J: "I've no idea where the blasted thing is, I just fancied a wander in the fresh air..."

L: "I've got my own political party. My own religion is just next on the list."

A: "I think every good religion needs to hang around with its own particular apocalypse. Or have a saviour at least. We should have a lost member of a band who never existed, like a mystical member of the Wasp Factory staff."

[Tape noise.]

A: "Can I make a comment here? I'd like to make one of those uber-contentious comments that people usually follow with the word 'discuss.' It's not that this country is particularly fucked up. But in the states, it's the same. Fuck it, in any country you care to choose, there's a dominant ideology or lack thereof and there's going to be a few people who've had a lot of contact with other cultures, a bit more education, a bit more luck in life and they're going to have a slightly more balanced view. I mean, it's got nothing to do with any given country, it's just the way it expresses itself. So. The people about whom we're saying, 'Yeah, go them, there should be more of them' are the educated few who are playing shepherd to flocks. Now, what I'm getting at here is there is a quote from a founder of Wired magazine that most people recoil in disgust from when they hear and I kinda go, 'Hm. Yeah.' He said, 'I think basically that elites drive civilization.' That all of the benefits of civilization are trickle-down effects from breakthroughs made by a few rational, well-educated lucky people. Hard working lucky people. And that basically you just hope that your elites are composed of either people who are generous, you know, some kind of philanthropist. Or, much more likely, they happen to live in a cultural system where they can be self-interested and the products of their labours will trickle out and help other people eventually hopefully somehow. But basically to kind of expect the mass of people to suddenly wake up one day and go, 'Oh! I've been reading the daily hate-mail! What a dick I've been!' just ain't going to happen. The implication is fucked up, that we have to suddenly start placing our faith in a handful of people, be they well-read Koran lecturers or workers in Silicon Valley or a couple of guys down at no. 10. The movers and the shakers are the ones who make and happen. For better or for worse and that what we should really do is...these are the ingredients, what kind of good cake can we possibly make out of this?"

A: "The thing is...the world view I'm kind of partial to is that we're in a dangerous middle period where that's the way things work whether we like it or not. The only way we're going to get out of this is to push forward as hard and fast as we can and hope that the elites will disseminate some good shit quickly enough to save everybody. Before we all turn into a great churning mess of grey goo or industrial pollutant. I think we're getting to the end-game where we all just give it up, even if I thought this was plausible, which I don't. Give it up and all go back to not farming, where most of us die and the rest go live in caves somewhere. Or we push forward as hard and fast as we can. I think civilization's doing that whether we like it or not. I mean, what we're doing in this room, we're sitting here doing cultural R&D. And this is going on in different guises all over the place for various different reasons. It's almost like civilization was a big brain trying to sort itself out. The thing is that we'll all probably crash & burn horribly inside the next fifty years, but..."

[Tape noise.]

A: "More questions!"

J: "Drugs, right..."

M: "Accident..."

J: "Do you take the Jungian view that, by partaking of ceremonial chemicals, we’re accessing some kind of collective unconsciousness where the collected dreams of humanity become reality, or is it just a fucking good time?"

A: "We were talking about this the other week."

An: "Is that the time you met Adam & Eve?"

A: "The way I've always been inclined to view it, and Jung said as much himself, is that it's not this mystical shared knowledge base we have. What it is basically is that you've got certain ways of structuring information that your brain is set up for and the idea of a collective unconscious is that you've inherited data structures. So, if you take a drug and you respond to it in a similar way to someone else, part of that might be down to the fact that you tripped in the same garden, or part of it may be down to you both took the same drug, but more fundamentally, this drug is operating on brain structures that you've both evolved. If I can backtrack, reality as we perceive it is not raw reality per se, it's your interpretation. If your brain was like a web-browser, let's say. Reality would be the raw code being interpreted, so what you see out the end is not just raw reality, but reality interpreted through a certain filter. And I think that there are different layers to this filter. There's language and culture and a bit more fundamental than that there's biology and lower again there are the laws of physics that have shaped the particular brains we've evolved to have. So what acid seems to do is that for a minute it suspends some of the higher, say, language-based filters and certain other things you take for granted about the world. For instance, if I'm tapping the top of this packet, what I'm feeling is not the packet itself, it's a 'representation of packet.’ It's just basic neurophysiology. My brain is building a model of what it is to feel x, y and z. So you can never know the world immediately, all you can ever know is the model of the world that your brain constructs. Now, you can know that as intellectually as you like, but the first time I took a trip, what I was amazed by was not that my perception of the world melted or got suddenly very odd, but that the world suddenly got very odd. Everything was fucked, not just me. And it dawned on me on an emotional level that I can't know the world beyond my perception of the world. So when I take these drugs, in a sense all they can fuck with is the data that I'm carrying around. Yeah, it might be a good time, it depends on the drug. But I guess to fuck with your representation of the world is to fuck with your world."

?: "Would you consider yourself an existentialist then?"

A: "I really don't know. I'm not sure about it."

?: "But that's the thing. There's a very fine line between accepting what you experience as an abstract representation of what may be, to thinking that you are the centre of the universe and everything that you experience is somehow only there because you are."

A: "Well, I could be a solipsist and still believe that I can only know a representation of the world, rather than the world itself. The things are not mutually exclusive. Because of this bitch here I am actually partial to solipsism these days, but that's just egomania really. But... Then... I mean... Can you ask the question again?"

L: "Prompt!"

J: "Not without rewinding the tape."

?: "It was about existentialism"

A: "What does it mean to be an existentialist? I got vaguely interested in existentialism through reading beat poetry, but I can't remember."

?: "It's supposed to imply that a consideration of oneself as essentially the only thing that really matters in the overall sphere of reality."

A: "That sounds like solipsism."

?: "You can have objective existentialism though."

A: "The impression that I always got was that for existentialists the human condition is meant to be more than the sum of its parts. If you were presented with an array of opportunities, then an existentialist should be able to pull one out of the hat and do a zen and step sideways and come up with option z that no-one ever thought of. But I don't really know how these things gel together. I don't see how your existentialist is anything more than a good, old fashioned solipsist."

?: "As I tend to understand it, and I could well be entirely off-base here, is that an existentialist tends to think that he or she is not necessarily the centre of the universe or life at large, but the only defined being in that reality. In other words, although there may not be conscious decisions or anything else involved, it is by that being's existence that everything else exists and if that person were to blink out of existence then everything else would cease to be."

[Tape noise.]

A: "Before, when I was a bit more drunk, I was this far from standing on the table at the Dev and announcing 'I am the centre of your universe!'"

L: "I think we should go back and do that tomorrow night."

J: "In the Dev, that statement would be entirely correct."

L: "I think we should conduct an experiment where we really do get Amon on a table in the centre of the Dev declaring he is the centre of everything."

J: "It would be a particularly small and sad universe if that were true..."

[Laughter.]

A: "Hey, fuck you. Just for that you're going to get the long and involved explanation. Have you heard [of] the Anthropic Principle?"

[Silence.]

J: "Wot?"

A: "All right, bitch. Get this: Right, ok, when you look at cosmology – the physical structure of the universe – the speed of light, gravitational constant, amount of mass in the universe, things like that. All of these values that you come up with are exactly what they need to be for humans to exist. A tiny bit higher or lower – no more humans. Now, people go, 'Gosh, isn't that amazing! Shouldn't we now be positing the existence of God and saying we live in this clockwork universe set up perfectly for humans to exist in and lo we exist.' With a lot of fake dinosaur bones sprinkled around to give us a bit of credibility. So, the Anthropic Principle: The reason we see the universe that we see is because we exist to see it. Like, we couldn't be alive and see anything other than a universe that's set up exactly the way it would need to be for us to be alive. Otherwise that would be pretty fucking weird right there.”

A: "What it does kind of imply is that you've got a greater space of possible universes, of which this is just one value and that if we had a different physiology, if we could exist in a world-space that was capable of seeing other universes with different parameters, then maybe we would find ourselves experiencing those other, different universes. So this breaks down the difference between, like I was saying with acid, not so much that your view of the world melts, but the world itself. In this case, if you want to visit other universes, the idea would be that you would change yourself first. You change your physiology so that it could handle a different speed of light or a different gravitational constant.”

?: "This is the thing. Speaking in terms of theoretical physics, there are many, many possible universes embodying various combinations...”

A: "In theory. But what I'm actually saying is that they could be real, embodied universes as long as someone is there to witness them. All I'm saying is that, on the flipside to the way that, you know, you take acid – your world melts, rather than your perception of the world, whatever that would be. If you changed yourself, if you could actually change your body so that it could physically endure. Now, you're going to have to imagine…say you go for your uber-cyberpunk transhumanist scenario where you take the information pattern that is embodied by your central nervous system and run it on a really big fuck-off computer."

J: "That's...the book's called Man Plus. Fred Pohl?"

A: "I've heard of the name, but I don't know the book."

J: "It's the story of a bloke who's modified by 'scientists' to be able to live and function on Mars."

A: "You know the origin of the word 'cyborg' – Cybernetic Organism – was coined as a term by a couple of researchers who were working for NASA. Their remit was to think about how we're going to colonize Mars. They'd just got to the moon, they were getting a bit ahead of themselves and it was like, 'How are we going to colonize Mars?' Basically they did a bit of thinking and they decided you can't, with humans. I mean, you can try, but it's going to be ungodly hard and there'll never be any robustness. You've either got to change Mars into something like Earth, or change humans into something that doesn't need to live on a thing like earth. And that's where the cyborg notion cane from."

M: "We could, apparently, give on the Martian equator, it's only -10C."

A: "But that's such a pussy-whipped way of exploring the universe. We'll look for places that are ok for us and we'll go there. And the distances you'd be talking about – it's just not going to happen. What we need to be thinking of…"

J: "You were banging on about transhumanism the other week and I went on at length about Rod Brooks, who is doing this stuff right now for MIT. They built cybernetic legs and gave them to people and that's enabled them to run up and down stairs and they're saying, 'I'm not returning this leg because it's given me my life back.' What really hacks me off about people in general is the, 'Oh, I don't know that. I can't do that.' Why can't you do it?"

A: "I remember reading something from the guys from, I think it was NOFX, and his bitch was...he said, 'What pisses me off is when I tell people about DIY, and they go 'Yeah, that's so punk!' and they think that DIY is just a gimmick.' They're like DIY for a little bit and then expect that someone would come in and save them and pay all the bills. That's not DIY."

L: "DIY with a safety net..."

A: "They don't want to learn how to do it for themselves."

J: "What you find when you try this stuff is that no-one is really brighter than anyone else and it's all reasonably simple. None of this stuff is hard."

A: "That's the way you write music isn't it? I mean, have you ever read a manual in your life? It shows in the way you make stuff. It's interesting because you just use shit in the most random ways and it works and it's brilliant."

An: "I think it's just having access to the electronics. You can just do anything."

J: "I think you need to have this attitude of, 'I want to try this. I'd best go and do it then.’"

An: "Yeah, you've just got to go, 'I'll go and do this' and then it's like, 'Ooh – that sounds good... No, wait, that sounds better...put that with that other thing and... Wow.'"

L: "That's one of the things I've noticed about music. Now, I'm worried about writing good stuff, whereas before I just wrote stuff and didn't care. It's like at the beginning you don't know if it's good or bad, you're just doing it because you enjoy doing it and now there's more pressure on me to write stuff that's better than anything I've done before. So as a result I write appreciably less."

A: "And you consider other people's work a lot more as well, than you might otherwise have done."

L: "You become a victim of your influences."

A: "Yeah..."

J: "But you can't help doing that."

L: "So you could argue that the reason the music industry is in the state it's in is because it's got too many influences to live up to. How can we possibly compete with Joy Division, New Order, Depeche Mode, NiN, Ministry. They've done it already, let's not bother."

A: "We should just stop caring..."

J: "If you go and read about Joy Division you find out that they were a hopeless bunch who were all standing around going, 'We don't know what the fuck we're doing.'"

L: "You've split it though, you've [Amon] said that we shouldn't bother living up to anything, and you [John] said you should find everything out and discover that they didn't know what they were doing either. So there's two courses of action right there. You should either learn everything and take it on board that they didn't know, and go do it anyway. Or you should just ignore the whole lot and just do it regardless. Which is the better course of action?"

An: "Both at the same time."

A: "What he said."

An: "You're not, like, given one or the other."

L: "I'm not saying it's like a homework project. It's like...take an example like the Mona Lisa as a complete abstraction. Do you enjoy it because it's a pretty painting or do you enjoy it because you know an awful lot about what Da Vinci went through in order to paint it? The educated person enjoys it on both levels. But that's like saying, 'Do you listen to Linkin Park because they've got great tunes, or are you going, 'I understand that's cross-referencing the work of Run DMC, Anthrax, Public Enemy...'”

?: "Your examples are jumping around a bit."

L: "No, they're not at all. I'm saying that without Run DMC and Anthrax there could be no Linkin Park. That's not a jump. This is my point about rock & roll. People were enjoying that without knowing fuck-all about the blues, because it was a major underground movement. You don't need to know about the blues to enjoy Elvis, but the two are intrinsically linked. [But] does that make you enjoy Elvis more or less? Do you go, 'My God he's just ripping this stuff off and I want to go back to the roots' or do you go 'Woo! Yeah! That's cutting-edge!' Because these people were up in arms because I just compared Linkin Park to Run DMC."

An: "It's not an invalid comparison."

[Tape noise.]

An: "... And the third one goes, 'That's nothing!' and chainsaws his head off."

M: "So, John. Is this making any sense?"

[Laughter.]

[Tape noise.]

[A shouted argument about Public Enemy.]

J: "The best revolution is the one you don't notice. That you just wake up in the morning and someone comes up to you and says, 'When did you start thinking [x]?' and you're like, 'But I didn't realize that it had been any other way...'"

A: "Yeah, it was like sometime in the eighties, anyone who thought that people in bands had to be blokes suddenly looked hopelessly retro and you kind of don't understand when that happened. They probably understand even less. A paradigm shift. It's interesting – the idea of people waking up one day and suddenly realizing that."

J: "The world changed. Where were you?"

A: "Yeah. I was thinking about this today. I was in a queue in a supermarket somewhere and thinking; Isn't it funny how, it's a bit zen I guess, but if you try to cling to a thing and times are changing, values are shifting or whatever... Clinging to a thing is the surest way to find that you don't get to stick with it. You know what I mean? Say you want to be the latest of the latest, so you lock down on a particular set of values that you perceive to be The Trendy Thing in say, 1983. So you're wearing your big goth gear or whatever and you realize that as times change, because you've locked down on the latest, suddenly you're the most hopelessly non-happening person in the street. The same goes for any set of values really. It kind of fascinates me to think that there would have been a lot of people who had a problem with, say, women in rock, who would have woken up one day and realized that suddenly everyone didn't agree with them."

[Tape noise.]

An: "There was something I remember you saying a few years ago..."

A: "Oh God. I hate it when things you've said in the past come back..."

An: "No, no. It's really relevant. We were talking about it last night.”

[Mumbling.]

An: "He likes fucking with people when they're passed out. I think it's cruel."

[Laughter.]

An: "It's like you'd wait for him to pass out, put him on the tube tracks and he'd like wake up and go, 'Oh, I really regret all those things I… *SPLAT*! Where's my head?"

A: "I didn't mean that. Sorry. Anyway – something I said a few years ago."

[Tape noise.]

A: "Earlier, we were talking about the band and about the other collective-type outfits we're involved with and we were saying that we've got lots of political viewpoints, but that if you assembled all the fragments and took a big step back they make coherent sense, but we don't have a policy. We don't have a book lying around somewhere. We got to thinking, well, maybe we don't need a policy because that's all a bit Billy Bragg."

A: "Rather than having a policy. What if you had a core notion? That things make political sense in reference to. So on any given issue, you can reflect on Core Notion and that should give you an impression of what your political view on that probably is. And if you've got a pre-conceive d political idea which doesn't fit that, then you should probably leave the band because the band is full of counter-revolutionaries or somesuch. What we were thinking of was Temporary Autonomous Zones. You're familiar with Hakim Bey, of course? What we were thinking of…basically the way we wanted to set up, we want to become less 'A Band' and more a multi-media collective. We've kind of been heading in that direction, but we've got, like, splinter groups that we're trying to pull back under the umbrella. But one of these key notions is the idea of a 'Virtual Autonomous Zone' – you build a virtual environment and it's like a virtual club night. You've got your set playing whatever, you can be projected at squat-raves in Berlin or Tokyo or New York or wherever and basically the politics of the thing is that it's your right to have your own little autonomous state, not to be fucked with. That kind of thing. It touches on all the ideas that I've just mentioned. But in spirit, I think it's like the Kronstadt anarchy, but for the 21st century. I think you'd be hard pushed today to find a piece of land where you'd get 20,000 people to live together and make it work without being screwed one way or the other by some major corporation. If not by, say, the American government. [...] But if you've got a distributed virtual citizenship than you can have a network. [...] I mean the whole point of the internet was that it was built to be distributed by DARPA so that it could survive a nuclear war. I mean you'd take strikes and like a neural net it would have redundancy. Well, assuming that logic were true. Say you had a net that, like a neural net, could take a bunch of strategic hits and providing that there's a good percentage of it still left, it could still operate. Well then, our temporary autonomous zone could operate even if, you know, an entire community of squatters in Berlin got busted, or Tokyo slid into the sea, or whatever.

J: "Giant industrial robots took over Japan. Again."

ArkasaiA: "Well, you know this shit happens periodically and one must be prepared. So this is…your mystic leftie anarchist survivalist thing is so what we're about.

[Tape noise.]

An: "I think things are explained too much in movies. I didn't like the Matrix at all because of that."

A: "You know, what I liked about it was the big gnostic myth writ large."

An: "I appreciated it for being clever, but it wasn't a nice movie to sit down and watch."

J: "You'll have film film film happy happy happy finish and it all happened because of... It's really hard to live with uncertainty."

A: "There have been a number of occasions where I've been utterly mystified. To the point of damn-near emotional breakdown because something inexplicable happened. Now, when I say 'inexplicable' I don't mean it was some kind of cosmic mystery. What I mean is that a bunch of stuff happened and no-one sat down and explained to me what went on that I didn't notice. Why did it happen? Why did that person run around the corner? One time, right, a dozen guys ran around the corner, went 'Him!' beat the shit out of me and then ran on. Now, a movie would at some point, even if it were being really clever – it might be out of linear sequence – but at some point you'd learn what was going on in their lives just before they ran around the corner.”

J: "The back-story?"

A: "Yes. In life there is no back-story, you just get beaten up."

Legends Online