Monday, March 26, 2007


One of the most potent aspects of maskwork you'll find, for those willing to experiment with it, is the capacity to strip off the surface layers. And once stripped off, you can finally say what you are, not what you would like to be, or what you fear others may see you as. Because what you are is more than good enough; to me, art is really about somehow touching that part of you, though so heavily protected by the layers, that really would most love to be touched.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


To lubricate the mind, a nice creative writing exercise is to particpate in a random one of the zillions of surveys at places like bzoink - and amusingly, this one came up today:

Do you read your Bible daily? No.
What's your favorite book in the Bible? Song Of Solomon.
Favorite character? The Shulamite maiden.
Why? Because I enjoy ancient erotic poetry, and the rest of the bible is desperately lacking in anything remotely as pleasing as these verses. It's actually rather interesting how this book slipped through the mesh, and ever since it was accepted into the canon, theologians, church fathers and popes (including the incumbent ex-Hitler Youth Prada-loving Ratzinger) have had to perform extraordinary linguistic and interpretative contortions to give it some kind of divine allegorical meaning.
Anything you just don't get? Christians of the world, I'm a cosmic genius, I get everything; so if you'd like me to explain anything to you, just knock on my door, or ask me politely me in the street and I'll do my best to help you get it too.
Would you name your children after people in the Bible? Sure, many ancient names are eminently beautiful, not because they're in the bible.
Favorite passage? 'This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes. I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak. I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.'
Do you pray a lot? I've never prayed in my entire life.
Define prayer. A triumph of hope over destiny.
Are your friends Christians? Yes, I even have some friends who are Christians.
What do you think of other religions? Just as little.
Jesus is... A famous mythological personage.
The Bible Is... An anthology of poorly translated, heavily interpolated, mythological literature of extremely varying quality.
God is... John Cassavetes (but tomorrow it will be someone else).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


It's funny to see echoes of work you've been involved in, directly or indirectly, appear in unexpected - if not slightly incongruous - places. Huge fluorescent posters are constantly draped around Edinburgh to promote the very popular club night Optimo with my old (23 years old to be precise) slogan 'you won't like it sugar!'... and then this week I also learned that this city's long-standing and seminal techno club Pure was named after Sotos's notorious 80s fanzine.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Racket is finally done - and it seems we have a cover that's very special indeed. The way it sounds interests me in one sense because it's like nothing I could ever have imagined a Whitehouse album ever sounding, and yet it just feels right.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Fourth and final part of the interview!

Judith Howard: Away from the music slightly, in recent months you've started your own blog, you've also set up MySpace and YouTube accounts - perhaps you could tell us a bit about this development?

WB: Each one was set up for different motives really. As far as MySpace is concerned, after speaking to some people at some of the shows last year it dawned on me that MySpace was where people look for information, like concert and release schedules, for the band - bypassing official sites. Furthermore, there seems also to be a new generation of people that use these social networking sites for most of their communication - email almost being secondary - so overall it seemed a good idea to establish a presence there even though on a personal level I find the experience quite a hassle to manage. I've also come into contact with some great individuals there who I'd otherwise never have known.

JH: You mean on a personal level or for music?

WB: Actually for both.

JH: And the blog?

WB: The blog was set up on a complete whim and I've found it a lot more fun than I'd have ever expected - my initial feeling was one of what the hell am I actually going to say! It's even quite therapeutic when you've got something to get off your chest to no-one in particular; and I think the practice of regular writing helps keep your thoughts active and provoked, just as I always enjoy reading others' responses or comments.

JH: How about YouTube?

WB: Well, YouTube is very useful for the label for storing clips of archived video footage online for people to see because we were rapidly running out of space at the official site anyway.

JH: Finally, I know you've been doing talks and seminars, can you tell us how you think this fits into your work?

WB: Doing talks is something I really enjoy on a personal level, it seems to come quite naturally, and I know with that crazy music it's hard for many people to reconcile it with the human being. That's something I accept as part of the territory, and at times have even encouraged, nevertheless there's a definite value to providing a clearer framework to the thought processes and ideas and motivations; I was always a bit afraid of demystifying, and now on the contrary, I've learned that there are in fact useful ways of making certain aspects of one's work explicit, or discussing or sharing one's specialist interests, that can further enhance the experience and I think without in any way losing any of the magic.


Even more fantastic than the video of the women - this kid is fucking possessed.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Third segment of the interview, once all four have been posted the entire interview will be published at the Susan Lawly site.

Judith Howard: There's talk of other projects for you and Philip Best this year?

WB: Philip is also working on some new Consumer Electronics work (in addition to the Nobody's Ugly vinyl coming out on No Fun next month). As far as I'm concerned, it's really going to be an exceptionally busy year: in addition to finalising Racket and preparing each edition of the Whitehouse Vinyl Series Collection, there's another very exciting new musical project that I'm involved with getting ready to roll out starting this summer.

JH: You're being rather coy...

WB: (laughs) All will be revealed in due course I promise! In fact it's anticipated for there to be at least 3 volumes of this new project this year and it's something I've been building up to doing for a long time.

JH: Something I wanted to ask you about is a controversy I've noticed that has arisen in recent years regarding your pretty hard attitudes to bootlegs and piracy. Perhaps you could clarify where you stand on the issue?

WB: Essentially, regardless of what is said, for me this issue is not one of finance or even copyright ownership so much as one of artistic autonomy. We're not part of some big powerful capitalist partnership label, it's just a small operation and it's why it's so imperative that everything is done through Susan Lawly - rather than accepting all the kind offers that are often made to us. It's the only way to make sure the material is of a consistently high standard and represented as it was intended by ourselves. There really aren't many labels or artists who can exercise that degree of integrity, and I tend to think most people totally appreciate that. Seeing those horrendously poor quality Heemann pirates punted around used to really upset me for this very reason, and it's not like they were ever for any other reason than to make a quick unseemly buck. I've been told that Ron Lessard gets all snotty about this, and he's entitled to his opinion, if he wants to encourage people to bootleg stuff then that's his business, but it's definitely not my style - I passionately believe in what we do and I want it to come out exactly the way it's intended by us, and for people to know that's exactly what they're getting with any Susan Lawly item.

JH: OK, that makes sense. Will Whitehouse albums be available for legal downloads? I noticed even Nurse With Wound and similar going down that path.

WB: There are no plans for that at present because I still believe in the artistic and kinesthetic value of a real item - the artwork, the presentation, the lyrics, the vinyl or disc itself, to me they all form part of the experience. I think this is one of the main reasons why vinyl is so stubbornly refusing to disappear, it still is the best way to experience music, as opposed to merely listen to music.

JH: Do you still listen to music on vinyl?

WB: Absolutely! And that is the principle motive for initiating the Vinyl Series Collection, something I'm really excited about on a personal level. In fact, I'm going use this excuse to treat myself to a shiny new deck.

(to be continued)