Pradžia / Radikaliai
 

Patrick Leagas: There are always more questions and the answers never satisfy

Patrick Leagas is very well known to certain music circles, so i won‘t try to tell you who he is. He will, kindly, in this exclusive interview. Also, please visit these sites: www.hagshadow.net/6comm, www.facebook.com/patrick.leagas, www.6comm.bandcamp.com, www.hinoeuma.org, http://www.myspace.com/malediction666, http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/hinoeumamalediction, http://www.myspace.com/6comm66, http://www.discogs.com/artist/Patrick+Leagas.

Mindaugas Peleckis
2012 m. Gegužės 20 d., 23:08
Skaityta: 4186 k.
Patrick Leagas. All photos are from P.Leagas' archive
Patrick Leagas. All photos are from P.Leagas' archive

Your music biography is quite impressive (Death In June, Sixth Comm, Mother Destruction), but one can say You are the most „silent“ member of neofolk legends. Why?
 
The other two members of the original DIJ have been (as far as I know) full time musicians ever since the 80's releasing countless works - doing probably hundreds of shows & touring all over the World and collaborating with many different artists within & outside the genre. They have worked long & hard on their individual projects and they deserve that recognition.
 
I have had a few periods of intensive work with MD during the 90's recording a few albums and touring in Europe, mainly Germany, but my main entity 6comm was never a live band at all. I only did 10 real shows in my full history and that was during the last couple of years. I have never played a concert outside of the main Countries in Northern Europe like Belgium, Germany, Italy, Swiss, not even in France or Scandinavia, I have never performed in the ex-eastern block countries, America or Japan.
 
The amount of time I spent recording as 6comm perhaps amount's to but a few weeks or months in total over the period of 25 years since I left DIJ after the NADA album and I have had periods of time up to five years or more when I have neither recorded or played live at all. I didn't do one show between leaving DIJ in 85 and playing live with MD some 8 years later.
 
By and large I have kept to myself & have collaborated very little, I am more of an Isolationist & also have a schizophrenic approach to music I have never been very good at promoting myself and never wanted to at times. If I was working for a label then I would have to do a few interviews but mostly I prefer to stay out of all that business. I do see however that to be successful in music or art it is necessary to be available and to show oneself, for instance this is my first interview for years as I usually decline offers. I don't see myself as an artist, just as a sufferer and a victim of my own need to create some music now & then. It is cathartic for me and not a means to exist financially ,so therefor I don't need to sell myself that much. I'm VERY lucky that I have retained a small cult following of sorts as I  am not the most accessible or easiest of people to deal with.
 
All in all I do have periods of time when I feel creative and I want to be playing live but my feelings are not consistent in this matter.
 
Other aspects of my life have been much more interesting than creating music & that has given me a real life inspiration and subject matter to bring to musically and not just the experience of others through their works in book or music. I think its better to experience art through life  and not just to make art from the art of others. Though I do that as well but there should be a balance I think.
 
 
Could You please remember how Death In June began? Did You play together with Douglas P. and Tony Wakeford in Crisis? How did it (and when exactly – i mean not only the date, but the very moment, reason) turned to Death In June?
 
You mean when & why did I turn to the dark side ?
 
I was a fan of Crisis at the end of the 1970's. Punk had finished by then and many bands were becoming more political, mainly and in this case of a left wing socialist leaning. The UK at that time was very politicized and it was a really bleak period in which this Country suffered seemingly at the time at the hands of the Conservative government but really that wasn't true because the balance & nature of production, industry and social politics was changing Worldwide. After a long period of well being and social reform after WW2 and up to the 70's where incredible social change for the good of the many took place in this country, such as The free Health service - working conditions improved - schooling improved for the many and the 50's & 60's brought new ideas of individual freedoms to the youth of this Country. This good feeling and progression ended during the seventies and into the early 80's and depression and political extremism reared its head both left & right, hence the politicized band genre.
 
A old school friend of mine was sharing a flat with Tony Wakeford and other people in London  and he told me that the drummer from Crisis was leaving the band and that I should perhaps go to one of their rehearsals, in the hope that they might take me as their drummer. However, as my memory now tells me, only Tony turned up for the meeting and I think one or two others later. I think that was the end of the band Crisis from that day as far as I remember, I may be mistaken though. Anyway I got talking to Tony and we got on very well and one thing led to another. He joined a very strange and eccentric band I was in with Richard Butler (who later joined DIJ for a while). As far as I can remember we did a couple of concerts together and socialized for a while. A some point later Tony gave me a cassette tape of a couple of songs that he had been working on, 3 tracks I think and with a very simple beatbox backbeat. That was really the start of the band as such. Almost immediately we seemed to have arrived at a destination which somehow felt slightly apart from any thing that any of us had previously foreseen. We had our first meeting and rehearsal at either the Fridge or a cold storage rehearsal studio in Brixton and within a few weeks the whole idea became a living entity .... of the dead.
 
The name Death in June came from something I said during a rehearsal . I had brought in the idea & lyrics for State Laughter , when asked "what is the song about "? I said " Oh just the usual death & gloom - this was misheard as Death in June and so it became. It the best we could do at the time anyway.
 
It proved to be a timely and important misunderstanding.
 
 
It‘s written in internet that You left Death In June „in 1985 during a tour in Italy“. Why? What happened?
 
That isn't true I didn't leave during a tour.
 
It didn't suit my personality at all. I didn't want to be in a band, it just became too obvious and pointless for me - concerts, writing songs, what for? I didn't think it was good enough just to take other peoples ideas & experience and history and bleed it as though it was of our making. I wanted some life and experience, I was 23 years and didn't want to become whatever we were becoming. So I left and did other things with my life but music now being in my blood, I slipped in & out of musical mode as & when it suited me . I didn't actually leave during a tour although I was pretty uninterested in it, I decided to leave after we had finished recording the Born again 12" which although the songs were mine I was not happy with them and the 12" should not have been released without more thought in my view . Nada had already been released. I left at  a good time. I left when DIJ was powerful in that incarnation and I didn't want to and could not see any point in recording any further material in DIJ. It was a good decision, I didn't want it to be so pressured with shows recording and interviews in which I had no interest in taking part.
 
I could not then and cannot now see the point in doing art, in this case music about certain subjects without actually having at least experiencing a little at those subjects. To me it was farcical and my natural inclination was not towards being in a rock n roll band, which it became despite the naughty image but to experience a little of what I was interested in.
 
It's up to the individual of course how he behaves & how he approached his art but for me the subject matter of DIJ & some of my other musical entities was my life and not just a means to be noticed and make a living from. You can put a Swastika on anything & some people will buy it. I didn't want to become a salesman.                                           
 
It's cool to rip off great writers and use them for your inspiration - martial heroes, politics, warfare, naughty ss badges look cool, we have all done it but what the fuck do we really know about it - I woke up and found it all childish and embarrassing . Did you know that I was with another, who shall remain nameless, and wearing very small SA (Sturm Abteilung) tie pins on our 1940's suits whilst waiting in a tube station in London and this old woman came up & recognized what we were wearing and asked us why? I really don't think we had a good answer and I felt about 2 inches tall. You see its cool to wear the totenkopf & other such memorabilia  in a nice art context with nice arty people but put yourself in the company of ex service people ex resistance fighters ex concentration camp inmates then you are nothing more than a moron, especially when you have finally grown up & should know better..... ah the folly of youth ! & would I do it all again, well maybe. 
 
 
It is hard to count, so maybe You could help us with discography of Sixth Comm and Mother Destruction. How many and what albums were released? Sixth Comm – it‘s probably from the sixth commandment from the Bible? Why sixth, but not, say, first or third? What‘s the meaning of it?
 
I don't think about the totality of what I have or have not done that. Once something is recorded and released it goes out of my mind for a while, especially as i did not perform live at all. There is a basic discography on my website for anyone to see. I don't own a copy of everything I have done so I never see the actuality of it all - its all out there to find if people wish to do so. I don't really repress my CDs often and will probably not do so again in the event of online downloads.
The meaning of 6comm no longer matters as it is dead for all intents and purposes, it‘s for others to find life in the music if the music is of their liking.
 
6 is a very important number for me, comm means communication. I don't wish to elaborate about it any further here.
 
 
Your collaboration with Amodali was very interesting, the songs i‘ve heard were something new – more tribal, if i guess correctly. What music style is the most interesting to You as a musician – neofolk, tribal, ...?
 
I'm glad you mention Neo-folk because I feel no affinity with this musical term at all. Of course I understand what is it and what the basis of most of those bands that do style themselves so. When i was in DIJ the term Neo-folk didn't exist. I was not and am not a part of Neo-folk. I was part of the original concept but that concept was not Neo-folk - it precluded Neo-folk, it was something different. I like many different types of music as most people do but yes I went through a phase of listening to and making music that was more in the tribal current whilst  working as MD. This feeling comes more from my views & feeling towards Paganism and World roots in drumming and ethnicity in musical form. I always thought that acoustic guitars belong more to the church & hippies than in anything to do with Paganism. That was my cheeky thought at the time, I don't particularly think that now (well maybe in certain cases). It does not matter what style of music a person does as long as it is true to oneself at that time. I could not do that sort of music now anymore than I could punk. So to go back to your question - what is interesting to me in music is that all sorts of genres have something to offer - well nearly all.
 
Do i have favorite bands, no, I gave that up when I was a teenager. I would rather listen to metal or Noise, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, Benjamin Britten or a thousand other composers & musicians than to music from the ex post punk scene - that is not to say that the music is not wonderful sometimes but its not my cup of tea and I'm sure they would feel the same about me.
 
The two great bands of my time have been Joy Division for their jagged intensity and Ian's beautiful if bleak lyrics, I never saw them live but they can bring tears to my eyes at the right moment - Coil were the other - though I'm not a great fan and I only have a couple of their releases it was obviously and very evident that they were light years ahead of everyone one else in the post punk scene including all at World Serpent (though one can't compare styles of course) and had a real affinity with magic in music. Mother Destruction was the vehicle for Amodali's vocalizations of her in-depth interest in Magi< & the Occult and I was very happy to take the back line and let her express her knowledge onstage & on record.
 
I would perhaps call myself a Pagan but not an Occultist at all. It was annoyingly often forgotten in the sexist music environment that she was the driving force of the subject matter 90% of the time & not me.
 
 
What are Patrick Leagas (or You still call Yourself Patrick O‘Kill?) doing right now as a musician? Do You still have projects, bands, where You participate or plan to do? Actually, i didn‘t find any info about that so it would be great to hear it straight from You.
 
I have my little male menstrual cycle of interest and creation every now and then. A year or so ago I re-released some re recordings of old material on the Stukas CD album and finally but twenty years late I did a series of live shows playing some of my old work as 6comm. My very last 6comm release was in 2007 with the double album Headless / Let the moon speak.
 
Its time to move on again and shed another skin that is wrinkled and dried out. My new name is godlessate and I will release a 10" vinyl record later this year.
 
I am doing a few little collaboration tracks with a friend Basajaun and a joint release with COTA  before our planned mini tour in June 2013.
 
Beyond that its a Neither Neither situation - I will pick a point between knowing & unknowing & continue upon to where ever the path leads me, in other words  I haven't a clue. I'll just do things as & when I can.
 
 
What influences (music, cinema, books, religion, philosophy etc.) would You call the main for You?
 
Everything & all is an influence. Reading a multitude of books, belonging to a magical order or being a Pagan does not make anyone any better than anyone else.
 
There are always more questions and the answers never satisfy - lists of books, films or philosophy & particular clothes are only another question and not an answer.
 
The only way to answer your questions is to live a life and I imagine at the end of that life you will realize that you should never have bothered asking any questions at all as there are no answers.
 
The happiest people I have met have never been concerned too much with the meaning of life because they are actually trying to live one and often in difficult circumstance.
 
If you are unlucky enough to be a questioner of life then so be it - put on your black shirt - stroke your pointy little beard , polish your monocle, hug your copy of Das Kapital, or Mein Kampf, close the curtains, do what thou wilt etc etc and so on. We have all done it, it‘s nothing special, does it make one a better person? Not from what I have seen and certainly not in my case. Saying that history, the Occult and art particularly from the Victorian period up to the 1940's is of great interest to me as I obviously is for most people that I know I have my own favorites who have influenced me somewhat. Be yourself & then god & the devil are as nothing - is one of them .... who said that? The prime movers in my life have become more evident in my final work as 6comm the double c.d. Headless & Let the moon speak. These influential people, these cultists themselves spent too much of their life searching for meaning yet never really finding any answers.
 
Philosophers may be able to elaborate and pontificate with style upon the questions of life but often appear to be unhappy in the process. So what of it?      
 
                   
When Death In June started neofolk movement (am i right?), there were not so many neofolk bands. Around 1985-1988, some more appeared (Current 93, Sol Invictus). Now we can find a plethora of good and not so good neofolk bands. Is it a revival, a some kind of „fashion“, how do You see these new bands, which sometimes are very similar one to each other and remind the aforementioned ones?             
 
I don't know anything about the N-F scene. The N-F didn't exist when I was in DIJ - obviously it appeared via someone's description at some point because everything has to have a label to engage a channeled & understandable perception of meaning. However it never caught my imagination, so I can't really answer the question. Most of what I have heard is a poor imitation of the few people that started the genre but I'm sure there must be some good bands within that genre or it would not persist and in any case bad bands progress & improve. I am not right person to ask.
 
For me the Neo-folk scene was basically Tony Wakeford & Tibet as when i knew him before DIJ it was very evident that his roots were in British folk rock & experimental bands of the late 60's & 70's as well as traditional fare and the direct influences can be found in their music, Tony is the daddy of Neo-folk.          
 
My music has not involved those direct links or really much earlier based folk ideas in either text or style and was always a more electronic in style, would have been so easy for me to continue and take up the military drums, acoustic guitar and have formed another DIJ at that time but why do what others do, I normally go my own way I in life & in music. The only labels I have ever adhered to or acknowledged was being a punk for a very short time and the other being in the armed forces for a while. Both of those had their own uniform and label of a kind. I don't feel the need for companions, groups or associations in music or any other areas of my life.                                                                                     
 
Your near future plans?                             
 
Oblivion at some point but not quite yet. The start of a new musical project for me this year and performing a few shows next year. Leaving 6comm behind will be a big change in my musical life as it has been looking over my shoulder running between my legs and tripping me up since 1986. My new material will be a little different in style & subject matter and I may for the first time directly work to text already written by a genius and his contemporaries during the early 20th Century. Beyond that first work I have no plans. I am shortly going to be 51 years old which isn't as old as it sounds when you get there. I shall be spending time getting back into physical activities, cycling, walking this small but beautiful museum of the British Isles. I had some little problems for over a year where I was told that I may not ever get the use of my right leg back below the knee and maybe have to have spine surgery. The fact that I got through that period and have become fully active again with out any intervention has given me inspiration to use my time and body in a better way. Only my current normal employment holds me back from putting more time into art & music but that's life.
 
I feel damned lucky to be living at this time that "we" and that is people like you, who may be reading this, just about have the freedom to create whatever we wish, within reason.                     

 
It would be interesting to know more about Your cooperation with Freya Aswynn. Your and her album "The Fruits of Yggdrasil" is one of the best musical albums that i ever heard. I guess there should be some interesting story behind it?
 
Ah well that was many years ago in 1987. I met Freya I think via David Tibet, I guess at some point we decided to have a go at creating an album based on the Runes which was her main subject at that time. With Freya's great energy and voice and some ad-libbing by me, we conjured up the album without any preconceived ideas in but a few days, five I think in a recording studio. It was a little nerve wracking for me making up music on the spot as I am not exactly a virtuoso at anything at all but somehow it came together. Of course looking back, we are now so used to working with computers and midi  that I have to remember what I played there and then was it , no corrections, no moving midi notes around like we can do now if we wish.
 
It‘s very gothic recording and perhaps pompous in a way but that was the 80's for you. It created an keen interest in Europe at the time especially in Germany where the Runes were Verboten, I guess that the sleeve was like a black rag to a red necked liberal bull, it had some great reviews. Anyway its only a shame that we never performed live until about 2 years ago, again a little late but better late than never.
 
There is a Picture disc record of one of the performances - somehow we never managed to get a good video of a show, always the footage didn't come out, sound distortion & gremlins apparent, so there is no visual record in whole. I have little bits & pieces and will get around to making it available at some point. Freya is a great woman and character.            
 
Could You please explain symbolism of Your music and band - what does Sixth Comm (6>comm) mean (yes, i asked about it, but on CDs it's so aesthetical, and it would be interesting to know more about what Runes and other symbolism mean to You).
 
I always used the Kenaz rune, cenaz,  <  as it is the Rune of art light inspiration & creation , well in the hippy Runic sense. I am by no means a Rune expert, there are plenty around, I have but an interest or I used to. I am more interested that there were several forms of written communicating & both language, magic and the mundane within the varying Runic systems that  abound over much of Europe & beyond which have all but disappeared but which are as part of our genes, our history and our being as we are as Europeans but to the wider world also, as all systems have but a few seeds in history, so it appears to be for now but history is re written everyday.                                              
 
What do You think about "rebirth" of LPs, or in the West they always were considered to be "better" than CDs and, of course, MCs. In Lithuania, now LP-mania started not so long ago, so it would be interesting to know - is vinyl considered to be "better" than CD because of the quality, or it has some other meaning - kind of nostalgia maybe?
 
Funny you should ask that, I will take advantage of your question as I am releasing a series of 6 vinyls over the next couple of years. The first being via the Italian label Vade Retro quite soon.
 
No of course Vinyl is not better than CD - I remember when CDs first appeared and my first CD release, we thought thank the gods, they sound better - are a little tougher and a lot cheaper & easier to post around the planet. Of course there is a nostalgia for Vinyl, especially for those of us old enough to remember at time when there was nothing else but cassettes.
 
The playing of vinyl can be seen perhaps as becoming a ritual like the Japanese tea ceremony  - certainly in the care & attention you have to pay in respects to the delicate sound disc.
 
The big obvious difference & that always lacking with the CD is the sleeve and artwork format - records sleeves give a greater area for the transmission of art & image complimenting the sound record sleeves are posters, works of art. Jewel case sleeves are just something to annoy you when you try to prize the stupid piece of paper back in its cage.
 
That‘s why digipacks rule.
 
Best thing for all you youngsters to do is to buy my 10" vinyl ONTOGENY I which has a couple of exclusive tracks and a nice sleeve & inserts and let me know what you think of the format. No! you can't have your money back afterwards.                                                                                          
 
Lots of mythological and surreal things appear in Your songs. What religion, philosophy, mythology etc. is closest to You?               
 
Religions are the basis of all division, mythology is the basis of all religion and philosophy is the unknowing bastard of both, so what is there to choose from.... who said that ? I did. But maybe better is this from Gurdjieff, Be yourSelf then god & the devil don't matter.
               
                                   Oh how we laughed   Lovingly yours  Patrick L<
 
                              www.hagshadow.net/6comm     www.facebook.com/patrick.leagas    www.6comm.bandcamp.com
 
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