Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK

Coil update with Peter Christopherson

This isn't an interview as such but as each issue of Compulsion neared completion I'd contact Coil for an update on activities. The following formed the basis for the update contained within the third issue of Compulsion. This heavily edited, conversation was conducted with Peter Christopherson sometime in 1997.

Coil and William Burroughs The Nothing album
We don't know what it's called. It has been through a number of titles. It was called Backwards, International Dark Skies. At one point it was called God, Please Fuck My Mind For Good and it might be called Fire Of The Mind. As we haven't finished it, we leave it for a few months and do more and change the title. We're having to finish it in the next month or so. It'll probably come out in January, I would think. There are quite a lot of vocals on there, kinda weird bits and there's rhythmic bits.

Two Friends
The Burroughs thing will be a separate single. We recorded some vocals that he did a few years ago and we wanted to do a combined record with John Giorno called Two Friends. We recorded him the last time we saw him in the autumn and he read a text that we wrote. Once we get it together to do the music side of it, it'll come out hopefully quite soon.

Remixing of Nothing album and others
The final line up is not confirmed but we're hoping to include Autechre, Witchman, Surgeon. We're big fans of Labradford as they are of us and it's quite possible they'll do something.

Jim O'Rourke offered to do some remixes for us. It's not particularly part of that project. At one point he was doing Coil remix work. He hasn't done them yet but we hope he will. We did a Tactile remix and we've just did one for a group called Esplendor Geometrico.

We're doing a series of a sort of collaboration works called Intercourse. At least one of those is with Autechre, hopefully, Chris and Cosey and maybe Labradford. We're trying to get Warp to release something for us.

Bill Laswell's City of Light
We did that actually for a different record and he didn't use it on the record he was supposed to use it on. So he used it on something else. We saw it in the shop but we didn't buy it. We sent him several different versions of a piece that was supposed to be for a thing to do with Hassan I Sabbah. The Assassins was the project we did the piece for, with a text by Hakim Bey, but he didn't use it for that.

Bill Laswell - 'Kála' from City of Light

We're just doing a new ELpH album as we speak. What is Sidereal sound? I can't tell you. It's a combination of computer software and the kind of techniques that we use to record sound. Austin Osman Spare was an artist who we like a lot and obviously appreciate and he had a technique that he called sidereal art, siderealism, which is a way of of seeing things from the side, you get a glancing view of them.

The title of Seven was a remix of a Nine Inch Nails track we did.
But you weren't on the credits?
The way the film crediting usually works in America is that the publishers just credit the person who writes the song. And since it was a remix technically speaking the person who wrote the song was Trent but we considered it to be our work. On the initial release it didn't have our names on the print but I think they have modified that. In my opinion remixes are basically to get publishing. That includes when other people remix us. We'd like people to make new work out of our songs and our sounds. I think the music industry ought to change so that remixers get publishing and get at least joint credit with the original writers. It's not something we're cross about with in particular.

We had a thing on the Dennis Cooper film Frisk and some stuff on the new Gregg Araki. He's a kind of Los Angeles sort of semi underground cult kind of gay filmmaker who does weird films.

There were one or two original things but mostly old stuff. We did it because we liked the Dennis Cooper book. The film wasn't too good. It's pretty awful. It's wasn't as bad as Spawn though that was really awful. A lot of people we know did music for that.

David Lynch's Lost Highway
I did about 2 days work with Trent on that in New Orleans. I went down last year met with David Lynch and his funny secretary. They were kind of weird. I think it was all a front actually. They were very nice. I made a few drones and weird noises. Whether they used them I don't know but they did give me a credit.

Trent Reznor featuring Peter Christopherson
'Videodrones; Questions' from Lost Highway soundtrack

Derek Jarman's Journey To Avebury
It was a short film that he made a long time ago that didn't have a soundtrack. It was 8 minutes long and Derek came to Geff, to John Balance, in a dream and told him to make it 16 minutes. So we did and made it longer and did an original piece for that. They're planning to release it.

Phil Barrington's fan made edition of Journey To Avebury with Coil soundtrack

The Sound of Music
Most of the things that we planned to release on The Sound of Music are actually on one of the Unnatural History volumes. We always have an ongoing idea to do a CD of film music called The Sound of Music.

Kenneth Anger
Kenneth Anger came to stay a few months ago when he was over for a party for John Paul Getty III. We've known Kenneth for a while, and he stayed at Threshold House. He's making a film in Austin, Texas soon and he has asked to be involved with the music for that. It's for the Gnostic Mass. We'd like to do that if we can.

Other stuff
We did a track for the World Serpent compilation and we're remixing it and re-releasing it with a Nurse With Wound track. The very first cassette called Transparent that we released in limited quantities in 1983 which had the first ever Coil recordings on is being reissued as a CD, out on Monday. Budget price as well, as its quite primitive but interesting for collectors.

Time Machines
The project is called Time Machines and it's minimalist, hardcore La Monte Young.

Bill Breeze
Bill Breeze has kinda joined the band. He did some recording for a work we're doing which is recordings made at the four vernal equinoxes and solstices. He took part in the one that we recorded on March 21.

How did John feel about his quote (Why be bleak when you could be Blake?) featuring on Julian Cope posters across the country?
Fantastic! We're working with Thighpaulsandra who is Julian's programmer, sequencer, producer, synthesizer person.

The full text of the Compulsion 3 update can be found here

A remixed and reworked version of Backwards, created by Peter Christopherson and Danny Hyde, was eventually released as The New Backwards. Initially issued on vinyl as part of The Ape of Naples boxset on Important Records it eventually received a singular release on Threshold House in 2008. The on-going and sporadic recordings of Backwards which began in 1992 were finally completed at Trent Reznor's studio in New Orleans in 1996. It was never released during Peter and John's lifetime but was released posthumously on Cold Spring in 2015.

The remix album was never completed. No Intercourse volumes were ever released. Neither has Coil's recordings of William Burroughs and John Giorno ever surfaced.

Derek Jarman's Journey To Avebury with the Coil soundtrack is as yet unreleased though I'm sure I remember viewing this as part of an exhibition at Tate London.