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Interview with David Thrussel of Black Lung, Snog & Soma - conducted by phone 11/7/96

Jester: How was your recent European Black Lung tour?

David: Pretty good. They kept on adding dates at the end of the tour, so when it came time to head over to the US, I called the US embassy in Holland where I was at the time. They told me that I needed a Visa in Australia where I am a citizen. The tour itself was good. I did about thirty shows, some of them in pretty crazy places.

I played on a ship in harbor in Rostock, Germany. It was a big ship that was fitted out to be a nightclub with this pirate type of captain. I had my own cabin. I did a show in Dresden in a bikers club, and the owner of the club was a Pagan/occultist. So he ended up taking up on a tour of Pagan sites in Dresden. He even took us to places where the Nazi's used to conduct experiments. It was all pretty weird, but fun. I did a show with Hawkwind in Rotterdam, Holland.

Jester: When can we expect to see you tour the US, and with what project?

David: We've been talking about perhaps a Snog tour. If I had more notice I would have done a few Black Lung dates while I was in the country. However there just wasn't enough time to prepare. It's a possibility. The black Lung shows are generally easier to do because it is just me and a who bunch of machines. It can be very spontaneous and I can do whatever I want with that type of show. It can be really noisy, dancey, or weird depending on my mood. With the Snog stuff it is harder to tour because there are more people involved. We've done a lot of tours in Australia and there tends to be about eight people all cramped in a van. It's like being married to seven other people for five or six weeks, which is kind of tough.

Jester: Is the tour becoming more of a possibility now that you have solid music contacts via Metropolis?

David: We've had records out here before but the record companies have always been real incompetent. I'm trying to fix that up because I feel there has always been a great deal of potential for Snog in the US and it has never been realized. We've had a few tracks which have been rather popular in clubs here but the record companies have never followed up on those successes properly.

Jester: So the majority of your releases should become easier to find in the US in the coming months?

David: I most certainly hope so.

Jester: Why do you have so many varied musical projects with Black Lung, Snog & Soma?

David: They all just do different things. Early on we used to mix the tracks up a bit more. In Australia the first couple of Snog singles were very long because there is no legal limit to CD singles there. The single would be at the beginning, then a few remixes, and finally some really weird atmospheric and noise tracks at the end. I really thought some of those tracks at the end of those singles were pretty good, yet they did tend to get less attention in the greater scheme of things.

So when we tried to release those records as CD singles in Germany we couldn't because by law CD singles can only be 21 minutes long. Instead of ditching the material at the end, the record label wanted to release those tracks as a different artist. So they ended up releasing that album as the first Black Lung record which was meant to be "Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars". Of course they got the title of the record wrong, changed all of the artwork without my permission and reordered the tracks. I was pretty mad about that which is why I am not on Machinery any longer.

The second album was a proper Black Lung album, not consisting of Snog out takes. It was more of a concept album as well as the third album. The Soma stuff was me and Peter from Eden & Dead Can Dance these days. That material obviously had a different vibe to it, so we released it as a new project. So we gave it a different name, look and feel. The music has a tendency to deal more with magical, supernatural and paganistic topics.

Jester: What does the new Soma, "Inner Cinema" sound like in comparison to the first album?

David: It is more soundtracky. The other day I described it as if you were in a room with a Spaghetti western playing on one wall, an old Italian horror film on another, and someone is playing a chip-hip record in the middle. The first Soma album had a few dark club tracks and this album has none. It is a total no dance floor record.

Jester: I also noticed you had release three recent Black Lung singles as well?" "The More The Confusion... The More The Profit", "Uncomfortable Questions For Comfortable People", and "Rhic-dom".

David: Those last two songs have only been released in Australia. I guess I just produce a great deal of material. It is not as if I push myself to write like that. We are full time musicians, so we are lucky to not have to deal with day jobs.

Jester: I also noticed you had a tendency to reuse certain phrases or concepts from project to project. For example the phrase, "The More The Confusion... The More The Profit", was used in the Snog 'Cliche' video.

David: I enjoy using particular ideas and text which mutate off and end up being used in other places. I am not overly careful or anal about something like that. That particular text quote was from a book that I was reading at the time. I really thought that quote was important and it was a shame to only use it in a video which would not be seen by that many people. So it ended up becoming the title of a Black Lung track and eventually a single as well.. On the artwork of the single is the full text of the quote.

That quote comes from a document called "Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars" which for years was something I always wanted to use in my music. That document has been an underground text that has passed from person to person via photocopies for years. It is one of those conspiracy documents that someone dreamed up years ago as well as an interesting read.

It was supposedly a top secret think tank document from the late 1960's that someone found second hand in a photocopy that they purchased from the Boeing corporation. Supposedly, it is a study on how you can control large portions of humanity through economics and manipulated consumeristic desires. They even have equations on how you can control people's buying behaviors. It is really fascinating, some people think its real, other think it is fake, but I don't think it matters.

Jester: You seem to have a extreme fascination with conspiracy theories most of which relate to the US. Why is that?

David: You have to admit the US is the center of world capitolism these days. It is the largest, most powerful nation leading the way in the world today. I am not poking criticism as the American people, but the American system of government is pretty evil. It is about as evil as you can get. Some people get upside when I point that out but I am not trying to be unfair. Australia labors under the same political structure and are only politically ten years behind America. It is not quite as draconian in Australia, but it is close.

Many people complain that I am only railing on the US, but a lot of the lyrics are about situations which have occurred in Australia. We have a particularly brutal police force. In the last year they have murdered twenty innocent people with no consequences at all. We share a common set of similar problem with the root of it all being capitolism. Personally I feel it is a bad system for the majority of the people. Sure for the 2% of the population who are billionaires, the system works, but not for everyone else.

The idea that money is more important than human beings is a bad one. When you walk down the street and you look into the faces of the common person, they look miserable. People look like neurotic caged animals. They look just like a dog would if you locked it in a room for a week.

Recently I read the Unabomber Manifesto and I agreed with 98% of it. The basic premise of the manifesto is that technological society is the cause. The manifesto says we have to destroy a technological system to survive. I don't agree with everything it says but I do agree with most of it.

One thing the manifesto mentions is the fact that man is being shaped to fit the machines as opposed to the other way around. I find it amazing that people take mind shaping drugs like Prozac to escape their problems rather than treating the cause of the problem itself. We never attack the cause, we only ever seem to mold people in a manner so that the societal machine will always continue. Human beings are being chemically adapted to shape this machine and that just amazes me.

Jester: Have you ever had any type of musical training?

David: Not at all. Really, I wouldn't know one note from another. Some of the time it is an advantage. Most of the time I can do anything I want as long as I think it sounds right. I know classically trained musicians it is really difficult for them to write anything that doesn't rigidly fit into their musical models. Sometimes there are drawbacks because I could never sit down and write a Country song with an acoustic guitar but I would have no idea how to do something like that. On the other hand, there are advantages because I can make crazy electronic music and as long as it sounds right to me people don't seem to have a problem with it.

Jester: What inspired you to first compose music and release it so that other people might listen to it as well?

David: I was always a fan of music. Right when Snog started in late 1989, it was just a bunch of friends whom I knew in art school. At that time I was listening to a lot of Foetus, Wiseblood, Tom Waits and Front 242. I thought I would just give it a shot and making something similar to those artists and see what happened. We spent a couple of years just playing around with the music without making it a serious concern.

Then by accident I found myself in a twenty hour per day music industry position. I never envisioned this happening at all. When I began I was in art school being trained as a sculptor and print maker. I ended up giving that all in favor of music away because it was quite boring. There was nothing deliberate about it at all.

Jester: Why do you still make music today?

David: Making music and having this communication with an audience is fun. I kind of get annoyed when people think it is stupid to try and communicate via music because that is what I think music is here for, to communicate. Only in the recent years have we lost that. Originally music was just another way to talk to people and I really enjoy that type of thing. We are just trying to communicate in a very realistic manner via our music.

With all of the music being made today, it could have been made on Mars for all I know because it says nothing about my life at all. I have no idea what the point of it is because I simply cannot relate to it. That is why a lot of Snog tracks are about very mundane things like going to the supermarket. Those tracks mirror things that everyone on the planet has done at some point in their lives and no one but us seems to communicate in this manner.

There are areas which are a complete drag. We are totally self managed and in the end I don't like it at all. About the time the first Snog album came out I was working twenty hours a day. Since then I have been trying to make sure it never happens again because it literally drove me quite nutty. That side of things I don't like as much and I am always trying to find ways to minimize the business side of music as much as possible. Dealing with the bitchy, jealous people I don't enjoy either. That can be rather disillusioning at times. The only place that really seems to happen is in Melbourne, where I live.

Jester: If you had to choose only one artists to collaborate with in the future, who might it be?

David: If I was forced to make a decision right now, it would probably be Lee Hazelwood. I've been on a bit of a Lee Hazelwood kick in the past month it seems. He is the guy from the 1960's who wrote a lot of dark, psychotic country music. A lot of his solo material is really hard to find both at home, in Europe and in America. So probably at this exact moment, I'd probably really like to make a record with him. I seriously doubt that it would ever happen, but the concept of the whole thing would be great.

In all seriousness, I have been asked to do an album with Merzbow. I think I would really enjoy working with him. The latest Black Lung has a lot of extreme noise type tracks and it is kind of my version of Heavy Metal without any guitars. Sort of a Death Metal without any guitars or vocals.

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