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Interview with Andrew Lagowski - 8/4/98

Jester: How did you first meet Brian Lustmord?

Andrew: I was very interested in SPK and he was helping to run Side Effects in the U.K. I went over to his place and he showed me lots of SPK and other artifacts which blew my mind.

Jester: How did that relationship lead to you releasing a Legion and a Lagowski album on his Side Effect label?

Andrew: Well Brian simply wrote to me one day "How about doing an album for Side Effects" which I was really happy about, obviously. If he likes music by anyone, and thinks it deserves an airing, he will try to put it out, regardless of its earning potential. That's what I call commitment to your original aim.

Jester: Whose idea was it to record the Terror Against Terror album?

Andrew: The whole idea and imagery was Brian's. He wanted to put out a real heavy EBM thing which crapped on those Front 242-type popsters. We recorded it way before it came out, but record company types delayed its release which made it sound dated by the time it came out.

Jester: John Bergin was responsible for all of the artwork for Legion's "Leviathan" and Lagowski's "Ashita". Did you have any input into the art direction and overall presentation of those albums?

Andrew: The artwork for all three Legion releases was done by Disinformation (Joe Banks). John Bergin did the 'Ashita' artwork. I supplied the image of gold particles which I got from a guy who does micro photography etc. I usually try to supply images for my releases or have a big say in how things turn out.

Jester: What role did you have in creating the Isolrubin BK "Crash Injury Trauma" album?

Andrew: I did a lot of the sampling and mixing of the tracks. I was given instructions on how to mix stuff or where to arrange parts etc. It was good fun to do.

Jester: How do you delineate musically between your three projects Lagowski, S.E.T.I. and Legion?

Andrew: The different sounds/textures are now merging into one sound really. I used to use S.E.T.I. for space type stuff, Legion for dark, filmic stuff and Lagowski for dance music, but these days things are moving towards the S.E.T.I. direction but with dark/noisy tinges.

I'm still making dance stuff, but it'll come out under the S.E.T.I. name now as that's the name I use for live stuff, and people seem to have gotten used to me under that name. I think Legion has died but it might be reactivated if there are any interesting live events which call for evil/dark sounds.

Jester: There is another band named SETI who has released music on US Ambient labels. Have there been any legal issues concerning your both using the same band name?

Andrew: No. We've contacted each other and were even thinking about a joint album at one stage. I've been using the name since 1992, so I'm happy to carry on with it.

Jester: Why does the Legion "Leviathan" album list six tracks, but is mastered as one single continuous track?

Andrew: It's supposed to be listened to as one long experience, maybe in the background in the Eno way.

Jester: With "Ashita" you seem to have moved into using more rhythmic sounds than before. What brought about this change?

Andrew: If you listen to my back catalogue you'll notice that I've always used rhythm a lot.

Jester: How did you first get involved with writing music? Why did you choose this genre of music over any other?

Andrew: I used to play the drums then I discovered drum machines and patchcord synths and that was my downfall. Electronic music offers an infinite depth of sound possibilities. How could I express dark, brooding power with an acoustic guitar?

Jester: What is your opinion of the Internet as a tool to help promote underground music?

Andrew: It's perfect. A huge network of possible associations and information but there is far too much crap on the web. I wish there could be a giant purge of all the extraneous bull****. Some kind of Net bomb.

Jester: Some of your older releases are difficult to find outside of Europe. Do you have any suggestions on how to obtain them?

Andrew: I guess the best way is to contact the labels. Hyperium in Germany for the first two Legions and the Lagowski 'Prismatic' album. Touch/Ash in London or Soleilmoon in Oregon for S.E.T.I. 'Knowledge'. Most of the commercial Techno stuff which was on the GPR label can be found in big stores like Tower/Virgin etc. Also the S.E.T.I. 'Geometry of Night' on incoming! in Germany should be in the big stores or available from Soleilmoon again.

Jester Who would you consider your greatest musical influence?

Andrew: I guess it would have to be Cabaret Voltaire, from the late seventies to the early eighties which shows how ancient I am.

Jester: What hobbies or jobs do you have outside of writing music? Does they help influence your music any?

Andrew: I have a full time job as a digital video compressionist for a large London Video company. It doesn't influence my music at all. I enjoy reading about computers and equipment, hacking etc, also various novels.

Jester: Who if your favorite author? How have books influenced the sound and styles of your music?

Andrew: Favourite author is Philip K. Dick at the moment, but I'm also keen on J.G. Ballard. The books simply put you in another world or mind space which is exactly what I'm trying to do with my music.

Jester: Is "Ashita" a concept album? I remember reading somewhere that Ashita means something in Japanese.

Andrew: "Ashita" means "tomorrow" in Japanese. The concept is that of Nanotechnology and all of its implications for us, physically and psychologically. See the Side Effects web site for the full press release.

Jester: Have you ever had any musical training? Has your lack of or training reflected positively or negatively on how you write music?

Andrew: Can't you tell that I never had any training? I feel the lack of training has given me room to explore areas where traditionally trained musicians would never go. I'm more into sound, noise and rhythm than musical scales.

Jester: What does your studio look like? Do you have a home studio or do you record in a more professional setting?

Andrew: I have a small corner of a room at home with some rack modules and a laptop computer. The laptop does digital editing, sound manipulation and sequencing. It also acts as a good sequencer for live performances - it's important for me to be able to do stuff live and at home.

Jester: If you could choose one musician to collaborate with, who would it be? Why that person?

Andrew: The only person I want to collaborate with at the moment is Toru Yamanaka of the Japanese performance group Dumb Type. He has great ideas and is a very good person. I will be doing an album with him soon.

Jester: What does the future hold for you?

Andrew: New S.E.T.I. ambient/noise album just finished. New dance stuff about 50% done I have a few live events coming up in Autumn and Winter. Collaboration with Toru Yamanaka of Japanese Dumb Type performance group. I'll try to do more live stuff and am thinking about changing my equipment setup to make the sound different again. I don't want to go stale.

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