Interview with Rodney Orpheus of Sungod conducted via e-mail during January 1996

Jester: How did you, Marcus Giltjes, and Patricia Nigiani originally come together to develop the concept behind Sungod?

Rodney: Marcus and I had worked in the studio together before, he was drumming on some sessions that I was producing, and we got to talking one night late in the studio about we'd like to do an album together that was mainly just percussion and voice... I had a couple of weeks free time so we thought that would be enough. Six months later we were still working on it...

Jester: Has the Sungod experience been positive enough that you'd consider releasing several more albums under the same moniker?

Rodney: Yes, definitely. We're already planning a follow-up, but it'll take a while, since we've got so many other things on the go right now.

Jester: How did you initially get involved with Fifth Column Records for a domestic US release of your album?

Rodney: I met Jared (Chemlab) at a Cassandra Complex gig in New York at the end of '94 and we got on like a house on fire. They're a good company, trying hard to do something different. I think it fits.

Jester: Do you happen to know the communication error that lead to Fifth Column incorrectly titling your album, "EFA", was?

Rodney: *grin* EFA is the name of our German distributor and it was on the original artwork that we sent them. When they did the alterations of the cover they forgot to remove it.

Jester: On your web pages you mention the possibility of a North American tour in 1995, has any of the tour been finalized yet?

Rodney: We had to put that on hold, too much work over here in Europe right now. We'd still like to do it, it's just a matter of priorities (and money!)

Jester: Are you busy touring Europe now, or are you simply involved in writing music for other projects?

Rodney: Aurora will be touring Europe in late Spring, Cassandra Complex will be touring SOMETIME this year. Sun God will be probably be doing a few festivals in Europe in the next months, we'll see.

Jester: For your live performances. You mentioned that they are under full ritual conditions. Does each member of the band have a particular role or god/goddess that they play during the show or does everyone switch roles throughout the performance?

Rodney: We tend to let the energy flow fairly freely within the ritual context. The loa (voudou spirits) come and go as they will, we have no conscious control over whether they will possess us or not; though of course each of us has affinities with some of the loa more than others.

Jester: Have you ever had a problem with the audience not quite understanding what was occurring on stage? Or perhaps coming to one of your performances with a negative mind set as to chastise your choice of religion?

Rodney: Not at all, weirdly enough. I really expected that some people would have a problem with it, but that hasn't been our experience. Most people seem to click into it really quickly, I think maybe because the connection to this stuff is buried so deeply in all our pysches. There have been quite a few occasions when people have really got off on it so much it's been incredible - we've had people practically having sex during the concerts, and various beautiful young ladies seemingly having spontaneous orgasms.

Jester: Are you going too still be continuing your work with The Cassandra Complex and is Patricia still going to be involved with Aurora?

Rodney: Sure. We're writing a new Cassandra Complex album at the moment, and I'm currently producing the new Aurora album, which is due out around the end of March if all goes well. It's a bit different than the earlier ones, almost 100% acoustic, but it's shaping up damn good.

Jester: I don't suppose I could get you to elaborate a little bit more on both albums. Perhaps a working title or two?

Rodney: The Aurora album is entitled "Passing Through Unto Nuit" and is almost finished. We're recording vocals right now, going into mixing next week I think. We've just had Eric Burton from Catastrophe Ballet in doing some backing vocals this weekend. The Cassandra Complex album is called "Terminal" and we're still writing it right now. It's a kind of an "interactive" project (don't you just hate that word interactive?). There's a bunch of info about it on our Web pages, check it out:

Jester: What originally led you to voudou and ultimately to the musical expression of your religion via Sungod?

Rodney: Good question. Magick in general has been one of my major interests since my early teens. I've gone through various systems and initiations - I'm a member of OTO (the Thelemic/Crowleyan magical order) and an ordained priest of the Gnostic Catholic Church (eat your heart out Little Richard...). As a musician I'm particularly drawn to Voudou and Santeria because of their emphasis on music and dance as an integral part of the ritual experience.

Jester: This might be an expansion of a previous question, but have you ever had to deal with any religious intolerance with your chosen path?

Rodney: For myself not really. I'm in a position where it's ok to be weird (i.e. I'm a rock star, I can get away with anything). But I know lots of other people who have not been so lucky. There are millions of Christian, Moslim, and what-have-you bigots out there who would be only too happy to burn people like me and my friends alive if they got the chance. That's one of the reasons why it's up to people like us to go out and show others what our path is about - that's why Sun God exists.

[Interviews] [Sonic Boom]
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