Interviews

NOTE: There will be more interviews

Sounds 2nd July, 1988 – Flour Power

Record Mirror 9th January 1988 – Flour Power

1987 was a good year for dusting off your old cowboy hat; a good year for Europe to discover flour power; and a very good year indeed for Fields Of The Nephilim.

Plenty of people were taken by surprise by the power and breadth of vision of their debut album ‘Dawnrazor’. The rest of us simply looked smug and whispered ‘I told you so’. Seven months since its release, ‘Dawnrazor’ hasn’t been out of the independent top 20 and its grisly charm has helped spread Nephilim Fever throughout the worlds.

Large expanses of Europe have already been contaminated, and the rest will soon be put under siege.

Add to this the recent appearance of their paint-blistering single ‘Blue Water’, in the national charts, the sporadic revivals of their earlier classy releases, and a string of sell-out gigs in this country, and it’s clear that the Nephilim are intending to leave their floury footprints on the carpet of success.

The Fields Of The Nephilim are still the most infuriating, uncompromising, thoughtful, argumentative, down-to-earth, head-in-the-clouds, provoking and profoundly loveable bunch of wind-up merchants ever to grace the pool tables of North London with their dusty presence. Having been reduced to helpless laughter on more than one occasion by their barrage of warped humour and weird logic, it’s strange that some sections of the music press insist on portraying them as grim-faced purveyors of gloom with a cowboy complex.

“We’re not amateur, we’re not political and we don’t write anthems, so obviously they hate us,” says guitarist Paul. “They can’t work us out. Carl’s lyrics are his own, he doesn’t have to share his opinions with anyone else.”

“One woman interviewed us had nothing to ask, she just wasn’t interested. Well, it was mutual,” adds fellow-guitarist Peter, hobbling around looking brave after a painful knee operation. It’s this no-nonsense attitude that has earned the Nephilim a reputation for stand-offishness in some quarters – but certainly not with their fans. They’re adored with a religious fervour that few can match.

The question of press popularity has already become irrelevant as the band consistently play to packed venues throughout the last year. Once described as the biggest cult band in the country, anyone who was in the vicinity of London’s Astoria on the night of their recent triumphant end-of-tour gig can be in no doubt of the strength of their pulling power. House records were broken. The tickets sold out minutes after the doors opened as the faithful descended upon London in their droves.

“We could sense the atmosphere as soon as we went out there,” says bassist Tony. “There was a brilliant kind of hush over the crowd. It was a brilliant feeling, like we’d taken people out of themselves and they were all united.”

This kind of fan worship can be disconcerting for a band who started out playing to hardcore punks and skinheads. “We never got any trouble,” says Carl. “We used to play at them until they couldn’t handle it! Now our audience looks really young to us, but we’d never put them down when they ask for autographs or whatever, because we can remember what it’s like to be in their position. I can’t stand them having a better time than us though!”

Some of the adulation may be due to Carl’s sinister good looks and dishevelled charm, but while it’s never yet hurt a band to have a sexy singer, the majority of fans are drawn by the sheer force and exhilarating adrenalin rush of the music alone.

“Some of them haven’t missed a single gig,” says Tony. “They’ve even been to more than us, because when we’ve had to cancel dates they’ve turned up.”

There’s little chance of such devotion going to their heads, but they are finding it more and more difficult to lead normal lives outside the band.

“We’re so used to each others’ company that when we mix with people who don’t understand what we’re doing we tend to close up,” says Carl.

“My mum asked me to peel the potatoes the other day and I went mad!” says drummer Nod guiltily.

Time is their real adversary at the moment as they’re booked up for months in advance to tour and record the new album. Maybe one day they’ll stop for long enough to make that film they dream of. Whether it will be called ‘Lust In The Dust II’ or ‘Once Upon A Time In West Stevenage’ I don’t know , but judging by their previous excursions into video-tape it will be worth the wait. Images like Carl’s ‘tasteful’ hanging scene in ‘Blue Water’ (which was cut for television) are difficult to forget. The thought of these tousled cowboys cavorting across the nation’s screens is irresistible.

There, I’ve said it to their faces. Cowboys. I’m not expecting that slip of the tongue to go down too well, as the band are not usually too patient with people who mention it to them. Happily, it seems that nothing can drain the reservoirs of good humour today.

“We don’t see ourselves as a bunch of cowboys. Sorry lads, couldn’t resist that one!” says Tony with a laddish grin.

“When we started out we were really scruffy, and we just poured flour over ourselves to add to it,” continues Carl. “We’ve always loved chucking flour about in the dressing room. We started doing it to wind up the headlining band as much as anything. They’re all ready to go on and you brush past them, covered in flour. No, if it was only flour we’d look like Homepride men, but it’s general grime… Fuller’s earth, sand, mud … You could build a bridge out of us!”

Obviously when the money starts pouring in, it’s not going to be spent on clothes. Apart from financing their expensive flour habit, they’d like a helicopter (to get Peter about) and the usual boys’ toys. Says Carl “I’d like to have a really tasty motor, completely battered up, so everyone would think ‘what a jerk, look what he’s done to that car!'”

So, the Nephilim’s predictions for 1988? Nod’s mum will stop asking him to peel the potatoes, Paul will buy some new trousers and Tony will fix the head gasket on his car. Pete will throw out his crutches and start walking again. Somewhere along the line they might even find time to make a shit-hot new album and take the world by the throat.

“1987’s been a real good piss-taking year for us. 1988’s gonna be even better,” promises Carl.

This is one New Year’s Resolution I can’t wait to see carried through.

NME 17th September 1988 – The Surreal McCoy

Fields Of The Nephilim drummer Nod arrives bang on cue. Just at the bit which I’d been rehearsing for two whole days: “OK then, if you have got a sense of humour, tell me a joke…”

Now that the band, who recently spent a night in the clink on possession of a packet of flour, have assured me they’re innocent, it’s safe to go to the bar.

As I turn round on my way I catch a glimpse of Nod playfully stealing Bleddyn Butcher’s camera. Bleddyn’s dozing after a fretful day, and Nod’s taking pictures of him with Peter making faces in the background.

Seconds later guitarist Peter pops up next to me like the shopkeeper in Mr Ben: “You see, that’s our sense of humour. We’re always taking the piss out of ourselves. And on tour there’s loads of people to take the piss out of, like in the van earlier on when we were waiting for you..”

Maligned by critics with a cancerous resentment of the band’s self-raising policy. The Neph are wary of another hack assigned to them.

They are back on tour for the second time this year, starting with 19 British dates, before heading off to Europe. Their second LP, ‘The Nephilim’, is set to reach the Top 30, launched chartwards by their cadaverous supporters, and there’s a live video ‘Forever Remain’ to follow.

The Nephilim have grown in stature in spite of the critics: they weren’t born to royalty like The Mission or The Cult (both assured of instance appeal by virtue of their backgrounds), but they’ve become it. In the eyes of the fans, a hardcore of whom will see every date on the current national trek, these five men from various Hertfordshire barnacle towns are crowned jewels.

As the band tumble into their swish tour van outside Leicester Poly – the opening date of the tour – they’re surrounded by penless autograph hunters wimpering such ludicrous lines as “I’m sorry to trouble you after such a good gig..” For heaven’s sake!

Carl McCoy, vocalist and thinker, curls himself up in his seat like a shy tortoise, nervously regaining his composure. He is an unwitting goth star. While Astbury, Eldritch and Hussey are conversant with cavorting in spotlights, McCoy is a shadowy newcomer. At first I suspect he’s too wrapped up in himself but later, back in the hotel, I think he might just be quiet and uncomfortable.

“I’ve never separated myself from the band,” says the man with lantern eyes. “From the word go we’ve always been a unit. I don’t really like the attention, but I accept it. It doesn’t bother me. I can be at home for weeks on end and not get any hassle in my local area, but if I go to London I get loads. I don’t think where we come from people understand how well we’re doing.”

Are you still in touch with people you used to go to school with?

“No I tended to cut myself off from them years ago.”

“I see some of my old friends,” chips in bassist Tony. “Other people I’ve bumped into say things like ‘see you on Top Of The Pops then mate’ – that used to wind me up”.

The Neph are there though. Their last single, the fiendish ‘Moonchild’, gave them their first hit and there are signs of low-key affluence all around: a sleeper coach for the roadcrew and at least seven styles of T-shirt on sale at tonight’s gig.

No one can deny that in four years these five nobodies (those mentioned plus talented guitarist Paul) have earned themselves some luxuries.

CM – “I’d like a house.” Carl murmurs. “I’ve got loads of stuff, so I need a house to put it all in.”

Are you a hoarder?

CM – “Yeah, I collect loads of stuff. I’ve got loads of old horror comics and I was clearing out my granny’s attic the other day and found all my old school work and an old briefcase. I hadn’t seen any of it since I left school and reading it was great. All the set projects we were asked to do, mine were so bizarre. And like people used to ask you what you wanted to do when you left school. Everyone had realistic ideas but mine were really silly.”

What, tell me.

CM- “Er,” he waves a dismissive hand, “no..”

This is the most infuriating part of the evening. McCoy keeps his most important secrets under lock and key. He guards them day and night.

Although at first giving the impression of being King Kurt, by the time I waddle off to bed carrying Bleddyn over my shoulder. I let him off with being reserved. Underneath all the black clobber, the fading Western image, he looks quite dashing, he acts quite charmingly. And he’s not going to be bullied into submission. The dark truths behind the Neph’s smouldering lyrics go wholly unexplained.

CM – “I think one day,” he [Carl] muses, “I’ll explain. Once I’m settled. When I’ve done everything I want to with music, then I’ll take time out to actually write a book. But at the moment I don’t see the need. A lot of my interests don’t need to be publicised because people would take them too literally and I’m likely to be ridiculed.”

That’s the fear then.

CM – “I’m not scared of that, but I don’t want to be seen as a spokesman for the band, these are my feelings. And I don’t think the band needs that sort of attention.”

Instead there is the LP to consider. A contrast of gruff goth-like hiatus and brooding sparseness, little bits of it make me shiver, large chunks of it are devilishly haunting. It’s certainly got more ideas of its own than any of their previous releases.

CM – “I think it’s the honest side of ourselves,” Carl asserts. “We found in the past that to compete with The Mission live we had to lay really powerful fast songs – quite instant to capture a crowd’s attention. But now we’re more established, we’ve got a bit of room to do what we want.”

Side One draws on their gushing gothic, but Side Two has a far more delicate direction. There’s a seedy beauty to the music. Carl’s vocals (“I had to give up smoking briefly because my voice was getting deeper”) cutting through mercilessly.

CM – “Side Two is the lasting side,” he confirms. “It’s the sort of music that would capture me, we’ve always liked mesmerising music.”

“There’s some space in the songs,” says Peter. “I read somewhere that Brian May said he’d been playing for years and could play anything he wanted, as fast as he wanted. But then he had to teach himself how not to play – how to leave things out.”

“Mind you, ” adds Tony, “I think it would have been a good idea if he’d stopped playing altogether.

“The space in the songs is good though,” continues the bassist. “That’s what I used to like about the old dub reggae music … a lot of the heavy stuff… Big Youth.”

Carl now says something astounding: “That’s how I met him years ago, in a reggae band.”

Say again?

“We both came from reggae bands,” says Tony. “Carl came up to rehearsal with a vibraslap – he hit it and it exploded. I’ll always remember him for that.”

But look, this new ‘spacey’ Fields approach. Weren’t you worried that your followers would throw their hands up in horror?

CM – “No, it’s mellower sounding, but I think it’s still strong and they’ll understand it. We’ve got to please ourselves first anyhow. The next LP should be completely different again. We could make an LP of ambient music or a Motorhead album.”

‘Celebrate’, one of the trio of songs on the LP’s fuse-like second side, is an odd song for The Nephilim. They usually wind up talking about ‘ends’, but ‘Celebrate’ sounds like a beginning. It has this tight little bass line (brilliant) and an almost optimistic air.

CM – “It’s like the end of one thing and the start of another… I know what you’re saying,” says Carl. “It’s like summing up of the present song. I like to look on my songs as a diary. It sums up different emotions and feelings. I just find life an experiment. I treat it as an experiment.”

What happens if this goes wrong, do you ask for another?

CM – “Another life? I don’t want to. This one’s got to work.”

What do you think happens to you when you die?

CM – “When you die … that’s a bit heavy isn’t it? I think different things happen to different people to be honest. I don’t believe in heaven and hell.”

Do you believe in an afterlife?

CM – “Yeah I do, but I don’t believe you come back as something else, that seems too unlikely. I’ve got quite strong beliefs but they’re hard to sum up here.”

But when you die, what happens to your soul, does it just wander off?

CM – “It’ll end up somewhere, but I don’t think it matters, because I don’t think anyone else will be around either.”

That sounds ominous.

CM – “I don’t like religion,” he continues, “because it relies on other people – you shouldn’t need to rely on others for knowledge. I think the only thing you need to believe is in yourself. I think people are weak if they need something to worship.”

My mind’s elsewhere now, back at the gig. On a Sunday afternoon at 5pm the crowd is already gathering for the gig, almost religiously drawn there, all come to worship.

CM – “It’s probably like a religious experience for them,” admits McCoy. “Maybe they’re still young enough to need something to believe in. It’s the whole thing about music in general – there’s always been worship of rock’n’roll bands. A lot of our audience will do it just because we’re a band. But there’s a small percentage of them that do understand us. But the religious side of things, putting their hands in the air at the same time – I don’t think that’s anything I’ve made them do.”

“They follow us whenever they can,” adds Tony. “It’s a true following. Not many bands get that.”

“I think the more they get involved,” affirms Carl, “the more they let themselves go, the more they have to come back. They can’t stop then.”

Carl McCoy even takes his hat with him when he goes to the bar. By 1:30am he’s looking more at ease. The other Nephs are suitably chirpy. They are not, to my relief, the surly blokes they look onstage. It’s all very earnest now.

Back from a phone call, McCoy gets down to business.

CM – “I still feel strange in the music business, I do, totally odd – I don’t feel like I should be in it at all… the falseness, people’s expectations of you.”

Do you trust anyone?

“Not really.”

“He’s got four locks on his car door,” says Tony.

What sort of car?

Carl glances up… “A black one.”

Naturally.

Offbeat October 1988 – The Legend Of The Lost


From cowpokes to horror heroes, Fields Of The Nephilim’s Carl takes a back seat while the Nephs measure their popularity. Story by Lysette Cohen

Something is stirring out on the dusty plains. This time last year, Fields Of The Nephilim were being heralded, by some, as saviours of the lost and wandering young souls, grappling for a music to delve into and live out intently. For many, however, they were dodgy goth cowboys, an easy target for ridicule from the cynical music press who couldn’t quite understand what was happening. Now the Nephs and their strong barrage of fans are laughing on the other sides of their faces, for things have certainly changed. From pokes of amusement to cover of those same magazines, from indie success to major chart status. Moonchild zoomed straight into the top 40, due purely to the loyalty of their ever-growing number of fans and without one iota of help from the ever-on-the-beat Radio One.

I met up with the boys: Carl McCoy – vocals, Tony Pettit – bass, Peter Yates – guitar, Paul Wright – guitar, and Nod Wright – drums, just as they were about to set off on their latest tour, under the banner Precious To The Lost, reckoning they must be feeling pretty proud of themselves.

“It doesn’t really surprise me about the music press,” says Tony, “cos as soon as they hear a band doing well they want to get them on their cover so that they can sell copies. It’s also better that people come to us rather than us having to go to them, which is what has happened.”

How about the single shooting straight into the top forty? That must have been a bit of a surprise. Paul: “The first week it went in at 36 which was really pleasing, but when it went up the second week that was a real shock!”

Tony: “We knew the strength of Dawnrazor that it would probably fly in, but we thought it would just fly out again.” Would you have gone on Top Of The Pops if you’d been asked?

Carl: “We talked about it at the time and they got in touch…”

Nod: “But unfortunately we were doing the album which was an excuse not to push ourselves to go on there.”

“I think we would have done it though,” ponders Carl. “We’re not afraid of it – it wouldn’t have done us any harm.”

Other people might have thought it would.

Probably. I don’t think we’d have tried very hard, I mean, you can’t get off on miming…” The Nephilim’s success has been strengthened by the strength and frequency of their live shows. Gigs have become events and crowd reaction has turned to worship. Live it’s dramatic. Soundtrack intros, bellows of dry ice, which leads to grinding songs turning the gesticulating audience into a frenzy. So what’s the secret, how does the band attract such a following?

Carl: “We’re the best at what we do and people realise that.”

Tony: “A few years ago there were a few bands with large followings, like The Cult, Sisters etc. but a lot of those bands really messed up and people’s options got smaller. We’re a good alternative to staying at home! We’re an alternative to staying and watching the telly.”

Do you think the audience takes you too seriously?

Tony: “No, it really takes people out of themselves when they come to see us, but I can never see past the first four rows and they’re full of the party animals. Maybe further back they’re taking it seriously.” If you were in your late teens would you be going to see Fields Of The Nephilim?

Carl: “I think that I would.”

Would you be at the front or the back?

“Down the front”.

The next chapter in the Nephs’ progress is the just released second album The Nephilim. Side one is more or less a continuation of Dawnrazor while side two is more powerful and striking with the epic Last Exit For The Lost which lasts a wonderful ten minutes and the absurdly desolate Celebration. There are different styles on show, more of a tour de force after Dawnrazor’s best of their first three years collection. Is there any track that sums up the group best?

Tony: “If any, probably Last Exit.”

Nod: “In the ten minutes of that song it goes to so many extremes, through so many moods. That sums up the band I think.”

Dawnrazor was very much like a Western, the tracks linked by cowboy-generic noises, very much influenced by the spaghetti westerns that they wee into at the time. The Nephilim seems to be heading more towards horror, appropriately for this Halloween season. The tracks are linked with monks singing, chanting and the occasional collection of eerie sounds. Did the album come about through a different diet of films?

Tony: “Not really, we just wanted to give the album an overall theme.”

As for horror films, Paul can’t watch horror films on his own, he even thinks Bros videos are frightening, but Nod claims to like having the life scared out of him. Peter’s not sure about guts for guts sake, Tony thinks they’re a ‘laugh’, and I think Carl is a sexier version of Eddie Kruger. The general consensus reveals that thrillers are preferred, best of the latest being Angel Heart and Name Of The Rose.

So what’s the scariest thing in the world?

“Real life situations that we’re not in control of.” That’s unanimous. The Nephilim’s music has always had that image of schlock horror about it, pulled from nightmares rather than dreams.

Paul: “We don’t do it deliberately, though I can see your point. Probably some of our music could be put to horror films.”

Tony: “When I think of horror and music, I think of a band like Alien Sex Fiend.”

Have you had any ghostly experiences?

Paul: “I don’t think any of us believe in ghosts, but everyone in the band enjoys a good nightmare. Do you ever have music playing in your dreams?”

I don’t think so.

Tony: “I smelt something in my dream the other night.”

So what about scary experiences?

Paul: “I was on the roof of a hotel and I climbed along a small ledge and suddenly I came to my senses. I was ten floors up and the window I was heading for had been nailed shut. So I had to crawl back along the ledge.”

Tony : “Which was about six inches wide and he had his Cuban heels on which were probably wider than the ledge.”

Peter: “He was outside banging on the skylight, pissed out of his face, shouting ‘let me in!’

Paul: “That was pretty scary drink.”

Just like a Nephilim gig really. Down at the front it’s a scary beer-sodden but uplifting experience.

Thrasher Magazine Interview

A deep fog rolls out and over the stage. Thick, billowing clouds of white exhalation engulf the atmosphere, creating an eerie mood as the intro tape starts up. The guitars creak slowly, building momentum as the intro fades out. Five dark, shadowy figures move slowly through the vapor like renegade cowboys coming in from the plains. They stroll into position with dusty, desperado-style hats on their heads as guitars echo a distorted, eerie sound. With a true 19th century western feel, the members of Fields of the Nephilim scowl like outlaws, yet their sound is not the stereotypical western twang. It is deep, rich and earthy and brings forth the image of a haunting twilight. At the forefront is vocalist Cal McCoy with this low husky croons, grasping notes with powerful tonsil thrusts. Lime green contact lenses give his eyes a cat-like glare that adds to this creepy mystery even more. The Nephilim stand motionless as the mist swallows them up and the mind absorbs the music. The Nephilim, hailing from London, England, are (surnames only, please) Wright and Yates on guitars, Pettitt on bass, Wright on drums and vocalist McCoy. They were recently voted best new band in England by a music tabloid reader’s poll and their success is hot on the heels of such bands as the Sisters of Mercy and The Mission. Their first release, Burning the Fields featured a saxophonist. They added a second guitar and dropped the sax for the following releases, The Power, Preacherman, Dawnrazor, Returning to Gehenna and the recent Blue Water. Playing to a still unknown market, the Nephilim came for a short tour of the U.S.A., where this meeting came about.

Pushead: What do you think of the U.S. response to your band?

Carl McCoy: Surprisingly good. San Francisco was good. We haven’t been expecting much because people aren’t that familiar with us. We’d like to get a reputation like we have in England.

Pushead: What’s your reputation like in England?

Carl McCoy: We’re doing really well there. It’s taken us four years to build it up.

Pushead: Who are your influences?

Carl McCoy: I don’t think we’re particularly influenced by bands. We’ve all got different backgrounds and completely different tastes in music, so I think we influence each other as musicians. It’s taken us four years to develop. In the last two years we’ve really developed. We know exactly what we want out of it now.

Pushead: Where did the spaghetti western image come from?

Carl McCoy: We’re interested in spaghetti westerns. We like that sort of thing. We discovered them quite late actually, as a band.

Pushead: Do you dress like this normally?

Carl McCoy: We dress like this a lot. It just progresses slightly. We’ve always been scruffy bastards. Our music inspires the way we dress.

Pushead: What kind of subject matter do your lyrics deal with?

Carl McCoy: Personal.

Pushead: Are you happy with the way the lyrics turn out once they’re composed with the music?

Carl McCoy: Yeah, totally. That’s why we get on so well, because everyone’s happy with what everyone does. We write a lot of stuff that we reject as well.

Pushead: Like The Mission, you guys put out more that one version of the same song on different releases. What do you think about that type of marketing?

Carl McCoy: Different versions? A lot of bands bring out different versions. The only difference is a different studio does different mixes of the same stuff. We do different versions, though. We actually play the song each time.

Pushead: You don’t think that’s taking the public for a ride?

Carl McCoy: No, becasue we do give them something more, something extra anyway. We can argue with part of it. That’s how record companies work, different versions of different things, y’know. We’ve got quite a lot of say. we actually play the different version.

Pushead: Are you going to get more of a western feel because that’s where the image is?

Carl McCoy: We don’t see ourselves as a western band anyway. I mean in some of the old photographs we went through a spaghetti western phase. We’re going to turn into what we’re going to turn into. We’re just gonna develop what we’ve already got.

Pushead: What kind of response do you get in England?

Carl McCoy: We’ve got one of the biggest followings in England. The critics slag us off a bit becasue we have been an un-hip sort of band with the cowboy hats and that. Which is totally uncool to them. It doesn’t fit into a fashion. The press will try and change and conform a lot of bands into a fashion. We surprised a lot of people in England, because we got a big following. The journalists didn’t like us and then all of a sudden the polls came out at the end of the year and then the journalists started to like us.

Pushead: It’s funny how they change their minds. What can you do about that?

Carl McCoy: Well, it’s their loss. It doesn’t make any difference. We never really follow the press. The only time we follow it is if they write something in there about us and we pick it up and laugh at it and throw it in the corner. It doesn’t make much of an impact. I think the best press we get in England is from smaller magazine, people who are really enthusiastic. We’re more interested in doing interviews with these people anyway. I mean, the big papers aren’t interested in anyone but themselves.

Pushead: When you talk to the press is there any sort of message you try to portray to the fans?

Carl McCoy: It’s not an explicit message as such. We’re not trying to put anything across to them. People can’t always make out my lyrics, they can’t understand what I’m saying half the time, but that doesn’t stop them from coming. So it’s an atmosphere we create that attracts the people. Enjoyment.

Pushead: How far do you want to go with the band? Are you planning on hitting the top forty market, or do you think that it’s not possible with your sound?

Carl McCoy: Well, it becomes possible because you just appeal to a larger audience, and that audience becomes so thick they buy enough records to make you come up.

Pushead: What does the name mean?

Carl McCoy: We’ve essentially taken it out of the First Testament of the Bible. The Nephilim were a unique race of giants. They were supernatural, because these angels came down from the heavens and mixed with the women on the earth and they bred these giants and they were the Nephilim. They were supposedly wiped out in the flood. They hardly existed; it was a small amount of people. So we just took the name on.

Pushead: So why Fields?

Carl McCoy: As in green fields.

Pushead: Were the Nephilim a rebellious breed?

Carl McCoy: Yeah, that’s why it crosses over.

Pushead: Since the nature of this magazine is skateboarding, what can you say about that?

Carl McCoy: I skated years and years ago.

Pushead: How old were you then?

Carl McCoy: About thirteen or fourteen. It’s different now, skaters today are really good.

Pushead: Were you good at it?

Carl McCoy: I was good at it, really. I rode freestyle stuff in halfpipes. I was on the Benji Board team.

Pushead: How come you gave it up?

Carl McCoy: I don’t know. It was just a phase I went through. I was never a sporty person at school. i just picked it up and got pretty good at it. Kids don’t associate it with us. That was when I was a kid. There’s a park and no one uses it, so a couple of summers ago we took the connection between skateboarding and music?

Pushead: Skateboarding is rebellious aggression. Skaters listen to music that relates to that same kind of energy. It’s a whole lifestyle. When will the next release be out?

Carl McCoy: When we get back from the States we’re going straight into the studio.

Unknown Magazine 1988 – Nephilim, Fields Forever


After four years of sheer persistence the Fields of The Nephilim finally broke through the pop chart barricade with their new album ‘The Nephilim’. Their unique sound saw them selling out tours both at home and abroad. Lead singer Carl McCoy just mangaged to find time in between tours to explain how Stevenage took to Bonanza and how giant men once ruled the world.

How do you rate your new album compared to your first one ‘Dawnrazor’?

Dawnrazor’ wasn’t taken quite as far. It definitely captured some atmosphere but this album is a lot more complete sounding because it was written as a whole new project whereas ‘Dawnrazor’ was like a collection of a lot of songs that we had been playing around with for many years. But it has done very well for us. I am pleased with the new album. I think it’s very honest.

You used the same producer, Bill Buchanan who is virtually unknown.

Yeah he is really. A lot of bands use producers because they want help to arrange the songs and things like that, but we basically always use our producer for interpreting sounds and bouncing off ideas because we do most of the production ourselves anyway. Later on we might end up producing ourselves completely, we won’t specifically like to stick to one person. We are still gaining experience in the studio.

You get involved in everything you do from co-producing your albums to co-directing videos, is that because you won’t rely on anyone else to do the job 100%?

Well it has fallen out of our hands in the past, we have only just got it right on this album, I think. We always put across our ideas because we know more about our music than anyone else so we have specific ideas for album cover designs, videos and things like that. I think a lot of people have misinterpreted us in the past. They have taken our ideas and done their own version. Whereas now a lot more people end up listening to us, so in the future hopefully we’ll end up getting everything just right.

Have all these ideas stemmed from while you were in the band or did you have any previous experience, say in films or in another form of art?

Well I always had very strong ideas, read lots of books and there is a certain art I like but I think that’s something that I wad born with so it’s not something that’s come when we formed the band. When you join a band you can express all these ideas, it’s waiting for the right opportunity to put them across that really matters.

Judging from the album your songs sound quite complex and intricate in parts – they’re not “1, 2, 3, 4, GO!” So how difficult are rehearsals for you to get to the point you want to get to?

We like writing and we have always spent a hell of a lot of time locked away on our own cut off from people and just played our music. We’ve always had a knack of putting it together whereas in previous bands everyone had been frustrated. So when we got this band together we all suddenly realised that we were all in pursuit of the same goal. Consequently, we were all comfortable playing together. We didn’t turn up at rehearsals and plan to write certain songs, we just let it take it’s own natural course and it just developed. Out of about ten hours playing we’d get the kernel for three songs.

So although the band isn’t carefully planned the material is?

Certainly! We are pretty serious about our music and I think that’s what it all comes down to. After you take everything else away all you are left with is songs.

You did say that the Nephilim evolved from other bands you played in. What sort of music were you into then?

When I left school I was into a lot of this roots, heavy dub reggae and I had a lot of inspiration from that for the Nephilim because of the feel of the music. You couldn’t describe why you liked it but looking back on it you just absorb that music. It just goes through you and it sort of triggers off certain emotions. That’s what I was like at that age, I didn’t like songs for songs sake, I liked songs because of the way they used to make you feel inside and I think later on because of the punk scene I got interested in that. There was a bit of a cross-section then and it just developed into a sort of rockier type of music. I like quality in music. I don’t like songs written just for dance sake. You tend to get saturated with this Radio One daytime music which is not what music means to me.

But you’re out there in Radio One land

Yeah, yeah, I know but that’s with no hype. That’s a real achievement in my eyes because it’s sheerly playing live and building up a good following. That’s the honest old fashioned way of doing it.

Are you a prolific writer?

When the opportunity comes, yeah. We can’t write on tour mainly because of the distractions and plus you have got your mind on one part of the job. What we like to do as far as writing goes is when we finish touring we go home, rest and have a couple of weeks doing nothing just building back up to it. Then we get into a real big block of writing. Once we start we can’t stop.

It’s not only the music you have got together, your whole presentation is different, for example, calling your fans ‘Bonanzas’

They call themselves that.

How important is image to the Nephilim?

It’s important to us. I think the image just developed, because when we first got together we just used to cover ourselves in flour and in that way we all looked like we were in the same band. That was our identity. That was Fields of The Nephilim.

Are you a fan of the Westerns?

There’s a couple of Westerns I really admire, a couple of Spaghetti Westerns, the innovative Westerns, with people like Henry Fonda and Charles Bronson. Some people have made too much of this Western link with the Nephilim. I think we probably look something more like something out of Dickens. We are British after all.

I heard that the Nephilim means giants who once used to rule the world. Is that correct?

Well the Nephilim were a race of giant men from around Biblical times and they were born from women who had been with spirits. They weren’t around for long I think. Then they disappeared.

Why name yourself after an extinct species. Surely not a good omen.

We don’t know that they are extinct! I’ve known about them since I was really young. I knew it would come in useful one day.

CASH BOX MARCH 5, 1988 – NEW FACES TO WATCH

Los Angeles – “Spaghetti Metal” is one of the many terms that has been used to describe the indescribable sound of Beggars Banquet/RCA recording artists Fields Of The Nephilim – “post-apocalyptic pageantry” is another… Many chose to dismiss their powerful sound simply as heavy metal. Close, but no cigar. “I couldn’t label it… we are not a heavy metal band at all,” stated Fields Of The Nephilim lead vocalist Carl McCoy during a recent interview with Cash Box, “We feel we have the power of that sort of band but I couldn’t categorize us as simply that.” Recently, Fields Of The Nephilim’s debut album, Dawnrazor, was released here in the US – after achieving tremendous success in the bands native England (note: Dawnrazor is still in Britain’s independent Top 20 chart after a staggering eight months). Since it’s release the album has been turning more than a few heads – the band’s original and captivating sound is making quite an impact with American audiences everywhere. Currently Fields Of The Nephilim are undertaking their first ever U.S. tour.

Since its release, the album has garnered the band tremendous critical acclaim both in the U.S. and overseas, yet the mainstream American audience and record buying public have yet to discover this priceless import. “We’re quite unheard of over here (in America)… We’re going to have to be a bit patient about things – we don’t expect to be known, we’ll have to build a reputation over here like we have done everywhere else I suppose,” stated McCoy, “If people get the chance to see us, we’ll open their eyes. I feel that you have to build a reputation wherever you go.”

McCoy recalled the early days of the band, “We started playing in London and then we put out an EP on our own label, we got a lot of gigs from that.” Quite a few indeed: their constant touring schedule has earned Fields of The Nephilim the title of ‘hardest working rock and roll band’ overseas. McCoy affirmed, “We have been constantly on the road for four years and we can probably boast that we have one of the biggest genuine followings in England, which is a good achievement.” He continued, “A lot of bands from Britain have got bad attitudes, they think there bigger than what they are – we haven’t got that sort of attitude so I think that helps us.”

Although worldwide success is an aspiration for the band, McCoy insisted that he is quite happy with the way things have turned out thus far. “We have achieved quite a lot of our goals already. When we set out we felt it was going to take a little bit longer than what it has to do what we wanted to do – I think we would just like to see ourselves covering the type of music that we want to cover and not to have to conform to making songs for the charts. If it’s all down to us and we still have total say in everything we’ll be quite happy.”

Terrorizer April 1996 The Nephilim Animal Magic

As the mysterious presence at the front of Goth legends Fields of the Nephilim Carl McCoy rasped the words that put thousands into a swoon in the eighties. Now with his new musical incarnation as The Nefilim, the man in the cowboy hat has unleashed an album that, occult-influenced metal, ‘Zoon’, upon us. Harry Cleaver tracked down the Stevenage seer to discuss the man’s music and magic.

Carl McCoy is something of a legend in his own lifetime. As lead singer and mysterious presence at the front of Goth band FOTN, he was the cowboy- hatted, flour drenched looming figure you saw emerging out of the smoke at his band’s staggeringly powerful and atmospheric live shows. The Neffs, as they were fondly known at the time back in 1998 or so, came along at the time when all busy inspiring fervent devotion from their fans, who’d scrimp, save, scrounge and steal to follow groups like New Model Army around on tour. The resulting combination of near-blind adulation and some of the most incredible rock music ever was nothing short of astonishing.

McCoy, though, had to jack it all in in 1991.

“I seem to have pleased a few people down the line”, he begins, “but it was very hard to please myself. I mean, I’d never say anything rude about the Goths. They were the fans! I remember even back as the first gigs in the early 80’s, the audience was all in black, just a sea of black. We were one of the first bands who had that kind of audience, whereas everyone dresses in black now. But it was getting a bit tiresome with FOTN. Our last album ‘Elizium’ I found quite tedious to play live. To perform it and get out on stage made me feel a bit cold, I’d be walking onstage and, nothing happening there, even though everyone in the audience was going crazy. That’s why this LP is more fiery and energetic, because I geared it to be played live. My last few years were a nightmare, I weren’t happy at all. Very strong feelings. But that’s not their problem! They got the chance to do what they wanted to do!”

Exit FOTN into the history books and legend, enter The Nefilim, along with minor spelling change.

Zoon, McCoy’s debut album in his new incarnation, is the product of four years’ chopping, changing and experimentation, Carl proving as hard to please in the studio as his reputation might suggest.

Because of his friendship with Morgoth, rumours had been flying round the German scene (where the Nephilim were huge) that Carl would be working with them; instead, it’s been a stream of unknowns and even on occasion unnamed “name producers” who’ve provided the teething troubles for his new band. Now, with a stable line-up and a self-produced album in his back pocket, McCoy is ready to take on the world.

Instantly, from opener ‘Still Life’, with its blast beats, double-time slayer riffing and ferocious, relentless pacing, you soon realise that this is a very different beast to ‘The Nephilim’, the previous bands’ best album. Back in the old days, the Neffs would never go harder than Motorhead on disc or onstage.

Here, Carl’s clearly digested all the same things we have.

“Everyone in the old band had a wide variation of taste,” he begins. “I used to love Slayer from the time when ‘Reign in Blood” came out, but no one else liked the extreme stuff. I’m not saying I’m a real Slayer fan nowadays, but I like bands with attitude. A lot of the extreme stuff’s the same, though, Sepultura, I think, get away with it ‘cos they’re not Americans, but everyone else seems to all follow each other round, it’s very competitive, and I wouldn’t want to compete with what they do.

“I fancied the challenged. This material is much more in character with myself; this time I crafted a sound around my vocals, but kept the feeling and vibe. The old band had had a sound, but I had to establish a new one, which took a long time! I didn’t want it to be diluted.”

Lyrically and in their use of imagery FOTN were well ahead of the pack and even a bit ahead of their time. From their Babylonian, Sumerian and HP Lovecraft references on ‘The Nephilim’, through to the overarching sensation of deep mysticism, the Neffs ensnared and seduced their Goth fans into a world replete with allusions to the Occult. The indie music press, clocking this bunch of Stevenage mechanics (which is what many of the band did as day-jobs) going ‘alright mate?’, concluded that the pose was pure pretension. McCoy, as usual, would beg to differ. ‘Zoon’, which means ‘beast’ or ‘animal’ in Greek, has its references – there’s a track named ‘Pazuzu’, after the demon of maelstrom winds – but they seem more like motifs and metaphors for McCoy’s deeper artistic expression. They might not be Stations Of The Upside-Down Cross, but then again, most Black Metal lyrics are really only metaphors as well.

“I find it very hard to take away the lyrics from the music. I’ve tried to play it down before, but it’s a massive part of my life, it’s also very personal. But none of the occultists I know in music have moved on. It’s all medieval shit they read in a lot of books. I’ve been guilty of that with ‘The Nephilim’ LP, using John Dee imagery. I find it weird that in Death Metal and Black Metal as well as the Goth scene there are all these people going round pretending they’re vampires and Satanists. To me, that’s all front and imagery, whereas the people I know who are really into magic generally don’t go around sacrificing chickens. In the modern world, different rules apply. Who worries about their crops going bad? Back then; it was just about survival, which is why they all performed those rituals. It’s a very cosy kind of interest, that medieval period. I had it when I was a kid, I got my hands on everything that was available. But I don’t carry medieval or sacred books around. I’ve got me own! After all, magic is about is being creative.”

Carl’s hit the nail on the head, of course. After all, the 19th Century Occult revival went hand in hand with Decadence, Modernism and the ever- increasing expansion of the numbers of artists. Even back in the 17th Century Habsburg Monarchy at the time of the Baroque, magic and hermeticism went hand in hand with art.

Art is magic, and vice versa.

“Osman Spare used to be a big influence on my artwork,” Carl agrees. “Especially his automatic drawing, I loved that. To others he was just a Black Magician, but he was a great artist! I mean, people from that side were drawn to the Nephilim because of it. The first time we played in the States, I had an invite from the Temple Of Set, Anton LaVey’s lot, who were all great people, living an alternative lifestyle. But I always felt it was already very corny terminology, Satanism, it’s just a complete joke. On the other hand, I know a couple of writers, two guys, who write stuff for their own order. They’ve contributed stuff to what I’ve done in the past and I’ve contributed to them. There are things going on out there, but the people I know are getting on and doing it, and not talking about it, generally.”

Shut up and get on with it? Sounds fair enough to me.

Fight Amnesia Magazine? Interview with Carl McCoy

On the 26th of March, Andreas from SPV gave us a call and asked if we would be interested in doing an interview with Carl McCoy at the Café Zentral, in Cologne the next day. So we set off on the 27th, listening again to the new Nefilim album in the car and wondering how we could fit in half an hour the thousand questions that came to our mind to ask a person whose work we appreciate so much and whose music has been for many years a ship sailing us in the seas of our own feelings as well as in his. Still, it’s impossible to cover a person and a life’s work within a few pages. So this is just a glimpse into Carl McCoy’s world and current activities…

Q: First of all a stereotype question. Could you tell us something about the members of the band?
Carl McCoy: This is Cian, my bass player. He’s worked with us on the album. There’s another two musicians I’ve been working with, Simon and Paul, guitarist and drummer. And that’s really the core of the recording musicians and projects.
Q: Is this the same line-up we saw you at the Zillo festival in 1993?
Carl McCoy: Yeah.

Q: As far as we know from the Zillo festival as well as from bootlegs, the material for your album already existed a few years ago. Why did it take so long to be released?
Carl McCoy: Most of the material was pretty much in a finished state a couple of years ago, yeah, but not all of it. The reason it took so long is because we went into the situation where we had to finish everything and mix it and stuff like that. And we worked with a couple of different producers and it weren’t happening. So we were wasting a lot of time with three different producers and I didn’t like the results basically. So, we scrapped it and started again. You know, it wasn’t working out well. All the technology and the live side of what we were doing wasn’t blending right, it was all too separated. So it was either sounding like a Rock band or sounding just like a lot of samples and stuff so that it didn’t work. So I went to sort of make a decision and said: No! So, we spent probably about a year and a half with our time wasted with other people really.

Q: I know what you mean.
Carl McCoy: Yeah. That’s the main reason why it took so long. It wasn’t really what I thought it would be. It was a bit out of our hands. So, like about a year ago I just took it into my own hands and sort of organized the whole thing and we finished it. It wasn’t the way we planned it, but that’s the way it turned out.

Q: We listened to a demo of yours a few years ago and there are two songs “Red 777” and “Sensorium”. What happened to these songs? You didn’t feel that they fit the concept of your album?


Carl McCoy: Not five years later, no. About four years ago, great, a crossover. It was in between what I’ve done and what I’m doing now, but to release that stuff now it doesn’t fit. You know, it doesn’t fit at all. I mean there was a lot of material that people will never hear that was just gone by the way side, you know. I had to make a decision on what belongs now and what fits.

Q: We got a promo-paper by SPV and it says that the album was completed in total isolation and that you were involved not only as the singer but as a musician, composer and sound engineer as well. What I’d like to ask is where does collaboration with the other members start for you and where does it end?

O.K. We have now some questions about the album, like about the title. We are Greeks and the title ZOON means in Greek something that lives. It comes from “zwon”, which means a living creature.
Q: It means animal.
Carl McCoy: Beast.

Q: Yes, exactly: beast! zw means live and on means being. Is it this, for you?
Carl McCoy: I think it’s a great title. It suits. I mean I sort of adopted the name and made it what I wanted it to be, but that’s where it was derived from, the Greek, yes. Not many people know that. So that’s quite cool, I think, that somebody spotted it.

(a drawing done by Carl McCoy, from “The Watchman” fanzine, where the word ZOON appears among others)

Q: Is there a connection between the album and this drawing then?
Carl McCoy: Well, there’s obviously a connection, cause I’ve done all that stuff myself, you know. So, everything I do is all connected, isn’t it? There’s this huge web and so they all are interconnected. With that particular illustration you’re talking about?

Q: Yes.
Carl McCoy: Mmm, not really! Everything fits and everything belongs to everything else and everything that I’ve done in the past is interconnected.

Q: We have found some parallels to your drawing and this one (showing a drawing illustrating the Kabbala, from the book LIBER NULL & PSYCHONAUT by Peter J. Carroll).
Carl McCoy: What’s that? LIBER NULL?

Q: Yes. For example, there are some similarities with your drawing, like depression and elation and pleasure and sex and in between is pain and in your illustration ZOON is in the position of pain. To me this means that ZOON is something that has life and consequently it feels pain. Do you see any connection to this? Like that life is combined with pain and everything that lives experiences pain?
Carl McCoy: Yes, I understand what you’re saying. Yes, obviously, it has to.

Q: We have discovered this effect of the double in your whole work. People tend to discriminate between good and bad, between opposites in general and they cannot comprehend the complexity of the human mind. What we believe is that all powers are needed in order to advance. For example, you know William Blake
Carl McCoy: Yes.

Q: He writes in “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” that “Good is the passive that obeys Reason. Evil is the active springing from Energy. Contraries are necessary to Human existence.”
Carl McCoy: You can’t have one without the other, that’s what you’re saying?

Q: Yes. So, philosophically, do you consider the Nefilim as a negative power or as an instigator to thought and action?
Carl McCoy: To sum it up in a few words, I wouldn’t say it’s a negative power. I mean that’s down to the user, isn’t it?

Q: Yeah, I mean negative, the way people consider negative or evil or bad.
Carl McCoy: Well, that’s down to the individual how they want to interpret it. It’s all there, mate. Would you feel it’s negative?

Q: No, we don’t feel that the Nefilim is something negative. We think that it’s in us as an essential power in order to advance…
Carl McCoy: That’s right.

Q: Negative powers are for example any political powers…
Q: Or ignorance.
Q: Yes, ignorance, resignation, apathy, …
Carl McCoy: Man made negative. I know exactly.

Q: We know a line of yours which is “We must suffer, to free our pain.” Does pain represent for you a creative source and how do you define this freeing kind of suffering?
Carl McCoy: It is a very creative source, yeah. I mean, you have to experience that, otherwise you’re never going to better yourself. I think I would never be a person to be able to write the type of way that I write and the sort of music that I write if it was all very “comfortable”, you know?…
I have had to experience a lot of situations which had been very odd and painful and therefore always something positive comes out for me, or something creative. And that’s something I can only go for, it’s not something that someone could inspire me. It’s something that I have to do. I’m sure you know that, it’s something that you have to do yourself and go through. So, yeah, I find it very creative.

Q: But most of the people today avoid to suffer or to feel. They just want to be “happy” and comfortable.
Carl McCoy: Yeah, but if I wanted that, I would have just carried on doing what I was doing and just sailing along with it on a cloud, but No. It’s to do something which I feel was very challenging to myself and to better myself and achieve my own goals, then each time you have a high point you got equally after the low point. And it just so happens I feel like it has taken a lot out of me creating this album and therefore I’ve been down lower than I’ve ever been, but also I’ve been up higher as well, to extremes.

Q: Have you been trying with your lyrics to show people that they have to try and to suffer in order to change themselves to the better, instead of being content in their small “happy” world?
Carl McCoy: No, my lyrics are not there to drive the people to think that it’s the same for them that works for me. You know, that’s the only way I can stress really. That’s for me, it’s not for other people. They’ve got their own lives and they’ve got their own ways of doing things and I wouldn’t like to say “It’s the right way of going there, being creative or something else.”

Q: Yes, it sounds like a way of freedom and making choices and experiencing. I noticed when listening to the new album, a verse that says “this world of fucking hypocrites and liars”. So this could be a way to push people to realize some things, or not?
Carl McCoy: That’s the world from my eyes and it’s a very untrue world out there, isn’t it?… I’m allowed to say what I feel and it’s all about feelings anyway really. It’s not always so literal. It’s not a statement as such for the people to be able to interpret and say “Oh, Carl McCoy thinks this and thinks that”. It’s true and it’s not true.

Q: I didn’t mean it like this, leading people or telling people what to think. I mean that Art can become a Hammer to change things.
Carl McCoy: Art is important. Magic and Creativity is the same thing.

Q: Talking about Arts, there seems to be a big connection between lyrics, music and the Artwork.
Carl McCoy: It has to be. I can’t have the one without the other. I mean, I couldn’t just do music, because it’s a very visual thing for me. It’s another outlet. It’s just like another way of me just being able to express a few ideas, “paint the picture”. That’s all I’m trying to do really, I think, it’s to “paint the picture”. You can read it in what way you want. When you separate the lyrics from the music, I don’t always think such a good idea that of people. It doesn’t work. It has to be done hand in hand.

Q: O.K. Let’s go back to the music. Your new songs bear a huge aggressiveness, which is expressed musically by somewhat Death Metal and Industrial elements, but your lyrics come from the same sources as they always have. What is the particular effect that aggressiveness gives to your new lyrics?
Carl McCoy: Now that you’ve mentioned it, it’s like just another side of my personality. It’s something that I couldn’t have an outlet with the form of the band that I was involved before. So, I’ve found a new edge really in music to be able to acheive that other outlet, because otherwise I would just burst. It has always been in me. This is another part of me. And “Elizium” is like a very instictive kind of suppressed time. So with this album it had all to come out really.

Q: I also think that there is a lurking melancholy all through the album as well as a feeling of being on the run, like a haunting effect.
Carl McCoy: It’s been a lonely process.

Q: I can understand that. Is this melancholy and this haunting touch connected with an apocalyptic vision concerning the development of the Earth or of the world as a whole?
Carl McCoy: Well, times have changed, haven’t they? You’re talking about five years have gone so that you have to update your thoughts and feelings. The “Nephilim” album was, by contrast to what I’m doing now, looking back, it was very old, very ancient, in fact, in what was being dug up on that album visually. And this album has been brought more up to date. I feel it is the same thought form running through it. It’s just a different era really.

Q: Do you think that your new songs are directed to your former audience or do you seek to approach a new audience with the new NEFILIM album? You know, the former audience was more Goth oriented and the new stuff is more aggressive…
Carl McCoy: I don’t feel I’m aiming to any different, particularly, audience. Maybe, yeah, it can be more appealing to some other people, cause it has an added dimension, but I don’t feel I’ve thrown anything away. And it’s only one album as well. This isn’t IT. This is my next album. It’s a different album from my last album. I’ve been dealing with different thoughts and different feelings and times moved on. It’s looking to the future this album, as well. I’m fed up with looking back, I’m looking forward. And so I feel that there will be some probably old fan base that probably don’t like what I’m doing. But I think the fan base I had before, what they were into, where they were going, it wasn’t developing, that wasn’t going anywhere. The whole scene was pretty stagnant. It went as far as we went, from my point of view that is. It kind of went as far as we went and so I think that adding a new dimension and a new audience is great. Cause that’s just like expanding the whole idea with what I’m doing and to me that’s positive. It needs to be done. And I’m sure a lot of people will feel the same. No one wants to keep here in the same thing, turning round and round in circles. I’ve been round once or twice already. And I don’t want to be going round again doing the same thing. So, no, I don’t feel I’ve alienated any of my audience. Hopefully the ones that had ears for what I was doing and that were into the aspects which I put into the band will still like it. In fact, I think they should like it more, cause it’s much more me. It’s very uncompromised.

Q: You said in the last issue of Watchman that you don’t like Heavy Metal, that you hate it.
Carl McCoy: Yes. Heavy Metal in the cliche, old-fashioned, Iron Maiden and that sort of stuff. But Heavy Metal nowadays is very loose. I don’t like any of these categories and these terms anyway, Heavy Metal, Goth. The lot doesn’t mean anything to me. You know what I’m saying?

Q: Yes, I’m of the same opinion as you.
Carl McCoy: I think we’re an alternative to that, as well. I’ve always felt that I don’t belong here or there or anywhere really and I still feel the same about that. We might have a Metal edge on this album, but that’s just to help get the energy and power out of the music, which was lacking with what I was doing before.

Q: By looking at the titles of the songs, it seems to me that there is a concept or a cycle of life.
Carl McCoy: Yes, it is a complete circle, this album. It took me three albums to complete this circle before, but this album does it in one album. So I’m pleased about that. So, it is a concept, but I don’t like the word concept.

Q: So, we can interpret it as we wish, since from every form of Art one gets what it means to him/her personally. But can you tell us what it means to you?
Carl McCoy: To me it’s a very special album. I had to make massive sacrifices to be able to do this. And so it’s very special to me, but to literally explain what it means to me is a very odd thing to translate, cause it normally comes across looking cheap. It’s all there on the album, the feelings, the thoughts, the words, the music. It’s up to people’s interpretation. Do you like the album?

Q: Yeah, we like it very much. Well, originally we had some problems with it…. (laughing)
Carl McCoy: Yeah, it’s not instant, but the thing is that I don’t think I’ve ever made an instant album. It has always taken a while to digest.

Q: I like that each time I hear it I discover new things and this is important to me…
Carl McCoy:
Great.

Q: Perhaps you would like to say something about your future plans. Any dates which are confirmed, videos. We saw your video on MTV after the small talk with Vanessa Warwick….
Carl McCoy: (laughing) Well, it had to be done, didn’t it?

Q: Yeah, that’s what we thought as well…
Carl McCoy: That’s right. I mean, I’m not going on that show just because I think we’ve got this metal edge or anything like that. They asked me to go on there and to me it’s all outlet. I don’t care who buys the record, I just like people to appreciate what I’m doing. I’m not trying to appeal to certain people. Mostly I hope my old fans like it, that’s what I wish. I hope that they like it firstly and understand what I’ve done. Not all of them will, but I think that the genuine core of them, that audience will. As far as dates go, we’re doing some small gigs over in England and stuff like that, just because we haven’t played for so long and we don’t want to go out and absolutely just go for it. I think we would rather be more confident in ourselves and what we’re doing and build it up gradually again. I think we’re doing a festival, the ZILLO festival in summer. That’s pretty much confirmed. I don’t know what the date is though…

Q: …14th-15th of June…
Carl McCoy: Oh well. There you go. People have been speaking already. We’ll be gigging over, of course we will, I want to. I like this country.

Q: A full tour for Spring or Winter?
Carl McCoy: Hopefully before winter. I hope so. It’s a bit confirmed at the moment. There’s a lot going on, all of a sudden. This has only just started happening, so… anything could happen in the next half hour.(laughing)

Q: True… And are you working on a second video-clip?
Carl McCoy: Yeah, there has been talk. Whether we’ll take something of the album or not I don’t know. I would like to take another track of the album, to do a video for an album track as opposed to single. I’ve never got on with singles. Singles have always been a funny area for me. I thought you can’t just squash your year ideas to represent you into three minutes. The album is mostly important, but if I can do a video to an album track then that will please me.

Q: Well, that’s all for now, as other people are waiting, too. Thank you for this interesting meeting and good luck with everything!

Carl McCoy on “ZOON” – Siren Magazine

Carl McCoy has taken his fucking time. Five years to be precise. Even lord of goth Andrew Eldritch takes shorter artistic retreats, but he’s finally pulled himself round with a new album ‘Zoon‘ more importantly a new hard edged sound. Infected took it upon themselves to bring out the recluse out of his post- radioactive shell to explain what he’s actually been doing all this time.

Carl McCoy, he of steel claw hand and post-apocalypse cowboy image, has returned from the wasteland. Five long years spent searching for the people who can help him turn the tuner in his head into the apocalyptic war chants of the reborn and ‘Zoon’ is the result. A more different album from the former king of throaty goth you could not expect, drawing as it does from a darker, more vicious intensity that the Fields of The Nephilim failed to engage. Think Ministry, think Slayer. Goodbye plodding, progressive rock epics – say ‘Hi’ to the new adrenaline hate of ‘Venus decomposing’.

“There is a logical progression between ‘Zoon’ and ‘Elyzium'”, says a chirpy but cautious McCoy. “I think that there is only one album missing in-between and I know where that went because it wasn’t in my head. I wanted to create a real contrast in my music. I wanted to feel some real energy at the peak of an album or a song but at the same time be in control of the mood. The Nephilim were always very handy at the slower atmospherics but never quite managed to capture the power”

It seems surreal to be sat in a pub talking about The Watchmen and sumerland like they were old friends with the man who crafted the epics, but it’s even more bizarre hearing he fucking hates them!

CM: Elyzium was far too controlled and safe. We were playing these ten minute songs that went nowhere and all the time I was getting more and more angry and I didn’t have any fast song to take it out on.”

Frustrated by the apparent lack of energy in The Nephilim camp McCoy put his ideas to the rest of the band soon after the ‘Elizium’ tour ended in 1991. The singer suggested a darker, more brutal approach was necessary if the band were to survive but they refused to compromise the endless twiddly solos and even suggested adding a drum solo to the live set (actually that’s a lie, but if you’ve ever seen a Nephilim gig you’d know what I mean…)

CM: “I really hate the idea that people can think that Fields Of The Nephilim could be seen as progressive rock, but so many years on that’s what it was turning into. I always wanted to move things forward but they never listened to my ideas for the music and they were never at all interested in the lyrics. we really just grew into two separate camps – me and the rest of the band!”, he laughs. In the end a decision was required; I decided that I could play safe and remain miserable but secure or I could go for the challenge of creating something new, and the first step of making anything new is destroying the old.”

During the five years which it took to make ‘Zoon’ man musicians and ‘name’ producers saw the inside of the Nefilim studio but failed to hear what Carl McCoy desired. Half of the musos were intent upon proving how good they were at playing ‘Psychonaut’ instead of learning how to make something as brutally effective as the scathing ‘Penetration’. According to McCoy the producers were even worse.

CM: “I’d go for these well known producers because they had a reputation for achieving a standard and then watch them totally fail to understand what I was after. No-one knew how to achieve the integration between heavy guitars and moving atmospherics. In the end I just told everyone to leave me the fuck alone until I’d finished it myself.”

In five years you can go through a lot of doubts, particularly when you carry the burden of a reputation as big as McCoy’s.

CM: “I’ve been to hell and back making this record”, he nods, “I’ve never felt so low in my life than at certain points during the last few years and I don’t know why that was. I don’t feel that it was the stress of making the record myself, but obviously so many things in my life seemed to end up revolving around it. “I think it was so difficult to make ‘Zoon’ because I had to learn how to express feelings in a totally different context to what I’d been used to”, he offers by way of explanation, “tracks like ‘Venus Decomposing’ or ‘Pazuzu’ can’t nurture a fragile attitude. It has to be a threateningly aggressive posture and writing that sort of music effectively was a real learning process for me.”

‘Zoon’, like it’s three predecessors ‘Dawnrazor’, ‘The Nephilim’ and ‘Elizium’, comes packaged in a dark cloak of mystery and cartographic dyslexia. Hand-written scrawls from ancient texts drip from every page of the cover booklet recreating that ‘lost world’ experience that those original Nephilim albums held all those years ago. Lyrically ‘Zoon’ is as impenetrable as any of it’s ancestors, but it couldn’t be the same without that world of mystery distancing listener from creator.

CM: “I have to include the lyrical philosophies because they’re part of me. As long as what perceive to be the appropriate and emotions are triggered in any particular song then I don’t care what anyone thinks about lyrics which are personal to me. I know I have these big ideas but these, er ‘concepts’, and I really hate that word, have been there from day one so I’m not going to lose them now. I’ve got a huge problem in writing just singles or just one song, because I just can’t do it”, [he says, a sly grin creeping across one side of his face] “I suppose that’s the best excuse I can think of writing what I do. As long as you can turn it up really loud and have it make you feel good at the end of the day I really don’t see what the fuck difference my lyrics or concepts make.”


From a fan’s point of view I can’t help feeling just how sad the situation has become with Carl disappearing for years in incommunicado while the rest of them disappeared up their own arseholes in Rubicon. Why can’t people learn to compromise and communicate more? We really don’t need anymore rampant egos on the loose. Carl nods in slow agreement.

CM: “I was so disappointed at having to call it a day in Field of the Nephilim. I honestly used to think of them all as friends, but there was so much resentment and jealousy going on towards me that it became too much. It seemed like whenever something was going well everyone was there to share the glory, but whenever it went wrong they were all somewhere else pointing at me and making it my fault.”

However, with ‘Zoon’ attreacting major interest on the continent and a new band ready for a May tour of Europe there is a renewed sense of purpose aboute The Nefilim.

CM: “I’ve got a lot of new options before me now”, he remarks positively. “There’s a new strength in my music that I want to explore, and although ‘Zoon’ is a very special album to me, it’s not the be all end all of The Nefilim, it’s just another beginning.”

The Nefilim – Interview with Carl McCoy – Metallurgy Magazine

It’s nice to know that, while he’s been away, Carl McCoy has been thought of highly in the Satanic State of Denmark. “People have come up to me and seriously told me that my lyrics are responsible for people burning down churches there,” smiles the dark lord, shying from the sun in the deepest recesses of London’s dirty old Camden Town.

“I said, what the fuck is that all about? I never write my lyrics down. I doubt if anyone can really ever make them out…even in Denmark.”

It’s been five years since, dressed as the apocalyptic Man With No Name, Carl McCoy last rode Fields Of The Nephilim into town. In a storm cloud of flour, dry ice and battered leathers, his band ruled the kingdom of Goth in the late ’80s, composing a Valkyrian soundtrack which ranged from the anthemic Duane Eddyisms of “Preacherman” to the epic splendour of “Psychonaut” to the brooding fade-out of Elizium, their last album in 1990. Internal conflicts split the band in 1991, with the remaining Fields forced to rename themselves Rubicon after Carl pulled the old Andrew Eldritch trick of snatching the name of his creation from beneath his underlings’ feet and famously proclaiming, “I am the Nephilim!”

While trading on lost glories, the ignominious Rubicon ended up supporting prog rocker Fish. Carl, renaming his act Nefilim, plotted to take Goth into another dimension.

“For the first couple of years I was on my own really,” he recalls. “I mean, we’d been playing non-stop before then, there’d always been something going on for about eight years before that, so I’d never had a break. Personally, it was the first time I’d been on my own, and I felt that I deserved it really. I obviously had a plan in my head about what I wanted to be hearing in music in the future, but going about that was a different thing. I had to experiment a lot and try things out, and it was nice to have that time to do that without any particular schedule to follow. If it didn’t work, I could just chuck it away, cos I had a lot of material written in that time which was mainly for personal use to establish how I was gonna go about doing what I wanted to do.”

The plan was in place, but realising it to his personal satisfaction was a process that filled the next half-decade with trials and tribulations for the perfectionist McCoy.

“I recruited some musicians, first of all just for recording purposes, and that was cool. We did a couple of gigs out in Germany, just to test it all out and see how it was gonna be in a live situation, and whether it was all possible, because at one point I thought it was maybe asking a little too much,” he remembers. “Some of the stuff I’d written was pretty simple in my eyes but technically it was a little bit difficult to achieve. So I did the gigs, and when we came back we were supposed to be going in the studio to actually finish some recording and mix the stuff. And what I decided to do at that point was to collaborate with a producer, just to achieve a certain standard of recording, and spent months with this guy and it was just not working. I thought it was going pretty horribly wrong because what had happened was that obviously the live side of it was pretty simple, but all the technology and the scenes and the samples that I’d done didn’t really merge. So what was happening was coming out unbalanced and it sounded like a bit of a thrash metal band. Which was not what I was trying to achieve.”

Thrash metal or not, a harsher, more abrasive sound which relied heavily on Carl’s mass of home-made samples was emerging, and, like bootleg dynamite, it needed to be handled with care.

“So I threw it away again,” McCoy smiles, “and did the same thing with someone else. And it went the other way – it sounded totally synthetic. There was a lot of head-scratching going on at that point. It was getting up to about three-and-a-half, four years by then, but I was thinking, if I don’t get it right now I’m going to be gutted, it’s taken that long. So at the end of the day I had to devise a way of doing it, I took extra money out and I went into it on my own, shut everyone else out and finished it that way. Time just flew. So it was always moving on.
“So looking back, two years after the old band split, I could probably have released an album but I never got it to a finished state, I kept writing. So what people have got is not an album that bridges what I was doing then to what I’m doing now, they’ve got the jump.”

The album, Zoon, is a markedly different beast from the one the original Fields straddled. It merges the muted colours and suspenseful menace of the film Seven to Al Jourgensen’s jackhammer riffs, the intelligent sampling and abrasive instinct of the first Young Gods album, wrapped in the veil of mystique that McCoy conjures around his creations. It is a pretty extreme piece of work.

“Well, that’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve,” he states. “When we started out as Fields Of The Nephilim, that was a challenge in itself, cos we were pretty much going against the grain, and that was great. But by the time we got to Elizium – and don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what we did and I could never have done this without doing that – but it got to Elizium and I was looking to the next projects thinking we were never going to expand what we were doing. It was time to achieve some different feelings. Cos I spent ages just sort-of looking in, and just holding back with Elizium and it achieved the opposite effect in my head and I got really angry. I felt like exploding, because I was trying to control everything so much. Especially live, it was a testing album to play; you just couldn’t get going, you couldn’t get the adrenaline going, or get into the next gear.”

Was he tired of the continuous tour treadmill, of providing what was expected with the same guitar-bass-drums format?
“I remember being tired and a bit fed up with it all, because we were touring for the sake of it at one point. Which is not why I got into the business. Yeah, we could have taken it on to where it should have gone, but I wasn’t interested in that, because where it would have gone was not something I would have been proud of. It would have gone quite poppy, to be honest.”
Quelle horreur!
“I didn’t just turn round to the band one day and say, that’s it, I’m off. I actually sat down with them and asked them what they wanted out of it, where they wanted to go. And I told them my points, obviously, because I had strong ideas about what I wanted us to do, and they didn’t know how to go about it. And I thought, if that’s their attitude, I might as well try and make the break myself. It’s not easy trying to not compromise. That’s the lesson in this – it’s very hard trying to do what you want to do.”

Clearly, the anger and resentment built up in the last months of the Nephilim has come spilling out on Zoon.
“There’s always been other sides of me that have never had an outlet,” Carl considers. “I’ve spent years looking in with the lyrics and stuff like that, the whole feeling and that whole goth thing was so inward, something had to come out. I spent a lot of time looking back as well and I changed, I started looking forward, and I had to spew it all out. Zoon has got a lot of emotions and feelings in there. It suits me at this moment in time. It bridges more gaps, because that whole goth scene was pretty stagnant.”

Does he think it will come as a shock to the old audience?
“Well, I really don’t want to alienate the old audience. It won’t please everyone, but I’m not here to do that. It’ll sort the men out from the boys, won’t it?”

However, McCoy is keen to stress that he is no way ashamed of the legacy the Nephilim left, nor of the G-word.
“A lot of people thought I was going to throw away my past but that’s not true,” he says.
But he’s not living in the past, a place it’s tempting to retreat to for safety.
“True, but who wants it safe? I don’t. If it’s safe, you’re finished.”

So how would he like Zoon to be viewed, both by the loyal fan and the Nefilim newcomer?
“It’s a surprising album,” he opines, and then further elaborates: “All the samples are original, I mean that stuff took me a long time to create. But the way I do music is from the visuals I see in my head, I don’t often get inspired by other music, I get inspired by images and I interpret that through music.

“We spent about three days recording a load of flies,” he says, no more obscurely than he should. “It took ages. They wouldn’t make any noise, I mean I made this big contraption, a big steel case with a mic in it. So we got all these flies – fun that was – and put them all in this box, and they wouldn’t mmake any noise. So we had to find a way of making them buzz. There’s only little fractions of it on the album, but it took ages. Someone said, Oh, I’ve got a sample of a fly from a record library, but it was just typical, what you’d expect to come from a library. It’s not as good as my flies, my flies had character.
“We had to put all these objects in there and tip them all over and then one afternoon they all went off into one. Ridiculous, I know, but I like it. It’s all part of it.”

The Devil rides out – again.

The Legacy Issue 2 1995 – The Watchers and the Nephilim

“There were giants in the Earth in those days, and afterward, when the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. They wee the mighty men of old, the men of renown.” Genesis 6:4

As they have always done. Hardly a folklore or magical tradition on Earth exists that does not include the wisdom of the immortals passing to humankind through love, desire and miraculous birth: Greek demigods, Indian culture heroes, Merlin the mage and mage Yeshu son of Mary are cousins under their many-coloured skins. So do we always acquire our teachers, heroes and spiritual guides. It’s a story we’ve passed through myriad variations and always loved.

The chapter of this long story which is of most interest to a Nephilim fan is also the most recent one, dating to the early days of the Christian Era, before 630CE. In those days the books we now call Apocrypha (from the Greek apokryphos, “hidden or secret.”) had not yet been excised from the Bible, and so carried the authority of Scripture. These books tell the story of the angels called Grigori or Watchers, who descended to Earth to take human wives and educate young humanity. Two hundred of them, led by the great angel Semjaza-Azazel, are said to have come here in the age between Creation and the Flood. With them they brought knowledge of a diverse range of arts and sciences, from mining and metalworking to the use of herbs, astronomy, writing, and birth control. They taught all these to humankind, and even more importantly, they taught the art of magic. “Amezarak taught all those who cast spells and cut roots… Amaros the release of charms, spells and magical skills… Baraquiel, astrology…” The authors of the Apocryphal books, whoever they were, make it clear that in their time magic was considered a celestial gift, a skill that humanity had acquired directly from the hands of angels, and one as important to humankinds’ survival and advancement as the use of metals or paper and ink. If it were not so important, after all, why would Azazel and his band have bothered to give it to us?

And if it were not so important, they would probably not have suffered so badly for their gift. The archangels Michael, Gabriel, Sariel and Uriel, still in Heaven, observed the Watchers’ work on Earth and angrily complained to God “See what Azazel has done,” they said (in I Enoch IX and LXV:6-7), “revealed the eternal secrets which were made in heaven… and has made known spells and … knowledge to men… and the sons of men practice his practices in order to know the secrets. (Humans have) learnt all the secrets of the angels, and all their secret power, and all the power of those who practice magic arts…” They were furious that these powerful secrets have been brought to humankind, and just as Jove punished Prometheus for giving humanity the forbidden gift of fire, Jehovah sent his angels to punish the Watchers. They were defeated in battle, forced to watch as their families were slaughtered, and then imprisoned in the mountains, deserts and sea of the Earth until Judgement Day, when they will be cast into the lake of eternal fire. Thus dealt the Merciful Father with those who helped and taught the human race.

But the work they had done was not the only trace the Watchers left among early man. They had not only wives but children, and these were the mighty Nephilim, the “giants in the earth” of Genesis.

Sources differ as to the nature and deeds of the Nephilim. Some stories and translations say that they also married and had children, called Eljo or Elioud; that they were great craftsmen and artisans who built the Tower Of Babel and forged the magical sword used by King Hrothgar in the epic Beowulf. Others describe them as monstrous cannibal ogres, cruel and insatiable, who become dangerous to all Earthly life. We may never know where if anywhere, the truth lies. It is not even certain that they and their bloodline were all destroyed; there are numerous giants in the Old Testament and all of them are described as ‘those born to the giant,’ clearly believed to be descendants of the Nephilim. But the Apocrypha are very definite on one point: the giants’ half-mortal, half-divine nature has trapped then on Earth. Their physical bodies were killed by Jehovah’s angels, but their spirits remain here, disembodied and restless, roaming the world until, like their fathers, they face the final judgement. In the books of Jubilles and Enoch, these Nephilim ghosts are described as demons and blamed for many crimes.

“And now the giants who were born from souls and flesh will be called evil spirits upon the earth. From the day of… the slaughter and destruction of the giant Nephilim, the mighty ones of the earth, the great famous ones, the spirits that have gone out from their souls as from the flesh will destroy without judgement.” (I Enoch XV-XVI)

Which would mean, if you believe, that the Nephilim are with us still. And some of us believe, because here they are. It’s complicated and difficult to understand what the image of the Nephilim means in the name and music of Fields Of The Nephilim. Over the years Carl McCoy, when asked, sometimes quoted the story of the Watchers’ giant children and sometimes mentioned a theory of alien visitors. He has spoken at length of the ideas put forth by the author Zechariah Sitchin, who beleieves that the Nephilim (or Nefilim) came in spaceships, bringing a secret science from the stars, to become the deities of ancient Sumer and the creators of humankind through genetic engineering: he has also dismissed this theory as “interesting, though his viewpoint isn’t mine.” The only thing of which can be reasonably sure is that McCoy acknowledges the influence of non-human beings on his life and work, and often expresses the sense of their presence. Cthulu, H.P. Lovecraft’s name for astral chaos in a god-form, has appeared several times in his lyrics, as has the chaotic sea-monster Leviathan, the deities Diana and Mithra, the angel Raphael, and entire stretches of Sumerian prayer.

But – to my mind – the strongest and clearest sense of an arcane presence in the band’s music is found in the lyrics to “Sumerland”, and we mnay find our answer there, “On this Earth I shall wait, by the roots of my soul” – as we’ve seen, the Watchers are imprisoned inside the Earth, awaiting judgement. “And they’re here, they want to take you, to the shame of your past” – the terrible day, I imagine, where archangels sent by God wiped out the Watchers’ community in one day and night; the lyric sweeps from “Take me to the dream” to “Take the dream”, encouraging any soul to find what the singer’s own soul finds, our heritage, our planets superhuman past.

And then comes the song’s trancelike center. “Sleepers in you, shapes of angels, so deep within you, feel your soul drowning, unloosen your soul…” there they are, dead but dreaming, buried in the foundation of our world for thousands of years. The source of magic: Their dreams are mixed with ours, the souls of their children have been riding our winds for an age. And truly, it doesn’t matter what we believe they are. In Sumerian lore Kingu, second in command to the Dragon Goddess of Chaos Tiamat, was the source of the blood that was used in the making of human beings; Sitchin believes the alien Nefilim created us in their astonishing laboratories; the Watchers took human wives and educated them and their children in arts no human being had ever known. There are spirits descended from the stars, travelling in our blood from an older age. Shapes of angels. And we’re coaxed to join our dream to theirs like water to water, submerge with them, open to their presence within us – “we could dream together, we could sleep forever” – in an oceanic acceptance of all the human soul is and has been. They did not just help to make us what we are; they became part of what we are. That to me is the real soul of what Fields Of The Nefilim have done and what the Nepfilim are likely to do. They awaken a sense of awesome possibility, of how vast and mysterious our life and universe are, and how much there is for us to know. Ancient stories say that the secrets of heaven were brought here for our use – how can we forget them?

The memory of them is in his music, for anyone who can hear it.

Zillo Magazine Dec 1993/Jan 1994 The Nefilim – Carl Is Back

Hardly has an event caught the attention of more fans at one time than the split of the Fields Of The Nephilim. The band reached a kind of milestone in their recording career with Elizium. Then the internal quarrels and disputes which had bubbled under the surface for a long time grew louder until they proved irreconcilable.

Now with the Zillo Festival in December, Carl McCoy will break his musical silence.

Cody’s is an attractive little restaurant situated right in the heart of Stevenage new town’s shopping centre. The ceiling fans and comfortable Hawaiian style wicker chairs are typically English as is the brown water that they serve here as coffee.

Carl’s manager, Steve, who drove me from Heathrow airport to this idyllic place, makes a phone call, and in just a few minutes, Carl McCoy arrives; the man whose comeback has been anxiously awaited, especially in Germany. His handshake is loose, his greeting curt. Carl McCoy is a man of few words. Nobody is in danger of burning in his vanity. And no-one at the table can understand the excitement on his return less than he who has just arrived. However, he takes the thing seriously, perhaps even too seriously.

“You can’t compare me with Andrew Eldritch,” he says. “I’m no pop star.” He sips his beer and looks deep to the bottom of his glass.

“There’s hardly been any time to be interviewed in the last two years. I’ve had lots to do, get a band together and make an album, which is now almost finished.”

He has already titled the album to follow Elizium, ‘Visions’. To realise these visions Carl parted company with the Fields, so that the band slowly died. At first, he stopped going to regular rehearsals, and finally just called it a day.

“I wanted to make an album of contrasts. I hate mediocrity. I love extremes. So I’ve made this album. It’s got some very melodic and atmospheric tracks. But it’s also got some very hard songs.”

There are rumours going around associating Carl with the German death-metal band, Morgoth. It’s said his music has a lot in common with Morgoth’s; that he is friends with them, that they have played together on several tracks and that Carl will record several tracks for them as guest lead vocalist. However, there is no truth in these rumours. The truth is that, some time ago, as Carl was experiencing difficulties in finding a suitable drummer in England, the Morgoth drummer guested on several Nefilim tracks for Carl. However, this arrangement ended once Carl found a drummer in England.

Since then the Nefilim have consisted of Carl (vocals), Cian (bass), Paul (guitar), Simon (drums) and slim (guitar). The surnames of the other band members remains a mystery. This group have yielded the new Nefilim sound, with the ‘old’ Carl McCoy kept as figurehead. But musically as far from the past towards the future.

“For me the most important thing is to make this album. It’s all that counts. I want to have a modern-sounding album, not a heavy metal one. I hate heavy metal bands. Cheesy rock music. Awful. I hate Iron Maiden; it’ just technique in action.”

An hour later, we are sitting in Carl’s brother’s apartment for tea. Carl has brought a few recordings to play for the occasion, and explains the individual tracks. By links, which serve to join the samples he has brought, we recognised the connections with Elizium.

From then on, how could we listen to the new music that Carl let fly through this friendly place? At this point we struggle again with that tricky phrase from good old Rodney Orpheus (Cassandra Complex), where he said that all music can be described the same way – from architecture to dancing.

It’s possible to try. The four extracts we listen to, on an overcast afternoon in Stevenage, show the potential of the Fields. Typically Carl on one hand, with calculated intros of epic detail, then the start of the blood-curdling low speech-sound, but strangely hard, quick and energetic on the other. If you listen to fields records (particularly the later material), they always seemed to be recording in slow motion, and behind a pane of glass. Now you have the feeling that everyone has removed their earplugs and taken off the hand brake.

Produced and mixed by various producers, including Andy Jackson and in various studios, scattered here and here, Carl has brought the band as near as possible to his dream. For the first time, Carl has fulfilled many of his ideas.

Interview with Carl – Siren Magazine

Carl McCoy left Fields of The Nephilim last year and nothing has been heard of him since. In his first interview since that fateful decision he reflects on his past, his present, his future. Find out what goes on under his hat.

Carl McCoy’s been cast in many roles: paranoid prima donna, magus and entertainer, down-to-earth man trying, like everybody else, to make a living in a cynical world. Now, in the aftermath of the Nephilim split and the brink of prospects new, which is the true persona of the man? Carl himself admits to an assortment.

“The character people see on stage is very much me, but at the same time, I have different personalities which I naturally adopt, like anyone else, for dealing with different situations.”

It might appear he’s adopted the persona of the hermit these last few months. Since the Nephilim broke up, McCoy has been hugely silent concerning the gory details.

“Have I? Well, I’ve been busy working and I didn’t want anything to interfere with the flow of that.”

Like every band split-up, there was obviously some acrimony involved, with the fans perhaps bearing some of the brunt of that, seeing as their letters haven’t received responses for considerable time.

“Yeah, I’m very concerned about that. The fan club was run by my manager, and had been a mess for a long time. When I made the decision to split the band up, my manager disappeared with all the fan club software, including all the details of members. Luckily I’ve still got some of the application forms, and now the fan club is being rebuilt, so people should be hearing from us soon. Those whose addresses we’ve lost could write to us again at the Stevenage PO Box, not the Surrey address. I promise a response this time.”

So what was the reason for the split – the usual of “musical differences?”

“The whole thing collapsed because I wasn’t going to compromise any more. I felt we were wavering from our true path, and should’ve been delving into more diverse areas of the music. I felt we were just staying within a rigid boundary which we’d set for ourselves. I wanted to move on from that. The energy and power of the music wasn’t as strong as I wanted. Those qualities were there when we stared the band, because you can hear it when you listen to our old material, but it got a little bit diluted.”

Did it hurt you at all, coming to that decision?

“No, I’d been seeing Nod and co, for years, so of course losing that familiarity did take a bit of getting used to. But, to me, the work we were supposed to be doing was more important than the social side. I hadn’t been happy since we did Psychonaut, so the split had to happen. Resentment has set in. Perhaps they thought I was too outspoken at times, but I was only being honest. If I didn’t like something, I would tell them. Yet they wouldn’t be honest with me. They’d say one thing and think another. When the split happened. I spoke to each band member individually, to find out what they wanted from the whole thing. They’d never tell me what they were really thinking though.”

So you had a total non-communication problem. Perhaps they were wary of confronting you. Would you say you were a difficult person?

“I don’t think so. I speak my mind, yes, because I believe in total honesty and I have to be able to trust people. I’m not paranoid, because there are a lot of people whom I trust, who’ve been my friends for a long time. If I can’t trust someone or don’t get along with them, then I can’t pretend I do. My close friends aren’t scared of confronting me. They slag me off it they want to. I stripped myself of everything last year, the band, the lot. I had to, because that was part of the ritual of working towards what I’m doing now, I needed a change, and the only way to do that was to rebuild my life how I wanted it to be. So far, everything’s going really well. I’m really pleased with the new album: its exciting and fresh again, rather than just another recording to bring in the wages.”

It is almost impossible to separate Carl from his beliefs, which permeate both his life and his work. He’s not shy of talking about his magical path, although it seems bizarre that someone with his background should adopt it. He was brought up in a strict religious family, who espoused a spin-off Christian doctrine, which we consider it prudent not to name outright. So how did Carl escape their clutches? Was there a point when he actually rebelled against his environment?

“There were many points, or times, every week I think. I knew I was being forced to conform, but I wouldn’t do it. I knew there was another, hidden side to life, as did the people connnected with that religion, but they repressed that knowledge in themselves, because they feared it. They knew I was interested in it because of the questions I asked. As a kid I experienced quite a few paranormal events. I can only describe it as having “visitors”, something that was experienced by my whole family. Also, my grandfather, who wasn’t connected with ther religion, was a very strong infulence on me, because he was a man who spoke his mind, a true individual, a survivor. What he had to say was a lot more realistic and interesting. He was a very strong person, who had a long and interesting life. What I learned from him was of great use in my life and still is: his outlook, his attitudes. The people around me who were into that religion were abnormal, very insecure, and the brainwashing that went on was bad news. But I just believed in what I wanted, did what I wanted, asked questions, learnt from myself. I had to. This is my experience.”

The visitors sound interesting. Can you say something more about that?

“Well, the first time it happened is obviously the one that sticks in my mind, because it was the strongest. We didn’t actually see anything, but the sense of an unseen presence around us was very strong. We could sense it particularly in the living room of the house, and there was always a hideous smell as you walked through the door of that room. My father tried to dig out the door frame to try and find out what was causing it. The house was always very cold. As a kid, I called them my spirit friends. They were the to me then, which was something I’d picked up out of the books I’d been made to read.”

Why the Nephilim? What fascinated you about them so much?

“The Nephilim legend was referred to in church, but it was just skipped over. I remember I found two whole pages about them in a biblical dictionary, and found them fascinating, not just because of the time period they were supposed to have lived in, but because they were a race of superior beings that people had discarded. I became even more interested when people said, “Oh you don’t want t know about that!” So of course I did. I wondered what they were afraid of and trying to hide.”

Do you think there’s any truth in those legends then?

“Well, I don’t believe we just came out of the water as amphibians and evolved into what we are now without any help! I thin we were “created” by a race of higher beings. If it’s acceptable for people to believe there’s a god floating around up there, why can’t I believe in this – and that we were part of genetic experiments back then? Its not what I believe, its what I know. I don’t want to go into too many theories and details, but what I’ve learned is enough to convince me. Its just a feeling I get, and not something that can be explained”,

Why “Fields of the Nephilim?” Where is that?

It is not a place, but refers to the web of the soul, a morphic field, something that is connected beyond the physical realm. It could interpreted as a kind of magnetic field, something that drew me in. Something was making me aware of the Nephilim when I was younger. They were just visitors as far as I was concerned, but I know that whatever the force of feeling was, it’s still with me, which makes me feel confident in what I do. I can never feel lonely”

So you believe the Nephilim are still around?

“Yes, on this planet genetically, and with me as a life coincidence and a creative force. What other people would call God I suppose.”

Didn’t you get a lot of flack from your parent’s church when it became obvious you were somewhat at odds with their dogmas?

“Yeah, The elders of the congregation came and lectured me a lot, trying to force their guilt and fear onto me in a threatening way, which is a terrible thing to do to a kid. But I wasn’t intimidated, they were! They passed if off as the influence of evil spirits in my house, but it was more like the unconscious fears of my parents and their church elders.”

Because Carl is so open about his beliefs, it’s almost as if he sets himself up for ridicule. People do seem to have a need to “expose” him as a posing fraud, as if the fact he might actually be telling the truth, as he perceives it irritates them intensely. We venture onto the subject of the remarks made by Wayne Hussey in an earlier issue of Siren.

“I can only answer that by saying I live in a very real world and that I try to be as honest with myself as possible in everything I do. If people can’t deal with that, thats their problem. I read that article because people were asking me what I’d done to upset that guy. I don’t know Wayne Hussey. I’ve never met him and don’t know anything about his work, other that what I’ve glimpsed on TV, and he didn’t come across as a true artist to me. False nose and glasses and a beauty spot? Yuch! He’s no different from all the other people who insult my beliefs. What you don’t understand you resent. To me, its just being honest, but people always want to cover things up. What does he mean “some things are best left unsaid”? How repressive! The last slaggin I remember getting from someone I never met was from Roy Orbison. Now I know! Separated a birth: Roy Orbison and Wayne Hussey! I know Wayne Hussey’s interpretation of a secret handshake – sneak into the toilet with a good book! People like him never want to delve into the dark areas of life, into sex or death. I think those people are afraid of life. This is a very dark planet and I think people should look within. I’m not pretentious, I’m just me. I can’t put up with people trying to be something they’re not.”

Hussey mentioned something about the rest of the band never being on your wavelength, didn’t he, and that you might be more successful if that hadn’t happened?

“And he’d know, wouldn’t he!”

Do you think this refers to the fact that you were always seen as a solitary kind of person and not very sociable?

“At gigs, I’m there to perform, and generally look further than the bar! I’ve never been able to get involved in all that pretend friendly friendly side of things. Its a fantasy world, a very narrow-minded. I can’t deal with people who are into it, the pretenders, the liars. I can’t switch into their mode and soak up all the bullshit after a few beers. All my close friends are very honest. Socialising might have helped me in a material way, but it wouldn’t have helped me to achieve what I really wanted. I’m very happy with what I’m doing and its going in exactly the right direction, thank you.”

So now McCoy has some fresh new faces around him, and he’s building his own studio in which to record the album, free from the constraints of time and, as Carl puts it, the money machine. It will be produced by Carl and Andy Jackson who worked on Elyzium.

“Elyzium, was a spacious kind of album, and certain aspects could’ve been taken further. It left us in a kind of limbo, which is Elyzium, in a literal sense. The material I’m writing now comes out and grabs you! Its much more dynamic and energetic, whilst still retaining all the feeling I put into everything I do. I’ve always liked the idea of music taking you on a journey, but this album does that in a more aggressive way”.

So you’ve no fears that the people who were into the Nephilim aren’t going to like it?

“I have no fears! I feel its much more in tune with my original vision of the Nephilim. The whole set up of this album – the writing and recording – is exactly what I should be doing now. My record company are right behind my plans and ideas. I’ve been working hard on the writing and we now have an abundance of material in demo form. The organisation’s taken quite a lot of time, but its coming together and we’re starting to record for real this week. I felt the music needed more fire, so I’ve got more of that element around me. The new band members have lots of aggression and energy musically, plus they’re very much in tune with me. That was one area I wasn’t going to compromise on otherwise I’d have been back where I was before. I’ve still retained the elements and atmospheres, but the music’s a lot more defined. I’ve tried to simplify things, whilst still retaining the depth and power”

None of the tracks have more than working titles for the songs yet, because Carl keeps updating them as he records them.

“I’ll write something, record it, see what its like, change it and record it again. I think the songs deal with all the feelings that most people have and don’t know the have – opposites. The album’s been born out of the remnants of what I was doing before so the opening track is obviously reminiscent of that, but new elements are also introduced, taking yo into the new dimension that I’ve developed. You can hear the crossover point in the new material. I think the Nephilim always achieved a lot of strength and power in the slower tracks, but never really achieved it with any of the faster material, which became very thin and scrappy. Whereas now its got bollocks! I’ve moved away from standard 4/4 timing arrangement, which makes a lot of difference. The Nephilim guitar sound had become very predictable, so that’s something which I’ve tried to minimalise on this album. There’s a very upfront aggressive rhythm style to it, but the layers of atmospheric guitar are still retained where they’re necessary.”

There has been another Fields of the Nephilim release recently, the reappearance of early material on an album entitled “Laura” released by Contempo. This is something that neither Carl, nor the rest of the old Nephilim apparently, are happy about.

“The Italian company Contempo had license to sell “Burning the Fields” in Italy, but not outside that country. The recordings have not been re- mastered for CD and the material is basically a rip-off, a bootleg of crap quality. All I can say to the fans is don’t buy it, don’t waste your money. If there was any reason to re-release that material, it should have been done properly, but its not relevant anyway. Laura’s dead.”

The obvious step after finishing the album is taking the new band on the road. Will there be a new name for the band?

“We’ll probably be called just The Nefilim – using the phonetic spelling. I can’t throw that name away, even though I’ve been threatened with legalities, because its such a part of me and my work. I will play some of the old songs, but they’ll be revamped to suit the style of the new band. There’s no way I want to mimic what I did before. The shows should be a lot more visual, because the people I’m working with now are more interested in that side of things. I don’t know what my touring plans will be yet, but I do want to gig in the UK this year. There should be more news on that front in the next couple of months. We’ll be going into rehearsal as soon as the album’s finished. I want to get back out there. I’m really looking forward to it.”

You were getting pretty jaded with performing live last year, weren’t you?

“Yeah, that was just because of the situation I was in. Bad management and organisation didn’t help. I’m still trying to live with the damage that was caused. It was just so predictable, so pretend, so untogether. There was such a lack of inspiration towards the end. Generally I enjoy touring, even thought it’s stressful and tiring. Indeed that physical outlet now and again, that physical reaction, a bit of anger. This is not a case of Carl McCoy and his Backing Band. This is a fresh new Nefilim.”

And how would Carl feel about previous members of the Fields of the Nephilim playing the old songs?

“I don’t mind if they do! They can do what they want. I don’t want to put them down, or stop them from doing anything. I hope that, from this experience, they’ll realise what it is they want to do with their music, and how important it is, and should be to them. I wish them the best of luck. Here’s to the next cycle!”

Finally, Carl has a personal message to his fans:

“I always felt more in tune with my the bad, so I’m looking forward to continuing on the Nefilim journey with you. Let the great metamorphosis begin!”

Melody Maker 19th Ocotber 1991 Neph’s Split


‘I am The Nephilim!’ McCoy declares

Carl McCoy has left Fields Of the Nephilim after declaring that he can no longer work with the rest of the band or their management.

The others – guitarist Peter Yates, bassist Tony Pettit and brothers Paul and Nod Wright (guitar and drums) – will carry on with a new name and a new vocalist. McCoy, who intends to continue under the Nephilim banner, is now working on new material with various collaborators.

McCoy officially quit three months ago but had been privately unhappy since the ‘Psychonaut’ era more than two years ago. He told the Maker this week: “The split-up was inevitable, and I can’t pretend it’s been amicable. It hasn’t. I just decided I couldn’t work with these people or the management.

“We’d done the complete cycle in what we were representing, and musically I felt it was time to change. The only way to progress, to try to develop, is to kill what was before, sacrifice it. Annihilate it, break it down. I’m now in the process of burning the fields so as to develop what I set out to do in the first place.”

While declining to name the collaborators in his next project, Carl insisted that he would not be giving up the Nephilim name.

He said: “As far as I’m concerned, I am The Nephilim and all it stands for, and I feel I should use it, even though the others don’t approve.

“There are a couple of people I’ve been working with on and off and it looks like the foundation, the nucleus, of a future band. At the moment, I’m writing another album. It’s going very well. I feel a lot happier nowadays. The future’s looking bright. It’s exciting.”

Asked if Neph fans would be likely to approve of the new material, he said: “I would think so, I can only draw my inspiration from the same sources I’ve always drawn upon. I’m still developing what I set out to, and I will develop it further, in the live department especially, doing something really radical. This is where my frustration started setting in over the last year or two with the band.”

McCoy, who is keeping his new material under wraps until next spring at least, has appealed to fans not to write to the fan club until further notice; “When we’ve been able to reorganise and restructure it to run efficiently.”

The rest of the Nephs have recruited vocalist Andy Delaney to complete the line-up of their new band, which is, as yet, unnamed. Delaney has worked with local bands in the Nephs’ hometown of Stevenage.

Peter Yates told the Maker: “Carl rang us up and said he had no choice but to leave the band. It wasn’t that he suddenly turned round and made the decision. There were things happening, a bit of an uneasy atmosphere, while we were recording ‘Elizium’.

“We were expecting it. It reached the point where someone was going to say it, either us or him. There was never any thought that any of the rest of us would go off and work with anyone else, because we’ve always worked as a unit.

“We’ve been doing demos for about two or three months, and written about half an album. It’s brilliant. It’s not a radical departure as far as the music’s concerned. It’s got all the power, the big sound, that we had before, and there’s still a dark side, a moodiness, but I think now Carl’s left, he’s taken most of the Gothic element with him.

“The subject matter he used to write about we were all interested in to a certain extent, but not as much as Carl was. We’re feeling really positive about what we’re doing now, really high. It’s good.”

There will be no new releases from the new band until next year.

BEGGARS BANQUET 1991

The extract is from Carl McCoy.

“You have bands like the Cult on this label and they must be selling a million albums in the States or what have you. That’s their own doing, that’s nothing to do with which record label they are on. You know so, in the end of the day it’s an honest label. You make a record and then you get the chance.”

[Clip from Psychonaut live.]

“We must been with the label for about 5 years now, and the history of bands before that, uh, they seem to take on bands and let them develop in their own natural way, they don’t, kind of you know, expect, like, wonders out of these bands when they took them on. You know, they give them the room to develop their way. So, I think it was the reason in the first place for coming to this label.”

[Clip from Psychonaut live.]

“We built ourselves up a quite good live reputation and so therefore we had some more following which grew, that’s was the main reason, I think, that Beggars Banquet also like the proof of – they are not a company to sign a band that they haven’s seen playing live.

In my eyes they take on real bands, you know.”

[Ending with clip from Blue Water.]

SOUNDS APRIL 6, 1991 BLAZING SADDLES

With their live album, ‘Earth Inferno’, fresh in the shops, Fields Of The Nephilim and resident shaman Carl McCoy are hoping to bring their own brand of mysticism to the masses. Roy Wilkinson treks down to their local to debate the virtues of flour power.

The Neph at Knebworth! But the band’s fans needn’t rush the box office just yet – for the group’s appearance at the rock dinosaur’s favourite meeting ground is restricted to a photo session.

Frontman Carl McCoy lounges demurely in the open door of his plush V-12 Jaguar XJS (registration 666), then joins his comrades for a suitably moody shot ‘neath the leering gargoyles.

Fields Of The Nephilim may never have rocked out at Knebworth, but one of their number has played here. Back in the early ’80s the resident chief toffs punky son was in the habit of promoting alternative gigs at the stately home’s skate park. On such an occasion, Fields bassman Tony Pettitt took his place in an early incantation of Smiling Phil Parfitt’s Perfect Disaster.

“Yeah, it was a funny old day,” says Tony as he remembers cutting his musical teeth alongside Parfitt. “It was strange in that band, cos Phil was always having a go at the audience. Yeah, Smiling Phil Parfitt’s just about right.”

But we’re not here to discuss the Perfect Disaster’s cruel run-ins with fate – the Neph’s live album. ‘Earth Inferno’ is fresh in the shops. It’s an event that begs a full account of the band’s live history – this lot have achieved their success nowhere if not on the boards.

It’s a heart-warming story that stretches from support slots to OAP punks like Chelsea, to a Brixton Academy full of their own devoted fans. From surviving a pogo assault from a legion of ageing punk fans to piling on the atmospherics in front of a sea of spooky hand jives and darkly garbed followers.

Back at the band’s habitual local interview location – the cheerfully mock rustic Pig And Whistle – they recount their adventures with hearty guffaws and many a dropped aitch.

Placing his dusty black Crowman steson beside his pint, Carl recalls that first blast of Neph night action.

“Well, we got ourselves a few gigs at the likes of the Rock Garden,” he croaks in his Sarf London shaman drawl. “But before that we played a few warm-ups in pubs in the sticks. Mad nights, they were. Back then the band was me, Tony, Nod (drums) and Paul (guitar). But, funnily enough, Pete was in the support band at one of those gigs – Swallowdive they were called.”

Pretty soon Peter Yates found himself mysteriously transferred from Swallowdive to add second axe to the Neph sound.

“Yeah,” says Tony. “For a while we had a saxophone player, then Peter joined and we were a six-piece for a while, then this sax guy went off on his own way.”

With the band’s line-up stabilised these five cowboys of the acrockalypse found themselves trudging all manner of crap London gigs – trial by Italian tourist at the Rock Garden, audition night at Dingwalls, five-groups-for-a-quid night at Le Beat Route. But worse was to come. After negotiating their way past the dreggy end of London life, they ended up propping up the bill as various punk bands turned themselves into focal points for bouts of sad nostalgia.

“Yeah it was always us on fourth on the bill at the Clarendon,” recalls Peter.

“It was a funny old time,” says Carl. “We played with ’em all – 999, The Vibrators, Tenpole Tudor. We had a couple of mates who were in Chelsea and that’s how it started.

“Funny thing is, ” says Peter. “All those venues have closed now – the curse of the Nephilim.”

The Band’s first useful live break came after they’d put one record out on their own label and signed to Beggars Banquet subsidiary Situation 2. It may not be the stuff of everyone’s dreams, but a tour supporting Gene Loves Jezebel did wonders for the Neph.

“It was good.” Says Tony. “That was the first thing we ever did that was of any use in terms of getting a bigger audience. That was the first time we were able to play to a big band of people who we could convert.”

“I remember it well,” says Peter. “One pound a day to live on.”

It wasn’t long before the band had come up with their initial visual trademark. Cleverly, they decided to try for that elusive Homepride sponsorship by coating one another in flour before each gig.

“That was pretty near the beginning, weren’t it?” wonders Carl in eerie rhetoric fashion. “It was just a way of identifying us as being in the same band. We were a real mixed bunch back then – Nod looked so much younger than the rest of us. His drumming was fine, but his dress sense was a bit funny. So, at least for photos, we had to make it look like we were in the same band. It wasn’t just flour we used either. It could be dust, dirt, anything. We used to roll around in the dirt so everything’d go the same tone of grey. The flour was like a portable version of that. It was a theatrical thing really.”

“At the time,” says Tony. “There was a lotta poncey goth bands about, all wearin’ make-up, so we decided to go the opposite end of the scale.”

“Yeah, we’d always brush up against the other bands,” chortles Carl. “Leave handprints on their backs, all kinds of larks. It was a good crack and since then it’s become a bit of a ritual. We still get floured up, so to speak. It’s all part of the gig.”

With their crusty togs and moody headgear, the band were soon tagged as wild west wassailers.

“Yeah,” says Carl. “It was also because we did a version of some music by Ennio Morricone, from one of them spaghetti westerns. People thought we were gonna base our whole career on it. In America they even advertised us as the good, the bad and the Nephilim. It was terrible, really tacky.”

“As the Neph show has moved from its origins to its current mix of portentous atmospheric and hi-fidelity sound reproduction, so the band’s audience has evolved. In the early days their keenest fans were tagged The Bonanzers, but they have since been replaced by a new and more ferocious breed.

“The hardcore section of the fans are really fit, really athletic,” says Carl. “They’re the ones forming the pyramids and stuff – we call them the Psycho Vikings.

“I’d say that, nowadays, we feel further away from the audience – and that’s not just because of the size of the venues. That feeling’s definitely noticeable in the quieter passages. At the start we were right on top of our audience. We were in reach, so you had to be quick on yer feet. The gigs used to be more intense, but we’re showing different emotions now.”

The Neph obviously do inspire a pretty devotional response in their audience, but they insist they aren’t plagued by any particularly esoteric requests after shows.

“There’s always gonna be the minority that force their way backstage,” says Carl. “The sort of people who want to ask you a thousand and one questions but…”

“We’ve always thought,” interjects Tony. “That the most interesting people go home after a show. I’ve never felt like bargin’ my way past security to wait outside a dressing room for two hours.”

“Yeah,” grunts Carl. “Every band gets these people what hang about backstage, but you look at these people and think. Nah, not for me.”

As Jim Morrison, the original rock ‘shaman’, is shunted back into public view, McCoy maintains his own interest in the subject. Carl’s heavily into shamanism and reckons the rock concert is a useful arena in which to explore the calling.

“I think bringing shamanism into a modern context is a really good thing,” says Carl. “The state of mind and the perception you can get being on stage is amazing. The feeling between us and the audience is definitely like experiencing another level of consciousness. I’d say it has the potential for mass ritual, really. The audience doesn’t have to be aware of that – they can be there just for the music.

“I’m experimenting with shamanism and I always have been, but it’s not something you can force other people to do. It’s either born in you or it’s not. You can be interested in it but, unless it’s born into you, you wont have experienced any of these… paranormal events or anything like that.

“I’ve never really discussed shamanism with the music press, because I never thought it was a good idea. But it is where I draw my inspiration from and my whole life is based around that and occult philosophies in general. I spend a lot of time reading other people’s philosophies who’re interested in similar subjects and try to carry on in that tradition. It’d take a lifetime to sort of figure it out.”

Carl’s interest in this mystic realm is brought out on the new album’s sleeve. Alongside the sepulchral tones that surround Carl’s photomontage of a naked female torso and an animal skull is a suitable mysterious quotation: “The strangers came and they were not like us. Something else, but wearing the skins of men, the eyes of men, their hands… We convoke the Nephilim and they come to us, strangers with the eyes of men…”

The above’s a severely abridged version, but it gives some of the flavour.

“The quote’s from a friend of mine,” explains Carl. “She’s called Storm Constantine and she uses similar inspirations to me when she writes her stuff – she writes novels, science fiction and horror. She’s quite interested in the whole mythical roots of the creation of the Nephilim. Roughly translated, the Nephilim were angels that occur in ancient mythology. It’s something I’m always looking into and now I’ve been doing some stuff with Storm, so that could come out in her book sometime.

“The jawbone is from a fox. I collect things like that – dead things bits and pieces, really. The girl in the photo is a friend of mine – she’s interested in similar things to me. I took that photo – my girlfriend helps me with that kind of stuff. I don’t find that just writing lyrics is expressing enough, so I get quite a lot of satisfaction from doing the visuals.”

But, away from Carl’s more rarified interests, the band are getting back to the nuts and bolts of rock and roll – rehearsing for some gigs in Tony’s cellar. Not by a long chalk, the band’s most bizarre rehearsal space.

“Nah,” says Carl. “We’ve rehearsed in some weird places – like a barn with all the pheasants running around.”

“Oh yeah,” says Pete. “The first ever rehearsal space we had was in the back of this container lorry parked up in a scrapyard. Really cramped it was, and Carl kept getting blisters on his lips from electric shocks cos it was difficult to get a good earth.”

With blisters on their gobs, callouses on their hands and a raging mist of mystic intrigues up their sleeves long may the Neph continue to rock.

MELODY MAKER MARCH 23, 1991
GRAVEYARD SHIFTS

Does the release of their new live album, ‘Earth Inferno’, mark the end of an era for Fields Of The Nephilim? Why does Carl McCoy want to take his band down the Amazon? Carol Clerk tries to unravel the many mysteries behind Britain’s best-loved flour children.

Up until now, the conversation has been taking a quite normal course by Nephilim standards, occupying itself by the day-to-day matters of spirituality and the soul, the cycles of life and the powers of magic, apocalyptic visions and ancient traditions. But now things are taking a more unusual turn.

Carl McCoy has just proposed a group outing to the South American jungle, and bassist Tony Pettit is issuing a few stern words of advice to his prospective fellow-travellers: whatever you do, don’t piss in the Amazon.

“There are these little parasites that live in the river,” he warns. “And they’re attracted to the smell of ammonia.”

“Urine,” explains Carl, matter-of-factly.

“If you have a piss in the water, these parasites get attracted to you,” carries on Tony. “They go right up into your knob, and they open up into an umbrella. And the only thing anyone can do to save you is to cut your dick off. So we’ll all be wearing our cricket boxes.”

Nod, who was previously enthusiastic about the excursions, suddenly looks as though he might be changing his mind.

“Why the jungle?”

“That’s the reason for going,” says Carl. “Not to have that done to yourself, but just to see what happens there. I fancy that, just for the experience. You get things that sting you bite you, suck you…”

“Sometimes everything’s so safe. The jungle’s out of control. I’m not going to be able to control anything there, but at the same time, it’s not people that are going to be affecting me. It’ll be nature.

“I’d like to take the band there to an odd location and do some writing, but I don’t know how realistic that would be. It would be nice to pay my way on to an expedition, especially with some people who have spent heir whole lifetimes studying in these parts of the world. It’s just gotta be done one day. I think that’s something that’s coming up.”

More immediately, Fields Of The Nephilim are about to release a live LP, “Earth Inferno”, and it’s this which brings us to Stevenage for an afternoon with Carl, Tony and Nod in their usual pub, the Pig And Whistle. Guitarists Peter Yates and Paul Wright, Nod’s brother, are otherwise engaged.

Carl’s still on halves of shandy. He picks up the first as he considers the album title.

“It comes from a book by Austin Osman Spare,” he says. “He had his own magical philosophies, and he said he was possessed by the spirit of William Blake, who’s someone I’ve admired anyway. I’m just trying to follow on in that tradition in a completely different way, expressing the same kinds of feelings as some of the work by Austin Osman Spare.

“Also I was brought up around Brixton. My first memories are of the Astoria, which is now the Academy. It was the first cinema I ever went to. I saw ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ with a big rubber squid in it, with my grandma. And Fields Of The Nephilim ended up playing Brixton Academy. Austin Osman Spare died in Brixton, so it all kind of ties in nicely. It’s gone round in a big circle.

“‘Earth Inferno’ sums up all our material as well, just because of the apocalyptic kind of visions, all my ideas of the journey of the soul and the kind of shamanic inspiration which I’ve always drawn on, so therefore I think it’s a nice title to round it off.”

The Nephs could hardly have chosen a better time to record a live album than during last year’s autumn tour. Guaranteed free of overdubs, “Earth Inferno” captures much of what was exhilarating about the set, an inspired blend of long-standing favourites like “Moonchild” and “Preacher Man”, the outrageous dramas of “Psychonaut” and the powerful atmospheres and soundscapes of the newer material from “Elizium”.

At the same time, there’s something about the LP that suggests a grand wrapping up and casting off of the past. “I can sense that this is the end of a cycle,” nods Carl. “It’s something you know inside yourself, not something which is there in black and white in front of you. The album is a summary of events leading up to this particular moment in time.”

So what would the Nephs consider to be their greatest achievements so far?

“Being able to see it through as far as we have without being detoured into day jobs,” replies Carl.

“Not having to do it anyone else’s way except for our own,” says Tony. “That’s almost a rare thing these days, you know.”

“And bringing this tradition of shamanism up to date,” concludes Carl. “I used to feel I was well out there on my own. That’s why I started talking about it more. But obviously I’m not the only one. I’ve met a few people who are genuinely inspired by the ancient methods of shamanism and shamanistic rituals, journeys of the soul.”

“It’s coming around again. Not all this new age shit which is being based on lots of salesmen selling crystals which is absolute bullshit. They’re not likely to be capable to achieve healing powers without occult knowledge. But in general, the world has got to look to shamanism for the future, especially in the areas of healing and medicines.”

The LP accompanied by a second summary of events, a live-at-Brixton video called “Visionary Heads”, or “Nods Workout Video”, as Tony would have it.

“I think we should get Nod in one of those drum cages and roll him around a bit onstage”, says Carl in splendid Nod Corner tradition. Nod sips calmly on his pint.

“We could pack him away at night and take him out every day,” enthuses Tony. “We thought of getting a flight case with a little bar and an armchair to lock Paul in as well”.

“I’ll have my own box, I suppose,” sighs Carl.

“An isolation tank,” offers Tony.

Carl isn’t impressed: “There are lots of other ways of achieving the same state of mind, but I’ve never been in a watery tank. I don’t like water. That’s my big thing. I can swim, but I don’t like it.

“When I was a kid. My father used to run a sub aqua club, and I used to find myself sitting at the bottom of swimming pools, but as I got older… I’m not into water.”

As the frontman of a band whose reputation is based on live performance, Carl McCoy remains a reluctant public figure. He still insists that his touring duties begin and end on the stage, obscured from view for most of the set by clouds of dry ice.

“We like the atmosphere of it,” he declares. “We like the taste of it, the smell of it and what it looks like as well. It’s just part of the whole ritual of the live performance, like the participation of the audiences and the atmosphere that they create just by being there, the chemical reaction between us and them.”

“You feel like you’re giving an hour and a half of freedom, you’re free for that amount of time and so are they. You reach this other level of consciousness, and everyone else does as well.

“My mind just becomes open. Whatever par of me inspires all the words just take over; a part of my personality or a God form or whatever way you want to represent it. It’s just one big experience, for the audience and for us.”

And that’s where he would prefer the live experience to end.

“I don’t enjoy meeting people after the gig. I find it embarrassing, intrusive. People come backstage and stand there with bits of paper, and they ask you loads of questions – ‘Where did you get your hat? Where did you get this? Where did you get that?’

“But obviously, not all of the audience is like that. The fans that are important, the ones who are genuinely interested in what we’re doing, know that we’re going out there and playing for their sakes as well as our own. Nod likes to socialise and I don’t, but each to his own. I just don’t feel it’s necessary to meet anybody.”

Especially since Carl has become what Tony refers to as a “crank magnet”.

“I seem to get more of the cranky ones than most,” says Carl. “It makes you wonder sometimes. I’ve been asked to heal people. One woman rang up our manager and said her daughter needed healing and would I do it. And it was put in a way that made me feel guilty at the receiving end of this message.

“Then there are people who try and set up meetings at symbolic sites at certain times of the year and tell me I’ve got to be there.

“There are a fair share of people in England who are totally obsessed and they try and get into your personal lives. One woman moved from Newcastle to Stevenage, and she’s still here now. She used to write fan letters twice or three times a week. At the beginning we did talk to her, but then it would go on and on, she would try to go a little bit further. She’s turned up at my house before in tears on the doorstep. I wasn’t there at the time.

“I stopped talking to her because she was a nutter and she was tedious and I wasn’t interested in putting up with the questions. So she didn’t like me any more. She started slagging me off. She thinks I’m arrogant now, so that’s really good.”

“My dad went into hospital for an operation,” adds Tony, “and she was working on the ward. Oh no it’s her! I couldn’t believe it.”

By comparison the fans who turn up to camp outside the Nephs’ hotel bedrooms present only a simple problem.

“Oh,” says Carl, lighting a cigarette. “We just get them chucked out.”

The key word around the Nephs at the moment is change. All five members, according to Carl have been beset by a number of private and professional upheavals which have conspired to complicate the way ahead.

On a personal note, Tony’s split up with his girlfriend of six years. Nod’s moved house. Carl “packed up and stayed where I was”, and is still in search of the elusive secret of contentment.

“I’ve always got dark clouds around me,” he shrugs. “I’ve had to accept that from when I was a kid and started experiencing these bad vibrations. Any progress in my personal philosophies is just all experience for me at the moment. I’ve still got no answers. I will not be able to tell that tale until I’m a few years wiser.”

The fact that the Neph’s individual traumas have been accompanied by a series of band problems insists upon a reaction, dictates a change of circumstance, gives weight to the feeling that they’ve arrived at the end of an era, a crossroads.

“Over the last few months, everything’s really changed for us without us wanting it to,” says Tony. “It’s all forced itself upon us. When it first hits you it can be a bit daunting – “I didn’t want this to happen” – but at the end of the day it’s good for you.”

“Our lives have been turned upside down,” agrees Carl. “But it’s gotta be for the better. A couple of doors close, but they open a few more.”

The group unfortunately, are unable to go into detail about these mysterious doors. I suppose their location to be in business areas.

“There’s been this big weight on our shoulders for a few years, and it’s going to disappear soon,” says Tony, guardedly. “I can’t say any more because it’s not resolved yet.”

Carl reassuringly declares that “there will always be Fields of the Nephilim.”

“A few barriers have come down on some path or other,” he continues. “it’s knowing where to tread and which way to go, really. But you have to put yourself in a low to appreciate the high when it hits you in the face, and I’m not talking about smoking a chillum…

“There’s this little saying which always sticks strongly: the root of every emotion is always the opposite. If you can invoke some of these bad influences in your personality, often they manifest themselves as something quite bright and uplifting. And the other way round.

“It seems to work like that for me. I’ve got a formula, a way. It all goes back to magical philosophy again. I design my own rituals for whatever purposes.”

On one aspect of the professional struggle, Carl is prepared to be specific.

“I got ill for a little while from taking on lots of pressure about things I used to feel were very important.

“As far as plans go, I never want to make any plans for my life, keeping to schedules. Obviously in reality, you have to do it to a certain extent, but this whole business we’re involved with is art to me. It’s making a nice piece of art. People expect you to turn on and turn off and fit into schedules and it’s a load of bollocks.

“We came off tour at the end of last year, and someone’s giving us restrictions right away by saying, ‘The next gig is not booked until this or that time; you’ve got this amount of time to get the writing done for the next album. These people are not artists, they’re businessmen.

“As far as I’m concerned, we’re ready when we’re ready. That’s how we always did it when we had nothing else apart from ourselves, and that’s when we always felt better. You can take anything away from us as a band, but we’ve still got our ideas, the ideas are there now, and getting them down will happen in its own time.

“I don’t think it’s a very good thing to consciously make an effort to do something for the sake of doing it. It’s not natural to the flow of the inspiration that I acquire. It’ll have to be a natural progression, and I think we can move up to a higher level that way. We don’t want to get caught in a rut, a big wheel where you have to do one thing to achieve the other, to generate money to live, to do this, to do that.

“In a real world, you obviously have to, but at the same time, in this kind of world, in the world of art, it’s just got to flow.”

So how will you balance the real world with the world of art as far as deadlines are concerned?

“By changing some of our surroundings. You’ve got to do it in a very relaxed environment, just do what you feel like doing when you wake up. Your mind’s got to become free again, like what it is when you’re onstage. Deadlines are OK if you’re given room.

“There are ways. In the end. I’ll just go away. I’ll have to. Just have a break and see different scenery, go to a country where you can’t speak the language so you can’t be bothered by people. I’ve always been fascinated by the Middle East, especially now they’ve just had a war. That’s somewhere to visit.

“And I like South America. I’ve been to a few different environments, but never a tropical jungle…”

The double LP, “Earth Inferno”, is released by Beggars Banquet on March 28. The video, “Visionary Heads”, follows later.

SOUNDS FEBRUARY 23, 1991
SEE YA LATER, TERMINATOR

What do you do with a dusty, chaotic rock star who looks like the Grim Reaper?

Why, cast him as himself in your movie and send him to the Sahara desert of course, which is exactly what the makers of Hardware did to Fields Of the Nephilim’s Carl McCoy. Cathi Unsworth gets the low down about his first big screen role.

Video Producer Richard Stanley’s first foray into filming, the sci-fi chiller Hardware, was one of last year’s most surprising movie successes. Despite a low budget, the ingenuity of the settings – London’s famous Roundhouse theatre recreated into crypto-gothic apartments plus the awesome vastness of the Quarzazate desert provided the perfect, startling environment for Stanley’s paranoic, post- holocaust vision.

Its a scenario similar to those of Bladerunner and The Terminator but hardware is further spiced with threads of Biblical imagery and large chunks of hallucinogenic delusion. Stanley spins a yarn of a soldier returning to his sculptress girlfriend with the present of a Cyborg helmet for her to incorporate into her work. Only, the helmet is self activating and regenerates itself into a Mark 13; a merciless, military killing machine. Which is where the fun begins…

Hardware also marked the big screen debut of charismatic Fields of the Nephilim singer Carl McCoy. Cast as the Nomad, McCoy is a scavenger operating in the radiation zones, who discovers the Mark 13 in the first place. Like fellow co-star Lemmy, he appears more or less as himself, and, it turns out, his part had been specifically written for him

“I got to know Richard years ago, as he’d worked on some of our early promos,” Carl explains. “He became a really good friend. So, when Palace Productions sent me a script and an artist’s impression, he’d written me into the script. It seemed like an interesting thing to go in for, as its not that far removed from what I do with the band”.

Carl’s role in the film certainly suits his perceived public image. By bringing the robot out of the desert and into a place where it can cause the most chaos, he is an effective angel of doom. “I like to deliver a message”, Carl McCoy agrees. “And this role suited me – The Grim Reaper! I suppose that is how most people see me! But what interested me most about this film was that its not just a typical Bladerrunner scenario; there are lots of parallel themes running through it – like the fact the robot is called Mark 13, a passage from the Bible that directly refers to the end of the world. I know how Richard’s mind works. It also suited me in that I didn’t have the pain of taking on a full blown role”, he continues. “Because I only appear at the beginning and the end of the film, I see it as having my own little video”.

Carl’s scenes took place amid the dramatic shifting sands of the Quarzazate, a part of the Sahara Desert. “When we went out there they were having the coldest weather for years”, Carl recalls, “Which came as a shock, because I was expecting it to be really hot. But it worked well, because there was constant thunder and lightning, and rainbows appearing all over the place. So, apart from the obvious filtering, it looked pretty much how it does in the film. We were totally stranded in the desert for the filming,” the singer furthers. “Dumped in the middle of nowhere. Our main shots were at sunrise and sunset, when it was the most dramatic, under this huge red sky”.

Sadly, one of the key scenes that would have involved Carl had to be cut. Leading lady Stacy Travis was supposed to film a dream sequence with him in the desert, but she became so ill in the arid surroundings that the idea had to be scrapped. “That was a shame” McCoy muses. “I think that sequence would have added another really good dimension to the plot” But was the he pleased wit the finished film? “Yeah, I was, I hadn’t seen much of it until the cast and crew premiere, and I was quite impressed. I didn’t think it’d do as well as it has, but because Richard is so ingenious, with a low budget he really comes into his own. “It was a good soundtrack too, loud music that suits the fact it’s a very loud film. But basically, the whole experience was a very inspiring one. I’d previously only worked on pop promos, so it was a great thing to be part of the mechanisation’s of a feature length film. Seeing the Special Effects department was one of my favourite things. I’ve been interested in that stuff since I was a kid”.

He also sees the commercial and critical success of Hardware as breathing new life into the Independent British film industry “Hardware has provided a whole new generation of movie makers, new faces, based in Britain. It could so easily have gone the other way, been regarded as a joke, sort of how people often see The Fields of the Nephilim. But Richard has capabilities”.

So, having had such a positive entrance into the Barry Norman Kingdom, would McCoy like to further his movie career? “Well, having met some of the leading actors in this film, I know that to take on their roles would be quite hard,” he considers. “But really, it would depend on how interesting the part was. I would never want to do anything that was too obvious. In the future there must still be interesting films to be made, though. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t go looking for it, I’m busy enough as it is!”

“DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK”
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM INTERVIEW
BY GREG KARJIANNIS

PART 1 – CARL MCCOY

Greg: Well, there’s no question that Carl McCoy is the Nephilim, but what’s going on with the lineup? Are they only on for the live gigs, or will they be in the studio as well?

Carl McCoy: They were only — we kind of picked them up for the live gigs really. Some of the songs we wanted to play, such as some of the Zoon material, could only be performed by people who had been involved in that album. Some of the old members of the band are a bit out of touch with what we were doing, and also the material we were writing didn’t seem totally suitable for the future so, you know, we felt that the band had to be kind of scrimped, so by choice we kind of scrimped the band the way we felt suitable, just to put across what we do as best we can. No other reason, really. It’s up to us, really. We do what we want to do. Me and Tony were the original founders and builders of the Nephilim, so we kind of felt… we did do some work with the original members of Fields of the Nephilim, and it was kind of a bit… it was okay. This is a bit long-winded. It was okay for doing some of the older material, but looking toward the future, it’s definitely not radical enough for getting the profile back out there nowadays, really. So we found us some extra strength.

Greg: So the brothers are out now?

Carl: Yes. I mean, also, I think they’re working on something of their own.

Greg: But there’s no problem between Tony and you? He will be always with you?

Carl: Me and Tony? Oh, we’re fine with it. (laughs) Who knows.

Greg: The single. It’s written that it was originally recorded for a Nephilim film project. What’s that about?

Carl: Um, it was just some project that I’m still sort of working on. It’s a bit of a personal thing, really. It’s nothing to be sort of talked about. Obviously I’ve always had an interest in visual stuff, and a few years back I put a video production company together and stuff like that, and decided we’d start incorporating more visuals into the music. Kind of mix the pair up. Give people a better picture of what we see. But it’s something that’s being developed and something that’s not being pushed at the moment. It’s still there, but me and Tony got back together and for a bit of fun we messed around with those old songs. And before we knew it we’d basically rewritten them for the hell of it. No reason, it wasn’t a radical move, it wasn’t like the future of Fields of the Nephilim, nothing like that, it was just we’d like to use this as the soundtrack for something, and it went from there. It’s something that was incomplete. We never finished it, really. The record company pushed us to release these two tracks, because they weren’t totally suitable for the album we’re making. They don’t totally belong there, so they decided to release them and we said, ‘Okay, whatever.’ There was no radical move, no big statement, it’s not like a big fresh new record or nothing, it’s like something, you know.

Greg: So there’s no movie going to be released or something from Fields of the Nephilim?

Carl: Well, there will be, at some point,…

Greg: But not now? Some shitheads were telling on the Internet that there would be something very soon.

Carl: You never know.

Greg: That’s very good.

Carl: Yeah, I mean, that’s my favorite subject, so you never know. But my concentration is on finishing our album, and, you know, anything else that might come out around or after that or before that — we’ll see. It’s not what we’re pushing at the moment.

Greg: You have done a very intense artwork here, on the single. It creates a nightmare.

Carl: It was a bit quick, that one. Done in a day, I think.

Greg: It’s very good. The thing in the smoke. You know, a simulacra, purples, some skulls, shit like that in the smoke.

Carl: You like that?

Greg: Yeah.

Carl: Yeah, I mean, I find that quite easy compared to the music. We always manage to get a piece of artwork out.

Greg: The remixes have this extreme dark and metal edge of ‘Zoon.’ I say it’s brilliant.

Carl: Yeah, cool.

Greg: But I have a complaint. Not from you. All of the interviews I have read in the past, after ’96, everybody is asking if you are going to repeat ‘Elizium,’ showing a kind of disgust towards ‘Zoon.’ I love all your albums including ‘Zoon.’

Carl: Thank you very much.

Greg: It was the darkest and most intense thing I have ever heard. So I will ask you the opposite the others did: will the new album have the double-bass drums and thick…

Carl: Ooer. Yeah, why not. The thing is, ‘Zoon’ was a very personal project, and just me sort of experimenting. I’m proud of ‘Zoon,’ I thought it released a lot of feelings and emotions that weren’t touched on before with Fields of the Nephilim, which wouldn’t have been right because obviously everyone’s heads have got to be in that direction. It’s a bit of an attitude album, so you can’t turn people into something they’re not. ‘Zoon’ was a personal project, certainly my idea, and I fulfilled that and I was pleased with that. It released a lot of aggression, but at the same time I think you need to find balance. You need the extreme. I mean, after putting out an ‘Elizium’ album, which is very laid-back, and almost got to the point, especially in live performances, where you’re onstage and become very frustrated when there’s a big buildup and big buildup, I think the automatic reaction after the split and all that stuff was to go and do something which is really in people’s face. Now I think — Tony’s always been like-minded anyway. He didn’t have to be involved in that. It’s a shame. But now I think we can appreciate both extremes and I think we’re able to cover both territories. We can still do exactly what we did with ‘Elizium,’ only better, and I think I can do what I achieved with ‘Zoon’ better as well, so…

Greg: So there will be the metal elements.

Carl: Why not? If it works for the purpose for triggering some emotions and feelings, then people should rise to that. Everything that we was ever about was like fresh and new territory that we hadn’t explored. And until you explore that territory, you know… someone’s got to put their neck out and do it in the first place. You can’t keep harking back to old records. When we put ‘Elizium’ out, people were sh—–. They thought, ‘”Elizium…”‘ they thought, ‘Ohhh, this is strange.’ But now everyone says, ‘”Elizium’s” the one! It’s great.’ But at the time people didn’t say that. They thought it was weird as fuck. So you know, now they say that ‘Zoon’ is hard and dark, and good — don’t be afraid of the dark, you know?

Greg: Yeah. I considered ‘Zoon’ as the sequel of ‘Elizium.’

Carl: Yes! Definitely. Definitely.

Greg: They are the two best albums of the ’90s, ‘Elizium’ and ‘Zoon.’

Carl: I think ‘Zoon’ and ‘Elizium’ go together in an interesting way. I think they’re very —

Greg: Only true fans can understand this.

Carl: There’s a lot of people that praised ‘Zoon,’ and I’m very pleased with that. And also, that allowed us to cut across to other people out there who didn’t realize we was capable of cutting into their extreme. So for me it was like, very satisfying, very hard work, very satisfying.

Greg: You’ve always liked extreme metal, you told me.

Carl: Yeah. But the thing is, the more extreme everything is…

Greg: The better.

Carl: Great! Yeah. I don’t like stuff that’s straight down the middle. I don’t like anything ‘safe.’

Greg: Yeah.

Carl: And I like that are real. I like real attitude wherever it’s like kind of suicidal or totally demented, you know? I don’t like this kind of —

Greg: Cliche stuff.

Carl: Cliche. No. I hate it. And so many people kind of give themselves boundaries. I mean, a lot of these so-called darkwave bands and goth bands, they’ve got big fences up and boundaries before they even go out there. They don’t allow themselves to do this, because that won’t fit into this category, they won’t do that. Whereas we just do what we want, and if people sort of say ‘That’s not goth,’ or ‘That’s not metal,’ so fucking what? It’s music, and if it feels good, it feels good.

Greg: Your drummer, Simon, told me about one more single and probably a small tour that will be soon.

Carl: Yeah. The next single, or anything we release next, will be something of the forthcoming material, so it will be fresh, new and be much more of a good example of what Fields of the Nephilim will be like. But again, that’s going to be pretty extreme. We’ve got strong music, some of ’em are fast-paced, some of ’em are energetic, some of ’em are laid-back. Some of ’em are completely soundtrack. So, who knows?

Greg: So I suppose that the main album will be held back a little while more.

Carl: Everything’s being held back a little while more, to be honest. You know, we haven’t been around in a long time and we don’t ever feel there’s a rush. I mean, everyone else —

Greg: So you what have your job and stuff like that you don’t live by music only.

Carl: No. I mean, it’s all generally creative and artistic kind of evolvement, but at the end of the day anything like that, you can’t rush it. You’ve got to craft it. The only pressure comes from the business, and we hate business.

Greg: Noticed that.

Carl: We started the band in the first place just to be able to do what we wanted to do. We were outcasts. So when people say, ‘Why don’t you do this? You’re supposed to do this and that,’ then, well, that’s not what we’re about. We’re the real thing.

Greg: Will there be any small tour after your single?

Carl: Yeah. I mean, we are talking about some gigs at the moment, but we’re also trying to finish up in the studio. We can’t confirm anything at the moment. That’s the problem. People were — rumors go round and people say, ‘Oh, they might be doing this and doing that,’ and then that lets us down, because we hear this and sort of think, ‘Well, hang on a minute.’ I mean, obviously everyone’s eager. Same as us. But when we’re ready, we’re ready, and it will be right.

Greg: Yeah. Why do you always use Aleister Crowley’s ‘At the Sea’ as a sample? You’ve done it in three songs.

Carl: Why have I used it? Um.

Greg: You used in ‘Psychonaut.’

Carl: Eh, why not. It’s kind of reminiscent. We’ve been reminiscing, so Aleister Crowley was dug up for that reason. (laughs) A very misunderstood man.

Greg: Yeah, right.

Carl: He’s an interesting man. A great comedian.

Greg: Have you ever done theurgy practice on audience?

Carl: Have we ever done what?

Greg: Theurgy practice. You know, achieving energy for other purposes.

Carl: Well, that’s a personal side, and you can’t say that, really.

Greg: Because I know about stuff like that.

Carl: Good. So do we.

Greg: I noticed.

Carl: It’s very close to my heart.

Greg: Have you ever seen a Nephilim marble icon here in Greece?

Carl: No. I’ve heard about them. I’ve been told about them.

Greg: I sent you the photograph.

Carl: That’s right. That’s right, you did. I don’t always need to see things like that. It’s nice of you to mention it.

PART 2 – TONY PETTITT

Greg: How is it being back in the Fields again?

Tony Pettitt: Yeah, it’s good. It feels a lot like — I never went away, really. It’s sort of lying dormant for a little while.

Greg: Fields have turned to a more extreme sound, a little bit. Are you into extreme music?

Tony: I’ve always been extreme in music. It’s always been one of my things, really. I like to put both extremes in music. From something that’s like where you can hear a pin drop to something where you can’t hear anything (laughs).

Greg: And remember the Rubicon project? Is that done and will do nothing else?

Tony: That’s been put to bed a long time ago. I mean, that was kind of — five people pulling in five different directions. It never really had a core to it. I mean, that just sort of imploded, really. There was nothing that could be done with that.

Greg: Did all this, you know, the album being pushed back all the time again…

Tony: That’s other people’s perception of what we do, things being pushed backwards.

Greg: The Wright Brothers left because of that, maybe.

Tony: Um, no, they didn’t leave. They were more pushed, really. Not to sort of get too bitchy about it. The thing is, people might tell you that it’s pushed back, but I mean, they should know us by now. It’ll just take as long as it takes. When you’ve been there, there’s sort of a long period like we have been — really, what’s the rush? We want to do something that’s the definitive album each time rather than just banging it out to everyone else in the business’s pleasure. So they can get on with doing what they want to do. It’ll be there when the time is right. I mean, at the end of the day it’s not really — a million miles away, you know.

Greg: In the past, when Fields of the Nephilim performed live, there were two guitar players and a synth player too. Are you thinking of doing something like that for the live shows? Have session musicians for example. Or will you work with technology?

Tony: I mean, the way we’ve got the band for these last shows, with the four of us, is a really nice way of working, actually. I think with Paul, the guitarist, playing with us live, he can do the job of two men.

Greg: Yeah, but many times you have double guitars.

Tony: Oh right, when we played live? We sort of use a bit of technology for that, really.

Greg: Is there any possibility in the future to use other members only for live shows?

Tony: Stuff like that’s always a possibility. The thing is, if that sort of occasion arose, I think, rather than just go and get expanded session musicians, we’d sort of get someone a bit special, you know? Someone who fit with what we were doing, rather than someone who just comes along and plays because he can. It’s always got to be someone with the attitude. And you go a long way to find that.

Greg: Your bass playing is very unusual for a rock band or a metal band. What do you call it? You play a little bit jazzy. What are your musical roots? You are an excellent bassist. Can you talk about your technique on the bass? You are very unusual — very artistic.

Tony: When I was younger, I was probably inspired by a lot of bass-heavy things. From Kraftwerk and stuff like that, and later on punk and Joy Division and things. I think I’ve sort of developed me own style, that sort of stemmed sort of early, sort of inspirations like that.

Greg: Yeah, but your technique is not so simple. You can play even jazz. For example, you have very difficult — remember in the past, songs like ‘Sumerland’ or ‘Psychonaut,’ the bass playing there.

Tony: Yeah, I mean, it’s just sort of always looking for a different angle, really. Especially in a lot of rock stuff. People tend to sort of plod along and follow the root. And I think I always trying to find something a little of a different approach.

Greg: Ten years have passed since ‘Elizium.’ No, nine years. ’91. And the years have passed. Do you have the same flame inside you to do touring and stuff like that? Life on the road.

Tony: Absolutely. It’s just for the whole sort of – thing of it really. It’s never really gone away. No, I’ve still got the same passion for music as what I had 20 years ago, really.

Greg: Suppose maybe you have your day job and stuff like that.

Tony: No, no. I have no sort of day job. This is what I do.

Greg: It’s full-time.

Tony: Oh, yeah. I mean, it has been since we re-started this. We sort of work on various sort of different projects which is not so much music-related and such. No, this is it, really.

transcription by Beth Winegarner

“I take transcriptions like these pretty seriously. Translating spoken words into written ones is something of a challenge. You lose the tones of voice that can sometimes change the meaning of a word, and you must often add punctuation or other emphasis to recreate those meanings. In other cases, people will start to say one thing, then turn around and say something else. When it seemed to add to the meaning of what was said, I left it; otherwise, I removed it. I’ve done the best I could.

I had a hard time with this transcription, in part because Carl was on a bad cell phone connection that cut out a couple of times (for example, I think he probably said “shitting” but it was just “sh—-” so that’s how I left it), and in part because both Carl and Tony (and the interviewer) both mumble a lot, and use a lot of fillers like “sort of” and “kind of” and “um” and “you know.” I left some of those in, but not all the ones that were garbled. I also left out plenty of times where they were still getting their legs in starting a sentence, where one would go, “Mmm… sortakindmhrrmwell…” I also took out some of the grammatical mistakes but not all. Carl has an endearing way of saying “nuffing” to mean “nothing,” for example; he also uses wordings commonly associated with the working-class, which he is; I left them in where possible to enhance the emphasis on what was said, but took them out where they detracted.

I would recommend that those who are able to listen to the files go and do so, though, because it’s nice to be able to hear these two speak conversationally, for once. I like hearing people’s voices, the way they talk, their accents, their ways of saying things.

FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM
ELEGY MAGAZINE

After 7 years together, one EP and 4 albums (one live), Fields split because of some internal conflicts, and became a two-headed hydra with heads named Rubicon (Tony Pettitt) and Nefilim (Carl McCoy). Another 7 years is now over, and in August ’98, Carl and Tony announced the reunification of Fields, and the coming of a new album, at the Zillo Festival in Germany.

Months were going by, and although the craziest rumors could be heard here and there, nothing was coming.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, the redaction of Elegy received a demo proving that Fields were indeed recording, and not only working hard to finish the details of that CD, but that it sounded really attractive.

Now it is done. We can really believe in their comeback, and dive once again in their initiatory path filled with esoteric symbols. McCoy and Pettitt, the famous foundations of the band, agreed to give their first interview to Elegy, but only disclosed a few bits of information, because for some reason, the next album has to stay as mysterious as possible regarding its content, while they tell that it’s already a masterpiece.

Like two marketing specialists, both men answered our question around a beer in a Londonian Pub.

Q: You are coming back under the name Fields of the Nephilim AD. Why did you add this “AD” and what does it stand for?

CMC: I don’t have any idea (laugh) Anyway, the main work is Nephilim. It’s the only word that matters in this story.

Q: What is happening with Nefilim, which was supposed to continue as a side-project?

CMC: Nefilim or Nephilim, same thing after all. Tony Pettitt and I re-formed the original band we founded, and the rest doesn’t matter much now.

Q: The next album seems to be more the sequel of Elizium than of Zoon.

CMC: Yes, totally. As I said, I’m working with Tony again. Therefore it is logically closer to Fields than to Nefilim. But a ‘today’ Fields because what be did before under that name seems a bit ‘out of date’. Zoon was a more personal project, while still retaining some of the original Fields elements, like the dark side. We can not go backwards, time changes, technology evolves and we should all take those changes into account, and still go forward. We must accomplish new things.

Q: Is Tony still writing the music?

CMC: Yes, mainly. The bases of the songs come from him.

Q: Does that mean everything is written based on the bass?

CMC: Not always. It can be based on the singing, or on another instrument. There is no particular receipt. We just try to have fun. We don’t care what people are expecting from us.

Q: Are you using samples?

CMC: What is sampling, exept recording? We can walk in the fields and record everything that happens there. We go in studio and record sounds, but that doesn’t make us an electronic band.

Q: Do you plan to integrate samples from movies in your work again?

CMC: We create our own visuals, our own movies. We don’t steal anything from anyone. It’s always our own creations. Fields of the Nephilim is our movie.

Q: All your albums were somehow conceptuals. What about the next one?

CMC: We are still more or less the same people. Therefore we keep working as we did in the past. We are not under any external influence. All of our successive works were following each other, although very different from each other. The new album will simply follow that rule. What must be understood is that, if our fans have changed during those years, we didn’t. That is why, although we havent worked together for a long time, there should be no big revolution. At least, we won’t release that album in a hurry.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the new album?

CMC: We are still pregnant, it isn’t born yet. We are still creating right now. It is not possible right now to give you an idea of what it will look like once finished. Even if I try explaining you the content of the lyrics, we wouldn’t be understood. Somewhere, we want it that way, because our goal is to be misunderstood by anyone but our real fan! Therefore I don’t think it’s a good thing for Fields to explain anything regarding its music or lyrics.

Q: Could you at least give us the title of the new CD?

CMC: It is impossible, because we havent found it yet. We will decide it once the album is finished, and we dont even have a small idea right now. One thing at a time.

Q: Do you have the same line-up as before? We heard that the Wright brothers are back.

CMC: The line up slightly changed, but we have the ideal line up for what we want to do now. We kept everything we needed from the past, including the Wright brothers, on the other hand we also have everything we need for the future. We think we put together what was best for Fields, because that band deserves the best.

Q: All this doesn’t tell us what lies behind Fields of the Nephilim AD.

CMC: I don’t think this really matters. Our personal quality matters, not who we are.

Q: Does that mean the line-up can be changed at will?

CMC: Indeed the line-up is not fixed, and may change before the album is finished. But what I really want to say by this is that the mainly core of the band matters, and that core is Tony Pettitt and I. Then there is of course a difference between the studio and the concerts. When you play live, you need other people to reinforce the team. To perform a live show, we need to make sure that what we recorded has the best possible effect. The band depends on that necessity. All I mean is that we are a great band, and you won’t be disappointed by the result.

Q: Do you write all the lyrics of Fields? Are you still obsessed by occultism and Sumerian civilisation like you used to be?

CMC: Yes, somehow. That is part of the Fields concept of the past that we are going to keep.

Q: How do you see the future of your band?

CMC: Future will be like before, I think (laugh)…

Q: Have you always been fascinated by literature?

CMC: Yes, it’s true. I often become completly fascinated, blocked by a book. Then it goes away, like for many other people, I guess. I like that comparison between life and words, and that is what I try to write through the lyrics I’m writing since the beginning of my career. But, and that gets back to the previous question, you can not read the same things over and over again, that is why, although occultism and Sumerian civilisation still matter a lot to me, I can’t keep writing about it from one album to the other.

Q: Are your lyrics sometimes directly inspired by William Blake or Austin Osman Spare?

CMC: You are right. They were a true source of inspiration for me, especially when I was young. Also they are from the same place as me: Brixton.

Q: What about Stevenage?

CMC: That doesn’t mean anything (laugh)! Its just a place to visit – and only if you happen to pass by!

Q: I always thought that’s where you came from…

CMC: Not at all, but it is still a special place for us, because that is where we met and where the band started.

Q: Many fans consider you like a true shaman. How do you live with this legend about you?

CMC: It’s complicated. Basically, it’s something that we wanted, and that we encouraged, but at the same time it is caused by some wrong interpretation from the public.

Q: Some people even used to think that you were able to control rain!

CMC: Everything is possible, isn’t? Actually, I didn’t like all this story, this mythology around my image. At the end it was just bullshit.

Q: Why did you remix Darkcell and Trees come down?

CMC: Tony and I had been working for Fields for so many years that we decided to celebrate our reunion by taking two of our oldest songs, among the best ones, as a souvenir of the beginning. Also it was a lot of fun to do that, like some party time in the middle of the work on the new album, that will only contain new songs. We found it much more fun to remix our own titles than somebody else’s.

Q: Those two titles will be on your first single.

CMC: Yes. Trees Come Down AD/Darkcell AD will be our first single. Probably only targetted for clubs.

Q: Elegy had the chance to listen to once of the tracks of that mysterious new album. The title of the song was “Fallen.”

CMC: Yes? But it is only a demo. The title may still change. What did you think about it?

Q: I liked it. It seemed to be a mix of Zoon and of FoTN sounds.

CMC: For me it is still Fields. And you can’t have an idea of what the album will look like, because you only heard a part of it, which is not even finished.

Q: “Fallen” will then not be the real title?

CMC: We are using it right now as ‘work title’. I don’t know who gave you this demo, but he shouldn’t have done that…

Q: Will the new album be like the demo, or more in a ‘progressive gothic’ style, with songs of 20 minutes. Also could it contain ballads?

CMC: I told you. Trying to find out what it will sound like is useless. When the CD will be over, you’ll be able to judge. It will be full of contrasts with very light things, and other much crazier. And there will indeed be a 20 minute song… It will have everything that is needed to make an album…

Q: Could you tell us about your musical influences?

CMC: I was never influenced by anyone.

Q: Didn’t you ever listen to music?

CMC: We have no time for that: recording our music is using the whole day. There are no band that could influence our creation, and our music is more visual anyway.

Q: Your image is effectively strongly influenced by movies…

CMC: Yes, we’re like that. That is part of us. We always tried to be as visual as possible. Probably because we always kept in mind the potential this could have during concerts, and it was important for use to recreate a particular atmosphere during our shows. We still want to do that.

Q: What are your favorite movies?

CMC: Hum… There are so many of them, it is not easy… I’d say Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But like albums, it’s hard to make a list. Apocalypse Now is a great movie. Eraserhead too. Those are movies that come to mind today, but two month ago it may have been different names. Tony loves ‘C’est Arrive Pres de Chez Vous’ and a movie from Michael Mann telling the story of men stuck in a castle!

Q: You also played in a movie, Hardware (from Richard Stanley).

CMC: Right, that is another good movie (laugh)!

Q: Did you get any proposals since?

CMC: Yes, I received some, a few years ago, but the roles weren’t really adapted to me. But doing movies is something that I like, so who knows…? Also, I constantly make my own movie (laugh)!

Q: Speaking about movies, did you plan to make some videos for the next album.

CMC: Yes (Carl is interrupted by his mobile, Tony takes over)

TP: We are indeed going to shoot some videos, but not for Darkcell and Trees Come Down remixes. There will be some for the next singles. We are getting really interested in the technical part of it, and we will certainly be very involved in the conception of the videos.

Q: Who is going to direct the video?

TP: We have different options right now, but we didn’t contact anybody yet. We hope to have a movie director. Speaking about movies, Carl forgot to mention Jacob’s Ladder.

Q: Since you write the music for Fields, can you tell us a bit more about the way you create songs?

TP: Every song is created differently. That is what makes the band interesting. It’s more about chemical reactions than formulas. Some title come alive quite quickly, some other take a whole month.

Q: Do lyrics come before or after music?

TP: It depends. The way we proceed is not the traditionnal one. Some times we can’t finish a song, so we forget about it and get back to it after a few months, and finish it one way or another.

Q: That is why it takes so long to release the album (laugh)!

TP: Yes. The way we do it is certainly more frustrating for our fans than for us.

Q: Working in studio seems very important for you.

TP: Indeed, but at the same time being stuck in the same place for some time can become difficult. We solve that problem by moving to another studio.

(McCoy is back with us)

Q: You will headline some festivals during the coming summer, right?

CMC: Yes, it’s a great way to announce we’re back. We already started, and have an idea of how we will arrange the concert. We’ll try to play as many old songs as new new ones.

Q: Often you share the headline with the Sisters of Mercy, what do you think about it?

CMC: Absolutly nothing is inspiring us regarding the SoM. We just find it a bit sad to share the headline with them, that’s all we have to say about it.

CMC: Well, our musics are totally different, and we are two totally different bands. We don’t really see why people always put us together.

Q: You are aware that many of your fans also listen to the Sisters?

CMC: Maybe yes, but this doesn’t matter to us. Nothing interests us, except Fields of the Nephilim.

Q: Any new major change scheduled for your concerts?

CMC: Major changes? That is impossible. We are still what we always were, and we are not changing. We’re doing what we can do, that’s all.

Q: I heard that the flour you are using to whiten your clothes caused some problems, especially with the police who thought it was cocaine!

CMC: Yes, it is the kind of burlesque adventure that really happened to us in the past. But we will still use flour, whatever happens, because it is also one of the things of the past that is part of the Fields concept, and nothing will make us change our image.

Q: Do you plan to come to France?

CMC: Not yet, but we will play in Belgium near the French border.

Q: So we won’t see you, even in Paris?

CMC: Well, we had some problems in the past. It brings back some unfortunate souvenirs.

Q: It will not happen again!

CMC: Can you garantee that? Ok, we may come to Paris after the festivals.

Q: A final word?

CMC: Maybe I’ll repeat myself, but the new album is, without a doubt, the best thing we’ve done, even if we spent a lot of time writing it. Or maybe that is the reason why… Finally, I think that anyone who liked us before can only love the new album, and be happy we’re back, like we are. The rest doesn’t matter.

Some personnal comments:

Neerpelt is not near the French border (but Belgium is so big that this doesn’t make a lot of difference).

‘C’est arrive pres de chez vous’ is the best Belgian movie ever, I’m glad to see it mentioned in the interview.

Max

PRESS CONFERENCE ANNOUNCING FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM REUNION
ZILLO FESTIVAL, 15 AUGUST 1998

(plays Trees Come Down ’98)

Ecki : Carl, what happened after Zoon came out, we haven’t heard from you for such a long time?

Carl: I think the immediate thing with Zoon was, I was unable to tour, because I had a difference with my record company in England and I was unable to tour in the way that Zoon needed to be presented. They wanted me to do it their way, I wanted to do it my way, in the end, in the end I decided if I couldn’t do it my way, it wasn’t worth doing at all, so I disappeared.

Ecki: I think Zoon was far more hard, and far more compact than the more atmospheric and cineastic sound of Fields of the Nephilim. The new material seems to go back more in the well-known Fields direction, is that impression true? We’ve just heard one track, we’ll hear more later, but I think you start once again the more atmospheric thing?

Carl: Zoon had a purpose anyway, Zoon was a much darker album, it was much more aggressive to satisfy my own needs at the time. I was quite happy with Zoon, but whats happening now is that we’ve decided to reform Fields of the Nephilim in it’s traditional way, with the original line-up, but we will still continue with our experimental projects under some kind of Nephilim title, which will be immediately happening with me and Tony -we’re doing a new Nephilim album, which will be followed by a Fields of the Nephilim album, and they will be quite different.

Ecki: Can you tell me something more about the songs and maybe concept of the new album, the new Nephilim album?

Tony: The new Nephilim stuff me and Carl are doing separate to Fields of the Nephilim is more of a studio-based, experimental side of what we do, as opposed to the Fields of the Nephilim stuff, which will be the classic Fields of the Nephilim sound – we just need to have both outlets to do what we want to do.

(German translations)

Ecki: I think the people got it, but I will repeat it, as I think it’s a bit confusing! I think you (two) are doing the new Nephilim album, it’s a separate project, and there will be a new Fields of the Nephilim album later on. Why do you do this project you do now, is there a different approach, why do you use the different formats or different names?

Carl: It’s a completely different approach – Fields of the Nephilim will always be Fields of the Nephilim and we will carry on with Fields of the Nephilim in the traditional way. It’ll stay the same, the same line-up, the original line-up, the original four members that formed the band, and we don’t want to change any direction that Fields of the Nephilim should be taking, it will follow it’s natural path. The Nephilim will be much more involved in studio-based situations and hopefully fulfil a more visual aim as well which could end up in the form of more movies and stuff like that, because we need that outlet as well. Rather than interrupt that with FotN we do separate projects. But we are working on both projects at the moment. (applause)

(German translations)

Ecki: I’m going to ask the question I think everyone’s most interested in – the new Fotn is again the teamwork of both of you Carl McCoy & Tony Pettitt; when you broke up in 1991 it was due to those so-called, famous ‘musical differences’, did that change and how and why did you get together again, and why do you work together now?

Carl: I wouldn’t say it was musical differences. We were very busy for many years as Fotn, we were having a certain amount of success which we were quite happy with and content with at the time and we never had a break in our careers. There were projects that I needed to fulfil, I definitely had strong ideas about doing that – more of a personal ambition – and so did the rest of the band, so we decided to have a break.

(plays rough mixes of two new tracks from forthcoming Nephilim album)

(applause)

Ecki: Carl and Tony I think your music is always very visionary as we heard, very cineastic, often like a very dark soundtrack. You’ve made references to people like Ennio Morricone and you were famous for that so-called “jungle” image. Well I think that image hasn’t changed, but the music is quite different now. What visions do you have in mind when you write your songs?

Carl: Well that’s a rather big question! A lot of strange visions go on in my head, so there’s not anything specific that I can answer that on. I’m not inspired by much external ideas really, most of it I have to know that it’s me to believe in it. Years ago obviously people like Ennio Morricone were kind of interesting to me, but that was a long time ago and nothing seems to have replaced that. We’ve always drawn from our own ideas and our own pictures. We’re trying to explore the visual side a lot more in the future and try and give people more of a picture of what might be going on in our own heads so that they can … see how fucked up we are!

Ecki: I think that you allow far more influences from the outside compared to other gothic bands, maybe in reference to Pink Floyd – as far as I’m concerned – like on the ‘Elysium’ album. I think you’re far more open than other bands.

Tony: We haven’t got anything to hide. We don’t mind talking about what we do.

Carl: The only thing is, when we’ve got something to say it’s only normally when we’re working on a project, or we’ve got a forthcoming project happening. We generally don’t like talking otherwise.

Ecki: Maybe this is because you live and work very remote as well. Does it have an effect on the music, surely it creates a very mystic image, because you don’t talk very much to people?

Carl: No, we don’t talk very much to people, we prefer to lock ourselves away and do what we do. It’s the only way we’re really able to remove distractions and interference.

Ecki: So you don’t necessarily want to know what’s going on?

Carl: No, definitely not, we don’t need to know that. We’d rather time just stands still and we come out every so often and have a look at what goes on.

Ecki: Often there are big breaks between the albums, so that fans ask themselves if you’re still alive!

Carl: I don’t know if we’re still alive, or not! We feel ok today!

Ecki: Are you in contact with your fans, do you want that contact; or maybe you think it’s better to get away, to live your own life?

Tony: I think the contact with the fans comes through the music. We don’t hang out with the fans, we keep ourselves to ourselves.

Carl: But, we need our fans! (Audience cheers) Otherwise we couldn’t do it.

Ecki: And of course they came here today! Getting caught up with the fans – there could be some live work, the last time you’ve been here, Carl, was in 1996 – when will there be another tour, do you know that?

Carl: I explained why that tour was cancelled, but next year we will do some gigs and hopefully some touring. This year we didn’t feel it was necessary to tour, or do any gigs this year until we had established our new product. So next year will be good for us I think. (cheers)

Ecki: One can see that you’re still very, very interesting for the people. Many of your fans see you as some kind of Godfathers of the Gothic scene, do you like that term, or do you have problems with that?

Carl: Godfathers or Grandfathers? (laughter, cheers)

Ecki: Godfathers I said! Do you like that term? (bemused look from Carl) Or… ok, Godfathers or Grandfathers, I think you got it… let’s put it this way, I think there’s a great difference between the British and German Gothic scene, whereas in England it was more a fashion thing in the beginning, here it is more a way of life, so I think Germany is perfect for you in a way.

Tony: When we come to Germany it’s like coming home with the music. It’s good for us, Germany, we like the scene here. When we play here it’s like coming home. (cheers)

Ecki: Thank you for coming, Tony and Carl, any famous last words maybe?

Tony: See you next year!

Ecki: Thank you being here, see you next time, live on the stage!

ORKUS MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Orakel: When the band split, you all said you weren’t talking to one another, but now it turns out you did it for business reasons.

Carl: OK, we saw each other, but not that often. We all needed a break to do our own thing. Now is the right time to do a new album, and we’ve been planning it for quite a while, but we had a deal not to tell the public until now.

O: Are there reasons why Peter Yates isn’t with you anymore?

C: The original Fields line-up was Paul, Tony, Nod and me. Peter wasn’t with us from the beginning, so he’s not here now.

O: Will there be a second Fields guitarrist?

C: Not for the development process: we don’t need a second one to write the songs. We might need one for live shows, but we’re trying to keep it narrowed down to the original members.

O: 7 is a meaningful number in many religions. When you appear again in 1998, you’ll have had a 7 year rest. Is this part of the Fields concept?

C: It’s an important number, but hasn’t influenced any of our decisions.

O: What are you doing at the moment?

C: Writing new material.

O: Are you at this studio to practise, or to produce and record?

C: Everything.

O: Why did the split with Beggar’s Banquet really happen?

C: They imposed a lot of restrictions while I was planning the Nefilim project. I mean, “Zoon” could have appeared 4 years earlier. I wanted to regain my freedom by getting out of the contract with them.

O: They said you quit the tour because of mental problems.

C: It was a hard time. I don’t know, I don’t want to say anything.

O: Are all of your ties with Beggars cut?

C: All of them, thank God.

O: Are you going to release your album yourselves, or hand it over to another label?

C: We don’t know yet. The album will be released, but we don’t know how yet: we’ll decide in the near future.

O: What’s with your Nefilim project?

C: They’ll definitely be another Nefilim project.

O: Will Cian Houchin be there? He’s doing his own Saints of Eden project.

C: Probably not.

O: But I hope that Fields is a priority. People are hoping for old times with the Fields reincarnation. The old Fields image. It wouldn’t go off well if you did something totally new.

C: No, we’ll do the same thing. I’m still the same person. Still the same band.

O: There seem to be different opinions about your reunion. How is it being taken in England?

C: The music scene in England is much smaller. It’s not interesting to us anymore. We’ve had better times in Europe, esp. in Germany. England is the last on the list.

O: What can we expect when you come to Germany?

C: We’re still the same band… we can only do one kind of music. The Nefilim project is something else: it lets me do what I want. Extreme and different. But they’re two different things. The Fields will be the same band, with a bit of technical improvement, I hope. We’re very happy with the way things are.

O: Do you think the old fans will be there?

C: We hope so, And some new fans: it’s nice to see that the scene has expanded.

O: Can you say something about the new material?

C: Every album is different, right?

O: When will the new work be released?

C: Probably the end/middle of next year. It’s still too early to say. Ask me in January. But definitely next year.

O: Will there be video clips? Another collaboration with Richard Stanley?

C: Richard is a friend of mine. Possibly he’ll work with us – we’ve talked about it.

O: Any thoughts about a tour?

C: Gigs and festivals have been discussed.

O: What about the Gothic festival in Whitby?

C: They asked us if we wanted to play, but we said no. Where have you been? Where are you?

O: In my living room. In Germany.

C: OK. Were you there?

O: Yes, for the American band Sunshine Blind: Whitby seems like a family reunion, not a festival to see new bands.

C: You’re right – that’s why we didn’t go. We prefer international festivals: for the bands and the public.

O: Topic change. What have you learned all these years?

C: We all learn from all our experiences (blah, blah, blah)…

O: Can you imagine giving up music? Stones et al. are still on the stage at 50.

C: Hopefully not. We make music because we believe in ourselves, not to make money.

O: Have you encountered bands that sound like you?

C: I find them funny and sad at the same time. There are some good ones and some bad ones – do they have their own ideas? They don’t bother us: we’re the Fields.

O: What’s with the Watchman club? The address doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Will it be around again?

C: Nobody could contact me last year because the fan club activities were stopped, but I hope it will be up and running again in the next few weeks, hopefully at the same address.

O: Internet rumours: there are some homepages that spread false rumours. How do you feel about the Internet?

C: Almost everything that you can read about the Fields in the Net is wrong. I read my lyrics and had to laugh. Hardly a word is right. Most of the stuff in the Internet is a joke. There will soon be an official Fields homepage, hopefully before Christmas. As soon as we have positive info about our musical activities, the fans will be able to read it. There are so many things to do: I have to ask the fans to have patience. But we’re already busy with the Sheer-Faith Artwork… any more questions?

O: Lots.

C: Get a flight and come here…it’s too hard on the phone.

O: I’d love to. Time to end the interview for now. We’ll be looking forward to the new album.

C: Hope you’ll like it. It’s good and we’re busy working on it. We have lots of ideas and projects: perhaps a pre-release.

O: How about some warm-up gigs?

C: Maybe, but I don’t want to promise anyone anything yet.

This article reproduced with generous permission from Elizium for the Sleepless Souls.

Excertps from
COMPUTER ARTS MAGAZINE, WINTER 2002
FLYING SOLO PART 2: SETTING UP IN 3D

by Michael Burns
Carl McCoy, who set up as Sheerfaith in 1986 to provide his band Fields of the Nephilim with cover artwork and marketing materials, echoes this sentiment. “The downsides are really finding the work as a sole proprietor and salesman,” says McCoy. “Most of my work comes through recommendation or approvals through agencies.” This has obviously been a fortuitous route: Sheerfaith does a consider post work for corporate advertising, multimedia presentations, Web graphics, interactive games and crystal trophies, as well as nurturing the design side of McCoy’s music career.

Each job is likely to take you longer than you think, too — which is where previous experience in the field pays dividends. “It varies according to each project,” says Carl McCoy. “From a simple modelling job, which can take just a few hours, through to an animated sequence, which could take several months to complete. The main obstacle when undertaking a job is, of course, rendering time. It seems to take forever. It’s just a shame we can’t yet achieve this in real time.”

“Concentrate on the best aspects of what you do,” advises Carl McCoy. “For example, if you’re into modelling, then stick to that. Become known for individual skills, especially if you work alone. You can obviously achieve results quicker and more efficiently, whereas if you take on something like a full 3D animation, then you could be occupied forever. You’ve got to foresee an end result, and work towards a strict deadline.”

[Photo caption]: A 3D self portrait of Carl McCoy in his guise as the darkman character familiar to fans of his band Fields of the Nephilim, now known simply as The Nephilim. It was created for an on-going animation project connected with the band’s activities.

[Sidebar, “Your Set-Up: Hardware”]: Not everyone has gone down the PC route, as Sheerfaith’s Carl McCoy reveals: “The most important items for a basic essential kit are powerful workstations, as well as good digital cameras. Personally, I use Macs for their reliability and versatility. But then nothing could be done without a sense of originality and creativity.”

[Sidebar, “Your Set-Up: Software”]: Carl McCoy of Sheerfaith has been using Lightware 3D since it first appeared on the Mac platform, as well as Photoshop for its industry-standard graphics capabilities. “I also use Media 100 sofrware for its real-time editing capabilities, necessary for assembling footage animations and so on, as well as After Effects for its post-production and pre-production cababilities,” he says.

CARL MCCOY INTERVIEW
METAL HAMMER
JUNE 2008

UK goth legends Fields Of The Nephilim are teaming up with Metal Hammer for two exclusive gigs at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on July 12 and 13. These will be the first gigs the band have played on these shores since their triumphant comeback show at London Astoria in May 2007.

Frontman Carl McCoy explains that fans should prepare themselves for something a little bit special. “We’re still fleshing our ideas out and I don’t want to give too much away,” he states. “But the two shows will be separately themed. One will be called Ad Mortem. The other Ad Vitam. The way the fans are, if you say it’s going to be one thing and then it doesn’t end up happening that way, they’ll jump on it!”

Originally formed in Stevenage. Hertfordshire in 1984, Fields Of The Nephilim swiftly became one of the biggest cult rock bands in the UK, producing a series of widely acclaimed and revered albums that remain among the most powerful goth records ever made, not to mention a significant influence on numerous major figures in today’s metal scene. including HIM’s Ville Valo and Nevermore’s Warrel Dane. Although the band split in 1991. Carl has reconvened Nephilim activities on two separate occasions; an ill-fated reunion with the original line-up in 1998 and then, considerably more successfully, in 2005 when a brand new incarnation of the band released their filth studio album, Mourning Sun, through SPV.

Carl also revealed that fields of The Nephilim are also working on new material, and that they are hoping to use these Hammer-sponsored shows as a way to generate some momentum as they look to their next album.

“We didn’t want to do any live shows until the time was right,” says Carl. “The new musicians had to understand the concept of the band and have some affinity for it. I didnt want anybody who thought of it as a ticket to a rock ‘n’ roll life, which isn’t what Fields of the Nephilim are about.”

Carl ominously revealed that more precise details about the forthcoming gigs will be revealed nearer the time. He also suggests that the shows may be recorded for a future DVD release.

“I’d definitely like to cover these ones.” he states. “The original intention was to put out the Astoria show, but we filmed another show earlier this year and it’s all adding to a library of footage. Hopefully there will be something released soon.

HARD WIRED
“GENESIS AND REVELATION” REVIEW

by Stuart Moses

Despite the disappointment of the recently cancelled tour, my love for the music of Carl McCoy remains strong. Having said that, I did approach this compilation with a little trepidation. Do I really need a collection of ‘previously unheard early studio recordings, a reunion studio workout, a millenium live show plus a DVD of never before seen unique live footage’? Would Genesis and Revelation match the majesty of Fields of the Nephilim’s classic albums or will the sound I hear be that of Jungle Records scraping the bottom of the barrel to make a few quid?

The initial signs are not good. The opening songs on the Studio Rarities CD are so similar to the official versions that if you aren’t paying close attention you’ll not notice many differences. There’s a little more flanged guitar during “The Tower (O.Higgins mix)” but that’s about the most obvious difference. More interesting is “Dawnrazor (demo)” which in this incarnation sounds more like The Sisters of Mercy than the ‘normal’ version. There’s a wonderful ominous chiming noise. The drum sounds like a machine, making this a more perfect fit for The Reptile House than Fields of the Nephilim’s debut album. The changes are cosmetic though — I can’t imagine choosing to listen to this over the album version.

“Power (Power Surge version)” is the most radically different version on offer here — it’s the first essential song on this CD. It has an almost Industrial/Nine Inch Nails feel to it. It’s recognisably the same song, but it’s like someone has pimped Carl’s ride. If the ‘normal’ version was the sound of Carl riding his horse over the plains at a gentle canter, this version is Mr McCoy on a robot horse, which is jet-propelled, breathing fire, tearing down the motorway at a hundred miles an hour. It makes the other versions of this song sound weedy, though its nature as a demo means that the production is far from luxurious.

The most intriguing song is “Deeper Deepest Dub (1997 reunion)” which makes me even sadder that the reunion of the original line-up didn’t bear more fruit. It sounds like the logical extension of the best bits of The Nephilim and Elizium albums. After a wail of feedback and discord, this song becomes a stately march up the mountains of the Gods. The signature throbbing bass is in place. There’s also some beautiful filigreed guitar that arrives around the four-minute mark. The only thing absent is Carl McCoy’s vocal. It’s a missed opportunity as the basis is so strong it has potential to be as strong as anything the band have done.

So then we move onto Live at Roskilde Festival in 2000. It’s not until three songs in that the casual listener would notice that this wasn’t the original line-up. Four songs in we are presented with “Moonchild” which features guitars more frail than the original, but different enough to be interesting without being a complete reinvention. Despite what the inlay might say the next song is “Love Under Will”. Both songs feature a subtle wah-wah effect not noticable on the originals. “Love Under Will” sounds a bit rickety in places, which can’t be right. The early parts of “Zoon (Part 3 — Wake World)” sounds shivers-down-the-spine exciting, though it later descends into the metal dirge that I remember from the album. I imagine that this gig was something special if you’d been there, but the recording leaves me feeling lacklustre.

For someone like myself who never got to see Fields of the Nephilim in 1986 the opening clips on the Unseen Performances 1986, 2000 DVD are a fascinating insight into the band. Though “Power” is billed as a Video Promo . and is covered with more special effects — it is clear that it was filmed at The Zap Club Brighton, just like “Laura” and “Trees Come Down” which follow. Though the DVD cover warns that this DVD contains ‘archive footage of varying quality’, the retro effects and our inability to see the band all the time adds to the mystique. There are precious few shots of the crowd, bar the appearance of one Goth girl at the front. Is this the mythical Laura — or is it someone the cameraman fancied? We may never know.

Though famed for their seriousness there’s a magical moment at the beginning of “Power” when Carl spins slowly round. I’m sure that he is smiling. It’s also great that Carl appears without shades, which means you can stare into the dual abysses of his eyes. Is his psychotic look the result of too many Aleister Crowley rituals — or was it just the drugs? One thing swiftly becomes apparent though. Carl McCoy should never speak: “This is for all uh. all this lot here… we’ve got Indians down the front down there…” How can someone who sounds so enigmatic when he sings, sound so mundane when he speaks?

The next clip is from The Underworld club in Croydon circa 1986. It’s weird to think that Fields of the Nephilim played the place where I live. I certainly remember the club existing. The word in the playground was that if you went there you would get beaten up. It is entirely possible that my contemporaries — other 13-year-old boys – didn’t know what they were talking about. If violence did mar this club, Carl and the boys manage to perform “Dawnrazor” without fisticuffs breaking out. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this footage is the four sheets of red flock wall paper which act as the backdrop. I can only presume they were supplied by the venue rather than the band. Though the sound is OK, this footage has the look of a superior bootleg. Once again Carl does his slow spin. He even plays a tambourine, which isn’t a very magic(k)al thing to do. There’s also an audible tape hiss during the quieter moments of the song. It doesn’t detract too much from the enjoyment of the clip — it just sounds like it’s raining outside.

Then we skip forward 14 years and catch up with a later incarnation of the band at Mera Luna. This does really look like bootleg footage. At times one might suspect that the film has been specially treated to give it a washed-out look, which suits the performance, but I suspect it’s just the quality of the source material. I wasn’t at Mera Luna either so I’m grateful for the opportunity to see some of the action. This isn’t professional footage though and was obviously filmed from the crowd. This means the viewer always feels distant from the stage. Talking of which, the greyness of the stage, mixed with smoke and lights, makes the scene look almost post-apocalyptic, with the adoring fans playing the part of the rag-clad survivors that appeared in the “Preacher Man” video (not featured on this compilation). I’ve watched many worse bootlegs, at least this one is mainly free from someone in the audience singing along and drowning out the vocalist we’re supposed to be listening to. Though the clapping during “Psychonaut” just seems plain wrong. With performances of “Moonchild”, “For Her Light”, “Love Under Will” there’s no faulting the quality of the songs, but if I want to watch them performed live I’m more likely to turn to the professionally-produced “Visionary Heads.”

Finally there’s a press conference with Carl and bassist Tony Pettitt at Zillo festival in 1998. This is fascinating, less for what we learn — which isn’t much — more for the chance to see Carl McCoy speak in bright lights without smoke and noise to hide behind. It is interesting hearing Carl and Tony talking about separate Nephilim (studio-based) and Fields of the Nephilim (more traditional) projects, which with the benefit of hindsight we know would never reach fruition. Carl is genuinely amusing on a couple of occasions, though you can tell that this isn’t his natural environment. It is slightly disappointing to hear Carl talking about his records as ‘product’ though.

Ultimately if you want everything Carl McCoy has ever done on CD and DVD you need to get Genesis and Revelation. It’s suitable for collectors rather than the casual fan. The quality is superior to some bootlegs you can buy. On the other hand I’ve gone past that stage where I want to own endless versions of the same songs, often performed slightly less well than the ‘proper’ versions. The DVD is an interesting curio, but I can’t imagine I’ll be watching it in preference to the officially-released videos. For the completist this is an essential purchase, but it will never replace the proper albums in my affection.

PIT MAGAZINE
ISSUE #55 — Summer 2006
CARL MCCOY INTERVIEW

BY MICHA KITE

Carl McCoy is more of an elusive enigma than a man. Rarely has he ever granted interviews preferring to let the music do the talking and let the listeners resolve their own conjectures about everything from the lyrics to the artwork. There was a dark period when the devoted was in doubt of ever seeing an apposite FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM release again (for some, ZOON didn’t cut it), but truly MORNING SUN is omnisciently reflective of a dark timbre. I’ve been privilege to talk with many a musician and artist but getting a chance to delve into the mind of Carl’s mysticism was a devout honor.

KITE: The vast army of changelings laid waiting for what seemed forever frothing at the mouth with suspense. Just as one was about to lose oneself in hopelessness, there came a sign.

MCCOY: After the ZOON album which was in 1996 I had started a couple of projects that weren’t happening and I had a couple of problems with record companies releasing stuff without my knowledge and it kind of slowed the whole process up really. I spent quite a few years not being able to release anything because problems had been caused for me by them. Mourning Sun was actually only born about two years ago and that’s when I started the concept of writing and recording so for me it’s not that long for the record to be complete. I guess what is meant to be is what is meant to be.

KITE: A mighty gap unhinged the horizon and many fell into the mire of the netherworld. For without a fire there would be no will to forge. Somehow, the watchers found their way home to pastures where angels reside.

MCCOY: We had made an album called ELIZIUM a few years ago and after that I kind of broke down the band and decided I wanted an answer back to ELIZIUM which had different band members involved and the music was a bit more extreme — I felt at the time anyway. So I decide to put ZOON under a different name so the old audience didn’t feel they were being tricked into believing it was the old, typical FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM sound. In retrospect it does fit into the whole scheme of things but at the time it didn’t seem that way. It was out of fairness to the audience so that I could point out that the ZOON album was a bit different, but now it fits totally. I just think it’s one of those things but it’s all NEPHILIM to me.

KITE: Though the clouds enshrouded everything keeping all wings unlit, the raucous thunder of their plight arose in a hauntingly familiar way shaking the terrain and breaking the shackles that constrained the lost souls.

MCCOY: I’ve always been composing anyway but I don’t have any members from the past. The bass parts aren’t played by Tony but a friend of mine who’s been around and who I’ve known for years. There’s a few people honestly that I know who have similar backgrounds, flavors and tastes and it’s obviously an important part of the sound of the NEPHILIM. I suppose you’re referring more to the kind of “Straight to The Light” sound that’s kind of reminiscent of “Psychonaut” and I kind of found some of the tracks from the past we never took further and I found that a bit disappointing really so obviously I wanted to pick those things back up. That’s part of the concept of THE NEPHILIM and I think that’s part of the whole picture of it and it’s not down to individuals. I think that’s kind of how I picture the whole sound anyway.

KITE: For 10,000 moments the great beast writhed in the works of TYPE O NEGATIVE, MOONSPELL, TIAMAT, LACUNA COIL (as well as countless others) as all were heavily worshiping at the feet of FOTN (MOONSPELL even blatantly sampled the spoken work from Alister Crowley). But even as these false idols cast their shadows across Nod there was no sign of Leviathan’s return.

MCCOY: I kind of follow me own nose, I mean I’m aware of what goes on out there but it’s nothing I would drastically strive for. I think with THE NEPHILIM and the concept of the band there are a lot of light and dark areas out there and we should use them because there are a lot of emotions to play around with. The influence of ZOON was in me more than anything. KITE: Still, the changelings viewed these demigods as simple liasons from the womb of the musical goat. They were viewed as false tears, but soon there was going to be an eruption. A painting of volcanic soundscapes. A gnashing of teeth — a rebirth.

MCCOY: It’s always different and I don’t have a format. It’s always a chaotic approach and I’ve normally got sounds and pictures in my head so I kind of scratch down a soundtrack to a movie in my mind and I spend a lot of time on my own, especially on Morning Sun. I didn’t see the light of day much and I didn’t see many people when I was involved either. It was a bit of a reclusive process but sometimes it’s necessary for you to see the truth rather than being influenced by the outside. It’s not something where you go away and consciously go, “all right, I’m going to make this record like this.” It’s like a jigsaw puzzle where you lay down a couple of parts and it becomes obvious where you’re going to go with it. It kind of unfolds before your eyes and before you know it you’ve created a record or a mess (laughter). It’s a chaotic approach really. I suppose the esoteric plays a roll as well as it’s my nature and it’s my character and I have to be true to myself and whatever inspires me. Its part of the whole thing and it’s part combination and chemical reaction of chords, sounds and vocals that you can’t have one without the other. As long as it conjures up the emotions and feelings intended that’s what’s most important. It is a kind of a magical process really.

KITE: They say there was the hour of Horus, the dawn of man, and now the age of science, but as technology rears its bestial head it strips the soul of the analog art form. Is it a killing technology leaving us all in limbo?

MCCOY: I don’t feel it’s very fitting for us because a lot of the audience collects the music of THE NEPHILIM. I think they want the package, the artowrk and the actual physical hard copy. Same for me really. I mean if I like something I like to own it. I don’t like to view it there as a lot of zeros and ones on my computer. I think it loses something and it’s like when you go out and buy a book you want the hard copy and you want to take it with you and own it. You don’t want to download it and print it out yourself. I think there will always be a case of people actually wanting to buy the product.

KITE: All the false signs of stigmata had finally come to an end and there was a deafening roar as the coiled one came into view accompanied by Behemoth and Ziz. It wasn’t Christ the Seraphim had evoked, but McCoy.

MCCOY: Yeah, that’s me on the cover. I always create me own artwork and it’s part of what I do really. Its part of the imagery and what goes on in my mind when I’m making a record. In fact it often comes first. They go hand in hand and I can’t do one without the other.

CHAOS FOR THE NORMAL
From “AOS: A Celebration”

“What is all future but resurrection? What is all creation but thyself?” (The Focus of Life, Austin Osman Spare)

Carl McCoy, the frontman and lead singer of Fields of the Nephilim, discusses the life and works of Austin Osman Spare with writer and psychic quester Andrew Collins.

I am not sure what music Austin Osman Spare might have listened to on his radiogram or gramophone player. Yet whether it was classical, jazz blues, or swing, I would like to think that if he were around today then he’d be an admirer of the band Fields of the Nephilim. They made a shock entrance on the gothic rock scene in the late 1980s with a brand of aural pleasure that was inspired not just by magic and the occult, but also by the Watchers and Nephilim of Jewish mystical texts such as the Book of Enoch and Book of Giants. Yet it was the modern-day Nephilim’s unforgettable appearance on stage as Wild West drifters in duster coats, covered in white flour made out to be desert dust, that captivated audiences world-wide, projecting them on to notoriety with staggeringly original singles such as Moonchild, Psychonaut, For Her Light and Preacherman. However their albums were more than simply rock concept albums. They were ambient experiences — soundtracks to movies only in your dreams or nightmares — that carried a sense of mystique and inner emotion unparalleled in the music industry. It is an attitude that thankfully continues with Mourning Sun, the band’s first studio album in nearly a decade. Released earlier this year, it has projected the Nephilim back into the limelight all around the world.

For me, the love affair with Fields of the Nephilim goes back to one night in 1988. I recall watching Top of the Pops and seeing the promo video for Moonchild, which had just entered the Top 30. The snarling jaws of hell-hounds, combined with shimmering scenes in black and white showing shrouded spirits, ritual paraphernalia and occult invocation, left me transfixed. I didn’t know who these people were, but felt I needed to listen to their records, find out what made them tick. I became acquainted with the Nephilim’s front man and composer Carl McCoy, unquestionably the driving force behind this fascinating musical phenomenon. Carl subsequently read and was impressed by my book The Black Alchemist, released that same year, and since then we have remained friends.

There are a great many influences that have inspired Fields of the Nephilim’s mesmeric music, and unique artwork that Carl McCoy and partner Lynn create under the name Sheer Faith. They include the 19th century artist William Blake, magician Aleister Crowley, Elizabethan magus Dr John Dee, the character of Jack the Ripper and, more significant to the occasion, Austin Osman Spare. Indeed Earth Inferno, a Nephilim live album released in 1991, bears the title of Spare’s first ever book, published in 1905, as well as cover artwork that is a recreation of Spare’s picture The Self’s Vision of Enlightenment.

Carl McCoy was born in South London and spent his early years in Brixton, where Spare had his dingy basement studio until his death in a local hospital in 1956. Carl watched his first ever film at a cinema that would one day become the Brixton Academy, and here in 1990 a memorable performance by Fields of the Nephilim went on to feature as the band’s live video Visionary Heads, released the following year. Its place of recording prompted him to dedicate it to the memory of Austin Osman Spare, the fulfillment of a passion that had begun many years beforehand.

It is a fact that a great many younger enthusiasts of Spare only became aware of his existence after listening to the music of Fields of the Nephilim, and learning of Carl McCoy’s own fascination with the subject. Thus it seems fitting that at such a sensitive time to the memory of Austin Osman Spare we celebrate his achievements by asking Carl his thoughts and feelings on one of the 20th century’s great artists and magicians.

“The man was inspired,” was Carl’s initial response, opening an extremely rare interview with a man who seldom speaks about such personal interests. “He was an inspirationalist, and I feel an affinity with him.”

How did this affinity begin?

“I found Spare by chance — It was mainly through references to William Blake, John Dee, the chaos current and, of course, art.”

Was it the art that captivated you, or the man himself?

“Somehow, the symbolism struck. We were of a like mind. His writings and interpretation of evocation were something I understood totally, and there are not many people that I have found who really shine. Spare used a language that is very old — partly words of phonetic emotions, but more than anything it was his symbolism, which balanced it out to fill in the gaps of what he attempted to explain.

“Spare needed the sigils and the art to come together as a magical language. His style was able to help me in what I did as far as understanding and interpreting the whole current, and the spiritual instinct that surrounds us. He tried to explain that which is not dimensional, and he did it perfectly.”

Was there a lot of interest in Spare when you first became aware of him?

“No one was asking questions about him. You grow up and find interests, and Austin Osman Spare was someone that intrigued me. He wasn’t someone who I was pushed into liking. Just looking at everything he had put down as hard copy in images, writings, and in books, impressed me. It was one lonely person’s interpretation and outlook on life and beyond, a true visionary. For me, it’s been a lonely road. I’m okay with that and I think Spare was similar in this way. He found out for himself how to learn by his own experiences. He did not want to become a great poet or celebrity. He simply wanted to express his ideas. What I do is not about becoming a famous rock star, artist or magician. I do it firstly for myself. It was born in me. It’s my path. You can’t put a label on that, because his expression of existence is as important as anybody else’s.”

Are you saying that it was through loneliness that Spare achieved his goals?

“No, he was a person that lived a solitary lifestyle. He wasn’t lonely because of the whole spiritual entity that surrounded him. He never felt lonely, he didn’t need help.”

So how do you associate with Spare through his work? Does it inspire what you have done as Sheer Faith?

“I was doing that anyway. I didn’t do that and change my direction. Spare existed as a parallel to what I was doing. I understood what he was saying, not just through words, but his suggestion and de-suggestion. The Symbolism he was using encompasses so much. It captures more than just a word or moment.”

Did this inspire the cover artwork for Earth Inferno?

“That was, of course, a written work by Austin Osman Spare, which led to the title of the album. The Cover came from my reinterpretation of a separate picture called The Self’s Vision of Enlightenment. For me, this represented a state of mind. It symbolised the way I felt at the time. It conjured up change. Spare’s work hasn’t changed anything, although maybe it has given me confidence in what I do as right for me. It was just pure coincidence that what I did reflected on Austin Osman Spare within my work.”

Thus for him the two minds existed separately until one day he came to associate with Spare’s own life, and the connection was made.

“Obviously, I never knew him in life. Yet like him, I was born in South London, and I believe he was born at a similar time of the year as me. He came from nothing, but his memory remains. Underneath all the poetry, philosophy and spirituality, he was ultimately a very talented artist. If you look at his pictures and paintings, they were not only magically induced, they are pure art. He showed that the presence of the overlaying spirit was using him as a conduit.”

Spare practiced automatic writing, the art of allowing the hand to write or draw spontaneously, seemingly under the guidance of an external force. It was a pet subject of the surrealist movement of which he was part.

“Automatic writing was a huge opener as an influence and a confidence to achieve. I don’t know many people that have admitted that.”

Is there a favourite piece of art or writing of Spare’s that you particularly like, that specifically does something for you?

“I think it’s a lot of the darker material, really. There was everywhere Chaos of the Normal, and altruistic subjects such as the death posture and other magical material in The Book of Pleasure.”

The death posture was Spare’s chosen method of empowering a sigil, involving the achievement of a blackout through strict ritual practice.

“And it works. It has been going on in one form or another among shamans and fakirs for thousands of years. It is the art of glimpsing at death. Whatever method you use, it is a trip out, a blackout, suffocation.”

But is it important?

“It is within this context. It was tied up with the dualistic axiom of divine opposites. Yet Spare’s ultimate principle was the achievement of not remembering the sigil following the blackout. It was the deliberate fulfilment of forgetfulness.”

Is this the way you approach your own sigils?

“Yes in the idea of deliberately not remembering. The thought form remains where it was in the first place. You let go of it, but it is there, empowered.”

But why do it? What does it achieve in the long run?

“You can’t walk around and desire something. Desire is not enough. Dreaming and wanting is not the answer. The idea that magical symbols are created and used means a lot more than that.”

If Austin Osmond Spare was around today what would that be like? Would he be a fan of Fields of the Nephilim?

“I don’t know. Nephilim fans are generally impressed by the music and the stage presence, which is just escapism, but it can be interpreted as ritual as well.

“Yet there is an ambience in Nephilim music, missing in a lot of music. This evokes a certain state of mind, which is there in Spare’s art as well.”

Is this something unique to Fields of the Nephilim, or is it there with other bands as well?

“I don’t think you’ll change the world by being a rock and roll band, but the philosophy and the ritual of what we are about is the most important point here. Spare put the same emotion into his writing, his drawings, his paintings.

“His success was for real. Spare was inspired by the spirit, the entity or influence that surrounded him. I relate to that totally. Yet some people see all that as merely a spur of the moment garble, but it’s not. That’s not what he was saying with his work. He was far more intelligent than that. There’s a difference between spontaneous dribble and pure genius.”

Do you relate to his sense of spontaneity in your own lyrics?

“My voice works in a similar way to that of a clairvoyant. It is a process that goes back in time when I respond to the multifier then there is definitely something that is influencing me. It is like an oracle — a mouth piece. It’s not so daft as people might think. You’re not out of control with some spirit singing through you — It’s not like that. It is a part of what we are. Some people have got the ability, the behaviour and the confidence to do this, and I am from a similar school of thought.

“I know my own mind. No one uses me. No one possesses me. It’s just like you have a helping hand sometimes, and it just helps force the language.”

What do you think about the people that have got into Austin Osman Spare through listening to Fields of the Nephilim?

“How it makes me feel doesn’t count — It’s about Austin Osman Spare”

Yet all these people are into him because of you?

“I feel he is an artist that needs to be recognised. As much as he, like me admired Blake. They get exams in the name of Blake. Yet Spare actually took it on to new dimensions. Spare needs to be nominated s a very valuable person. He didn’t just have a finesse for scribbling. He never put himself up on a platform up there, as an extrovert like Crowley did. Spare had the natural ability and the talent to see his true will, and that was something he was trying to achieve, and there is a message here for everyone.”

Are there any Nephilim tracks which have been inspired more than any others by Austin Osman Spare?

“There is one that comes to mind. This is Submission from Elizium.”

That is a powerful track that climbs in energy and power from inception to completion It’s about the bringing forth of a female spirit form, a Babalon, from beyond the abyss. Was there any more?

“Another obvious one is Melt, which is subtitled The Catching of the Butterfly. This is a track that was conceived of through my own unique methods and visions.”

Melt is a restrained and very beautiful track on the otherwise uncompromising, virtually death metal album ZOON, put out by Carl in 1996 under the name Nefilim, with an f. Yet why suggest these examples above all others?

“Both songs rely heavily on the concept of the death posture, the chaos within.”

Was this inspired by your interest in chaos magic?

“The chaos current in the late 1980s and early 1990s was growing steadily. and there was some real inspired ideas emerging at that time. Before the internet there existed a real connection, and for me it became a kind of grown-up magical era. Labels like occult, magic, witchcraft all went out the window, and in came the chaos current, which was really beyond the veil. It was an adjustment period.”

Certainly this was the age of the instigation of chaos magic, recalled in the title of the monumental Nephilim single Psychonaut. It recounts the title of chaos magician Pete Carroll’s grimoire Psychonaut published in 1982. This I knew but what did he mean by ‘Beyond the veil?’

“Chaos magic was dark, and the alternative to the new age.”

In other words, an antithesis, and didn’t we need it in the end! All the plinky-plonky music, good vibes, and false hopes, that came to nothing. God thank chaos magic which came as it did as a sober up pill before the onset of the present aeon, the now generation. It is an attitude expressed in my own book Twenty-first Century Grail, published in 2004. This features an unlikely grail quest glimpsed through the eyes of the Typhonian initiate. Its cover, showing a horned Magdalene holding a grail cup, was done by Sheer Faith.

“The whole current of that era was important. There was a lot of power there, and it was like the modern occult, and everyone was ‘hidden.’ Everyone was experimenting. It was the new movement, and it is still there. A lot of influential people were out there, the Pete Carrolls of this world. They were inspired by Spare.”

And it is a movement that is still growing, despite the fact that it might not be so hidden these days.

“But there has been a lot of people affected by it. It was a good shaman. A modern shaman had arisen. The sixties and seventies had felt Crowley’s influence — rock and roll, drugs, revolution, magic. The eighties and nineties were more inspired by Austin Osman Spare.”

is no question that Spare was unique, well beyond his time.

“Yes, but don’t just look towards the hocus pocus and magic that surrounded him. It’s like Crowley, people take him too literally. Accept the fact that they were both very talented, influential people, which we need to recognise. Maybe the whole purpose of their existence was to inspire generations to come, not within their life time. They were ahead of their time. The shame is that individuals like them rarely get recognition whilst they’re still alive. There are not enough people who wish to push the boundaries of existence. It is a digital world, full of mobile phones and computers. People don’t know the art of being. They don’t even know themselves.”

Do you think that Spare thought this way back in his day?

“He was probably surrounded by a culture that was up its own arse, and what he did was backed away into a corner. Spare tried to find out his own true way, and he proudly achieved that. I feel he didn’t care, and why should he? He didn’t do it to be put on a pedestal. He did it to realise his own reason for being put on this earth. That’s why we’re here, to intercept and to fulfill our own existence. After all, we’re all going down the same road eventually. You should learn to become what you actually are. Many people try to become what they can never be. Spare learnt the art of being, and he did it very well. I think that is something all people should ponder upon. There are too many distractions. Too much interference these days. You can only become what you truly are. That’s all I want to achieve, is being me.”

All true but it is sometimes hard work ‘being me.’

“It’s hard work, but if you’re honest with yourself, then it’s the right way, even if it might be seen to be the dark path. I spend my life becoming me. Not trying to find me. That’s different. Sometimes I get tripped up on the way, simply for doing what I do. And that’s the hardest trip of all, but it works for me. This is True Chaos of the Normal.”

RETURN OF THE NEPHILIM
ORKUS, November 2005

by Martin Kreischer
Transcribed by Ande Tucker
Translated by R. Navarro
Legends have their illusions. On one hand, the danger of disenchantment always looms – in a direct confrontation, the shine perceived in the distance can chequer and be lost. But one doesn’t wish to find anything ordinary in a legend. This also makes communication difficult. How can one approach a legend, and above all: may one actually do this? Especially with Carl McCoy – erstwhile, the only shaping strength behind the epochal Fields of the Nephilim. One should dress warmly, we’re warned. He acts like a diva, and he’s arrogant … however nothing like this is manifested. The well-known singer announces himself at the other end of the line – a little hesitant, but he sincerely welcomes the first reporter in years with whom he has this conversation – and so wants nothing at all to transmit this exalted appearance. Nevertheless he creates it, the Man with the deep, sonorous voice, to retain his status as a legend – even if some humanity in his person does show itself. However, it makes him only the more pleasant.

He couldn’t be happier for the occassion to chat: to the point, still even shy about the disaster of the quasi-unofficial album ‘Fallen’, the Briton had completely disappeared from the center-stage, and then comes up suddenly with the announcement of a new album. He calls ‘Mourning Sun’ the next mystical entity that is a direct follow-up to the last studio release ‘Elizium’ by Fields of the Nephilim – in spite of the fact that it could be told it took 15 years to get here. Yet Carl McCoy presents himself on ‘Mourning Sun’ on his best side – it will enthuse old and new followers alike. “Oh yes, I am damned proud of the work”, says the Man, whose trademark once created a characteristic icongraphy: the long dusty leather coat and the Western hat. “In the past, there was much about it that worked against me, but ‘Mourning Sun’ must come out now – now or never. All went very smoothly – I was astonished, it shows me how much of myself that was unnecessarily complicated in the past has expired. It already feels to me like a righteous album should,” laughs Carl. “The songs are all very new, we have used no old material. For about 18 months, we prepared the demos, and all of that went very quickly – we didn’t have the parts stuck together, but rather incorporated in a cascade/glissando. This way the album gets something flowing, homogeneous. I hope it comes across like this, because I am simply to close to the work: I cannot judge it.” He provokes a confirmation, which one supplies to him only too gladly, particularly considering the situation after ‘Fallen’. According to McCoy, his label in 2002 had published material without his approval and sold it as a new Fields of the Nephilim album. The artist called to boycott the disk, for on it are to be found merely unfinished ideas and fragmentary demos. “There is really nothing more to say”, one hears the frustration in his voice. “I don’t even know anymore what happened there. I am simply very disappointed with the behavior of the people with which I collaborated at that time. A couple of the tracks had definite chance to become good songs – but that is all the stuff of yesterday, I don’t occupy myself with it anymore.” Meanwhile there are rumors that Carl has remixed the ‘Fallen’ numbers – as he would gladly have had them. “Yes, that’s true, but I also cannot ascribe my pieces to the already published tracks, because at that time, I hadn’t given names to any of the material. Others gave them those names.” Case closed, subject settled. Carl solves it like this to be able to dedicate himself finally to the new opus.

To be sure, the title ‘Mourning Sun’ sounds like a negation of itself – for the positive picture of a new beginning that comes with the rising of the morning sun. “One can read so many things into the title – I have my own entirely unique interpretation for it , however I don’t wish to reveal it. I don’t want to prescribe to anyone how they should understand the title. But it sounds fresh and simple. I very simply wanted to put a lot into this album.” In addition, the distinction that had belonged between the Nefilim and Fields of the Nephilim has been cancelled – both are now fused into one entity. “It’s all the same, anyway, how one writes Nephilim/Nefilim. There is only a difference in the way of writing one character – and it’s correct either way that it can be written. Simply, it sums up what I make, what I express, what I hear and what I see. Therefore it is unimportant, which title it has: as long as somehow Nefilim/Nephilim is stated on it, it’s fine with me. In ‘Zoon’ the name change was thoroughly warranted, as the album had simply another feeling, another atmosphere, by therefore the name change was okay. However ‘Mourning Sun’ has more to do again with the old albums, so it was therefore apropriate to come back again to this name, now. Where the ‘AD’ came from on ‘One More Nightmare (Trees Come Down)’is still today a mystery to me, an idea that came from the record company. Perhaps I had mentioned it once incidentally, and it was taken literally and given wings. That’s how it is nowadays: one must be careful with what one says – everything is printed immediately”, Carl says laughing.

So far it hasn’t leaked out who is involved besides McCoy in the new output, yet it seems no band-mates from the earlier Fields of the Nephilim are on board. Carl keeps that which concerns personnel on the album very secret. “I simply hired a couple of people to support me in the beginning. I have here enough persons that can give me help – moreover am I myself a musician and many people seem to forget that, when talking about the current line-up. Everyone thinks that I’m only the lead-singer, but that’s not true – I also play a few instruments. Moreover, there were always line-up-changes in the Fields of the Nephilim. Okay, the hard core remained what it was, but the position behind the keyboard for example, was newly occupied on each tour. The line-up remained stable until 1991 – that is honestly much freer, all the better for working. I say simply to the people how I want things to be, and for them it’s okay, then. That way I have no more restrictions, like there are in a band, where eventually someone has something against anything and the discussions break out. It is like in a film: one leads the direction and gets himself the people he considers well suited, as actors, for the realization of his personal vision. At least, this is how I see the situation of the moment.” And he mentions by the way: “I still have a lot of songs lying around here, anyway – several of them already recorded. We have a lot of material that will also probably be published. Perhaps next year, we’ll see. The music is just coming out of me because I can finally do what I want. I have just started composing – like I did years ago. That all came back again.” Carl still uses the method of the “automatic writing” from the Occult. “Yes, I really do believe in that, and I also do it with the singing. I often simply let the music take me away. For example in Last Exit For The Lost: we put together the piece in one take, and it was finished. In fact, that’s the way I’m recording most of the songs – I spend the least time on vocals. I just go there, sing the song, and it’s done.” Another important component in the creation process was Carl’s mobile studio, baptized “The Ice Cage”. “One must imagine that all together there are five portable mixers. The parts are really icy cold, therefore the name. We took it with us everywhere, and captured the sounds where we found them. Then we had the instruments brought in at different places, in order to give them a certain sound. In Zoon, it was very similar: we rented a large studio for a lot of money, then ended up taking out their equipment and installing our own – the purest waste of money. I wanted to record unconditionally with my things. Now we modified it a little and visited very interesting places in order to catch the sound there. We were even in different forests or at lakes in order to have a beautiful soundscape. I had to avoid the summer because I don’t like the sun. As soon as the summer came, we traveled then into very cold areas, we went to Norway, even almost into the Arctic to take from there.” Could one then call it a type of “sound sampling”? “That is my hobby, absolutely.” This procedure is also reflected in Xiberia. “The track came out really very well, and in the making of the piece it was it extremely cold. We almost froze – therefore the title.” The metaphysical “Watcher”, that has already stamped the older releases with its presence, was for Carl once more essential. “More than in the other albums. In Mourning Sun its influence is especially strong. But those are only my personal feelings; I believe it is difficult to get that across. I certainly won’t begin to preach about the Watcher, now. Everyone will perceive it in their own way.”

Mourning Sun seems to summarize essentially the sound of the last two disks – for Carl the intensity of Zoon and the nice dreamy soundscapes of Elizium are connected together. “It’s very good that they come together. I love Zoon, the album had brought me a lot further – and in many regions sold even better than any of my other albums. Zoon opened up a totally new listener base. Elizium was likewise a good work, but I think that it was missing a lot. Through some band members, too much Pink Floyd crept into it. It started off quite beautifully, but the highpoints were missing. To reproduce that on the stage was terrible – over an hour playing this slow music was just frustrating. I hope however that I was able to bind the good elements from it into Mourning Sun. Anyway, I can only write the pieces that I write…I have only my perspective. That restricts me, but I don’t take it in a negative sense. These restrictions also have something going for them in that it gives a certain type of continuity – as long as one does not stand still or develop backwards, see I that as something positive.” Zoon was classified in various genres – even as Death Metal. “Anyway, these pigeonholes are terrible – for me it is simply the music. We know what it isn’t, but we also don’t know what it is. Who is always inventing all these categories? Once the new album is heard, what will be said about it?” At least it can be established by listening to the whole thing in it’s entirety. “That’s how music should be. It should grow and become stronger with each listening. That’s what I liked before with the music: if with each listening I became more enthused.” Even today? “Very honestly: I didn’t listen to any other music for years. I don’t even know what is current these days. I don’t want to be influenced by anyone else. So, I finally began to make music, because there was nothing that I could relate to; nothing that would have totally pleased me. Therefore I tried it myself. I still try”, Carl says modestly and deviates: “Also the music industry doesn’t interest me. I like to make the music, but not the industry. I simply make what I make – and so far I had the most fun making Mourning Sun. Like I’ve said – no restrictions, and that has given me a lot of strength. Naturally, the work not is perfect, but what is perfect?”

Moreover, he is strongly interested in making videos. “I believe Straight Into The Light should have a video.” Usually one song is enough. “Is that the one? I don’t know. To me, I hear the whole album as a single. It’s hard for me to chose only one song and concentrate on that. All of the tracks were cut down in their length – Straight Into The Light was an incredible 14 minutes long in the beginning – is that laughable or what? I hope, I can release the complete piece sometime, the long version has a crazy middle part, that was unfortunately cut out on the album. I would have filled nearly the half album with this song – the other tracks were originally just as long. We put the whole thing together nicely. Back to the videos: “We will probably make two.” But not with Richard Stanley, who produced the earlier videos of Fields Of The Nephilim and made the film “Hardware” with Carl McCoy. “That would be a step backward that I don’t want. Richard is a crazy director and a good friend of mine. I don’t know yet, who will make the videos and what exactly they will be.” He has sufficient candidates for such tasks at hand to be sure, operating under the banner of SheerFaith, a media production firm. “Yes, I will work with a few people I’ve worked with in the past, who will probably help design the videos. Also some other things for the website, whose basic design is mine. But very honestly: I hate the internet. Everything on the internet is terrible. Okay, it may be every now and then practical, in order to transport information, but it steals time from people. Most hide themselves behind the screens and behind its virtual identity, then they quickly become impudent smart-asses. They should rather read a good book.” Especially since Mourning Sun has already landed in the file-sharing networks. “That is a shame, but it seems to happen unavoidably to everyone these days. Naturally, that’s not what I desired. I worked hard on that album. But one can probably not do anything about it. I hope people will buy the disk nevertheless, as we put a lot of effort into the layout – I think that will convince many to buy the album itself and not only as a cheap CD-R. My biggest disappointment in the whole thing is that for sure the surprise is given away now. We were so long away, and it would have been more beautiful, if there would have been a little tension built up with it.”

On Mourning Sun, the Limited Edition there is an additional stimulus to buy it – with a Fields Of The Nephilim interpretation of the oldie “In The Year 2525” by Zager & Evans. “That is simply a crazy song, and we’ve extended it still more. It’s now over ten minutes long. The first half of the piece is faithful to the original, but in the second half we let loose. I also changed the words a little so that it fits better to us. The people who have listened to our version were enthused.” Apropos “Remake” : a big fan of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is Carl McCoy – and does not seem disappointed in it’s remake. “It was okay. If I didn’t know the original, I would have found it probably rather good, but I naturally prefer the original. A crazy film! One would never forget that in his whole life. On Land Of The Dead by Romero, I’m happy with it. The remake of Dawn Of The Dead pleased me also quite well – it reminded me of the daily view out the window: Zombies everywhere, wherever one looks.” George A. Romero wouldn’t be a favored choice in the meantime for a Fields Of The Nephilim video. “Not today. Earlier, that certainly would have been very funny – our first videos were also quite remarkable. They were very entertaining at the time, but one could probably never take them seriously. But right now, nobody occurs to me which I would gladly have as a director.”

He wants to get involved in the DVD medium, nevertheless. “There is, however still nothing ready to put on. We’re concentrating for the moment on Mourning Sun, and then we’ll look beyond that. I do already have a lot of visual ideas, which I would gladly put to use. The modern media are okay, also the new graphic arts programs relieve me of a lot of work, even if I actually prefer doing it ‘by hand’.Usually, I make a couple of sculptures or models first and then photograph them then, so what I get isn’t entirely on the computer. That is very conventional, but I soon depart from that. To be sure, I do use the new technology that simplifies things. But it’s very noticeable, if a photographer or a commercial artist relies only on the digital. When you’re still photographing with analog cameras, one has to create an entirely unique feeling in the image. I do a lot with Photoshop, but had had never used a filter. I developed many of our covers in the darkroom, and that can take a real eternity to come up with something really clever – with graphic arts programs it’s a lot quicker. But good ideas don’t just come from the computer – rather from the head. The software helps solely in the conversion. Unfortunately many forget that.” Interestingly enough McCoy would even be open to working on video-games. “I have been addressed often on that, naturally concerning soundtracks for them – whether I wouldn’t contribute a piece for one or something similar. The total game doesn’t interest me however, except the sound-design. Video-games have become quite grown up lately – not a toy anymore. It’s a fun way of escapism – especially in the tour bus if one has nothing to do for hours. With a video-game, one can certainly wile away the time, however I try to pay attention and stop so that it doesn’t become a habit. I have already gone to the land of Resident Evil and figured out the strategies of Conflict – Desert Storm. The record company had to find an adapter so I was able to take my Playstation along wherever I went. For the next tour, I’ll get myself a couple more good games to play.” The idea of a Fields Of The Nephilim game would please him very much. Yet meanwhile one is mostly happy that Fields Of The Nephilim has become reanimated – and Carl McCoy has for it a penetrating and abounding energy. And he has a damned strong album in the bag with Mourning Sun. That sounds like an exciting future.

FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM A CAGE OF ICE
ELEGY, NOVEMBER 2005

Interview by Yannick Blay
Transcribed and translated by R. Navarro
It exists! An actual new album by Fields of the Nephilim is expected for mid-November! It will have been necessary to wait three years since Fallen – the pseudo-work released ten years after Elizium that is made up of demos and out-takes from various sessions – to be able to have a listen to a truly new Nephilim work. This is to say that this album, Mourning Sun, penned by the shadowy Carl McCoy has been long awaited by the fans. Elegy was chomping at the bit to give you the first interview with the loneliest cowboy of the goths about his new work, carrying again the stamp of the fine album Elizium…

Will you tell us about the line-up responsible for the new album Mourning Sun? It seems that it’s totally unpublished…

Carl McCoy: Yes. In the few albums made in the course of my long career (laughs), there were some line-up changes. And this is a good thing, really. There are less restrictions. When you work with the same people for too long a time, it limits the quality of the production and creation. It’s like in the movies. You don’t want to see a director use the same actors all the time, isn’t that right? I’ve played with a lot of different people and I will have no hesitation to change the line-up when I might want to do so.

Mourning Sun was entirely written by you?

Yes.

And do you also play all the instruments that are heard on the album?

No. There were other people involved, for the bass and the drums, notably. But I do play some things on the album. This is a project that was very interesting to put together with fewer people in it.

But who are they?

Their names are not important.

This will be the same on tour?

Perhaps. But in any case I won’t be addressing it before the first of next year. I prefer to prepare quietly for it.

Mourning Sun shows a Fields of the Nephilim as always, haunted and dense, but it seems a little too much like Elizium, no?

You don’t like it?

Yes, but I’m a little disappointed. I expected something a bit more like Zoon, without a doubt…

All the albums that I’ve done are different from one another. And it is evident that it is that way on it’s own. I wasn’t particularly happy with Elizium when it came out. For me it seemed incomplete, not all finished. It lacked light and shadow, I think. When you must play these very long, slow songs on tour, it’s a lot of work. I think that Zoon was written in reaction to that, and I even had it in me before Elizium. Then when I wrote Zoon, I had too many ideas for a single album. This is the reason it’s so excessive. As for Mourning Sun, it is the fruit of a certain maturation, of my roots: it is what it is, in fact. It perfectly represents me, in any case.

The songs – as always – are long. In spite of that, does it have a single?

In fact, the songs aren’t as long as they were to begin with (laughs). “Straight to the Light” for example, started out at fourteen minutes! But I shortened it a little. There are also some good songs that didn’t make it to the album. I will release them next year, I think.

On a maxi or on a new album?

Again, I have no idea of the format. In the beginning, Mourning Sun was going to be a double album. But I thought that would be too much information in one blow for people. I have therefore withdrawn from that idea. We’ll see next year if we’ll do the rest. The priority remains the album. Anything else that has nothing to do with the release of the album is not decided for the moment. I will discuss the things to come with my label if it happens that the other songs are recorded.

But there will be a bonus track on the album that we didn’t get to hear…

Yes, indeed. The news travels quickly (laughs)… It is a remake of an old song, “In the Year 2525”. We did a very interesting version of it. It was a hit in the sixties.

Who wrote this track, again?

Zager & Evans, I believe. Strange guys that never did anything else, it seems to me.

Wasn’t it Laibach who also did a remake of this song? On NATO, I believe…

I don’t know, but I had heard remakes of this song before.

There is also a preview of a bonus video clip on the album…

Yes. We’re working on it this moment in London. Again, I don’t know exactly what it will be, but I’ll find out (laughs).

But which track will it be?

The song for which was foreseen for the video-clip changed. Indeed, we were going to do a video-clip for a single that would have gone out before the album. But I changed my mind. The song that had to appear in single isn’t even on the album. This one is more coherent that way, I think. And I like the idea of a single going out well after the album, so much as Mourning Sun deserves really to be listened to first.

Your lyrics seem always to reflect the same obsessions, no?

Yes. I didn’t really change. The words reflect who I am. It is just the development of what I was before. This an angle or an updated version of me, I think. But the words are nothing without the music, this is everything.

Do the lyrics come after the music?

There is no strict format. Sometimes the words come first, and other times it’s the opposite. All of it comes in a spontaneous fashion: I don’t take a lot of time on the singing or on the rest, to be honest.

Your voice seems clearer, less subjected to the effects and to the echoes…

Indeed. It depends on context of the album. For this one, I had nothing to hide. Most of the voices were done in one take. It is true that there are some years, where we added a lot of effects to the voices at the time of the mix that were very good. But this isn’t a very modern manner to obtain a sound…

The albums of the Fields of the Nephilim could be considered like rock operas, no?

(Laughs) Yes, if you want. My albums are very visual. And I do not write a song but an album, this is how to explain it. It is a theatrical and dramatic approach and I like that. I don’t have the wish to change it.

Do you have a general vision of what you want to do before you write an album?

Usually, yes. I know at least what I want to say, what I want to get from it and how it must sound. But an album is also like a puzzle: you go with it, then you review to a certain point to advance anew in your composition. So until the album is finished, nothing is finished. My songs are only the pieces of this puzzle. Every piece indicates to me the mark to follow for the next one. The music is like the view: you take a certain way and up to a given moment you can’t go back – you must go ahead while using what you’ve already accomplished.

Your lyrics – are they fed by the things that you read?

No. It’s like that, in any case for this album. All the early albums were vaguely inspired by books but at least since Elizium, I let the words come out in a more instinctive manner.

“New Gold Dawn” – does this refer to Aleister Crowley?

No, not really. In the end, there is effectively a reference to Aleister Crowley. But the big thing with this song has nothing to do with him in the final meaning of it. It isn’t the whole central theme of this song.

Are you sometimes surprised by your own words when you return to them later, after the recording?

Yes. Sometimes, I have the impression that this is distant from me. You’re not necessarily conscious of what you write when you do it. And when you think to yourself about it from a new angle, you can in fact to be surprised, sometimes. But I like it very much, this is interesting. I tell myself that I have ‘someone’ who lives beside me (laugh).

Everything was composed in your studio, called the Ice Cage?

Yes. It’s a rather large mobile studio – a refuge of sorts for me. I called the studio the Ice Cage in reference to certain lyrics in the song “Xiberia”.

When you say mobile, you mean to say that you can record wherever – it doesn’t matter?

Yes. Notably, I recorded some pieces in the arctic, voice and sound effects for the new album. Particularly in Norway. This is also the reason that I called my equipment The Ice Cage.

The visuals of your album also make reference to this coldness…

Completely.

Did the arctic cold have any influence on your composition?

No. The place didn’t have any influence on my composition. Or very little. My music comes especially from a physical effort.

Then why to go so far in the cold?

To escape the summer (laughs)! I hate the heat.

But doesn’t a title like “Xiberia (Seasons in the Ice Cage)” precisely evoke the cold of the Great North…

Yes. “Xiberia” contains many sounds recorded in Arctic, as well as a number of pieces of songs. The finished recordings from there were scattered throughout the body of the album. What wasn’t recorded there were the guitar parts, the bass and drums. Those were done later in another studio than my “ice cage.” Zoon was recorded a bit on the same principle.

And “Requiem XIII-33 (Le Veilleur Silencieux)”? Why the title in French? What does it reference?

For personal reasons, I thought that this title corresponded perfectly to that which the song speaks about.

“Le veilleur” would be translated in English as “The Watchman”, a term that is dear to you and is again the title of one of your old songs…

Indeed! But this title ties together especially with the idea that came at the end of the composition of the album. That corresponds to that which seems to want to unveil Mourning Sun… “Requiem XIII-33 (The Silent Watcher)” is a title that I’ve had in my head for a long time, well since I’m not French (laughs). Words that are not in your mother tongue seem to appear like that, sometimes…

Do you feel sometimes that you are like a silent watcher?

Heh… I think that that has more to do with the entity that is part of all this than I do. The watcher is just as well in me as outside of me, with me and against me, if you see what I’m trying to say…

In a way, you want to say that the silent watcher would be more the Nephilim than Carl McCoy?

It’s almost that, yes. It is something that has always been with me. Every day and every task that I accomplish is in itself a discovery. The Nephilim allows me to express my absolute truth about what I see and feel. Therefore, in that way it’s part of me. But how can that truly be explained?

Certainly not by me (laughs)! It’s been twenty-two years now that Fields of the Nephilim has existed. In what do you put the most trust, when it comes to your work?

I don’t know. This will always be the latest work, I think. Therefore, I will say “Mourning Sun”. Anyway, it seems that there are more people that are interested in us today than in the eighties.

When you go out on tour again, will you be playing the old songs from your earlier albums?

Yes! We’ll play the old songs and some bits from Zoon like all the times before where we played. But we will concentrate all the same on the new album as first priority.

Are you still in contact with Tony Pettit, Peter Yates and the Wright brothers?

No, I haven’t seen the Wrights or Peter Yates for thirteen or fourteen years. And Tony Pettit – it’s been three years that I haven’t crossed paths with him.

What do you think about Rubicon and Last Rites, the new groups of your old mates?

I don’t listen to the music, especially when I’m working on a new project. Therefore, I have no idea of what they’re doing. I know they all have a group, but I haven’t listened.

You never buy discs (cds)?

No (laughs). The only music that I listen to is what is played in the different places where I go. But music is always a part of my life.

If you want to listen to some music, you compose it yourself…

You could say it’s something like that (laughs)! In general, that is true enough.

Finishing up here, what is the film that has had the most influence on your life?

Heh… To all evidence, it’s “Once Upon a Time in the West”. I haven’t watched it for a long time, but it’s a classic. Among other films I prefer is “Blood Simple” by the Coen brothers. My taste in films is very eclectic. There are plenty of others, but they don’t come to mind at the moment.

Do you think you might get back into acting one day? (Carl McCoy appeared in “Hardware” a film made in 1990, directed by Richard Stanley. Lemmy from Motorhead and Iggy Pop also appear in the film.)

I’ve had several offers to do it these last two years. But I wanted to concentrate on my music. But later on, why not?

CARL MCCOY INTERVIEW
ALTERNATIVE ZINE

by Maor Appelbaum
Interview with: Carl McCoy, vocalist of the legendary “Fields of the Nephilim”. McCoy left the band in 1991 but continued releasing albums. The band reunited in 2000 and a new album is due to be released this November 28.

Hi Carl, Regarding this album, what does is sound like? What style is it going to be, the new “Mourning Sun” album?
I take it that you haven’t heard it yet…

No, not yet.
I think it’s very different from anything I’ve achieved in the past. So, you can imagine what it’s not going to be a lot more than what it’s going to be like. There are a few reflections of the past, involved in this new project- I see it as a Nephilim project that’s kind of updated to 2005. It’s a bit more upfront, there are quite a lot of layers involved in it so I find it quite atmospheric. I think it’s very fresh as well, I mean…it’s not relying on anything I’ve done before. The common denominator is that I was involved in it, so it’s obviously going to have a thread that runs through it – which is there in the past as well, but I see it as quite a fresh and new album. It is different, like every album I’ve made- from the last one to the one before it, they were all quite different from each other.

Where was it recorded?
In many places, really, I’m able to sort of transport my own studio equipment anywhere I need to go…even in an outdoor environment using generators to record; even if it’s just for the sake of recording reflections or ambience. So we recorded in many different places, without the restrictions of just one studio this time- It has become fun, we did it because we could laughs.

So it’s studio and live environments?
Yeah, studio based. But sometimes we wanted to go outside to record. Especially some of the ambience sounds – I prefer recording everything myself rather than relying on any other source material.

What is the current lineup?
There is no current lineup, I kind of felt that it’s a bit unnecessary, for the project speaks for itself. I’ve got people that I need to involve when I need to involve them. I think it’s more important to get the true spirit of the vision of what I’m willing to achieve- so I think a set lineup is very restrictive and therefore unnecessary for me.

So it’s bringing musicians to record what you need?
Well, I record as well, I’m a musician as well; I can pretty much play anything. Obviously, when it comes to the final recordings like drums and bass, I’ve got people there which assist me to put them down fluently and as they need to be; so it’s necessary sometimes.

Regarding your sound, did you use an outside producer or where you the producer of it?
I’ve actually produced it, though it wasn’t intentional, it’s not the way I was going to do it. But it just kind of happened that way- I started working, writing and recording and one thing leads to the other and before you know it- you’ve ended up nearly completing the whole thing anyway. If this is my vision so I’m ought to expect what I want to hear and how I want it to sound, then I suppose this puts me in a place where the obvious thing to do is produce it.

Are you also doing the recording?
Yeah, I was involved in that as well I’m afraid. I don’t like doing that, it’s just how it turned out, I didn’t make any plans to do it that way. It’s just that something it does, it happened on my last album so the final result was the “Zoon” project was pretty much all my recording and producing as well. It’s not the way I always like to work, sometimes it gets hard to find someone with the right mind that can see it the same way. The more I do it- it seems easy that if you want to do it and you’ve got an idea, you justdo it yourself.

Did you record on analog equipment in the past?
Yes, yes, we recorded on analog and digital as well… whatever it takes.

And today, digital?
Digital is convenient, but I still like a bit of analog touch so I still use it for certain things. Generally digital allows you to compile your music easier. Keep in mind that I come from the old school as far as recording goes. So I’m able to use technology and old fashioned tape, except technology allows you to compile quicker, get instant feedback and use a larger amount of tracks so there is a sort of beauty in technology- as long as it doesn’t overtake and use you.

For me, the band has a lot of progressive influences. I hear a lot of musical differences in the layers.
It depends on what you’re listening to, if you’re listening to things from the past or to what I’m doing now. There were many personalities involved in the early days, different influences which probably show. But with me, I’m not really influenced by them- I try to keep my blinkers on and shutmyself out from interferences.

In the past albums, there was a lot of interesting bass playing- will it be like that in the next album too?
“Mourning Sun” has got some interesting bass, I’ve got a talented bass player so I think the bass will shine on certain tracks. Definitely. This album is a bit more bass driven. I’ve kind of locked down the guitars and made them more atmospheric than in the last album. So you have to listen to see what you think.
Did you record your vocals with effects or were they added in the mix?
No, I always record them generally. But sometime I do my vocals live in front of the speakers as apposed to doing them in a booth with headphones on, I prefer to just do it in the control room. I don’t spend too much time on my vocal because it makes me think about it too much and then I analyze it and tend to get critical- so I prefer to be able to just go strait at it and blast my vocals in at one time.

You use a lot of reverbs and delays on your vocals to enhance the richness of the dark voice- do you imagine them during the writing process or is it part of the production?
It’s a funny comment, because people say I’ve put my vocal much more up front in the new album. I purposely done that, I’ve taken a lot of the effects off to make it purer and quieter.No, I think it was just kinda blended with the production at the time. I’m quite happy to hear my voice completely bone dry, I don’t need the effect. But sometimes they help.

But did you imagine them while writing the lyrics or was it something that just came with the recording?
Some of the extreme effects I definitely had in mind. You can use effects when you’re actually performing. So sometimes I though about it when I was writing and sometimes some things are just like standard issues.

Fields of the NephilimWhat are the main subjects you write about?
Most of it is influenced by the whole concept of the Nephilim entity, my own interpretation of philosophy due to my own experience. I don’t think it’s about what we see and face in the physical plain- It’s more about feeling and outlets. I write in way where me lyrics can be interpreted in different layers. It’s hard to explain, I have to put it in to music to be able to write; I don’t just sit down with a pen and sing this or that, it’s all kind of hand in hand with the music. I suppose it is intuition, it’s kind of natural- not anything that I’ve read about and make a conscious effort, thing just come to me.

Are you a spiritual person?
I probably am, yeah.

And are you considered religious?
No. I’m not religious. I’m very independent and religion involves lots of people. I don’t believe in the whole concept of it but I suppose you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. Do you?

What astrological sign are you?
What do you think I am?

You sound like a Cancer.
No, I’ll leave it like that for you to guess it.

That could take half an hour. both laugh
I can say that you sound very unique and developing from album to album. If I’d have to many an analogy- I’d say it’s like Pink Floyd, only darker and gothic. Is that a good comparison for you?
Maybe…Pink Floyd was obviously quite and inspirational band for many people and they were quite experimental as well- so on that aspect I like it. But we don’t have the hippie “touch”, we’re a bit stronger and a bit more serious. So how would you describe your music?I can’t categorize it. I’ve never been able to categorize it. I’ve always seen myself as a composer as opposed to a musician. And as a band, it’s an overall concept; each album is like a song to me, I like to use the space so there is a lot of flow in the music- lots of ups and downs which are probably close to the structure of classical music than just pure verse-chorus. I don’t really write in that structure, or try not to- so the music becomes itself, unfolds in front of me when I start playing around with sounds. So it’s hard to describe, something has to be listened to rather than explained.

What comes first- lyrics or music?
They don’t come in a particular order. I haven’t got a format for how it works- I’m always writing, but it doesn’t always end up as lyrics. I’m always walking around with a pen and paper in my pocket, writing stuff down.

Have you done any cover versions? Live or in studio.
We’ve done some in the past, a couple of strange ones. We did “once upon a time in the west”, we also did a Roxy music cover “In every dream home a heartache” and on this album we actually did “In the year 2525” by Zager & Evans.

Have you ever had other artists doing remixes of you?
Not very often, I had remixes done by someone a few years ago- but it didn’t really workout. It probably would happen in the future.

Why did you choose to do a Metal project- “Nefilim”?
It was a natural progression after “Elizium”, it inspired me to do something on the other side. “Elizium” is so laid back and unenergetic, and so airy that I felt like I needed to do something which is a bit more intense. Everyone has got a side to them that need to be expressed, so “Zoon” was the outcome ofthat, something that’s been building up for a long time so It needed to happen.

Another thing I have to ask you is what is your favorite song and favorite album out of your releases?
“Dawnrazor”- the song itself and the “Dawnrazor” album.

And what is your most successful release?
I’m not really sure… I felt that the Nefilim album was quite successful when it came out- it was a very positive and good era, but I don’t know how successful it was in sales. Is there any special show you remember more than any other?No, not really, laughs we did a lot of shows.

Do you have other projects except “Nephilim”?
I create all my artwork and I’ve done some audio visual projects but Nepilim is the main way I conduct myself, the music is more important at the moment- so all my efforts are on it.

So you do artwork, like for covers?
I do, I made all my albums, and I’m doing audio imagery and the artwork for this album. I’ve always been responsible for that because it goes hand in hand with what I do.

Where did your image come from? The hat, the clothing… was it based on character you liked when you were young?
Probably a bit of that, but a lot of me. The dark-man image, I always found it fascinating when I was young.There’s also kind of a practical approach, it didn’t seem wrong-It’s something I’ve adapted and adopted over the years. It just fits my character and personality, it wasn’t like “we need an image”, it was already there.

Are you influenced by country music?
No.

Are you influenced by the “country” image?
Not really, no laughs. You’re referring to the clothes we wear and the hats, but it’s more Victorian or European. There is a hint of a kind of a Nomad, a rebel or a loner which comes through with songs like “once upon a time in the west” and spaghetti westerns- I think there’s darkness there within those characters and it’s probably what we picked up somewhere along the road. It fits, but no country music. laughs

The first time I heard you, when I was much younger, I noticed it had a Texan vibe- I always felt like it a Goth-cowboy.
I’ve never really though about it like that, but looking back I can see that.

I heard your music before I saw the image so I didn’t know about the hats and all. So that’s why I always told people it sounds southern, like southern-goth.
That’s quite an interesting point; it’s never been pointed out to me before. I remember we used to call ourselves spaghetti-metal. both laugh

Tell me about the comics you appear in.
What do you wanna know?

How did you get into it? Do you see it as a reflection of your personality? Do you like comics?
If you’re talking about the Marvel comics, I think that really came about because the artists were quite inspired by my music and what I was doing at the time as well as the image- so they took that and caricatured me into their comics; I think it’s a nice gesture and is quite amusing as well, it was done in a fun way- so why not?

Did it reflect your personality?
I don’t know, I haven’t really read it.

Oh. You haven’t really seen it.
I’ve seen it, I’ve been seeing glimpses of stuff, but I haven’t really sat down. It’s probably ok; it’s pure escapism, which is never wrong without.

It’s called Hellstorm, right? And who’s the guy who did it?
Yeah Umm… God, I can’t remember his name at the moment.

What about the movie you appeared on?
Which one? “Hardware”?

Yeah, you played there…I read about it, never had the chance to see it
That was a long time ago, the director actually wrote me into the script so I couldn’t really refuse because it was me playing me. It was ok, a good bit of fun, I’m the “angel of death” so I got to perform on the intro of and the end of the film; it was a good experience.

What is your connection to the Hebrew language?
There is probably no connection really, it’s something semantically translated- if you’re talking about the whole idea of “Nephilim” than that’s probably my connection and as close as it gets.

So you haven’t read any Jewish theology?
I read all sorts of things in the past, you have to…Most of the stuff I read is translated.

So you just used the language for the words?
Many things are translated through different cultures and languages and I’ve always had a big interest in that. It’s always a common denominator of what I’m looking for in language and has more to do with history and visions, the writing is the poetry itself and it is good to explore. The Hebrew language is very expressive, but I have an interest.

What do you think about the Internet and the file sharing?
My record is available out there, as far as I know now, though it’s not even out yet. It’s sad in a way of there’s no surprise when the record actually comes out because people have heard bits of it. It’s nice to have a build up for journalists and people like yourselves which can talk about the album to get people excited. But people download it so all of the sudden it’s being talked about and reviewed before it’s time but hopefully it won’t effect sales, it happens to everyone now. I’m not too keen on that side of the Internet.

Do you see yourself releasing albums for the Internet? I know a lot of artists are going to release albums for Internet use in the future.
It’s not a bad idea, but to be honest I’m kind of old-fashioned. I like to have the package, to have a hard copy, I like the artwork- I think it’s something that you kind of collect. I think that if you just download a song, it strange, it feels like something is missing. It’s ok for individual songs, such as singles, but I prefer to see it in its package- which you can do quite a lot with packaging which you couldn’t obviously download. It’s probably got its place, but I don’t think it’s going to take over.

Do you like Metal music?
I like all sorts, really, though I don’t spend a lot of time listening to it and I haven’t bought a record for years. I have a pretty wide taste in music: I prefer soundtracking kind of music and classical music nowadays rather than rock music. I prefer listening to it but I don’t have a lot of time for it… I’m too busy trying to create my own.

What bands do you like?
I don’t really know. I’m not influenced by any; haven’t got any “heroes”. I like bits of music by different bands, just not one band I can say they’re a good band. I like songs and whoever plays them, but I can’t really nominate anyone- there isn’t anyone fantastic that I think everything they do is brilliant.

Who do you think is the most interesting vocalist you’ve ever heard?
It’s hard to say… I can’t think of a particular one really…can’t nominate one person. There are some interesting vocals out there that I’ve come across, but I don’t know their names.

What do you think about the whole Gothic Metal style?
Again, it’s just a name or a label- I think music is music, so good music is good music. I don’t like to categorize music- I don’t think it is right and there are too many subtitles now. I don’t think you should limit yourself to just one particular area.

Are you considered a rock or a gothic band by the attitude?
I think we refer to both, but I don’t know where we sit in either; I’m not sure about that, I’ve never really understood that. I think it’s more to do with the attitude of the people we attract, with similar looks and lifestyle or similar thoughts.

What band was the first band you’ve heard?
Probably bands like T-rex and Alice Cooper were part of my life when I was growing up- that was when I was very youngAfter that- came the new wave movement, the punk movement.

What artists gave you the urge to be a musician?
Me, I think, because I started making music to fill a hole in me and the music I had in mind wasn’t there. I kind of had to invent my own and I think that’s what we did. It’s what guided me into music in the first place, to fill a gap- if there’s no music there that you want to hear, just do it yourself. Using the lack of what’s not there rather than inspiration from what already existed.

What is the most influential thing you experienced before you were a musician and while being a musician?
It’s quite hard to think about that, just covering what I’ve received as lessons on the Nephilim has been the biggest influence on my life. Experiences I’ve had when I was young, too young to understand or explain lent me to do what I’m doing- I suppose the music has been inspired by that as wellThe whole thing is still unfolded in front of me… I’m still inspired all the time, and I keep moving forward until one day, maybe if I’ll run out of inspiration I won’t be able to do it anymore- but I can’t see that happening. It’s not one thing- it’s kind of the whole thing.

Another question that interests me: I saw your reunion in EuroRock 2000- journalists weren’t allowed to interview you or take pictures- why was that?
I don’t know…maybe we just had enough of it for that day, something it’s not convenient. I don’t particularly like interviews, if I can avoid them- I will avoid them, the same with pictures. It’s just a personal thing… but why that was there? I don’t know… maybe the press had a limited time to be there.

D-SIDE MAGAZINE
ISSUE #31, NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2005
INTERVIEW WITH CARL MCCOY

by Emmanuel Hennequin

In 1990, “Elizium” preceded fifteen years of impossible mourning. Fields Of The Nephilim, turned over to dust after three crucial albums in the Gothic musical genre, signed their epitaph with a monumental live recording: “Earth Inferno.” What followed was a long period of desert punctuated by the stunning metal project of frontman Carl McCoy, The Nefilim, and the studio digressions of the other original members of the band: from Rubicon to Last Rites and NFD. Today, a (almost) solitary McCoy, surrounded by “phantom” musicians, gives life again to the entity known as Fields Of The Nephilim. The fourth official album announced in a very long time (and following the album of demos called “Fallen”), “Mourning Sun” dusts off the old jewelry-case. The jewel, itself, is protected. Without losing sight of the fundamental laws of previous works and the cruel destiny of the fallen angels, McCoy gives a future to his visions, and a new brightness to the original sound.

At the beginning of the year, the official site announced the release of the new album under the shortened name of “The Nephilim.” However, it is clear now that it’s a return of the original entity: Fields Of The Nephilim. Why?

Carl McCoy: Why? Hey, well … Why not? Actually, I believe that the essence of the name of the band is based on the sole term of “Nephilim.” It is one of the reasons which led me, following Fields Of The Nephilim, with the album “Zoon” (note: with the metal project named The Nefilim). The renaming was obviously justified by the fact that “Zoon” was something different from what Fields Of The Nephilim had realized in their own time. Today, I have blended the influences from the latter and The Nefilim. All this can be amalgamated into the service of a same goal. And the return under the name of Fields Of The Nephilim is a way of giving ahead and again this precise term: “Nephilim.”

Even if something had been announced regarding a possible Nefilim reunion with Tony Pettitt, that no longer appears to be an option.

McCoy: Yes. If we did that, we would not progress. With each album, we tried to contain a new form that was very interesting to make because precisely, I did not try to repeat things. I hate this idea. The approach of “Elizium” for example had been very different from the one on the second album, “The Nephilim.” And “Zoon” also varied greatly when compared to “Elizium.” “Mourning Sun” obeys the same dynamic. It is not a question especially of remaking “Zoon,” and it is through the choice of the titles which I operated for the album that it found its final color. We indeed accumulated much more material than what is reproduced on “Mourning Sun.” We’ve held back some other songs, which probably follow more the metal tradition that I approached on “Zoon.”

But … have you really held back a lot of new material?

McCoy: Oh … yes (smile). Originally, the project for Fields Of The Nephilim was to give birth to a double album instead of what has become “Mourning Sun.” But I had doubts about that option. And the discussions with the band and my family gradually persuaded me that we were going in the wrong direction. There would have really been too much material to digest, and … all the music that we have composed is very intense … To release a double album would not have been very good, I am sure of that now. We thus prioritized the list of songs that became “Mourning Sun,” in order to present “the state of art.” It is really a batch of good songs but … at the same time, I would not say that it’s the best of what we’ve recorded. That being said, I believe that “Mourning Sun” surely represents, as accurately as possible, the Fields Of The Nephilim which I wanted to present in the year 2005. For me, it is as if this collection of different pieces of music were summarized into only one. It is a whole which precedes some other things, which are still in the process of becoming. They progress and will arrive in the world in other forms.

Are you implying that another album would be ready right now to come to the light?

McCoy: It is possible that some things take place in the next years, yes. We will see.

“Mourning Sun,” according to the titles which were finally included, suggest that you have taken a relative distance from the metal sound that was developed on “Zoon”. How would you describe your relation with this genre today?

McCoy: Well … I have not really listened to music for at least three years, unless it is in the background, to create an atmosphere in a room. When I return to a process of work, I separate myself from external creation.

There appears to have been astonishing upheaval in your process of creation, in what concerns you. You never wrote as much before, whereas the information given by your label specifies that the creative process proceeded over one “relatively short” period for “Mourning Sun.”

McCoy: This statement is based on the fact that I had a period of vacuum between the “Mourning Sun” demos and the final recordings you know today. I could not devote myself to this specific work anymore, during an uncertain period. And then … I do not know … things returned naturally, in a spontaneous and fast way, and probably much more intensely than all that had come on the creative level in my whole past. This process was an intense experience, and I believe that I keep a rather chaotic relation to time.

The wait is so long for us all, each time, Carl.

McCoy: Yes, but I believe … finally … I hope that we will know these kinds of problems less with the next releases of the band. We’re prepared now, and better than before.

“Mourning Sun” comes fifteen years after the last official album Fields Of The Nephilim recorded. How do you relate to the idea of artistic progress?

McCoy: “Elizium” was a record that was very interesting to make, and there was a long time in which it remained my preferred work of all that’s been realised by Fields Of The Nephilim. But with time, I felt a certain frustration with its content; I found weak points in it. It has a very good beginning and an interesting end, but I feel the middle of the album like a sort of depression. This is one of the factors which led me to create “Zoon,” which I hoped would convey the more intense forms of my writing. “Elizium” was rather difficult to perform in concert. It was physically rather boring to stay on the scene during these long titles … I did not really appreciate this particular aspect of things. What I wanted to do thereafter was to extract myself from that, to touch other dimensions. The problem of Fields Of The Nephilim for the period after “Elizium” was that there was not a collective entity in place able to push further the ideas which had germinated. It was a period in which we could not find ourselves anymore. What you see today better conveys this vision I wished to have happen, even more than my work with The Nefilim. It is perhaps nearer to the artistic concern as I knew it when we began Fields Of The Nephilim. At the same time, I cannot reduce “Mourning Sun” to that; it would be ridiculous.

Of course, but there are some footbridges between “Elizium” and “Mourning Sun,” for example the return of the atmosphere and also among conceptual choices. On “Mourning Sun,” one sees again how the songs blend from one to the next.

McCoy: Yes, but the approach of the new album was done in a very different way. First of all, “Elizium” was built by a stable and fixed line-up. And I also believe that it was a subject of compromise between all the individuals who worked above us. These “arrangements” are gone now. I have the feeling that the new Fields Of The Nephilim is not limited anymore in experimental terms. We are satisfied to complete simply what must be; the group is free. It is difficult to explain.

One of fundamentals of Fields Of The Nephilim also re-appears, this voice of yours, which at all times helped construct the band’s identity. What relationship do you have with it? Is this a part of yourself which preserves its mystery, even for you?

McCoy: My vocal approach has indeed remained an enigma for me, more than anything else, to this day. The process does not obey my control. I do not sit down in front of a desk to write, to sing … It behaves like something less controllable, more spontaneous. That occurs outside of my conscious states. I actually spend very little time working or carrying out my vocals; I am more monopolized by work on the instrumentation. Moreover, in the studio, often the first takes of the voice are the best. And if that does not work immediately, I do very quickly lose interest in this part of the work. I make a point of keeping the inherent naturalness in this approach. I always pursued my vocals in that way, and up to this point, that has functioned.

That being said, the mixes on the new album bring the vocals to the forefront. However, fans had become accustomed, in particular via “Elizium,” to hearing the vocals blending into the whole. Doesn’t that indicate that you are now assuming this part of work better than before?

McCoy: In the past, we used a certain type of production, but my ideas changed on this subject. That does not mean to say that I paid less attention to this aspect of the things; I am always vigilant. But on “Zoon,” I started to use the voice differently. Like an instrument, through the use of the effects. On “Mourning Sun,” I believe that the voice contains a more melodic direction. It was a question for me of putting it in agreement with the rhythmic movements. And all the people who invested themselves at my side on the new album asked me to push the vocals more to the front. I ended up agreeing with this proposal.

Did the writing of the new album become a completely solitary work, or did you leave a place for the musicians during this phase?

McCoy: The people who worked on the demos of “Mourning Sun” are the same musicians who played on the final recordings. They helped me to refine the writing. The tracks were very long at the beginning, and required important work on their structures and arrangements. In themselves, these things could be defended, no problem at all, but to integrate them into an album would have been too complicated. All in all, the final recordings remain rather faithful to the spirit of the first musical groundwork. And contrary to what happened with “Zoon,” the sessions for “Mourning Sun” occurred very naturally.

The treatment of the drums in particular gives a mixed feeling: they are not used excessively in the mix on “Mourning Sun,” and the way in which they’re used creates an electronic, programmed feel.

McCoy: Some of the percussion, situated at the bottom of the mix, was indeed programmed. Other parts were played on line. But for the most part, the rhythmic ones were created by a real human being.

The way in which you present this new era for the group provides a double impression: that of a disintegration of the collective known initially as Fields Of The Nephilim, and instead a focus on the entity surrounding yourself, mainly. That corresponds finally to the image which one keeps of your requirements with respect to Fields Of The Nephilim. What share of freedom do you really grant, with respect to that, to the musicians who surround you today?

McCoy: Well … I believe that I have a strong vision. I visualize the form; I am the guide of completion. But I wish to stress that I keep an open mind. Afterwards, I must admit that I don’t like to lose control. I appreciate keeping this control on each aspect of what we do, to guide each detail. I am guided by what I do; I always was like this and I am my ideas. Only the goal and the result are important; it works, and finally I believe that the method or the people are factors of secondary importance. The goal, on each title, is to reach the most complete form possible. All arises from the vision that I have, initially. That requires that the people who work with me know me well. In a sufficiently strong way, in any case, so that they can represent what I see, and can make it shine through Fields Of The The Nephilim.

Given what we could discern from the demos on this curious album named “Fallen,” it seems that your artistic visions separated at that moment from Tony Pettitt’s, who is no longer involved in Fields Of The Nephilim.

McCoy: “Fallen,” yes … As regards Tony, how can I say it … I believe that I really hold so that my vision is respected and comes across in the band’s sound. I fear that this postulate means that this project cannot exist apart from me. It is something necessary, inherent to Fields Of The Nephilim. I do not really know whether Tony could appreciate this current situation since we parted ways; I know that he has joined a new group (note: NFD, with ex-Nefilim drummer Simon Rippin, and the singer of Sensorium: Peter “Bob” White), but I do not really know what they do musically. What is important to me initially, is what I have to achieve. With Tony, we finished certain things together several years ago (note: these recordings were apparently kept separate after the release of certain demo recordings on “Fallen”). But today, I do what I wish, and on his side him also perhaps, I do not know …

“Fallen,” which exposed simple, dated and scattered demos, seemed to be released without your agreement. What did this publication induce for you on an emotional and creative level?

McCoy: Frankly, that moment was synonymous with a great disappointment on my part. And the same phenomenon seems to have reproduced itself with “Mourning Sun,” which was available on Internet before its release. There I had a similar feeling, in a rather sad way.

“Fallen” is the more obvious example of the problem, since after that release, Fields Of The Nephilim finished the studio sessions which we currently know only in the form of demos. Are these the same sessions that you described as being the origin of the new double-album, which fell through?

McCoy: No. We had already re-recorded these songs when “Fallen” appeared, but without the intention to use them in a direct way, because we were not satisfied enough with the final results. We then re-recorded with other musicians some of these same songs, and they currently repose somewhere … All that was then carried out by Fields Of The Nephilim for “Mourning Sun,” along with the music that will follow, by an entirely revamped line-up. They are purely new things, in fact.

“Mourning Sun” spent more time than previously envisaged to come to light. The official site announced a publication for the beginning of 2005, and here we are in November…

McCoy: We had too much music to our credit, in fact, and it took time for us to advance on all this work. Our projects followed a chaotic logic. For example, we had intended to publish a pre-release single and then reconsidered this idea. We were in fact in indecision, because we had accumulated so much material, that we asked ourselves some questions about the best manner of presenting this material. I believe that with regard to “Mourning Sun,” the final decisions emerged only in August 2005.

You maintained a certain mystery around the individual participations that nourished the new album. No one knows at the moment [note: we are in November 2005] who the persons are that helped you to finalize the instrumentations of the album, and I suspect that you will not say anything on this subject, but … a detail: does the fact that you assembled The Ice Cage (note: the name of Carl’s recording studio) as a mobile studio mean that you had to travel to find these people?

McCoy: To reach some of these individuals, I indeed had to move. But essentially, it is necessary that you understand that for several years, there has been a circle of people in whose company I invested my time in the music or other projects, like the visual one in particular. I’ve known these people for a long time, and I know they are very capable of creating or reproducing the sound which I want to obtain. More than this, I am a also musician and did not remain the “simple singer” of Fields Of The Nephilim. All appears possible to me from now on; I feel free from all restrictions. The fact of having an open line-up, and why not a mobile one, gives me a feeling of freedom. This was not the case when the line-up was fixed because that led me to reach the limits of the collective exercise. However, over the years, I wished to propel Fields Of The Nephilim towards another thing. I visualized what had to come, and it takes some time to bring people towards what I imagined. This time I organized it so that the current configuration of the group becomes strong enough to generate something strong and fresh. Today, something has changed. Perhaps forever.

The way in which you speak about new the line-up induces another mystery, which relates to the concert experience. Fields Of The Nephilim should return to the scene in 2006, but … will the musicians who will appear with you be the same ones as those which were involved with you on “Mourning Sun”?

McCoy: There is a strong chance that they’d be the same people, yes…

One could, however, have expected you to re-examine the people who invested themselves with you in The Nefilim, like Paul Miles (note: guitarist on “Zoon” and now with Subzeros) or Cian Houchin (bass player of The Nefilim and leader of Saints Of Eden) … Will this be the case?

McCoy: No … I will not pursue that option because there have been several years since I have kept in touch with them, and I think that their presence is not really necessary to defend the new album. Furthermore, I wish to reward the presence of those who were invested personally in the completion of “Mourning Sun.”

Will the songs of “Zoon” be included to the future concert setlists?

McCoy: Yes, moreover … why not? I believe that all that I contributed to create before remains valid. All of that represents me.

Will the visual aspect in your concerts know an evolution?

McCoy: Yes, definitely. I hope that Fields Of The Nephilim will reach new levels there too … but certain fundamentals will be maintained; I will not give up the hat …

With the distance that separates us today from the first era of Fields Of The Nephilim, what place do you think the original musicians of the group have had in the adventure?

McCoy: It was very a long time ago. I have not seen the majority of these people much in about fifteen years. I do not know, in fact … I am happy to do what I do today and I hope, I am sure that they are happy too. They all gave us something, it is very certain, and I believe that their ambition is still there. That represents, obviously, only me; I don’t wanna speak for nobody else. In what relates to me, I feel the initial process that started in the eighties with Fields Of The Nephilim has finished.

What makes you nourish the concept of Nephilim today? The reading, the journey?

McCoy: Mmmmh … Not the books, no … I believe just that it is my life, in fact. The Nephilim represent my absolute truth, what I say or what I feel. It is something which arises, at the same time, from the inside and the outside. There still, it is nothing that is really … explainable, I suppose. In any case, the artistic process which results from this through Fields Of The Nephilim remains something very spontaneous. There are certain forces around me which nourish the process, and which use me, all things considered. I do not conceive my work on an album by obeying a linear progression with a beginning or an end. In substance, I leave the center and I work around it.

Certain parts of “Mourning Sun,” in any case, cover a more religious aspect than the music known in the past …

McCoy: Yes. I believe that the album is closer than ever to my design of the Nephilim. I really hoped that this recording would have a strong presence.

Along your personal evolution, how have you built your relation to the rest of Humanity?

McCoy: Mmmh … it is difficult to answer that. In fact, I live in a way that is disconnected from the outside world. Obviously, I am there, in the world. But I do not know the meaning of that. The life that is given to us is very short. We must use it. Take it for what it is, carry it until its ends. It is difficult for me to say more.

There is, on the official site of Fields Of The Nephilim, a mysterious section dedicated to The Order Of The 24th Moment …

McCoy: The Order is something which existed during a long period, it is a kind of memory on the way in which we see The Nephilim. I do not know yet how The Order Of The 24th Moment will develop. I have some ideas, but … they are not developed enough yet. It is more of an engagement over time, a way of life, and it is not really a question of a “movement.” It is a part of me. I do not know why, or when, only under the threat of the whip (smiles). I know the whip (laugh).

There is another short section on the official site devoted to Sheer Faith, the entity under which you create the visuals …

McCoy: I had a great number of projects with Sheer Faith in these last years, in particular for video production. It is something which held me in life. But Fields Of The Nephilim remains for me a priority project with all that, and I see Sheer Faith more like an entity associated with this intention, at least in the immediate future.

There is already this short film presenting the group which one can see on the entry page of the official site …

McCoy: It is an extract of something which we did in the past, with the intention to use it for the group. Finally, that did not occur, which reduced this thing to the state of pure experimentation. We never really completed the work, and I did many other things such as this in recent years. Perhaps that will come to the light soon, I don’t know.

The clip supports the persona you’ve had since your appearance in the full-length movie “Hardware” … For that film, did you feel like an actor or was it more simple?

McCoy: It was not so simple… if that can be simple! The director of the movie had cast me before even asking me … It was just a question of being myself. I did not create a special persona through this experience … He called me back again to take part again in this kind of thing in the past two years. But I refused because of the high level of my personal activity.

Before penetrating the entity which became Fields Of The Nephilim, at the beginning, how had your life been organized on the artistic level?

McCoy: I was in another band, in fact. It did not have really a name, but I already carried in spirit a concept related to The Nephilim. And it was at that time that I met Tony Pettitt and Paul Wright (note: respectively bass player and guitarist of the first line-up of Fields Of The Nephilim). We had to go in the same place together, and thus we started to work. At that time, I realized that to carry out two bands would be an impossible challenge. I stayed with Tony and Paul, and I named the band Fields Of The Nephilim.

 

Fields of the Nephilim
Interview with: Carl McCoy, vocalist of the legendary “Fields of the Nephilim
“. McCoy left the band in 1991 but continued releasing albums. The band reunited in 2000 and a new album is due to be released this November 28th.
2005-11-23

Carl McCoy from Fields of the Nephilim. Hi Carl,
Regarding this album, what does is sound like? What style is it going to be, the new “Mourning Sun” album?
I take it that you haven’t heard it yet…

No, not yet
I think it’s very different from anything I’ve achieved in the past.
So, you can imagine what it’s not going to be a lot more than what it’s going to be like.
There are a few reflections of the past, involved in this new project- I see it as a Nephilim project that’s kind of updated to 2005.
It’s a bit more upfront, there are quite a lot of layers involved in it so I find it quite atmospheric.
I think it’s very fresh as well, I mean…it’s not relying on anything I’ve done before.
The common denominator is that I was involved in it, so it’s obviously going to have a thread that runs through it – which is there in the past as well, but I see it as quite a fresh and new album.
It is different, like every album I’ve made- from the last one to the one before it, they were all quite different from each other.

Where was it recorded?
In many places, really, I’m able to sort of transport my own studio equipment anywhere I need to go…even in an outdoor environment using generators to record; even if it’s just for the sake of recording reflections or ambience.
So we recorded in many different places, without the restrictions of just one studio this time- It has become fun, we did it because we could laughs
.

So it’s studio and live environments?
Yeah, studio based.
But sometimes we wanted to go outside to record. Especially some of the ambience sounds – I prefer recording everything myself rather than relying on any other source material.

What is the current lineup?
There is no current lineup, I kind of felt that it’s a bit unnecessary, for the project speaks for itself.
I’ve got people that I need to involve when I need to involve them.
I think it’s more important to get the true spirit of the vision of what I’m willing to achieve- so I think a set lineup is very restrictive and therefore unnecessary for me.

So it’s bringing musicians to record what you need?
Well, I record as well, I’m a musician as well; I can pretty much play anything.
Obviously, when it comes to the final recordings like drums and bass, I’ve got people there which assist me to put them down fluently and as they need to be; so it’s necessary sometimes.

Regarding your sound, did you use an outside producer or where you the producer of it?
I’ve actually produced it, though it wasn’t intentional, it’s not the way I was going to do it.
But it just kind of happened that way- I started working, writing and recording and one thing leads to the other and before you know it- you’ve ended up nearly completing the whole thing anyway.
If this is my vision so I’m ought to expect what I want to hear and how I want it to sound, then I suppose this puts me in a place where the obvious thing to do is produce it.

Are you also doing the recording?
Yeah, I was involved in that as well I’m afraid.
I don’t like doing that, it’s just how it turned out, I didn’t make any plans to do it that way.
It’s just that something it does, it happened on my last album so the final result was the “Zoon” project was pretty much all my recording and producing as well.
It’s not the way I always like to work, sometimes it gets hard to find someone with the right mind that can see it the same way.
The more I do it- it seems easy that if you want to do it and you’ve got an idea, you just
do it yourself.

Did you record on analog equipment in the past?
Yes, yes, we recorded on analog and digital as well… whatever it takes.

And today, digital?
Digital is convenient, but I still like a bit of analog touch so I still use it for certain things.
Generally digital allows you to compile your music easier.
Keep in mind that I come from the old school as far as recording goes.
So I’m able to use technology and old fashioned tape, except technology allows you to compile quicker, get instant feedback and use a larger amount of tracks so there is a sort of beauty in technology- as long as it doesn’t overtake and use you.

For me, the band has a lot of progressive influences. I hear a lot of musical differences in the layers
It depends on what you’re listening to, if you’re listening to things from the past or to what I’m doing now.
There were many personalities involved in the early days, different influences which probably show.
But with me, I’m not really influenced by them- I try to keep my blinkers on and shut
myself out from interferences.

In the past albums, there was a lot of interesting bass playing- will it be like that in the next album too?
“Morning Sun” has got some interesting bass, I’ve got a talented bass player so I think the bass will shine on certain tracks. Definitely.
This album is a bit more bass driven. I’ve kind of locked down the guitars and made them more atmospheric than in the last album.
So you have to listen to see what you think.

Did you record your vocals with effects or were they added in the mix?
No, I always record them generally.
But sometime I do my vocals live in front of the speakers as opposed to doing them in a booth with headphones on, I prefer to just do it in the control room.
I don’t spend too much time on my vocal because it makes me think about it too much and then I analyze it and tend to get critical- so I prefer to be able to just go strait at it and blast my vocals in at one time.

You use a lot of reverbs and delays on your vocals to enhance the richness of the dark voice- do you imagine them during the writing process or is it part of the production?
It’s a funny comment, because people say I’ve put my vocal much more up front in the new album.
I purposely done that, I’ve taken a lot of the effects off to make it purer and quieter.
No, I think it was just kinda blended with the production at the time.
I’m quite happy to hear my voice completely bone dry, I don’t need the effect. But sometimes they help.

But did you imagine them while writing the lyrics or was it something that just came with the recording?
Some of the extreme effects I definitely had in mind.
You can use effects when you’re actually performing. So sometimes I though about it when I was writing and sometimes some things are just like standard issues.

What are the main subjects you write about?
Most of it is influenced by the whole concept of the Nephilim entity, my own interpretation of philosophy due to my own experience.
I don’t think it’s about what we see and face in the physical plain- It’s more about feeling and outlets.
I write in way where me lyrics can be interpreted in different layers.
It’s hard to explain, I have to put it in to music to be able to write; I don’t just sit down with a pen and sing this or that, it’s all kind of hand in hand with the music.
I suppose it is intuition, it’s kind of natural- not anything that I’ve read about and make a conscious effort, thing just come to me

Are you a spiritual person?
I probably am, yeah.

And are you considered religious?
No. I’m not religious. I’m very independent and religion involves lots of people.
I don’t believe in the whole concept of it but I suppose you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. Do you?

What astrological sign are you?
What do you think I am?

You sound like a Cancer
No, I’ll leave it like that for you to guess it
That could take half an hour both laugh

I can say that you sound very unique and developing from album to album.
If I’d have to many an analogy- I’d say it’s like Pink Floyd, only darker and gothic.
Is that a good comparison for you?
Maybe…Pink Floyd was obviously quite and inspirational band for many people and they were quite experimental as well- so on that aspect I like it.
But we don’t have the hippy “touch”, we’re a bit stronger and a bit more serious.

So how would you describe your music?
I can’t categorize it. I’ve never been able to categorize it.
I’ve always seen myself as a composer as opposed to a musician.
And as a band, it’s an overall concept; each album is like a song to me, I like to use the space so there is a lot of flow in the music- lots of ups and downs which are probably close to the structure of classical music than just pure verse-chorus.
I don’t really write in that structure, or try not to- so the music becomes itself, unfolds in front of me when I start playing around with sounds.
So it’s hard to describe, something has to be listened to rather than explained.

What comes first- lyrics or music?
They don’t come in a particular order. I haven’t got a format for how it works- I’m always writing, but it doesn’t always end up as lyrics.
I’m always walking around with a pen and paper in my pocket, writing stuff down.

Have you done any cover versions? Live or on studio
We’ve done some in the past, a couple of strange ones.
We did “once upon a time in the west”, we also did a Roxy music cover “In every dream home a heartache” and on this album we actually did “In the year 2525” by Zager & Evans.

Have you ever had other artists doing remixes of you?
Not very often, I had remixes done by someone a few years ago- but it didn’t really workout.
It probably would happen in the future.

Why did you choose to do a Metal project- “Nefilim”?
It was a natural progression after “Elizium”, it inspired me to do something on the other side.
“Elizium” is so laid back and unenergetic, and so airy that I felt like I needed to do something which is a bit more intense.
Everyone has got a side to them that need to be expressed, so “Zoon” was the outcome of
that, something that’s been building up for a long time so It needed to happen.

Another thing I have to ask you is what is your favorite song and favorite album out of your releases?
“Dawnrazor”- the song itself and the “Dawnrazor” album.

And what is your most successful release?
I’m not really sure… I felt that the Nefilim album was quite successful when it came out- it was a very positive and good era, but I don’t know how successful it was in sales.

Is there any special show you remember more than any other?
No, not really, laughs we did a lot of shows.

Do you have other projects except “Nephilim”?
I create all my artwork and I’ve done some audio visual projects but Nepilim is the main way I conduct myself, the music is more important at the moment- so all my efforts are on it.

So you do artwork, like for covers?
I do, I made all my albums, and I’m doing audio imagery and the artwork for this album.
I’ve always been responsible for that because it goes hand in hand with what I do
.

Where did your image come from? The hat, the clothing… was it based on character you liked when you were young?
Probably a bit of that, but a lot of me. The dark-man image, I always found it fascinating when I was young.
There’s also kind of a practical approach, it didn’t seem wrong-It’s something I’ve adapted and adopted over the years.
It just fits my character and personality, it wasn’t like “we need an image”, it was already there.

Are you influenced by country music?
No.

Are you influenced by the “country” image?
Not really, no laughs
You’re referring to the clothes we wear and the hats, but it’s more Victorian or European.
There is a hint of a kind of a Nomad, a rebel or a loner which comes through with songs like “once upon a time in the west” and spaghetti westerns- I think there’s darkness there within those characters and it’s probably what we picked up somewhere along the road.
It fits, but no country music. laughs

The first time I heard you, when I was much younger, I noticed it had a Texan vibe- I always felt like it a Goth-cowboy
I’ve never really though about it like that, but looking back I can see that.

I heard your music before I saw the image so I didn’t know about the hats and all.
So that’s why I always told people it sounds southern, like southern-goth
That’s quite an interesting point; it’s never been pointed out to me before.
I remember we used to call ourselves spaghetti-metal.
both laugh

Tell me about the comics you appear in.
hehe what do you wanna know?

How did you get into it? Do you see it as a reflection of your personality? Do you like comics?
If you’re talking about the Marvel comics, I think that really came about because the artists were quite inspired by my music and what I was doing at the time as well as the image- so they took that and caricatured me into their comics; I think it’s a nice gesture and is quite amusing as well, it was done in a fun way- so why not?

Did it reflect your personality?
I don’t know, I haven’t really read it.

Oh. You haven’t really seen it
I’ve seen it, I’ve been seeing glimpses of stuff, but I haven’t really sat down.
It’s probably ok; it’s pure escapism, which is never wrong without.

It’s called Hellstorm, right? And who’s the guy who did it?
Yeah
Umm… God, I can’t remember his name at the moment.

What about the movie you appeared on?
Which one? “Hardware”?
Yeah, you played there…I read about it, never had the chance to see it
That was a long time ago, the director actually wrote me into the script so I couldn’t really refuse because it was me playing me.
It was ok, a good bit of fun, I’m the “angel of death” so I got to perform on the intro of and the end of the film; it was a good experience.

What is your connection to the Hebrew language?
There is probably no connection really, it’s something semantically translated- if you’re talking about the whole idea of “Nephilim” than that’s probably my connection and as close as it gets.

So you haven’t read any Jewish theology?
I read all sorts of things in the past, you have to…
Most of the stuff I read is translated.

So you just used the language for the words?
Many things are translated through different cultures and languages and I’ve always had a big interest in that.
It’s always a common denominator of what I’m looking for in language and has more to do with history and visions, the writing is the poetry itself and it is good to explore.
The Hebrew language is very expressive, but I have an interest

What do you think about the Internet and the file sharing?
My record is available out there, as far as I know now, though it’s not even out yet.
It’s sad in a way of there’s no surprise when the record actually comes out because people have heard bits of it.
It’s nice to have a build up for journalists and people like yourselves which can talk about the album to get people excited.
But people download it so all of the sudden it’s being talked about and reviewed before it’s time but hopefully it won’t effect sales, it happens to everyone now.
I’m not too keen on that side of the Internet.

Do you see yourself releasing albums for the Internet? I know a lot of artists are going to release albums for Internet use in the future
It’s not a bad idea, but to be honest I’m kind of old-fashioned.
I like to have the package, to have a hard copy, I like the artwork- I think it’s something that you kind of collect.
I think that if you just download a song, it strange, it feels like something is missing.
It’s ok for individual songs, such as singles, but I prefer to see it in its package- which you can do quite a lot with packaging which you couldn’t obviously download.
It’s probably got its place, but I don’t think it’s going to take over.

Do you like Metal music?
I like all sorts, really, though I don’t spend a lot of time listening to it and I haven’t bought a record for years.
I have a pretty wide taste in music: I prefer soundtracking kind of music and classical music nowadays rather than rock music.
I prefer listening to it but I don’t have a lot of time for it…I’m too busy trying to create my own.

What bands do you like?
I don’t really know. I’m not influenced by any; haven’t got any “heroes”.
I like bits of music by different bands, just not one band I can say they’re a good band.
I like songs and whoever plays them, but I can’t really nominate anyone- there isn’t anyone fantastic that I think everything they do is brilliant.

Who do you think is the most interesting vocalist you’ve ever heard?
It’s hard to say…I can’t think of a particular one really…can’t nominate one person
There are some interesting vocals out there that I’ve come across, but I don’t know their
names.

What do you think about the whole Gothic Metal style?
Again, it’s just a name or a label- I think music is music, so good music is good music.
I don’t like to categorize music- I don’t think it is right and there are too many subtitles now.
I don’t think you should limit yourself to just one particulate area.

Are you considered a rock or a gothic band by the attitude?
I think we refer to both, but I don’t know where we sit in either; I’m not sure about that, I’ve never really understood that.
I think it’s more to do with the attitude of the people we attract, with similar looks and lifestyle or similar thoughts.

What band was the first band you’ve heard?
Probably bands like T-rex and Alice Cooper were part of my life when I was growing up- that was when I was very young
After that- came the new wave movement, the punk movement,

What artists gave you the urge to be a musician?
Me, I think, because I started making music to fill a hole in me and the music I had in mind wasn’t there.
I kind of had to invent my own and I think that’s what we did.
It’s what guided me into music in the first place, to fill a gap- if there’s no music there that you want to hear, just do it yourself.
Using the lack of what’s not there rather than inspiration from what already existed.

What is the most influential thing you experienced before you were a musician and while being a musician?
It’s quite hard to think about that, just covering what I’ve received as lessons on the Nephilim has been the biggest influence on my life. Experiences I’ve had when I was young, too young to understand or explain lent me to do what I’m doing- I suppose the music has been inspired by that as well
The whole thing is still unfolded in front of me… I’m still inspired all the time, and I keep moving forward until one day, maybe if I’ll run out of inspiration I won’t be able to do it anymore- but I can’t see that happening.
It’s not one thing- it’s kind of the whole thing.

Another question that interests me: I saw your reunion in EuroRock 2000- journalists weren’t allowed to interview you or take pictures- why was that?
I don’t know…maybe we just had enough of it for that day, something it’s not convenient.
I don’t particularly like interviews, if I can avoid them- I will avoid them, the same with pictures.
It’s just a personal thing… but why that was there? I don’t know… maybe the press had a limited time to be there.

Thank you for your time, patience and interesting answers
Maor Appelbaum

Fields Of The Nephilim cast their gothic shadow again this month, with the release of EMI’s live Ceremonies package. Tim Jones caught up with frontman Carl McCoy to get his drift

FIELD RECORDINGS
It’s been nigh-on 30 years since singer and songwriter Carl McCoy first dusted himself off and trudged out of the post-apocalyptic Eastern wasteland – well, Stevenage – attired head to toe in black leather, his futurist Hardware drifter garb the perfect accoutrement for the foreboding rock noir crafted by Fields Of The Nephilim, a quintet fashioned after a Biblical band of otherworldy creatures, and steeped in the mythos of Cthulu, Sumerian occultism, Crowley-esque magick and the Order Of The 24th Moment. Along with the likes of The Cult and The Mission, they seered themselves into the Reagan-era zeitgeist with Dawnrazor (1987) and The Nephilim (1988), before the Wall came tumbling down and 1990 saw their own Elizium rise.

Aside from the collapse of the Evil Empire, 1991 heralded a parting of the ways for McCoy and his cohorts, who went on to form Rubicon, while their erstwhile leader re-emerged with The Nefilim by 1993. Stillborn reunions and the release of 1996’s Zoon and 2002’s Fallen demos collection served to partly satiate the band’s underground following, before Mourning Sun was unveiled in 2005 and the band eventually reconvened for a tour with The Mission and Gene Loves Jezebel in 2010. A record of that triumphant return, the Ceremonies CD/DVD, 2-CD/DVD and 2-LP, saw RC meet the behatted, permashaded Nephs’ singer prior to a film screening at a highbrow London hotel, where we asked if any new material is in the offing?

“Yeah. I’m always creating, musically, and I made a major start on new material four months ago. I’ve made a keen effort, though I also have a lot of tracks I’ve written over the past couple of years. But we’ve been gigging a lot, so I decided I’d start afresh. I’ve put touring on hold to concentrate on the studio, and I’ll be completing stuff in March.”

Do you have set times when you write?

No. I follow my nose. When it’s right it’s right. You can’t force anything hence things take longer than… other people would like! Normally it comes from a sensation or feeling that conjures up imagery and sounds, then you find a way of relaying that vibe. I’ve never worked in a formatted way of lyrics then music, or music then lyrics. It’s a bit of both. I like everything to be a challenge, and I don’t go back to things to make them work. You’ve got to craft it and go forward. I normally get ideas at night in my subconscious and you’ve got to be disciplined and get it down while that moment’s there, as the spark can go just like that. So I sometimes make the effort to jot stuff down, or put it in a recorder, quietly. But I can’t sing except at full volume, and I can’t wake the kids up, so I hum it. Next morning, it’s like, “that’s shite”!

Is there much still unreleased?

I’m afraid so. There’s a lot of material, including demos from off-shoots, Zoon, Fallen and Mourning Sun. I planned to release them but didn’t, and some of the finished songs may get released. Some of them are good and precious to me, and deserve to see the light of day. But not as a new release. As extra tracks, or with something brand-new. I’d need that for my own sanity, to feel good about myself.

Do you have cassettes from the early 80s?

Boxes and boxes. I recorded every rehearsal we did from day one and we rehearsed every day for years. Some are labelled and there’d be interesting stuff. Early versions of songs and, in fact, some blinding versions that are better. But to go through them and find them; I wouldn’t have time to move forward. Someone should sift them for me.

Did you ever collect vinyl?

Yeah. It was great to save your money, buy it, feel the weight, and go home without any preview, and it was a surprise to hear it. I loved that. I bought albums for the artwork, and I used to collect soundtrack window displays and posters. You had to put your name down. I’ve still got a lot of vinyl in storage, especially the alternative scene, like Magazine, The Cure. Though my first was Ride A White Swan by T Rex, and the first single was an Alice Cooper. I also got into blues and dub, as I went to a lot of Jamaican parties in London, with clouds of smoke everywhere. That was cool. But I don’t listen to music at home much nowadays. I choose not to.

Was your family musical?

My father was a guitarist in a band in the 60s. I had a record of his when I was a kid. I’m not sure what happened to it. He didn’t follow it up.

Did you keep your studio notebooks?

I have paper everywhere. Notes, scribblings, drawings. Books and books. I pick them out now and again and have a glance. “What was I thinking?” (laughs) You can see the development of a song. It’s like diaries. All my memories, everyone that’s ever visited me in the studio. The story of my life. But it’s messy. One day, I’ll get it tidy. I had a computer go on fire once, and lost data. So I prefer pen and paper. Though everything from the 90s, I bought a new machine for each project, so I have a museum of Apple Macs! And I have a lot of rare occult books. I used to pick them up on tour, due to boredom. But I learned that carrying heavy luggage is not a good idea. I’m the only one who never brings any of the rider home, ’cos I can’t be arsed to carry it!

If you could have anyone cover one of your songs, which, and by who?

The Bee Gees doing Dawnrazor would be quite interesting. I’m having a little giggle in my head.

Have you kept up with what the original band members have done?

We didn’t see each other for years after it fell apart, for all the usual rock’n’roll cliches, but I saw Paul and Nod [Wright] about six years ago, and I bumped into Tony [Pettitt] at Brixton before Christmas. I’ve not seen Pete [Yates] since 1991, so I’ve not a clue what he’s doing. But there’s no problem between any of us.

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

Yeah. I have a soft spot for classical compositions and that’d be something to achieve. I was talking recently to Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke, and he does a lot of classical pieces. He suggested it might be a way forward. As long as it excites me and it’s fresh. And I’ve got movie projects that I’ve started and not completed. I’ve dabbled in shorts, film, animations, and I’d like to do that, as well as getting my music into the mainstream. We’ll be doing some festivals and tour new material this year, and that’ll make me very happy.

Fields Of The Nephilim 2016

After what the band describe as an ‘annus horribilis’ in 2015, quintessential gothic rockers Fields of the Nephilim are back with a brand new single, Prophecy. We learn more…

After what the band describe as an ‘annus horribilis’ in 2015, quintessential gothic rockers Fields of the Nephilim are back with a brand new single, Prophecy.

It’s their first new music since 2005’s Mourning Sun album, and offers an early indication of the labours the band are undertaking to create a brand new Nephilim universe for 2016.

PRS for Music’s Amanda Gentle talks to the band’s Carl McCoy and Tony Pettitt about their difficult 2015 and learns what goes into creating that distinctive trademark Nephilim sound…

It seems like you’ve had a year of catastrophes…
Carl: We have had a few shows moved around and a show at the start of the year that didn’t happen even though we were out there ready to play.

Tony: Most of the people working at the event abandoned it as they realised they weren’t going to be getting paid, including security staff, so if we had played it could have gone terribly wrong.

What happening with the band right now? When you’re writing, is there a particular process that you all go through?
Carl: No it’s just chaotic. There’s no formula and shows you where it going. What about you Tony?

Tony: Sometimes things just kind of show themselves

What comes first for you, lyrics or music?
Carl: We normally get a vibe from something, just a noise, and sometimes it shows you the direction to take. We have always been quite experimental as a band since we started. We struggle to condense some of our music into a song as such.

Tony: Sometimes we’d start with a loop and just repeat it round and round and trance out. Then we’d start to find little changes within that.

What’s the longest piece of music you have come up with so far?
Carl: We did do some long versions of Psychonaught. Probably 20 minutes. Morning Sun is quite long actually. When it hits the 10 minute mark you have to say hang on a minute here (laughs).

Does anything else feed into the writing process or is it purely about feeling? Where does anger come in?
Carl: You have got to have an attitude involved in it. When we started out we wanted to fill a gap and we were a bit fronty about it. We wanted to have an attitude. It’s not about floating about like a lot of hippies. There’s the anger as well and you can’t have one without the other.

Tony: We came around at the end of the punk scene so we played with a lot of punk bands at our first gigs. You had to have the right attitude to win people over.

What’s been key to your success?
Carl: Not doing much (laughs)! We are for real and we have seen bands come and go but we are still what were originally about. I’ve not got what I want out of it yet. Life goes quite fast.

We are longstanding because people can believe in us, what we do and the experience. We did it for the lifestyle and because we wanted to play live and create music. You find a way of affording to do that. If you do it for money you may as well forget it. You have to sacrifice quite a lot and believe in yourself.

Tony: Some people fall by the wayside because they just don’t have the passion for it anymore. There’s no point in doing it for the sake of it. People says it pretty tough now but we found it hard in the beginning too.

What’s the plan for 2016?
Carl: We definitely need to put some new material out. It will be fresh material, not regurgitated. I feel quite excited about that. I still believe we have got the best music to come. We are going to do some touring on the back of that too.

CORNERSTONE VOL. 19 ISSUE 18, 1989
FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM INTERVIEW
BY CHRIS RAMSEY

In the past few years, we’ve run into a number of rock groups who sing about Satan, death, and destruction. Yet when questioned about their personal beliefs, they invariably say their gruesome lyrics are only a tongue in cheek gimmick to satisfy their fans and sell their records.

But this isn’t always the case. Carl McCoy, lead singer of an emerging new band from England called Fields of the Nephilim, admits that his lyrics originate from his involvement with the occult. Backstage at Chicago’s Cabaret Metro, McCoy looked as if he’d walked straight off the set of an Eastwood spaghetti western – leather holster, beat up hat, and a long black gunslinger’s coat.

Cornerstone: How did you come up with your name?

McCoy [CM]: The Nephilim was something I’d known about since I was really young. I was brought up quite religiously. If you’re familiar with the first book of the Bible, Genesis, you see the sons of God seduce some race of the women on the earth and they produced a race of people known as the Nephilim. According to legend they taught man about war, astrology, and magic. I’m fascinated by the idea.

C: In the lyrics of one of your new songs, “Celebrate”, go “you find new highways, and you’ll turn, find new highways, but lady you’ll burn.” Are you talking about a type of hell?

CM: Kind of. that song stems from my interest in the occult.

C: So you do admit to having an interest in the occult?

CM: Maybe I’m being too honest. But the occult is my life. And then there’s the band. But it’s not something we try to put across to our audience. I don’t really feel I’m preaching to people. I’m opening up a different wolrd for them. People in England have been really prejudiced against me for that. I think Americans in general are a lot more open-minded about subjects like this, which is really comforting.

C: What kind of experiences have you had with the occult?

CM: I’ve had a lot of experiences to convince me that there are other entities. I’ve felt the sensations of spirits in my house. My father was quite interested in these subjects when I was younger. He read a lot about it, but I don’t think he dedicated his life to it. He’s not involved now.

C: In the song, “The Watchman”, are you describing someone going down into hell?

CM: It’s quite destructive. According to certain beliefs, there’s a god of the underworld, a real dark master. Several old cultures believed this god is in the form of a sea serpent, and they say it’s going to come back one day and reclaim its power.

C: Is this the god Cthulu, you mention?

CM: Yeah, its an ancient, evil god that lived on earth before man existed. The opposing forces battled with it and won. But some books say the ancient gods are going to rule again. “The Watchman” is basically an invocation to Cthulu.

C: We’re interested in spiritual things too. Do you believe in God?

CM: I don’t believe in it as a separate entity. I don’t believe there’s a person sitting in heaven. I believe God’s part of you.

C: What are your thoughts about Jesus Christ?

CM: I believe that He existed. but He was nothing more than a very clever, powerful master magician, who was capable of performing great illusions. There were a lot of hallucinogenic drugs in those days. After all, the Bible is an old book, and possibly it’s gotten distorted. There’s probably truth in it, but I think there are things missing. I’m pretty young, and I’ve obviously got plenty to learn.

C: Do you ever read the Bible yourself?

CM: I was forced to read it when I was young.

C: But Carl, have you ever gone back now and seriously looked at it thinking this could be the truth?

CM: Yeah, I have. I believe a lot of the predictions in the Bible, especially in Revelation.

C: You believe in that book?

CM: Yeah. The Bible’s all right, but it’s been made to sound like such a story that it looks quite unreal. I don’t mean to put it down, it’s just the way religion puts it across nowadays. In England it’s horrible that from the minute you’re born, you’re told to do this, and you’re told to believe that. I just couldn’t accept it, because I didn’t want someone telling me what to do with my life.

C: I think those feelings are pretty universal. A lot of us here in America were raised in the Church, and we didn’t like it either. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a living relationship with the real God, Jesus Christ. If he really rose from the dead, which I believe, then He is who He said He was. And if that is true, then I’d better be in right relationship with Him.

CM: I won’t take one book and base my life on it. I’ve learned things from a lot of books. I don’t stick to any systems.

C: But what’s the guarantee that the outcome of your beliefs is going to be any better than anyone else’s?

CM: Well, I just do it for myself. I don’t want to tell other people what to do. I don’t care about other people.

C: How about your fans, though? That sounds awfully selfish. Are you really saying that you don’t care about all those people you’re singing to?

CM: Yes… In a way. It’s just part of my whole experiment of life. I’m genuinely into this because of the music we create out of it. …the feeling it gives me. I think a lot of people get that feeling in the audience, and so in that sense I’m not holding anything back from them. And if they don’t want it, they don’t get it.

C: But if you think you’ve found a good thing, Carl, and if you’re having fun experimenting with the occult, wouldn’t you want other people to do it, too?

CM: No… I think it’s very dangerous. There are a lot of very immature-minded and very weak people in the world and I think they could end up over-powering and attacking people.

C: In the the occult they could end up killing others or even themselves?

CM: I think you could if you’re unstable.

C: What do you do with it?

CM: I’d rather not discuss that. But I think a lot of people watch too many films and their interpretation of the occult is sacrificing women and children. Of course, all sorts of crime goes on nowadays. I don’t think I should say exactly what I do with it and how I do it, because I’m still learning. I don’t really want it all written down. It’s private. When I’ve got it right, then maybe I’ll let everybody know.

C: Do you believe in a real devil?

CM: I believe there’s a real devil and a real God in everyone. I think people are capable of being possessed by demons and other foreign entities. But I don’t believe that there’s a man sitting below the ground with big horns and and that.

C: I believe in a real God, a personal God…

CM: Oh really?

C: Yes. I believe in the God of the Bible-you know, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And I also believe in a real devil because the Bible teaches that too. Now I don’t know what the devil looks like, but I believe he’s at work today. The Bible says he’s the god of this world-the ruler of the principalities and powers. He’s got influence right now, but not for long. Religion can’t defeat him. But the real Jesus Christ already has.

CM: Why do you believe in a real being?

C: Well, I believe that He was a real man, who walked this earth just like you and me, but He didn’t sin a single sin. He came to show us the way to God the Father.

CM: …But what’s He done for you? Have you got proof?

C: If you knew me before I gave my life to Him you would see proof. He’s changed my life – that’s what He’s done for me. So much so that I’m willing to lay down my life for Him and to follow His teachings the best I can. And this has been going on for the last fourteen years.

CM: Would you give up your life for Him, right now?

C: Yes, if God had me in some situation where that was required of me, Yes, I would die for Him.

CM: This is an interesting conversation, the most interesting interview I’ve had yet… But I can’t live under anyone’s rules. I cannot be dominated by anyone, a god or whatever.

C: Did you ever think about the fact that you might be being ruled by Satan, as well as your own fleshly desires? But when you accept Jesus, He gives you a new set of desires and the power to live a godly life. We can’t do it on our own.

CM: Why not? I believe we can do it on our own.

C: But what are you achieveing? What is your real purpose? Are you here just to enjoy yourself? Do whatever you want to do?

CM: (lengthy pause) No.I don’t think my purpose is simply to have a good time. I’m not like that. I don’t live the rock’n’roll lifestyle-I don’t drink a lot, I don’t take a lot of drugs, I don’t take any women. I don’t desire to be filthy rich, so I can lounge about the rest of my life. I’m here to gain knowledge, and I’m receiving knowledge from somewhere. And that knowledge came to me through my subconscious, even before I started looking at the appropriate books. So I believe I’m here for a reason, definitely.

C: How do the other guys in the band feel about your involvement with the occult?

CM: They can’t complain because it gives me inspiration to write our songs.

C: Do you believe there’s life after death?

CM: I believe there can be. I think when most people die the make-up of their energy and spirit is so weak that it becomes situated in other beings.

C: I believe that channelling power comes from the lying spirits telling you different messages that are not from God. But I also believe there are people who simply trick you.

CM: I believe that. There are a lot of fakers in all walks of life. Do you believe in reincarnation?

C: No, I don’t. The Bible says you die once, and then there’s going to be the judgment.

CM: Whew!

C: I know these are heavy thoughts, but I think we all need a healthy fear of God. We need a true reverence, because if we’re going to stand before a holy God, there’s no way we can make it unless we’ve taken Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. That’s the only way. Nobody can be good enough, that’s why Christ had to come.

CM: What do you mean no one can be good enough? I mean, I’ve never been that bad. I’ve never murdered. Sorry I’m moralising that I’m good. But I’m better than most people.

C: But the Bible teaches that we’re all born in sin. I’m sure you’ve done a few bad things in your life. But badness isn’t just an act, it’s our permanent state. What it really comes down to is are we here just to satisfy ourselves? Or were we really created by God so that we could love and worship Him? Can we know this Personal Being as a Personal Friend?

CM: That Personal Being has never done anything for me.

C: That’s where I encourage you not to close off.

CM: Well, I only close off when I sense that someone is against me and my beliefs.

C: I care about you as a person. That’s a big part of the reason I came by to see you. And I feel I must warn you, if you continue to delve into the occult, you’ve got to know that you’re messing around with fire.

CM: I don’t think there’s any harm in it. I don’t think I would harm anyone.

C: That’s what a lot of people think. But the devil is a deceiver and a liar. He’s the father of lies. And so it’s not suprising that he continues to blind people to their need for God, and this is why the world is lost.

CM: It is lost….

C: It is lost without Christ. And you’re a part of that world, so you you’re lost too.

CM: I am kind of lost. I was very lost, but I seem to have found the pathway again.

C: Just remember the Bible says that Satan appears as an angel of light. So what he offers can look good on the outside, but it really isn’t. Let me ask you a question – do you believe that there are sincere Christians today?

CM: Real Christianity is far from where it is today. It was a lot more magically inspired.

C: That’s what you believe. But real Christianity is laying down your life for your brother. That means truly helping people. Real Christianity is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your sould, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…”and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” I live in a Christian community that works with the poor and homeless. We’re not perfect, but were trying to put our money where our mouth is.

CM: That’s the difference.

C: But the only reason we’re doing it is because of our personal relationship with Christ. We’re not better than anyone else. It’s just that He’s radically changed our lives.

CM: How did He change your life? I mean, normally people only change after they’ve taken a lot of drugs.

C: I admit I did take a lot of drugs before I turned to the Lord. I used to trip, smoke pot, and I did a little coke here and there. This was back in the early seventies.
C: I was going to college, living your average party-type life. But after a while, I came to a point in my life where I was really worried about where I fit in this world, because nothing really interested or fulfilled me. I tried four different colleges, different jobs, and nothing was making me happy. I was reading the Bible and other books, but it wasn’t until I cried out to God to show me where I fit in that I was touched by Him.

CM: I’m not saying you’re wrong, because it obviously works for you. It works, you believe it, you feel happy, you’re a good man. I like talking to you. You’ve just found a different way of doing it than me. I’m happy. I feel like I’ve never done all the wrong things and then discovered it. I’ve been guided subconsciously through my life by different co-entities or spirits.

C: And you’ve had experiences?

CM: Yes, I’ve felt that presence, I’ve felt that breathing… in a cold room. I’ve felt that breathing down my neck. And I mean, it’s scary.

C: I believe you. And I believe that presence is an evil presence. My God’s a beautiful God, all knowing and all-loving. If we reject this loving God’s only Son, we’re rejecting His one way of coming back into right relationship with Him. If we don’t accept God’s love, only the fear is left.

CM: I believe in myself and I don’t believe what you believe.

C: Thanks for taking time to talk with us. One of us is right, and one of us is wrong. What I’m afraid of is how much you’ve opened yourself to some dark forces, and I want you to know that I’ll be praying for you. I’d also like to send you two books on the occult – “Encircling Eyes” by Os Guinness, and “Between Christ and Satan” by Kurt Koch.