I dig art performances. I dig dark music. I dig crazy weird comics and comic book people.
So imagine my black-clad gothic delight when I recently discovered that grapic novels’ greatest antihero and bonkers Englishman Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, Lost Girls etc) had worked with photographer Mitch Jenkins and a cabal of alt-musicians (Faith No More’s Mike Patton, DoseOne and others) on a spoken-word/photographic/music performance piece called Unearthing.
And when I heard that Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai was also involved? Holy excitability, Batman! So, naturally, I did what any self-respecting rock geek would do. I emailed Stuart for more info.
So, @Plasmatron, what’s the deal?
“I’m a massive Alan Moore fan. My favourites by him are Miracleman and From Hell. I heard about the project online somewhere, I can’t remember where. So I offered my services and played guitar on quite a few songs, though they were already quite a way to being complete by the time they got to me. I didn’t write the music, but I can say that it’s very atmospheric and interesting and complements Alan’s story really well.”
But, Braithwaite said, “you should talk to Adam Drucker” (aka DoseOne/aka one half of Crook & Flail with Andrew Broder, who produced the score).
Okay. I will.
So, DoseOne, what’s the deal?
How did you get involved with Alan and the project?
Tom Brown from Lex Records, met Mitch Jenkins…the idea of unearthing was brought up…and then Andrew and I heard about, and to be honest, were all over it. It sounded both perfectly challenging, and unbelieveable…
When did it all come together or get recorded?
Over a two year period, a few months of studying the text…then recording, a la jam session….and that was refined and fleshed out for a full year. Then we did another big, Adam-and-Andrew-Together clarity session, and went to mix. It was by far the most expansive, tedious, and new music making I have ever done.
Aside from Stuart, Justin Broadrick from Godflesh and Mike Patton, are there other musicians involved?
Yes, the immaculate Zach Hill…and more close friends including Paul Metzger, Matt Darling and Mike Lewis.
How were the musicians selected or did they get in touch with you/Alan?
Stuart got in touch, the rest were hand-picked by us, sort of went with who could handle adding to this, since the only rule was “follow Alan”. We chose wisely, for folks that could perform both with such wide-open parameters and enough music-making experience, to add to a 10-minute exerpt of an otherwise two-hour macrocosm.
What’s been your experience with Alan so far? Any feedback? What’s it like working with him?
We had nothing but bright, genuine feedback throughout recording, and then when we did the shows together, it was pretty much heaven. It’s one thing to meet an idol, and have him be nice to you, but Alan was genuinly there, engrossed, and in the room. It gave me a lot of hope in many ways, to see an eccentric, brilliant character, not dulled or deadened by the modern world. He was downright inspiring…we also smoked many a joint and got along famously in the small talk and laughter realms.
What’s the coolest thing about the project that people might not know about from initial reports? Ie, any secrets or interesting tidbits you can reveal?
Andrew and I recorded everything blindfolded…nah. But there are rumors about a sequel, how’s that?
Where and when will it open? I’m presuming it was a stage production but will people be able to get a recorded version?
The recorded version will be released nowish, on Lex, and the book version too. And we plan on doing another big show in London [Editor’s note: the last ones were held in London on July 28 and 29]. Hopefully we will record that one, the gigs were something else entirely.
What’s the overall story about? I know it’s sort of about Steve Moore, one of Alan’s “occultist” friends. But what’s the vibe and story like? Can you give any details?
Ooofff. It is the saga of Stephen Moore, both meta and physical. It’s best to let Alan tell it, I believe
What about the music?
The music is molded and evolved around Alan’s text. We help broaden and fleshout his already-vivid images, and at points, just help the massive amount of information go down smoother. We are the bells and whistles, and every once and a while we let the cat out of the bag. Its colors are from noise to electronic to drone to classical and back again, it seldom stays in one place for more than three minutes across the two-hour stretch that is Unearthing….
Are you a major Moore fan? What’s your faves?
Yes and yes….Watchmen, for sentimental reasons, and the point in my young life that it came to me. But I have it all. Right now, I am busy reading all of Alan’s awesome diatribes in dodgem logics. It’s like a sauna of facts and bright ideas.
The Unearthing Box Set is available from Lex Records. For more Alan Moore and on Unearthing, check out the extensive coverage and video in the New York Times.\m/
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