Neil, first of all tell us about yourself, please: where
and when were you born,
where did you study and what were you doing?
I was born in 1967, in a village near Nottingham (home of Robin Hood), a
city roughly in the centre of the UK. I left school - something I didn't
really enjoy - when I was 16 years old. I grew up in a very middle class
housing estate, but because my dad was out of work a lot of the time we never
had much money. Because of this I always felt different from the people I
grew up with, and it always gave me a different outlook on things. I
eventually moved into Nottingham itself, and lived there until 1998, when I
moved to Norwich, situated in the east of the UK.
As I understood, you have a large collection of "independent"
What made you to become keen on music?
Ever since I can remember, I've liked music. My mum was a music teacher
and there was always music in the house. I've always liked variety in music
and can't understand why people restrict themselves to only one kind of
music. I'll listen to anything as long as it's got some creativity or
intelligence behind it, and I'm sure it's no coincidence that most of the
music that falls into these categories tends to be found on independent
labels. I've been collecting music on numerous formats since I was about 10
years old and I see no sign of stopping yet! Because of my varied tastes I
like to have around me as much music, of as many different types, as I can.
Is Virus.Con your first musical experience? Have you participated in any projects before?
Virus.Con is my second musical venture. For a couple of years in the
mid-nineties I was the singer in an industrial band called 'Skin Limit Show'.
We were really good but split up for various reasons - I like to think we
were a little ahead of our time! Incidentally, Matt, who played guitar in
'Skin Limit Show' afterwards played guitar for 'Pitchshifter' for a while.
Your CD "M.H." seems to be a very cruel answer
on the events on
september the 11-th. Before this I met only two polar characteristics
of Bin Laden: a Devil or a Messiah. And you put both Bush and Bliar
in one line together with him. It is so original that needs some explanation.
Without doubt, the tragic loss of life on 11.09.02 was absolutely terrible
and unacceptable. My anger was more directed towards the response of both the
US/UK governments and the media. The UK and mainland Europe have been
experiencing terrorist attacks for the last 30/40 years. Since the end of the
second world war, the US have ridden roughshod over most of the world -
invading countries with their military and their corporations, meddling in
other countries politics because of heir reliance on oil, even starting wars
over it - remember Desert Storm? And all the while the US have done this,
they've gotten away with it. 11.09.02 was their wake-up call, and had it just
been property that was destroyed (which can, let's face it, be replaced) I
would have applauded such an audacious attack on America's corporate and
military centres. But the loss of life far outweighed anything else. In my
mind, Bush, Blair and Bin Laden are all as bad as each other. All three are
responsible for sending innocent people to their graves, all three are
warmongers who care nothing for other people as long as they maintain their
own power and control. Both sides are fighting for a cause that is flawed -
religion and capitalism. If on positive thing has come from the whole
tragedy, it is that it now appears that the American public is now far more
aware of events outside their own country. And now we seem to be rolling
inevitably towards another gulf war, despite the fact that Hans Blix (the
chief UN weapons inspector) has declared that there is no evidence of Iraq
having weapons of mass destruction or the ability to produce them. Another
interesting fact - the main supplier of arms and funding to Al-Quaida is
Saudi Arabia, coincidentally, the biggest supplier to the US of oil.
Meanwhile, Iraq have few, if any, connections with Bin Laden. The reason? Bin
Laden wants Islamic nations ruled by priests, whereas Saddam Hussein is a
military dictator with little interest in Islam - the two are poles apart and
do not support each other. In the last gulf war, the US military trained
Al-Quaida to assassinate Saddam Hussein, and when the Russians were in
Afghanistan, the US supplied and trained Al-Quaida via the CIA. Finally, the
US and UK governments are using the whole sorry situation to bring in a bunch
of restrictive, racist, discriminatory laws - under the umbrella of
anti-terrorism - that are nothing more than martial law.
What are your political views? What do you think about
About modern democracy (like in the USA or Great Britain)?
I've never liked being told what to do - by parents, teachers, police,
bosses, anyone. I would probably describe myself as a realistic anarchist. I
have no party political allegiance - to me they're all power-hungry lunatics
with no interest in the individual or individual thought. As far as I'm
concerned, as long as you're not hurting anyone, you should be able to do
whatever you want to do. Example - why should the rich be able to tear around
the countryside on horses, chasing a fox which their dogs will then rip to
shreds, while I can't smoke marijuana in the privacy of my own home? As for
modern democracy US/UK style, forget it, it doesn't exist! The US has two
main political parties, which, other than their names, are exactly the same.
It's pretty much the same here in the UK. Certainly in the western world we
are now ruled (through sympathetic politicians and the laws they pass) by a
handful of multinational corporations controlled by the rich. At the end of
the day they're all as bad as each other.
Tell us about "England's Dreaming", please
Review from e-zine Fracture Online:
VIRUS.COM - "England's
Dreaming" CD-R/ 30:34.
England's Dreaming was my response to the Queen's Golden Jubilee and all the
accompanying hysteria. It seemed to me that the upper class
establishment, through the media it controls, used the whole thing to
consolidate their own position of power, while keeping the average person in their place. We're one of the few countries in the 'developed world' to still have a constitutional monarchy and it was something that I wanted to protest about. 25 years on from the original God Save The Queen by the Sex Pistols and little has changed. We're still being told what to do by the 1% of the population that have an interest in the whole charade continuing.
You know, I think too much about your attitude towards John Lydon: I respect him deeply for the "Sex Pistols", for the fact that he left them in time, for the "P.I.L." (it is one of my Top 10 bands)...; on the other hand, I see that he earn good money on his declaration of hate to the "system", actually, he feels well in this system and I don't know about his contact with any of left politicians or musicians. and after the "Sex Pistols" united in the begginning of '90, I was upset by him as a person! Neil, may be you know more about him, anyway, it is interesting to know your opinion about this person.
John Lydon is a tricky one. But, at the end of the day, he's a human
being, with the foibles and double standards that that entails. Ever since I
first heard Anarchy In The UK, he's probably been the biggest influence on my
life, kick-starting the whole punk movement and encouraging a whole
generation to get out there and do something. He has also been very honest.
The Pistols never said they weren't after the money, hey were never an
obviously political band, they were a rock n roll band who broke the rules
and made up their own. I personally was pleased when the reformed because it
meant I could actually see them live - and when they played last year it was
on my birthday, so I had to go! Unfortunately, I've never met him though, so
I can't claim to know him. But maybe one day we'll collaborate! He has also
produced some of the finest music in the last 25 years with the Sex Pistols
and then P.I.L.
Using the samples of different songs aren't you afraid
of copyright rules?
As I can judge from our mass media, it is very strict with it in the USA and Europe
My view on samples is simple - I only use samples from songs I like and
wish I could have played myself. I've decided on all my future recordings I'm
going to list the source of all the samples I use (they're all taken from my
own CD collection) so that I can't be accused of hiding anything, and I also
send a copy to any band I've sampled. As for copyright law, I don't have any
money so it'd be pointless suing me!
What do you think about Chumbawamba? What are the best
from your point of view?
Chumbawamba were cool. They stuck to their principles for years, then
signed to EMI, after spending years protesting against such major labels, so
I lost interest in them after that. For me, the Clash inspired the best
political band - Crass. Like the Pistols, but in a far more political way,
Crass inspired a generation of people to question authority and live their
lives their own way. They certainly changed me and the way I live my life.
There are, of course, other bands of importance to me - Dead Kennedys/Jello
Biafra, MDC, Conflict, Subhumans, Discharge, Rudimentary Peni, but Crass were
the ones that changed me.
What can you recommend among the UK scene?
One of the reasons I started Virus.Con was that I was so fed up with the
whole music scene. So many bands these days find a poplar formula and become Green Day/Marilyn Manson/Korn clones because it's easy to do. There are very few bands out there taking risks and pushing back the boundaries. I don't think the wholesale corporate takeover of musical genres has helped - major labels and MTV dictate popular tastes ensuring nothing new is played,
promoted or signed, and god help you f you've actually got something to say!
Three UK bands I can recommend though are The Inciters, Protection Racket,
Neil, tell us please about you favourites in literature and movie.
Fave movies; Clockwork Orange, Natural Born Killers, La Haine, Dobermann,
The Devils, Quadrophenia, Usual Suspects, JFK, Nosferatu, American Psycho,
Lost Highway, Citizen Kane, Casino, Run Lola Run, Priscilla Queen of the
Fave books; the Football Factory trilogy by John King, American Psycho by
Bret Easton Ellis, stuff by HP Lovecraft, Poe, De Sade, Robert Heinlein, the
Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.
What are your attitude towards religion? Answer if you want to
My opinion of religion is pretty much the same as my opinion of political
parties - I don't like being told what to do or what to think. I understand
that people need a crutch, something to bring meaning to their lives - and
their death, we seem obsessed by what happens after we die (I can tell you
now - we rot in the earth if buried, or get blown away in the wind if
cremated!). Bizarrely, I probably lead a more 'Christian' life than a lot of
christians, mainly because I don't go around killing other people because
they don't share my beliefs. Organised religion has caused more wars and
killed more people, both directly and indirectly, throughout the centuries
than any other organization. Much like the class system here in the UK, it is
a racist, sexist, outmoded dinosaur that has long past its time for
We've learnt about Virus.Con from the review in the
e-zine Fracture Online.
What is the effect from the reviews in internet? Can you deal your secret with us?
So far I've had little effect from the Internet. I'm still very much a
novice - Virus.Con hasn't even got a website yet, though there will be one at
some point! Your magazine is the only one so far to have contacted me further
and I think it's really cool that you're taking an interest.
Tell us please about BlackRed Records: are you going
to release only
your own music or other bands also? (Right now, if you want, you can tell
the readers to send you their demo-tapes).
BlackRed Records came about due to the 100% lack of interest from the
record companies I sent demos to. So I thought, 'what's the original ethic of
punk - DIY, do it yourself.' So I did. I already did all the production, the
artwork etc!.so I just took things to their logical conclusion; release the
CDs myself! It also had the added attraction that I would have complete
artistic control. I'd love to hear from RA readers, but I can't guarantee
releasing stuff. I do everything at home, including making the CDs, o it's
not a major operation! But certainly send me stuff, I'll definitely reply.
This winter you are going to release a new album - can you tell some words about it?
I've got two new releases due out in the next few months. The first is a
four track CD single, with a cover of a song by Jello Biafra/Nomeansno called
'Jesus Was A Terrorist'. This will be released at the end of March. Then I
will be releasing a 12 track CD album titled 'Eintarten Musicka Industrie'.
This is the term the German Nazis used in the 1930's to describe music they
considered degenerate and subversive (generally anything by Jewish artists,
but also anything by communists/anarchists/homosexuals etc.!). The whole album
is my response to the way that the mainstream music industry has taken every
form of music and made it safe by ensuring (through their ownership of the
press/TV/record companies) that any music, which actually has something to
say, is ignored.
Do you have something to tell our readers personally?
DIY - do it yourself! If you want to start a band, start one! Do what you
want - don't let people put you off. If it feels right to you then keep at
it! Eventually someone else out there will take an interest. The whole point
of punk is DIY. You CAN do it yourself! Buy a cheap guitar or sampler, if you
can't afford it - steal it! Have some guts! Where do you think the Pistols
got all their gear from?! And if people slag you off? Fuck them! True friends
stick by you, the rest are leeches who aren't worth the effort! We don't need
the likes of MTV and their IPC publishing colleagues, we CAN do it without
them. Be subversive, take a stance, and reclaim what's ours before it's too
Love and peace. Virus.Con 2003.
Hope they're okay.
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