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Sumerland: Press: McCoy on Austin Osman Spare from “AOS: A Celebration”


Dal web spunta una vecchia intervista di Andrew Collins a Carl McCoy dei FieldsNephilim, in cui racconta della genesi occulta dei suoi lavori, in particolare di Elizium, in cui le idee dell’occultista Austin Osman Spare hanno guidato la realizzazione dei capolavori oscuri e ipnotici della band. Un significativo estratto (in inglese):

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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