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Jarboe, P. Emerson Williams and a part of their soul

Jarboe, P. Emerson Williams and a part of their soul
BANDS : Jarboe

We all know Jarboe from Swans because she was a member of the band until 1998. Besides the projects she developed along with Michael Gira, Jarboe has a wide-range of records made by her own and her music just continued to touch new levels of intensity. This autumn she started touring together with P. Emerson Williams who we recognize because of the avant-gardist occult project to which is added the black metal style, Choronzon. P. Emerson is also dealing with other musical projects and he will talk about this in the lines below, including some words about his activity in the visual art field. 

Their tour started in America, will reach Australia and New Zeeland and will continue through Europe, including Romania and then ending in Russia.

Within an interview for, Jarboe said that she came before in Romania during a tour in 2004, so we asked her about this thing too.

P. Emerson Williams & Jarboe

Metalfan: Hello Jarboe and hello mister Emerson and thank you for giving us the chance to make this interview. So, are you both fine? How are the preparations going for the tour? It seems to be a lot of work for you since you will deal with a long and quite interesting journey.
P. Emerson Williams: The best things will tend to require tons of work and this tour is no different. The effort that goes into every aspect and every stage of preparing for it is part of the joy of the process. I couldn't be more excited.
Jarboe: Work is all I know. Touring is always hard work. It’s the nature of the beast.

Metalfan: Regarding the crowd, the atmosphere and the place, what do you expect from the show you both will perform in Bucharest?
P. Emerson Williams: I know it's going to be a great evening. I've heard great things about the crowds of Bucharest and Control Club is a favourite venue of many touring bands.
Jarboe: To have a personal and mystical moment.

Metalfan: P. Emerson, would you tell us how did you get to work with Jarboe and what does this mean to you? And, the same for you, Jarboe, how do you feel creating music together with Emerson?
P. Emerson Williams: I was contributing to BALEYYG and Nic Le Ban, the primordial force behind the project initiated conversations that included Jarboe and things moved from there. I was set to tour with Jarboe last year as part of the BALEYYG aspect on a tour with Nachtmystium, which would have been a very different approach than we're going for on this tour. I'm delighted to be in on this amazing journey around the world. It's an incredible honour to be trusted to handle this amazing music, and honour and a joy.
Jarboe: It’s in my opinion a good method to work with different musicians. It is a way to keep learning and exploring as every musician brings their own set of skill and style.

Metalfan: I am ashamed to confess, Jarboe, the fact that I just recently found out that in 2004, during an European Tour, you visited Romania. Back then, the promotion of the experimental and the so-called “unusual” musical genres was almost inexistent here. So, what can you tell me about that event and its context?
Jarboe: I did a Baltic tour in 2004 and played in churches and an interesting venue in Latvia. We had a profound time, Kris Force from Amber Asylum played violin with me.

Metalfan: What do you guys know about Romania? What kind of image do you associate with this country?
P. Emerson Williams: My first thoughts when thinking of Romania go to Constantin Brâncuși and Tristan Tzara, who were so important to the development of art in the modern age. Both are also very important early inspiration for my work from early on. Especially Brâncuși, with his flowing lines and graceful structure and sense of proportion. Romania was also generous enough to share writer Andrei Codrescu with the US. I have enjoyed his writings and unique point of view in his commentary segments on NPR. My mental map of the world is landmarked by art... I look forward to seeing the incredible architecture and beautiful landscapes of Romania.
Jarboe: It has a rich cultural heritage and is a place of great romance and art.
Metalfan: What can you tell us, Jarboe, about the collaboration with Scott Kelly that will happen in the Australian tour in November? Will people hear similar elements with the sound from the full length recorded with Neurosis in 2003? 
Jarboe: Those shows will be different than the shows I did with Neurosis. Scott is doing his own style.

Metalfan: And how about the In Solitude featuring? How would you describe their music?
Jarboe: They are doing a fresh take on wonderful classic metal and they are friends.

Metalfan: Have you, P. Emerson, some new plans regarding another Choronzon release? Even though the following period is a busy one, I wonder if there are some unreleased tracks or ideas, things that need to see the light… This question concerns the other projects that you are involved in as well.
P. Emerson Williams: I have several hours of Choronzon material at various stages, including my own and contributions from several valued associates for the album, book and art project dedicated to Lilith. I'm unlikely to be putting out any more material until after the tour has concluded. This gives people a little more time to digest ///Consummation//\\Metanoia\\\, so maybe that's good. I've found that Choronzon albums tend to catch on more after they've been out a decade.

I did, however just release an album under my own name called Det Er Stille Under Vatnet, that is mainly solo 12-string guitar pieces, much of it improvised. This one shows the textures and techniques I've been exploring on the instrument lately. There is a new Veil of Thorns called Para-Abnormal, which features James Curcio who played drums on the 2007 Veil of Thorns album Cognitive Dissonance. I also contributed to an album by Lethe, which is a project of Cern from Manes/kkoagulaa and Anna Murphy from Eluveitie that is soon to be released. So while there'll be no new Choronzon in 2013, there is quite a bit of music related activity going on.

Metalfan: Otherwise, speaking about the visual side of your expression, P. Emerson, what kind of emotions did you notice among the people who saw your artworks? Are there, regardless of anything, particular energies that you want to spread in the world?
P. Emerson Williams: My intention as regards my art is hard to distill into a few sentences. With more and more people living with my pieces I have the privilege of having them share what they experience with the art as it evolves over time. My method is very meditative and I think that is probably the single most vital quality of the work. On a basic level I think about transitions between emotional states, the passage of time between growth and decay and moments when sentience meets the vastness of space and time and all consciousness is filled with the enormity of that which can never be completely quantified.
Even working on a horror project like Bedlam Stories with Pearry Teo, the motivation is always positive creativity. Pearry really thinks on every level when exploring the worlds he creates and in working with him on illustrating the Bedlam Stories: The Battle for Oz and Wonderland Begins has me discovering much about my work I never knew.

Metalfan: Jarboe, it is well known that you release countless characters through your voice and all of them come from the soul. Did you ever feel that one of the characters can be stronger than you? If that is so, can you name a song or an album in which you emphasized the most powerful character?
Jarboe: Yes, there are several. I’d say the Anhedoniac album is a perfect example.

Metalfan: What musical instrument do you prefer more, Jarboe?
Jarboe: Voice, keyboards, cello come first and then acoustic guitar and percussion!

Metalfan: Would you want to do more stuff together, by changing the actual structure and rebuild something new? I mean anything that can be done: Emerson to become the main singer, Jarboe to take care of the instrumental and the atmospheric part, to do something like in a theatre performance, to build roles and then to switch them, to have a performance with Emerson doing live painting and Jarboe creating the voice influenced by the paintings, or who knows what kind of beautiful thing...
P. Emerson Williams: Within the songs we're considering for this tour there is that cosmic vastness and such a range of expression that this is what I'm concentrating on. I'm very aware of musical performance as a forming of art in the moment it is experienced. This is something I've been passionate about in all forms of live art I've done. These are very cool ideas, for sure.
Jarboe: I always create theatre in my mind.

Metalfan: How do you guys perceive the presence of nudity in contemporary art nowadays? Does this element still have its powers of expression, or does everything just sink in a sea of flesh?
P. Emerson Williams: Sinking in a sea of pickled dissected cattle and diamond encrusted skulls, maybe. It seems there was more exploration of the nude human form in earlier times. I recall the work of Mapplethorpe causing much controversy in the US, and I found much beauty expressed in his work and it was an interesting view into a world with which I was not familiar. The way he shot flowers was very much the same as he shot his human subjects. And Karin Rosenthal's bodyscapes are arresting in their gracefulness. There's much more nudity in popular culture and advertising, from what I'm seeing these days, reducing the human form to either object of desire or tool to generate attention. Imagery of the body can be transcendent, and in general, art deals with that.
Jarboe: I have frequently modified my body to illustrate the work. On The Men Album, I had a large tattoo done on my back to illustrate both divine love (Sufi heart) and a dagger going
through it (betrayal a knife in the back) so the tattoo means Triumph in Love. For Anhedoniac, I had my body covered in scars and wounds and blood like they use in movies and wore a torture chastity belt to emphasis the meaning of anhedonia - the addiction to the inability to experience

Metalfan: Have you ever had a superstition that scared you?
P. Emerson Williams: Nothing that can match the terror reality can throw up on a regular basis.
Jarboe: A superstition only has power is you give it power.

Metalfan: Are you thinking to use rituals during the performances of your collaboration someday? 
P. Emerson Williams: I've done ritualistic performances before, but that was for small, chosen participants. It is not something one would do for entertainment. Also, it would depend on what one means by ritual. We will not be calling up goetic demons to come join in on the performance or anything like that. We will be putting our souls and artistic intent into every performance, which is very powerful. Art in its essence is inextricable from the spirit and in that sense, the ritual of music will be alive with the consciousness of everyone in attendance.
Jarboe: I have already done this on the Mahakali album to an extreme degree. In A Sea Of Hollow Blood And Screaming from the Mahakali album is a good example of that ritual. A group of master magicians (Magick) I encountered refused to play it at one of their
gatherings as it was seen as something that could bring elements into the room.

Metalfan: Would you consider at one moment to cut completely the contact with any form of society? Would you like to live with the tribes from Papua New Guinea, for instance and to create your art just for the wild people?
P. Emerson Williams: I've done something like that before, and I'm sure time will come to do it again. Not this year, but maybe the next, though I have some big projects I want to bring out first.
Jarboe: Visiting the desert for a time also has a cleansing effect and that is a reason I do it.

Metalfan: You are both travelers. What do you think about the world at this moment? How much do you think we the humans know about ourselves?
P. Emerson Williams: We distract ourselves in so many ways, it takes tremendous effort to know ourselves.Wars, politics, arbitrary economic factors that we treat as forces of nature. One may wonder at any work of spiritual or psychological nature why we have to put in so much effort when our fellow creatures on this planet are fully themselves without having to work on it at all. We all participate in the creation of our neuroses and it's a life-long struggle to undo what we do to each other and ourselves. If we could be our basic selves, what we could be would open up exponentially in ways and magnitude that we couldn't conceive. I think of the statement by Rabbi Hillel: "What is hateful to yourself, do not do to your fellow man. That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary. Go and study it." (Talmud Shabbat 31a).
Jarboe: Meditation is the best travel.

Metalfan: Was there any place in your journey where you powerfully felt that its legends are still alive?
P. Emerson Williams: I grew up in Norway. Standing on the top of a mountain there looking out, one can feel the immanence of the ancient myths of that land. I would say the same in the great tracts of the North American wilderness. If one is familiar with the myths of the original inhabitants, one can feel the power of their mythology. In modern times, we are myth-makers just the same as humans always have been, we just don't always recognize it as such. Myth is an inextricable part of being human.
Jarboe: The desert, Jerusalem, Icelandic outback…

Metalfan: Did you ever dream the outer space?
P. Emerson Williams: When I was a kid I really wanted to be an astronaut. Of course we are on this tiny rock hurtling through deep space at an extremely high rate of speed right now.
Jarboe: Both the outer and inner space.

Metalfan: Thank you very much for your time. In the end, if you want to leave a message for the Romanian people or for any kind of creature, feel free to do it.
P. Emerson Williams: Thank you very much for the interview. I can't wait to meet everyone at the show in Bucharest.
Jarboe: I welcome you to an experience from my heart.

Autor: Gina S.
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Jarboe

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