Inkubus Sukkubus: Music from Another World
When you’re lucky enough to meet personally with Goth-Wiccan-rock legends Inkubus Sukkubus from Britain, there´s indeed a lot to talk about. So what about the new album, Paganism, motherhood – and the connection with Mexico? STALKER took the chance to find out…
How´s it going?
Candia: it´s going very well, yes! We are keeping busy. It´s great to be in Finland also, it´s our first gig here. We´ve only travelled here on our way to Russia, when we played in St Petersburg two or three years ago, so that was our only experience being in Finland, it´s a lovely place!
So then what about the band, what sort of things are you on these days?
Candia: you´re writing some stuff at the moment, aren´t you?
Tony: I´m writing some stuff, but I´ve written it in a more rock way, with the keyboards… Candia and Adam want to do an acoustic album next, don´t you really?
Candia: yeah… We´ll go with the flow, see it goes. We´re doing some acoustic gigs at the moment, although some electric ones also, but we also do those acoustic shows, with cello and percussion, and Tony and Adam are on acoustic guitars, so we´re experimenting with that. This year we are celebrating our 20th anniversary, so there was a show for that, in England, close to where we live, in a small theatre, for about 80 people…
Tony: with candles and ivy and stuff… Very nice and it was filmed also.
Is there´s a chance we can see it on DVD sometime?
Adam: we´ll put some videos on our webspace, we´re updating that now. And we also started putting together videos of bands who are doing cover versions of our songs. So if anybody does a video, we put it on YouTube and put it on our website.
Then the next record would probably be acoustic.
Candia: possibly, we´re seriously thinking about doing that. Because our music then sounds quite different, we do a lot of additional things. For example in acoustic show on songs like ´Wytches´ or ´Heart of a Lilith´, which are more of the rockier songs, we strip them down and add cello and things, so it sounds very-very different. So it might be nice to have it recorded.
This one show in celebration of your anniversary, is there a possibility to make it into a longer (maybe even acoustic) tour? You are just so rarely in Europe…
Adam: we see how it goes. The people we are playing with, the cellist and the drummer, they aren´t really up to travelling, so we need to get someone who´d be prepared to travel, which is not impossible, you know…
Candia: never say never.
Tony: of course it would be ideal to take that to a tour in Europe.
And then about your latest studio album, Viva La Muerte, how did you come to that idea?
Candia: we´ve got this fascination with the Mexican Day of the Dead. There are just so many cultures which have a very similar way of looking at death. There´s a celebration of person´s life and looking at death as another form of life, so you go onto another world than the life we´re living now. So what we are living now is kind of a preparation for the next life, so I think it´s very fascinating. There are so many cultures that view death, I mean in the western world and especially in Britain, the whole Victorian thing, all the sombre wearing black and crying and so on… Whereas there are many cultures which celebrate it as a joyous thing, remembering someone´s life… And so I wanted to do a whole album around that, like a story. So I spoke to Tony of having some Spanish and Mexican sounds to the music.
Right, because it doesn´t sound like other Inkubus Sukkubus works…
Candia: yes, and it was very intentional. We´ve obviously visited that theme with one of our songs before, ´Dia de los Muertos´ (on Witch Queen in 2005) and that was sort of playing with it, because at that point we didn´t know we will do a full album of it. With the new album, Viva La Muerte, we wanted to have that feel to it all, to tell the story in one package, so it definitely has Mexican/Spanish feel to it…
Have you actually been to Mexico?
Candia: yeah, we went there at the end of April to do a gig in Mexico City and the day right before our gig the whole swine flu thing kicks off, so it was actually cancelled. The Rasmus played the night before our gig and we were invited along and then we learnt about the swine flu and The Rasmus fans were wearing those masks, and we saw it… We did our sound check, that was good and when we turned up to do the show, the police were there and they said no, this can´t go ahead. The positive thing is looking ahead, because we are going to return, actually around the Day of the Dead this year and we´ll do the Day of the Dead mini tour, we have 4 dates, so it´ll be 30th and 31st of October and 1st and 2nd of November, and we are determined to make it happen, because the swine flu stopped it from happening, but now it´s actually perfect and right during the dates of the local celebrations of the Day of the Dead.
This album just belongs there!
Candia: yes, it´s just meant to be!
Do you actually believe in karma, reincarnation and the life after?
Adam: yeah, I´ve spent quite a while joining the reincarnation society, ´cos you only live once, don´t you?!
Adam: yeah, I do. I´m not sure which doctrine I follow though…
Candia: I think the whole karma thing, I mean even if you don´t believe in life after death, I think it´s a good thing if most people could live their lives believing the last case, because if you´re believing and constantly checking what you´re doing, is this then the right thing to do? I think it´s a great doctrine the whole karma thing, people wouldn´t do a lot of the things they do, as a reprecaution, so keeping in check.
A couple of years back you´ve had some lineup changes, Adam was about to quit and so what was going on there?
Adam: I´ve left many years ago, in 1993 and came back in 1996, something like that, but those guys had…
Tony: …we´ve had various people come and go, obviously we´ve been going for such a long time, that´s the way it goes…
Candia: we had changes! Now we have a live drummer for the acoustic set…
Tony: when we´ve started, we did have a drummer, then we were going to play in Germany, it was our first official time there and it was a big gig for us, it was like a castle festival, but the drummer couldn´t make it and so there was no other option, but for me to program the drum machine. Actually it came out a lot better than we thought, so when he left permanently, we just carried on playing without. We´ve tried to get drummers in, but it just didn´t work out. Now we´ve developed the whole thing, we´re using more sequence sounds, and now we´ve got video backdrop, so to actually play with the drummer now, that means we´ll have to lose all those other things. So now we just use the drummer for acoustic sets, but having one to play in our other shows probably won´t happen anymore.
How come there was no video screen in Wave Gotik Treffen this year?
Tony: I asked if we could use it and they said that we couldn´t. I had the player on stage and it would´ve happened if they would´ve given us a screen.
Candia: yeah, it just wouldn´t have worked in open air, too much sunlight…
What is inspiration for you?
Candia: oh, so many things! Extreme sadness, extreme joy, having children…
Tony: occult things… when we became interested in that gothic stuff, wasn´t it? It´s all the attraction by all these beautiful dark things…
Candia: it still is, I mean there´s obviously the spirituality, the paganism, which is rather than being a religion, it´s your general outlook on life, and believing in magic and that it exists. It´s like an underlying thread that goes through your life, it´s not just something you consciously think about and make happen. And also, all our interest in vampirism, that´s the darker aspect on top of all the other, extreme joy and sadness, but it´s also embracing the darkness…
And when you´re writing and composing, how does that happen?
Candia: you mean the actual process?
Tony: what I tend to do is write it and then record it… With Viva La Muerte album it was a big chunk all written all in one time and the first two tracks came out sounding a little bit Mexican…
Candia: Viva La Muerte was a very different…
Tony: yeah, and once Candia started writing it, it turned out to be more and more Mexican… Sometimes I just feel like writing music and I do it, and I know that if I don´t do it here and there, it won´t happen at all, I´m just in the spirit of the moment, I don´t really think about it, it just comes out.
Candia: I´m very much into setting the scene, I´m very much like this hedonistic creature, the candlelight, the inscents, when sort of writing lyrics and when I´m recording as well, I´ve got to set the scene first, I lit the candle and then it´s all so dark, even in the studio – so you´ve got to feel like you´re entering some other worlds, so you can shake of that mundane sort of everyday crap, leave all that at the door and make it sanctuary, so you feel this is another part of me. This is me, I´m very much like that, making your own environment, so you feel comfortable. I think this is very important, especially with the music. I mean we all have that day to day life, there are things you´ve got to do, there´s no getting away from them, school or work, or whatever it is, go to the supermarket… But with me music is the other world, and for me everything has to feel right, not think about buying vegetables and milk and all that, but setting the scene, it´s almost like its own ritual.
Is there some song or lyrics, which are especially meaningful and personal to you?
Candia: there´s one song which is about my son Leon, which I wrote when he was a baby, he´s my eldest son and the song´s called ´Bright Star´. He´s horribly embarrassed about it (all laugh). He´s 11 now, but I always feel quite emotional when I sing that because he´s the first born, he´s just pure, bright spirit, and I feel quite emotional about that. And some of our, even though they are not directly biographical, but songs like on Viva La Muerte, ´Death Comes´, which I always feel very emotional when I´m singing that one, it´s about lovers being parted, not being able to have any control over it, being taken away from each other, maybe I remember this from previous life or something… But lately I´ve been noticing that when I´m singing this song, especially in our acoustic set, there are certain songs with certain kinds of themes, like ´Gypsy Lament´, which is also about lovers, and it´s always him that snuffs it, sending you to your grave early, there´s this reoccurring thing that I´m wishing your life away (laughs)
Candia: and I´m there crying at your gravestone, it´s tragic, isn´t?
On the cover of the Witch Queen EP, is that your child pictured?
Candia: That´s our daughter, Carmen Inana, she´s our youngest, she´s four and she´s the Witch Queen, the title track, that´s all about her, the embodiment of the Goddess and her being this force Mother-Daughter-Goddess, she´s all of those things, mould into one. It´s just that bonding thing between a mother and a baby! And she´s quite a force to reckon with. She´s only four now and she´s got this feisty energy, very strong character.
How´s becoming a mother changed your attitude towards music and life in general?
Candia: I think I´ve become more emotional in general, there´s a part of me which I haven´t previously known, before having children, it´s incredible very powerful force. Now I emphathize myself with so many things I didn´t before and I can feel myself, at some weepy films and stuff, which didn´t used to affect me before and now give me chokes. So yes, more empathetic towards other people and their children, how it feels to them, so it changed me a lot actually. And in music also, but not across the board. There are obviously some songs which have absolutely no base in the whole motherhood thing, but songs like ´Bright Star´ and ´Witch Queen´ have this whole other emotional spectrum.
Has the kind of family and parents you grew up with influenced the kind of parent you are now?
Candia: I hope not! But I mean, it must do. With each generation you learn certain things, you recognise the things you love your parents for, but of course they way you´re brought up effects everyone.
What about song ´Wounded´, is that directed at anyone in particular?
Candia: no, it´s actually quite a vampiric song. It´s all about essentially a woman, who´s offering something like a spiritual, another life to someone, but they don´t have the passion to give themselves up to what she´s offering, so this can be a theme of vampirism, about the weak-willed. And to doubting to offer themselves up, and she´s saying I can offer you so much, if only you would trust me, I´d give you so much, and things would be so much greater, so that´s what ´Wounded´ is all about. Some pathetic creature, that doesn´t have the strength to see something more than his own mundane existence.
And ´Messalina´, isn´t that about the actual historical person?
Adam: it´s about a nun, masturbating and she feels bad about it.
Candia: it´s the guilt thing about religion and masturbation.
Tony: so that´s it, nothing to do with history. It is the Messalina, the wife of Claudius, but it´s called like that because when people have of women who have a sexual compulsion, it´s called the Messalina complex, so this song is about that nun with that complex, that´s all.
Candia: that should be interesting, when that gets out! (laughs) People are gonna look at that song in completely different light.
Another song I´m very curious about is ´Woman to hare´, it has this feministic feeling to it or what I hear in it, is that female is the strongest force of them all, capable of anything…
Candia: yeah, I mean, it does… Actually come to think of it, we haven´t played it for a while, but it does feel like two fingers up the men folk, doesn´t? (laughs)
Tony: yes it is.
Candia: this song does feel quite empowering, its roots are in medieval witchcraft, that sort of shape-shifting, a power of a witch in being able to change her form, to escape capture or to be cunning, to get to places where you can´t be seen a witch. I think people can do many moves without actually thinking about the physical changing shape, if you can find ways to get into people´s psyche, or just be clever, be cunning. Essentially it is about shape shift to get herself out of an awkward positions or to get into a positions where she can learn or discover more about what´s going on in the outside world.
And songs like ´Hell-fire´ and ´Hedonistic Gene´, they sound like life philosophy or a motto…
Candia: well, Hedonistic Gene… My father was a complete and utter hedonist. He just completely threw himself into life and do everything to live extreme, and then he died at 51 (laughs), he had a heart attack. He was always looking for something in life, so he was never completely contented. He would fill everything, sleep for like 3 hours a day, and he´d be up in the night reading books and studying and drinking, he just loved doing and tasting absolutely everything in life. And so we talk about being hedonistic and that´s parts of my dad that´s in me, wanting to taste things. So the ´Hedonist Gene´ is about him really. What was the other song you mentioned?
Candia: that´s actually all about Sir Francis Dashwood, who was the member of the Hellfire Club in England, so he was the actual figure that existed. He kind of doubled with Satanism, and doing everything to the excesses, but there were many others, like politicians, who were part of that club in England and they had all those satanic rites carried out, in the caves. There was one satanic rite with a baboon that went horribly wrong! (laughs) That´s very fascinating, I really recommend reading about Francis Dashwood, and so this song is all about him and his crazy life.
You´ve worked with Faces of Sarah, how did that happen?
Candia: they´ve played with us on a few tours and they are a great band, I really-really like them, and love their music, and because we´ve got such a good relationship with them and they asked me to do this one song and I´ve heard it and I really enjoyed being a part of it, and so that was it, just went down to the studio and I actually went and played with them a few times, which was fun, actually going out and gigging with them.
Any more collaborations in the future?
Tony: I´m supposed to be recording some stuff with Nick, the singer of Faces of Sarah, but he hasn´t gotten back in touch with me yet, so I´m just waiting to see what´s going on, because I think they´re actually reforming Faces of Sarah again. I´ve got a couple of songs ready for him.
Candia: I did a song recently with The Eden House, which is a collaboration of different artists, including Julianne Regan of All About Eve and Monica from Faith and the Muse, and some members of Fields of the Nephilim, it´s a big project they´ve got where there are different singers and it´s good fun. And all of us are happy to try and experiment, do different things with other people, you´ve done remixes, haven´t you?
Tony: yeah and Adam´s doing some recording at the moment…
Adam: oh yeah, I´ve another project on the go and Tony´s got Vampire Division as a separate project, and I´m doing a project with Markus from Gene Loves Jezebel, who´s our drummer in the acoustic set and we are getting a project together, which sounds interesting, called the Governess at the moment, so we see how that turns out and Tony´s doing all the production for that.
Do you believe in this kind of hedonistic lifestyle?
Candia: it´s interesting, isn´t?
I mean if you think that the meaning of life to be happy and then you do whatever makes you happy, take in all the experiences…
Candia: yeah, if you aren´t harming other people as you´re doing then yes, taste as many aspects of life, take all that in, but be mindful about what makes people around you happy too, so you aren´t getting in their happiness. So yes, I think you should.
Tony: if you suppress this hedonistic vibe in you and it can remain suppressed for a very long time, but then it can express itself in a very negative, painful and hurtful way…
Candia: oh, the sheep!
[please read the Seven Deadly Sins interview with Inkubus Sukkubus, where there´s more about the sheep]
Tony: I´m just observing people going mad and being jailed and stuff, because they just haven´t expressed them earlier in life, and gone against their parents´ wishes and such…
Candia: parents and religion also.
What do you actually think is the meaning of life?
Tony: that´s interesting…
Adam: it´s about experiencing what you have around you, using what you´ve got in you, advance your mental state as far as possible, whatever direction you want it to go, and that´s as far as you can take it, I think. I don´t think there´s a particular goal that everyone has to achieve, or to experience. Or are you looking for something more solid meaning of life, more specific?
No, just whatever it is in your opinion.
Adam: to somehow leave behind, I mean I don´t know if you leave a vibration stay behind you after you die and stuff, but whatever experiences you have, to leave that somehow on the plain, that we are on at the moment, in a very positive way, but also in a sort of a way that imbibes knowledge or wisdom, should you get to that stage until other people are coming up behind you. It´s like an evolutionary experience.
Candia: if this is just being one life and if we´re going onto another life, I think this can be the earthly existence, and however you want to deal with it would be exploring forms of spirituality and looking ahead to what´s going to happen, see this one as being for earthly pleasures. If this is just one life, then each existence is going to have its own ways to explore. This is just our earthly existence and we make it up as we go along, really. I think it´s the only way to do it, I don´t think we should think there´s a rulebook to how we should be doing things, I think it´s more about doing what feels right and be mindful of what´s happening around you, the outside world and other people, try to work in harmony as much as possible.
How does it feel for you to be on stage? Your performance at WGT in Germany wasn´t like anything else I´ve seen before, with this kind of energy, it was like a force…
Adam: positive force?
More than very! But how does it feel for you on stage, what are you thinking about?
Candia: I think it´s that thing I´ve been saying earlier, leaving the mundane at the door and it´s like, when you´re going on stage – and I can speak for myself – a person isn´t recognised…
Tony: it´s something doing it inside of you and coming out…
Adam: you have this spiritual presence you´ve said sometimes…
Candia: I´ve sometimes said to Tony that at some gigs you´re waiting for this energy to come on board and sometimes it´s like instantaneous, and so many other energies, it´s like doing a ritual and when it actually happens, it´s the best feeling in the world, your whole body feels completely charged, there´s nothing like it and I absolutely love it. And when you´ve such great audience, like in Leipzig, as it was so full, you´ve got this symbiotic sharing energy and the whole thing escalates and builds and builds and builds and you feel like you´re sharing it all!
Finally, to round up, I´d like you to comment on the band members… For example, what´s the weirdest thing about Adam?
Adam: ok, I leave now.
Candia: …everyone´s got something to say on that… I would have to say it´s his testicle? Oh no, I just made that up!
Adam: well, the fourth one is the weirdest one.
Tony: he´s not that weird… I don´t know if it´s an insult or not! (laughs)
Adam: the weirdest thing about me are my friends actually.
Candia: when you know someone for twenty years, he doesn´t seem weird, he´s like a pair of comfy slippers now. Do you mind being referred to as ´a pair of comfy slippers´? When you know somebody that well, what would´ve seemed weird some years ago, now you just embrace him what´s in all
Adam: so I think I´ve escaped that one, have I?
Candia: except for the weird testicle.
And what´s the funniest thing about Tony?
Adam: there was a funny time when Tony thought it would be cool to have elf ears.
Candia: that´s a good one!
Adam: …and so he pierced his ears together like this [gives a small demonstration on pinching his ears´ upper parts together), with a metal staple, to give him those pointy elf ears. And then of course it went a little bit wrong, it got infected…
Candia: (laughs) and he had this huge swollen ear, like a cabbage, like his second head!
Tony: and I had to have it cut out, because I couldn´t remove it, it was completely swollen and it´s gone inside, and I nearly had my ear cut off.
Candia: and another funny thing is that one of his old girlfriends, before he met me, ran through his buttock with a sword.
So you´ve been knighted…
Tony: it´s not really funny though…
Candia: it is now!
Tony: and that got infected as well and I had a buttock swollen and I was in hospital for a while as well… But you shouldn´t laugh at someone´s misfortune, it´s like the classic case of laughing at someone who slips…
And then the most annoying thing about Candia?
Tony: (laughs) no comment.
Adam: she has this thing about Jägermeister, and sometimes going quite far to get it… that can be quite annoying when all the shops are shut, going around knocking on peoples´ houses to see if they´ve got any…
Do you´ve a special way to drink it or mix it, any recipes?
Candia: just straight out of the bottle, it´s so pure! But there must be other annoying things…
Adam: well, you´re married to Tony, so maybe he could enlighten us on other things.
Candia: you hate it when my hair gets stuck in the sink, don´t you?
Adam: actually when we´re on stage, she does tend to run around, flare her arms out like that, and in the old days she used to knock my bass out of tune all the time, so now I´ve to play the bass without the things down there…
Candia: yeah, hit them in a face a few times, when I get carried away, and it is annoying at the time.
And finally the last question is, are you happy?
Candia: yeah… I would say on the whole, yes.
Tony: I try to be happy, I´m not happy all the time, but I try to be. Most of the time I´m quite happy, yeah.
Adam: I´d say I´m happy, I´ve got all my limbs and things. But everyone can be happier, can´t they? But no, we aren´t sort of depressive moody people, maybe sometimes we´re being accused of not being gothic, ´cos we aren´t moody all the time…
Candia: but I don´t think you´ve to be moody to follow the gothic culture,
So that´s it then… Thanks a lot for you time, this has been very interesting!
Candia: fantastic questions, that´s the best set of questions we´ve had a very long time!
Author: Marina Sidyakina, Photos: Sanna Mikkola, Inkubus Sukkubus