RockStar Persona Leandra Ghoulish on Soul Coughing, latest collaboration with Bees Extinct, and Reglas
Rockstar Leandra Ghoulish, welcome back to The Sewers, you’ve been missed.
Hi, hey, how are you?
Good, and you?
Great, yeah. There are so many things going on I’m just buzzing. Playing these four nights with Bees Extinct was just awesome. Seriously made me think, y’know?
Just this unexpected urge we all had, it’s not the first time we play together, but still. It’s different every time. And I’m like totally obsessed with Soul Coughing again, coz S.R Georgey finally got them –
That’s lead singer of Bees Extinct –
Yeah, wow, it took her a while, coz it’s difficult, it’s like a capsule of music, a capsule of time, of a vibe, listening to them is like taking a pill that lasts a year. I mean when the hell are they from? They sound 90’s just as much as they sound right now. Not many bands can pull that off y’know?
Are you talking about Bees Extinct?
No, I’m talking about Soul Coughing, that Georgey and I started listening to together. We’re gonna see Mike Doughty doing some Irresistible Bliss in about a month! He’ll be in San Francisco. I mean listening to music together is sometimes, usually, I mean in most times, it’s more powerful than making music together. Just listening. It can change the world. Not making it, just listening to it.
That came out a bit hippie, didn’t it?
No, no. We’re not la-la-bullshit people, y’know? I don’t believe in that all coming together and feeling our cosmic consciousness that unites us all blah blah. But I think music is so powerful in what it evokes in people. There’s a huge difference between listening to music alone – which is great of course, and sometimes it’s the best way to do it – and listening to it together. Walter Benjamin, when he wrote about cinema, saw watching a movie as a revolutionary act, coz it’s always been, back in 30’s of course, a public gathering. Things have changed of course, going to the cinema is kinda lame when you can watch anything at home anytime. And of course the movie industry corrupted the medium all together. But what he said about cinema is still relevant to music. Sharing music with others is a huge part of enjoying it. I mean when you hear something really good, that really speaks to you, you have an urge to share it.
But same goes to movies or television shows, when you watch something really good, you really want to share it.
But you don’t have to share it. You can enjoy it by yourself even if you don’t share it. Music is different, you can’t even compare the experience of watching a movie and listening to something you love. Music is more of a collective experience. It always has been. What happened to cinema coz of the evolution of technology didn’t happen to music for a reason. And it couldn’t have happened, because after all music is not a form of entertainment. Real music that it.
No, in its core it’s not. It’s an art.
And cinema isn’t?
Sure it is, of course, but for the most part, the industry suffocates it.
And what about the music industry?
It’s fucking crap, sure, it’s harmful. But it doesn’t have the same affect. You don’t need a huge budget and someone to approve your words in order to play music, to express yourself, to be heard.
Same goes for cinema in a way, anyone, theoretically, could make a movie.
Okay sure, you have a camera on your cellphone and you can even get a real camera, but without budget you could never really realize your vision, like if your vision includes shooting in some restricted area or something, or even if you wanna do a scene with a famous copyrighted song in the background for example. You just can’t do it on your own. When it comes to music, if you’re good enough, you can have the most grandiose vision of a song and you can realize it. And eventually it’s a collective experience. When you really love a band and you listen to it alone all the time, your biggest dream would always be to see it live. And that’s a collective experience.
What about old bands or bands that don’t play anymore?
I guess listening to them with other people is the next best thing.
What about seeing a recording of a live concert?
Well, y’know, I think that in a way it’s also a collective experience, even if you watch it alone.
Like when you watch a recording of a live gig you kinda, well, you’re obviously not part of it, but still, you experience something that is more than the music itself.
Can we talk about why it’s so important to you to distance yourself from anything that may sound spiritual by calling it “hippie”? And then again you just talked about music as a “collective experience” and such, how does that sit together?
First of all, I don’t think it’s possible to be an intelligent person and a “hippie” at the same time today. Our world is different now and we know more about it. I mean we know, or at least should know, too much for us to be that naive. I don’t like naive people, they piss me off. You have to be ignorant if you’re naive.
What’s being naive?
Being naive is being over 24 and thinking that you can change the world just coz you had a nice smoke and a half of an idea. It’s being childish. It’s like thinking that if you think and feel that something is right, then it must be right.
If many people, collectively, think and feel that something is right, it usually becomes right.
Oh, so you’re saying the Nazis were right.
Are you saying the Nazis were naive?
Oh fuck, I don’t wanna talk about the Nazis again. What I’m saying is that just coz you think something is right, I mean just coz you’re in a cool mood about something, it doesn’t make it right – uhm, just, okay, wait. What I mean is that what I don’t have respect for is those people who talk about some cosmic consciousness that will solve everything coz eventually the power of our togetherness and loveliness and fuckassshitness will bring us together. I just don’t think we can expect things to be solved like that. You have to fight for what you believe in, and it’s hard.
Didn’t the hippies fight for their beliefs?
Ah, well not all the way, no, coz they all sold out, y’know?
Don’t you think you’re indebted, as a musician, to the hippie culture after all?
Of course I am, I mean musically, that goes without saying. But culturally, politically, I’m just – y’know, ugh. It’s hard to explain. Coz y’know, if I were to live back then, I’d probably be a hippie, I mean I’m not talking about the hippies who were actually there. I’m talking about the la-la-bullshit people today. Those who say that “change starts from within” bullshit. Those who do yoga all day and think they’re like enlightened and preach about love and self acceptance and all that.
You mean hipsters?
No, it’s not the same, ugh.
So you’re originally from Oregon.
Yeah I am, so what?
And you were raised is what can be defined, I guess, as a hippie commune.
Okay, no, it’s not a commune, okay? But yeah, okay, if you’re asking if my parents are kinda hippies, then yes they are. They’re total pacifists and free spirits and all that. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the self acceptance people, the ‘revolution of love’ people, the naive people. Why are we still talking about this? It’s getting boring.
Maybe you’re so opposed to these people because you’re just afraid to accept the softer, weaker parts within yourself.
Oh – haha! God, haha that’s hilarious! Straight out of the interview guide to the pathetic wannabe.
I’m glad you can see the humour in it.
Haha yeah, that’s exactly the kind of thing that – hah, yeah. I guess what I’m saying is that when you grow up the way I did, the last thing you can become is la-la bullshit person. Only middle class reglas can become that. I had two options growing up, one, to become a total regla, and second, to become a really political person –
What’s a regla?
Y’know, just a middle class person with nice cloths and a nice job, a semi-intellectual who’d prefer to talk about his or herself whenever it’s possible, coz that’s all they really care about. They think they’re smarter and better than everyone but they’re such regular la-la bullshiters, so they’re reglas.
So you do mean hipsters?
No, it’s a fine line, alright –
Aren’t you concerned about alienating your crowd?
What? Of course not. That’s not our crowd.
It is your crowd, and probably some of your friends and neighbours too.
I know our crowd, that’s not our crowd. But okay, maybe that came out a bit wrong. I mean we accept all people, okay?
But I mean it’s all about the people who worship money and the Wall Street roaches –
They’re not the people who talk about self acceptance and revolution of love –
Well no, of course not, but I’m really not about offending anyone –
What about the Wall Street people?
Oh yeah I do wanna offend them.
Right. It’s interesting, the people you described, the reglas, they would probably never know that they are. They can even make fun of reglas and not ever know they’re actually making fun of themselves. So perhaps you were wise to talk about them like you did, because no one would read this and think that it’s about them. They’d always think it’s about someone else. So actually, no one would be offended.
I have to say, I really don’t think about things like that. I mean this would never cross my mind. It’s probably because, as you can see, sometimes I don’t think at all about what I’m saying.
Would you like to be able to think more about what you’re saying?
No, of course not, I don’t wanna be all like professional bullshiting –
As opposed to la-la bullshiting –
You see, now I’ll never hear the end of it. Fuck it. “I tried to shoot a thought, but the thought sunk; nothing to do but scratch words in the dirt and watch the water roll down.”
Is that a new Angelus song?
No, no, it’s Soul Coughing. Seriously, you gotta listen to them.
Right, I’ll try and make an effort. Leandra Ghoulish, I thank you and congratulate you here and now.
Oh thanks, great, you too. I don’t mean to offend anyone of course. ‘cept the wall street roaches. Yeah. Offending them is great.
Right, of course.