Leandra Ghoulish of Angelus Novus talks about Stella Dragon, and tells a story about an old record store, stepping down and selling out
Rockstar Leandra Ghoulish, welcome back to The Sewers, we congratulate you here and now!
So you’re back from Europe.
Yup, yeah. we don’t leave the U.S often enough, you know? Europe was cool, Berlin especially –
Many of your fans were expecting to see Stella Dragon as your support band –
Yeah, they didn’t tour with us –
In fact, many of your U.S fans are starting to say an Angelus Novus concert is almost incomplete without Stella Dragon as support.
Stella are great. We love them. Really an awesome band.
Do you ever wonder if it could happen to you, you know?
You know… do you ever wonder if it could happen to the Angelus?
Ah I think I lost you.
Well, the Angelus were totally unknown when you hatched as a support band under giant Over System. And before you knew it, people were calling for the Angelus when Over System were already on stage. And that, no matter what Bryan Ax says, must be painful.
I defiantly lost you now. I mean, you’re assuming some competition here, there’s none.
Not necessarily a competition –
The Angelus and Over System, the Angelus and Stella Dragon – I mean, we’re so different! Like, Over System are total hardcore, Stella Dragon are so tight and light, and we’re, I mean, we’re totally different.
How would you define the Angelus really?
We’re a lot of things, we’re all the above and none of the above, you know? And yeah we evolve from one another, simultaneously. I mean, no, I don’t buy into this oedipal narrative of one band burying another. I don’t buy into this narrative in any form of art, I think it’s a sad, narrow way of looking at artistic mutual influences.
What if someone calls for Stella Dragon when you’re onstage?
What if you find out you’re adopted?
Well I guess you’re just gonna have to live with it, you know?
That would seriously confuse me. I imagine I’d feel like my entire life had a been a lie. But then I’d probably find hints and clues throughout my memories which would somehow make it seem like I’ve known all along.
Ah… okay. Yeah. that’s exactly my point.
I think Stella Dragon are awesome and I wish them to succeed and to realize their wildest dreams. And you know what, maybe in a few years the Angelus will be their warm up band –
That’d be awesome.
I find it hard to believe, that you truly feel this way.
Why? I mean, I don’t give a fuck about these things, just as long as I keep doing what I do without selling out. Like, you know, when I was a teenager, we had this legendary record store outside the shopping center. We used to buy CDs, remember? Haha! It was called “Gryphon”. The owner, Ari, he was really into 70’s progressive rock, he was our music guru. So there was his store, and there was a Tower Records in the shopping center nearby. And we never stepped foot in Tower Records of course, it was fucking mainstream and lame and they never had our kind of music anyway. And seriously, Ari, he was our guru. He was like 40, which seemed insanely old for us back then, and had long black hair and beard and looked pretty much like a hobo, I mean, a total ahead of his time hipster, but what I’m trying to say is that we thought he was the coolest, and in a way even the sexiest guy around. For us, he knew everything there is to know about music. And he’d let us hang out and listen to stuff for hours. But his place was struggling. I mean Tower Records were struggling then. And one day he closed his store and just disappeared.
Anyway, time passes and all, and one day I’m at the shopping center and I walk into Tower Records coz, you know, there was no other place to get CDs, and I see Ari there. With the stupid Tower Records t-shirt, standing at the register.
Yeah. I was like, I dunno, 14? And it was like… what the fuck? And I said: “Ari?!” and before he could even say hi I said: “you sold out, man!” And walked out. I never saw him again. And some time after that, I mean weeks, maybe even months, after Tower Records closed down as well, I suddenly remembered that moment, and his face, and the look in his eyes, and I felt like such a fucking bitch. I mean I beat myself out about it to this very day. It was such an awful thing to do, you know?
It is pretty mean. But you were 14.
Exactly. And even as a 14 year old I realized it was stupid. So of course I don’t see things like that anymore. I understand changes happen whether we like it or not. But as long as we have this core, this basic understanding of what we are and what we do, these changes don’t really take anything away from us, even when on a superficial level it seems like they do.
So you’re saying that in working for Tower Records he didn’t sell out?
Of course he did. But he was still Ari, doing what he loved doing and sharing what he’s passionate about with anyone who would listen. Did he feel like shit when he woke up in the morning and got dressed for work? Sure he did. Did he look in the mirror and told himself he’s a loser every day? maybe for a while. But did he give up on what he’s doing, did he give up wanting to be heard? No, he didn’t. so, in short, you’re asking me what if someone came up to me and said the Angelus are done and over and Stella are ten times bigger than we could ever be? Well I’d feel like shit for a while, but there’s a part of me that’ll remain untouched. That’s the part that’ll make me go on.
Do you think this tone of humbleness has to do with the reaction of your fanbase to your last album, as though?
2018 was a very good year for us. And there’s a lot still to come. We’re very happy with where we’re at right now.
Are you working on a new album?
We’re playing and writing and creating, and that means all things are good.
Well we wish things continue to be good for you. And we thank you and congratulate you.
Great. Thank you very much.