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Die Warzau - interview (2005)
2005-12-24 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz | e-mail interview
NINa:There are different interpertations of "Die Warzau" name. I've already read that it might be interpretated like quot;Warsaw - the dirty capital city of Poland" :D So could you clarify the name please?

Jim Marcus: My grandfather used to tell me stories about World War II. He was a Russian Jew who was invested in not leaving. Eventually he ended up forced out and came here after the camps were liberated. One of the stories he used to tell was about a Small Symphony in Warsaw that was composed of dissidents and Jews. In his stories they used to play at night so the children would be less scared in the middle of the chaos. By the time the Nazi soldiers would show up to arrest them, they would be gone. This was sort of an old wife's tale from his time that was hard to follow up on. I had decided early on that this was one of the functions of music- of all art- to comfort the afflicted and that this was the flip side of the other function- to afflict the comfortable. I used to imagine how the Nazis might feel hearing this night music- music that asserted the dignity of man in the face of terror and ugliness - and knowing they couldn't stop it. Knowing that these musicians would be gone before they found them- like musical ghosts. I loved this idea so much that Van and I wanted to see it reflected in what we did. Originally we were "The Warzau Synfony" and then the name just evolved. It was always more important to us that we knew what it meant. It wasn't important to us if this Symphony really existed or what the details were. The idea that music could uplift the oppressed was important.

You had almost 10 years of hiatus between 'Engine' and 'Convenience' albums. What were you doing during that long time? Was there an option to quit with Die Warzau at all?

We thought we had quit. We were fairly sure that we wouldn't do another album until we got back together to do this one. We had both been working on projects by ourselves. I was working with Everplastic, another musical project I had started, and with truth, a large scale anti-tobacco initiative in the US. Van is a great producer and he was working with people like Cajmere / Green Velvet on club tracks. I think we had forgotten how good it felt to work together until we got together to do a song for a project of Van's called Eco-Hed. It was just very easy and fun to work together. At the same time we had conversations about a possible gap that existed without us. I would never suggest for a second that anyone needs what we do- I don't have that big a head. But it did seem clear that everywhere you looked more and more Religious bands were popping up, cultifying their own work and sort of insinuating themselves into popular culture. We take it for granted now that bands like Creed have a message that involves submission of reason to a god. It became really clear what raising generations of young people on a message of abrogation of reason to dogma would require, at the very least, a voice on the other side. What we see in popular culture right now is the development of a language of dogma. That language is frightening and debilitating to sense and responsible thought. I suppose just as many of these other bands exist to support their religionist positions we have no choice but to support the atheist and bright perspective. Plus, you sort of miss the food backstage. There are usually brownies.

I like the official DW & Pulseback websites design very much. It's clean, fast loading and contains lots of suitable informations, even a blog :) Who is the webdesigner?

I guess that's me. Thank you. I play around with the web in my spare time. I have a real ideological commitment to the web as a means of creating cooperative truth as well as a method of unifying diverse psychographics in a single place. The Web is a qualitative advancement in human evolution and it seems silly to say that while you're programming a tiny little band website, but it's true. It's just one of those truths that requires distance and height to really see. The recent findings that Wikipedia is more accurate than it was expected to be are part of a conversation about the validity of cooperative information gathering and group management of ideas. This an exciting time in human history. And a damn good time to find naked people.

You seem to be open-minded for any thought provoking discussions and philosophical threads. What will you say if I told you that American goverment suggested to build antirocket shields in Poland and Polish goverment is ready to agree for that?

There are no completely black and white answers in politics. There are issues involved with an anti-rocket initiative like this. Some of them have to do with the essential dichotomy between diplomacy and this sort of barrier defense. Do we expect barriers like this to provide us with safety, because that expectation, in the face of the way technology develops is absurd. Technological finds generally are spurred on by necessity and barriers like this, minus diplomacy, create a sort of "node" by which a new technology answer is directed. Diplomacy is technology independent. A diplomatic answer- a sustainable foreign policy answer- can hold in the face of advancing technology. I think this will be the discovery of the 21st century- that the only defense against rising human invention and ability is friendship and support.

Should other countries take America as an example (when it comes to democracy, lifestyles, business etc.) and try to copy their ideas on their own soil?

America is a fantastic idea in the abstract. So fantastic and so powerful, it is not necessary to spread this at the barrel of a gun. American ideals that are worth emulating will spread more effectively if we allow them to just visibly succeed. America is not just OUR experiment, however. It often feels like America is an experiment that the whole world is engaged in. Countries across the planet send their families here. The proper wording to the citizens of the world when we discuss who we are is "We are America- your children live here, too". And they do, that's the strength of this country. The richness of this nation is rooted in the diversity. Richness comes at a price, however. We talk about the luxuries that wealth permits and we talk about some conditions that are truly dysfunctional. For example, one of the principal luxuries of wealthy nations is the manufacture of madness. We'll soon be medicating our entire populace. We have so many choices- so many frivolous ones on a day to day basis. Obviously, this experiment requires more observation. I would hate to see any nation blindly adopt policies without examination.

Are you for or against the capital punishment?

Very much against. In our particular system, there is no actual right existent that would permit the government to do this. All the rights contained in the state's government are derived from the people. Whatever rights the people have that they choose to give up to local governments may then be passed on to the states. If we, as a people, do not have a native right we can't give it and it can't be passed on. We don't have the native right, in any reasonable context, of killing someone who is not currently a threat to us. The government therefore doesn't. The problem is in authority but also the function of the death penalty. What we don't see is a reasonable application. It is impossible to determine guilt or innocence to the degree made necessary by this permanent option and to even attempt it is incredibly expensive. At the same time, we've lost the ability to work with a person on a crime site who has committed a capital offense. There is no reason for them not to continue on to the unpleasant conclusion of that crime. We don't gain anything by allowing the state to become a killer. We do lose a great deal, however.

Should the church be only a charity organization, or should it get money from people and invest it in its own growth [like it happens commonly in Poland ;)]?

I am not qualified to comment on what the church should or should not do. A number of years ago, I wrote a letter with 1200 signatures asking the Pope to dissolve the catholic church in the service of justice and I feel that way even more strongly today. The Inquisition, The Crusades, The persecution of Galileo and science in general, their tacit participation in the holocaust, and currently, the fact that the Roman Catholic Church represents the largest organized conspiratorial pedophile network in the history of this planet all suggest that there is one thing that the church can do if they have any interest at all in justice. If the pope were a good man- a reasoned man who could truly see the difference between right and wrong, he would let his shame over the actions of the church motivate him to respect his religion and do thi. Right now, the church places its wealth and existence over what is right.

How do you recall times when you were teenagers?

That's an interesting question. Van and I grew up a little differently. We look back and remember that we were at a lot of the same shows before we met. Gary Numan, Devo. It was interesting that we were often in the same section. It's kind of fun to think about the fact that we were there together without being together.

Tell me about project Fuck 2257 please, what is the aim for that action? Are going to make an internet or printed gallery with the pictures which probably were sent by people to you due to Fuck 2257?

The record keeping law- 2257 - represents a series of conditions that effectively, through the application of restrictions that are nearly impossible or dangerous to follow, make nudity on the web illegal. This law is in dramatic violation of our first amendment rights and represent our government's assault on civil liberties using an "unloved agent" as its victim. It's very difficult to get people to rise to help the pornography industry- the same issue that became apparent when Larry Flint's Hustler publication was attacked. The plan is to put together a web gallery of nude images sent to us by fans when we have collected enough. We'll do this in violation of 2257, a bad law that should be violated.

Jim is credited on Stabbing Westward "Wither Blister Burn and Peel" album. What was his role there?

I honestly could not tell you. I don't remember. I did design their logo for that album. Chris Hall, the lead singer used to be a drummer/instrumentalist for us on a number of tours. He's a great guy who unfortunately fell victim to the great nickname disaster of 94. We went through a very dark phase where we had to give nonsensical nicknames to everyone who worked with us. Chris ended up being called "Bolt" which seemed like a suitably industrial nickname. He never liked it, though. Honestly, he escaped the real tragedy, though. Our live engineer at the time, Paul Manno, unfortunately, ended up with the nickname "Mittens". That's a hard thing to live down. When you're Mittens, you end up being Mittens forever.

You remixed or produced lots of songs. What musician would you like to work the most with in the near future?

I think we have a really diverse sense of musical appreciation. We love to work with up and coming artists, but of course it would be great to have a chance to work with artists like the White Stripes who are so lo-tech. They are great song writers and it would be fun to work in their world a little.

Die Warzau Official | Pulseback | DW at Myspace

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