Let me get this off my chest before I go any further: I’m such a picky asshole that the only reason I initially heard of Edward Ka-Spel was because he combined forces with 2/3 of Skinny Puppy back in the 80s and produced The Tear Garden, which released possibly one of the greatest albums ever, The Last Man To Fly, in 1991. For fuck’s sake- I even worked at MODified here in Salt Lake for a brief period and never even bothered to check out Edward’s solo output…let alone anything from The Legendary Pink Dots, who, as a matter of fact, are “legendary” in the gothic/industrial scene…and deservedly so. When I finally pulled my head out of my ass and tracked down other things that Edward had done, I felt like breaking my own arms for being such a stubborn bastard. The man has created some of the most beautiful, haunting, enchanting, psychotic music I have ever heard. Recently, Edward granted myself an e-mail interview, and even though I’ve never met the man, it’s easy for me to see that he’s not only a friendly and engaging individual, but he’d also be more than likely be someone I could hang out with and not want to kill within 15 minutes … even if he does want to live in Seattle.
SLUG: After all this time, do you still have the same intensity to make music as you did when you first started?
Ka-Spel: Actually, the intensity has increased as after 26 years I’m still not where I want to be and I’m a determined bastard, like the dog that won’t take his teeth out of the milkman’s thigh.
SLUG: Do you prefer working with an entire group like the Dots, or essentially going it alone? Obviously they are two different experiences, but what makes one more comfortable or rewarding than the other?
Ka-Spel: I do love bouncing ideas off another person. In the last weeks I’ve been working very closely with Phil Silverman on a new Dots album and cherishing every second. Making the last Tear Garden with cEvin was joyful, delightful too. Sometimes when I’m ploughing my own furrow I don’t see the wood for the trees… even so, mostly I enjoy the experience too.
SLUG: What is your favorite city or venue to play in the United States? How about in the world? Are there any specific reasons why, and what are your overall thoughts about touring?
Ka-Spel: Salt Lake City of course. Joking, sorry… Actually I do like coming to SLC but Id probably say my favourite US city is Seattle… It’s a place where I could happily live, too. The world?? That’s hard. Paris, perhaps… I’m very fond of Strasbourg… Cologne, too. No… no… it’s LONDON!!!
SLUG: Speaking of recording, believe it or not, my first exposure to you was the first Tear Garden EP, and I’ve followed the Tear Garden since that release … I’ve read in the past that you and cEvin Key have discussed touring with the group. Is this ever actually going to happen, and are there plans for more recorded output between you two?
Ka-Spel: Next year possibly. It’s been a long time coming, but I’d say you can count on there being Tear Garden shows in the future. We both want this. Of course, there will be more albums too. Kevin’s family…Tear Garden isn’t something that’s going to end while we both breathe the air. (Note: A new Tear Garden release entitled The Secret Experiment is available through cEvin Key’s Subconscious Communications label as part of the “From the Vault” collectors’ series.)
SLUG: I’ve also read in the past that some of your favorite music is relatively obscure European bands such as Magma and Can…do you still listen to bands such as these? What current bands have impressed you, both live and recorded?
Ka-Spel: New bands? I lost touch a little recently…I’m loving everything that Andrew Liles makes these days. It makes me smile and glad to be English at a time when that can often be embarrassing.
SLUG: What is your opinion of social networking sites like myspace, facebook, etc?
Ka-Spel: I suppose I’m glad it’s there. These websites play their part and make the world a little less lonely. I have a MySpace page myself, but I’ve told no-one and I only have one “friend”… It’s fine that way, too.
SLUG: Do you spend much time online? If so, what sites do you frequent?
Ka-Spel: Too much time in reality. A bit of an email junkie and (gulp) I do download stuff… mostly radio plays from the 40s and 50s. The atmosphere of these glorious creations is utterly captivating and illustrates a world that could be on the other side of the galaxy.
SLUG: Tell us something your fans don’t know about you…
Ka-Spel: This is the age of the Internet. Everybody knows everything about everybody and often they make it up. OK, I can play Beethoven’s 9th, pitch perfect, on my teeth.
SLUG: Any specific stories or memories you’d like to share about your short jaunts through in Salt Lake City?
Ka-Spel: Have they finished the freeway yet?
I honestly don’t think I could come up with a better way to end this little e-discussion. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just read the man’s words, now go buy his music. Don’t be a putz and delay the way I did. Edward Ka-Spel’s new album, Dream Logik Part One, is available now from Beta-Lactam Ring Records.