13 Questions to Clifford Ennis (Subterfuge, IKON, Jerusalem Syndrome, Razorfade)

What was the very first record you bought?

The first record that I bought with my own money was either ‘Young Parisians’ 7″ by Adam and the Ants or ‘Ashes to Ashes’ 7″ by David Bowie. The first album that I bought was a Madness compilation called ‘Complete Madness’. However the first record I owned was bought for me by my Mum and was a Muppet Show 7″ EP, and yes, I still have it.

What is the most expensive record have you bought?

I used to buy a few Sisters of Mercy bootleg 7”s back in the late 80’s / early 90’s, they weren’t cheap at the time but I really don’t remember how much I paid for them.

What are your 5 very favorite bands ever?

The Sisters of Mercy.
Rosetta Stone.
Sex Pistols.
Public Image Limited.
David Bowie (solo artist but had to include him)

Name 5 bands that have changed your life?

Public Image Ltd: They started me off on the whole Alternative adventure which I’m still on today. I actually got into PiL before the Sex Pistols but I consider both to be as equally important to me.
The Sisters of Mercy: Once I discovered them I became a bit obsessed with the Sisters. To me they were the most important band on the planet. Joy Division: Thought the lyrics were intelligent. The bass lines were brilliantly original and I was able to play along to it. Rosetta Stone: I simply fell in love with their sound on first listen. David Bowie: Not essentially a “band” but at a time before I was aware of a goth or an underground scene, when all I was fed was commercial crap David Bowie kept me sane.

Name your 3 favorite Gothic Fests?

The only one that I’ve been to more than once is WGT so that’s my one and only pick. I love it there. A great vibe all weekend and Leipzig is a beautiful place.

Name your 3 favorite gigs as a musician and as fan?

As a musician: Probably the first Subterfuge gig outside of Melbourne in 1994 which was a sold out show Sydney. Also the first (and last) gig we played as a 3-piece which was also the first where I sang, it was only a short set but I was so relieved it went without much of a hitch. The other memorable one was as guitarist in Ikon at WGT at the Parkbuhne in Leipzig. It was our 3rd gig in 3 days so were all more than prepared for it. It was also the only gig I’ve played in daylight and strangely I found that I really enjoyed it.
As a fan: Rosetta Stone at Liverpool Poly in 1991, I had only just recently got into them and live they were simply amazing.
Sex Pistols: 1996 Filthy Lucre tour. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d see the Sex Pistols and they didn’t disappoint.
And lastly either Public Image Ltd in 1989 or The Sisters of Mercy at Reading Festival 1991.

Name the most 3 influential albums for you as an artist?

Only 3? Probably should start with The Sisters of Mercy and “First and Last and Always” (still one of my favourite albums) Although in all truth their ‘Body and Soul’ 12” was probably more influential for me (but you asked for albums). Rosetta Stone “An Eye for the Main Chance” which came along just at the right time for me. The 3rd is a toss up between ‘Unknown Pleasures’ by Joy Division and ‘Never mind the Bollocks’ by the Sex Pistols but I’ll have to go with “NMTB”. While it has no real resemblance to the music I write it certainly was a favourite for many years and basically without the Pistols there probably wouldn’t have been Joy Division or a host of other bands that I adore.
(See how I sneakily squeezed in 5 there).

What is the most overrated gothic band?

Any that insists on singing about vampires.

What is the most underrated gothic band?

There was a little known Australian band in the 80’s and very early 90’s called The Borderland who were fantastic live but never got the recognition they deserved.

Describe yourself with 3 adjectives

Relaxed.
Confident.
Lazy (although I do get things done I just usually leave them until the last minute).

In which band would you have liked to play live?

I’ve never really felt I would have liked to have played live with any particular band but in my teens when I started playing the bass I used to play along to Joy Division and I also used to enjoy playing along to The Exploited but I couldn’t imagine ever wishing to play live with The Exploited.

Name 3 new gothic bands that have caught your attention lately?

Ascetic: Fellow Australian band now based in Germany. More Post-Punk than goth but their album ‘Self Initiation’ was a bit of a masterpiece.
Whispering Sons: Only heard a handful of songs but I like what I’ve heard so far.
A Place to Bury Strangers: Not strictly goth but very good.nevertheless.

Gothic Rock or Post Punk and why?

I love both and they are intertwined really but Post-Punk encompasses a variety of different styles so therefore could be described as being the more interesting of the two. Then again I have heard things described as “Post-punk” and it sounds anything but to my ears. Post-Punk does seem to be the fashionable term to use at the moment, “Goth” has been out of favour for years (except amongst goths of course). So I suppose I’m leaning towards Post-Punk as a preferred music I’d listen to but I can’t get away from calling my own music goth, a force of habit I think.
Perhaps I should go with the term Post-Goth (whatever that may be).

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