Gothic Rock | Post Punk | Wave & Alternative

13 Questions to Michel Rowland (Disjecta Membra)


Disjecta MembraMichel Rowland

Disjecta Membra Official Site

Disjecta Membra Official Biography On Gothic Rock

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What was the very first record you bought?

The first record I owned was ‘Nightflight to Venus’ by Boney M, but I didn’t buy it. I was about three years old at the time, and it belonged to a family member, who gave it to me. I still own the same LP, and we often close our live set with a cover of ‘Rasputin’.

What is the most expensive record have you bought?

I don’t know. I was a more ardent collector of rare vinyl in my late teens and early twenties than I am now, so of course dollar values were different then. My collection at that time was destroyed during a messy relationship break-up. Subsequently, I’ve never really taken to collecting again with the same rigour and enthusiasm.

What are your 5 very favorite bands ever?

Listing my top 5 or 10 or 20 of anything is something I enjoyed doing when I was twelve. I’m in my forties now. I find it too difficult to narrow my favourite bands down to just a handful in any particular order. I like a lot of different bands, for a lot of different reasons, so the list would be constantly changing depending on how I felt at the time.

Name 5 bands that have changed your life?

In chronological order: Boney M (age 3), Eurythmics (age 7), The Cure (a gradual thing between the ages of 8 and 12), The Haunting (age 15), Disjecta Membra (age 18). David Bowie deserves a mention too, despite not being a band.

Name your 3 favorite Gothic Fests?

I’ve never been to any of the big festivals in Europe, the UK or America, so I can’t say. From a band’s point of view, a lot of them look like they could be great events to be a part of.

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

As a fan:

The Cure, Auckland, 1992; Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Auckland, 1992; Peter Murphy, Wellington, 2013.

As musicians:

I think some of our best performances included support shows with Death In June, Wellington, 1998 and Mick Harvey, Wellington, 2015; and a show we played to quite a small crowd for Imbolc earlier this year. An hour or so from now I’ll probably think of a bunch of others that should have made the list…

Name the most 3 influential albums for you as an artist

There aren’t three albums that could sum up the music that has influenced me the most. It would have to be three curated mixtapes or something liked that.

Describe yourself with 3 adjectives

Difficult, contrary, stubborn

What is the most overrated gothic band?

I don’t care

What is the most underrated gothic band?

If they’re that underrated, then it’s doubtful I’ve heard of them. What I do know, is that the term ‘underrated’ is the single-most overrated, overused and incorrectly applied term currently in use when discussing music.

In which band would you have liked to play live?

Distorture or Hog Haul Valentine.

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

I like a lot of fairly ‘dark’ bands from New Zealand, but I don’t know that ‘gothic’ would necessarily be the right term for them. Right now I like Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing (who are not especially new, but probably new to your readers), Log Horn Breed and Civil Union. They all have a bit more of a ‘no wave’, post-punk, swamp-rock sort of feel; each in their own peculiar way.

Gothic Rock or Post Punk and why?

It’s a bit arbitrary, really, but if I had to choose one over another then it would be ‘post-punk’. If that term is taken literally, and applied correctly (rather than just being a convenient shorthand for “sounds a bit like Joy Division”), then ‘post-punk’ also encompasses early ‘goth’ when it was at its most innovative and exciting, along with many, many other styles and sounds that emerged from the wake of punk. What people usually mean when they say ‘Gothic Rock’ these days though is bands who sound like “Sisters of the Nephilim” and who don’t really offer anything new or deviate from a prescribed formula. That’s also happening with ‘post-punk’, now that it’s trendy again to be in a post-punk band. Whenever something becomes popular, you inevitably end up with a ‘lowest common denominator’ version of it, and it quickly becomes a stagnant formula, rather than an umbrella for new creative ideas.


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