On the recently released album Live In Leipzig, which celebrates 31 years of Blackhouse, you say: Blackhouse is half my life. Do you see Blackhouse as your personal child, and in that case how do you feel as parent of what has become of your child, looking back over those years?
The show at WGT (Wave Gothik Treffen) last year was the first time Blackhouse went live, right? How come you haven’t performed in the past? I can imagine that a lot of people were begging to see a pioneering band like Blackhouse live!?
Yes! The concert at the Wave Gotik Treffen Festival was my first official Blackhouse gig. Why? Simply put, I never even CARED to play a live gig. I had so many albums... LPs and CDs. So many albums.... yet I never EVER played live. So.... why should I?
Sure, many many people (concerts and festivals & etc) asked me to play. For sure. I've been around for many many years... decades. People ALWAYS asked me to play! But... WHY? Why would I want to even consider it? The Wave Gotik Treffen asked me to play. Year after year. I always denied. The question was WHY? I outlined my fears... my requests... my demands... And at every step of the ladder, WGT came through. They answered me. They reassured me. They calmed me... They are the best. No doubt. THE... BEST. How could I possibly say NO to such warmth? I accepted, the rest is History!
Live In Leipzig focuses on the early Blackhouse years, the fans see the first albums as the best material you did with Blackhouse. Do you share that idea, or was it to satisfy the loyal fans to mainly use songs from these records?
First, I have an obligation. That obligation is doing the BEST I can possibly do when someone supports my Art. It's no secret that the first few albums by Blackhouse are favorites. Come on. And so I know, that the songs from those classic LPs and CDs are.... well... "worshipped" by Blackhouse fans the world over. Those classic songs are known & respected and adored by BH fans. How could I NOT play them live at my first gig??? Come on! And after 31 years on NOT playing a single live gig? I knew the burden was on me to deliver a Blackhouse concert that would be respected & loved. Remembered. I think I did that. I know I did it.
Second: "the best material you did with Blackhouse"??? Man, I just re-listened to Shades Of Black (1995)... an album I used to despise listening to. IT SOUNDS SO GREAT! It's a great album! And believe me, I am VERY VERY picky about my albums. So, I'm not sure what is "best", because when we examine that, the microscope we use is tainted with the bias of the times. Frankly, I look back at the last 32+ years, and I am confused about it all.... And I'm the guy who made it. The ART is creating me. I'm not creating the Art. I'm just a vessel. A loudspeaker.
What’s the relationship between Blackhouse and Whitehouse? I was told Blackhouse was a positive response (by bringing the word of God) to the negative messages of death, hate and brutality that Whitehouse brings. Although there are also some musical similarities...
Are there other plans to play live and was the concert in Leipzig the beginning, or was it just a one-off?
As it stands now.... It absolutely makes NO difference if I play live again or not. I've been offered other gigs... and frankly, they just don't measure up. I'm not interested in stepping DOWN. WGT is a HUGE festival... a HUGE opportunity. I'm very blessed to have worked with them. They say they want me back... I believe them. If WGT festivals are the only festivals or gigs I play, that is fine. I'm not looking for lesser gigs, charity or hand-outs. WGT is EXACTLY what i was looking for in regards to an actual live gig. I'm so blessed that it became a reality. VERY blessed. To sum it up: I really don't care or even NEED to play another live gig. EVER. But if I did, I would play WGT. They know what they are doing, and they treated me with respect. That's what I care about.
Blackhouse released the album Ignite Blackhouse Youth, on which the collaboration with legendary rapper Craig G immediately catches the eye. How did that collaboration come about?
Rap is not the music people would expect Blackhouse to mix in its sound, do you have a special bond with that kind of music, and are there other surprising styles you really like, or you would love to use in Blackhouse’s music?
I enjoy many styles of music. MOST. I'm not too fond of "folk" music or "contemporary country". Come to think of it, I'm not too fond of contemporary ANYTHING. I just don't enjoy modern music. The production stinks... the sounds stink... I'm not a fan of the lyrics. Sorry. I guess I'm just an old geezer. AS IF. On the other hand.... I am a fan of many many musicians... Pop and Poop. I like it all. As long as IT is good.
In regards to RAP, I must say that I find it exciting. At least the original (old school) rap. I WISH, WISH, WISH that I could credit Kraftwerk for delivering electronic beats to the masses. I'm a huge fan of Kraftwerk. For sure. But when I walked into the video store (1984), and this stupid young punk was listening to some intense beatbox action... ??? I asked him what it was. 2 Live Crew. And I'm no fan of 2 Live Crew.... but... really? It sounded awesome! It was RAP and HIP-HOP that delivered electronic rhythms and drum boxes to the masses. I'm eternally grateful. Thank you, Hip-Hop! Love - BL
Do you follow the current noise and industrial scene? We can say that Blackhouse is a pioneering band in the genre, are there some acts you really like, or is that not the music you listen to yourself?
I am not very interested in junk like Throbbing Gristle or Psychic TV. Neubauten was good from 1981-1985, but.... And NIN? Give me a break. I'm just not into it. I like the old school stuff..... give me the Asmus Tietchens, the Leichenschrei, the Minimal Man. That's where my heart is. I hear music nowadays... and I am dismayed. I don't like the production... the mix.... the sounds.... It just doesn't speak my language. I prefer warm bass tones... dynamics.... I just don't hear that when I listen to modern music. Perhaps it's the auto-mastering tools. I'm just looking for something with more... Depth.
Bringing the word of God, combined with heavy electronics is an unique way to work. Can you tell us why you are so devoted to God? I’m an atheist myself, and I never felt the urge to read the bible while listening to Blackhouse, but it seems interesting to me to hear you talk about it.
In a world that is dominated by terrorists who abuse their religion to justify their attacks, what do you have to say as a religious person about this?
As an American, what’s your opinion about the coming elections? Benny told me you are really into Donald Trump, a very controversial person who doesn’t get a lot of respect here in Europe. Why does he get your vote, and how do you see America’s future, and the rest of the world?
I sincerely hope he ruins it for Madonna and Bruce Springsteen. (ie: Hillary & the Bush family & all the damn 0bamas!!!) They deserve the shame. Why? Take a look. What have they brought us, except shame & malcontent??? Nichts!
In the beginning Blackhouse was presented as a duo Ivo Cutler & Sterling Cross, which are both you. Why did you choose to perform under these two alter egos. And why two instead of one?
I decided to create a story for Blackhouse, so I created some characters and created their background. Is it really any more "fake" than Genesis P. Orridge & the Temple of Psychic Youth? Come on!
When I created Blackhouse, I decided upon a firm upbringing. I created the names, the hometown, the reactions. EVERYTHING. Why? Why KNOT? Politicians create fakery everywhere they tread... and people VOTE for that fakery. That fakery RULES people... That fakery demands payment in taxes. If you dishonor that fakery, you go to jail. Blackhouse is nothing like that. Blackhouse just IS. It's ART. That's all. ART. That's what I do. I don't charge you taxes. I don't collect welfare (like politicians do!). I'm just not interested in that. I'm actually against it.
Do you still feel the urge to bring the gospel these days? On Ignite Blackhouse Youth it’s not as distinctly present as on the first albums, or am I wrong?
Well, you know I undulate between albums that are more preachy, to albums that are more hopeful, to albums that are more cold & machinic, to albums that are more about me... and how I am feeling. Ignite Blackhouse Youth is all that & more. My main thrust for IGNITE BLACKHOUSE YOUTH : The title says a lot. People are far too apathetic when it comes to politics. Why politics? Because politics rule our lives. Politics control us. We are all slaves to whatever politicians do. It's also mass media. Mass media controls us... controls the way we "think". It's all designed to brainwash us, and make us obey the... (you guessed it) POLITICIANS. Brainwashing. It comes in all shades and facets. Whether it's the War On Terror© Or the War On Drugs©, ya got Politics there... and the media.... Brainwashing...
I'm not having it : I want the YOUTH to recognize it. To be offended that politicians and mass-media that thinks they are so stupid. And it's not just the YOUTH. I want to ignite the fuse under all people. Come on: the stuff they are teaching & preaching is garbage! I want people to rise up in opposition! I want to light that fuse! Whether it's Global Warming (which I call GULLIBLE WARMING) or the "refugee crisis" (which I call... INSANE & DISCONNECTED) or geo-engineering (Chemtrails) or television, Hollywood, hit record labels or 911.... I know they are lying to us. Many other people realize this, too. It's time for us to stand up & question the rhetoric. That's my message with I.B.Y.Blackhouse is not just the antithesis of whitehouse... It's the antithesis of THE whitehouse. I don't care if it's Bush or 0bama or Clinton... I know I am against it!!!!!!!!!
How does it really feel to operate as a christian soul in this genre, dominated by heretics?