In the late 1980's and early 1990's my partner Franco Palazzolo and I edited and published HYPE Magazine in New Yorks East Village
. A money losing labour of love, we are now putting all of the articles from issues one to twelve nto the public domain. This interview was originally published in HYPE NYC
, issue number one, April 1990.
CONTROLLED BLEEDING is a group hailing from Massapequa, Long Island. The band is comprised of three members: Chris Moriarty, Joe Pappa, and Paul Lemos. Their music is varied but consists of mostly electronic experimentation coupled with noise, ambience, jazz, and rock elements. Recently they opened for Ministry at the Ritz in New York City. Their latest offering is Songs from the Grinding Wall available from Wax Trax Records. The songs are power electronics with a big beat, very primal in nature, but sophisticated texturally. The lead collaborator of the projects is Paul Lemos, who is also known as the founder of the Dry Lungs, series of record compilations featuring the likes of Severed Heads, Jarboe, ambient experimental and noise groups from around the world. The collections are well produced and well documented while the music is challenging and diverse. Me and my friend Ariel Rey, who is the biggest Controlled Bleeding fan I know, talked to Paul in New York City, about his musical endeavors.
Q. Right now you're working with two labels, C'est La Mort Records in Louisiana and Wax Trax in Chicago. It seems the noisier music will go on C'est La Mort, while the dancier will go on Wax Trax.
A. Well I think the C'est La Mort might be more cerebral than the Wax Trax music. I wouldn't say more noisy though.
Q. You have a lot of releases in Europe.
A. Well mainly I think because we were releasing records pretty intensely over Europe because there weren't any American labels that would deal with that sort of music. Back when our first record came out in 1984 and it was pure noise, what labels are going to deal with that and distribute it? There may be some small labels like Inner X in Massachusetts or some on the West Coast, but at the time there were virtually none here. Europe also had a lot of labels that were tuned to be avant garde. They were much more open to that type of music. And it wasn't such an important thing to sell a lot of records. You could make 1,000 or so records and distribute them efficiently and do OK, where as in America, it's not as possible. Distribution is a problem in America. Europe seemed a lot more open to it.
Q. Your music has gone from very noisy to ambient to almost jazzy.
A. Yes, I think you have to link it to my emotions at the time. When I wrote the music for Meats and Bones and for Body Samples, there was a lot of turmoil in my life. I mean it was twisted in knots and that's the way the music came out and it had to. It was a total release, and it served its function. Core was when I was very happy and the music was very light. The Wax Trax music may be hard, but it's pretty positive. Music to me is an emotional outlet.
Q. Do people who like the Industrial period in your work like your newer refined work? Do you get criticisms of selling out?
A. I find that a lot of these people grow into liking the dancy or textural type of music. Generally, it's been surprising that these people evolved into liking this less harsh music. I've been hanging around Skinny Puppy, Ministry, and these Wax Trax bands, and I'm enjoying the music more. It's not however a way to make money off of the Beat scene. I never conceive of my music as being Industrial, I never looked at us as part of a scene; to me it's just an independent thing that is on going and that is all. If it relates to something else like dance or experimental, then that's the way it is. I don't resent it though.
Q. What interests you in music?
A. I'm not an intellectual. I like things that come from the gut. If you want really thoughtful experimental music, listen to these Music Concrete artists, not these lame imitations where some groups hype up their acts with manifestos and imagery while there is no real substance to their work; the whole thing becomes overblown. The feeling I want is philosophically and anthropologically connected. Also, if there is no more passion left in my music then I hope to have the sense to stop. If it gets to the point that I have to release something by a certain time, then the music becomes product. I hope at that point I have the sense to stop. HYPE.
Yurgos, HYPE Magazine Music Editor