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Revolver talks with Steve about H.o.B, drugs and Sweden Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 October 1998


October 1998


How Swede It Is

...Hologram Of Baal itself is an old style Church album filled with melodic songs, poppy in nature and form. The second disc, Bastard Universe, is the product of an extended jam during a songwriting session for Hologram. A purely instrumental piece, it wouldn?t be hard to imagine Bastard as a soundtrack to a Wim Wenders film. Both albums combine sonic moods and atmospheres in the finest Church style. Is the name Hologram Of Baal derived from an old religious icon? An ancient natural phenomena perhaps? Or maybe it?s representative of some sort of mystical force? Well no.

?The title? It?s just one of those impossible things. It?s like rocking horse shit. There is no Hologram of Baal,? says Kilbey obliquely. ?There?s a bonus disc with a studio jam which we think might be the longest continuous piece of music ever released on CD. We were supposed to be writing some songs and we put a DAT in the machine and eighty minutes later everyone woke up out of their coma and said ?Oh god, we just recorded something for eighty minutes.? So we put it out as a bonus disc.?

Eighty minutes ehh, in their heyday the Church were rather renowned for their experimental use of foreign substance as a source of inspiration. In fact, it?d be fair to say they had something of a reputation for misuse. An eighty minute jam wouldn?t be a manifestation of the old habit playing up? Was this an induced coma? ?Drug fuelled? Oh yeah, I guess so. You?ll be asking about groupies next (as a matter of fact...). Look I?ve always enjoyed the seedy side of rock and roll. I don?t know about other guys but when you first join a band you?re in it for money, drugs and girls.? You?ve done well on all three counts, I gather? (Is my voyeurism getting in the way here?)

?Well, I?m not complaining, put it that way. I don?t want to say I?m into drugs. I?ve had lots of problems with drugs. I don?t want to be responsible for someone taking drugs. I?m just saying that when I was growing up that was part of the thing of why you wanted to be in a band. You look at people like Keith Richards and Lou Reed and you want to be like them. They can be bad too, you wake up with someone you don?t know on a cocaine hangover. That isn?t very pleasant either. I?m into yoga and meditation as well. You?ve got to explore everything in life really and find the balance.?

Is there a healthy drug influence in the lyrics for Hologram?

?Can one put those two words together, healthy and drugs? It?s like saying a horny virgin, I was a horny virgin once I must admit. I don?t think it?s a drug album. Anaesthesia, I guess you could say, well that?s drugs. There?s not really a lot of other drug songs on the album. I think there?s a lot of love songs on the album, for us, I mean Louisiana is a love song, Buffalo is a love song, Glow Worm is a love song, so there is three really straight forward love songs on there and the others are just kind of observations. Some of them are just pure fantasy, they aren?t really about anything, I don?t know if there?s a real theme to the record.?

Movement both musically and geographically is a constant in the Church?s life and currently they?re trekkin? across the good ol? US. In organising this interview they managed to get from Atlanta on Monday (where their hotel rooms had been cancelled) through the Mid West on Wednesday and finally to Friday and New Orleans. ?Right now I?m in New Orleans. We?re in the French Quarter, there?s all the old blues guys here. When I came here in 1988 I thought it was the most amazing place, it?s not that good anymore. There?s lots of novelty shops, it?s really touristy, it?s gone downhill. I?m a bit upset because it?s really hard to get vegetarian food here. Even if you order vegetables they cook them with ham.?

Kilbey himself must surely qualify as something of an internationalist by now. The holder of an English passport, he spent his youth in Australia but in December of last year he upped and left, going to Sweden to be nearer his family. It?s a change he?s pretty bloody happy about.

?I live in Sweden where my kids are. I moved there for good last year,? Kilbey says. ?I?m no longer an Australian resident. I?m English so I?m part of the EEC. I can go there (to Europe) as much as I like. I really like it. It?s very civilised. I found Sydney was getting too hot and dirty, and Sweden?s not hot and it?s certainly not dirty. When Australian people first go there they think it?s a bit regimented, but you get used to it, it?s very civilised. There?s no crime, no dogs barking and no tractors going up and down outside your door like there was on Balmain. I really like it. I like being in Europe and speaking Swedish. I don?t think I?ll ever move back to Australia now.? So there is nothing about the Australian culture that you miss? ?Not really, no. And I?m sorry to say that. I was just revolving around the same old parts of Sydney. I was in a real rut, it was just Balmain and Oxford street for me. I know there are other beautiful places, but I never got there. The pollution and the bugs, man my house was full of bugs and I couldn?t get rid of them. And you know it?s hot in summer and cold in winter, and the houses aren?t insulated. I just had enough. I didn?t realise I?d had enough ?til I went somewhere completely different.?

The Church, touring to promote Hologram Of Baal, will play the Metro with Rebecca?s Empire and Plunge on October the 29th and 30th, the Narrabeen Sands on the 31st.

Neal Hunt

Transcribed by Mike Fulmer

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