This interview is with the legendary and controversial noise collage musician GX Jupitter-Larsen. Here GX discusses his work with The Haters, his films, influences and working with Merzbow.
John Wisniewski: What was the audience reaction to The Haters in 1980-81? What kind of audience attended the live performances?
GX > People hated the records. The audience at the live shows were mostly confused about what they were seeing and hearing. A few people got it, but mostly they were confused. It wasn't till the late 80s when a real fan base started taking shape and the majority of the audience started getting into it.
You are inspired by Pro-wrestling. Could you explain how?
GX > If I had an artistic predecessor, I’d have to say it was Gorgeous George. Gorgeous George was a psychiatrist turned wrestler. Back in the 50s, he single-handily transformed wrestling into the theatre of the absurd we know today. He mastered audience participation, making the crowd as much a part of the spectacle as the performers. It was from his kind of theatre that I learned that violence and confrontation could be two different things. That social entropy could be fun.
Are your films and writing different for you in their creation, than the music?
GX > Maybe at first there was a difference, but these days I don't think there's much. I try to add as many layers as possible to whatever I'm doing; be it sound, text, or video.
How do you view music and what sounds that are heard in our everyday life?
GX > I don't really have much interest in music per say. I prefer listening to the sounds and tones of the environment I find myself in. I really enjoy listening to the sounds that a bus or train makes. I would much rather hear the textures of a large motor, than some crappy generic tune off an ipod.
Do you like bands like The Velvet Underground that experiment with sound?
GX > No. Not at all. I just can't get into that kind of stuff. I do like Erik Satie because hearing his music is like listening to nothing. I love that. Buddhist throat singing is pretty cool. And I like Sun Ra, but more for his role as philosopher, than composer. Otherwise, I'd say if you want to hear some pretty interesting sounds either live or on record, you need to try out Scot Konzelmann’s Chop Shop, John Wiese, Damion Romero, Scott Arford’s Radiosonde, K2, Justice Yeldham, or Government Alpha.
Were the live shows giving the audience a shock experience with the sounds and what you wore onstage - did violence both attract and shock the audience?
GX > I'm sure a lot of people found it shocking. At least at first. I think most people these days actually find the noise to be very mediative. I've always found it mediative.
What are your future plans artistically?
GX > I have plans to build the world's largest collection of giant cuckoo clocks. Something I think that will combine peoples' love for kitsch with their anxiety over entropy.
Could you tell us about The Haters 25th Anniversary Show. Who attended?
GX > That was eight years ago. We just did the The Haters 33rd Anniversary Show with The Ruins. We each did our own sets, and then we did a live collaboration. Massively noisy.
You collaborated with Merzbow. What was this experience like? How did you meet?
GX > In 1982 a mail artist in Texas passed one of my records along to MB in Italy. MB then told Merzbow about me, and Masami soon contacted me directly. He and I corresponded quite a bit for years. We finally met face to face in Holland in '89. We were both on tour and we went to France together for the DMA2 festival in Bordeaux. It's there where we did our only live collaboration. I just remember it being a lot of fun.
You began filming in 1979. What was the first film that you shot, and did you play your films at any film festivals?
GX > My first film was actually more of a performance piece. I took an old video camera and used it as a hammer to smash up a pile of VHS tapes. My next video project was my attempt to get festivals to screen a silent blank video tape. Between '82 to '86, I submitted a blank tape to over forty international festivals. It ended up getting screened in nine.
You are always challenging the audience, our expectations. Is that what keeps audiences interested in your various projects?
GX > Personally, art has never been about making a statement. It's always been about making a journey. Going places and doing things I've never been or done before. I think people like to come alone for the ride.