Everybody is talking about Chaos these days. Following a period of relative obscurity in the last sixty years, the self-proclaimed “Champion of havoc” has started making headlines again: from political crises and financial downturn to Kim and Donald’s haircuts and overall cosmic uneasiness, garnered with a pinch of hurricane. However, who is the person behind the well-cultivated stage persona, the flamboyant yet revered leader of the power funk collective “Chaos and the Gods”? What does he eat for breakfast? How does he spend his weekends? For all the buzz surrounding Chaos, we realized there is quite a gap in information regarding who the guy is and how he build his spooky empire. A painstaking research and a trip to Hades allowed Europe & Me to locate Chaos (or X, as he likes to be addressed), who was kind enough to invite us for a chat over cookies in his sprawling underground mansion. What follows is a condensed version of the conversation we had, one touching on battling his inner demons, mortality, and the ways in which the industry has changed oved the last twenty centuries.
E&M: For a long time, you were an avatar of unhinged primal energy. How did this come about? Do you think the anger you have been channeling through the years has found other outlets in the time of Putin and the Schnitzel Man?
X: It was not that much anger, than frustration. In the beginning, I was going solo, you know. And it was a snooze fest – apart from the few tunes that I made, I did not know what to do with all the time I had. So, I developed a bit of a crack habit early on. I would sometimes wind up doing up to five rocks per night, which was over the line any way you put it. Luckily, there was nobody to hurt with my recklessness – the Gods, my bandmates, came in much later, at the time of my worst cold turkey. No wonder they called what I was doing at the time negative void – I was falling apart at the seams, wallowing in my own bloated self-centeredness… (long pause). The Gods basically picked up the pieces and put them back together. Looking back at those days, I really don’t know how I made it… (long pause). Eventually I straightened up my gig, but surely I had to go through hell: you don’t know, but I used to cut myself into alternative realities, each of which more smelly than the previous one.
“Over the years, there have been quite a few efforts by various pretenders to tap, more or less successfully, into those forces, but eventually they have always come short… I am pretty sure this new guy, Kim Trump, is no exception.”
E&M: So what about new contenders? Do you think they match that intensity?
X: As regards Putin – an artist that I thought had some potential a few years back and whose first two elections I produced, I am not sure he is relevant anymore. Over the years, there have been quite a few efforts by various pretenders to tap, more or less successfully, into those forces, but eventually they have always come short in one way or another. Nosferatu and the Pope’s evil twin are just some of the examples. I am pretty sure this new guy, Kim Trump, is no exception. No offence, but I believe he simply does not have it. I mean, come on, we all know how he looks (smiling slyly) – as if he ate a hepatitis-infested hyena. How does he expect to receive any credibility to his world domination efforts? Mass surveillance and conspiracies not always do the trick, you know. Plus, frankly his tunes suck. Islamic terrorism, immigrants and so on, all topics that have been chewed for centuries, including by me (Ed: here Chaos is most probably referring to his third record, Enema of the Universe, a concept album loosely based on the hero of a zombie war, who dies in order to enter zombie territory and eliminate the undead king by blowing himself up with a suicide vest).
E&M: Was anxiety what gave you the motive to change the way the universe operates?
X: Well, as helter-skelter as my formative years were, not all the suffering was completely in vain – that was when I came up with the idea of Chaos, a mythical being set to rock so hard that the cosmos dropped her milk. If any change can be accounted for in this case, it was not the blast everybody is referring to. It was a subtle reconfiguration, which I conceived to set the stage for Chaos – all that was before was re-ordered to add structure to what I was doing at the time. Which was not very much different from what Bowie did, who, by the way, says hi. Only I was a bit reticent to use face makeup and don dresses on stage. I was counting on the raw energy of my performances, which was picked up by silicone worms on Uranus. And that is how it all started.
E&M: Speaking about the Gods, you guys had a serious rift that some say is still going on. How has this reflected on you as an artist?
X: I knew this was coming. My relationship with the Gods. Well, as you know I was the wild one. The Gods were leaning towards order. For a while that worked. We reached a state of being where each of us had perfect grasp of their part of the act. Once settled, we started testing the limits of what was conventionally possible with the means we had – earth, sea, sky, pretty basic stuff. The idea was to get as elemental as possible. And then we got overboard. I remember a night in Soho when we took this stuff from a street dealer. Next thing I know I was vomiting stars all over the venue walls while Tony (Ed: one of the Gods) recited poetry dressed as a cube. The whole place burned down, we were lucky there was no police – mankind was still a cosmic turd. The Gods… I miss those punks, we had a great time.
E&M: Does that mean you have buried the hatchet?
X: With the Gods there was never a hatchet – more like a spinning red-hot rod (laughs). We all had to deal with it, but our ways were different, so we eventually could not hold it in anymore. We parted ways. To say it did not affect me would be an understatement: for a while, I was aggravated. But it had to happen. This sort of dark energy was cumbersome for most of them, they stayed behind and worked on the Bound Earth project (Ed: a supergorup, consisting of practically all the Gods minus Bozo the Clown, who ventured into TV). I, however, had other plans, another disruption that was meant to shatter the cosmos – the Communist manifesto. As it turned, unsuccessful.
E&M: Why unsuccessful?
X. Because of all the drugs and mind control. The fuckers ended up buying it.
“When it comes to shock, you always have a choice. We could have made Nazis the weird ones and screw normal people’s minds so they would torture them for fun or ideology. But then how would evil shine? Those were all conscious choices we made. I am not saying we did not lose it – vampires, demagogues…it got a bit out of hand.”
E&M: During peak Chaos your performances became notorious for extremely shocking content. I remember being scared to death by a certain drape of brown ectoplasm suspended in dark matter.
X: I don’t know about that (laughs). I would not say there was no intent behind it. When it comes to shock, you always have a choice. We could have made Nazis the weird ones and screw normal people’s minds so they would torture them for fun or ideology. But then how would evil shine? Those were all conscious choices we made. I am not saying we did not lose it – vampires, demagogues…it got a bit out of hand. However, I can assure you it was not premeditated – it was mostly done out of curiosity. You know, what would happen if you contrast two opposing forces, say white supremacists and threehugers? Would they find a balance or chew on each other’s faces?
E&M: You have had a few personal traumas over the years, which often resulted in divesting your alter egos. Was there ever a moment when you thought about quitting the business?
X: Yes. Chaos was actually a nice guy – in a way he was and still is the person I have always striven to become over the decades, but never had the guts to. Fickle, intense, tortured, but real. And look at me – recently, I am only concerned about getting the job done so I could go home and sit on the couch. Banana Joe was also an interesting persona, I lost him after a battle with depression. I did quit the business a few times, once I even dabbled as a dictator.
E&M: Which one?
X. I am not saying, you will laugh at me (smiles).
E&M: How do you explain your recent resurgence? A creative peak?
X: I lost a bet.
“Now you can reach a person straightway, infiltrate his house, his body, his mind instantly. For comparison – we could only communicate to humans though pain and suffering. Now it is different. In a sense, all the progress we made over the centuries – famine, religion, the occult, disinformation, war and propaganda, it has been just a preliminary phase, a building block leading to this particular moment.”
E&M: In a recent interview, the occult revivalist Krushka argued that “technology matters, as much as tanks”. You are among the artists who are held as game-changers when it comes to how the industry adapts to new developments. From this perspective, has anything changed dramatically since you started producing havoc?
X: My recent collaborations with Google and Amazon taught me many things. You would not imagine what those organizations are up to, besides implementing communist hierarchy seamlessly. Especially considering what we had at our disposal back in the day. Who needs negative matter when you have big data? All the numbers all at once. Now you can reach a person straightway, infiltrate his house, his body, his mind instantly. For comparison – we could only communicate to humans though pain and suffering. Now it is different. In a sense, all the progress we made over the centuries – famine, religion, the occult, disinformation, war and propaganda, it has been just a preliminary phase, a building block leading to this particular moment. So, we have been working on how to make the most of it, including through rotting democracies from inside and ripping meaning out of people’s existence.
E&M: Will you miss mankind when it is gone?
X: Sure. No rock band likes to lose its crowd. But I already have plans for the future – recently, I have been working on this new project, where I have started splicing the genes of goats and turtles. I don’t know what it will come to, but in case of success I stand a chance of planting a new sentient being on places like Earth. With a little bit of luck I will have new followers in no time, who will hopefully never slip toward religion. Mankind had all the chances and they blew it. Idiocy never goes unanswered. But hey – let’s make the most out of its last moments on Earth!
Cover taken by AlexN for E&M
Teaser photo: Frans de Wit (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0