March 28, 2012


The biggest influence on The Politics Of Envy though was undoubtedly Kenneth Anger. David Tibet from Current 93 told me a couple of years ago that he was very ill and they were trying to do a fundraising event for him. Through David, I managed to get in contact with Kenneth. Lots of people from my generation love Kenneth Anger. When I was 13 or 14 I spent all day in this cinema in Bristol watching all of his films. The magic that came through the television to the audience just kind of touched me. For me when I was young, people like Kenneth Anger, Lee Perry and Richard Hell educated me. What I got from school didn't matter as much as what I took from these people ... I guess he's best known for Scorpio Rising in the 1960s, which is when people like Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page started having dealings with him. He's magical. So anyway, we all went on this huge symposium in Portugal for three weeks across all these different galleries and theaters with artists from all over the world and theorists. It was basically people giving lectures in honour of Kenneth Anger called "Magic & Art". I got to hang out with him for a little bit, and he was wearing this white panama suit and playing the theremin, and he's still got his quiff! I mean, God knows how old he is, and he's such a playful, naive character. I just love the bloke, so from that, I was living in Berlin at the time and I had an idea to do something with his book, Hollywood Babylon. I wanted it to be a big production with Kenneth's signature on it but featuring different people from our scene. It's like when Cocteau worked with Stravinsky; I wanted Kenneth Anger to put his signature on this piece so it would live on after he died. That part of it is still a work in progress, but Kenneth's avatar kind of quantifies the whole album. I was going to call the album Fountains, and Kenneth Anger was the real fountain that influenced so many people apart from me on this album. There's Richard Hell's experiments in New York from 1972/73 with The Neon Boys; the way he ripped his t-shirt getting "Richard" on it; then, after seeing the Kenneth Anger films I went through a period of listening to nothing but Lee Perry on a daily basis. For me, if Kenneth is a magician then Lee's a shaman. I don't know how to explain it but in the punky reggae times; I don't really know the historical facts of it all but I spent quite a lot of time with some heavy duty Rastafarians, these real elder guys. I'm not really a part of their culture or anything but they were a real inspiration to me. They're like Indian Yokis or something. A lot of the people me and Adrian Sherwood looked up to when we started On-U Sound were cool, older guys with dreadlocks. Even now, with dubstep artists like Burial and Pinch they really look up to a lot of the experiments me and Adrian did with On-U Sound, and we're quite influenced by dubstep and now Adrian's got some of the dubstep kids to remix Lee Perry so it's kind of become like a circular feeding process of inspiration.

Mark Stewart explains his new album to Drowned in Sound.