Nigel Ayers Interview 1 2 3 4

There seems to be a lot of music now that is, soundwise, very close to much of the stuff you've been doing for a very long time

That just confirms that my music was way ahead of its time. You know, I've also been credited with inventing the Prodigy.

Do you feel any connection between yourself and all those abstract electronic soundmakers that we have now ? (specifically Mego, A-Musik, Oval and the like).

I might feel a connection with them, if I had any idea who they were. I don't think I've heard them. Maybe I'll get back to you when I have.

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Are your music and your visual work different sides of the same coin, or do you see those as separate entities really ?

My concentration on music evolved from my earlier "multimedia" work, it just took greater priority when I found it was my main source of income. I don't see them as separate entities, they're parts of a total thing I do.

What role does religion or spirituality play in your music ?

I regard music as a spiritual activity, especially pop music. I like religious imagery and use it a lot, to disguise the inner workings of the project. However, I think religion is a very bad idea - it fills the mind with superstitious garbage, causes wars and should be discouraged.

Do you believe the term "Industrial" still means anything today ?

As opposed to when, precisely? I live in Cornwall, the poorest "county" in the UK, where the steam engine was invented and one of the first industrial landscapes came and went many years ago.

Although you practically invented the genre, you were conspicuous by your absence from the "Industrial Culture Handbook" tell me about it. Was there any publication that attempted to address this imbalance at the time?

First of all, let me backtrack and say that "industrial culture" is a misnomer.

In 1973, the Harvard academic Daniel Bell suggested that we were on the brink of a new kind of information-led, service-oriented society that would replace the industrial-based model that had been dominant in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. For Bell, a post-industrial society has three main components: "a shift from manufacturing to services"; "the centrality of the new science-based industries"; and "the rise of new technical elites" and "the advent of a new principle of stratification".

Whether the groups and individuals in that Industrial Culture Handbook had an awareness of the above shift is unclear. I had discussed this a few times with Graham Revell, and this may have been the inspiration for his "post-industrial strategy" piece in the Handbook. However, amongst the Industrial Culture groups, there was an element of nostalgia for an industrial age; in particular in that of the authoritarian politics of that era. There was a strong kinkiness-for-fascism running through that particular book. So I'm quite glad I was left out of it.

I'm not sure that there was any one publication at the time that attempted to sort this out, there were numerous fanzines whose names I've forgotten.

If I remember correctly, in the late seventies-early eighties the London-based music press used the term "industrial" to apply to the output of Joy Division/Factory records and bands from the "grim industrial north" of England. So for them it was very much a regionalist thing.

The label I ran -Sterile Records- worked with science-based post-industrial metaphors, as did Nocturnal Emissions at that time.

Nigel Ayers Interview 1 2 3 4





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