Grok #6, November 1983
THE NAME: I came across the name by instinct. There are certain words and phrases that I call ‘Hidden Universals’. They seem to mean and to represent things that are much greater than themselves. I’m sure that it has a lot to do with the Kabbala, and the fact that all the letters in Hebrew mean something much more than being a letter of the alphabet. Because this was one of the original languages and because the Bible, which has influenced our culture, was written in Hebrew, then the hidden ‘occult’ symbols have also passed into our culture. Mostly ignored and mostly misunderstood. The word ‘Coil’, in short is a key word. There are so many aspects I’ve found to it. The coils of a snake, a watch coil=time, a female coil=sex and the female cycle, a metal coil, an electrical coil, DNA coil, the fact that coil means a ‘noise, according to the dictionary. . . a fact I found out only recently. A coil is a spiral and the spiral is a universal shape, from a DNA spiral to a tornado to the shape of galaxies.
PERSONNEL: John Balance (an alias of mine). The reason for the different name is not to hide from anything but to change things. I’ve never been christened anyway… what’s in a name? Also Coil is anyone who I am working with at the time, to suit mood, circumstances and intent. A nebulous flux with J.B. as thee only continuous element. So far people that have been involved in Coil have been Sleazy; John Gosling (an ex member of a group called AKE; Marc Almond; Jim Thirlwell (Foetus On Your Breath etc… Foetus Productions etc…)
INFLUENCES: Childhood, delirium and hallucination, Osman Spare, Kabbala, alchemical ideas, musak, O.M. Theatre, original Futurism, sound as magick theory, sonic weaponry and sound theory in general, The Birthday Party . . . . . Velvet Underground.
RECORDINGS: I have done very little so far. A lot of my recent energies having been channelled into PTV projects. There is a track called ‘S Is For Sleep’ on the recently released double lp ‘The Elephant Table Album’. This was recorded before the final Coil idea had been coumpleted, and it’s rather hesitent as a result. It’s about illness and history. John Balance has two tracks on the three volume cassette on Third Mind Tapes, which is released as a follow up to ‘Rising From The Red Sand’, called ‘On Balance’ and ‘Comfortable’. These are not Coil and were recorded a long time ago. Coil are on a tape called ‘Bethel’ released on Hearsay and Heresy. As far as recordings for the future are concerned Coil will be releasing a 12″ single on Temple Records. The tracks will be ‘Silence and Secrecy / How to Destroy Angels’. I plan to release an lp in thee new yera but as things are in a state of constant flux the only details are a few of the titles: ‘The Day And The Night Of The Body / Ubu Noir / Assuming The Posture Of Death / Thermid’or (sic)’ . . . etc.
LIVE: So far (Axis note: beginning of October 1983) Coil have performed live on two occasions. The first being at Brixton Ritzy Cinema in its late night capacity as the Magenta Club. This was on the 5th August. Sleazy was helping in this instance. We performed ‘Silence And Secrecy’ . . . 15 minute piece with amplified insect noises pushed to deafening pitch, with violins and various other tapes etc. We had out of phase strobes that really did you in. I couldn’t stand up on stage because of it. I also used smell as an added dimension. It was a performance. This was a deliberate attempt to create a vacuum, to maintain a tension, a sense of expectancy that is never fulfilled. The importance of the piece was that nothing happened – it was suspended uneasiness. The idea being that in a lot of cases of secrecy the secret that people are searching for is that there is no secret. Crowley points this crucial idea out in several instances. It ties in with the idea that the state of absolute enlightenment is to experience total nothingness; that this concept of absolutely identifying yourself, totally absolving being is the key to the so called occult organisations. Its crossing the ‘abyss’.
John Gosling, Marc Almond and I performed something called ‘A Slow Fade To Total Transparency’ (How to Destroy Angels) . . at the Air Gallery on 24th August. This was a mixture of reading by Marc and a performance by John and me. It was videoed and I think it will be released in some form. Also Cerith Wyn-Evans, a super 8 film maker is planning to do a film around the original idea.
Coil were due to play at the summer ‘Equinox Event’, at the London Musicians Collective but Mary Dowd fucked us around and blatantly lied and misled us over several things. This was due to be Jim Thirlwell and I doing something together.
Coil are interested in playing different environments to thee usual. When we played at Brixton and the Air Gallery there was no challenge and I ended up very depressed, as for the most part we seemed to be doing it for a jaded, apathetic crowd of art groupies. That’s how it seemed. The whole thing was so incestuous and every move you made, everything you did or said was noted and compared to something previous. I feel Coil can move out of that area and I want it to.