Genesis P-Orridge interviewed ZIA at their Brooklyn apartment in 2000! It was an absolute pleasure.
Listen to the entire audio here.
Genesis: Can you give us a very brief history of ZIA? And I'll interrupt you and we'll go off in tangents, because that's always more interesting.
Elaine: Well, ZIA started off in 1991 and our first show was actually in 1992, because I was trying to gather up some band members to play these very odd instruments. It's hard to find people to play these MIDI triggers with sticks.
Genesis: So we need to know what these odd instruments are.
Elaine: Well my idea was to perform the music using no standard instruments at all. No keyboards, no guitars, no regular drums. Just completely new and different instruments. One of the reasons is because the music's microtonal. We use different tunings other than just 12 notes per octave, and to play that on a keyboard, it's kind of difficult to keep track of where you are. So by putting the notes on these different MIDI triggers and hitting them with sticks, I could just teach people patterns that they'd memorize for each song.
Genesis: And always be in the microtonal range.
Genesis: So you pre-program the microtonal side of it, and more or less wherever the musicians hit is within the parameters of the music.
Elaine: Yeah. The musicians just need to know which pads to hit when, and just memorize patterns. So I was trying to find drummers to audition to do this, and drummers had a hard time, and guitar players didn't really use sticks and neither did keyboard players. So I was having a hard time finding anyone. Vibraphone players usually wouldn't be into the style, the fact that it was more hard core industrial. I was screaming and what not. So finally, the two people from the other band I was in helped me with ZIA. So the original line-up was me, Lisa Sirois (now DJ Goldilox), and Noel McKenna. We were also in D.D.T., another hardcore industrial band.
Genesis: And this was in Boston?
Elaine: Yes that was in Boston.
Genesis: So where were you trained? How do you even know what microtonal is?
Elaine: Well I had classical piano all my life, and then I went to Berklee for Music Synthesis. And it wasn't until my last year at Berklee that one of my professors introduced microtonal music to me. I'd always thought about it, I'd always wondered why people don't use the notes in between, but I never really knew how to go about it.
Genesis: Or more accurately, why don't people in the West use those notes?
Elaine: Yeah, exactly. In fact, at Berklee they call Western 12 tone jazz harmony just Harmony class. That used to bother me. So in 1991 I heard my teacher come in and perform this microtonal song. He actually sang the song and played a tape for the class. It made my hair stand on end, and ever since then, I haven't written a 12 tone piece.
Genesis: So that brings us up to ZIA. Can you explain what your interpretation at this point is of microtonal is? Not the traditional academic one, but your vision of what microtonal is, and why that’s your bridge with music to create something.
Elaine: Well, I think people, over the years, over the centuries, especially in Western music, have experimented with different rhythms and different sounds. Now, with electronic music, people experiment with a lot of different sounds and timbres and styles of music. Really, the only thing left is pitch. People haven't been experimenting with different pitches. It's one of the main parameters of music, and it's like another dimension no one's dived into. And people in other countries have been using microtones, so I feel like I want to explore that whole area. Sooner or later, someone might look at it and analyze it and figure out a theory that they can teach for these different tunings.
Genesis: So you actually are interested in changing the face of music? We were talking before about punk, for example, and once, I was asked what was the difference between punk and industrial. I was formulating the idea of industrial music while I was auditioning Billy Idol, for example. So I'm yawning at the actual structure, the archetype of rock and roll. And I said–I guess, with punk, despite all the posturing, and this isn't a negative because I still think a lot of it was fabulous, the energy was amazing, so I'm not trying to put it down. Punk was trying to change the face to rock and roll, specifically, I think, whereas industrial was trying to change the face of all music in the West. The rest of the world knew this already, that it was actually an open door for anything and everything available. Anything and everything is ultimately music in some way.
Elaine: I feel that the 12 tone tuning is as arbitrary as feet and inches, or ounces and pounds.
Genesis: So you're on the side of smashing the brick wall, or even more, crumbling it to dust.
Elaine: Yes, because it's art. Feet and inches I wouldn't really protest against because it's just a measurement. And even though it’s kind of silly, it’s just a measurement. But with art and music, you have to smash down all the walls.
Genesis: [to Liz and Hae Young] Which is where I move across the room, because, it seems that both of you have become involved in ZIA–you’ve obviously been attracted to something, to get involved in a creative project. Both of you must realize it takes a lot of your life, your time, your energy. You start to dream it, think it, live it, eat it. It’s just with youall the time. So you've both committed yourselves to this project, ZIA. Can you both explain how you got drawn to work in this project?
Hae Young: Mainly because I was interested in the instrumentation, not using normal instrumentation and it being all electronic. And, also I was a synth student at the time. And also the idea of microtonal music. I'm very interested in that as well. I was looking for something different.
Liz: Well, I didn't have an outlet for any of my synthesis work I had done up to that point.
Genesis: Are you also classically trained?
Liz: Yeah. All of us are piano players.
Genesis: All piano players? Isn't the piano a fantastic instrument? It's one of the ultimate instruments.
Liz: And all of my playing in public to this point has been piano and vocals and weird instrumentations, but it was not electronic at all. And that was my other interest. So ZIA provided a good outlet to physically be able to play out, not in school, but in clubs and learn how the business works on that end. That just seemed like the perfect combination.
Elaine: To me, in Liz and Hae Young, I see me when I joined D.D.T. Because I was straight out of college, and I didn't really know how to go about being in a band. I'd been in bands in the 80's, but it was in New Mexico and wasn't anything that really went anywhere. I didn't have any experience with booking shows, or even getting the band gear set-up really happening. So joining D.D.T. taught me everything I needed to know.
Genesis: What Zia is doing now, potentially, is as radical and innovative as what Throbbing Gristle was doing in 1975. There are cycles that happen where one thing is built until it becomes a formula, which was not my intention, for example, like industrial music. And someone else has to come along and break that down. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. New generations are supposed to destroy the previous generation. So using my ownpersonal previous experience with TG. People used to say, What are your inspirations? Again here’s a difference between industrial and punk. Rockers would go, Oh, I like VelvetUnderground and Iggy Pop, or New York Dolls. And I would say, John Cage-not is music but his books, and Stockhausen, etc. And they would say, What do you mean? And I wouldsay, I see no reason why the structures and concepts and the ideas of new post electronic classical music cannot be applied to popular culture. And that would be the reason tohave a band, because it’s an experimental entity that you can inject like a virus into the bloodstream of the culture and see what happens.
One thing that fascinates me with ZIA is that it's confronting, if you like, the last bastion of westernization, western colonization of music–that kind ofJudeo-Christian mechanistic–let's build printing presses, let's build weaving machines, let's make industry that deals with making everything over and over again from the past. That's all based on repetitious formula and the expectation that you'll get the same thing again if you like it. We have factories to make things twice. Music is very much the same. That's why we called it 'industrial' to make that point. The whole way the West deals music is that it's repeatable. If someone's successful, we go, Oh yes, we can do that again. 'She Loves You,' we can do that again, 'I Want To Hold Your Hand.'
Elaine: Do you know who coined the word?
Elaine: You coined the word Industrial?
Elaine: Oh! Well, here you are!
Genesis: On September 3, 1975, London Field's Park, in the morning, walking between 50 Beck Road and 10 Martello Street with my dog, talking to Monte Cazazza. And I was saying to him, “I don’t know what to call this music that we’re doing. Should we call it Factory Records?” He said, “Why?” “Because of Warhol.” And he goes, “Nah it’s too obvious.” “Yeah, Yeah right. It’s too obvious.” And I said, “Well what about industrial?” And he goes, “Well, listen to yourself, Gen. What have you been saying to me all the way across the park. You’ve been going, ‘The industrial this, the industrial that.’ Of course it should be industrial. That’s the word you keep saying when you’re explaining it to me.” I said, “You’re right. Industrial. You’re right. Let’s call it industrial records and industrial music.” And he said, “And the slogan is ‘industrial music for industrial people’.”
And that’s how it happened. And interestingly, most of the world can’t believe this is possible, but before that day it didn’t exist.
Elaine: See how much Genesis influenced me already? He hired Billy Idol, and he coined the world Industrial.
Genesis: It's funny because people don't realize.. It’s a really odd feeling to know that there was a specific hour of a day, that before that moment, a genre didn't exist! How unusual in the terms of culture and music, that that should be so specific. The same with punk rock though., Malcolm McLaren, in the same year, did the same thing. Although the word punk was already around, so there was a kind of a grey area. But he was the one who pinned it down and stamped on it–put his footmark in it. And then Mark Perry started ‘Sniffing Glue,' the first xeroxed fanzine at the same time. And he printed this page, “learn 3 chords, form a band.” Then, in the next issue, he interviewed me and I said, “Why learn 3 chords? Why learn any chords?” Which is what you're saying in a sense, like why learn Western music?
That really is the nature of industrial music–“Why learn 3 chords?” One of the first premises of TG was no drummer, as that's rock and roll. And men always played lead guitar, so let Cosi play guitar, because she's a girl. She goes, “I can't play.” That's even better! “Oh, it’s too heavy!” So we got a jigsaw and chopped the sides off. And she ended up with a stick guitar.
Hae Young: You invented the stick guitar?!
Genesis: By accident! It was that simple. She goes, “It’s too heavy!” and we went [makes cutting sounds], “How's that?” She didn’t know anything about tuning it, so she used a slide.
Elaine: Rotary saw or saber saw?
Genesis: Saber saw.
Elaine: We've got to know the details.
Genesis: So what I'm really pointing at.. I have this feeling that there are hot spots in culture where something becomes inevitable. A really major shift in the way something's done. And I think that happened with TG, and that happened with Elvis, and that happened with the Beatles, although they were less conscious of what was happening. That was just opportunism and intelligent use of opportunism. But there are moments in time in popular culture, be it art, music, or writing, where a shift is inevitable and all the previous rules get thrown out the window once and for all. There are 2 things that I think make ZIA potentially very important and potentially able to do this. One of them is the fact that you've even abandoned the game of the destruction of traditional instruments, which is the source of industrial music. Destroy rock and roll by destroying its instruments, and include electronics and the classical electronic experimental concept of music. Now we’re at a point where you’re saying, forget all instruments, and forget Western tone scales and all these control systems, which is probably very patriarchal anyway, because it comes from the church, plain chant, cathedrals, and so on. So the first part of the question is, do you believe that ZIAis at one of these intersections where inevitably, whether it's you or someone else, there's another major change happening in music. And part 2 is that I think it's significant that it's 3 female virtuosos that are choosing to do this.
Elaine: That's a coincidence. I wasn't looking for just females. Believe you me.
Genesis: Well I would argue that that's the inevitability of the change. There's been a huge shift since the 70's in terms of acceptance of women of all types in all genres of music. But there hasn't been a spawning of an absolutely new direction of music as of yet, in my opinion, by women. So potentially you have that arena as well.
So my first question is, are you at the intersection of where the next inevitable big shift will happen?
Elaine: I hope so. But my fear is that people don't notice that we're that different, because we play pop music now. Since I'm somehow able to write pop music with 10 notes per octave. I think the only thing people notice that’s extremely different are the instruments. So I'm not sure how much of a huge change I'm going to make in breaking down the barriers of tonal music, when people might not even realize that I'm doing that.
Liz: The biggest thing that people end up noticing is that we're not playing “normal” instruments. We're hitting things. We're hitting things with sticks, but we're not drummers. And we're triggering things, and everything has a technical reason behind it, but it's not a guitar, not drums, not bass, not anything conventional. And that is what seems to stick in peoples minds, other than the beats which drive them to dance.
Hae Young: I like the idea of playing “normal music” instead of just wacky experimental music. Because that kind of builds a bridge. There are all groups of people who play experimental, and it can’t really blend with other people, which is pop music and regular music. And I think we build a bridge in between, and using technology as well.
Elaine: I guess that's what I've been trying to do. I’m not sure how conscious it. I’m not even sure anymore.
Hae Young: But you know, people get interested in your music, and then they also get interested in other instruments. So that’s the attraction I think.
Genesis: So you can educate through the culture. You can lead people across that bridge. So you can retroactively inform them so they can understand the technical side of things later.
Elaine: I think, through interviews, it helps people to learn, and maybe putting a little note on the CD saying “This is microtonal.” People gradually realize what we're doing.
Liz: In the club scene, we're considered that prototype style of band where they don't know where to stick us with other people. So we've played with reggae bands, we’ve played with death rock, we've played with hard core, we’ve played with punk, we’ve played with stoner people. Every possible style you can think of, we've played on the same bill. Because they do not know where to stick us. In Boston, there was a severe lacking of electronic bands. And they didn't want to stick us with DJ's, because it wasn’t considered the same thing, even though we're electronic. So we ended up getting put on bills with some of the most interesting combinations of styles of music. We were that show where no one knew where to put anybody, but it totally works. It’s so much more wonderful to play with bands that are friendly that with people who are trying to be cool.
Hae Young: Or other bands who have samplers or electronic controllers, we'd play with. It doesn’t matter what kind of music they are, whenever they have some weird things going other than guitar or regular bass or drums, you know.
Liz: Or it would be an all girls show, with 5 different styles.
Hae Young: Chick bands.
Genesis: How do you feel about the gender issue? The joker card, if you like.
Elaine: Oh I don't know, it's just silly.
Hae Young: I think it’s to our advantage in a sense.
Elaine: It's like reversed sexism. It’s like, you know it's sexism but it's to your advantage. And I always say, this is the greatest time for women! We can get free donuts, men open doors for us, yet we can still have any job we want.
At this point the phone rang, and then it was decided to open a bottle of wine. Check back soon for more of the interview!!!!
Liz: The only time the gender issue physically backfired was when we played with this band at the club call Machine, which was under a club called the Ramrod in Boston. A lot of our fan base refused to go to that show because it was underneath a gay bar.
Genesis: When you said “Ramrod” I was going to guess.
Elaine: That was more of a sexual orientation issue than a gender issue. A lot of our straight guy friends didn’t go because they were chicken. It was really eye opening.
Genesis: Now that’s sad.
Liz: Cuz the fact is, that was a really great show. There was this bartender who was a postman by day and a transvestite bartender by night. Elaine and I were in the bathroom getting ready and Elaine goes, “Liz, do you have any black eye shadow?” And I said, “No.” And this male voice goes, “Well I do,” and suddenly this black eyeshadow goes flying through the stalls, and we’re like, “Cool!” And I’m doing my hair and the bartender comes out of the stall and goes, “Hey, you need some sparkles in your hair, and you need some coils,” and you need this that and the other. The point is, it was a great show because the people were very responsive to what we were trying to do that night, and whoever showed up ended up enjoying themselves immensely, despite where we were playing.
Elaine: I think we should play for gay audiences more. I think it would go over. We’re kind of like Madonna.. no we’re not like madonna, but you know what I mean. We’re sexy and happy and crazy.
Hae Young: See, I just don’t like to put us in a certain category, whether we are a happy or aggressive band. I just want people to like us for what we are instead of putting us into categories.
Genesis: So do you think that it’s more possible now, in New York?
Hae Young: I think it’s easier. In Boston, everybody was categorized.
Elaine: I don’t know why bands insist on being so categorized and so “the same” all the time. A band is like an entity. It’s like a whole personality within itself. All of us have more than none personality. Look at me on stage, and then here I introduce space meetings in really conservative outfits.
Genesis: I was reading a book about the way that the brain works, and interestingly it was talking about artists as creative human beings. It actually said that artists think and live differently–that they maintain multiple personalities. And that this is usually frowned upon as some kind of a sickness by the status quo, the way that society works in a 9 to 5 existence. And that many people who would like to become creative or think they would be a writer of fiction, or a painter, are actually discouraged because of their confusion and guilt at this conversation that happens inside their head between more than one being–that one’s going, “I would like to do this because my vision tells me the world is like this and should sound like that,” and the other one goes, “Well what if I did it this way?” And the other goes, “But yes, who cares, just do it.” And I’m sure you’ve all had that conversation inside your head where you almost have a dialog constantly happening between the creative being and the left brain, practical one, that goes, “But what about the rent?” Or whatever it might be.
Liz: Or you just have this steady stream of music running through your head that you can never shut off.
Liz: Not to sound ridiculous, but I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this, including myself, and everyone that I run into in music that there’s this constant stream of melody or harmony going through your head and you can’t get it out unless you put it into some tangible format. And then it’s immediately replaced by something else. You go to sleep and you still hear it, you wake up and you still hear it. Even if you’re in some boring meeting or you’re talking to your parents. You still have a melody going on and you’re going, “Wow, I want to write that down.”
Genesis: I know exactly what you mean. I had one of those this morning. I went to sleep with it, woke up with it. So there’s a question triggered by you, which is–Is it just right brain activity is being created? Are creative artists and musicians, in a sense, in touch with their right brain in a constant level. Is it biological, is it neurological, the way that creativity happens?
Elaine: I get my brain hemispheres mixed up. Which is which?
Hae Young: [laughs]
Genesis: Left is the one that organizes. It’s the so-called rational side. It’s usually controlled by your right hand, your ability to add up and spell and make boring sentences is supposedly left brain.
Liz: See, I’m a little screwed up because I’m both, and ambidextrous.
Elaine: OK, Liz my secretary because I’m completely unorganized. Liz is both organized and creative. [Note: I am bordering-OCD organized nowadays. -EW]
Genesis: See I have a theory that I want to posit and you’re an example of what I think is happening. There’s a book called, the Origin of Consciousness and the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. The basic theory of the book is that up until about 3000 years ago human beings had no awareness of being separate individuals. They lived absolutely in the present. They didn’t know they were being born and they didn’t know they were going to die. They knew that death happened, but they didn’t feel separate. Their right brain was completely in charge, and they could hear voices.
Elaine: Until how long ago?
Genesis: Only 3000 years. Not long at all. And that 3000 years ago various catastrophes happened that meant that different isolated groups of beings met each other and the right brain that was preeminent and predominant started to become overwhelmed by left brain needs to survive, so the left brain kicked in for survival reasons and eventually triumphed over the right brain, and in doing that generated the idea of a future and forecasting, which is where consciousness first began. Before that the idea of consciousness, predicting and remembering, and so on, was completely different. What I think has been happening during the last century, since just after the last world war, when LSD happened and the atom bomb happened, is that we learned to split the very essence of everything, material and consciousness. Literally both of them at the same time–between ’45 and ’50. And that this is the beginning of an entirely new consciousness. And they say it takes 1000 years for a new consciousness to happen. And that the next one will be something that you’re experiencing, and probably both of you too. And I think technology is the X factor-the new factor that’s made this possible. So you have LSD and the atom being split, triggering the first potential of a new consciousness. Then you have technology coming along to amplify that possibility, so that instead of it being the right brain dominating the left, and later the left dominating the right, now you have the right and the left making friends finally.
Elaine: For instance, mathematician and scientists, may times are musicians. My mom is a mathematician and musician. My dad’s a mathematician, but not a musician. He’s a music critic. But anyway, a lot of their mathematician friends are musicians. We’re in the music technology field. We went to Berklee for Music Technology, and now I’m going to NYU for Music Technology. So we’ve met a lots of people who are in a technical field but also are musicians. It goes together very well.
Genesis: Do you think that, A, it’s possible at least that a new consciousness is beginning to happen–a literal evolutionary change in the species. Question two, would that make what ZIA is doing, both intuitively and literally, significant as one of the first manifestations of this change into what I call the third mind, where the right brain and left brain are friendly and by collaboration, by example, generate something above and beyond any individual, which I think the web is a metaphor for anyways. A, is there a new consciousness happening maybe, and B, if there is, would you feel that you a part of it, even unwittingly?
Liz: Well as far as the left brain and right brain getting along and being happy, I’ve met several people like that. Granted, we’re not in the majority. But I honestly never put much thought into it. It just meant that if one hand got tired, the other would take over. Or if you were at a loss for organization, then you’d give up and just become creative. It’s just one of those things you don’t think about. You just end up doing it. So, you don’t really consider it any different than what anyone else would do because you really don’t analyze what other people are doing.
Genesis: Do you understand how radical that statement is? That in the 50’s people would have one of their hand..
Liz: ..tied behind their back..
Genesis: ..so they didn’t use it. So what you just said–50 years ago, which in terms of the evolution of the species is nothing–would be heresy. But to you it’s a comfortable normality. This is significant. Think about that.
Hae Young: Yeah.
Genesis: [to Hae Young] Do you think it’s possible that the human species could evolve further in terms of consciousness, that it might be happening?
Hae Young: I wouldn’t even take it that far. I think that human beings have different needs. That one is a very emotional side, very personal side, then there’s all this industrial […] technology that has advanced, but people are basically looking for the basic human side of it. That’s what it is. It’s not left brain or right brain.
Genesis: You might get surprised.
Hae Young: Perhaps.
Genesis: Do you think it’s possible to be involved in a massive change in consciousness and not even need to know?
Hae Young: That’s quite possible.
[Elaine comes back]
Elaine: I missed everything!
Genesis: Well first of all, we’re talking about–Is consciousness changing?
Elaine: That’s such a hard question because I’m not sure what other people’s consciousnesses are. [chuckles] And to me, I think of one side of your brain as your technical organizational mathematical side, and your other side as your creative, crazy side.
Genesis: And you said something interesting. You said that your mother is both, sort of, and your father is critical. So he’s leaning towards left. But you are quite comfortable with integrating both, going back and forth as it suits you for survival, practicality, creativity, for whatever it is you need to achieve. You can comfortably go back and forth.
Elaine: It seems so normal that I’m not sure if I know if it’s a new consciousness or how far away it is from other people’s thinking. It’s hard to tell from my point of view. To me it seems like everyone is just like this. We’re around so many people that have a very thick connection–and I think it’s literally a thicker connection…
Liz: Honestly I think we are sheltered from what is considered the rest of society, because we’ve been formulated and bred in a very creative environment for so long. [break in the recording] Like for instance, we like what we do. How many people can say they like what they do in the rest of the world? We don’t know.
Hae Young: But it’s not like a movement that we want to make. It’s natural for us. It’s not like we have some conscience to change society through making music. It just comes naturally and meets the needs of the people.
Genesis: But that’s sometimes how the best things happen, you see.
Elaine: I think another example is.. as you know, I am very much into space exploration, and I think I’ve always thought that way but it wasn’t until after college in 1991 where I really started pushing that. I started out on email lists having discussions with people and two years later I joined a local active pro space chapter, and started doing all this pro space stuff. I never thought of it as a movement. I just thought it was the obvious thing to do, and something I had to do. I didn’t think of it as radical. And eventually I started writing pro space music to go along with this, kind of to bridge my two lives together–my music life and my pro space life. It made sense to attach something to the music so that I’m not just a musician for the sake of entertaining people. And recently I’ve been hearing leaders of different pro space societies talk about, “the music that we need for the movement.” And it’s just dawning on me now that oh, I think I am involved in a movement–a pro space movement. And I’m writing the art that’s going to help make this movement a reality. Like any movement always has art that goes along with it. And it’s not always a conscious decision of the artist. It’s just a natural step.
Genesis: Isn’t it fabulous that you’re so comfortable with being members of a new species, that you don’t even have to think about it.
Elaine: That’s wonderful! Let’s cheers to that. [glasses clanking]
Hae Young: I never thought about it! [laughs]
Elaine: I have to point out that Hae Young is drinking out of a very large measuring cup.
Hae Young: It is exactly one cup!
Genesis: This is the kind of question that is sometimes revealing in an easy way for people. Now this will be hard for ZIA because you play microtonal. I am going to ask each of you, in a perfect world, where budgets practicalities and everything else didn’t matter. And I offered you a million dollars, which piece of music by somebody else would you do a cover version of?
Elaine: No, I’m not going to say Flesh For Fantasy!
Liz: Geeze, you’ve always wanted to do that one.
Elaine: OK… Flesh for Fantasy. No. What I was really going to say is… Morton Subotnick’s ‘Silver Apples of the Moon’.
Hae Young: I thought you were going to say Billy Idol!
Elaine: Yeah but that’s the obvious answer. I can’t say such an obvious…
Genesis: Silver Apples of the Moon! That’s a fantastic piece of music.
Elaine: We could somehow make it into a club song…
Liz: I’m still thinking…
Genesis: [to Liz and Hae Young] You’re coming from the future back to the past, to a previous century. So from the previous century, what would you do? What would you bring into the future?
Liz: Oh yeah, we’re in a new century. It’s still sinking in.
Genesis: It is for me too.
Hae Young: It hasn’t happened yet.
Elaine: Close enough. [Technically, the new century started in 2001. -EW]
Liz: Sympathy for the Devil. That’s what I’d cover.
Genesis: That’s good too! Fabulous!
Hae Young: See right now we play a lot of happy music, but myself, I’m a very emotional, dark person. And I really love Massive Attack music. What’s that one… Angel? I’ve been listening to it over and over today. It think that would be a really good ZIA project.
Elaine: See, I think I need to let the other band members’ dark side show through. Because I’m such a dynamic optimist. I have a light personality in general.
Hae Young: I do like all “pro space” and “happy” and “technology” and all of that. But I think music is an outlet of the emotional… see you have an emotional side. You’re a human being. You have all these goals and hope and everything, but still you’re a human being. Everybody feels the same way. It doesn’t matter what you are, or who you are, or or how much you have accomplished. That’s something that I want to bring out.
Elaine: But when I was in my deepest, darkest, most depressed state I can remember since I was a teenager was when I left my husband, and look at the songs I wrote.
Hae Young: Happy!
Elaine: Plastic Man and Big Bang.
Liz: Plastic Man’s not happy though.
Elaine: Yeah, but it’s goofy.
Liz: But it’s not happy though.
Elaine: It’s not dark and depressing and gloomy either. It’s kind of silly. Look at our video.
Liz: But if you really listen to it, it’s not happy though.
Elaine: Yeah but you have to really listen closely and think about it…
Liz: Argue with me as much as you want but it’s not a happy tune.
Elaine: I’m just saying. That’s how my darkness… I have to turn it into a joke and then it goes away. You know…
Liz: But it didn’t go away.
Genesis: Does it? Does it go away?
Elaine: Well, no, but that’s my way of dealing with it.
Hae Young: By making a joke out of it?
Elaine: Oh I didn’t make a joke out of it at the time.
Genesis: You’re contradicting yourself, you know.
Elaine: I wrote the lyrics and the melody…
Genesis: I hate to say this to you but, let me be the bearer of bad news. You are contradicting yourself right, left, and center. “It’s a happy tune but it’s not happy if you listen. I made a joke of it but I don’t really make a joke of things that make me unhappy.” What is this song?
Elaine: Well… part of being an artist is contradicting yourself. [laughs] When I wrote that song I was so depressed, I had lost ten pounds. I hadn’t eaten. I hadn’t eve had any alcohol or anything in weeks. I had just been like nothing. I was dehydrating and turning into a sponge. And that’s when I wrote that song.
Genesis: So you don’t mean joke, you mean catharsis. Maybe?
Elaine: Well, now that we play the song, and do this video, it’s so silly and funny and goofy. But when I wrote the song I not in that frame of mind at all. So I don’t know. Maybe someone can help me out…
Genesis: No, I think it’s time to… I hope this is good therapy because I think ZIA is just starting to say, “Hey, what about this dark side?” And come on. Don’t kid yourself, honey, that was a sad song! [laughs]
Hae Young: I really like Spider.
Elaine: See, Spider was a song I wrote in that period. It was about my therapist.
Hae Young. I love Spider. It really touches me.
Elaine: I’m easily disturbed just thinking about it. Plastic Man somehow ended up sounding goofy. And maybe that was because I produced the music when I was in a better frame of mind. Like when I actually made the sounds and pieced it together I was in a better frame of mind. But when I first sat down to write the lyrics it was just horrible.
Genesis: Well, I think at this point we’re close to having to promote the CD, don’t you? Seeing as how we’re talking about tracks on the CD? Are we?