Interview:2010/08/27 "Suffering Is One Very Long Moment" (Interview with Nick Kushner)
|"...Suffering Is One Very Long Moment."|
Nick Kushner, 2010
|Interview with Nick Kushner|
|Date||August 27, 2010|
"If accomplishments were easy to attain, everyone would be rocket scientists, movie stars, and famous by the talents and abilities of their own merit. It's also a continual and unceasing battle." While 2009 was marked as "Annus Horribilis," and sealed the fate of some... For Nick Kushner & The Nachtkabarett, it was anything but, as it marked the rise of a new beginning. Manson Wiki speaks to Kushner "From the depths" of the Nachtkabarett regarding the site's conception, to BABALON's rise to "Heaven's High," the creative process, experiences with Marilyn Manson, and his thoughts on the new album.
"...Suffering is one very long moment...and we know that it's so much better."
MANSONWIKI: The Nachtkabarett has come a long way since its first incarnation in 2004. How does your initial vision compare to what the Nachtkabarett has transformed into as of today?
NK: The cliché (albeit true) response is that it's gone above and beyond to surpass any expectation which I initially had. How the site came about was essentially that I had always been pursuant of the occult and art history and the more I delved deeper into my own studies and interests the more I would find in terms of parallels to the imagery which Manson was evoking. It would simply be browsing an occult book I happened to be led to and lo and behold I would find several symbols which appeared in the Holy Wood album artwork. Or reading Aleister Crowley's autobiography and finding quote that Manson stylized and made into his own. Or going through art books and finding paintings or photos that Manson recreated in his own vision (such as books on the decadence of Weimar Germany which would have photos which Manson's adapted for a photoshoot, for example). Watching a DVD and hearing an obscure sound clip and recalling that, "oh yeah, that squeaking noise is the same that's sampled in the album intro to The Golden Age of Grotesque." There simply got to be enough, i.e. - way too many, that, and in following suggestions from the few friends I'd share with, that starting a site to showcase these finds was the next logical conclusion. Bearing in mind, that nowadays a lot of the site content has been shot around the internet, including despicable lowlifes that rip of original scans and quote entire passages and post on Wikipedia and other sites without even the courtesy of a 5 pixel font size citation of where they meticulously read and got it from. But when I started the site none of the content had ever been found or published in any manner (I was around all the early message boards and looked) so it was just a really cool feeling that I was performing a service and in a sense contributing to the appreciation of the art (i.e. - Manson's) which I loved and meant so much to me.Very little, if anything, as changed since then in terms of mindset and enthusiasm aside from the fact that it's contributed to my meeting so many friends of whom I love and the incredible honour of eventually garnering the attention of my hero who is the one who inspired it all to begin with. So in a sense it's come full circle, but that doesn't at all mean it's complete or finished, but rather that the circle evolved into black hole more all encompassing and important that I could have ever dreamed of.
MW: What first inspired you delve into the esoteric and occult aspects of Marilyn Manson and how did that lead to the creation of the Nachtkabarett?
NK: Fascination with the occult, the esoteric and the habit of delving deeper to the extreme limits possible in whatever I've been interested in at any given time is something that's always been a residual personality trait of mine. Ever since I became a fan and sold my soul, so to speak, I always knew that it was way more than just music and this is evident on a completely surface and cursory level when listening to any of the albums. They can all be appreciated on a stand alone level but there are an infinite number of worlds within worlds of each piece of art that Manson creates.
The first time I heard Manson was the Lunchbox video on MTV's short lived replacement for Headbanger's Ball, Superock. When I really became a fan though, I was pretty young when Mechanical Animals and Antichrist Svperstar came out and didn't quite "get it" in terms of all of the interconnecting metaphors and themes that run concurrent to both. I did on a philosophical level but wasn't quite as able to resonate with it first hand at the time. But when Holy Wood came out, the rage and resentment against the world that Manson was articulating was exactly what I was experiencing at the time, and that, coupled with the imagery which Manson was evoking and personifying set me on my Path, if you want to call it that.
MW: Recently we've heard rumours of a forthcoming hard copy release of the Nachkabarett, could you confirm this?
NK: Absolutely, in fact the original concept and grand idea was to assemble the material in book form. A website was the most logical and accessible avenue with which to disseminate the materials that I'd been compiling for years and, whether you believe everything happens for a reason or not, it worked to its greatest advantage as throughout the process it's what introduced me to all of my best friends I have in the world today, those namely being Rudy Coby, Anthony Silva, Manzin, my partners Alex Deleyn, Brad Jaeger and Gilles Maurice, as well as my one and only living hero, Marilyn Manson.
MW: Is the book something that you've been planning since the inception of Nachtkabarett or is this a recent idea?
NK: A website was a method to get a more immediate audience and interest rather than a book being published out of the blue. Since then the volume of materials has multiplied exponentially throughout the journey over the past 6+ years since I launched The Nachtkabarett. Anyone who's ever doubted the power of art and determination is totally free to but, from a personal standpoint, both the materials and studies which Nachtkabarett is dedicated to, as well as my artwork, is something I'd been culminating my entire life. A website I sat on my floor with a 56K modem and a three times removed obsolete computer at the time has evolved into something beyond any expectations I could have hoped for. But it's also a full time job, literally, not a hobby if you want to see any type of success whatsoever and the willingness to persist on and for years even when no one really cared.
MW: Could you give us any details regarding the contents of the book? Will the book merely be just a hard copy of the website, or will it feature previously unreleased material that will surface in the book?
NK: As mentioned, The Book is something which was always the ultimate goal and I've had (an awesome and) major international publisher that specializes in related materials on board for The Nachtkabarett book several years. Throughout working on the site, as well as the combined talents and knowledge of my best friends the material is only infinitely better than it would have if I had tried to publish instead of buying a domain name. The two will overlap to a degree of course but as a site has certain multimedia content which is not possible to translate to a printed page they will also be able to stand alone as two separate entities. Both in content, exclusivity and presentation. Additions which will find their way into the book isn't something I want to get into but the short answer is that there is a lot of materials which I've been saving over the years to unveil for publication in book form.
MW: As many of the fans know, Babalon is the first official Marilyn Manson message board since the Holy Wood era BBS. Can you tell us about the events leading up to this? Were you personally contacted by Manson directly?
- NOTE: GAOG, the old Official boards, died in January 2003 and was replaced by The Oracle shortly thereafter
NK: Essentially, we were (myself and Antickon / Alex Deleyn) were in the process of designing & rebuilding the Nachtkabarett message board from scratch out of our own accord and interest to make it something that we and the other members of the board could be proud of. There became kind of a need for an Official board after a while to have a place where fans could congregate in a unified forum. It was around this time period where I received contact from Manson directly, as opposed to the hello and brief chat backstage after a concert, and after mentioning that the Nachtkabarett boards were being revamped, Manson liked the design and layout and the Official sanction came shortly after. It was one of those things where simply when you do something proactive, without having a material goal as your motivation, you don't end up limiting yourself and the end result.
MW: Do you know if Manson follows the boards? Are there any plans of him using the boards as an form of communication between himself and the fans?
NK: This isn't something which I really ask about, simply out of privacy and respect to the artist and not pestering into the details of his personal time. But ideally it would be awesome, and this is simply coming from me and a fan perspective from loving the direct messages Manson used to post to the old Official forums. With the occasional hints and tips to the new eras and direction that Manson is heading it. The social networking of MySpace and Facebook, and the ease & immediacy of them, is really cool but the direct address to the fans is something which was always really cool.
I think though that some (a very, very, very small minority that is) should think about what they say before they post as opposed to sometimes being so unnecessarily negative and callous about the artist whose forums they congregate in. That is NOT a "hint, hint, wink, wink, Manson really does visit the boards" type of comment but rather, even out of respect to the community at large, and particularly in the event that Manson does see it. I'm sure for those of us who are creative on our own you would rather not have a bunch of faceless naysayers in the bushes throwing rocks and prematurely ripping apart the things that you create and put your soul into. I think that the same should apply to the artist whose works they claim to love and admire.
|“||...it's going to be the album that fans have been wanting Manson to make for years. Very hardcore but equally as dynamic, complex and versatile. And most importantly, not limited by record company concerns over "commercial marketability."||”|
MW: It's been no secret that throughout the past year, you and Manson have spent quite a bit of time together including the Armageddon video shoot. Can you tell us a little bit about what goes on behind the scenes of the recording of a Marilyn Manson video?
NK: The Armageddon shoot, on the sound stage set, was a really big budget production : the podium with banners, cop cars with helicopter lights, a burning house, naked girls in light boxes and wind tunnels. A lot of the scenes in the director's cut for example were filmed independently at Manson's house and with time and budget there's only so much that can be fit in a 3 - 5 minute music video unfortunately. Manson is really the most consummately creative person you would ever hope to meet and is involved with every step of the process from lighting to cameras to treatment, even including budget allocation. Everything Manson does is art, and by that I mean that the intent behind everything he does has a creative agenda behind it, even if the situation or event in question is done so for levity's sake. He could have an entire TV series of what he has captured on his iPhone. When you look at the lives of the artist's today which are held in high esteem, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, etc, they didn't just create art, they lived it minute by minute and without distinction from the otherwise commonplace events in life.
MW: We saw you behind the camera recording footage of the THEOL tour, can you share one of your most memorable moments of the THEOL tour?
NK: The most memorable are always the ones which (allegedly) involve (alleged) felonies and that which cannot be discussed. It's definitely a surreal state of affairs when you're sleeping and you wake up to Marilyn Manson laughing and poking you on the forehead with a popsicle and realize you're on a tour bus lost somewhere in America.
I was on the tour for about a week and a half going up and down the east coast before flying home from Florida as the band headed off for a 20 hour drive. The production was a little more scaled down given it was a festival with time constraints as that the band and management would receive a $10,000+ fine for playing past curfew on these outdoor amphitheatres. I had a minimum of 5 flip cams on me at any given time to capture an chaos that might ensue (and more times than not it did) and at night I'd back everything up on external hard drives and charge them all. The band was in rare form each night and I would film Manson walking on and offstage. Definitely some memorable moments include watching the movie Se7en on the tour bus on the way to one of the venues, where you get treated to the Manson commentary throughout. Getting to sit next to Manson, on camera, while being interviewed for MTV Latin America was pretty memorable to say the least. Right before each show when you're backstage and you see the whole band standing together, replete in stage makeup and all in black, it feels like being inside a promo shot of the band. I was there to do a legitimate job but would be lying if I said it wasn't living the dream for a week.
MW: We've all seen pictures of Manson's bedroom walls during his creation of THEOL, can you describe the atmosphere of the room?
NK: That's something which is difficult to compare or describe. If you tried to tell a virgin was sex was like, or someone who's never tried a drug what a high feels like, or what the atmosphere inside the Bone Church is like, it's difficult to do it justice. It was absolutely an honour, it was freezing cold and when you see those still frame photos of what Dali or Francis Bacon's studios looked like, it's what it felt like except the extremity of the Marilyn Manson spin on it. With the writing and imagery on the walls, and chaos and disarray of it actually being an Artist's room that he works in, it was what I must imagine Aleister Crowley's Abbey of Thelema must have felt like before he was banished from Italy.
A lot of comments have been made about Manson and what it's like to know him but as deep as you think everything goes, it's barely a scratch on the surface.
MW: As we all know Manson's friend and former roommate Rudy Coby is an active member of the boards and you were the designer of his website RudyCoby.net, Can you tell us how your friendship with Rudy has evolved since the two of you met?
NK: Rudy is my best friend, mentor and brother. Rudy is the one who is responsible for showing Manson The Nachtkabarett years ago. He emailed me not even three weeks after I launched my site. I had no idea who he was, it was just the nicest and most straight to the point email you could ever expect and with compliments on the site content, which was more like in foetal stages than even infancy. It was really the most fluid rapport and friendship I developed with anyone. He never spoke about magic and everything I came to know about Labman is what I uncovered online through eBay and miscellaneous magic sites, years before any of his clips were even on YouTube. It took a really long time to even come up with a way to tell him how amazing his magic is, which is truly an art, and is unbelievable and won me over as a fan even if he didn't have any involvement with Manson at all. He says I helped him get back into magic and being Labman by my constant support (i.e. - nagging) but it would have been a crime against humanity if he didn't put the lab coat on again and I think that re-emergence would had to have been inevitable. Website or anything else in infinitesimal in the grand scheme but it was a privilege to contribute in any way possible.
And if I was ever on his bad side he's the only person I would be as scared of as Manson himself.
MW: Speaking of Rudy Coby, he recently revealed via Twitter that you and he shared an exclusive listening of a few of Manson's new songs. Without giving away too much could you describe the atmosphere of the songs and what you think fan reaction will be?
NK: That's not something I can/should go into much detail on but it's going to be the album that fans have been wanting Manson to make for years. Very hardcore but equally as dynamic, complex and versatile. And most importantly, not limited by record company concerns over "commercial marketability".
MW: Recently you titled and were given the painting "Wraith", which was featured in the Hell ETC art exhibit. What are your plans for it and what made you choose that title?
NK: To slightly clarify, Manson didn't give me the painting but he was kind enough to personalize a life-size print of it for me. The pic that got circulated is actually straight from Rudy's iPhone outside the Pack n Mail on 'Holy Wood' Blvd where it was being put in a custom flat shipping box to safely make it way back to New York.
Last winter Manson emailed me some previews of the in-progress paintings that made their premiere at the exhibition in Greece. "Wraith" was particularly striking and my knee-jerk reaction response was something along the lines of, "The beautiful. It's completely ghostly and wraith-like".
It's very prominently framed and displayed on my walls.
MW: Speaking of art. You have recently released your first set of art prints, from thethirdangelsounded.com, do you have any plans of exhibiting your art?
NK: Aleister Crowley wrote that no progress in the occult (which can be applied to art as well) is made without insurmountable adversity. The "art world" is one which by tradition has always been more accepting of more subversive and incendiary art when it's able to be viewed in retrospect and is safely removed. This is namely why until recently I haven't made painstaking efforts in attempt to break into it. Art has always been my One True Will and something I'd pursued just as devoutly throughout my life but on the counter to that, art and performance is completely useless if no one sees it. You can't change the world or influence minds by staying in a garage or your bedroom. Which is the same flaw as when people say Manson "sells out" just because he's clever enough to infiltrate the mainstream. I feel as though I've had the opportunity to culminate my own art for long enough and that I have a solid enough canon of works behind me where I won't have to compromise artistic vision and intent in order to receive recognition.
At current, I have two sets of prints available which are done on museum quality archival paper and inks, are true-to-life sizes of the originals and signed in my own blood, which the originals are painted with. It's difficult and very expensive to get things done right and especially when you're doing them all by yourself but when you persist on in spite of the odds it will be overcome. My art has been featured in several international publications (and more forthcoming) and this October will be part of a group exhibition entitled 'Blood, Sweat and Fears' this October in New York City.
MW: You have always described your approach to art and life as alchemical, can you elaborate upon this?
NK: Essentially, I've been using my own blood as a medium in my artworks for 10-12 years now, in varying degrees of involvement and complexity to fully using it as the only "paint" on the canvas. The idea from day one was always the literal insertion of myself into my artworks, to be one and the same with them since my creations were always so important to me. The philosophy, intent and pursuit of alchemy has become distorted over the years but the concept essentially has been the path of transformation, which is precisely the manner which Manson evokes it within his art and music and life. As the alchemist of the 16th/17th century toiled over the metals he was melting, amalgamating and purifying, it became a microcosm for the souls own ascendance and purification. That the alchemist could create gold out of base metals (which most who pursued this for earthly and monetary gain or eternal physical life were primarily charlatans throughout history) is a metaphor for the soul, or higher self, or whatever, to expand and accrete experiences needed to rise. When you pursue a path, or your True Will, devoutly and become one with it, it changes you and transforms you as much as you have influence upon it. Doors and knowledge unlock if you're unwavering in it and you meet those who will influence and lead you to your next level (and vice versa). This standpoint can be applied to blood painting, wearing a lab coat and growing four legs, adopting the name Marilyn Manson or anything you pursue and believe in if you're serious about it and do it out of love and say "fuck you" to anyone who doesn't like it or says otherwise.
MW: As Oscar Wilde writes in De Profundis, ". . . Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain."
NK: "Long is the way, and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light." John Milton, Paradise Lost. If accomplishments were easy to attain, everyone would be rocket scientists, movie stars and famous by the talents and abilities of their own merit. It's also a continual and unceasing battle. The greatest motivation throughout history, aside from love and greed, has been catharsis. It's something which has been the driving force behind virtually all of the works of art, music and literature which are today considered to be sacred. It's a double edged sword as it can either inspire you to greater heights than what could have been attained otherwise or it can just as easily destroy you. It's a matter of the choice to live and fight which determines whether you allow it to overwhelm you or whether you direct it and use it as a force to create with. Muscle only grows after it’s broken and bleeds.
NK: As I'm sure I've mentioned here and elsewhere and to most people who listen, Marilyn Manson is my only living hero and it's an absolute honour to have met and, if possible, play a small role to augmentand interpret his art via Nachtkabarett to help others appreciate it and the intricacies within it as much as I have throughout most of my life. This isn't an ounce of exaggeration either. The first time I ever met Manson was in September 2004 in New York City after a TV appearance. It was brief but before he left he reached out and dropped something small and cold into my hand before running off. It was a silver ring bearing an occult seal. I have this symbol tattooed on my left wrist as a signification of what is possible to attain through pursuing one's Will, since my work on Nachtkabarett is what got me there that day, and also as a validation of a life's pursuit of art and erudition by the one person who I hold in high enough admiration to signify that to me.
MW: We would like to thank you for your time and look forward to sharing a long and prosperous partnership between the Nachtkabarett and MansonWiki.
NK: Absolutely, I think you've both done a great job with the Wiki and am happy it was fans as consummately dedicated as yourselves who took the reins of it, and that we're likewise able to offer complimentary content. Looking forward to persisting on with the partnership. Thanks a lot.
NK — 8.27.10
To find out more about Nick Kushner visit [thethirdangelsounded.com]. For more information about the art and occult aspects of Marilyn Manson, visit Nachtkabarett.com and the official Marilyn Manson message board, Babalon.