Heathen Harvest: I would like to begin by heading back in time to your involvement with The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud. TMLHBAC rose to cult status within the industrial music scene shortly after debuting. Did you anticipate that this music project would gain such prominence and momentum so quickly?
Albin Julius: No, we never expected something like that to happen. As we started – TMLHBAC evoke from a former band – which split and Alzbeth and I continued - we just wanted to create music we like, and we never expected such a success with it.
HH: TMLHBAC was formed between you and your then lover Alzbeth. It has been widely circulated that the bands demise came about do to internal relationship problems. Has this experience deterred you from blending your musical career and love life?
AJ: Well, we have been together 10 years, and in the end the relation simply didn`t function anymore, and as the band then was a very important part in our lifes and in our relation, we decided not to continue, it wouldn`t have worked, TMLHBAC was a very personal thing between me and Alzbeth then. When I started Der Blutharsch, I strictly seperated “career and love life” - which was quit easy then, as I started as a one man band. Meanwhile I have 4 other people constantly involved in the band, one of them Marthynna, my wife, so nowadays I don´t separate it really….but, well, I allways keep the control and decide what is going on.
HH: On the official TMLHBAC Alzbeth states in an interview that the break between her and you also occurred because you wanted to give the music of TMLHBAC a more “martial” tone and appearance on stage. Is this a correct statement and if so what exactly were your plans to direct TMLHBAC down a more “martial” path?
AJ: Alzbeth did talk a lot then…..of course the only reason was the split and that I didn`t want to continue with TMLHBAC – when we split I already had two albums by Der Blutharsch released, and just returned from Australia where I recorded Tace Care and Control with Douglas…so my destiny then allready was another. I simply was not interrested anymore in TMLHBAC.
HH: The music of TMLHBAC was an innovative combination of industrial and medieval musical elements. What originally drew you and Alzbeth to combine these elements?
AJ: Don`t really know….maybe just the circumstances…I listened a lot to Industrial Music at that time, then I was highly interrested in medieval ages…as I then studied also history of art at university…but mainly I think it was due to the fact that I then really started working seriously with sampling machines, studio equipment and authentic instruments.
HH: It is interesting that during the time since TMLHBAC expired you have successfully launched your own label, participated in collaborative efforts with other musicians and produced a number of albums as Der Blutharsch. In this same time period Alzbeth has been all but mute. Do you have any idea what transpired of her musical career?
AJ: Better to ask her, she might know better than me.
HH: What originally drew you to industrial music as a means to express your creativity?
AJ: I by accident bought a second hand record for 5 bugs in our local record shop – it was a live bootleg of TG – Live in Atlanta….and when I listened to “Convincing people” this changed my life. I then knew – this is music I want to do. Well, didn`t work out, but I am quit happy with the result. I then lsitened only industrial music by all the old heroes. Two weeks ago I was in Turin to see TG – and they did a damn great live version of Convincing People…I had tears in my eyes….nearly 20 years after I bought the record.
HH: Departing from your past history and involvement with TMLHBAC I would like to move on to your current musical entity Der Blutharsch. Can you give us an English translation of Der Blutharsch? And please explain what personal significance this name has for you?
AJ: It has two meanings. First it is the nickname of Swiss volonteers in the Swedish wars, but then it as well means “dried blood” in old Austrian language. So, the two meanings for me did really express the feeling of my music.
HH: After the broad success of TMLHBAC and the bands separation how did you begin pursuing your new project Der Blutharsch?
AJ: I already did begin during TMLHBAC. I then released the “first” (Picture LP), followed by a 7” and then “Sieg des Lichtes”. The first sold extremly slow, it took me 6 months to sell 250 copies…Sieg went through World Serpent and the first edition sold out imediatelly. Then Boyd Rice called me and asked if I could arrange a tour for him as well as support him on tour. I so got a nice free promotional kick by Boyd and then via touring with Death in June, as Blutharsch allways supported DIJ at that time. And then the avalanche continued. Somehow it was damn easy….maybe even too easy? So what!
HH: Did you see Der Blutharsch as a solo extension of TMLHBAC or did you see Der Blutharsch as a separate entity and a new start?
AJ: Initially I only wanted to do the “first” followed by a 7” and then stop the project…but people then persuaded me to continue, so did I, and as TMLHBAC stopped to be, I just marched on.
HH: What was your original purpose in creating Der Blutharsch and how has this vision evolved over the history of the project?
AJ: Just to do music I like without any compromise. In TMLHBAC I wrote all the music, and Alz wrote all the lyrics….and then we did the production together…and often we had to fight heavy fights…you know, a little bit more voice, less drum etc. and of course the other one wanted the opposite. So, I just recorded “first” with the freedom of doing exactly what I want without having to get any compromise.
And, I still do, although I get a lot of influence by my comerades nowadays. As I work a lot with Jörg, our guitarplayer on the songwriting nowadays of course the sound changed, but I still do the production by myself – so I keep the final control.
HH: Are there specific artists or bands that preceded TMLHBAC and Der Blutharsch that you see as having inspired or influenced your creative direction?
AJ: Well, as I said, TG opened me the door into a totally new world. Then DIJ had a big influence onto my music….as I am a big fan…and the friendship with Douglas was also very important especially for Der Blutharsch. Well, Lina Baby Doll as well…I think, Doug and Lina are very important for me, just to know that they are – as both are very extreme and unconversional people who simply follow their vision. Nowadays for me the band is very important….it is my family, and I couldn`t imagine working without them. Not to mention that they all have great bands themselves I am really proud to be able to release on Hau RucK! Records
HH: Der Blutharsch was started as a solo project and for the most part and has remained so. Has it been important for you to keep creative control over the music and do you ever foresee bringing on board additional artists?
AJ: As I mentioned before…it was really important in the beginning, nowadays I am more open to other influences ore opinions. But still it is for me really important to work with other musicians. But I only work with people I like and who are friends of mine, and I have to like their music as well. I only can work with people I have a close relation.
HH: Unfortunately Der Blutharsch has been lobbed into a pool of artists who are commonly attacked and titled “Fascist.” Though this debate is exhausting I would like to address it. Those who champion an anti fascist agenda have for sometime now been attacking artists within the industrial music scene. These attacks have taken the form of social and political pressuring to shut down concert venues, they have caused damage to concert attendee’s cars and property as well as causing physical injury to those attempting to attend concerts. These “anti-fascist” organizations casually throw about accusations yet I have yet to see one such organization ever produce a clear statement that identifies a fascist political agenda in the industrial music scene let alone identify such political associations of any particular band. Indeed it seems these organizations are the true fascists as they attempt to stifle freedom of speech and expression. Has there ever been an organized effort by artists such as you to bring to light that these accusations are completely unfounded?
AJ: I don`t really care about these people. They cry out about “facism” etc, and don`t see that they use the same methods they fight against.
Molti nemici, molto onore! – the more people hate what I do, the more I know I am doing the right thing – so what!
HH: Has there ever been an organized effort to host an open debate with such “anti-fascists” that would allow artists and musicians to address these accusations and force the accusers to produce evidence?
AJ: No, as they are like rats. They accuse you but don`t listen to you, as they know the only truth. A waste of time, and I have better things to do. You can´t argue with them…the only thing you can do is to confuse them.
HH: Can you explain what you understand to be the reason why such organizations have focused upon musicians and artists in the zeal to control what we think and create?
AJ: I don`t know, I don`t think about it and I don`t care.
HH: I have been listening to TMLHBAC and Der Blutharsch for years now and I have never been able to identify a particular political ideology or even a single political statement. Do you use your music as a means to communicate personal political views?
HH: And for the record to put this subject to bed once and for all have you or any artist you are aware of ever sought a political assignment, been assigned to a political office or position, campaigned for a political organization, formed a political party or been actively involved in politics on a local or national level?
AJ: Not to my knowledge. And I wouldn`t care….all my friends have their personal view of life and I accept every opinion….even if it might not me mine.
HH: How do you feel about the American occupation of Iraq and will you have a creative response to these current events?
AJ: Well, what shall I say? I am bored about talking about politics. I think history will show if it was the right or wrong decission, as history showed us with Vietnam. The USA is the world police, but honestly, I don`t care about the USA that much. I live in Austria and I am happy to live here and to have the Austrian lifestyle.
The only thing I think is that the USA has enough internal problems and better should take care about them.
HH: Are there specific religious or spirituals ideologies that have inspired the music of Der Blutharsch?
AJ: No. I am not religious…I hate religious people, as I think religion is only for stupid people.
HH: Apart from music what other arts are you involved in?
AJ: Well, I wouldn’t call my music art. I am not a musician, I am a soundconstructor. I am not doing too many other things, exepct photography. I have been painting when I was younger, but it didn`t give me anything really.
HH: You have appeared on collaborative albums with Douglas Pearce from Death In June as well as Boyd Rice of NON. Can you discuss how these collaborations have come about and who initiated them?
AJ: Doug visited me in Vienna ages ago and suggested a possible collaboration with him and TMLHBAC – but then Alz behaved really strange and we thought it might not be a good idea. 2 months later I went to Australia for holiday, and Doug invited me to stay at his house for a few days. We then booked a studio for 2 days just to see what would happen if we are in the studio together….after 2 days we allready had 4 songs finished, so I extended my stay for 8 more days and we recorded TCAC. Operation Hummingbird happened whe we had 5 days off between two dates in the O tour – so we booked the studio again and recorded. For Wolfpact Doug called me one day and asked if I would like to fly over to record with him and Boyd…10 days later I already was sitting in the plane….
HH: Death In June and Boyd Rice already had established music careers when TMLHBAC was still in its infancy. Was it exciting to have your musical talent acknowledged by such industrial music icons and how has it been working with these two artists?
AJ: Of course it was, what a silly question. I was a big fan of NON and DIJ long before I got the chance to meet these icons, before I even had a band myself….so, you can imagine how exciting it was to be invited by them to work with them. When I did fly in to Adelaide for TCAC I was really, really nervous and excited...but, well, the next day in the studio it just worked out automaticly. It was really easy to work together and big fun. I mean, it was the Rock N`Roll life a gogo. Up at 10, Martini for breakfast, a swim in the pool, 12 hours work in the studio...back…bbq and some more drinks in the pool….I think the sleeve photo`s of TCAC totally caught the atmosphere during the recording session.
HH: Can you discuss any other musicians you would like to collaborate with?
AJ: I really would like to work with Genesis P-Orrige – then of course Tom Jones, Lee Hazlewood and Leonard Cohen…but I am afraid that these will remain dreams.
Besides those I worked allready with all people I wanted to work with, and I am sure I will in the future, especially with Lina Baby Doll…I LOVE to work with him – he is a GENIUS!
HH: Der Blutharsch’s albums are notably devoid of song titles and lyrics. Can you discuss what has motivated you to keep your songs unnamed and your lyrics unprinted?
AJ: Simply as I want to let the music speak for itself, without labelling them through titels.
HH: I would like to discuss song composition and how you go about creating the music of Der Blutharsch. Can you discuss how your creative process tends to manifest?
AJ: I just start with a loop, rhythm, sound or sample and then add others arround – and in the end I have a finished song. Quit simply.
HH: Do you begin by matching the music to lyrics you have written or vice versa?
AJ: I always first do the music, and when the song is finished I add the words.
HH: Are the songs of Der Blutharsch based upon personal feelings and experiences or are they intended as more abstract and open to interpretation?
AJ: Depending on the song. Sometimes personal, sometimes not. Sometimes I just get the words into my head – sometimes I take old poems…depends on the song, the feeling of the music, my feeling. Some songs are really personal, some not…some lyrics have been by other people – Bain i.e. allways wrote the lyrics for the songs he did sing himself. And he is a damn good songwriter….!
HH: Are your songs ever inspired by historical or current events?
AJ: Sometimes as well by history…but not by curren events that far.
HH: When composing the music of Der Blutharsch do you rely upon samples or do you strive for authentic instrumentation?
AJ: Both – nowadays we use acoustic guitars, electric guitars and bassguitar for songwriting….then I add other instruments or sampels. But we have some friends who play real instruments perfectly, so i.e. Christine (the girlfriend of our guitarplayer) adds Clarinette, Alessio (our second guitarplayer) added Cello to the last song we recorded, Matt Howden did violine on one song, I play Harmonium…so we use this as well…..but I still like to use sampling technics for production…although I make many samples by myself with real instruments nowadays.
HH: A notable aspect of Der Blutharsch is the imbedding of your voice into the music. Often times your voice and the music blend together in such a manner that it can be difficult for the listener to understand the lyrics. This is confounded by the lack of printed lyrics. How important is the lyrical content to you as a musician?
AJ: The music is allways more imprtant for me thsn the vocals….and I often use the vocals more like an instruments.
HH: Can you discuss how you produce the electronic elements of Der Blutharsch? Do you have preferred methods of processing and creating sounds and samples?
AJ: I just play arround. I have as well other synthisizers I use and play around with – but mostly I just play around, and if something fits, it fits. But there is no specific technique I always use.
HH: On the last Der Blutharsch album “Time is thee enemy” you returned to working with a female vocalist. It was rumored that some Der Blutharsch fans saw this as a disappointment due to the fact that you had once worked with Alzbeth as a female vocalist during TMLHBAC. I never quite understood these peoples disappointment. What are your thoughts on these critics?
AJ: I don’t care. I do what I want, and if someone dislikes it, he is free not to buy the record – and I do not see why someone should see it as disapointment. Alz was a great vocalist, but well, there are others who can do it as good if not even better.
HH: There is a recurring theme of war and a focus upon the individual warrior that appears both in the lyrics and the artwork of Der Blutharsch. Where does your interest in war and the individual warrior stem from?
AJ: Life is war!
HH: There are few comparisons if any to that can be made to the music of Der Blutharsch. Can you discuss how you discovered your music style?
AJ: I don’t really know and even if I did, I wouldn’t discuss it. I do not like to talk about music in general, and I hate it to talk about my own music. As I said, I simply play around and do what I like.
HH: You have been responsible for the formation of Arthur’s Round Table as well as Hau Ruck and WKN record labels. Few artists create music and run their own record labels. What inspired or encouraged you to get involved in the business aspects of the music industry?
AJ: To have the most possible control. This guaranteed me that I can do whatever I want the way I want it. I keep control over the music, the production and the mastering but with my own label I keep control over packaging, artwork, formats etc as well. This is really good, and I was lucky to be able to work with WSD and even more happy and totally satisfied to have a relation with Tesco nowadays, which in my opinion are the best and only distribution.
HauRucK! On the other hand gives me the privilege to release music of bands I like and which are friends of mine. This is a nice thing to be able to do.
HH: Currently you run and operate Hau Ruck out of Austria as well as WKN which is an Italian arm of Hau Ruck. What motivated you to open a branch label in Italy and what inspired your focus on Italian musicians?
AJ: No, WKN is the label for Der Blutharsch only. HauRucK! Is the label I run to release other bands. HauRucK! SPQR is the Italian division of HauRucK! To release Italian bands. HR! SPQR actually happened due to my friendship with Vinzenco and the other people involved. And as HauRucK! cannot take care on all good bands, and Italy has a lot of talents, we decided to open it. HR! SPQR operates autonomously….they produce, distribute by themselves…I only decide if they take a band or not – so I have the control about who will be released and who not.
Why I am focused on Italian music? I love the country, the food the wine and the people of Italy…and of course as well the music. There are really great bands there….like AIN SOPH, which were one of the most important bands for me….sad that they split.
HH: Hau Ruck and WKN have been responsible for bringing numerous new musicians and bands to the attention of the worldwide industrial scene. How do you feel about your ability to help launch other musician’s careers?
AJ: As I said...it is a privilege, and I am very happy and thankfull to be able to do this, and I am happy and thankfull to the bands who are on HauRucK!
HH: Have you ever consider touring North America with Der Blutharsch?
AJ: I did 4 concerts 3 years ago….at the moment we think about a small tour next Autumn, but first in strong we tour Europe. We will see, if we get some able promotors and can do at least 4 or 5 gigs, we will come over. The problem is that only DB is 6 people now and as we allways tour with Deutsch Nepal we are 7 –including sexy Lina Baby Doll. We will see what happens….
HH: In a recent interview at Heathen Harvest Douglas Pearce of Death In June voiced interest in collaborating with you on the next Der Blutharsch album. Have plans been solidified for such a collaboration?
AJ: Not yet. Douglas is in Australia right now, and I don`t know when he will come to Europe again. The new album is nearly finished, in 2 weeks I finish the production, so for this album it will be too late. Then I move to my new house and have to rebuild the studio, so I won`t be able to record before next year, and as we tour in April….till then no recording will be possible. But I guess Doug will come and visit me in my new house, and as the studio is only down the stairway…..who knows what happens.