|photo credit: Suzie Assault Rifle|
Scheduled on March 6, 2019
Jonathan Canady may be known for many things: His early metal band Dead World that he was in during his tenure as art director of Relapse Records, his relatively well-known power electronics outfit Deathpile, other projects such as Angel of Decay, Nightmares, or Sexual Assault Rifle, among others. Canady is also a somewhat prolific visual artist, of an especially poignant macabre and minimalist nature. What strikes me is his aptitude for being somewhat of a maverick within the realm of dark subject matter. His approach is naturally comprehensive and nuanced, rather than overly linear and one-dimensional like so many others, but I guess it helps for me having read his now defunct site Colors of the Dark at length, where he explored his interests in the form of pre-tumblr blog posts, interviewing and writing articles on a number of obscure subjects that reach far beyond the realm of many a metal head, industrial fanatic, dark synth / dark ambient aficionado, or reader of off-the-beaten-path literature. Not to mention his apparent "collage zines" where two different obscure magazines would be merged by a half & half layout, giving a different context to fractional subject matter. I have always felt like Canady would/should/could/did run a book store, but either way, his solo synth work is stellar, and I don't say that about synth music too often. Again, it may help that he and I have had a brief discussion online about movie soundtracks, plus a little segment on his aforementioned blog, and I imagined myself in a study full of dusty hardbound books, candelabras, skulls, taxidermy, velvet paintings, and vintage torture devices. Make of that what you will.
1. What kinds of things have you been getting into lately?
I tend to stick to older books, movies and music. However one recent thing I got into is the Sci-Fi trilogy "The Corporation Wars" by Ken MacLeod. I had a brief email exchange with Mark Pauline from Survival Research Laboratories and he recommended it. I was not disappointed.
2. What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?
Since 2007 I would say what I do is as an artist. That's when I began making serious visual art. I also integrated my solo experimental music into my art as of 2012.
3. How would you describe what you do?
I'm an artist that primarily works with drawing, artists' books, audio/video.
4. How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?
Every time I re-visit something I did years ago I am struck by how much I've improved. I think that's the key. Constant improvement and resisting the temptation to repeat myself.
5. How would you describe your philosophy?
I don't have a philosophy exactly. The one over-arching theme of my work for the past several years is the fact that all of us are positive and negative. Negativity shouldn't be suppressed but balanced with our positivity.
6. Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?
Psychics - no. Magic - only in the sense that "magic" is what we don't understand or can't explain. Ghosts - yes. I lived in a house that was haunted and had first hand experiences. Gods - NO.
7. What would you say was your most definitive experience?
Deciding to dedicate my life to visual art.
8. Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?
9. Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?
Throbbing Gristle - Second Annual Report
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Concrete Sox / Heresy - Split LP
Big Black - Atomizer
Tangerine Dream - Rubycon
Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales
10. What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?
The opening sequence of Star Wars (Episode IV) at a drive in theater.
11. Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws? To what extent?
Yes and no. I am a big fan of Lovecraft even though he's considered a racist. I have also gotten rid of the creative output of certain people after having learned of something about them I dislike. That sometimes includes when they turn out to be... racist.
12. Do you have any heroes or heroines? Who are they? Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out.
13. Your favorite quote?
I once heard a woman in Philadelphia say "That shit ain't got shit the fuck to do with me." I like that one.