It does, as they say, take all sorts. Alongside the legions of faceless producers who keep Techno ticking over in 1999, it's heartening to know that there are at least a few individuals who with something different to bring to the table. Chris Korda, founder and leader of the Church of Euthanasia, uses his music as a vehicle to preach his lesson to the human race: the Earth's human population must be drastically reduced in order to give the planet's failing ecosystem a fighting chance to recover. Or, to use the CoE's own catchy slogan, 'Save the planet, kill yourself' -- also the title of Korda's second EP, released on his own Kevorkian (ho ho) label in 1994 and subsequently licensed by DJ Hell for International Deejay Gigolos in 1997. To accomplish their goal, Korda and the CoE advocate four principal methods (or "pillars') of population control: suicide, abortion, sodomy and cannibalism (the latter is thoughtfully included for those who can't handle the CoE's vegetarian diet and insist on eating meat). Getting the message across means hijacking demonstrations, staging elaborate publicity stunts and using media such as the Internet (www.churchofeuthanasia.org) and television (Korda and some of his fellow members appeared on an edition of The Jerry Springer Show opposite a bunch of right-wing God-botherers). Now, as an album on Gigolo presents an opportunity to reach out to a whole new audience, magic feet's Dorothy Matrix catches up with the Rev. Korda for a nice cup of tea, a plate of digestives and some good old- fashioned radical theory.
What has and does interest you in electronic music, either as a consumer
I started playing piano and guitar in 1977, first studying rock, and later
jazz. I studied music theory for many years, with several excellent teachers
including the tenor player Jerry Bergonzi. In the late eighties I played
in a swing band, a fusion band, a psychedelic rock band, performed solo guitar
in restaurants and on the street, and taught at a small music school. My
greatest musical inspirations were--and still are--John Abercrombie (particularly
his collaborations with Jan Hammer) and Ralph Towner, as well as Art-Rock
bands such as Pink Floyd and Yes. My first exposure to electronic music
was the work of Vangelis and other early synthesizer composers. In 1991,
I began crossdressing, and moved to Provincetown to pursue a career as a
"Paris is Burning"-style female impersonator, but I couldn't compete with
the bitchy street divas who had nothing to fall back on but hooking or drug-dealing.
I was exposed to house and deep-house, and was especially moved by the soulful
quality of Black Box's "Dreamland". Later, Robin S. and Orb also made an
big impression on me. I acquired a drum machine, and started making electronic
music in 1993: "I Just Can't Let Go" is one of my earliest tracks and clearly
shows the influence of house music. At this time I also released my first
CD, a frightening and starkly beautiful ambient sound collage called "Demons
In My Head".
You use techno as a medium to convey a message or content - is this strategically
valid bearing in mind the apolitical atmosphere that can be cultivated in
I am against politics, so for me, the apolitical nature of the techno scene
is an asset, not a weakness. Voting in elections only legitimates the political
process, which can't be separated from industrialism. To destroy industrial
society, we need to lose all political illusions, build small autonomous
local structures, and transform ourselves on an individual basis. Mass-produced
music is a widely accepted form of propaganda, and therefore conveys content
easily, providing the music is skillfully created.
How are you perceived by other techno-producers... are you considered as
posing a threat to the 'purity' of techno's quest, do you care!?
I am against purity also. I'm often criticized for using technology to convey
an anti-technological message. Only barefoot Indians in the woods have the
right to denounce the ugliness of industrial society. Those of us who have
access to mass media are tainted by it, and should therefore keep our mouths
shut. Nonsense! The tools that were used to make something are also the
best tools for dismantling it. Our global, industrial prison-state has six
billion inmates, consumes unimaginable quantities of minerals, plants, and
animals, and vomits a toxic soup of death into every remote cavity of this
once-flourishing planet. The beast is howling and growing larger by the
second. To think that such a monstrous reality can be affected by hiding
in the wilderness--or what's left of it--is simply naive.
You launched a directive against Berlin's Love Parade, what was the reasoning
behind this and how did the situation play out?
The Love Parade is clear example of globalism. Its totalitarian slogan--"One
World, One Future"--could easily have been lifted from Aldous Huxley's "Brave
New World." A million standardized humans gathered around a phallic DJ tower,
worshipping at the altar of homogenized techno-rave culture, resembles nothing
so much as a scene from "Triumph of the Will," and I said so, on the German
equivalent of MTV.
Any other techno-consumerist institutions fall into your rifle sights?
The central conflict of modern society is between diversity and monoculture.
Biological diversity--what Indians called "The Great Mystery"--is the fundamental
process of life, and the greatest absolute good in any sustainable ethical
system. It is biological diversity that turned the Earth from a ball of
molten rock into a rich, interdependent web of life. In the words of Frank
Herbert, "[the aim of life] is simple: to maintain and produce coordinated
patterns of greater and greater diversity. Life improves the closed system's
capacity to sustain life. Life--all life--is in the service of life." By
contrast, modern humans are clearly not in the service of life: the birthplaces
of civilization are mostly deserts now.
The plants and animals that are useful to us become monocultures, identical
at the genetic level. This process of impoverishment is the opposite of
evolution, and is correctly termed "devolution." Species are selected not
because they stand the test of time, but for immediate economic gain. The
average person takes a drive in the countryside, sees mile after mile of
corn fields, and thinks "how pleasant to be away from the city." In fact
he is witnessing a holocaust, in which countless species have been exterminated
to make room for one genetic organism.
The assault on biological diversity has been paralled by an equal assault
on social diversity. Where there were once thousands of tribal nations in
America, each with their own way of living uniquely adapted to their circumstances,
now there is only one nation, and only one way to live. Like the dozens
of species that become extinct every day as the tropical rainforest disappears,
the diversity of culture also disappears, to be replaced by standardized
humans, who only know shopping malls and discotheques.
Having evolved on the Earth, but no longer *of* the Earth, drawing a distinction
between themselves and every other form of life, domesticated humans emerge
as the super-weed, capable of adapting rapidly to the hostile urban environments
that their technologies create. The next step towards a desert planet is
a planet of weeds, on which only rats, roaches, pigeons, and humans survive,
slurping the thin gruel of civilization.
A fair proportion of your album is taken up with criticising consumerism,
even though a socio-cultural scene like techno is sedated by concepts such
as lifestyleism and hedonism.....
Throughout modern history, hedonism has been the preoccupation of that tiny
elite that benefits from a society based on accumulation of wealth, division
of labor, and domestication of wilderness. Hedonism is the ultimate form
of consumption, and only has meaning in the work-camp, where it can be contrasted
with its opposite extreme, slavery. My challenge is to make propaganda entertaining
enough to be easily digested by the consumer elite, without losing its subversive
The Church Of Euthanasia is based on a diverse set of principals, do you
want to expand and explain for those unfamiliar with this organisation....
The Church of Euthanasia (CoE) is a nonprofit religious order dedicated to
restoring balance between humans and the remaining species on Earth through
voluntary population reduction. The CoE is recognized by the US government
as a tax-exempt educational foundation; contributions are tax-deductible.
The Church has only one commandment, and it is "Thou Shalt Not Procreate."
Membership implies a lifetime vow to never have children. The vow is irrevocable:
a member who becomes pregnant or causes a pregnancy must obtain an abortion
or be excommunicated. There are currently over 250 official members, mostly
in the US, though there are many more members who choose not to register
themselves for personal reasons.
You talk about the US media, and your appearance on Jerry Springer. Also
you (jokingly?) refer to abduction theories in your founding statements
- a subject that the media has turned into 'panic status'. Do you have
particular critiques or strategies for dealing with mass media phenomenom?
The CoE's activities often appear nonsensical or provocative. This results
from a deliberate strategy, rooted in Dadaism and other anti-art movements,
and based on the historical observation that paradox is the best antidote
to totalitarianism. When everything is clearly defined, assimilated, and
organized into dualisms (right, wrong, good, evil) or neat categories (work,
progress, art, etc.) there is no possibility for original thought or meaningful
communication. This is why successful totalitarian movements seek to control
the appearance of reality through propaganda. The collapse of the Soviet
regime can be seen from this point of view as a propaganda failure: physical
coercion is simply not cost-effective.
The more sophisticated methods of advertising, education, and voluntary
self-censorship have proved their effectiveness in the US and Europe. These
techniques require a highly competitive society in which literally everything
is reduced to commodity, including not only the physical (land, water, air,
the electromagnetic spectrum) and the biological (plants, animals, genetic
material, sexual pleasure) but also more abstract entities such as entertainment,
information, and ideas in general. Because a commodity-based society is
so highly interdependent, even small disruptions are intolerable; its members
must be specialized, and adapted to constant technological change. Conformity
is achieved with deep, life-long conditioning, but this tends to make psychological
conflict unbearable. Ambiguity and confusion are therefore the CoE's most
powerful weapons: confronted with insoluble conflicts which shatter their
convenient fictions, people are forced to think for themselves.
Being a marxist I find it hard to swallow a remedy for peace/stability that
doesn't address concepts like class struggle, abolition of money, economic
analysis, etc. You also describe yourself as extremely political, do you
see concepts like marxism as valid, or has politics (for you) moved beyond
I don't necessarily equate peace and stability. Tribal societies were generally
quite stable, but rarely peaceful in the modern sense of non-violence. In
any case I'm only tangentially interested in social justice. Socialists
argued against private ownership, while racing to out-produce the West, and
leaving a trail of destroyed wilderness behind them. Marx didn't question
industrial progress and his critique is therefore useless to me. He took
the superiority of man as a given and focused on the relationships between
classes: I'm concerned with the relationships between *species*. If humanism
is the belief that man is the measure of all things, then Marxism is merely
a subset of humanism.
At the fringe of the technological elite we find trans-humanism, the belief
that only man's mind is important. Smart drugs, genetic techniques, cryonics,
bionics, and cybernetics all take the inferiority of human flesh as their
starting point. The fusion of man with machine is glorified in popular culture
(e.g. Star Trek), and particularly in techno-rave culture. Catholicism and
technological utopianism are both forms of escapism, rejections of the terms
of life and death on Earth. The CoE is anti-human, embraces the biological,
and defines evolution towards diversity as the ultimate ethical good. Thus
the CoE seizes the term "pro-life", and defines itself as a truly pro-life