Hanging gardens

EoIpso: Talking of your new album "The Hanging Garden" (read a review here): Surely, the title doesn't refer to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, does it?

Hypnotique: You can interpret it how you like! It is a sad irony that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon from ancient Mesopotamia, which is now present day Iraq, are no longer the "garden of Eden" on earth they were originally supposed to be, but its original location has turned into a killing field, of trauma, chemical warfare, and death. Also, I think there are a lot of deaths - of the soul and psyche - that we all experience in everyday life, so these living corpses are explored in "The Hanging Garden".

EoIpso: Have you done all the production work yourself? How about the artwork?

Hypnotique: Absolutely every last drop. It is self-performed, self-produced, self-composed, and self-indulgent! But a few friends lent a little expertise to making it happen, too (as no woman is an island), and to them I am grateful. I like to control every part of the product: both the creative side like audio, visual, and conceptual, plus marketing, sales, and promotion. My years working for record labels and the media were a good learning curve! Why do I do it all? Because only you can convey your true intention. Why make a great record then let an A&R donkey ruin it with a bad cover? Or let a well-intentioned friend delay for years releasing your album because he's run out of money or will-power? Let's go back to the Punk and Industrial days of 1977 and just do it ourselves! And don't let other people's cynicism put you off. If I had a penny (or cent for you Europhiles) for everyone who said "you can't do it like that!" or "your music's crap!", I'd have 50 pence and no album! The artwork is very special, it's a handmade sleeve with a ruby ribbon tie I designed myself, limited to only 418 copies (a very magickal number). I think a CD or record should be an artifact, something sensual to touch and treasure. But I will be selling MP3s too, for all the "techno heads" and because some people need to have a little economy.

EoIpso: What's the story behind the song "Dear Diana"?

Hypnotique: From two thoughts: I saw Julian Cope play in 2000 with Thighpaulsandra (also of Coil) at the Cornucopeia Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in London, and they did a very silly song inspired by Princess Diana. I didn't get the joke until many years later when I heard a news story about something from years ago about a man who wrote a big opera about Princess Diana for British television. Julian was taking the piss out of his pompous opera! I thought it sounded ridiculous. Don't get me wrong: I am not anti-Royalist. Although they are silly and ignorant creatures I think the Royal Family have a place in British society, as we all do. And I even met Princess Diana when I was a young girl, but she was not the amazing person people believed her to be. She was but one person, and but a fad. In the song I try and put myself in her mind, wondering what she's doing now, how lonely she is, contemplating an alternative death by treading on a land mine, and that one day when the history books are burnt - will she mean anything? It's about the cult of personality. But it's also loving, not an insult but my own tribute to someone who was certainly well loved, and that is always a wonderful thing. It's funny too how her memory has already faded - her memorial fund is bankrupt, her tribute fountain in Hyde Park has run dry. I love her son Prince Harry now, he's so Rock'n'Roll, cursing, cheating, and swearing! He is the new Keith Richards. I'm sending him a copy of "The Hanging Garden" to give him something to hear when he sits on his throne being given a hand job by a servant, smoking reefers, or whatever it is he does all day.

EoIpso: As you're basically a one-woman-band, how do you intend to play these tunes live? Surely, you can't play the saxophone and the theremin at the same time.

Hypnotique: Of course I can! It is but a magical illusion using smoke and mirrors. It will just require a bit of ingenuity, I have most of the music on backing and play the other instruments and voice live. The arrangements have been expertly arranged to enable me to play nearly all the instrumental parts live. When I make an arrangement I'm always thinking: "how can I play this to make it interesting for me to perform and the audience to watch?"

EoIpso: Tell me a bit about the samples you used on "The Hanging Garden".

Hypnotique: Really, there are no samples on the album at all. I started off with a few, but the resonance wasn't right, so everything was recreated on the keyboard. Except for one track, which is basically my "auto-karaoke" version of a John Barry track. I love Barry, and melodies inspired or in homage to him appear across the album. You can also hear the voice of a lady called Madame Katerina Arcati, who's a good friend of my family, but she sadly died some years back. She was my ESP teacher and you can hear a few of her vignettes of wisdom, too! It's voices from the dead.

> Home truths

On stage supporting Sonic Boom (of Spacemen3 fame), July 2004

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