Alien Sex Fiend:
WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING IN MY BRAIN ?
Nik Fiend of the legendary Underground-Band Alien Sex Fiend talks with Wolfgang Sterneck on SchizophreNik, Psychedelics and the Infinite Number of Meanings
W.: ... Many of the Alien Sex Fiend lyrics deals with kinds of alternate states of mind -
W.: - sometimes more in a kind of problematic psychological sense
("Manic Depression" etc).
Nik: Everybody has down times ... whether they admit IT or not ...
The lyrics are emotions like the music and they just come out that
way! I don't set out to make these kinds of statements, I am not
trying to be some sort of expert on the subject, nor to bring everybody
down, or be gloomy about things ... Sometimes I am not aware of
what I am saying! It could be some time later that it makes sense
to me! I've always found comfort in reading or hearing of someone
else's problems, it makes you sometimes aware of how IT could be
worse ... So you pick yourself up and get on with IT ... and my
lyrics seem to have helped other people in that way ... or you feel
that you are not alone, that someone else - me - has felt like that
too, and it's all part of the human condition. My lyrics are open
to each person's personal interpretation anyway ... It's quite a
bizarre thing because like with my painting, I can paint a very
heavy picture when I seem to be in a happy mood!
W.: Sometimes the lyrics seems to have a more psychedelic meaning,
in other songs the different levels are flowing one into the other ...
Nik: Just like real life ... One minute UP and the next DOWN!
W.: The psychedelic Hippie-Music and also for example the Psychedelic-Trance-/Techno-Scene
are focused on the "positive" side of psychedelics, happy
colourfull people, flowers, new better worlds ... It seems that
you have a look on the "other" side ...
Nik: As I was saying... You can't be happy, positive, creative all
the time! Anyone that says they are, is either full of shit, or
has never faced up to things in their life ... So sooner or later
... they will be angry/ confused themselves....
W.: The one "who is sleeping in your brain" (as one of
your lyric-lines) - How would you describe him/her/it ?
Nik: Schizophrenik! (I mean Schizophrenic - but I want it with the "nik" on the end!)
W.: On the first look "E.S.T. - Trip to the moon" has
a classic psychedelic content ... but you sing EST not LSD
Nik: Erm!!! I'm not sure ... The song EST just happened the way
IT wanted to! I think the countdown 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 came from
when I was a little boy in hospital having an operation ... and
the nurse gave me an injection to knock me out and started me counting
till I passed out under the effects of the injection, ready for
surgery! And the sounds/feeling of the song brought back these memories
for me. Also I had a similar experience at the dentist under gas,
it could also be a countdown to take off....
W.: Does E.S.T. stand for Electro Shock Therapy?
Nik: Yes, but IT can also stand for Eastern Standard Time or Electric
Shock Treatment ... Take your personal pick! I really don't know
where it came from, sometimes words just come out of my mouth, as
I've said before I don't always understand my own lyrics until quite
some time later after.... If at all! Also they can mean different
things to me at different times, as I've gone through life the meanings
to certain songs have changed or become more apparent ... Mrs Fiend
often says I have a song lyric for every occasion or situation!
W.: What's the meaning behind this song, by using the term EST ?
Nik: Because this song was done soooooo many years ago back in 1984
I think I now have some distance from IT ... I think it would be
light and dark ... "I think I need some E.S.T." or I need
a holiday or an escape or a "Dream or a trip to the moon".
It's about needing something - extreme or spectacular - to happen
OR I need to MAKE something happen - either a ????? (open to interpretation,
fill in the blank for yourself) - it could be a charge, a bolt of
lightening, not necessarily a drug actually - or a trip to the moon
... I want to make something happen or I need to escape (trip to
the moon) either physically as in literally going off to the moon
(or to "Another Planet" -see that album!) or mentally
let go ... It is quite a complex statement because it can mean any
number of things ... I think that's why it's a popular tune and
why it's lasted ... It can mean so many different things to so many
different people - including me! Which is why it's still relevant
when I sing it live....
W.: Is my impression right that you sing sometimes live LSD not
Nik: Yes you are right, I have on a number of gigs sung " I
think I need some L.S.D" ... because it rhymes! I can't remember
particularly. It's a spur of the moment thing, playing with my own
lyrics, playing with the meanings ... new interpretations, spontaneous
W.: Did your relation to Psychedelics changed over the years? Whats's
your point of view today?
Nik: Looking back to be honest, if I had never done magic mushrooms,
i'm not sure that Alien Sex Fiend would have or could have existed!
They opened up a whole new world for me ... They broke down barriers
for me ...
I decided to take mushrooms after some pretty bad things had happened
in my life, and I wasn't frightened anymore... Every day is a bonus
sort of thing. I did mushrooms/LSD off and on for a few years ...
but not that much, I'm the sort of person who extracts the maximum
from any experience, even reading a comic or a book or certain films,
some of them have a big lasting effect on me ...
Then I had a bad trip round the IT album ... and have never touched
'em since. I tried E's a couple of times and had brilliant experiences
again, in fact I don't think I have enough years to complete all
the ideas my mind has stored, so I haven't bothered trippin' for
some time. I think I have got TOTAL RECALL NOW!
To be honest I have been given much stronger and worse drugs legally
by the doctor, twice in my life I was put on major tranquillisers
- legal prescribed drugs ... Once before ASF and again in the very
early days of ASF, I could not operate ... I was like a zombie ...
They completely fucked me up ... That's why I ended up doing the
band full time, I suppose it was my own personal form of therapy,
my escape route is doing my art and music ... It's the answer for
W.: Did the topics of your lyrics have changed in the last years
- what's the new stuff about?
Nik: Again my lyrics are open to interpretation so IT is hard for
me to say exactly specific meanings ... Most songs are created in
completely different ways ... not conventionally with a set of lyrics
already and a guitar or piano ... The words are created from inspiration of the beats and noises that
Mrs. Fiend comes up with...
The new album "Information Overload" seems to be dealing
with pretty much what is going on in the world ... The quick fix
syndrome, I want IT NOW! I want IT yesterday!! The fact that "half
the worlds dying'" from hunger or lack of fresh water is not
as important in the media as Posh and Becks..., or the latest Arnie
movie, or the latest fashion fad ... The public seem to be being
force fed a diet of rubbish and no-one or few people seem to be
questioning this, they are all caught up with themselves and their
relatively minor problems ... Like whether they can afford a new
fridge or 36 inch cinema television ... It's mental...
The album's also about that we need alternatives to outmoded thinking
... in a lot of areas ... There's things like this in the lyrics
but also in the artwork (12 page booklet with the CD) ... The music,
lyrics and artwork go together as a whole... On the front cover
are the words "No independent thought" "conform",
"submit" "follow" "fear" "lies"
... cos it seems that not many people are using their imagination
or initiative ... People are more sheep-like, robots. Of course
there are people out there trying to do something but they are not
being heard, I hope by adding my voice in it might help ... I'm
not a political person ... Strangely, "Ignore The Machine"
(first single) was about being an outcast then with lyrics like
"everybody wants what everybody's got" - I am saying the
same thing I suppose! AGAIN! maybe it's a full circle - I don't
know ... If they haven't got they steal it ... jealousy, envy, greed,
mass manipulation of the media ... I'm suppose to be living in a
democracy yet I'm not asked my opinion of anything!
W.: You always used electronic beats and sounds but the latest asf-music
I know has much more Techno-influences. Do you agree?
Nik: I know or have worked with a number of people from the techno/dance
area of music ... Most of them are into ASF and have been for years.
They got into ASF in the early Eighties with 12" mixes of "Lips
can't go" or "Ignore the Machine" abd "New Christian
Music / R.I.P.", so with the "Inferno" computer game
soundtrack or the last ASF studio album "Nocturnal Emissions" we collaborated and worked with the Drum Club/Slab/Pod/The Pump
Panel, Bio.Com, etc. All of them are well into ASF!! So what came
first the chicken or the egg? Techno and ambient dudes like The
Orb, Hallucinogenic, Juno Reactor, to name just a few and a load
of DJs like Andrew Weatherall and CJ Bolland were into ASF way back
... and we seem to have influenced them ... Then some of what they've
done has fed back into what we're doing, so there was a cross pollination
going on from around '88 to '98.
W.: What is your relation to theTechno-scene today?
Nik: IT is that ASF was adopted by the scene! But it was the underground
part of the scene really. We have always been into the underground
of whatever scene it is whether that was punk, rockabilly, early
hip hop and rap ... In the early 80s there were some wicked mega
mixes going on which never hot the charts, we've always played the
underground clubs, gay clubs etc. We were big in the New York gay
scene in the 80s ... We were quite influenced by the predominanty
black early hip hop stuff, they used heavy drum machines and beats
with snarly vocals whereas the "electro/pop" surface chart
stuff in the 80s was very light, tinny beats, non-confrontational....
W.: Have you been to parties?
Nik: Yes we have, many times ... It woz my cousin Barry who first
took Mrs.Fiend and me to an all-nighter in Brixton, London ... After
that we went to a number of brilliant, well happening parties...
There was no posing, no trouble, people were off their heads and
having a good time ... At the parties we used to bump into a number
of people we knew from The Batcave era, or had worked with over
the years, who had become more involved with the dance scene explosion
... but again it was underground ... Way outside of the mainstream
... None of that mega club shit!
W.: Did you say "Goodbye" to the Batcave-days?
Nik: Nah!!! It's just a lot of time has passed and we have morphed
into whatever IT is we are today ... We're still very fond of those
days ... IT was a very creative/brilliant time ... Very little money ... but
W.: I found online in a list of "Drug Slang and Terminology
Vault" at www.erowid.org that "Alien Sex Fiend" stands
for "strong powdered PCP with Heroin". - Did you name
the band by this term?
W.: - or was it the other way round?
Nik: Probably. We named Alien Sex Fiend because of it's limitless
possibilities and the infinite number of meanings
Alien Sex Fiend