Akercocke on ‘Antichrist’ BBC debate
Akercocke’s latest album, ‘Antichrist’ has caught the attention of the US printing plant where the CD booklet is being manufactured. According to an Earache representative, the plant is refusing to print satanic material.
In other news, the British progressive black metallers have also caught the attention of Catholic Church in Northern Ireland.
The band’s label, Earache, were contacted by BBC Northern Ireland who want to host a debate with the band and some noted ecumenical spokespeople. To be broadcast on The Stephen Nolan show the BBC are sending a broadcast truck to Nottingham’s Rock City venue where mainman Jason Mendonca will join the debate after he leaves stage at 10.30.
Metal Hammer spoke to Jason:
Tell us about the US printing press saying they won’t print your CD booklet because it’s satanic. “That’s just ugly. That’s censorship. No matter how you look at it it’s really ugly. And it smacks of fascism to me. I wonder what other works of art – we are art which ever way you look at it – is barred from the good people of the United States Of America. What else they’re obstructed from seeing in their so-called democracy. It’s thoroughly un-American and thoroughly undemocratic actually.”
What was it they were so offended by?
“I don’t know. I’ve had a thumb through the booklet and I can’t see anything that is overtly anti-Christian at all.”
Do you think it was over-sensitive self-censorship on behalf of the printing press?
“Someone sees the word ‘antichrist’ and amongst the ignorant masses you get some form of moral hysteria [laughs] it’s comical. I thought the US was the land of the free. To try and cast any negative light on a minority view point such as ours is surely against their much vaunted and beheld first amendment.”
Tell us about the media’s involvement:
“I think the album has caused a bit of a stir amongst certain circles in Northern Ireland, and the BBC got wind of this and have set up a debate between us and some people who I imagine are quite incensed by our mere existence. I won’t comment any more on that until I’ve spoken to the gentlemen.
Surely there’s satanic stuff all the time, why has this issue blown up around you guys this time?
“I don’t know. I think it’s extraordinary. I wonder if whether periodically, under the guise credibility and in the interest of maintaining viewer ratings, this is just an easy shot at trying to put some sort of tabloid angle on something which in essence is rather innocuous. I’m quite amused to be honest. Anyone who took the trouble to research Akercocke would actually know that we’ve stated openly in the past – ten years – that we’re anything but anti-Christian.”
Do you think that’s the media conveniently ignoring the facts in favour of sensationalising what they see as being a great story?
“I’d be interested to see how this was engineered, who brought our work to the attention of the catholic church. I think previous works have been infinitely more inflammatory, the words this time are purely poetic and surreal, it doesn’t lambaste or criticise religion or anyone’s way of life or thinking at all, so [laughs] it’s pretty funny really.
Do you think the media have latched onto it because in their eyes, it’s a classic tale of good vs evil?
“I strongly suspect that. I’d be impressed if any rational arguments are put forward when this takes place. I hope there are some intelligent and tangible arguments put forth, but I fear all that we will be confronted with is the usual blind dogma that certain monotheistic religions perpetuate in their reign of fear over the masses.”
Are you nervous or worried about the debate?
“I don’t view this as a battle or that I’m setting out to have some moral or ethical victory over anyone. I’m just prepared to speak about what we’re about and perhaps shatter a few illusions that people have about anything that people may have associated with the ‘S’ word. I’m not there to participate as a shock jock and be perceived as the evil one, because as anyone who knows us knows, there’s nothing remotely evil about us.”
Do you think the BBC are banking on some theatre?
“I don’t know, but I hung up my ham acting hat a long time ago.”
With the publicity this is a win/win situation for you.
“Yeah, it’s great. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. Bring it on.”
The show will be broadcast on BBC1 Northern Ireland live (available on Sky and freeview), live on 16th May.