A schuss from Psychedelic Revolution, Tantric Buddhism, Satanic Panic, Radio Werewolf, Manson murders, Sex Magic and Left Hand Path introduction to the Kingdom Of Heaven
Interview with Nikolas Schreck
You can use the interview and parts of it, whitout changing the meaning of the words, freely for you underground radio station, your website or whatever with crediting “radio deZIbil / club|debil radio”. A link back here was fine! 😉
The interview took place on a sunny August afternoon in 2014 at a park in Berlin-Grunewald and recorded with a small DR2 24bit wave/mp3 recorder, so you’ll hear a lot of side noises. Maybe because there are a lot of embassies, we had several helicopters disturbing our communication. For this and the technical imperfectness of the sound, I want to excuse. I hope, you can look over this…
Radio Werewolf was one of the bands, that always had been very special to me. From the moment a friend gave a tape copy of “The Fiery Summons” I was really obsessed with that sound, collecting the albums and 12” releases of that American project. I was fascinated by the attempt to be really evil, though some people thought it was mostly theater and a big show.
Of cause, there had been a lot of “show elements” in Radio Werewolf’s music, but there always was something deeper, something real, that attracted and so I never lost touch to their work. The re-release of the only on vinyl presented works “The Lightning And The Sun”, “Bring Me The Head Of Geraldo Rivera!” and “Witchcraft/Boots” as the “Vinyl solution” heralded the return of this heroes of my twens.
In advance of a gig in Dresden (Tower Transmission IV – if you’re only interested in this and Kingdom Of Heaven – click here), where Nikolas Schreck is doing a performance together with John Murphy I had the chance, to ask Nikolas a lot of questions, I was carrying around with me…
Part I – The Background
You are a musician, a religious teacher and an author. I want to start with the religious side; that will make some things clearer.
Yes, I think. Because It’s probably worth explaining, that my books and my music always have a spiritual Hintergrund (background). Without understanding my spiritual approach to life, my art doesn’t make sense.
You grew up in a 1960ies, let’s call it “Hippie environment”. Can you tell us something about this time and how you grew up?
Ja. To understand my work, I think it is important, to place it in context, that I grew up in the Sechziger Jahre (1960ies) in America. A very nomadic, Bohemian existence. My father was a little older than the Hippie generation. He was a former Navy officer, who became a beatnik, you know. in the Fünfziger Jahre (1950ies). And when the psychedelic revolution started, he became very involved in the whole psychedelic experimentation and free love and all of the liberation movements of the 60ies. That’s what I grew up with. Also my parents, one of the many things they did, was promoting Jazz and Pop music of that time. So musically, the first time I ever sang in a microphone, was the lead singer of Herman’s Hermit, Peter Noone, let me use the microphone, when I was a very little child. So I was immediately exposed to entertainment and performance, as a normal, every-day part of my life.
But I think, the important thing as far as it goes to my work, that many people, attracted to my music and my writing, they come from dysfunctional families, unhappy families and they are looking for an alternative. They are rebelling against something. And I was brought up by rebels, so in a way there is a bit of a Abstand (gap). I was already brought up to believe, that revolution is good, that being counter-culture is good, that being anti-establishment is a positive value. So I never had to rebel against my parents, whatever people attracted to whatever genre of music I am supposed to do.
Your parents were part of that counter-culture, did they have any religious beliefs?
No, actually in a typical way of people, who were brought up in the 50ies, 40ies, they rejected organized religion, but they allowed my complete freedom. So in the 1960ies during the occult Wiederkehr (recurrence), that happened a occult renaissance in America and Europe, I was immediately attracted to the devil and Teufelsanbetung (devil worship) and they never had any problem with it. Im Gegenteil (on the contrary) – they really believed, that a child should be allowed freedom to do whatever they want, so I was encouraged.
They were not afraid, that you do harm yourself or others?
Never, never! And so – why this may people know to understand my work – I was raised in a very strange alternative universe. If I had an interest in the devil or occultism or even controversial things – because my father was a military historian and a Bohemian – if I looked into the Third Reich, it was just another subject matter. I was never taught, this is verboten (forbidden) and this is good and this is evil. I was taught, you can look at anything with a free mind.
You could go to your parents and ask, how is this meant or so… and they explained as parents do?
Yes. But the important thing is, they were, in a typical anti-establishment way, they were against organised religion. But my father, because he experimented with psychedelics in that early period, when they were considered to be some kind of utopian idea for liberating humanity, he was very interested in Bewusstsein (consciousness) and consciousness raising. So he understood the concept of magic and the concept, that there is much more the mind, than normal alltägliche Leute glauben (common people believe). So he encouraged me in that way, a philosophical way.
I can imagine, that it had be some kind of difficult to be together with other children. Did you…
It was like the Addams Family. In a way I was very naive, because I didn’t know, what the normal society was like. Zum Beispiel (for instance) I was going to school, wearing black clothes in the 60ies and the 70ies and that was just unheard of. There was no subculture like that. I was just attracted to the esthetics of everything satanic or devilish, but in an innocent way. Without knowing, that it is considered hateful or horrible. So what would always happen, my teachers give me Hausaufgabe or homework: Write about something. So I would write about Jack The Ripper or summoning demons. So they would call my parents to school and say: Do you know, your son is doing these strange things? And my parents would say: Ja, that’s fine… There wasn’t a problem, but it created a cognitive dissonance.
Can you tell us about the stations of your spiritual way? You say, you were very early attracted to Satanism…
The first spiritual experience I can remember, I would say put me more in the direction of Heidentum (heathendom) and antique – griechische und nordische Heidentum (greek and nordic heathendom). When I was really nearly an infant, my parents had a statue of the Venus of Milo, typische Klischee (typical stereotype) tourist statue from the Louvre in Paris. I was fascinated with the statue and I felt, that it communicated with me. So my first spiritual Erfahrung (experience) was a feeling, that the goddess Venus was a living being and communicating with me.
So very early on, I was fascinated with Greek mythology and Nordic mythology in particular. I was obsessed with them as a child and I studied everything I could about the myths and sagas of the Greek and northern gods and in a way the Wurzeln (roots) of the Radio Werewolf work go back to this very early childhood study of Odin, Freya, the Fenris wolf, Loki, the dark side of the Nordic pantheon.
With seven or eight years…?
So I was more interested in the ancient world than in the current, die zeitgenössische world. Die interested me gar nicht (I wasn’t interested in it at all). I only wanted to know about the sagas and the Helden (heroes) of Greece. Then, in the mid-60ies, even earlier around 65 or 66, I had a babysitter, who was some type of counter-culture too and she considered herself a Hexe, a witch. She was some kind of my first innitiatrix. As it’s very true, most in my life, females are, who have guided me unto the spiritual path. That’s part of what the Left Hand Path is about, is, that the female wisdom guides you.
This basically teenage-witch babysitter had very positive ideas about what is Satanism and devil worship and she taught me the basics of it in a very childish, primitive way and again I was given a positive feeling, that the devil is something good, heroic and liberatory, not evil. And I saw it from that point of view, from the biblical point of view, the story of Jesus meeting the devil in the desert and the devil offers him the world, if he would follow him. That was my original concept, of what the devil is. That’s how far back it goes. In the culture of America in that time there was the sudden, because of all this books about witchcraft and all the hippie experimentation with alternative religion and occultism, there was devil symbolism and devil literature and devil music everywhere. “Sympathy for the devil” by The Rolling Stones…
Kenneth Anger. The Manson murders, which were then promoted as some sort of teufliche Mordkult (devilish killer kult)… It’s important to understand, that in that time popular culture was imbued with diabolism. It was everywhere. So that had a great effect on me.
You mentioned an enlightening experience in Egypt…
Yes. So the next phase was in London in the early 80ies. I was there during another magical revival period of all this Chaos Magick and all that kind of thing…
Coil, Zoskia, this people…
Yes. And I was not very beeindruckt (impressed) by. It seemed very oberflächlich and hohl (superficial and hollow) and not authentic, not like connected to any deep tradition. Through the work of Kenneth Grant, who was involved in the Typhonian O.T.O., he’s a rather obscure English writer, that Germans may not know, I became introduced in the concept of Set, the old ägyptisches Gott (Egyptian god). I did a lot of Forschung, research of him and again I… My whole life has been a series of obsessions, urgent obsessions, that I follow and look into. I felt, to really understand, was Set is, I had to go to Egypt. I had no money, whatsoever, I was very young.
Nineteen or so…?
Twenty, twenty-one, I think. I went to Egypt and wanted to see all the magical sights of the ancient Egyptian religion and there I had a visionary experience, which convinced me, that Set is an existing being, an intelligence, that can communicate with Menschheit, with humanity. That was the first experience, that absolute überzeugt mich, dass göttliche Wesen existieren (convinced me of the existence of divine entities), that gods exist.
In what form? You felt like a communication…
I had a definite communication and I felt, that I was given like a Befehl, like an order, a command from Set. I had left America because there was this right-wing, Christian fundamentalist Ronald Reagan period and I thought I have to escape America, it’s doomed. Which had turned out, it was doomed. Now I think it’s crazy going to Egypt, as if an Islamic dictatorship is better, but you know, I was young, that was this romantic idea of escaping to the ancient past. I wanted to settle in Egypt and retire from the world and only concentrate on magic and meditation. But what I felt happening to me in Egypt, that Set gave me this Botschaft (message), that I would be a Feiger, a coward, if you leave America. You should go back and fight this…
When I say, “fight this Christian thing”, I mean fight this right-wing fundamentalist Christian perversion of the Christian religion and bring the ancient gods back to the feindliches Gebiet (hostile area). And also that is, what inspired me to use music, because part of this experience was hearing sounds as a way to change your consciousness. Music is not just Unterhaltung (entertainment), but it’s actually a very deep way to change consciousness. By creating certain sounds and frequencies, it goes deeper in peoples minds than words or linear rational communication.
That’s what you stated in the booklet of the first album (“The Fiery Summons”)…
Right. That was a direct influence on using music as my main magical tool and my main spiritual form of communication.
In about 2002, my wife Zeena and me, we formally converted to Tantric Buddhism, to Vajrayana Buddhism or what is know as Tibetischer Buddhismus (Tibetean Buddhism) in the West. I have always meditated since my adolescence, but since converting to Tantric Buddhism, I am certain, that is the end of my very long spiritual search, which has taken me from Greek and Nordic Paganism to Egyptian Magic, devil worship… But ultimately it’s part of the same spiritual search, for Was ist Wahrheit, was ist Realität? (What is truth, what is reality?)
You said, you converted to Tantric Buddhism or as it’s called here Tibetan Buddhism; can you please tell us about the main concepts of that?
It’s very complicated, but maybe the most important concept to understand is, that this reality, that we are living in is an illusion. It’s a kind of hallucination. It’s a Niveau of Bewusstsein, wie ein Traum. It’s a dream-like state of consciousness. It is not the ultimate reality. The word Buddha or Buddhist in Sanskrit means to Erwachen, to awaken. The point of Buddhism ultimately and Vajrayana Buddhism, but of all schools of Buddhism is to awaken from this dream-like state of illusion, that we have fallen into. So that is the ultimate goal. To understand the nature of reality, what the Buddha’s first teaching was, is, that you must learn to meditate. You must learn, to calm the craziness of your mental process. All of this discursive thinking. The way, that our mind carries us away in the thought process. The first thing, that’s important to communicate, that you must learn to meditate, you must understand the nature of your mind. Because the reality, that we’re experiencing is your mind. If you make your mind calm and tranquil… Like we’re sitting here at a lake right now: If you look into the lake, because the water is moving, it’s difficult to see, what’s underneath it. And our mind is like that. When our thoughts are going very quickly, we can’t see, what is this mind. Maybe the most important thing to understand about Buddhism is the necessity of calming the mind, meditating, so that we can see the nature of reality properly and than through meditation one can learn how to escape from this hallucinatory state of illusion, that we are in. That is on a very simple level perhaps the essence.
What happens, if you awoke? Can you still handle life as it is or is it easier?
Yes, it makes it easier, but if you know, what lucid dreaming is? You can have a dream within a dream and you can awaken and realize in your sleep, I am dreaming. So it makes it possible, in this life, to awaken from the dream we’re in and yet realize, that is all an illusion, and a dream. And yes, then everything becomes easier to deal with, because you see the true nature of it and you start not to take it so seriously and you start not to get so involved in all of the dramas of it. And than this slowly leads to the process, of what is called liberation. Which means liberation of the suffering of being in this physical realm and ultimately to end the process of what is known in the West as reincarnation, of Wiedergeburt. Which is in Buddhism is a problem, it’s a problem, that we keep wiedergeboren (reborn). We want to end the cycle of rebirth.
But this is only a goal for a single individual. There is no goal for the whole mankind?
No. Actually the thing, the Merkmal of Tantrische Buddhismus (charakteristic of Tantric Buddhism) is ifyou free yourself, that you can free everybody, free all beings. That includes animals, demons, ghosts, gods, humans… So the point is to develope Mitleid (compassion) for all beings, every single being including your enemies. Ohne Ausnahme (without exception) to have compassion for all beings and to help free them.
Otherwise it was a bit to egocentric for me, if you just only care about yourself…
Yes, that is the difference between what is called Hineyana Buddhism, which is practiced in countries like Sri Lanka, that is only about liberation for yourself. Tantric Buddhism, the Bodhisattva concept is… like if you’re a Gefangener (prisoner) in a prison. If you found out the way of the prison, it’s your Verantwortlichkeit (responsibility) to help the other prisoners to get out. Tantric Buddhism is trying to free all beings.
And it’s your task as a teacher, to free other, to help them free themselves?
Yes. But I can’t free somebody else. I can give them the methods which the Buddha has passed on for this lineage for thousands of years. This very bestimmt, specific methods that work. Not a theory, not an idea but actually practice. That if you do it, it works and frees you of that illusion. It slowly wakes you up and then you can learn to free yourself.
Meditation is the Grundstein (cornerstone) of all Buddhism, but there are many, many methods. For instance the Buddha is said to have taught 84.000 techniques, because there are so many different kinds of people and the Buddha taught whatever anyone needs, is he came up with a method to help free them.
People often think, because I’m very firm in my convictions, I’m telling other people they should go that way or they should believe it. That’s a private concern. If people are interested in my spiritual practice, that’s fine and I’m happy to talk about it but everyone should find their own spiritual direction.
What’s your experience as a spiritual teacher here? Do people expect something else?
Well, people come to this spiritual teacher-student-relationship with all kinds of Erwartungen, expectations. And it’s very hard work, because basically I’m giving the student methods to sit alone and look at their own mind and understand, who they are, to see reality properly. It requires a lot of discipline, a lot of Geduld (patience), a lot of time and a lot of energy. You really have to be dedicated and you have to understand, wie dringend es ist, liberation zu erreichen (how urgent it is to reach liberation). You have to have a very strong motivation. Es kann nicht nur eine Freizeit… Not like a hobby. I choose my students very carefully. It has to be someone, who is really serious and understands, that this is something that is going to take a lot of hard work to do.
Part II – Radio Werewolf
Radio Werewolf, to turn to music, is a spiritual outfit as well. What was the original idea behind? Was there any plan or concept?
I would say there wasn’t really a plan. I would say the original Radio Werewolf, that founded in 1984 in Los Angeles, it was really like an artistic projection of where my mind was at that moment. I did see it very much as a magical operation.
At that time I was doing ceremonial magic in the traditional way in a ritual chamber. And I was doing with Radio Werewolf was doing magical rituals in public using the format of popular music almost in a manipulative way to directly bring magical energies into popular culture. There was a degree also of self-parody of the extreme nature I was doing. I don’t think people see how much black humor and self-parody there was to it. I’m taking on these very extreme personas and ritual performances to embody everything, that people hated or that people thought was evil and to be that completely. And that comes from my theatrical background, because I was trained in theater. Even my singing comes from a more musical theater background, where one takes on a character and becomes that character. Because I did it in deadly Ernst (earnestness), people thought all of that was 100 percent serious. So I think my sense of humor is very often not understood in Radio Werewolf.
There is a video still on youtube, the “1960 Cadillac Hearse”. You’re playing on a Bar Mizwa or so…
“1960 Cadillac Hearse” was a sort of homage for the California car and Beach Boys songs about cars. The performance, that’s on youtube, I don’t think a lot of people understand, that was from a film called Mortuary Academy, which Radio Werewolf were hired to perform in. The comedic part of it was, that the script was written, before the director of that film even knew about Radio Werewolf. He had in that film that there is this evil band, who has killed in a car accident and that brought back to live at this corrupt mortuary and then they do their reunion-concert at a Bar Mizwa. That was so incredibly perfect for Radio Werewolfs image of that time, so they hired us, because we fit the fictional model of the characters. But in this particular, we supposed to be dead and we’re have been revived like Frankensteins monsters.
This is very humorous and I can’t understand, that people don’t see it, maybe…
Well, people see, what they want to see. That’s what I’ve learned.
There is the song “Buried Alive” at this “American Gothic Sampler”. Can you tell us something about this scene at this time. Were you involved in this Gothic…
Yes. “Buried Alive” is an interesting song, because this was a collaboration between James Collord, the original bass player of Radio Werewolf and myself. That was the first song, we wrote together. And in a way that has probably become the most popular of the early Radio Werewolf songs, because it was on that American Gothic Sampler. The interesting thing, because I’m doing this interview here with you in Germany is, there was a club called “The Crypt” in Los Angeles. And for a while that became like the center of this very underground Gothic scene. So I never used the word Gothic or Death Rock and I was hating these categories and cliches. Radio Werewolf opened that club and is was run by a German couple. So it had a very Germanic, Teutonic feel this little underworld or subculture of the California Gothic scene because this German couple ran it. When they put out this compilation “American Gothic” and had “Buried Alive” on it, it became very popular in Germany. Right from the beginning of Radio Werewolf, that was a Californian phenomenon, it was very strange, that we immediately reached a German audience. And it let to many interviews with mainstream German magazines. Long before I moved here, Radio Werewolf had a cult following in Germany because of “Buried Alive” and that sampler. That eventually lead to Gymnastic Records in Munich signing Radio Werewolf.
That so directly came from the “Buried Alive” song. Now the interesting thing, how things return in ones live, is now, James Collord and I are working together again on our new project “Kingdom Of Heaven”. In a way “Buried Alive” was the beginning of “Kingdom Of Heaven”, because we are collaborating again on new music.
Let’s switch to this Gymnastics question: I remember that this label really disappeared from one day to another. Do you know, what happened there?
I really don’t know all the details. All I can say is, at the beginning Gymnastic Records, which was run by Carl D. Erling in Munich was dedicated to a wide selection of different eclectic musical bands and than eventually, I believe what happened, he founded Chrome Records and became exclusively the manager and promoter of Deine Lakaien, which was one of the bands. But I don’t really know what happened to Gymnastic Records and why es verschwindet so plötzlich (it suddenly disappeared).
You were mentioning several times “Satanic Panic”. Can you please explain to us, what you mean with that term?
Yes. I think for a German audience, considering the fact, that in Germany – and you coming from East Germany – it’s impossible to imagine, because… For instance in East Germany religion was practically verboten (forbidden – that’s not really true, but this a very complex topic), there you had the government saying, Christianity is a problem. In America in the 80ies you had the Ronald Reagan Republican government bringing back this very corrupt, perverted, political version of fundamentalist Christianity, that become like a state religion at that time. And it went completely against the original American idea of the separation of church and state and suddenly in the early 80ies after Ronald Reagan was elected, there was this right-wing political Christian witch-hunt against any form of alternative religion. It became like a Hexenjagd (witch-hunt). Just like America always had… First the Americans killed the Indians, then there was the Red Scare, when they were terrified of communists. And then there was the Satanic Panic as it was called and now is Islamic terrorists. America must always have an enemy and in the 80ies occultism and Satanism became the enemy.
What it was, was that the right-wing Christian politicians needed a Sündenbock (scapegoat), something to say: Here is the enemy, here is the villain, here is the Erzfeind (arch-enemy). They really created an artificial panic by spreading all this insane rumours about child-sacrifice… Very much today though in this era the way that people believe in the Illuminati conspiracy theory. You look on the internet and see countless beliefs, that the Illuminati is controlling everything. I think the Wurzeln (roots) of this was the Satanic Panic in the achtziger Jahre (80ies) in America. I think for Europeans it is inconceivable to imagine how primitive and fundamentalist this kind of right-wing Christianity in America is and how the political apparatus was using the police and the media, to push this right-wing Christian agenda.
So concerts were forbidden and there were media attacks against you…
In terms of Radio Werewolf, always like deliberately provocative and confrontative – when we began, as I said, I was somewhat naïve and I didn’t even realized… I mean, people often accuse me of being shocking fort it’s own sake but that’s actually nothing I ever thought of. I was the way I was and people have to deal with it. But when it got this very strong reaction, because of this Satanic Panic, then I pushed it. And I found, if that upsets you, I will push it further and further and further. It almost became like a game, to see how far I can go. Than I deliberately played with this ideas of Satanic music and Satanic backward masking and mind control.
Did it ever become dangerous for you?
Yes, it did. It was a game, that became dangerous. In Germany it’s hard to imagine, that it would become dangerous, because it is seen as a subculture, a music. Yes, it got to the point of police harassment. And concerts being actually canceled. Being followed around and having people coming to my house to harass me. So yes, it became very dangerous to me. Later, when I married Zeena, who was then the High Priestess of the Church Of Satan, she was almost single-handedly fighting this Satanic Panic, because she was the only person going on national television to be actually a voice of reason fighting this outbreak of insanity.
As Radio Werewolf you released…
Radio Werewolf released seven releases altogether.
I think six are well-known to the fans, this three 12”s and three albums, but the first album is somehow lost.
Yes, the first album to this day is almost like a Fluch (curse). About two years ago I spoke to the other original members and they agreed to put it out and yet it still is is not coming out because there continues to be whatever problematic energy. In fact the whole Radio Werewolf experience was very difficult, everything was difficult and lead to a big drama and a crisis. I don’t know, if the first album will ever come out! People are always asking me about it and I have sincerely tried but to do it, but it remains to be seen, if the original tapes can actually be restored. Well they are ready to go, but it just remains part of the Radio Werewolf curse. Maybe it’s a hidden album.
What happened exactly at this time, why it was not released?
Well what happened is, that Evil Wilhelm, the drummer for Radio Werewolf suddenly decided to leave the band and so the whole concept had to change. And then the “Fiery Summons” was released and I went into a different musical Richtung (direction) and then it’s like whatever is not released becomes a legend. It’s like the Beach Boys’ “Smile” album.
So it made no sense at that time to release it?
We could have but at first, Evil Wilhelm and I, after he split, we had a very hostile relationship. We have since repaired our friendship and are on speaking terms again, but that’s why the first album got lost in limbo for so long. Maybe in a hundred years it will be finally released, but I can not promise.
You stopped releasing albums after the “Songs Of The End Of The World”…
No, after “Love Conquers All”. “Love Conquers All” was deliberately the last album, because it was the end of the Radio Werewolf ritual and if you listen to all the albums and EPs in sequence, they form a Zyklus (circle). They begin and it ends. Radio Werewolf was never conceived as a band, it was a ritual. A ritual begins and then it must brought to an end. And than you see the Ergebnis (outcome).
You started with “The Fiery Summons”…
Yes, “The Lightning And The Sun”, “Songs Of The End Of The World”, “Bring Me The Head Of Geraldo Rivera!”, “Witchcraft/Boots”, and “Loves Conquers All”. There is like a rotes Faden (leitmotif) to all of them. It tells a narrative. It’s like a beginning of a ritual and then the ending of the ritual. And of cause even though I’m not the same person, that did this Radio Werewolf ritual, the consequences, the Nachhall, the echo continues to this day. Last night at this festival, people came up to me, who were very beeinflusst (influenced) by Radio Werewolf. In a way, it has a life on it’s own, Radio Werewolf. Even without me, even when I was dead, it still lives.
As you said, the cycle was abgeschlossen (closed). The other side was maybe to much business? You didn’t wanted to become this Rock’n’Roll business thing?
Yes. We always had the idea, that we will end it, that we will not go on forever, as long as people buy it. It was always an idea… Zeena and I particularly, that was the most productive phase of Radio Werewolf from 1988 to 1993, when Zeena and I co-directed Radio Werewolf and the Werewolf Order. Basically we deceided, this can not be done in night clubs and concert halls and the cliches and apparatus of the Rock music world. We sort of had a spiritual crisis where we realized, speaking from myself, I had to get my own spiritual life back in order. We needed a period of self-reflection, because of doing all this strenuous public rituals, fighting the media and all of the controversy – it was really like fighting a war. From 1984 to 1993 it was like a private Krieg (war). Then I needed to reflect, was it my spiritual direction, where is my life going? So then I went in a very serious period on re-focussing on meditation and on spiritual practice.
The albums and 12” were mostly meant as ritual. Can you tell us about the conception and the realization?
Even today, my method of doing music is not different. My intention, my spiritual direction is different. Radio Werewolf was, I was, like a vessel or a medium for this spiritual forces. For instance I would say the earlier part of Radio Werewolf that was literally the devil. I am communicating, I am removing me and letting the devil speak through me.
So I could imagine, you go to a studio, do some mind-setting techniques to get in the…
Well I was doing a lot of rituals. I had a ritual chamber in my home and I would communicate and let them… It is almost like being besessen (obsessed). And then I would get whatever inspiration, lyrics, the songs and working with other people of course. There were many collaborators in Radio Werewolf, it’s like bringing the spiritual message into the world through music. All of it came very spontaneously and organically.
It was not like you had your part in the ritual chamber, where you received your message and then you went to the studio…
Yes, it was just like that. But at that point, there was no separation between my private life and my public life, because I was doing these rituals publicly.
The other way was to say, let’s get there, plug in everything and than start with the ritual and record everything that happens…
No, Radio Werewolf was actually done in a very disciplined way. It’s never done in an anarchic, it wasn’t done in a Rock’n’Roll way. In a way we were an anti-Rock band. We were in the musical world but the way we were doing it was like in a completely like a military operation, putting up posters everywhere. It was like a political campaign, every time we did a performance. And it was a very controlled, disciplined, theatrical ritual.
But to this day, my music comes from inspiration. It doesn’t come from planning or conceiving. It’s: You get a vision. I hear a sound and lyrics come to me and then I try to capture that as purely as I can and communicate it directly without the menschliche Mittel (human means).
What was the reason for the release of the “Vinyl Solution”? Were there many request for this?
Many people wanted to get the rare, limited releases of the vinyl albums, so we finally thought, that we should release it in a coherent form so that people could see them and how all that concept worked together. Even this week people contacted me and talked to me about re-releasing the Radio Werewolf albums. Probably the whole series of albums and CDs will come out in a new version.
Part III – The writings
Before we come to your actual music project, we just to the writer. You have two main works, the Manson File and the Demons Of The Flesh…
Well, In a way, all of them had been very well-received. “Satanic Screen” actually was the most mainstream book I ever written. For some reason it was very widely accessible and put in libraries and taught in film school and very widely reviewed.
Is this also with a spiritual component?
Everything I have done, has a deeper level to it, which is a magical intention. What the book or the record is, is like a just Rahmen, a framing device for the magical intention. Actually all of my books have been very well-received, but I would say the “Manson File” and “Demons of the Flesh – The Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic”, which I co-authored with Zeena – she is writing a new introduction for that book now, there will be a new edition of that, because it’s becoming impossibly rare, collectors item as you know. But those two books definitely became a phenomenon for sure.
This “Manson File” is widely discussed in the interviews and on your site, especially I like the interview with the Tate-La-Biancha-Station…
Yes, he really knew the subject. This days I refuse to talk to someone, who doesn’t know, what they are talking about.
Why do you think this case, the Manson file is still so actual and still moving people after all this years?
On a certain level for some reason it’s become a myth, a legend. And like in a sense of Carl Jungs ideas of archetype it almost has a life on it’s own, this myth and legend has become something bigger than the case or the human beings involved in the case, because it touches on some deeper issues of spirituality, I think. And also I think, one aspect of it, that is not understood is because so much of it had to do with psychedelic drugs. The Manson murders actually changed the way, that psychedelic drugs were perceived. They went being thought of as a positive force of liberation to suddenly a dangerous, dark, frightening thing, that will make you crazy. And I think in a very deep way this is part of why it fascinates people so much, because it touches on something very deep in human consciousness. Also, it is because I think people sense that the full truth was not told. They are not zufrieden (satisfied). And that’s what my new version of the “Manson File” finally tells, the true story of what this murders were about, which is completely different than the myth of Helter Skelter, that was understood. So part of it is, that people have an impression, that they have been lied to. It’s something, is not true, so they keep returning to it, to understand it.
What role did Manson play exactly in the murders? I think he wasn’t even in the place.
Yeah, that’s a very complicated thing. To put it as simply as possible, the murders, every single one of this Manson crimes had to do with the fact, that various groups of people in the Hippie world were dealing with drugs on a massive level. When you’re dealing drugs and they are illegal, it becomes something you need to have weapons and it becomes a crime. So every single one of the Manson crimes, which you can look up on the internet, so I would not elucidate all of them, was basically a drug deal, that went badly. It had nothing to do with any kind of occult thing, nothing to do with race war. This may have been ideas, that Manson commune has talked about. But the crimes themselves were just people selling drugs, being high, the situations getting out of hand and people being killed. The Sharon Tate murders, which are the most famous, the reason for the grotesque nature, why it looked like a ritual killing, is, because the murderer Tex Watson and the women, who killed with him, tried to disguise the crime scene to make it look like some crazy ritual killing. To disguise the fact, that it was just a drug deal going wrong, like happens all the time.
There were so many powerful people involved and the mafia as you said...
Yes. And the reason for the cover-up is because, especially with the Sharon Tate murder at the home of Roman Polanski, is were the case to be looked in properly and examined. In core it would have destroyed many very wealthy and popular Hollywood actors and Rock musicians careers and that’s why it was covered up.
So Mansons role was mostly to bring this people together?
Well, Manson was part of the crime. It’s just that he was not the Guru mastermind. As I have said clearly, Manson was guilty of that he knew, that this murders happened. They came back after murdering those people, some of them, to the Spahn Ranch, where Manson was, told him, they were panicking, “OK, it all went terrible, we killed these people” and they said, what should we do? He was older, he had been a Knacki (convict) and he was a little more experienced with this. He is a, what we call in English, guilty by association with the crime, because he knew about him and he went back to the house and helped them cover-up. And helped them remove the fingerprints and get rid of the evidence. So he’s guilty in that was, but he did not order the murders.
But it never was part of any Satanic…
There was absolutely nothing Satanic, occult, political – it was simply people that knew each other, they were not strangers, they were invited; come by at midnight and we sell you some drugs. They came by to rob the drugs and it turned into a fight and people who did the killing, Tex Watson, were on methedrine, so they were out of their minds on drugs, it got out of hand, it turned into a violent confrontation and the of cause everybody had to be killed, because they were Zeugnisse (Nikolas means Zeugen, witnesses).
Do you see a chance, that Manson will be set free some day?
Never! No! Because of the myth and the legend of him being the most evil person in the world makes it impossible for the authorities to ever let him free. And also I have speaking to him, I’m not sure, he wants to be free. I’m not sure he necessarily wants to be free.
I can imagine that. What shall he do after all this years in prison?
He has said – where will I go? If he left prison, someone will kill him immediately because he is considered the most evil person in the world. He has lived in prison for 60 years of his life, which is incredible.
It is strange. California has no death penalty…?
It had a death penalty. He was sentenced to death and in 1972 it was reversed and they got rid of the death penalty. Now they have it again, but they can not go retroactively and kill people.
Wouldn’t it be easier for the government just to kill him?
Yes, it would have been and that was the original plan. Make this big cover-up, Helter Skelter and than kill them, but it didn’t happen. Even though he himself speaks about it in a very enigmatic way, too much of the truth has come out now.
Let’s get to “Demons Of The Flesh, the Complete Guide to Left Hand Path Sex Magic”. Sex magic I can imagine, that it is very difficult to get people. Sexual things are very personal. To teach people sexual practices – how does it work?
Sex Magic can be done fairly easily. The most powerful force, one of the most powerful forces is Sex – and I have to make it clear – it’s between a man and a woman – two forces come together, to create. Those are the forces, that create life. The same force, that can create life, you can use in your mind to change reality. So sexuality and the power of orgasm and sexual desire is such a powerful Macht (force) in this world. And If you apply it magically rather than biologically, the same thing, that creates a baby or a new life, can change reality, if you channel that power into your mind. Sexual Magic is relatively easy to do. If you focus your mind and a particular attention during orgasm, that is the most simple form. Orgasm is an alteration of consciousness. It’s a very powerful moment in which your consciousness changes and you are connected to the cosmos. So if you can discipline your mind to focus on a particular wish or Ergebnis (outcome) at the moment of orgasm and if you think at two people to do that at the same time, it is very likely, that you will get a result. That’s Sexual Magic! Using sex for liberation, for mystical experience, to actually free yourself from the human condition. That is on a whole other Niveau (level) and that is extremely difficult. That requires years of meditation, Yoga, understanding the energies of the body and the mind and then it becomes something very different than normal human sex. It’s basically using sex as a form of meditation in Yoga, using the sexual energies between man and woman. It requires a great deal of trust and total lack of the games that occur in human relationships.
What’s the special Left Hand Path…
The Left Hand Path is one of the most misunderstood and misused phrases in esoteric terminology. Unfortunately in Western occultism, the Left Hand Path has falsely come to mean the way of evil. The Black Magic of selfishness, individual, egocentric manipulation and that is not the true meaning of the Left Hand Path. People like Madame Blavatsky of Theosophy, Aleister Crowley, Anton Lavey, all of these pop culture occultists perverted the true meaning of the Left Hand Path into almost the opposite of what it is. The true Left Hand Path comes from Indian mystical tradition of Tantric Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism. At our body, there is the right hand and the left hand. The left hand of the body is the female energy, the right hand is the male energy.
If you are on the Left Hand Path you are worshiping or revealing the feminine principle, which is the principle of Weisheit, wisdom. The Left Hand Path is not Satanism, it is not Schwarze Magie (Black Magic). It’s actually the worship of the feminine principle as the source of wisdom.
This were your two main writings. Are there new writings planned. You said, there will be a re-release of this two books…
Yes, Zeena is doing a new introduction to “Demons Of The Flesh”. As far as my own writings I have been working on my autobiography, which my French publisher commissioned me to do. It’s taking me much longer to complete, because it was much more of a challenge than I thought it would be and I think it will be very illuminating.
I have written a long series of novels, called “The Dallas Book of the Dead”. I did a preview for that, you can hear it at my youtube channel, for National Public Radio in Berlin and that is sat in the early 60ies. It’s about the CIA, psychedelic research, Kennedy assasination… Those are the next two literary projects. For now I have done a great deal of writings in the past decade and now I am concentrating again almost completely on music.
Part IV – Kingdom Of Heaven
That’s were we are: Your actual project Kingdom of Heaven! I’ve heard only this one song [The Ballad of Lurleen Tyler] and seen the video. It looked like a TV preacher show…
Exactly, it’s a parody of that kind of right-wing TV preachers, who have been a thorn in my side. So it’s like taking on the persona of this very American Baptist business Christianity.
Is this the new direction…
No. Not at all. Kingdom of Heaven is a very eclectic project. That’s just one… there we are using traditional Gospel Music to tell a narrative. And every Kingdom of Heaven song is completely different. Maybe, I think, whatever the first song would be, people have the impression, is that die Richtung (the direction), but that’s only one bestimmt (certain) song. It’s a very wide scope of what James Collord and I am doing with Kingdom of Heaven. On my youtube channel, there is the American premier of two other Kingdom of Heaven songs, “In Dreamland”, which is about a U.F.O. visitation and that has almost a science fiction feel, and then another song called “Midnight in Cairo”, which a sort of Arabic Stimmung (mood). So we have a very wide range of musical styles.
When can we expect the album?
I’m hoping by the end of the year we will have the album completed and produced and ready to go.
You already have a label for that?
No, we’re still negotiating. Because Kingdom of Heaven is a very ambitious project, that will require very well-financed touring.
You will play live?
Ja. It’s very going to be a live phenomenon.
What other plans you have?
Kingdom of Heaven is a specific band project, that James Collord and I collaborating on. My solo work is much more I an avant-garde direction. The first manifestation of this new solo work is my work with John Murphy in Dresden, in this concert, that’s coming up. .
What can we expect from that ritual?
When I say, that it’s a sonic ritual, it is a musical concept. It’s not going to seem like a ritual to most people. Although I will be in a certain state of consciousness and I will be evoking in this sense the goddess, the female deity. I will be the transmitting force for the female goddess. And that is at the center of the Left Hand Path experience. But what it is, is a homage or a tribute to the muse, which what ultimately inspires music, art. Getting back to the feminine principle. The concert begins with a musical version of Goethes “Das ewig Weibliche zieht uns hinan” (The eternally female draws us onward). That’s what the heart of that music is. It’s not any type of genre, it truly doesn’t fit in any kind of category. Each of the new songs I composed, that will be performed for the first time exclusively at this Dresden concert on September, 27th at Tower Transmissions festival. They have to experienced to be understood. They are meant to be experienced in a live setting. It is important, that the singer and the audience are working together, to make the experience happen.
I think this female energy is something Industrial scene really needs…
Desperately needs! I don’t ever considered myself and I never have to part of any scene. Though I’m often seen be part of it. I have never felt home, zuhause, with all of that. And yes, this concert is particularly against this whole male, rigid, masculine, macho energy. I think, that really has limited the whole avant-garde in Europe and America. By me, being a male, incarnating the female energy I’m definitely making a very specific magical intention to bring the creativity, the flexibility and the freedom and the power that feminine creativity brings into art. It’s very much a statement against sexism, against misogyny, against the Verachtung (contempt) of women, that I see in this scene very heavily. I think nobody has really spoken up against it, even voiced it.
So I’m looking forward for this concert and I’m very thankful, that you took the time to make this interview happen…
It was my pleasure and I appreciate your intelligent and thoughtful questions. I don’t give many interviews but I appreciate the sensitivity with what you ask your questions. Thank you …
More information on the person and works of Nikolas Schreck you’ll find on his website: NIKOLASSCHRECK.EU