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There aren't too many who can claim the career path taken by Jared Louche. As a former DC club manager who has been everything from a musical innovator to a Wall Street banker, Louche has lived a variety of lives, including his current incarnation as a multi-faceted performer. Rock Star Journalism spoke with the man best known for his work with industrial pioneers Chemlab about his storied past, underground success, and the art of reinvention.

Rock Star Journalism: You lived in DC for awhile. Us being from the nearby Baltimore area, we haven't found that there's much of an industrial scene here now. What did you think of the musical community when you were living here?

Jared Louche: There was really no industrial music scene at all. It was just a couple of us trying out different things, making noise. I was in an extreme noise terror unit for awhile called Peach of Immortality. We were deeply devoted to the concepts of character assassination and intense migraine creation for the audience. But there wasn't an industrial scene. All the bands came through town and played at the old 9:30 Club, where I was the manager, but there weren't lots of local bands.

RSJ: Have you found there to be a big industrial scene in London? It seems like a lot of the top people are there -- Bryan Black, Raymond Watts, among others.

JL: Yeah, there's some really good bands here, a couple of interesting venues. There's a really curious old semi-abandoned church, and they do shows there periodically. A lot of the good bands come through here as well, so I don't feel like I'm out in the sticks. Puppy were just through town, and it was nice to see them again and hang out with them now that they seem to have their shit together.

RSJ: What can you tell us about the work you've been doing with Mark Spybey?

JL: I've been in contact with Mark since the Pigface "Lowest of the Low" tour in '98 when Dead Voices came out and was one of the many bands on the revolving circus of that tour. When I first went up to his studio to work on the stuff it was very much that I was gonna read some stories and then we would work on soundtracking the stuff. And it very quickly became clear to both of us that we are steeped in much the same conceptual tradition of music making, that we're steeped in the same intellectual approach to making music, and we're both very good improvisational artists. And so, it is evolving into a much more multi-dimensional creature which is going to become a band. We've roped in Robin [Storey] from :zoviet*france:, who also does the band Rapoon. We're also talking about -- and Jesus does this give me a fucking hard-on -- the idea of doing this as a band in a Glenn Branca context. I used to have a band called Jackhammer Orchestra, and I don't play guitar, but I wrote all the songs on guitar, so it was just a lot of repetitive chords and building crescendos and a lot of point counterpoint in the guitars as these crescendos built. And the idea that we could be doing that is just an insane turn-on.

[Mark's] really easy to work with. We recognized something in each other early on. Within the first half hour of us working together it was as if we were being directed, and we were just along for the fuckin ride. To get to work with someone like that, that is as intuitive and willing to take chances -- quite a turn-on.

RSJ: Sounds like it.

JL: Uh-huh. If I was a chick we would have been balling (laughs).

RSJ: When do you foresee that work being released?

JL: I'm not sure. We're not in any rush to release it. We're probably looking at, realistically, the springtime. I can guarantee some of the stuff is gonna come out on the Hydrogen Bar website long before it appears on Invisible. It was really great the last time we were up there because we would take breaks from working on the music to get online and tell people what was going on. It was a really nice interactive environment, and I'm looking to foster more of that. What I really would like to do is simulcasts and put up little video loops. I filmed Robin playing this bizarro bagpipe reed, and I just wanna put that on constant loop on the website somewhere. It contributed to a piece that sounds like we're collaborating with the Master Musicians of Jujuka.

With that piece, the story is about this record snowstorm in New York and going and taking my friend out to view parts of the city. We came back, and my wife at the time and his girlfriend at the time were crashed out in our living room. We were all completely just high as you could get, and we had been out cause I used to go out walking through the city for hours at night just off my head and seeing all my favorite haunts. But we came back, and I put him to bed between these two angelic women and sat in the kitchen and just watched the snowstorm erasing everything between me and the rest of the world, watching the beautiful shape of the Chrysler Building disappearing slowly behind this massive snowstorm. Snow was just piling down, and I felt like I was being erased from the world; it was taking away everything from me and just leaving this static. And as I drifted off, I had this imprinted picture in my head. And then, six months later, Craig was dead and Karen had disappeared, and a year after that my wife had left me. But it was like this perfect moment in time where everything was exactly as balanced as it should be.

So, anyway, I just felt like [Mark and I] were being conducted, and if we just let go of all of our expectations that we would be directed into a really interesting place. And we were in this record. I think it's gonna be a really interesting and resonant mile marker in our careers. Boy, you think that puts enough fuckin expectation on the damn thing?

RSJ: I think so. Now I have to hear this.

JL: Yeah, I know. You see, now I've really screwed the record (laughs).

RSJ: Do you have any plans for another solo album?

JL: I always have plans. It's just finding the musicians I wanna work with. [This album will feature] mostly not covers. It'll be a lot of songs that I've written and haven't really had the opportunity to get them out of my head, so they can stop fucking bothering me and go bother other people.


RSJ: Considering that Chemlab is no longer a partnership with Dylan, what differentiates between material you release as Chemlab and material you release as just Jared?

JL: The Jared Louche and the Aliens stuff isn't quite as in your face as the Chemlab stuff, though Oxidizer certainly pulled from a much broader sonic and emotional palette than the earlier records did. But Chemlab is essentially a rock band. The Aliens stuff can be a rock band; it can also be a much more experimental thing. If anyone had expectations of what Jared Louche is and does, I think Covergirl pretty much put the nails into the coffin on that one. You think you've got me figured out? Fuck you. Because it's just too easy to get into one groove and mine that and not do anything new. And I mean, at the end of the day, as much as I want my music to be able to make me a mint, I just don't see it. I think it is utterly unrealistic to believe that Chemlab is gonna make me a million or even a half million or to be able to pay my rent for six months at a time. So that's okay. Because it frees me up to be able to do whatever the fuck I wanna do.

RSJ: After being out of the music industry for years, what made you want to make another Chemlab record?

JL: I was getting bored with a lot of the stuff that I heard, and there were song ideas that I wanted to get out. It felt like there were lyrics that needed a home that would find a home within the Chemlab format. I was tired of just doing storytelling shows, and I figured if people don't like the idea, well, fuck them -- don't buy it, don't listen to it. I'm not doing this for anybody else. Everybody else is a tourist; this is my ride. If you enjoy it, that's great, and if it keys right into you, killer. Get on board -- let's go. But if you don't like it, fuckin don't talk to me about it. I'm too busy doing my thing. And that's not meant as anything elitist or exclusive; it's just this is my deal. I didn't die. I'm five years -- no smack, no crack, no pills, no booze. Four years of no cigarettes, no reefer. I figure, as clichéd as it sounds, it's all gravy from here.

RSJ: Was part of moving to London getting away from the scene you were in?

JL: I actually moved to do Covergirl with Martin [Atkins]. I didn't have any intention of moving over here for good. I talked to a friend of mine that I've known for about 20 years who lives in London, and said to her, look, I'm coming over to do this record, can I come and crash with you? Turned out she'd had a crush on me for years. And so, I came and did the record, and I stayed for love.

In terms of getting out of New York and changing routines, yeah, it was very healthy. New York's a tough place to get clean because it's just available all over the place. I mean, I quit music for years and went and worked on Wall Street as an investment banker. And I would get up at 5:30 in the morning, leave the house at 6:45, and if there were no dealers down on the street then I called a car and we'd run down to Hester Street and go score. I was working on Wall Street, and my financial scene went through the roof. And of course I brought all my habits with me. It was easy -- I had a guy come and bring me rock so I could hit the fucking pipe at lunchtime. They gave me a set of keys because they felt that I was a responsible guy (laughs). And so, we'd just hang out, and I'd have someone deliver a bunch of coke and a bunch of dope. And we'd all snort a bunch of coke, and we'd make phone calls, write up our numbers on the board of all the money that we'd made and split. Come in first thing in the morning and do it all over again. It's a hard place to get clean. Getting out of there was a good thing for me.

RSJ: Do you consider the others you worked with on Oxidizer part of Chemlab now, or could the next record feature entirely different people?

JL: It could be different people. I think it's established now that I'm the conductor. I would very much like to work with everyone again. I don't know if Jason [Novak] and I are gonna work together again cause he's always busy doing the Acumen Nation stuff. And he and I had a difference of opinion about how finished the record actually was. In the beginning he had said, 'I either want to write the record with you or I wanna produce the record with you, but I don't wanna do both.' And as it turned out, financially he got stuck doing both. And inevitably he got really married to the record, and he didn't have that one step of remove that you need to have once you're in the producer's chair, so you can hear it with different ears and so you can know when it's done and when it's not. He thought it was done, and I didn't. And at the end of the day, you drop the dice and you play the game, but who's gonna walk away with the band? Me. It's my band, so if I don't feel like the record's finished, guess what? It's not finished yet. So, who knows? He may come around and decide he wants to work on the next one, or he may not, but I think that it's opened up to where I could pull in all kinds of different people.

I don't know what's gonna happen next. I have to work on trying to get the band out on the road, work on trying to finish the Spybey record, work on a record of all sutures with F.J. [DeSanto]. It'll be like 60 little sonic pieces on there, each of them about a minute long at most. It'll be great; it's gonna be called Shatter Pieces. Pretty fucking abrasive.

RSJ: Didn't you mention that idea several years ago?

JL: Yeah. Dylan and I always had bits and pieces that we'd play with that would get clipped out of songs. So, we wanted to compile them onto their own record, but it didn't happen. But it will happen, and some of them will be old Jared and Dylan sutures.

RSJ: Do you have any interest in making videos for your work now? I remember the problems you had getting "Codeine Glue and You" on MTV.

JL: My god! Fuck. Yeah, what a nightmare. We were not a particularly prolific band, and we were even less prolific with making videos, but I wanted to do a video for every single song for each record. In terms of doing them now, I'm talking with two different people about doing videos. I mean, it's not like there's any outlet for them. Who the fuck is gonna play a Chemlab video? I'm pretty underground these days, and I'm signed to an intensely independent label which has got zero leverage. So, if I could have it done for free or have it done on the cheap, killer, drop it on me. It's certainly not something that's gonna pay off, but then, of course, fuckin none of it pays off, so why do I give a shit? I'm talking to a film student right now who's actually doing a short film based around the last song on East Side Militia, "Pink," which I think is gonna be real bizarre and interesting. And if that works out, who knows, maybe we'll start turning out a couple videos. I'm so ready for it, it hurts. There's one of the problems of the band not making a mint -- I can't put into action so many things that I wanna do. Like I said, I'm not dead -- I'm happy that I wake up in the morning and I don't have to go score, but what I really would like is to be able to tour freely, to be able to put out videos, to be able to put out the records that I wanna put out and not have to worry about going through a record label.

RSJ: Have you been happy working with Invisible Records?

JL: Sometimes. Sometimes not. But I think considering the current state of affairs, diplomacy dictates that you ask your next question.

RSJ: After all that happened with Fifth Colvmn Records, would you ever be interested in running a label again?

JL: No. I might be crazy, but I ain't stupid. The problem is that the industry is canted against the independent labels; it's canted against the artists who aren't doing things that are formulaic and pre-programmed. I don't think the industry at the moment is in a position where it would be any better for me to run my own label. I go back and forth on this all the time. I wouldn't mind not being signed to a label and just putting out records myself. I think that there's enough potential exposure, there's enough of a fanbase for me to be able to do it. Some days I feel like I'm doing so much work already, do I really need somebody else taking a bite out of the records I make? Then I also feel like, I'm doing so much work already, do I really want to do more? With Fifth Colvmn I tried very hard to create an artist oriented label that was willing to let the musicians take chances and not have to worry about whether it was gonna sell really well. And that worked for a little while, but the guy who actually held the purse strings didn't understand the concept and wouldn't let me enact some of the basic ideas that would have allowed us to conduct good business. I don't know if I wanna take all that on again. I've got so many other things that I wanna do, and I don't know that getting into the business end of it again is where it's at. Sorry, kids, if you're looking to me to pull you out of the shit. It's just not gonna happen.

RSJ: You recently performed at the Thurrock Music Fest. That seems like an unusual setting for you; how did that performance go?

JL: I perform with bands all the time, so to be asked to do a rock festival is actually not as far off the sonar screen as you might think. I started my career back in the early '80s as a poet doing poetry at rock shows. One of the very first shows that I ever performed was supporting The Birthday Party on their first tour. The shows that I do are not staid affairs. I'm not standing up there with a piece of paper mumbling into the microphone and 'oh the flowers and aren't they lovely and oh I wish I could find me a lady.' It's full body -- I'm all over the place. I also do stuff with cd backing tracks, so I do stuff off the last H3llb3nt record, I do Chemlab tracks, I do stuff off Covergirl, as well as telling stories in between. And now I'm gonna start incorporating the stuff that Spybey and I are working on. It's a fucking rock show. And I get off stage in the middle of the show and periodically lapdance people.

RSJ: Hey, when's that show coming here?

JL: (Laughs) You make sure you're right down front.

I actually did a solo tour through the States in 2000 supporting Covergirl. Two shows a day. That was quite something. But, perfect illustration of how completely into the show and out of my head I get -- we were doing a show in the mid-afternoon in a record store in St. Louis. Here it is, 1:00 in the afternoon and I'm completely into the groove of doing my show. And it's the end part of the song "In Every Dreamhome A Heartache" and I realize that I'm thrashing around on the floor between the record racks. People are looking over the record racks like, 'Jesus what is this guy doing?' And there's fluorescent lights overhead, and the sun's shining in over on the left side, and I'm just thinking, these people must just think I'm a complete fuckin lunatic. Which of course I am. But I get really wound up by the show, so it makes perfect sense for me to do festivals. I love it, and I want to do more of them.

RSJ: I know you participated in last year's United II tour with Pigface. Do you have any plans to tour Chemlab specifically in the U.S.?

JL: I have lots of plans; it's just making them come together. Charles Levi and I have been talking about pulling together the band to go and support it, and we may be able to get it out in the springtime. It's a financial issue; touring in the States right now for bands on the tier that we are on is really hard. And he's out of the loop right now cause he's going out with Thrill Kill to do the Ministry tour, which is super cool. See, what I really want is to be able to get onto a bill like that. But once again, being signed to Invisible means that we haven't really got the leverage to sweeten the deal. So, it's down to my being able to sweet-talk somebody into putting us on the bill. Then it means compiling the musicians for it and figuring out how I'm gonna pay everybody.

Certainly, going out with Pigface last November was really eye-opening and disturbing. Cause the crowds just weren't there. And I'd hate to take the band out and have to be able to pay for all these people and have some of the turnouts that we had on the Pigface tour. 14 people in New Jersey. Jesus Christ, what's up? It was really creepy. So, do I want to do it? Yes. Am I going to do it? Yes. Soon? I don't know. It's gonna happen; it just has to be right. Otherwise, I'm just gonna get hung from the tallest tree in the valley with yet another broom handle up my ass.

RSJ: Especially in the early days of Chemlab, you seem to have had some bad touring experiences. What do think was your most regrettable touring decision?

JL: We had bad touring experiences? I must be old. See, I look back on it and I just think, wow, that was great.

RSJ: Well, I remember you talking about not having the best time on the Gwar tour.

JL: That was a tough tour. I smashed my head open in the middle of it. The audiences were really tough to convert. They saw the keyboards up there and were just immediately set in their attitude of, 'oh no, fags. Look, keyboards -- must be faggots.'

RSJ: I think Gwar is probably a hard crowd for anybody.

JL: It was tough. Financially, it was a really tough tour. In a lot of ways that was the tour that finished us off, which is too bad. We also had a guitarist and a bass player who were just total dipshit assholes. I just couldn't stand them. We would have been happy to leave them by the side of the road within the first 24 hours.


RSJ: Many people credit Chemlab with pioneering the coldwave movement in industrial. What do you think of the current trends in that scene?

JL: It's a lot more dance nowadays than what I always viewed. I know a lot of people have divided views about Klayton, but I think the Celldweller record is fucking destroying. I think there's some really cool bands working right now, but the scene itself is kind of non-existent. It's like bands aren't working together, and there's not a lot of touring because there aren't a lot of opportunities. I would really like to see the scene revitalize itself. I just noticed that the 16 Volt website is starting to come back alive again. It would be nice to see him stop trying to get a major label deal, go with an independent and just rock out for awhile. Cause Eric [Powell] is really quite gifted.

In terms of us being one of the primogenitors -- I guess. We never thought of it that way. We didn't think we were any kind of wave; we just thought we were following on from Wax Trax and Puppy and Ministry. I didn't feel like we were creating something new, though we were certainly surrounded by a raft insanely cool bands who were all pushing the envelope. But it didn't feel like we were revolutionizing the whole scene, yet I guess to a certain extent we must have. If people have gotten positive things out of the band and we're viewed as part of the genesis of a movement, that's great.

RSJ: Ever think about doing anything with H3llb3nt again?

JL: Sure, Bryan and I talk about it periodically. He's really busy with the X-lover stuff, but we talk about it. I thought the last H3llb3nt record was great. It was more over the top in terms of noise and static disruption than what Bryan wanted at the time. What's funny is that record is about two years ahead of where his head was. And the stuff that X-lover is doing now is very much akin to that H3llb3nt record.

RSJ: If money wasn't an object, what would you like to do with your work?

JL: Video for every song on this record. And then go back in time and do a video for every song on East Side Militia and Burnout using a different director, but each record functioning visually and conceptually under an umbrella so that there is a certain unified look, but each one is approached from a different way. I'd jack up the content of the website much faster than it is and there'd be a lot more motion and action in it. I'd be touring a lot more; I'd be out on the road possibly six months out of the year. It would be a full-blown show -- costume changes, lights, there's a certain kind of stage I'd like to have built that would have moving parts. More merchandise. And I'd trick out my wardrobe a little more too (laughs).

But a very small segment of the music buying population knows who we are, so I think I would spend a lot of money buying fans (laughs). We'll see; it may yet happen. I kinda doubt it, but that doesn't mean that I'm not gonna do everything that I want to, just on a much more reduced scale. Cause fuck it, why not? Life's just too short, and I haven't given up yet. So, if you think the king is dead kids, you're wrong. Long live the fucking king.