Another act set to appear at this year’s Alt-Fest is the lovely Global Citizen. The sexual themes with Japanese art styles may have made many cock their head awkwardly or be downright disgusted, but we have a full interview talking about that, as well as Rich Mill’s humorously named Willy. Read all about it, and check out what he thinks of the biggest alternative festival to hit later this year:
Alright, let’s get to the nitty gritty. I’ve never really heard a solid history of your act, so we’ll start with that. Tell us how you first came across dark electronic music and the alternative scene and why you decided to stick with it.
Rich – “I was there right at the start when electronic acts first hit the charts, Tubeway Army kicked it off and were quickly followed by everyone else and their kitchen sink. I grew up with it and it stuck with me. My favs were Tubeway Army/Gary Numan, Cabaret Voltaire, John Foxx, Soft Cell, Visage, Depeche Mode etc, etc. My parents bought me my first synth, a Roland Juno 6, before I had even left school as they realised that was all I wanted to do by that point. I formed my first band straight out of school with a friend I met not long into my first job at WH Smith record counter in Slough and we were quickly joined by another friend I met over that same counter shortly after. We carried on dreaming of being pop stars for a couple of years then disbanded along with many thousands of others I should imagine. Global Citizen started life as Constructive Noise in 1994 but the name was switched in 1999 with our first self release under the new name coming in 2001.”
And then there’s the question as to why you wanted to create music; were you inspired just by other artists, family, friends, or your own personal drive?
Rich – “Again, that was all Gary Numans’ fault, we actually come from the same area and went to one of the same schools, and my new love for the synthesizer of course, the Japanese and sexual influences came later.”
What made you choose the name Global Citizen? It’s a different name that caught my attention as soon as I saw it.
Rich – “I actually adopted it from a song of the same name from the Constructive Noise days. The song was inspired by the movie ‘Leon’ and was about an international hitman traveling the world taking people out for money, blending in like a chameleon wherever he traveled.”
Did you ever have a first demo that you sent out to labels? Or did RebCo just happen to randomly find you on the internet and ask for your partnership?
Rich – “Oh, blimey, well yes, in the early days we used to send out demos on cassette tapes just like everyone else but that was a long long time ago. The same when CD-R’s arrived for a while but you rarely heard back from anyone in those times, especially with the sort of music I was making. RebCo, of course, discovered us over the the new fandangled thing called the internet, that was back in 2007 when the Tea Time demo was doing the rounds, though it Was ‘Slave’ that RebCo liked the most and I went and left it off the album after signing with them!”
“Master Stroke” was your debut album in 2008. The first thing I noticed about it was the unique, Japanese influenced artwork. Since then, each of your albums have followed up with the same form of artwork; was this planned out? Or did it just kind of happen since you loved the original cover so much?
Rich – “Master Stroke was our ‘official’ debut yes but we had self released lots of stuff leading up to that. The artwork was done by an Italian Swiss friend who had designed some stuff similar for his range of bondage t-shirts, I approached him about doing a design for Master Stroke with a few guide ideas as to what I wanted and after a few little tweaks we had the finished design. Not long after that he went and gave up on his t-shirt idea and handed over all his designs to me, I then went on to use some of those original designs as cover art for singles for the next album and a new original design was then put together for Nil By Mouth, again from my original guidelines. So to answer the question, it was kind of both, I did love the original so much that I wanted to continue the theme but at the same time it all kind of progressed naturally also as it gave us a kind of corporate presence if you like…”
Not only that, but your songs tend to be very sexual and, once more, Japanese influenced. I need only to mention the song “Bukkake Smile” to get that point across. Where does your love for the Japanese culture come from?
Rich – “That again has been with me for many many years now, way back to my late teens when I started collecting Japanese tea and sushi cups, figurines of geisha and other characters and some art prints and photo books, I also loved the mystery of the Japanese culture, the history of their samurai warriors etc and lastly but no means least, the women. I also discovered as we moved along through the years that Japan was a nation of perverts in general, and so the two started influencing my writing together. I found I was much more comfortable writing about sexual stuff for lyrics than boring every day stuff or politics, and the subject matter fitted the darker edgier sound I was creating anyway, it all just came together.”
You are now signed to Glory & Honour Records, which is a great label. Have they helped in getting your name out even more than it already is?
Rich – “Glory & Honour have been very supportive and have helped us along in many ways, and they suffered a lot of unfair and unwarranted criticism just because they were all female and of Kazakhstan/Russian origin. The label has downsized somewhat now but continue to give Global Citizen all the support they can, and I give them my full support in return. I’m happy to continue flying the G&H flag and I’ve nothing but big love for every single one of them!”
In 2011, you played alongside some bigger bands, such as KMFDM and Front 242. Did this also help getting you to achieve a bigger fanbase? And how was it playing next to those types of groups?
Rich – “I guess so, I don’t really take much notice of Facebook likes and such these days and we’ve gone on to play alongside several other household names since like Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Toyah, Sulpher, Seabound, Cruxshadows, The Danse Society, Leaether Strip, Gary and more.
Our appearance at Alt-Fest this August will see us on the same bill as Gary Numan for the third time, alongside Marlyn Manson, Covenant, The Cult, and VNV Nation amongst many many others.
Playing alongside these types of people obviously makes me feel very proud of what I have achieved in my own right but they get treated just like anyone else as far as I am concerned, I treat everyone with respect, big or small or just starting out, we’re all human and we’re all in it for the same thing.”
I have heard that your live acts are pretty ecstatic; what exactly makes your shows so fun?
Rich – “Who on earth described our shows as being that? They should be shot, I should imagine that fun would be one of the last words used to describe us!
Hypnotic yes, moody yes, aggressive yes, atmospheric yes, dark yes, perverse yes…….Having said that, some people might see all those as quite good fun!
Most people tend to think I’m pretty unapproachable after seeing me perform on stage, I am not a happy/smiley performer but those who do grow the balls to come and say hi will almost certainly find me quite the opposite.”
As far as your next release goes, is there anything planned for that? And do you have a release date set in mind?
Rich – “No release date set as yet and no working title either but the next album is under way. I also haven’t decided whether to continue the artwork theme further or have myself on the front for a change.
I’m also not going to be pandering to what anyone else thinks I should be doing, I’m going to record the songs how I want and at what pace I want. I say that because there seems to be a constant pressure to up the beats per minute like everyone else, well I’m not going to, I’m not like everyone else and I don’t want to be, I’m not interested in just going bang, bang, bang, or oonz, oonz, oonz or being just another face in the crowd doing the same thing as everyone else. We stand out because we’re different and we like standing out thank you very much…”
Onto some controversy levels, I am sure that your lyrical content may have brought some negatives from someone or another. Have you experienced any true negative feedback thus far?
Rich – “Nope, not really, and I’m just as baffled as you maybe, a little. I had thought that I might upset a few women whom might find a lot of the lyrics as being sexist. I may have even been trying to be a little controversial to begin with, if I was, it didn’t work .In truth, only one person has ever confronted me about that to my face and even she did it with a smile. In general, it seems that most women like it or even love it. It may or may not be viewed as extreme or fetish or whatever but hey, I’m just describing what a lot of people get up to or fantasize about getting up to or wish they got up to behind closed doors. It’s just bondage and role playing at the end of the day.”
I also saw in a few spots across the ever rumour spreading internet that you may have a liking to Nazis and what not. I highly doubt that’s true, but would you like to address that here?
Rich – “I’ve not seen any such nonsense myself but I can only assume they are referring to a fashion photo shoot I took part in for Jed Phoenix of London where they had me dressed up in a very fetching black military uniform, from which a couple of the pictures taken that day ended up in the booklet for the Nil By Mouth album. And by Nazi they’re more than likely assuming I’m racist where as anyone that knows me will know that being racist is the very last thing I am. Both my wives were foreign, as is my current partner and every single one of my girlfriends also since 1987! There are many many people walking around wearing black military uniform on the alternative scene, obviously the person who started that rumour is either blind or knows nothing of the scene they are writing about.
Having said all that, I did used to call my willy Adolf because he liked invading foreign territory!
There’s your interview headline right there!”
You’ve also been described as the AntiChrist Supergroup. Do you think that term fits well?
Rich – “We have but no, I do not. The reviewer had just seen us on stage and I guess the way we looked came across pretty strong for him, there was me out front looking like Nosferatu, one of our keys players at the time was always being compared with Marilyn Manson and the other had glowing contact lenses, so I guess what we looked like had that impression on him rather than what we sound like or write about.”
Alright, now, you’ve been to a ton of live shows and have only been bolstering your act even more so than not. And you are also taking part in this year’s Alt-Fest. What do you think Alt-Fest presents that other festivals don’t?
Rich – “Alt-Fest, let’s face it, is going to be the biggest festival of it’s kind, certainly in the UK but most likely worldwide too, I mean look at it, 180 bands over 7 stages, covering all genres, as well as a shopping village, loads of food, a big top circus etc, etc, it’s going to be massive and like nothing we’ve seen here before and we should all feel proud to be a part of it as we have all made this happen ourselves. Crowd funded and led from the start, you can only praise the balls of it all.”
It’s aiming to become one of the bigger festivals of the year with a lot of acts. With so much talent present, tell me, what do you think Global Citizen can bring to the fest that other acts won’t?
Rich – “We will bring Global Citizen! I’m not one for bigging myself up or being egotistical, we are what we are and there arn’t many like us, which is why a lot of promoters find us difficult to place in a line-up, those that take the risk on us usually come out smiling?People that don’t know us can catch us on the industrial stage on the Sunday and find out for themselves?You can bet your life on one thing though, it will be sexy!”
Are there any acts there that you’re truly excited to see perform live?
Rich – “Obviously I’m going to be around to see the likes of Gary Numan and Marilyn Manson but I’m more looking forward to discovering some new bands and immersing one’s self in the whole festival experience. There are many bands playing, big and small, that I have never heard of or if I have, have never heard or seen them, so I hope to discover something new, or new to me at least, and I’ll be getting out of bed early to see some of the lesser known bands and give them some support and see what they have to offer.”
And this is where the interview ends. I’d like to give a big thank you to yourself, and I leave the rest of this room for you to leave a final message for family, friends, fans, or anyone else out there.
Rich – “A big thank you as always to anyone that takes the time to read the interview and to yourself for putting the questions to me. Big up to everyone that has supported us along the way and see you all at Alt-Fest or out there somewhere along the way. Here’s to a wicked 2014 for all.”
28 Apr 2014
Source: Brutal Resonance