KEN 2 from THE $HIT
1. Who are you?
John Rogers aka John Brainlove aka KEN2.
2. No, really, who are you?
Oh, right… as John Rogers I am ME, an artist working in live art, experiential art, video work, installation, mail art, digital stuff, interactive stuff… whatever medium suits the piece in question. More info about that at www.johnrogers.co.uk —as John Brainlove, I edit the Brainlove webzine – www.brainlove.cjb.net – (and write for some other zines and magazines). I also run the imminent Brainlove Records label – www.brainloverecords.com – and as Ken 2 I play guitar in THE $HIT – www.theshit.org.uk – which is why I’m being asked these questions I think? Hmm. That’s split personalities in triplicate so far… how worrying.
3. What are you up to at the moment?
Answering these questions. Hahaha-hrrrg. No, OK. Seriously… The $hit are in the mixing and mastering stages of sorting our debut album, $hit Lives Forever. We’ll be self-releasing it in spring if no record companies come and knock down our front door and force bulging suitcases full of ca$h into our open arms. So, yeah, we are starting a record label. Exciting times. In my art capacity I’m planning a touring show for 2005 which draws parallels between art & music & fashion & a certain creative approach to all of the above, with big glittering bandstand based sound events and tons of very talented people doing stuff. So it’s an art/curatorial project for me. Also – spending lots of time on trains between Wolverhampton and London… way too much time on trains.
4. What three rules would make up your manifesto?
f. Dodge the 9-5 (unless it’s a good one…) You will lose eventually. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME! You might die soon, and then where would you be? Do it NOW. Do it ALL. NOW!
g. Take your first thought, and discard it. It’s too obvious. Think on. Train your instincts, grasshopper.
h. Anything different is good. Ignore t he cultural hegemony. Be creative in everything you do, komrade!
5. If you were the dictator of a modern industrial country, what would
you abolish? What laws would you implement?
I would cast myself down and institute some kind of democratic system immediately. And probably wonder just how much I had drunk last night to wake up dictator of a modern industrial country. Or I would implement some kind of workable renewable energy policy, abolish nuclear weapons, cancel third world debt, bring in proportional representation, legalize several drugs and increase rehab & education rather than criminalizing, enforce corporate responsibility with huge fines, steal from the rich, give to the poor, and probably nick some ashtrays from No. 10 before I was caught and ejected… I’m sure there is a lot more where that came from…
6. What are your lyrics about?
I don’t write the lyrics. That is the responsibility of our frontman Brian International aka KEN 1. The lyrics seem to be about smoking crack, bombing iraq, buying a blue & white hoodie from Gap, plane hijack, killing Tupac, peeling caps back, yeah, it’s The New Black. And also about having sex with ladies and not wanting to grow up or have an ordinary life. I do the full throttle ripping guitar-hack action. Ken 3 does bass-rumble earthquake style stuff. And Ken 4 is our flash-of-lightning cheerleading sensation & chief choreographer.
7. What is your opinion on the contemporary music scene? What do you
I can be positive or negative here. The “industry” is a pathetic fucking sham. I hate it. Spoon feeding sub-standard bands to people who should know better. I’m SO sick of boys in jeans playing A-minor and whining. And haircuts in leather jackets banging on about nothing, loudly. You can’t just go onstage dressed out of Topman and impress me with your bedroom ballads, sunshine. But the underground is better than it has ever be en. CD-R technology has blown things wide open. Independent distribution is out there. Anyone can start a label now. And there are bands all over the country springing up, full of imagination and fuckin FUN and even some talent sometimes. That’s what Brainlove Records is gonna be all about. Check out Robochrist, Trash Fashion, Kashpoint (club), Formula Bone, Piney Gir, Napoleon III, Muscle Bastard, Fidel Villeneuve, Deadzilla, Vicki Churchill – so much cool music that nobody has heard of yet…
8. What distinguishes you from your peers?
There isn’t that much competition in the ELECTRO-FUCKROCK PUNKBEAT POP’N’ROLL genre actually. I think we may be the only ELECTRO-FUCKROCK PUNKBEAT POP’N’ROLL band in the world. Oh yeah, +&+ masks, glitter, chaos, free extra fun, shark-attack feeding frenzy bassquake ear-shattering post-cabaret cartoon war every time we play live. We put a huge amount of effort into making The $hit the most stupid, crap, fun, brilliant th ing ever. There is more work to be done.
9. Where do you see yourself in five years time?
It would be nice to be able to pay the rent based on what I’m doing now. I would sincerely love to be in a position to put out records by underground bands that deserve so much more exposure… also, to develop an audience for the artwork. I’d love to see that move to the next level in the next few years. My theory is, if you build it, they will come. I can’t believe I’m basing all this on a line from a Kevin Costner movie.
10. Any regrets?
uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… well, I watched Guns ‘n’ Roses instead of The Streets at Leedsfest last year. That was a truly stupid decision. Does that count? Proper ones? none that I can think of.