> INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD RAMIREZ (BLACK LEATHER JESUS) by Keith Mitchell (Final Trauma Recordings)
BAND NAME: BLACK LEATHER JESUS
BAND MEMBERS: RICHARD RAMIREZ, SEAN MATZUS, KEVIN NOVAK,
VANCE OSBORNE, SCOTT HOUSTON with occasional assistance by
THOMAS MORTIGAN & MIKE PAYNE.
GENRE: HARSH NOISE
Bondage Playground (split 7inch with Merzbow)
Sonic Destruction (split with MSBR)
Scrapyard (picture disc LP)
First You Destroy their Faith (CD)
“United States of Persuasion” (CD)
“Prove to Me You’re more than Meat” (CD)
“Decaying Behavior” (split CD with The Haters)
“A Purpose Not Necessary” (split CD with Incapacitants)
“Copsucker Strikes Again” (split LP with The Homopolice)
“Yes, Sir” (CD)
BAND WEBSITE: www.blackleatherjesus.blogspot.com
OTHER PROJECTS: Werewolf Jerusalem, In the Land of Archers, T.E.F., The Whitehorse, Last Rape, Priest in Shit, Bondage is the Future, RU-486, Murex, Respirator, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, Fouke.
FTR: Let’s start with your band name, what made you choose it for this project?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Black Leather Jesus comes from a story of a woman held captive for seven years by a religious man who told her that he was god and controlled her life. He beat her, raped her, tortured her. She eventually escaped. He held her bound under his bed. It was a bizarre story. I started Black Leather Jesus in 1989. The name just came to mind after reading this story.
FTR: How would you describe your sound and working process?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Our sound is harsh noise or industrial noise. We don’t record often all together. We at times have to resort to mail collaboration. We all live far from each other. We want to try to record together more often than previous. We also don’t perform live that much either. Our schedules are tough to do so.
[Black Leather Jesus Dead Audio 2009 Houston, Tx filmed by Hierchiss]
[Black Leather Jesus – Live @ Dead Audio Fest, 07.25.06, Houston, TX]
FTR: About the instruments and technology you use to produce the sound, do you constantly update them, or are old and cheap synths and the like still good for your purposes?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: I tend to use older equipment. The other members like the latest in equipment. We don’t use synths in our work at all. I’m not too fond of them.
FTR: With regards to electronic/experimental artists, which band did you discover first? How did you come across them?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: My first experience with experimental music were artists like Nurse with Wound, Non, Nocturnal Emissions, Strafe Fur Rebellion, The Haters, and Chop Shop.
FTR: Who or what influences you and your sound?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Our biggest influences are Hijokaidan, The New Blockaders, The Haters, Whitehouse, and Emil Beaulieau.
FTR: Regarding the myspace noise culture/what could be seen as the myspace noise race, it appears there are an awful lot of releases coming out by a large amount of “noise” artists, spamming page after page throughout myspace with their 30+ album release this year. What are your thoughts regarding this rushed approach? (Asked before the death of Myspace!)
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Well, it depends. I do lots of releases. I cannot judge my own work. There are artists that put out stuff a lot. Some are good, some not. Then again, there are artists that don’t put out too much and sometimes it still sucks.
FTR: What is your opinion in particular of Japanese “Nipponoise/Japanoise” looking at their main artists like Merzbow, Masonna, and the most recent developments of today’s so called “power-electronics/noise” scene?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Well, I am not a big fan of power electronics. I do like some like Mauthausen Orchestra, Con-Dom, Whitehouse, Discordance, Atrax Morgue. As for Japanoise, I’ve worked with Merzbow, MSBR, Government Alpha, Incapacitants, Guilty Connector, Astro, Forced Orgasm, and others. I like some not all. I was never a big Masonna, Aube, Thirdorgan fan. There are some newer ones that I do like: Soma, Molester, Cracked Mirror.
FTR: I would like to ask you if you are interested in which kind of people listen to your sound, I mean, how do you imagine him/her to be?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: It varies. Being openly gay, I get some gay fans that like artists like Coil, Death in June, Throbbing Gristle, etc. More gay oriented experimental musicians. I’ve been surprised by the amount of metalheads that have interest in my work. It’s hard to say what specific person listens to my work. There’s a wide range.
FTR: Women seem to be a main focus of noise humiliation – in the form of album covers, themes, and track titles, are you interested in deviated or perverted sexual behaviors? If so, what attracts you so much in sexual violence and sexist language?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Well, I turned the focus onto men. I used men as the object, the subject, my interests. I use sadomasochism themes because it’s a part of me. It’s not a gimmick. I think some of my other projects (i.e. Last Rape) might be labeled as misogynist, but it’s based on Italian giallo films. That’s all.
FTR: Are you interested in serial killers? Do you think they are a typical product of 20th century society, and what is your opinion about in particular American “serial killer culture” ?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: I have some interests, but some thought my name, Richard Ramirez, comes from the serial killer of the same name. Richard Ramirez is my real name and is not uncommon in Texas. I’m not obsessed with serial killers like some. I love horror films. That is my obsession. Extreme horror films, not the b.s. of today.
FTR: If you could do a gig anywhere in the world where would it be?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: I’d love to perform in London. I’ve done shows around the U.S./Canada/Mexico, and also in Tokyo.
FTR: I’m really impressed with the sound projects coming out of the English, Italian, German scene, etc,etc. Is their any country in particular that inspire you more than others?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Particular country that I like the most artists from? America. I think we have some of the best here. It’s not as pretentious as some tend to be. I do like artists from other countries too, but if I’m going to count my favorites, they’re from the U.S. I think U.S. noise artists tend to have a more raw sound than others. I don’t hear a lot of that from others outside here. It seems more polished. I don’t like polished sounds. It can be boring. Some of the best raw sounds from another country would be Smell & Quim and Fecalove. I love them!!!
FTR: Do you listen to different types of music? A secret Elvis collection perhaps?!
RICHARD RAMIREZ: Elvis? HELL NO!!! I do listen to other styles of music. I grew up listening to Skinny Puppy (hate their later work), Einsturzende Neubauten, Bauhaus, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, The Jesus & Mary Chain, a;GRUMH…, Chris & Cosey, Legendary Pink Dots, Swans, Patti Smith, Big Black, Germs, etc. etc.
FTR: What first, chicken or the egg?
RICHARD RAMIREZ: I guess we’ll never know. Or will we?
FTR: Forever to remain a mystery! Thanks for your time here Richard. Great interview.
Band: BLACK LEATHER JESUS is a Texas-based harsh noise band that was formed in 1989, but did not release its first album until 1990. The band has included over 15 members over the years. The band was founded by Richard Ramirez.
Interview: Keith Mitchell [+FTR+]
2010 – 2012 + FINAL TRAUMA RECORDINGS +