Let me count the ways I love Drew McDowall, half of Compound Eye (with Psychic Ill Tres Warren), member of CSD with Kara Bohnenstiel, and recent collaborator with Emeralds' John Elliott in Outer Space. All cool and great things, sure, but I first heard about Mr. McDowall from his days as a member of Coil. Hell, he played on perhaps my favorite record of all time, Astral Disaster. He's playing on Wednesday at Death By Audio at the Modular Solstice show*, I would totally go to that if I didn't live 1305 miles away.
What was the first truly strange record you ever heard?
Apart from the countless strange children's records with forgotten names and multicolour vinyl, the first record that I remember thinking "what is this? I really don't understand this" was The Faust Tapes. I was 12 when it came out and I bought it because it was cheap (49 pence) and because I liked the cover art. I can't say that I liked it initially but I was obsessed by it, playing it endlessly, trying to understand it, trying to figure out why some one would do such a thing. A couple of years later it would become a litmus test that I used frequently: I would ask people what the thought of it (it seemed like everyone had bought it) and try and come to some conclusion about them from their answer. Most of them hated it.
A couple of questions about your time in Coil. You were on my personal favorite - Astral Disaster. Anything you can share about the making of that record, an interesting anecdote?
That record was the culmination of auspicious currents. We recorded on Samhain in Southwark the oldest part of the city. London is a living being (that is not a metaphor) and we were on the bank of the Thames below the level of the river, under the her main aquatic artery. The record is a distillation of all those influences. Unusually for Coil it was recorded quickly and more or less live.