Interview and Photographs by Emma Kathan
SIGN: Cancer/Leo cusp
CITY: Los Angeles
Geneva and I talked via Skype one (late) night while I was in L.A., and she had just returned from tour and was staying in NYC. Our talk ranged from a new video she’s been making, her recent tour that she just completed, and some general crazy Psychic Gloss questions. . ..
Hi Geneva! So, you’re just coming back from a European tour. How did it go?
Well it was like a half vacation, half tour because I booked it myself, and so I ended up having about three times more chill time while out there than I usually have while on tour.
I didn’t end up working with a booking agent this time because I feel like they don’t always factor in all of the costs. You can get booked to play a bunch of shows, but then looking at it, you think, ‘Well I’d actually make more money if I didn’t play all of those and just chose this one.’
It may not be the best choice for promotion but it’s definitely the best choice for my sanity.
I was actually able to see people this time around and hang out with friends and visit cities, which is rare for me when I’m touring. Usually I’m only in a place for one night. So it was good! The shows were fun!
As I’m setting up a video camera on a stack of books to record our Skype call, we chit-chat. . .
So what’s the theme of your magazine?
Well, the tagline so far is: Art, Music, Psychology and the Occult.
Ha! Perfect! That’s definitely my kind of magazine. I would consider myself a philosophical, psychological, musician and artist.
Definitely, you fit all of the categories!
What have you been working on post-tour?
I’ve been making a music video which is kind of a Garden of Eden theme. I’ve been reading a lot about Satan, Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve. I made a snake for the video. (See video below) It was a prop piece I used for one of my recent shows.
That’s so cool! Did you make the snake head?
No, this crazy metal-head guy in Virginia made it.
I love it. Is it made out of papier-mâché ?
No it’s cardboard, like everything else in my life. Ha. The video so far is Adam, who is this body-building macho guy and me looking like some post-nuclear-holocaust survivor on the beach with a pitbull. But I’m kind of stuck on where it’s going next and was just thinking, ‘Should I just get raped by the snake?’…
I had [a fantastic dream] a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t recurring but it was crazy. It was about my grandfather, who I’d never met in real life, who died on the streets, kind of a John Doe alcoholic. My grandmother had divorced him before I was even born. So in the dream I was with my father and my deceased grandmother. My grandfather’s corpse was in the garage and Father and Grandmother were discussing what to do with it, and I was just observing them; then my grandmother suggests cooking him. And I say something like, ‘Well, you know I can dig a hole out back and we can bury him.’ And since his body wouldn’t fit inside of the oven, she asked my father to chop him up, and so I’m saying, ‘You know this probably isn’t the best idea.’ And so my dad is in the driveway with some shitty saw and I go out there and blood is just spraying everywhere like a fountain and I look out and see my dad sawing this rotting corpse and it’s just this rotting corpse blood that’s spraying everywhere.
Wow, that is really intense and vivid!
I know, and then I said to my dad, ‘Dad, do you want me to get you a chainsaw or something?’ I was just thinking why are you using this shitty saw, you’re not going to get through the bone, but also, what the hell are you doing? And then I remember in the dream, I walked into the house and saw some body parts of my grandfather cooked and displayed on the table like some kind of beautiful feast and then I went into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror and saw myself completely drenched in the ancient, rotting blood of my estranged grandfather who I’d never met and who has been dead for thirty years and I just screamed.
To me, I see that you’re trying to be rational in the face of some really weird circumstance. Like things are getting way out of hand around you and instead of being able to stop it, you just have to bear witness to it in some rational way; you know something isn’t right but you can’t stop it from happening. At least that’s one thing I’m taking from it.
Yeah, like Dad, look, if you’re gonna saw through bone, you really should use a chainsaw. I mean come on.
We’re all extremely religious in one way or another. Even Atheists are religious because they believe so strongly in the No-God God that is the fundamental belief of Atheism.
I find myself thinking sometimes that we can make anything God. Whatever God is I’m pretty sure it’s not a dude and I’m pretty sure isn’t anything like us and pretty sure it doesn’t give a fuck about our problems. It doesn’t care about good people getting killed or terrible things happening around the world. It’s just some kind of glue that holds atoms together. It’s probably not some man up in the sky making decisions about us like, ‘Oh you’ve been a bad boy.’ I really doubt that but you never know. We may be all wrong and we’re all going to die in Armageddon.
How do you think a human would be now if it could grow up on it’s own, in nature, without having been taught language or religion? Just experiencing nature on its own, what ideas do you think it would have? Do you think it would have ideas of God?
It’s hard to say, because if the being was isolated that alone could produce psychotic traits, because we as humans need to be around other people. There are still tribes who live out in nature who aren’t in connection with ‘modern life’ but they still have language and are rational. But someone who was raised apart from us, if we saw her, we would probably just dismiss her as being crazy.
Sometimes dysfunction is a good place to start. It’s a good foundation for making things because you have to be creative and productive with your neurotic and psychotic behaviors. The only outlet for my neurosis is making it functional somehow.
Well, I think that’s one of the great things about creative expression. Letting those neurotic and negative feelings out, no matter how dark they are, in some artistic way is not only going to make you feel better but also help out someone else who is going through the same thing.
Is it ever challenging for you to play live without a supporting band?
Everything sounds better with a band; it’s definitely a better live show, but it’s not supposed to be that for me. I still don’t see myself as a musician. When I write the songs, it’s usually alone in my own little bubble and there’s no collaboration. Also, it’s just totally neurotic, the process of it, and so I feel like I might as well translate that on stage alone, because I’m usually alone.
I think—not all—but a lot of creative people are very nervous, depressed, and introverted. Yet there’s some part of their personality that makes them able to go out and do something out of character, which is to perform in front of people! It may be hard for them to talk one-on-one with another person, but maybe it’s the distance of the stage that allows them to be themselves in front of people; it keeps them from having to interact too personally. Also, I think there are a lot of performers who the audience would never know were going through this inner conflict, because it doesn’t come through. When I see you perform, for instance, I don’t see any fear.
I think that came from being a child and having to knock on doors and preach to strangers and try to use persuasion. Trying to persuade you to believe this thing that’s me in front of you. It’s not necessarily confidence, you just learn things when you’re forced to. I don’t regret it and I’m glad I had that experience.
Your musical performances are very dramatic and filled with the character you are portraying during each show. Have you ever taken acting classes or done acting?
No, I mean I took drama when I was in school but not really. I never consider myself an actor unless it’s bad acting. When I have people performing with me on stage, I actually prefer that they aren’t actors. I like it when they are more normal or even awkward on stage, because I don’t like ‘acting.’ Funny thing about my shows is that when I do a role, like a tyrant or a demon for example, it’s always in good humor, it’s tongue in cheek like Cubulon Art Demon Squared. So, I’ll be on stage as some crazy demon screaming and trampling parts of my set and then after the show people will come up to me and think I was really upset about something, and this always surprises me! I just want to say, ‘Did you see all of that weird shit on the stage? Are you really taking me seriously?’ I guess for most rock or indie shows there aren’t many theatrics nowadays. It’s all about knowing the person who you see on stage is the person’s true personality. So, if someone is wearing a toilet on his head and throwing pieces of shit around, and people in the audience take that as real anger? I just, I just don’t know what to think about that.
Ha! Well, in that way you are a good “actress” because the character you’re portraying is taken legitimately.
People do take things pretty literally and I just think that’s funny. Actually, I guess it is fun to play with that. It’s more fun to do an art performance at a music venue for instance than at an art gallery, because at an art gallery people are walking in expecting something crazy, or it’s just that their expectations could be wide open because it could be anything, and so in that sense there’s no surprise. That feeling of displacement sort of gives them a different take and experience on something. I like that effect of doing something not in it’s proper place.
My shows are a nightmare, like a nightmare with the blood of your grandfather raining down on you while your father is sawing him in pieces.