Cock E.S.P. needs no
1. Cock E.S.P. took its name from the title of a Hanatarash track.
Why was this name chosen, and how influential have Hanatarash's infamous
antics been to Cock E.S.P.'s style and philosophy?
The Hanatarash was one of the first acts to really realize the
performance potential of noise. The genre has always been heavy on concept
and theory, but the chaos and intensity rarely translates to live
performance. The Hanatarash were true professionals and artistic geniuses
who presented the cacophonous heritage of
everyone from the Futurists to Cage to free improvisation, and
complimented it with actions such as driving a bulldozer through a venue
wall. They truly brought a dynamic and visceral aspect to noise of which
Cock E.S.P. can only hope to be a worthy tribute. Also we thought the word
"cock" was funny.
2. Your earlier shows gained notoriety for their debauchery as well
as their brevity. Has this changed at all as the band has aged?
The sets have gotten shorter as our physical ability to perform them
has decreased - we'll never be able to play our full five-minutes sets
again, so we now accept three minutes as our limit.
3. What happened to P.C. Hammeroids? How did Cock E.S.P. change
after he left? Are you still in touch?
Like most noise artists, P.C. lost interest in experimental music when
he found a girlfriend. He is currently a house-husband in Atlanta, raising
three young girls and occasionally playing bass in an 80's Top 40 cover
band called Who's Johnny?. A doctor recently told him he has permanent
hearing damage dating from his days in Cock E.S.P.
4. What is the story behind Coward Electronics?
Emil began trading tapes with Shaun Kelly of Rotten Piece in 1994, and
the pair immediately found a lot of common interests, in particular a love
for comedic noise/power-electronics acts such as Macronympha, The
Gerogerigegege and Intrinsic Action/Bloodyminded. Coward Electronics is a
direct homage and tribute to these brilliant and groundbreaking artists,
5. A large part of Cock E.S.P. is the humour around it, something
which was bizarrely rare on the noise scene prior to the band's formation.
(How) do you think the scene changed as a result of Cock E.S.P.'s
We wouldn't classify ourselves as being humorous per se. Absurdism
certainly can be funny, but we actually don't overtly attempt to be
comedic or entertaining. It can happen, but often doesn't, and the result
then is anything but funny. To answer the second part of your question, we
believe that our antics tend to turn off many young noise artists, thus
driving them to create more delicate, droney noise of a higher artistic
standard. We would hope that, as a result, Cock E.S.P. has lifted the
status of the noise genre as a whole, making it easier to take seriously
in artistic circles.
6. How has the noise scene changed IN GENERAL since you got
involved? What are your thoughts on recent trends towards noise drone and
ostensibly "artistic" (as opposed to, perhaps, "cathartic") noise?
The main change seems to be the time it takes other artists to set up
their equipment when we play shows with them. These days, it can take only
seconds to plug in a MacBook and start droning; whereas it used to take at
least ten minutes for an artist to carry in his Apple Lisa, plug in the
keyboard and mouse, boot it up, load the software, then boot it up again
after it crashed the first time.
7. What current acts do you particularly admire / respect?
Bulleit, Makers Mark, Knob Creek, Fighting Cock, Sazerak Rye, Jim Beam
Black and The Caretaker.
8. How did the legendary Monsters of Cock record come about? Where
did the idea come from, and how did you come up with all those brilliant
track names? How did so many record labels become involved?
Multiple labels were involved because no single label was willing to
risk the full pressing cost on their own. The concept, cover art and all
the clever titles were the work of Evil Moisture's Andy Bolus, a true
professional, an artistic genius and one of the noise world's most
9. Cock E.S.P.'s discography reads like the New York phone booth,
which makes this question both difficult and crucial... Name the band's
most important release, most elaborate release, most coveted release, and
most regrettable release, and briefly explain why.
Our most important release was the "Cocksville" collaboration with
Panicsville because Andy Ortmann is a true professional, an artistic
genius and one of the noise world's most prolific thinkers. There are 113
Cock E.S.P. releases we would consider "most regrettable" - although the
"Excessive Size Punisher" and the split 10-inch with Suffering Bastard
stand out due to the large amounts of money we lost producing them. The
most elaborate release was the USB flash drive full of MP3's hidden in a
condom full of heroin and swallowed by a West African drug mule emigrating
to the U.S.
10. On the subject of lengthy discographies, it often seems that
noise acts tend to "spread their seed," churning out releases like
dandelions in the wind (the original simile was going to involve unwed
teen mothers but I thought better of it). Does such an approach risk
devaluating the individual releases? Is production more important than the
individuality of each release? Or is that the point in a genre so closely
tied with industrial music?
Like an unwed teenage mother, most of our activity happened early in
our career, but is now fewer and further between, resulting in less money
and appreciation, and involves performing alongside older men.
11. Why did you decide to shut down E.F. Tapes (three times)? Any
chance of another revival?
We tried to turn a cassette label into a record label because it worked
very well for Ecto Tapes, which became Little Mafia Records. The flaw in
that logic occurred when people realized that
our SunShip Records releases weren't very good.
12. Along that same vein, which director would Cock E.S.P. most want
to produce a film score for? What would the movie be about?
We would like to do a soundtrack for one of Jason Wade's 8mm films,
especially his biography of Fever Pitch founder Jason Verhagen - because
it has a lot more drugs and gay sex than happened in real life.
13. You've worked on splits with countless collaborators. What do
you like about the split format, and do you have any notable stories about
Twodeadsluts Onegoodfuck insisted on swapping girlfriends with us for a
night before proceeding with our split cassette, so that we would all have
a better understanding after walking a mile in each other's shoes, so to
speak. Also, we had to wash Thurston Moore's car before he would consent
to jam with us.
14. It seems like you've been working closely with V/Vm on the
Freenoise archives, as many of your out-of-print releases are
available there. How involved have you been in the project, and
what is your relationship with V/Vm?
V/Vm was the handsome and popular captain of our high school football
team who bought us our first beer one weekend when our parents were out of
town, and when we were tipsy as a result, encouraged us to record our
first noise cassette on a bearskin rug in front of the fireplace.
15. This may be like asking a dog to describe his favourite bone,
but tell us about your strangest live experience.
It was probably the one time we played a crusty art-punk warehouse
which housed a pitbull named Sally. During our set, Bacon accidentaly
kicked her bone across the room -- apparently it was her favorite bone,
because he ended up needing 17 stitches.
16. Do you own a copy of everything Cock E.S.P. has been a part of?
Any gaps in your collection?
We are missing copies of many early releases - especially on the
cassette format - but we do have an extensive collection of unsold
t-shirts, unused backstage passes, broken equipment and bitter grudges
against former bandmates.
17. Would you rather have sex with a leopard or a leper?
18. What are you doing when you're not making music?
Depending on the member, you would most likely to find Cock E.S.P.
masturbating, putting clothespins on a businessman's testicles, or
processing credit card payments for Metallica CD's.
19. What is your favourite colour? Justify your selection.
The specific shade of blue used in the Facebook logo, because many of
our Facebook "friends" are true professionals and artistic geniuses.
Except for Richard Ostrom.
20. Some advice, for the young'uns.
Get over it.
conducted by Michael Tau
published May 2009
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