Last year I was presented with the opportunity to interview the lovely and talented neo-psych-folk-doom chanteuse Chelsea Wolfe. Now, I agreed to do this based solely on the fact that I absolutely love her 2011 album Apokalypsis. Truth be told, I knew nothing about the girl other than that I like that album when I signed on. So, I was more than a little confused when I started peruse through her press materials to help come up with, you know, something to ask her about and found that the first person she cites as an influence is none other than…Ayn Rand. Seriously, so of course that was the first question I asked her and I found her response rather compelling:
THAD: You’ve been largely inspired by Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged which I find kind of fascinating. That work has recently been closely associated with the Tea Part’s slash-social-program insanity despite the fact that Rand herself was decidedly anti-Ronald Reagan (and Jesus for that matter). I’ve personally never read any of her works except maybe some excerpts in a philosophy class in college, so you ‘ll have to help me out: What would you say it is about her writing that inspires darkly beautiful music in you and selfish asshole psychosis in others?
Chelsea: I think politicians have taken her theories of objectivism and twisted them for their own interest or benefit, just like they do with anything. I am not one of those people who typically looks into the author or painter; I just know what I like and enjoy the book or the painting. Sometimes you learn more about the artist and fall in love, like John Waters, for example. But with people like Ayn Rand or Burzum, I appreciate their work separate from what they may stand for. The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, to me, have a grand vision and idealism that I relate to. She really predicted what society and the workplace would become as well. We exist in a world where extraordinary people are oppressed by systems or a shitty boss with a power trip. The worker-drones are afraid to speak up or do something special for fear that they’ll be called out or fired. Even the sound-ray weapon, Project X, I think there is something like this in existence now.
One of the things I love about Disinfo is that we explore the complexity of issues. It’s easy to write off Ayn Rand as the heinously evil inspiration for creepy Tea Party freaks, but it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Her speed addled writing also apparently inspired at least one album I really dig. Rush fans (I like some of what that band does) – I’m also looking at you. Those dudes once notoriously dedicated their album 2112 to: “the genius of Ayn Rand”. What the fuck are you gonna do?