One of the more curious things I’ve found in writing about the Occult is that while there are a ton of people writing about this stuff, very few actually talk about their experiences with it. So what you get is a bunch of Occult instruction manuals where supposed “authorities” tell you how to do magick, but very little info as to what magick actually does (outside of my book about contacting extra-dimensional forms of intelligence, which you can download here). With the trendiness of striking an Occult pose in the music world, it’s actually fairly fascinating that most of the bands pretending to be into western esotericism are doing just that, striking a fashion pose to piss off parents and sell records to rebellious kids. Which is why it was refreshing to chat with Jerome Alexandre of the band Deadcuts. As far as Occult bands go, these guys are the real deal, and while I might be rather critical of the obsession with darkness that pervades the modern Occult, I must confess that I simultaneously dig a lot of the art it produces. I probably don’t mention that enough. Anyway, what follows is a conversation I recently had about a lifetime spent pursuing auditory sorcery and how strangely synchromystic these pursuits can get. Enjoy!
Thad: So tell me a bit about your background in music and how this lead to an interest in the Occult?
Jerome: My love for Magic and Mysticism have been there since day one. I was very lucky to have been born above Underhill Studios, my mother worked there and people like David Bowie, Lou Reed, etc. would rehearse downstairs. I remember as a toddler, interrupting Bette Davis’s recording by fiddling with the mixing console and another incident which involved being read a bedtime story by Iggy Pop. When we moved from there my Mother and I moved into a very odd place, which I later found out had been built over an eighteenth century brothel. There I saw all sorts of horrors at night. Terrifying spirits with snarling, rotten, blackened teeth pacing up and down the steep staircase to my bedroom and vile, dirty hags in torn negligées. I was very happy when we left that place.
“My first real connection to music was Elvis”
My first real connection to music was Elvis. At my primary school they’d have this incredible lesson where you’d learn about the 50’s and 60’s and get to dance to The Shangri La’s and Eddie Cochran and anything from The Pink Flamingo’s soundtrack. I was obsessed with Elvis and would watch his films religiously; those and Hammer Horror films. So, depending on my mood I’d turn up to school with a quiff or a cape (Christopher Lee’s Dracula was another obsession) and I invented my own style of kiss-chase where I’d gently nip the girls on the neck. However, my primary school was also devoutly Christian and I would often get told off for such shenanigans. There was an incident when they called my mother into the school and mentioned I ought to see a psychiatrist as I only drew in red and black.
Eventually, my obsession with Elvis was taken to the ultimate extreme and I auditioned for the part of a young Elvis for an advert, and won- up against a bunch of stage school kids. This earned me £1000 and I was able to then buy myself a guitar and an amp. Around this time my mother had a boyfriend who owned a house in Blackheath that looked like something out of a Hammer horror movie- there was a life size wooden minotaur at the front of the staircase, and there were hidden compartments behind panels and book shelves. One night, when I was twelve, a friend and I were at the house when my mother and her partner went out. My friend and I decided to try and do a Black Mass in the basement. I was quite frustrated as I couldn’t find any Black Magic books at that age, and it was long before the internet even existed, so we ended up setting up some black candles and drawing a chalk pentagram – I recited a mock Black Mass from the movie Dracula A.D 1972.
“We were scared and couldn’t move, yet at the same time were utterly transfixed”
What I didn’t realize was that the names called upon in that scene were actual names of Demons, and as soon as I uttered the name “Abaddon” we both saw a shadow of what looked like a thin man with an old judge’s wig go over to the candles and begin to blow them out. We were scared and couldn’t move, yet at the same time were utterly transfixed. The shadow disappeared nearly as quickly as it had arrived and we slowly made our way to the light bulb, and that’s when it all kicked off. The light began flashing like a strobe, and in the corner of the room I could make out what looked like a giant crow with a skull hung around its neck. I couldn’t hear anything but my heart beating, and the crow began to flap its wings and let out a horrific sound- which sounded like a bunch of souls wailing in torment. After some minutes the light stopped flashing and we somehow got out of there and locked ourselves in the bedroom till my mum and her boyfriend came back. My friend told his mother what went down and we weren’t allowed to hang out again after.
Most people would be put off by this, but it only piqued my curiosity further, and so at 13 I started reading Aliester Crowley Biographies, but found his magical workings to be really complex, so It was suggested to me that I read Lavey’s Satanic Bible. I instantly tried out the rituals in the Satanic Bible and found out there was a way to connect with what I consider to be an external source- in other words, if one’s will is electricity, then ritualizing is much like connecting to a plug. I was astonished by the results and soon began designing rituals of my own. I became obsessed by groups like Death in June and Current 93, and at 14 went to see them perform at Charlton House, a grand old Jacobean house built in the 1600’s where ghost hunters and other strange people would congregate. To this day I feel like that concert I witnessed was a ritual in itself.
Thad: And how has this followed you into your adult life, you got any strange stories?
Jerome: Death in June, Boyd Rice, Current 93’s music is still used in my rituals today as I feel these people have a deeper understanding of the Occult and it saturates their sounds. I had no idea then that I’d play onstage with Boyd Rice many years later, or that I’d spend the night at David Tibet’s house in Hastings. Again, I’d put it down to willpower. I believe if you harness your will, with a certain discipline you can virtually get anything you want. One example: I had always wanted to play the song “Bankrobber” by The Clash onstage with Mick Jones, as I used to live next to where the video for “Bankrobber” was filmed. Once while passing by there I decided to see if I could make it happen. I had been reading about Austin Osman Spare (another Occultist who had lived in South London) and how he used sigils to achieve results. So I got home, put on “Bankrobber”, drew a sigil, shut my eyes and imagined I’d be up there playing it with Mick Jones. Four years later I was asked to play a song with Mr. Jones at a Joe Strummer memorial night, and out of all the songs he could’ve asked me to take part in, he asked me to join him for “Bankrobber.”
My next sigil ritual was similar, except this time it was to join Boyd Rice onstage for the track “People.” And yet again, another four years and it happened. Since then I’ve played onstage with artists (all who have inspired me, or whose music I really love) such as Sylvain of the NY Dolls, The Fat White Family, Peter Doherty, Clem Burke (Blondie), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols), Miro Snedjir (Death in June), Captain Sensible (The Damned), Reverend Wayne D Love (Alabama 3), and many more. I don’t separate music and magick, they’re heavily intertwined and I feel really fortunate to have the knowledge to use both. I currently play in a group which features Mark Keds (Senseless Things/Co writer of Libertines’ hit “Cant Stand Me Now”) and Cass Browne (Senseless Things/ Gorillaz) in a band called Deadcuts, and feel that I’m at the height of my expression as an artist. We just put on a gig at an art gallery that’s about to be knocked down for flats, so we decided to get two great Occult artists, Jason Atomic (Satanic Mojo), and Adam Espira who designed the cover of our next E.P. Right now the world is crying out for a group like Deadcuts and we’re only too happy to give it to them.
Thad: Definitely intriguing, but I have a feeling you’ve got some weirder synchromystic magick stories than that. Go!
Jerome: I’ve found that Mark (singer of Deadcuts) has an astounding amount of psychic energy, and this brings me to a quote of Alan Moore: “the problem is that, with magic, being in many respects a science of language, you have to be very careful what you say.” There have been a few instances in which Mark had predicted future events in his songs, however the most terrifying example of this is what occurred recently in Paris on Friday the 13th of November. That day, we went into the studio to put together a song entitled “Opium Styles” for our new record. Anyway, in the chorus that was written that day are the words “someone had to pull the trigger – someone had to take the fall.” A few hours later, the Paris shootings occurred and our bassist, Joe, messaged me to remind me of the lyrics. I was left cold and also fearful for the repercussions, as I knew a few people who were attending the TEODM concert and our friends, The Fat White Family, were also playing in Paris that night. In the wake of such an event our stupid country has decided that it will bomb Syria, and that somehow this will bring peace and civility to the world. I’m by no means a pacifist, but I’m just as much a realist and it doesn’t seem far fetched to me that we could be on the brink of another war, except this one won’t have a designated time or place it will simply and randomly ignite.
“The problem is that, with magic, being in many respects a science of language, you have to be very careful what you say.”
Another strange coincidence or incident was for the song “Floods”, as soon as we recorded that track we switched on the news to find that a large section of Northern England was under water. The more I delve into our relationship with magic, I find it’s impossible for me to leave out a story concerning runic magic- this refers back to February 2013, when Peter Doherty asked Deadcuts if they would like to play two nights at The Mariqounerie in Paris (video below).
Of course we agreed, but I realized that my passport had gone missing and these days it takes a month to get a replacement. I knew I would kick myself (and the rest of the band may have joined in) if we didn’t do the show, so I consulted a witch whom I really respect and she told me to take a protection rune with me and that it would shield me from harm. I decided to follow her advice and hid on our tour bus, and voila! We got in and did two incredible sold-out shows, including a song of Peter’s called “Pipedown” which a lot of Libertines/Babyshambles fans tell me is one of the best live versions they’ve seen. Anyway, we set off to return to London and what happens? We fucking crash into customs. Like literally, into the booth. I heard our bassist shout “that’s it were fucked,” and Mark told me he was basically wondering what our cell might look like. Anyway, they searched the tour bus and one guy in particular who looked liked Inspector Clouseau (mustache, etc.) was carrying a torch and shone it directly under the sofa I was hiding under. I could see his face, and he was squinting his eyes as if he were trying to focus on my face. I held the rune tightly and hoped for the best. All of a sudden I heard them say we could go, and as we pulled away a biography on Crowley fell to the ground. As I picked it up I noticed that it had landed on a page where Crowley discussed how to wear a “cloak of invisibility”.
I’ll leave you with a final incident, which occurred after the filming for our video of “Summon the Witches”:
At the beginning of the track you’ll hear Reverend Wayne D Love, of Alabama 3, saying an Enochian call which I think is extremely potent, as John Dee basically claimed angels spoke to him and gave him the sacred knowledge of this language. So, after filming the song at our old drummer’s warehouse conversion, our drummer’s wife and her friends were sitting and having a conversation, when all of a sudden they claimed to see a black mist appearing in the corner of the room and expanding, kind of like black matter, if you will. So, with caution, they walked towards it and found it was coming from a bag left behind on the video shoot- the mist lingered a while, then evaporated. They went to see what was in the bag and found a book I’d left behind entitled “A Pictorial History of Magic and the Supernatural” printed in 1961 with the symbol of Baphomet on the front. The book is from my altar, and was discovered on the book shelf of a doctor whom an ex-girlfriend of mine discovered dead one day (she was his cleaner at the time). This book, plus the candle and wolfsangle rune were put on top of the roof until I came to collect them, and which have been restored to their right full place, my altar.
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