Interview by John Wisniewski
The following interview with Psychic TV drummer Edley O'Dowd came about due to my interest in the art collective Thee Temple of Psychick Youth. I befriended Edley through Genesis P-Orridge. Here, Edley discusses his audio/visual collaborations with Genesis and also his magical influences and magical study, which are an important influence on his music and artistic endeavors. Both Edley and Genesis work with the magical order OTO which is discussed here as well.
Those wishing to learn about Thee Temple of Psychic Youth can seek out Thee Psychick Bible of The Temple of Psychic Youth, edited by Jason Louv.
PSF: Could you tell us, Edley about any upcoming projects that you may be planning, anything with Genesis P-Orridge?
EOD: 2017 has seen my first ever solo art exhibition and book titled "Discipline: The Art Of Psychic TV - 2003 – 2016." The book was released in May and the exhibit opened at Lethal Amounts Gallery in Los Angeles on September 8. the exhibit will run until the 29th. In October, a mini version of the exhibit with open in Madrid. My plan is to generate interest in these exhibitions and have them in as many places as possible. The book reads more like a chronological layout of all of the graphics I've done for Psychic TV since my involvement, but the exhibition aspect allows me to push the art further and experiment a little more. The exhibition in Los Angeles turned out to be very interactive in ways I haven't planned. I saw so many delighted faces at the opening last Friday, it was fantastic.
As for Genesis and I musically, we plan to continue with Psychic TV / PTV3 as well as our collaborations as a duo. Nothing definitive has been planned in terms of recording, but concerts are definitely being planned.
PSF: When did your interest in magic, chaos magic and magical study begin?
EOD: All through my teens, I had friends and acquaintances who turned me on to different aspects of magic. Some positive, some negative. I was willing to try whatever came my way. When I was 20, I had an opportunity to spend a Summer in Massachusetts. It was there that I met an individual who was very immersed in magic. With her I felt safe, and she took a special interest in me. I learned a lot that Summer and it set me on a path that in some ways I am still on present day.
PSF: Can you suggest any books to those who may wish to learn about magic?
EOD: I wish I could say that I could, but almost anything I've ever learned about magic has been from other people directly. I've been blessed to come into contact with many diverse, unique and studied individuals over the years. I really wish I had been able to meet Brian Gysin and William S. Burroughs when they were alive though. Particularly Brion. The way he fused magic and art is very inspiring to me.
PSF: Could you tell us about Thee Temple of Psychick Youth? a Little about the history and formation.
EOD: Honestly, I don't feel familiar enough with it to be able to talk about it. That may seem impossible given all the years of collaboration and friendship with Genesis. I was a teenager when TOPY was in full swing and frankly was never interested. I loved the iconography and the music of Psychic TV, but never felt compelled to investigate further. To be honest, it scared me a little bit. At that time in the ‘80's, information was dispersed so differently than it is now. If you wanted to learn about something, you had to really dig. I had several friends who were very involved and dedicated. They would often try to get me to become involved, but I chose not to.
This is something that Genesis and I chat and laugh about often. How I was too ‘scared' of Genesis to join TOPY! If you told me in 1984 that in the future that Genesis would become one of my closest confidants and collaborators, I would have never believed it. Funny how life plays out sometimes.
I am really looking forward to seeing the documentary on TOPY come to fruition. It's a very interesting subject to tackle. My son is currently working as an intern for the filmmakers. I love hearing his stories about what he saw or cataloged that day.
PSF: Do you write or paint at all?
EOD: I have been involved with so many other things in the past decade, I've often find myself without much ‘me' time. Writing and drawing are things that are part of my everyday repertoire, but often not just for me. It is my plan to start moving towards finding the time, allowing the time to do these things. I studied painting in college initially, but found myself gravitating towards graphic design and eventually left painting behind. My ultimate fantasy with regards to painting would be to have the luxury of an entire month with nothing else to do but paint... in a place like Nepal!
PSF: Any favorite artists? Who do you like in music, past and today? Musically, I love so many things that it would be impossible to list. Of course I love psychedelic rock music of the ‘60's and ‘70's, hard core and post punk of the ‘80's, but I also just love sound in general. I have made a fair amount of field recordings that I use here and there, but would love to someday do something more cohesive with them. An solo album of experimentation is certainly something I can see happening in the not so distant future!
PSF: Is there an increase in interest in the occult these days?
EOD: I believe there is. I feel that particularly in the last ten years or so, the world has gotten significantly more intense and difficult to navigate, especially for young people. About 8 years ago, my son, who was 22 at the time, revealed to me that he was involved in magical studies. When I asked him why, he told me he felt it gave him a sense of controlling his own destiny, as well as a feeling of positive power. Studying magic empowered him to learn how to cope with his symptoms of bipolar disorder and all that comes with it. I believe many young people are searching for a path that is hopeful, in light of what is going on in society today, politically and otherwise.
PSF: How do you spend your time? Do you constantly pursue artistic endeavors?
EOD: Constantly pursuing artistic endeavors is something of the past for me. I've learned to take breaks. Being recently engaged has taught me to slow down a little bit, to reflect and recharge my batteries. Observe a little more instead of "doing" all the time.
I am really interested in social change and helping those less fortunate, so a lot of my free time is spent mentoring wayward youth and trying to offer some guidance on how to lead a balanced life.
PSF: Any plans for the future?
EOD: Sure! But, I can't really look much further than the things I've mentioned above. If I plan too much then I close off the possibility of allowing anything to happen organically!
NOTE FROM EOD:
Discipline: The Art Of Psychic TV, 2003 – 2016? exhibit
"The expo is not of Genesis' personal works, but my own graphic artwork which I have created for my collaboration with Genesis P-Orridge as Psychic TV from 2003 until the present. This particular expo in Madrid is a small collection from a much larger exhibition, which is currently on display at Lethal Amounts Gallery in Los Angeles, California. My hope is that presenting this smaller exhibition in Madrid will bring interest to bring the full-scale exhibition to Spain sometime in the future."
Also see our Genesis P-Orridge interview
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