Interview with 'O' of Undercover Slut; December 2005

It's a cold Parisian day and I am standing in front of Notre Dame Cathedral waiting on a Slut to turn up. I think that's genuinely the first time I can say that I have ever said that. The Slut in question is 'O' lead singer of French stars Undercover Slut. Just about on cue I recognise him coming towards me and we quickly find a small quiet café and start to chat over a warm drink.

GW.. Undercover Slut has finally got a record deal then?
'O' We have a new CD single and we're currently working on album number two.

GW. And do you have a working title for the album?
'O' Yeah, its gonna be called Inside that Cult that Loves to Terror

GW. So where's that come from?
'O' You know, last August we took a plane to go to New York and I was waiting in Paris and reading the newspapers and it was actually a title from a British or American paper but I stole the name of the headline.

GW. Is the line-up still yourself, 96, Pills and Fuse?
'O' Yeah that's correct.

GW. So what happened to the previous line-up with Vile and Dazzle?
'O' You know what, we've been together for a year and a half this line-up, so far we have played 11 shows, we toured in the States for 6 shows, plus the music TV shows, London last month and all the shows in Paris so it's the same line-up, very stable.

GW. How did all you guys come by your names?
'O' Just to protect ourselves, we're political, I' not gonna put my family name against all that, so yeah just nicknames. 'O' is actually my initial so short nicknames, nothing fancy.

GW. The UCS is a huge, full, wide sound - you only have one guitarist now so does that work out?
'O' Yeah we used to have in 1999 two guitarists but the one guy we have is just perfect now.

GW. And you use quite a lot of keyboards and samples too?
'O' Mainly samples.

GW. Do you use samples on stage.
'O' Sometimes yeah, when we have a chance to sound check, the bars in the States, yeah, just no gimmicks.

GW. You've just got a record deal now so do you think that record companies stayed away from you because you are political and dangerous?
'O' Definitely, yes.

GW. So why did this record company decide to back you then?
'O' We actually signed a deal with a small indie label based in Paris for Communism is Fascism and we had a chance to sign a deal with the label, Free Will, so we signed a deal for 1 CD single which came out on September 11th and an album which comes out in February. But the thing is that we were struggling to get a record deal because of the whole political thing but right now we are on a label that doesn't care about us being controversial, I know we're not gonna get signed and end up on Virgin or EMI, or Geffen but I honestly don't care, as long as I can do my art - I'm not in this business to make money.

GW. You live in Paris, which most people see as romantic, cultural and artistic, what's it like to be a Parisian and how easy is it being a band in this city, you know, what's the scene like just now?
'O' I absolutely don't pay any attention to any other bands in France right now, I have no respect for any other bands that came out of France. I'm living in a very bad suburb about 30 minutes from here, my city touches Paris, the area where the British and American media covered the riots so I wouldn't say Paris was very romantic.

GW. And what is going on here, riots, cars burning, people getting shot…..
'O' From what I heard, there was two black kids running away from the police, and then the other kids heard and then they started to burn cars and riot, and it expanded. It started locally and went national. It happened once and it will happen again.

GW. So your views on politics?
'O' A good politician is a good liar and a good politician is a dead one.

GW. You did an American tour in August, it was a mixed experience of good shows and cancelled shows……..
'O' No, no cancelled shows. It was actually our third US tour. We toured the States for the first time in 2003, again in 2004 and in 2005 so it wasn't a new experience for us. No cancellations that year but we did have before. Sometime we were playing to like 5 kids because of the 21 and over policy at clubs and we played some decent shows to larger crows in Hollywood in front of 500 hundred people and New York city in like of about 25.

GW. Was that down to lack of promotion?
'O' I think it has a lot to do with the 21 and over policy.

GW. Do you think if you were based in America you would have a bigger fan base?
'O' You know, I'm not sure. At the end of the day we wouldn't be on a big label. Some labels don't want to deal with our kind of band. I am very proud of the fact that in 2005 we are one of the most offensive acts as far as provocation and you cannot top that. I mean you can always go further, you know people like Manson, everybody is laughing at that clown. It was offensive in 95 or 96 but now he's covering Depeche Mode and that kinda shit….

GW. And Marc Almond, Soft Cell. Was the 2005 tour the one with Rebel Rebel?
'O' Yeah we played with those guys last year as well and the year before so I know those guys like brothers.

GW. The London Underworld show was a one off?
'O' Yeah we played there to perform for a record label in England that is actually interested in taking care of our business in the UK which is a good thing. They wanted to see us play live first and now we are in the process of signing papers so hopefully you will see us in the UK as soon as possible.

GW. So we'll see you shortly then?
'O' Yeah probably March 2006. We're planning on playing London in March 2006 and also touring in the UK circa March/April.

GW. So what's the biggest market for you guys?
'O' From the response we have? Yeah I would say France cos it's our home country, but the UK, USA and Japan too.

GW. And what's the best and worst aspects about touring?
'O' Even on the bad days, it's always a good experience cos at the end of the day your thinking about what happened and it takes you to the next level so no bad memories, no regrets.

GW. Your song titles are quite intriguing.
'O' Yeah you like them?

GW. I got a few examples here. What's Legalise Suicide all about?
'O' The only thing that you'll actually ever own in your own life is your own life and body. So I'm not pro suicide, it just means that you should do whatever you want with your own life. Everyone around you is trying to control you, knowing how much cash you have in your bank account, what your doing, if your heterosexual or bisexual or homosexual or whatever. Legalise Suicide is about doing whatever you want, I would say it's like a freedom message.

GW. And Daddy's Little Cunt?
'O' Its just a porn song, no deep meaning or anything. I heard that the word cunt was the most offensive word in the English dictionary so I wanted to have a song with the word cunt on it.

GW. They are actually quite complex titles, like Ecstasia in Our Enema, again what's that title about?
'O' Again just porn, and its just coarse and hardcore and also precious. Sometimes I write lyrics and I don't have any titles for the lyrics so I'm like reading them over and over and trying to find a killer name for the song.

GW. You sing in English…….
'O' Yeah there's no way, no way in the world I would sing in French.

GW. So what's the reason behind that?
'O' It's just my respect for rock n'roll, but for me rock n' roll has to be sung in English. I'm sorry but its not Frecnch or Italian or German, it's just like, speak English or die.

GW. There's a lot of sides to the music, its industrial, goth, kinda glam, do you ever badge yourself with one particular style?
'O' You know, at this point I honestly don't know what kinda music we're playing, its so mixed up, I'm just listening to a million CDs, many many bands.

GW. So what stuff are you listening to just now?
'O' This morning I was listening to a shitty American band, Green Day, just cos I like one song and the rest of the album is pure crap. And that guy from Glasgow, Rico…….

GW. Rico?
'O' He's pretty cool, kinda industrial, and I just bought, this……

He pulls out a New York Dolls DVD and I laugh cos I nearly bought it before I met him but he found it cheaper.

'O' See I'm listening to plenty of stuff. Sometimes we sound industrial, sometimes dark and goth, it sounds like punk rock sometimes especially on stage and we have the pretty as fuck glam image.

GW. The Naziconographic CD had a razor and hypodermic needle in the press pack. There is an obvious reference to drugs in the music but do drugs play a big influence in your music and songwriting?
'O' You know what, I'm gonna be deadly honest with you, I don't do drugs. I know that might shock people but I don't do that shit. Its not like I used to do drugs and I don't anymore, its just I never started in the first place, cos I'm very extreme in what I'm doing, I'm a very extreme person and I know if I started, I would last like maybe a month or two months. I know exactly when I'm into something and there would be no more Undercover Slut if I started on drugs but on the other hand I would never blame someone who is doing drugs, if they wanna do drugs that's fine, that's none of my business and since we are into shock value and stuff, we used to send press kits to magazines with razors blades and hypodermic needles and stuff.

GW. Your videos are quite dark, shocking, quick cuts between frames, do you have a lot of input into the videos cos you've done three now.
'O' Actually I think we've done five, I always have an input before we release the whole thing.

GW. And there's an image in one of the videos of you with a gun to your head, do you think your videos reflect the way you see society or are they just intended to shock?
'O' Most of the time, in fact all of the time its an expansion of what I see. Regarding the drugs and stuff, I don't do drugs but I'm not ashamed of playing with narcotics and regarding violence, I have a soft spot for violence, I enjoy violence, so guns and stuff, I have guns at home so that's not for shock, I'm used to that.

GW. Some of your propaganda has animal welfare messages, meat is murder messages, are animal right something that are close to your heart?
'O' Yeah, I'm vegetarian, I used to eat meat but then I realised that that was not right.

GW. I must be difficult with stage gear you know with leather and stuff?
'O' I'm avoiding leather like the black death and the same thing with the make-up making sure its not tested on animals.

GW. So you're still wearing make-up then?
'O' Yeah, always.

GW. You mentioned Manson beforehand, do you ever get sick of people comparing you?
'O' I wasn't even aware of Manson's existence and if he never existed, Undercover Slut in 2005 would be the exact same thing that you are hearing and seeing.

GW. Some of the clothes you wear are like Nazi outfits.
'O' Shock values. I'm not a nazi. This is 2005, if you wanna shock people then you dress up like a nazi.

GW. And whats with the tape over the nipples?
'O' You know Wendy O Williams used to do that to get arrested at clubs, I'd say its just a private joke.

GW. How much of your time does being in Undercover Slut take up?
'O' 100%, I'm breathing Undercover Slut from the time I wake up til the time I sleep, sometimes in my sleep. I'm focused on what I am doing and I am very passionate about this band.

GW. And if I offered you money or fame, which would you choose.
'O' Probably famous cos that way I could expand my viewpoint, rich eh, to be honest if I was craving for money, I wouldn't call my band Undercover Slut, I wouldn't come up with those song titles.

GW. Do you get recognised a lot?
'O' Since Communism is Fascism came out, we've been on national TV, MTV Europe, France 3 and sometimes I get asked for an autograph.

GW. Whats the long term objective for Undercover Slut?
'O' To keep on doing what we're doing, next target would be Japan, since we're now on a Japanese label, tour the UK too, we'll have a CD available hopefully in March and we're gonna play in the states for the fourth time.

GW. I'd imagine you'll go down well with a very visual image, a bit like Dir En Grey.
'O' We're on the same label, its Dir En Grey's label and the guy who actually signed us was the Dir En Grey producer and he was their manger since day one, he's called Dynamite Tommy. So it shouldn't be a problem for us to be accepted by that crowd.

GW. Normally I finish off by asking if there's any message you want to send to Glitzine readers and as its nearing Christmas, I wondered if there was any message you want me to pass on?
Christmas? What the biggest urban legend?

GW. (Laughing) Hey I'm just trying to provoke you,
'O' Merry Christmas to the lovely people in the UK, I really enjoy your country, I used to live in Birmingham for 2 years, I learnt English in the bad areas of Birmingham. We played London last month and I am extremely impatient to play in the UK again.

GW. I hope we see you there soon 'O' and thanks for the interview.

'O' hangs about for another 40 minutes and we sit chatting and watching videos on my personal video player. I head off to find the record store where he got his bargain New York Dolls DVD but I never did find it.

Interviewed by Grant W.

Visit the Undercover Slut Website