It´s rare that a newcomer band causes such a furore like those four musicians. With their sexy-sensual Industrial Rock Dorian Deveraux (voc), Chai Deveraux (git), Alicia Vayne (git) and Ophelia Dax (piano) stir up not only the Gothic scene, they now also present their impressive debut album - just after one year only existing as a band.
At the pulse of time STALKER asked the promising newcomers to the couch to have an intensive conversation with frontman Dorian, who was born in the jazz stronghold of New Orleans, about true beauty, inspiring drives, enlightening moments and musical religions...
Can you tell us a little bit how it all began with the band?
Chai and I played together in another band before JOE but we only rehearsed three times and then we realized that we had different musical interests. After half a year we met again and realized that we had changed. We had converged, musically. That was the moment JOE was born. Our name, by the way, isn´t a direct religious reference but has derived from our lifestyle. When the band only existed a few weeks Chai and I were on a party and we were thinking about a band name. We had a lot of drinks, I was sitting on a sofa and Chai stood a couple of meters away, over his head was a light bulb that looked like a gloriole and when I said to him: „You look like Jesus on ecstasy“ we knew that we had found our band name. (laughs)
What musical background do you have?
We all come from many different, musical corners. Chai and I listen to a lot of industrial but, because of my piano training, I also listen to a lot of classical music. Alicia rather likes metal and Ophelia listens to stuff like Björk or Rya with whom she has already toured. We meet somewhere in the middle and thus, in an interesting way, combine all those different musical styles.
By what bands are you mainly influenced?
NIN, KMFDM, Die Quietschboys [German comedy band, edit] (grins)
Your debut is sensationally received by the media – would you have ever expected that kind of success?
I hope it´s really received that well!
Absolutely! The media falls all over itself...
Ok, because on my desk the bills pile up slowly (laughs) but seriously, we really put our heart and soul into that album, invested a lot and made a lot of sacrifices. But at the same time we always believed that we had created something big, no matter how desperate we were sometimes. We believe in poetic justice that´s why we always had the hope that the album would be a success.
What, do you think, is one of the main reasons that the people are so crazy about J.O.E.?
I think the people are just bored by all this bullshit that comes out of those casting shows. There´s nothing honest about it. We tell of things that we have experienced ourselves, things that have moved us or affected us. There´s nothing contrived or staged. Maybe that´s why people can relate to us. Apart from that we are four sexy motherfuckers, sometimes this can help too, hehe... (laughs his head off)
What makes you so special?
People can decide that for themselves when they buy our album or go to our concerts. We see each other every day...
How do you cope with the current hype? Is it easy to lose your grip on reality?
Sometimes yes but we are musicians and anyway live in a completely surreal world. That´s why reality is a matter of opinion, anyway. And if I should ever become too diva-like then my bandmates will rip my head off and that wouldn´t be too beneficial for JOE either (grins).
A few words to „Holy Beauty“:
„Holy Beauty“ is the beauty in the dark. A very subjective approach that has a different meaning for everyone. I, personally, often see beauty in places where other people only see ugly things. Just take the gothic scene. Outsiders label the people of this scene as ugly but people from that scene would describe the same person as beautiful. Or just imagine a rose that grows in a scrap yard – beauty where you wouldn´t expect it. The true „Holy Beauty“ lies in the dark, comes from inside.
Was there a musical, thematical concept when you wrote the album?
The songs were written independently from each other, there was no concept.
How´s the songwriting process anyway?
Mostly Chai and I have ideas that we record and then send to each other as MP3 files. The other one then always comes up with some more ideas and that´s how we write our songs. We understand each other without words and we know from each other what we like and what not. That´s what makes the collaboration a lot easier and more homogenous. Strangely, I get the best ideas when driving a car and then I sing it into a voice recorder. Do I get points for that at the Central Register of Traffic Offenders? Because slowly my account there gets pretty full... (laughs)
What´s your inspiration for new material?
News; sex; personal experiences; bad childhoods, heartless, young girls; heartless young men; alcohol, life...
Yeah, exactly. A little more compassion, please... (laughs)
How important is for you the styling onstage? How important is the styling in general?
Styling is very important for us, no matter if onstage or in private life. Actually there´s no big difference because in our private life we wear the same clothes that we have on live or at photo shootings. What you see is what you get! We just love and live this whole rock´n´roll thing.
How were the reactions so far from the gothic scene? You will certainly be accused of doing „commercial industrial“. How do you deal with that?
First we will cry a little bit but when Chai, Alicia or Ophelia have hugged me for a little while then everything´s alright again (grins). You´re commercial that moment when you send your demo to the record label, which we actually have never done. Our record label discovered us at one of our gigs. And if we do „commercial industrial“ then what are Nine Inch Nails or Skinny Puppy doing? They surely sell more records than we do. I think it´s an accusation that all newcomers in that genre have to deal with.
With your bandname you display a certain provocation – is this a deliberate stance especially towards the church?
I already said something about how we came up with the bandname and actually we don´t have much to do with the church but we have fun to see how sensitive some people are about it. And while we only have indirect references those people attack us directly. You won´t believe how often we get mails at myspace with the worst insults you can imagine, written by self-proclaimed believers. But it was the same 2000 years ago. That´s why so much blood was shed in the name of religion. My religion is JOE and it means everything to me but I´m having a hard time with traditional religion. I don´t like indoctrination that much thus you could call it a critical stand against the church.
Thanks for the open words, Dorian.
Your´re welcome and thank you for your interest in JOE! Author: Jasmin Froghy, transl. Kathleen Gransalke Photos: Jesus On Extasy Date: 2007-03-28