Monday 13 August 2007

Dennis Tyfus interview from issue 1

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Ultra-eczema started off initially as a “super bad crust punk fanzine”,
how and why did it mutate into its present form? (I quite like “super bad

it just changed all the time like myself. today i might feel like wearing a white costume and go to a fancy dinner with some jocks, tomorow i go hang with the crustie crew from hiatus in liege and shoot some dope, the day after i might be at a horrible techno party flashing my schwung to a 18 year old girl with braces, the day after that day i could shave a mowhawk and aply for a job at the postoffice, the day after that day i might protest against new taxes at the groenplaats in antwerp. i dont realy know what to say, i just kept the same name since the first diy publication i made. i think i still like almost everything i ever liked in my life.

in the beginning i did ultra eczema as a fanzine and also had a tape label called tyfus tapes, i released a few grind-crust-punk-sludge tapes, and without the bands realy knowing i added retarded samples in between the songs.. those tapes were of very very poor quality and had gross cut and paste artwork and were usually benefit tapes for some anti rascist groups or
anti-police brutality groups.. i think i always forgot to donate the money in the end cos it was never enough to make a serious donation, i sold those tapes for 2 bucks or something.

I can totally imagine an Ultra Eczema release (probably the Wolf Eyes- Guillotine Keys 12”) released in a gore drenched package of membranes and veins...if money was no object what would be your ideal way to package a record and on what format if not vinyl?

if money was no object i would make 3 baby's, signed and handnumbered. all their sounds will be recorded non stop and every sound will apear on vinyl packed in a diper, on brown vinyl. if i had the time to rase them, i would only sing to them, no talking just singing.

What’s your favourite album cover/packaging of all time?

the merzbow car

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I know, for me at least, your illustrations really manage to capture the craziness of the music they sometimes package (the Wolf Eyes 12” and Fat Worm of Error 7” being two good examples). I was wondering what relation music plays to your art, what do you listen to whilst working? Are you reacting to the sounds or is that just what comes out of your skull naturally?!

when i invite someone to do a record on ultra eczema i always have a visual feeling with the band/person from before, i either like their stuff so much that i wanne design something for them or i just get realy inspired by listening to them, also, getting along with the people i am releasing stuff by is very important, i never wanne release something by people that i dont
have a perfect vibe with, although it's hard to realy know people from other has always been an extremely big influence on my work. in fact i hardly know anything about art history in a visual way, which is annoying when i have an exhibition in a gallery, most people that are intrested in contemporary art are not intrested in an underground music scene, they
usually start talking to me about artists i remind them off that i never heard about, and on the contarary i could start going on about brinkman, olson, crama, dylan nyoukis, sven balslev, maya miller etc.. and they would also never have heard of them. its' unfortunate it's so seperate.

You draw and you make music. Are you trying to articulate different things with each or are they both means to expressing the same idea/feelings?

i just wanne have fun realy, and i can't sit still for one second, i have to be doing shit all the time, either making music, a radioshow, drawings, painting, clothes, anything, i would go nuts if i can't do these things anymore. i need to do different things with different people all the time to stay siked!

also i dont realy know what kind of feelings i express, it's going to fast, if i re-read your question i can seriously not tell u why i do the things i do, i just do them, and its very hard to talk about them, it's even more horrrible when other people think they know what you're expressing, like when people say "his work is a critic on society" or something, i guess in a far out way it's true, i am pissed but at the same time i think it's important to make fun of everything including the people u love and yourself, the worst is when people take my work serious and dont see the joke. the things that you can't make fun off are the funiest. and i hate that i also have a serious site, my deepest wish is that photoshop erases my own seriousness.

How did you come across Edmond De Deyster’s works? I understand his family didn’t even know of his musical activities until late on, what do they think now of your reissues and this upsurge of interest in him?

i came across his work thru a friend who works with elder people, a guy that is intrested in wierd music since a long time. his assistant is the sister of edmond's ex wife, she was the only one that stayed in touch with him until his death or a little bit before. she emptied his house when he died and i think even cleaned there for a while. it's strange cos his ex wife doesnt want to have anything to do with this project and with edmond in general, it's still unclear to me why that is but i am not in a position where i wanne be to curious.the sister is a realy sweet woman that is super enthausiastic about this, but she completely doesnt understand that his music is very valueable and that it's not just turning some knobs, she has absolutely no interest in his music, and i think it was sort of the vibe during his life time, when people knew he was making music he never got atention for it. it also stucks me that he made this kinda stuff in such an early state while the only records he owned when he died were left were some famous rock things like led zepelin or the doors, the beatles, stuff like that.still it's possible that he got weirder synth records earlier on but maybe sold them to pay for his heroin adiction. the sister doesnt realy tell me a lot of stories about these things as she is of course very sad about it, but i am going there now every few weeks to check the tape archive.she was realy happy with how the first one looked and I might interview her soon about him personally.

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I’ve read that the Bobby Columbo 7” is your favourite Ultra Eczema release to date? Is he a well known figure in Belgium and how did you convince him to record for Ultra Eczema?

when i released it, it was definatly my fave release, but i actually say this about all ultra eczema releases, i think it's the best feeling when a record arrives, you put it on and you scream "this is the best ever!!" it should be like this with every release, it's a sort of criterium for my releases, if i dont think its the best ever, i dont wanne do it!
bobby colombo is a friend of mine since some years and is also known as peter de ceulaer, he is a visual artist, a carnivore, a radiomaker and a musician, he made a bunch of film soundtracks, music for theatre plays, made music in the past with sandy neis of the hybrids and does all the music and soundwork for a satirical radioshow at radio centraal in antwerp with his wife and his brother called colunst, he also plays in spacecactus with daniel renders (aka cassis cornuta) and with ludwig van hove in BOB AND LOU. again these are people that never released anything on their own, they hardly played live but they have the best archive of weird music and satirical plays.

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There seems to be a real upsurge of interest in “outsider art” at the moment, both musically and artistically. You’ve released records by Edmond De Deyster, Ludo Mich, Bobby Columbo and even a teenage Felix Kubin! They all seem to have been working outside the conventional music industry, what is it that attracts you to such artists, is there a common thread running between them? I guess a lot of people would regard your art and label as quite out there!

hmm, i think all those people you mention are all completely different and very special people with a very own style of doing what they're doing!! it's important that this gets released otherwise noone else is gonne do it and it's fucking brilliant, edmond de deyster made this music without telling anyone for years, so sad on one hand, but brilliant!. i am intrested in how people organise themselves and what they do without giving in, completely believing and what they do and especially doing it without any finacial posibility's, not being part of a scene but still doing it without the right friends to support you. of course it's nothing new, there always have been people labeled as "weirdo's" because they look different, make different music or sounds, make different art and are not walking the line. i still get gooze bums when i see belgian sixtees artist/fashion designer (and ludo mich' first wife) ANN SALENS yell "there's nothing worse then being normal", i dont think thats exactly true, but i love how extreme toughts make people opionated or even angry about other people that totally believe in what they do. and of course it's funny how the conventional music industry is almost always too late. good things for me usually come out of places without cash.

The fluorescent colours and mad, jagged lines of the work are quite violent- I can imagine my head exploding and fluids shooting from various orifices if exposed to them for too long…what kind of reaction do you want your art to provoke? Is it deliberately confrontational?

i am realy happy when someone likes what i do but i like it a lot as well if it makes someone mad or puking or crying. someone from the dole office was once treatening me and said bad things will happen to me if i draw these things and that i will never find a job, someone else spit on a drawing at an exhibition, the police took away a big print at an exhibtion, i just think when u do things in a way that people are able to see it you'll always have people loving it and a lot of people hating it, i get offended all the time, people that dont know me have horrible opinions about me, but there's also people that like it and either way is cool, i hope everyone is
happy with their opinions. the nicest thing that ever happened concerning my drawings was when i was making a big painting and a little 8 year old boy was watching me for about 15 minutes, i lived at a square where a lot of kids played outside, the day after the same kid rings my doorbell and made an almost exact copy of the drawing on a little plate, he drew some nude junkie types with needles and big dicks all over it.. the kid was 8 years old and his mom was standing next to him realy proud. i was totally blown away by that.

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There seems to be a lot of bodily fluids, pus, goo and gore in your work? Do like all that messy shit? What’s your favourite disease/injury that you have had so far?

my favorite disease must be aids, as you can spread it so easily over a
whole scene.

What does the future hold for Ultra Eczema and Dennis Tyfus?

lp's coming soon by (or maybe by the time you read this they're out already) jessica rylan, enema syringe, greg kelley-alex neilson, burning star core, dylan nyoukis-dennis tyfus spilt lp, orphan fairytale lp, hatred lp, the parts lp, the rest of the edmond de deyster lps, a compilation book+cd+sticker+button, a shirt serie, recordcovers for leslie keffer, failing lights, lambsbread, jazzkammer, a colab exhibtion with vaast colson in september in antwerp, and hopefully some travelling too..

All pictures are copyright Dennis Tyfus

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