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Interviewed by Thomas Wacker

First of all I'd like to get some more information about the members of C.O.T.A, your musical background and history and about your intention doing ritual-ambient-music?

C.O.T.A. was initially formed in 1989 by Salomeh and Jon Auchterlonie as a purely experiential project... later it expanded to include Reverend Lothar and Jason to help create the magick of the live element as well as recording. The present alliance occurred after the release of "Ta' Wil" when we found it necessary to piece a band together for live explorations. Our interest in music was inspired by intense outdoor excursions which provided alternate free and autonomous zones for people to explore psychickally and physically. C.O.T.A. was started specifically for that reason. We were reclaiming our lives and our bodies as our own! Our musical backgrounds are pretty diverse, yet they are still derived from similar philosophies. Reverend Lothar and Jason previously worked with 'Instagon' on their first CD and for live performances. Jason formed 'Tekachi' and later joined 'Subarachnoid Space' before quitting those camps to join up with us. Jon and Salomeh also had the opportunity to perform live with Ian Read's band 'Fire and Ice' on his first American tour dates in 1994.

Why did you chose the name C.O.T.A. for your musical output? Is there a special meaning behind this title?

The name 'Children of the Apocalypse' has been with us since our inception back in 1989. We chose the name for a number of reasons many of which have changed over time. But our belief in what the name stands for continues to remain essentially as relevant today as it ever was. We feel that our birth-right to a rich life of clean air, untainted water, and unspoiled wilderness, has been plundered by those who have come before us-- leaving us to the spoils of greed and the war on life. We feel that we are all the children born out of the ashes of an apocalyptic world. We are what comes next... Emerging from this dark spot in time! We are here to seize it back.

Do you think the apocalypse is near?

What if it is already happening? Ecologically speaking, the apocalypse is here... we have inherited the poison spit out by the Industrial Revolution. Hand and hand with ecological devastation, our personal freedoms are crumbling away virtually unnoticed by the masses. Right now, we are at a crossroads in the planetary time line and what actions we take will determine where we're headed as a species. Sure the planet as an organism will probably survive; but will it be the type of place we can inhabit and thrive in?

You must be very spiritual, because of the fact that it is one of your messages; to remember our roots, our true nature, to return to a way of life which honors that which is sacred in all that lives. I think you're right, but what can we do to create a better life or a better world. Do you see any chance for human kind to go back where we all came from?!?

We need to re-establish a connection to and understanding of the balance of all life. This doesn't necessarily mean to take a step backwards, but perhaps a step out to look at the whole picture. Humans tend to view themselves as separate from nature and created by a "Supreme Being" rather than growing out of and being nurtured by the earth. This myth has poisoned most of the world and how we view our relationship with the land and it's inhabitants. We need to value what truly is important once again--the necessity to preserve the wild ecstatic experience. Since 1990, we have organized annual outdoor events as a means of ritual celebration through music and to feel the life pulse and the rhythms of nature. It is amazing what a little fire worship and the pounding of drums can do to mobilize positive change!

One of your releases - the album "Ta'Wil" seem to be a part of THE WILDLANDS PROJECT. What can you tell me about the working of this album and that project?

The album "Ta' Wil" was born out of profound magickal experiences in the wild, and is an attempt to convey some of the things we find sacred. The Wildlands Project was introduced to us through Earth First! and their uncompromising defense of the environment. The Wildlands Project is a wide reaching vision for preservation and a reconstruction plan for the North American continent. It will provide large open space corridors where wilderness can flourish undisturbed. In order to maintain a natural balance, native predators such as grizzly bears and wolves, nearly rendered extinct by human encroachment, must be reintroduced to their native habitats where they have an integral role in their environment. This project's implementation will serve as a model for other sites around the world.

I noticed that you must be friends of Ian Read's 'Fire and Ice', because you played with them as guest-musicans on concerts in San Francisco and Costa Mesa. What can you tell me about that friendship and your collaboration with 'Fire and Ice'?

We had been interested in Ian Read's music and ideas from the time he was working with 'Death in June' and 'Sol Invictus'. We met Ian through the late and amazing Bob Williams who was the I.O.T. section-head of North America at the time. Bob seemed very intent on linking things in Europe with things here in America, and we shared this belief. Later we were informed that 'Fire and Ice' would be making the trip and needed support--we were honoured to be involved.

Ian Read is also known for his knowledge in magical rituals and practice. Are you interested in those topics and stuff, too? If yes, which kind do you prefer?

We all vary to some degree as to the types of rituals we practice. Initially we were introduced to the worship of the cycles of Nature. Since then we have had interest in Sigil Magic, Chaos Magic, Norse Paganism, Shamanism, Gnosticism, and Zoroastrianism. So it is safe to say that our practices include at least one of the above with many variations in between.The type of music we make was initially developed for use in ritual, as well. We found that it worked very well in the facilitation of trance and ecstatic states. Much of the artwork we use is a direct result of such infused states, as an attempt to convey some mythological or archetypal idea or experience.

What can you tell me about your kind of working. Did you record - for example "Ta'Wil" - in some kind of session and how long did you take to put together all the material for these album?

"Ta' Wil" took what seemed like forever to complete but in hind-sight was worth every minute. The recordings themselves probably took about two years to complete and were done at a time when we were blessed to be living in close contact with a great deal of open space.

Have you done some kind of live performances with C.O.T.A., and if yes, please tell me about your kind of working on stage. Are you using visual projections?!?

We try to create a space/atmosphere conducive to more spiritual trance-like states. We are always developing new ideas to convey our live performances. However, recently we have been primarily focused on recording.

Do you have some plans for the musical future of C.O.T.A. and what can we expect next from you?

We are currently in the process of recording a new full length CD, either to be put out by our own label, Sonic Sorcery, or to be picked up by an European label-- we haven't decided yet. We also have plans to tour Europe.


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