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Interview with Lacey Conner of Nocturne.
Interview and photography by Rob Kern.
If you are unfamiliar with the band Nocturne, take a minute and check out From Out Of Nowhere’s review of their latest release Guide To Extinction. Lacey Conner sat down with Rob Kern to chat shortly before taking the stage in Columbus, Ohio at the International Body Art Expo as part of the Free For All Tour.
FOON: So Nocturne has been on the road for nearly a month solid now right?
Lacey: Yeah, it’s actually been longer than that; as of Sunday we’ll have been out five weeks. So then we’re home for six weeks and then we’re doing it all over again.
FOON: Who are you going out with after this tour winds up?
Lacey: Mushroomhead and Dope.
FOON: Will you be playing mainly indoor venues or will you be doing some outdoor sheds?
Lacey: Mainly indoor venues, The House Of Blues and places like that.
FOON: Looks like you will have some good weather for today’s outdoor show; we’ve been suffering with some lousy weather around here.
Lacey: Before we toured a lot we used to do a bunch of local shows in our home town, Dallas, or we would go to San Antonio or Austin and it would almost always rain when we played. That was like the Nocturne thing, “Nocturne has a show, oh, storms are forecast…” It was always that way.
FOON: You are just now wrapping up the Free For All Tour; tell us what the idea was behind this tour?
Lacey: The Free For All Tour is Pigface, Sheep On Drugs, Nocturne and Voodou and you are essentially getting in for free. What the deal is, that when you pay cover, which usually isn’t more than fifteen dollars, which is really good for this genre of music. You get the cover back in the form of coupons that you can use at the merchandise tables, if you use the coupons you basically get in for free.
FOON: It’s a great way to stimulate merchandise sales at the show.
Lacey: Yeah, definitely, it’s kind of a cool concept.
FOON: Yeah, especially since some tours that come through town, you look at fifty bucks for a ticket and then you go pay full price for any merchandise you might want.
Lacey: It’s ridiculous. Last fall the KMFDM tour, Skinny Puppy and Ministry tour; all their tickets were around thirty dollars or more. Ticket prices are getting out of control, so it’s good we’re trying to keep them down. Let’s say you pay fifteen for a ticket, you get a five-dollar coupon off of a cd and ten dollar coupon off a shirt.
FOON: The new disc (Guide To Extinction) seems to go from a more metal sound to other songs that are a bit more industrial.
Lacey: We tried to keep the cd a bit more organic. On past releases we always programmed the drums and on this album we actually used a real drummer and a lot of the songs don’t have nearly as many loops and samples and things of that nature. It has a more organic feel to it, although we still definitely have the industrial elements to it as well.
FOON: You’re probably tired of talking about this by now. How hard was it collaborating on this record after you and Chris (Telkes, guitarist) broke up?
Lacey: Actually, it’s been over a year since we’ve broken up. The thing is we were just starting writing for that album that long ago.
FOON: Did you have any instances of reading each others lyrics and going “Oh yeah! Take this…”
Lacey: (laughs) Well, the good thing is we didn’t really take too big of a jab at one another. I think we all kind of knew how we felt about the other one anyway. It was funny because he wrote one song that was about me before I wrote anything about him. He gave me the lyrics, and it wasn’t anything insulting, it was just funny because he gave it to me then I have to sing it. That’s part of being an artist, you write about what is affecting you at the time, which is what we both did. It was just kind of weird because we were both working together at the time we went through it.
FOON: Plus being on the road and having to deal with the breakup…
Lacey: We were actually on tour when we broke up, that was kind of tough. We had to finish up the tour and we were like “okay as soon as we get home we’re gonna need to move out and split up” but then we got home and there was another tour that came up. So we couldn’t move out, we had to get ready for another tour so we had to stay together and do another tour. Then the tour was over and we had to finish the album, so it took like a good six months before we could really get away from each other. That really kind of sucked because we really didn’t get along very well (laughs).
FOON: So was there ever a point where breaking up the band was tossed around?
Lacey: No, we just figured that if we could just get away from each other for a little bit we’d be okay. After we finished the album, I moved to New York and hung out with friends for a few months. The separation really made a big, big difference; now we get along great, it worked out well. We just put too much time and energy, practically killed ourselves for this band; it would just be such a waste to break up the band just because we couldn’t get along, that’s just stupid. I think we both realized that without even having to discuss it.
FOON: You’ve toured with quite a range of bands, from Ministry to King Diamond. Do you have any good King Diamond stories?
Lacey: Touring with King Diamond was really interesting, kind of a mismatched tour, wasn’t really our scene. I know we did make some fans though, cause even on this tour I’ve had people come up and say, “Hey, I saw you first on the King Diamond tour…” It was just funny because I’m so used to performing in front of like, Goth or industrial type audiences, where everybody has piercings and extensions and white faces and black hair, all Goth/industrial attire. On the King Diamond tour, I remember when I first started doing the shows, I thought the audience would just be the jeans and T-shirt type audience. What I found when I was onstage, I would look in the front row and there would be a short, fat guy with the King Diamond makeup and the hat, the tall, skinny guy with the makeup and hat, a guy with an afro and the makeup and hat (laughs). Every size and shape of person wearing the King Diamond makeup and hat; it’s like an alien race of fans all wearing the King Diamond garb (laughs). It was definitely interesting. King Diamond himself was really funny; he was very anti-social, he was like this Satanist, which is fine by me, I’m open to whatever religion you are as long as you’re not hurting anybody, it really doesn’t matter to me. He’s a Satanist, he was very anti-social but every now and then, I would see him, I’d be walking by as he was getting ready to go on stage and he’d look right at me and have this big ear to ear smile and go “Hey!” I’d smile back and wave and I’m like, man you’re the happiest Satanist I’ve ever met (laughs). They were really nice; we had a great time with those guys.
FOON: On this tour you’ve been getting up and singing a couple of songs with Pigface, is this a nightly thing?
Lacey: Yeah, I sing just about every night. I actually toured with Pigface on my own two years ago where I sang a lot more and I also sang on the last Pigface album. I did a song called “Closer To Heaven” with Groovy Man of Thrill Kill Cult, which was really cool because I was a really big… I hadn’t met him yet at that point and I was a really big fan. So I’ve sung and toured with them before but this time it’s with my band, which is obviously a lot better, and I’m still doing a few songs with them. I get up every night at the end of the set and do a few songs.
FOON: You’re gonna have pipes of steel by the end of this tour!
Lacey: (laughs) I know my voice is already a little bit trashed but it’s not nearly as bad… I didn’t lose it on this tour, which is good. There have been a couple tours where I’ve not lost it completely but I lost a big portion of my range. I was starting to go horse or starting to lose it but not completely, fortunately this tour it’s held up a little bit, which is a good thing.
FOON: Nocturne is really big on encouraging people to make a difference, be it political or through organizations like PETA.
Lacey: Thanks; I’m glad you asked me about that. I’ve been an animal rights activist for a really long time. I’ve been riding horses for 20 years; I’ve always had dogs and cats and was always a big animal lover. Being an animal rights activist you always get hit by people telling you why what you are doing is wrong, which I’ve never really understood. There’s definitely a backlash. I’m not going around blowing up buildings or anything like that. One of those questions are why are you working so hard to care about animals when there are children starving? I’m not going to pick one over the other, those people do have a point, so I just started to get more awareness about human rights issues across the globe. Also, all of those things tie into environmental issues so they all kind of go together. That’s one thing I’ve tried to be vocal about, is to try to convince people to just care a little bit more, be open minded and to do research and read up about this stuff. I’m not asking anybody to become Mother Teresa or to dedicate their lives to these causes but I’ve noticed that so many people just don’t give a fuck; they could care less about these issues. That’s really sad, and I’ve been trying to figure out why people don’t care. I think, for one thing, that people are so involved in their own day to day lives, “Oh, I’ve got to get to work on time… My boss is an asshole… I’ve got to pay bills, I’m broke, I’ve got to get little Bobby to soccer practice…” They are so worried about this other stuff that they don’t care about animals being skinned alive for their fur. Even if they stop and think about it, they go, “What can I do? I can’t really do anything, so fuck it.” Or they say, “These things are really disturbing, I don’t want to think about them.” I think that is really selfish; if you got hit by a car and I walk by and go “Ew, I don’t want to think about that…” and keep on going that’s really selfish.
I just tell people that you don’t have to dedicate your life but at least see if there is any little thing you can do. Even if it just takes ten minutes, be it writing a letter to a congressman. Some things are just as simple as not doing; for instance the fur industry is so horrible to its animals. They don’t just die they live miserable, suffering lives before they are killed. People still buy fur, they may not be walking around in full mink coats but they still wear fur trimmed purses and things. The fur industry will never make itself humane and the only way to stop the fur industry is to make it go out of business. I’m not asking you to go out of your way to do something, I’m saying don’t do something, how easy is that? Don’t buy fur, if no one bought fur, the fur industry would go out of business and this mistreatment would not happen. I’m just asking people to please take a few minutes, even if it’s once a week, once a month, if everybody took a little time and find out what is going on. Go to the human rights watch website, go to the PETA website, some of their stuff is kind of crazy and outlandish but some of their stuff actually makes sense. If we all did little stuff, it would make a huge difference.
FOON: Let’s change gears and throw out a stupid question. Do you have one “rock and roll” moment from a past tour?
Lacey: There are a lot of those (laughs). I think the best one, it’s not one of my prouder moments but I remember last year we went on tour with this band called Bozo Porno Circus. They are this crazy fetish band that does all these crazy sex acts on stage; they are really good. We had a show in Ithaca, New York and everybody got really wasted and apparently girls were exposing their breasts and letting us grab their breasts, me in particular. For some reason, it’s bad if guys grab girls’ breasts but with girls it’s okay (laughs). I didn’t even remember it but I had people showing me cell phone photos and saying, “those are your hands on that girls breasts.” Then I remember we were all going to go to this diner afterwards; my recollection is that I was so drunk I went to the RV and passed out, that was how I remembered it. I woke up the next day and it was my turn to drive, we didn’t have a driver back then. I was like, “So, how was the diner last night?” Everyone said, “What!” I was, “What do you mean, What!?!” Someone said, “You were there fool!” I thought they were fucking with me but they were dead serious, “Not only were you there but you were making out with this chick on the bench of this family diner. Everyone in the diner was looking on in horror!” Then, evidently, the girl and I got up and there was this huge display of glasses and we bumped into it and knocked the whole thing down. It made a really loud noise and everyone warned me that I was going to get arrested and I was, “They would never arrest me!!” It was a huge spectacle and they somehow managed to coax me out of the restaurant and back into the RV so I wouldn’t cause any more trouble. I don’t remember any of it (laughs)!
FOON: Do you have anything else to add?
Lacey: Go to our website www.nocturne.cc the new album is called Guide To Extinction, we sell it cheaper off of our website than you can buy it in the store, so I always say fuck buying it at the store, but it from us, we make money and you save money. The Mushroomhead/Dope tour is coming up, go to the site and sign up for our email list to keep posted on the dates, it’s going to be an eight week tour. Swing by the site we’ve got lots of things up, check them out.