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London After Midnight interviews

Interview from the Alliance for Animal Rights website, Autumn 2010.

Alliance for Animal Rights

Why did you go vegetarian? What's your motivation?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I am vegan, I don't consume or use any animal products. A vegetarian may sometimes consume dairy, eggs, or use other products with ingredients derived from animals. Vegan implies a total absence of animal products, and that is actually a pretty important distinction because even consuming dairy contributes to the meat industry (since the dairy industry is reliant upon the meat industry). I have always had a respect for animals and the environment. Harming animals was something that was appalling to me and I couldn't justify eating them, because there was no need to eat animals to obtain the nutrients we need to be healthy. Also, there are many other reasons; animals do have emotions and sense of self, so killing them for food is unethical, and farming meat causes great harm to the environment (also, meat isn't the healthiest thing to consume).

    This mindset had been with me since I was a small child, then grew in intensity when I learned more about the damage that farming animals causes; like the vast amounts of resources wasted to produce a small amount of meat (using the same resources to farm a vegan diet produces much more food), or the incredibly high amount of global warming gases that farming animals produces.

    The consumption of fossil fuels and the wasting of resources due to farming animals yields small amounts of meat that really only wealthier nations can afford, while 30,000 people die daily from starvation related disease in poor countries. All of those people who starve to death could be fed if we only grew a vegan diet as opposed to meat. And we'd save vast amounts of resources like water and produce far less global warming gases. Also, the clear-cutting of rainforest for farm land is a huge, massive problem that is directly connected to the meat industry.

    So being vegan is not just a choice to do no harm to animals. It's a choice I've made because science PROVES that farming meat is unsustainable and is a major contributor to the destruction of our planet, creates global warming and contributes to causing war. A 2006 United Nations report showed that the worldwide meat industry produces more global warming gases than all the cars, trucks, ships, trains and planes on earth, combined. Both your country (Russia) and my country went to war over oil in recent years (as admitted to by world leaders) and the meat industry consumes vast amounts of fossil fuels and other natural resources. All reputable analysts predict there will be wars fought over available food, water, resources and land as global climate change worsens.

    Other issues are important as well- eating meat is not as healthy as eating a vegan diet. The German Cancer Institute (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum) did a 25 year long study on this and found vegetarians and vegans live longer than meat eaters. Many people have been brainwashed to believe they need meat to survive, but they don't. In fact eating meat is shortening their lives and clearly shortening the life of the planet, too. You can get all the nutrients you need to be healthy from a vegan diet.

Is there any connection between human rights and animal rights? Do we have to point out some facts about it?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Absolutely. There is a direct correlation between the two. So even if a person has no problem with animal cruelty (which would be pretty obscene to me) then they should, at the very least, care for their fellow man, their children, their family, the planet they live on, and their own lives. Without an adequate environment, we will die, our families will die, our planet will die. And even just a slight change in our climate, like that due to global climate change, will have devastating results. And farming meat causes this devastation to the environment. Vast amounts of rain forest are being cleared for grazing land for cattle or to raise food for cattle. Without the rain forests we are dooming ourselves because they absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.

    And again, farming meat is UNSUSTAINABLE - we cannot continue to do it without DIRE consequences to OUR lives, in OUR lifetimes, and without running out of resources to go on living. We are actually dealing with the effects of climate change now, though most people are uninformed about this due to a media that is heavily reliant upon and controlled by advertisers like big oil and natural gas.

    Most science predicts that as Global Climate Change gets more severe there will be massive food shortages, mass population die-offs, wars for resources, etc. And some of these more severe predictions are within our own lifetimes. And again, a major contributor to climate change is farming meat. Studies, including one done by the Carnegie Mellon University, have shown that even cutting meat from your diet a few times per week is equal to removing half a million cars from the road (and local farms aren't a solution, the studies found. The problem comes from the act of farming meat itself). So imagine the positive effects that being a total vegan would have!

    Many people around the world are already feeling the effects of Global Climate Change, with rising sea levels wiping out low lying areas, massive heat waves and fires, severe storms, etc. Humans are directly adversely affected by farming meat; the pollution, the wasted resources, and the climate change that the meat industry contributes to so heavily. So yes, human rights are a factor. When the powerful and thoughtless nations consume to the point of destruction (all in the name of profits by the farming industry), it's the poor who feel it first. But eventually we will all feel it.

Can we ever say it's 'too late' for changes that can be reached in defending animals and the environment? And what actions should we take to make humans live without all forms of animal exploitation in the future?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Education is key. Sadly people don't like to pay attention to facts or science. If they did they would see how close humans and non-human animals are to each other, hence why it's pretty creepy to eat animals. But people have been conditioned to think of some animals as food and some animals as pets, and they have been conditioned to think that humans are some holy entity that should be able to do whatever it wants regardless of the consequences (even though most ignore the consequences or deny they exist).

    Unfortunately too many people do like to wait until it's too late to fix problems or until we are faced with the worst consequences of our actions. This is usually due to the fact that people don't like to think they are ignorant of some fact, or that their actions might be wrong or harmful. So they live in denial, all due to ego.

What do you think about the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth First! (EF!)? Should we accept their radical tactics?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Some animal rights organizations are their own worst enemies. For example, PETA sometimes does things that are counterproductive by having spokespeople who aren't informed or respected, by waging campaigns that, to the average person not passionate about the subject, shine a negative light on the subject or the messenger rather than educate about the issue. Also, some animal liberation organizations do damage too because often the animals they liberate will just be replaced with other animals, while these liberated animals quickly die outside of the environment they were in or without treatment for the conditions they are being tested for. So it's a difficult thing to balance, but I think more emphasis should be placed on factual education to stop all this animal abuse. When people understand that animals have emotions, a sense of self, the identical qualities that many people think are uniquely human, then perhaps people will begin to see how cruel eating animals is and how cruel it is to do experimentation on animals that is unnecessary.

    The problem with animal right's issues is that many people are willfully ignorant of reality, ignorant to the fact that animals are sentient beings, just like humans. And many are willfully ignorant to the fact that farming meat is unsustainable and dangerous to humans and our planet. You can't appeal to people's compassion if they have none. So the best thing to do is educate them to reality and hope they finally understand. Maybe they can be taught some compassion, because I honestly think that given the facts most people will make the right choice. The problem is they are denied facts and told to be intolerant of people who do have the facts (hence why people so often shun science and look down on those who are educated). The only input people receive currently is that animals and nature are meant to be used, abused, eaten, and that humans can do no wrong. Obviously this message has led us to a very dangerous point in our history.

Should we blame others for not being radical enough?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I think we should blame people for inaction, period. That's why I say that the real solution is education. When people are presented the reality of the meat industry, for example, I think there will be few who are willing to continue eating meat. This is why the meat industry (and dairy, both related) are so secretive about their practices.

    I do think we should blame people for being willfully ignorant and uncompassionate, though. That's an unforgivable thing.

Do you think it is "too late" for changes that can be reached in defending animals and the environment?

    SEAN BRENNAN: It is already at the point of being too late to stop some effects of climate change- but we can lessen the effects that are inevitable if we alter our course now. And every person who stops eating meat helps achieve these goals. Global warming is now a certainty and governments around the world have already begun official preparations and plans for probable scenarios we will face- like extreme water shortages, pandemic disease, mass migration, food shortages, war, food production collapse, etc. This is all directly due to the fact that people refuse to acknowledge that we are altering the climate of our planet by releasing global warming gases into the atmosphere (due to use of fossil fuels, of which the meat industry is a leading consumer). If we simply stopped eating meat, we'd make a HUGE step towards lessening the problems we will face in our lifetimes and our children's lifetimes, and beyond, due to global warming. And being that climate change is inevitable the best we can hope for now is to simply lessen the effects.

What actions should we take to make the human live without all forms of animal exploitation in the future?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Again, education. If people were shown how they are being used and lied to by the meat, oil, dairy industries, only so they can make billions in profits, then I think people would change. But they need to be willing to see reality. Sadly many people aren't willing.

What political party do you support and why? What are your political views? Should people be more politically active?

    SEAN BRENNAN: For the last presidential election I voted for Ralph Nader. He's a progressive, Left-leaning consumer advocate who's crafted endless amounts of consumer and environmental protection regulation here in the USA and around the world. I very much to the Left, liberal progressive side of things. I find conservatives to be generally uninformed, easily mislead, and uncompassionate.

Why should people vote?

    SEAN BRENNAN: If they don't vote, then they don't care. They may as well be dead. Why let others make important decisions for you? The reason why the world is a fucked up place is because people don't pay attention or care about the things that matter. They don't monitor the elected officials who are beholden to the wealthy corporate powers who hold the purse strings of our societies. If people held elected officials accountable for the important stuff, then things could change.

    And often those who are passionate enough to vote are manipulated to do so due to some wedge issue- like gay rights which they oppose, abortion which they oppose on religious grounds, or they fed fear to make them show up at the voting booth. And these types of people always vote for the conservative parties, which without fail use these issues to further their corporate agendas that actually are NOT in any person's best interests. So this is why smart people, people who are more progressive and liberal need to understand the power they can exert when they vote.

    Would you rather have BP (British Petroleum) making decisions about your environmental policy, deciding to drill for oil in your backyard, or would you rather have an elected representative, one who is held accountable for his actions in office by a rabidly attentive electorate? The logical choice between those two is clear.

    If the people paid attention, if they cared, and voted, then elected officials would be forced to do THEIR bidding as opposed to the bidding of the Right-wing conservative corporations who fund their elections (which is something else we can change through voting- making all elections publicly funded rather than funded in large part by corporate and dirty money).

What inspired you to write "Violent Acts of Beauty"?

    SEAN BRENNAN: The state of the world today, my feelings on music and the entire scene and consumers of music, my feelings towards my former live band mates (who I had to get out of my life in order to maintain my sanity)... a wide variety of inspirations brought about "Violent Acts of Beauty". It was an album about destruction, primarily. About the inevitability of some damage due to people being arrogant and selfish.

What are current and future plans?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I'm currently writing a new CD and planning other projects. Thematically, the new CD, as it's developing now, is sort of what would happen after "Violent Acts...", both the good situations and the bad. Perhaps it needs to be divided into two halves, what could happen if we cared, and what will happen if we don't. I also have some film projects in mind, but those are pretty involved and not yet solidified. Doing music now is almost impossible due to illegal file sharing, so I've started to look elsewhere for creative outlets. We'll see what develops.

Any last words?


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Interview from the R.I.P Magazine issue #25 (Russia), July 2009.

R.I.P. Magazine

What reaction to your music are you expecting from people?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I'm not making music to get a reaction really, but in listening to my music I hope people are able to see some different ideas that perhaps they hadn't considered before.

Your music changes with the times. Do you like to sing your old songs or you prefer new ones?

    SEAN BRENNAN: From purely a performance standpoint, I prefer new music. Plus my new music is much more closer to me, its much more who I am now. But right now I'm working on a project concerning my first three CDs. I'm taking all my old music and completely re-recording it, because when it was originally recorded I had no budget and did not have the proper equipment. So I was never satisfied with the recordings. Plus the live band I was working with during those days screwed up many aspects (mainly the programming of the keyboards, which were limited by my live keyboard player at the time). Anyway- I'm very much enjoying going back to these old songs and recording them as I intended them to be recorded when I first wrote them. I hope to release these recordings at some point and play them live, where they will sound much more like I envisioned them to begin with, but with the music industry in the state is is now (due to filesharing) it seems unlikely that these re-recordings will be officially released.

How do you usually create songs? There is a one-piece picture, appearing in your mind or it's like a puzzle-game with many parts?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Sometimes a song comes to me all at once, sometimes I struggle with it and only come up with small parts at a time. But when a song is complete I can sense it- it just feels right.

What usually inspires you to create?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Honestly that's a hard question to answer, because sometimes you just don't know. It's often something deep inside you, guiding you and then you wonder where that bit of art came from. At other times it's a very specific incident or feeling that inspires you and you're very aware of the process and the roots of creation. So, creation is a really hard thing to describe, because it's often such an emotional and sometimes hidden process.

Are you satisfied with the new album? And what way will you choose in your music in future?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Yes, I love the new CD. I do wish I was able to spend more time in production, but that wasn't possible. The new music I'm writing is really what is inside me, who I am- I can't describe it. It's like an audio guide to the inside of my head, my soul, I guess. I am much more free now to create, because I removed old live members of the band who were holding things back or actively trying to harm me, but who were mainly destroying my creative inspiration and energy. I also now have equipment that allows me to easily record and produce things better and more immediately than before. So what you get now is much more truly "me", and I'm much happier doing it.

Recently you began to look at the piracy problem more closely. In your opinion is there a way to fight with piracy correctly? What do you think about such resources as ?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Actually this has been a concern for years. Music piracy is a huge problem and a very bad thing for all musicians. It's as simple as this- my career is based on making music. When someone starts file sharing my music, which makes it so that I can no longer earn an income (and whatever income I earned was VERY modest, like all struggling musicians), then I can no longer devote time to making music - because people don't buy the CDs when they can file share them. And when they don't buy you have no money to pay rent, feed yourself, pay bills, pay for studio time to record new music, etc. It's that simple. When people file share, they deprive the artist from earning an income. This goes for every band out there. Unfortunately people think that all musicians are wealthy and can afford getting their music stolen from them. The fact is we musicians are poor people, probably more poor than the kids who are stealing from us. ANY person can buy a CD or legally download music. My CDs are available on my website and every other online store and legal download site. There is no excuse to file share - except a person's greed to consume and disregard for who they hurt while satisfying that greed.

You follow world's events intensively. Could you recommended to our readers three events they should pay attention to?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Well, there are many events every day people need to pay attention to. Too many to list, but I have links all over the LAM Website, LAM Community and my blog that people should read. By the time this goes to press anything I list will change, but a basic concern for something beyond self, something beyond one's own desire is something that humans need to start considering seriously. Too many people are only concerned with themselves or how events directly effect them (many don't even care about that). So people need to inform themselves, every day. Be skeptical of people who deserve skepticism, don't get distracted by what the mainstream media sells you (consume, conform, vanity, selfishness, ego, etc). And this goes for subcultures too- there is nothing admirable about conforming to any "subculture". People need to be individuals and think. The only true subversive is someone who thinks.

Which of your past concerts do you remember most of all? What public do you like to perform in front of?

    SEAN BRENNAN: My desire lies more in creating and recording the music rather than performing it live (which, by the way, makes the piracy problem worse, since selling my music is my main source of income, not live shows. Many pro-piracy people have ignorantly argued "well you can just play concerts to earn money so don't be concerned with piracy", but that argument is faulty for many reasons- that's like me telling you to work 40 hours per week but only get paid for 10 minutes). But anyway- when you're among fans and friends and supporters, performing can be an enjoyable experience. It's just that I don't have the ego to be a rock star and be totally at home on stage, acting and performing. To me, acting and emoting is a bit silly, so I could never do that, or do those silly cliche moves on stage that all bands seem to do now. My emotion is real and comes direct from the music and what the song is saying. I'm more about the music, by itself. But anywhere is enjoyable to perform as long as the crowd is emotionally invested. I think, on the last tour, the two standout shows were Moscow and London. Great audiences.

Do you believe in the love existence and what is the meaning of "love" in your songs?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Sometimes I use love, lust or relationships as metaphors in my music (for example, the Bondage Song, which is about control, and personal destruction- people's inability to interact in a normal way). In the instances where I reference love or a relationship, it's usually some tragic circumstance or it's veiled behind something sort of macabre, like Spider and the Fly. That's the Byron or Shelly in me, I guess.

When you look back, do you have any regrets about past?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Who doesn't? But I wish I was able to work with better live musicians in the past, be associated with better people. Some of the people I've had to work with in the past were so negative that I've nearly quit on many occasions. Those types of people have taken some of the joy out of music for me.

Do you have in view any groups or persons with whom you want to create something together?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I do like 'I Monster'. They have cool production, humor, and a cool retro/futuristic sound.

One of your songs called "Your Best Nightmare" sounds a bit similar to Edward Gorey. In your opinion, what literature or art seems alike with your songs today?

    SEAN BRENNAN: That song was intentionally written to be like an Edward Gorey story. It's actually much longer, a full story, but I had to cut it down to fit the song as lyrics. But my songs from "Violent Acts of Beauty", for example, are all over the place. They reference anything from Milton and today's headlines to personal experiences. The songs are very current and while veiled behind a variety of scenarios, they are really about things that we all deal with every day.

How do you see the world as a whole? Is it may be said that in our reality a very little part remind of the light and good feelings?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I guess I'm optimistic about the world to some degree, because if I thought things were totally hopeless I guess I wouldn't be trying to make things better.

If you can choose, what will be your choice: our reality or imaginary world, created by your own? What is the ideal world for you?

    SEAN BRENNAN: The ideal world for me would be one where everyone was invested personally in making things good for eachother, the environment, etc. A world where people accepted facts rather than fake belief systems or con men sponsored by multi-billion dollar corporations. This is certainly not the world we live in. But I do prefer reality over fantasy, I'm not an escapist. It's just sad that our reality is that so many people don't care that they harm others through whatever actions they take; their apathy towards being involved in directing government, their apathy towards those in need, support of hatred and bigotry, even down to a thing that effects me as a musician, like file sharing. It's sad that people care so little about eachother, when it's imperative that we do care in order that we actually have a future.

Remembering your songs like 'A Letter to God' (from the CD "Psycho Magnet") and 'Nothing's Scared' (from "Violent Acts of Beauty"), I have such a question - what is God for you, is it somebody higher than humans or only some kind of "addressee" for your lyrics?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I was raised Catholic, so have that foundation in religion (though I'm not religious today as far as organized religion is concerned). But, many of the basic questions mankind has can only be answered by some sort of all knowing creator, I suppose. So I guess I use that context in some poetic fashion to express frustration with things that seem so easy yet are made so difficult by thoughtless uncaring people. Though, 'Nothing's Sacred' is supposed to be God expressing his frustration with mankind. If I were God I'd certainly be disappointed with humans. And God had the last word in that conversation ('Nothing's Sacred' was a sequel to 'A Letter to God').

Is the duality a usual thing for your music? Or it seems like art with a lot of meanings?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I suppose that is what can help create lasting interest in art, when things can have multiple meanings or means of interpretation (though the end message should not change). Like my song 'Complex Messiah' (again, a religious reference)- but that song is sort of about London After Midnight and my former live band mates, who were so damaging and disappointing to me, to the point where I had to excise them from my life. It's also about mankind in general. People can also interpret it as a sort of sad love song, etc. So there is always some other side that people can view in my songs. So perhaps it's more than just duality.

What things can make music and songs meanings more bright and understandable? Something like video or special effects?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Yeah, I suppose video can add another dimension to a song, but that's not always possible. Videos are prohibitively expensive to make, and there are very few outlets for them anymore (as far as broadcast or sale). Plus, if you invest in videos (spending $5,000-$10,000 per song) and try to release a DVD, you're faced with the unpleasant fact that very few stores will stock music DVDs now (because of the limited shelf space created by filesahring, which has caused the closing of CD stores). And many people would just buy a DVD and illegally upload it online anyway, giving it away free to your fans. So we as musicians are never able spend that money to create the video to begin with because we will never earn it back through sales. If we paid for videos, then where does that money come from if not sales of music an DVDs? Again, people have this absurd delusion that all musicians are naturally billionaires.

Do you have in your music something that never changed?

    SEAN BRENNAN: I think the integrity will always be there. I also value melody and solid lyrics. I can't compromise when I write.

If you can paint your own music, what colors you'll use in this picture and what it will look like?

    SEAN BRENNAN: That depends on the album. "Selected Scenes from the End of the World" would be lots of lush red, maybe sort of impressionist. "Psycho Magnet" would be cold, harsh, damaged, abstract. "Violent Acts of Beauty" would be ... violent, realistic, disturbing- but with some hope lurking behind the bloodshed.

What was your attitude to Gothic culture in 1990s and what is it for you now?

    SEAN BRENNAN: Goth was a music scene, not a culture. I fail to recognize a culture if it's based on tired 80s music and a very narrow definition of cliche fashion. That diminishes what culture really is. So, I will comment on the gothic music scene- Most bands simply rehash old trends. It is now more of a fashion scene than one of ideas and true subversion of the mainstream, like it was when it started as a cousin of punk rock and was rebelling against conservative Right-leaning governments in the UK and USA.

    Now, ironically, it has adopted much of the mainstream attitude of valuing people for their image or status rather than their ideas and originality, and sadly has turned very conservative too (politically and in other ways). I say "ironically" because most people in these scenes see themselves as being "so different" from the mainstream, when in fact they are mirroring it, only with a different outfit and different music. Look at the goth scene today- what does it value? Image. But goth was born from a very political and aware late punk scene (particularly in the USA when LAM started in the early 1990s- that early 90s punk scene and early goth scene overlapped and both were political and socially conscious - that's what attracted me), but in the mid and later 90s, and especially now in the 2000s, goth became hollow when fashion and image became the most important aspects. People now value pretty pictures, with a bland background soundtrack of repetitive, unoriginal and talent-starved music and art. People don't value integrity, artistic talent or song writing skills.

    Also, I never was a fan of the sound. I hate 80s music. Seriously that was the worst decade for everything; music sucked, movies sucked, art sucked, people became extremely selfish, and politics turned very corporate and conservative. All around a horrible decade. But there were a couple of bands tagged with the goth label who did something original (as early as the late 70s), but not that many. Then, sadly, for some reason the fans wanted everything to sound the same after that. To me that's really tiring, especially when it wasn't very good to begin with.

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From Rock Oracle (Russia 2007): What philosophy is in your music and your new album's name, Violent Acts of Beauty?

    SEAN: The title was a sort of perversion of the bumper stickers we see so much in the US that say "Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty". While the rationale behind them is ok, people here in the US think you don't have to actually act to make things better. They just think slapping a bumper sticker or magnet on your car makes things all better, while they carry on with their destructive lives. In a larger sense it's about people's desire to be perceived as being good (or wealthy or desirable), when in fact most of these people aren't even nice- they fail at that fundamental basic level of simply being a nice, informed, humble, caring human being. And this leads to the theme in "Violet Acts of Beauty" about vanity and image being the most important things now. "Violent Acts of Beauty" was meant to refer to acts of protest, or actually doing things to make a change, actually being a decent human being rather than the idea of putting up a false facade. It was meant to attack the idea that image and perception are the all important factors in our lives, which are destructive concepts sold to us in order to keep us from thinking.

ELEGY MAGAZINE (France, 2007): Before even listening to the music, I was impressed by the cover. I find this imagery very close to the old Communist/Soviet propaganda. Do you agree? Can you tell me more about it and the artist that created it?

    SEAN: Thanks. I did all the art for the CD. Yes, the intent was to recall the imagery of Soviet era propaganda posters.

Is this artwork an answer to the current American government that you call fascist on the album?

    SEAN: The CD, specifically the song "Feeling Fascist?", is set up as the struggle against fascism. Socialism can be seen as an opposite to fascism, so artistically I used Soviet-era art to present the concept visually, the People taking back the power from the corrupt. That is a main message, but there are other subtle things as well, like the barbed wire; What does that mean? Whose fist is that? Are there are other meanings in the CD booklet, amongst all those photos? This is all for the listener to figure out.

Some songs are clearly against the current American government, like "Feeling Fascist?", "Republic" or "America's a Fucking Disease". But, isn't it paradoxical to release this album now, as Bush will soon not be president anymore?

    SEAN: Bush isn't the only problem. The problem is that every republican, and many democrats, supported his policy, as did most of the news media and many people in the USA. It's Bush's political party that has ruled the US for so long that is the problem. It's also the people in the US who blindly follow authoritarian rule, who worship power and greed, who are brainwashed with vanity and ego and brainwashed to disregard truth. The problems were here before Bush, but of course his political party compounded the problems in recent years. However, even when Bush is gone many problems will remain.

Also, "The Kids Are Wrong" seems to be a reference to The Who. Right? Why?

    SEAN: It's take off of The Who's song "The Kids Are Alright". It's sort of a comparison between then and now, where in the 60s and 70s you had a very active youth movement trying to change things for the better in regard to social and political issues, but now that's all changed. People have turned to self-worship, vanity-worship, and greed.

Tell us about the new songs. What is "Nothing's Sacred" about?

    SEAN: I wrote this a while ago. This is supposed to be God's response to the song "A Letter to God" from the LAM CD "Psycho Magnet". The lyrics have their own meaning, (which actually can be interpreted many ways if you're familiar with me and LAM), but the music itself has a separate meaning all it's own- sort of supposed to be musically mirroring what the song's lyrics say. The song starts out kind of rave sounding, which might shock some people who expect LAM to sound a certain way, or who are inflexible and intolerant and don't like when bands grow or try new artistic avenues (something many who live and die by genres are guilty of), but then the song breaks into something altogether different once it gets going. So the title and the music work together - surprising people who assume, or want, LAM to sound a certain way. The music and lyrics go hand in hand... but there are also messages to the very sound, the style of the songs as well. Like "America's a Fucking Disease is another song that is styled like a late 1960s protest song.

Sideline Magazine (Germany, 2007): LAM was featured on the SAW II Soundtrack. What are your thoughts on the trilogy?

    SEAN: I find mankind's everyday reality of war, poverty, cruelty, vanity, and greed to be horrifying enough, so I rarely see horror films. And they aren't a reflection of real-world horror at all, as perhaps some might argue, because significant parts of the target audiences are largely ignorant of any real-world situations and it's obvious that these films simply try to "out-gore" eachother in order to make money, that's the goal. That's all. For the past few years the main types of films I've been interested in are documentaries, many of which are much more horrifying than any fiction horror film - because they are real. For example, watch "Darwin's Nightmare" by Hubert Sauper and try not to be disturbed. That is a true real life horror film.
    Escapism, and people pandering to various societal dysfunctions, which make them glamorize gore, seem fairly destructive to me. Anybody who is really "hardcore" or a true "rebel", a rebel who needs to be pushed to the edge as some gore aficionados claim, would embrace reality rather than fake horror movies. Fantasy is just that, fantasy. It's safe and this commercial corporate garbage isn't art, it's made for 12 year olds. Death isn't pretty and I'm certain that if people who take such horror films so seriously or value them so highly were ever to be in a war zone or a nation stricken by famine, for example, and see the real blood, pain, death and misery, their fascination with cheesy gore films would disappear. I understand when people want mindless entertainment occasionally, and that's fine. But excluding everything but mindless entertainment is the problem, and practically all America does this, and America is exporting this mentality. So to allow mindless entertainment to dominate the market-place is a mistake. Also, glamorizing gore is something that's pretty weird. Desensitizing people to horror leads to bigger issues. It's pathetic when you see kids' MySpace pages loaded with images of real dead bodies, thinking its cool. These images from war should outrage people, they shouldn't make people think "wow, cool, look at that guy's brains all over a street in Baghdad".

LEGACY MAGAZINE (Italy, 2007): Why is America a fucking disease? Please tell us more about these lyrics!

    SEAN: The song is about the United States' actions and the mindset of a good number of it's citizens who allow the abuses to take place, who do nothing to stop them, who would rather spend their time online, in a club, or watching TV than doing something about very real misery that's being inflicted upon innocent people in their names. The USA is scary because many people here like being led. They like being cruel and seeing someone else suffer, as long as it isn't them, as long as they can feel powerful, then they are ok with any act of cruelty. Up to one million Iraqis have died in this war, according to the most detailed estimates, yet no one here even knows this, or they like to pretend it's not true. It's scary because it's turning into a sort of Nazi dictatorship, where people can't even protest their government anymore without fear of arrest. I've actually been called a "terrorist" simply because I am educated about America's faults and seek to change them. People are that brainwashed. But there is a long history of this with the USA, obviously it's nothing new. But this can apply to anyone's country, its not just America that's the disease. It's corporate and military power controlling our governments, governments whose real job it is to do what's in the people's best interests. But unfortunately the people's best interests are not on the forefront of many governments' minds these days.

Would you say London After Midnight is a political entity, caring very much for society's problems?

    SEAN: I have always been political. When I was about 8 years old, going to Catholic school, I wore a political pin to class one day, for a liberal political candidate. I got in a lot of trouble for that. I guess the conservative nuns didn't like the progressive liberal political leanings I displayed. Also, from a very young age I questioned eating meat and was very much an environmentalist. As far as my music, the song "Revenge" is very political, the song "Kiss" deals with abuse by religious leaders, "The Bondage Song" is not at all about S&M, though it uses that as a visual reference, it's about how people relate to each other in such a dysfunctional way. So I've always written about various social and political issues. And apart from that, on LAM literature, fliers, tapes, I've always strongly advocated for animal rights, the environment, various progressive political causes, raised money for these organizations, etc. So, yeah, LAM/I have always been very political.

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(Gothic Beauty Magazine, USA, Autumn 2005.
The interview Gothic Beauty Magazine printed was severely edited, so here's the complete version, which is MUCH more interesting, and makes more sense!)

First of all, who are we speaking with today?

    Sean Brennan (founder, songwriter, musician, etc).

A lot has been happening for LAM since your interview in the very first issue of Gothic Beauty Magazine! What do you feel is one of the more important moments in recent LAM history?

    I'm arranging the release of the next LAM CD and a lot of things are happening in this regard. In touring history, the live band has toured all over South America, Europe and played concerts in major US cities. And of course I've written the new LAM CD, soon to be released. There's been a lot going on that is kind of complex. I've written enough material for two CDs, trashed some of it, and I've almost stopped doing LAM too, at several points, because at times it just wasn't what I wanted anymore. However with the latest batch of music I've written, and with the world as it is today I feel more inspired to move forward with LAM. At one point I'd taken the project as far as I wanted, and I'd performed as headliner and co-headliner at large festivals with icons of music like The Cure and many others, and that was enough for me. I have no desire for stardom and really am not a fan of being on stage or being the center of attention, so ego gratification isn't what LAM is about, but performing with some legendary acts was something special. But I need to have a cause to wrap LAM around and inspire me, I can't be in a band for self-promotion like most bands. I've always been an advocate for animal rights and the environment, and also very political. Though not all of my music directly reflected these causes, they were present in other aspect of LAM's art and presentation (though Revenge is a fairly political/social song, also Kiss deals with some important issues (which is about sexual abuse in the Catholic church) and The Bondage Song has a deeper meaning than most people think (its about humans relating to each other in a more and more destructive and controlling manner). Now with war and a frightening conservative fascist mentality gripping America, I feel it's a time when subversive art is very much needed. So I felt the need to continue LAM and continue with my political and social messages. And I feel my new music, especially, is very subversive.

So tell our readers the latest news about LAM and Hot Topic!

    Well, nothing with Hot Topic directly, but Giant Merchandising offered a deal to distribute LAM shirts, and they distribute to many different stores across the USA, Hot Topic being just one. Giant makes merchandise for bands like NIN, and just about every other band, too. However it's not very often they offer a deal to an indie project like mine. A deal like this is very good for LAM in order to get merchandise distributed to all parts of the US - because America is so corporate its nearly impossible to get such a deal unless you are pushed and paid for by a major manager or label. LAM has neither in the USA. I got this deal only because there was a demand for LAM merchandise directly from fans who wrote to Hot Topic and other stores requesting it. It was a grass-roots effort to push LAM by the fans. Hot Topic used to buy LAM merchandise direct from me in the past, but since they expanded in the late 90s they changed policies and only buy from distributors like Giant. So, some LAM fans at Hot Topic asked Giant to offer me a deal based on the demand for LAM merchandise from fans around the country. Giant finally relented seeing the potential and offered the deal. We'll see what develops with that. People often sneer at Hot Topic in the USA, but that is a rather childish and conformist attitude, but still one that should be addressed- the notion that once known to Hot Topic customers, an artist or band somehow loses something is a very widespread concept, but its a concept based on nothing. That reasoning it completely illogical. And many in the underground scene in the US think this way. It doesn't matter if one or one million people like the same music you like or dress the same way, nor does it matter where they buy their clothing. All that matters in these scenes is if the band you like is talented and offers a valuable message (or if dressing a certain way makes you happy as far as fashion goes). To judge people by where they shop, by the way they dress, by any of these superficial aspects is pretty juvenile, and this is what the powers that be want people to do- be preoccupied with nonsense. To think a band is somehow diminished by being sold through Hot Topic is equally juvenile (unless the band sucked to begin with). There are more important things to judge a person by; like their character, honesty, stances on important issues, an so on. I can understand people not wanting to support a chain store because they use slave labor to manufacture clothing or something, but to object to a store for such superficial reasons as scene elitism is insane. It's a nonsensical issue to talk about, I know, but with so many kids thinking this way and no one pointing out how stupid it is, someone needs to say something.

What are your tour plans for early 2006?

    The live band should tour after the new CD is released.

What new recording plans do you have?

    I have already recorded the new LAM CD in demo form, and once a deal is signed it will be re-recorded in a proper studio.

Let's chat a bit about your music. While I understand that the music of LAM is unique and varied, what would you like to say about your music to anyone who may not be familiar with LAM? (influences, etc.)

    Honestly, I have no idea. The music I grew up with ranged from big-band to film scores to classical artists to old Bowie, Velvet Underground, punk that my older brother got me interested in, early Siouxsie, and so on. So I have no specific influence I can cite for London After Midnight music, nor can I really say what LAM sounds like because my music is sort of all over the map, style-wise. But LAM is probably one of the most misunderstood entities (in a variety of areas), and no matter what I say people don't seem to listen. So I guess it's pretty much up to the individual to decide where LAM fits into their musical universe. This will be an easier process for fans once the new CD is released, since it is very much "me". With the new music I was able to put much more of myself into the production and creation, so I think it's a better representation all around of where I'm at today.

Please give our readers a bit of insight into the song-writing process.

    That's pretty difficult to answer. The writing process is a weird state of mind that can't be easily described. Simply put, I get an idea for a melody, then play it on guitar or keyboard, sequence the idea on a computer or record it, and build on it. It just involves me writing parts for the various instruments, writing lyrics, then recording the song. Kind of boring to talk about I guess, but when you're in the moment of creation its sort of a strange spiritual experience, as any artist will tell you. But I guess it's never as profound to another person as it is to you when you talk about the process.

What are your personal favorite LAM songs?

    The new songs, "Feeling Fascist?", "Fear", "Last Goodbye". These are among my favorites. And they directly deal with issues that more people need to understand and pay attention to. "Feeling Fascist" is about the current state of America with its horrible oppressive conservative atmosphere, generated by Bush and the republicans, about too few artists speaking out against it, about the conservative pro-war and pro-republican media, and American society's desire to ignore reality in favor of consumerism, ego, false patriotism, and vanity. It's about cruelty. Bush and his conservative cohorts are destroying this country, and other countries, as do all corporate politicians. But conservatives are far worse, as their policies endorse racism and bigotry and corporate power over the public's best interests. People today should be incredibly interested in these issues, especially youth, because these things WILL affect their lives. But everyone is so apathetic and think they are powerless. They aren't powerless. For example, I got a deal with a big merchandise company, as discussed above, just because fans expressed their desires for LAM t-shirts to Hot Topic. Numbers speak, and if enough people rally around a cause, you can move mountains. So the new LAM music, to me, possesses this spirit of revolution and rebellion against entrenched power and entrenched attitudes. LAM has always had this spirit I think. And all this can apply to our society, our scene, our personal lives and so on. I guess its sort of a throw back to the 60s protest generation, and that's cool with me. "They got the guns but we got the numbers".

Please tell us a little bit about the Trisol re-releases.

    As my contract expired with Apocalyptic Vision records in Germany, the owner of AV wanted to release my CDs on his new label Trisol. I convinced him to give me some time to allow me to re-record a few of the songs and add some new ones in order to offer something new to fans and remove some poorly recorded material from the releases. I had no budget when I recorded any of my CDs in 90s, they were all done on broken and minimal equipment, under pressure and under very trying circumstances. So I re-recorded a few of the songs that showed the stresses and limitations of those conditions more-so than others. These are also digitally re-mastered from the original tapes and contain all new artwork that is more fitting for the subject matter of the music. The artwork for older releases was rushed and done on computers that barely worked. In the early days LAM wasn't a wealthy band. Now things are slightly easier and I have everything I need and was able to put together artwork that was more appropriate for the CDs. These Trisol re-releases are available through LAM's US label, Metropolis Records, as imports and available on the LAM website. They are also available on

Speaking of iTunes, I have seen LAM listed on several websites and web stores with some rather bizarre biographical information, which seemed inaccurate to say the least. One website had LAM as being a 1970s band and listed the band as having been formed by someone other than yourself. How did that happen?

    Well, there is so much misinformation out there about LAM that its boggles the mind, really. Its pretty remarkable considering LAM isn't as popular as some major label artist or someone on MTV all the time, yet LAM seems to be subjected to people spreading an equal amount of misinformation like some of these larger bands have deal with. Part of what you're referring to started with, a content supplier for many online retailers like,, sites like, and the like. AllMusicGuide is notorious being being unwilling to correct misinformation on their website according to every record label I have spoken with. For a long time they had LAM listed as being from the "1970s-1990s", along with lots of other misinformation about who was involved in the live band, how and when it formed, CDs titles released, etc. They pretty much just lifted a section of the LAM bio from the LAM website with a list of tour dates, rewrote it, added some fiction and distributed it all over the internet. So, many bios you see online are pretty much a lame recitation of a couple of tour dates and wrong information. Hardly useful to anyone wanting to know what London After Midnight is all about or where the project stands in the music world. Recently I was able to get some of this changed, but much of this misinformation is already out there is continues to spread.

And now the all important fashion question for Gothic Beauty readers... do you have any particular designers that you like to work with? What do you like most in regards to on-stage costuming?

    I may be unpopular for saying this but I think "fashion" amounts to conformity. When that's an overly important aspect to someone's life rather than deeper issues, then it's truly about worrying about what others think of you, about vanity, about needing approval from others. About conforming.
    I look the way I look because it's just the way I look. I may dye my hair a weird color, but it's not what I'm about. I don't really go out of my way to look a certain way or buy clothing. There are other bands who dress far more elaborately than LAM does, and I'll leave that to them.
    I have no designers. I either make a shirt myself or raid my closet for bits and pieces before a concert or photoshoot. In general, I think some people place too much importance on image and clothing. And some place too little on substance, honesty, integrity, or in a band's case, the message behind the music. Like people love Paris Hilton or Angelina Jolie. Paris Hilton is a miserable human being (shallow, petty, self centered), and Angelina Jolie only fairly recently started doing some humanitarian work, being spokesperson for the poor, which is wonderful. But many don't even know that- they like her lips, her image, her tattoos. Her style is what gets people's attention rather than her humanitarian work. So image is a very weird thing to me as far as how society pushes it so hard and that is more important to many people than being a decent person. While I have to use image in this industry, and LAM admittedly has a little theater in it, I find the obsession of looks and image rather limiting. Having a theatrical image for the purposes of your art is fine- when you are actually offering art to the world, but the obsession on image, fashion, status and vanity is disturbing.
    I understand fashion can be a form of expression, but you ask the average person to define what they're expressing and they couldn't tell you. Too often people are fans of a pretty face or cool clothing or an obnoxious attitude that projects pure vanity, rather than what that person stands for (or how good of an artist they are, in the case of a band). So, I put very little effort into image in general aside from comparatively minimal stage clothing. And even that used to have a meaning that's lost these days in an image obsessed society- in the past I was presenting something that was considered weird and ugly by the average person, but that had a deeper meaning that you had to look past in order to understand. That mentality is gone these days because image has been so corrupted and commercialized and overused. People have become their image. People have gotten more and more shallow. And sadly there is nothing inside some people, all they concentrate on it the outside.
    So with LAM's image, it's just sort of automatic at this point and not central to the project. Of course there is an image aspect to being on stage and doing promo pictures, but that is a small fraction of what LAM is all about. Looks, clothing and image aren't a lifestyle, as many want to believe. Image is just an unfortunate bother when you're in this business. But, one running theme through my clothing is I don't wear leather or fur, because I'm a vegan. And most of my clothing is fairly worn and tattered. I guess that's my statement that I reject people's obsession with wealth, ego gratification, and vanity. My statement that you have to look past the surface and value what's inside rather than what's outside.

According to the LAM website, you are extremely pro-animal rights. I would love to know about any animals you currently share your homes with.

    I had a cat for many years who died not too long ago. He was a rescued cat that former neighbors were going to abandon in the hills of Los Angeles (which are full of kitten eating coyotes). So, as a younger kid, I took him in and raised him, grew up with him. But having a carnivore for a pet is troubling for a vegan. I personally think that having pets is wrong because it supports a huge industry that exploits other animals to feed those pet animals, which is exceedingly cruel, wasteful and harmful to the environment, and it perpetuates the acceptance of breeding millions of pet animals when countless pet animals are killed each year in animal shelters around the world because no one will adopt them. Often because they aren't "cute" or young enough.
    The pet food meat industry is part of the larger human food meat industry. Farming this meat is extraordinarily wasteful, and harms the environment, and harms poor countries that need the resources we wealthy western nations consume in order to farm wasteful products like meat, and its counter-part, dairy.
    Also, having a pet is heartbreaking- when they die it just crushes me. I grew up in a house full of pets; dogs, birds, cats, lizards, etc. And when one died it just took too much out of me. So after my cat died a few years back, he was very old by then, that experience ripped out a piece of my soul. But any animal I may come to adopt in the future will be obtained from an animal shelter. More people need to do this. Buying from pet stores and breeders only perpetuates the cruel industry of animal breeding and forces countless unwanted pets to an early death in shelters.

LAM recently reached out on the web to MySpace. What is your MySpace link, and how do you feel about this particular forum for reaching out to your fans? Are you directly involved?

    Yes, I created the page and a friend helps maintain it when I don't have time (which is most of the time). Its rather time consuming, dealing with all the email. One point I'd like to make- I really dislike MySpace. I only grudgingly started a MySpace page for LAM one year ago, when they introduced a format for bands. The band part of MySpace is useful for discovering music, but other than that, for the most part, MySpace is a terrible thing. But it is a good indicator of the decline of western civilization, I suppose. On MySpace, most interaction is virtually anonymous, shallow flattery, and worth is based on image and the amount of people you can collect as "friends". Not that this is wildly dissimilar from real life, but MySpace is set up to operate this way and perpetuates this mind set to the younger kids using it- and its mostly young kids using it. It makes them focus on image, on vanity, and nothing more, even more-so than corporate advertising does. And too many people on there glorify their dysfunctions. It's kind of funny if it weren't so sad. There is no constructive discussion, its all about vanity and ego and conformity. It's BIG on conformity. And now Rupert Murdoch, the conservative republican owner of Fox News (one of the many pro-Bush republican propaganda news channels in the USA) has purchased MySpace and has plans to push its conservative, racist, pro-war, pro-republican agenda and propaganda to the users of MySpace (they actually admitted that this is their plan in an interview with the BBC news in the UK). So with this fascist atmosphere sweeping the USA and the intolerance for liberal and progressive viewpoints like mine I don't know that LAM will be on MySpace much longer given my strong liberal political stances.

I notice that you often answer questions directly posted by fans on your message board- The LAM Online Community What is the strangest or most interesting thing you have encountered on your message boards?

    An interesting thing has been how people come onto LAM Online Community expecting LAM to be one thing and they discover that it's something a bit deeper. People often believe the weird rumors that circulate about me (which are baseless) or think I'm all about goth clubs and goth music and drugs or whatever. When they find out I don't do drugs, I'm not a club-goer, etc, they are fairly surprised.
    Also, many fans come in and get turned on to veganism or politics or other social issues that are important to me and other users of the LAM Online Community, people from all over the world. I think this is the most interesting aspect- it shows that if you have a platform to help educate or inform people about the reality of our world (which the conservative media ignores), people are very interested in knowing the truth and expanding their horizons. The idea of those in power is to keep people ignorant of reality and obsessed with consumerism and vanity. Then we don't have time or desire to question our leader's actions. But when educated, people do question, and do try to make a difference by voting, by educating themselves, or getting involved in some way. So just when I'd given up hope that all was lost for humanity, I found that people are quite interested in knowing the truth about important issues, which was a nice surprise. Like with the war, with US acts of imperialism, the incredible lies that the Bush administration has perpetrated on the world- many people aren't aware of the depth of these issues and are pretty shocked when they learn more. Or when educated about animal welfare issues, veganism, etc, people often become vegans themselves. Its encouraging that people are actually passionate and affected after they know the truth of these issues, because the world has gotten so self obsessed and shallow that I'd begun to think there was no hope. But when informed, people do end up caring, sometimes.

Is there anything else you would like to tell Gothic Beauty Magazine readers?

    I'd just like to thank Gothic Beauty Magazine for the continued interest and support, it means a lot to LAM. And I'd like to thank LAM's supporters. You are much loved.

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(From Orkus Magazine, Germany, September 2005. As usual, the European magazine translations differ significantly from what Sean actually said, so read the real interview here)

In an earlier interview for Orkus you wrote your favorite word was "Vote". What did you mean, the possibility to vote in ALL phases of life about everything? Or to vote about something special? Or to give himself the chance to vote for all what will be done at next? Or something completely different? Or is it just the spoken sound of the word that fascinates you?

    SEAN: It was more a plea for people to wake out of their stupor of self-absorption and vanity and start caring about the world around them (I'm not saying that YOUR readers are that sort of person, of course!). The plea to "vote" was especially important here in America with the last election (well, ANY election), since so few people vote in the USA. The plea was to become informed, protest, participate in life in a positive way rather than a self-centered, consumer driven and destructive manner as most people do. Many think they are doing enough by acknowledging (but seldom understanding) the corruption in our world, but unless a person is actually doing something to counter that corruption and negativity, they are part of the problem.

The next question also refers to our conversation of 2003. In March 2003 you told that you have enough songs to fill two new CDs. Is the new release far off?

    SEAN: I have written the new CD and recorded it in demo form and it should be released soon. There is a lot going on behind the scenes. I really can't say too much at the moment because things are in a state of constant evolution. But I have 2 CDs worth of material and other things in mind, other music that doesn't fit with LAM that I may do something with too.

We can listen to three new LAM songs on Are there any other songs ready yet?

    SEAN: Yes, the full album is written and recorded (in demo form), and I'm always writing new songs, so the CD is always being updated with newer material, until I can do the final recordings and release it. One point I'd like to make- I really dislike MySpace. I only grudgingly started a MySpace page for the band one year ago when they introduced a format for bands. Now I have a friend run the page because it gets too much email. The music part of MySpace is useful for discovering new bands, but other than that MySpace is a really dismal thing. It is a good indicator of the decline of western civilization, I suppose. On MySpace, all interaction is mostly anonymous, or shallow flattery, and your worth is based on image and the amount of people you can collect as "friends", not that this is dissimilar from real life very much, but MySpace is set up to operate this way and perpetuates this mind set to young kids using it, and most users seem to be younger teens. There is no constructive discussion, its mostly about vanity and ego and cries for attention, and celebrations of dysfunction. And now Rupert Murdoch, the conservative republican owner of Fox News (which is a pro-Bush republican propaganda news channel) has purchased MySpace and has plans to push its conservative, racist, pro-war republican agenda and propaganda to all the people on MySpace (they actually admitted that this is their plan in an interview with the BBC). So I don't know that LAM will be on MySpace much longer given my strong liberal political stances.

Please some words to the genesis of the new song "Fear" that we can hear on LAM's MySpace page. What things/animals/situations/persons do you fear and why? And are there any things you don't fear but other people do?

    SEAN: Fear is about many issues- but generally its a song about people who live by misconceptions, who suck the life out of others and live off other's creations or life like parasites, who lie, who fail to acknowledge truth, who fail to take chances to find truth, who are closed.
    And what do I fear? I fear ignorance. I fear the ego that has taken over human kind to the point where no one can admit fault, where no one can become informed because they think they know everything already, where all opinions are considered equal (when they are not), when no one challenges people doing bad things, and when vanity and wealth is prized above all else. This is what I fear.
    And America is very much turning into something like late 1930s Germany, where fear is sold to distract the people from the real crimes being committed by wealthy who are in power. It's a scary time in the world. When people are consumed with hate, vanity and ego while there is terrible suffering (hunger, war, famine) occurring in the world, which is ignored, then I am fearful that mankind has worn out its welcome on this planet.

Please some words to the genesis of the (wow!) song "Nothing's Sacred". What is sacred for you personally - some objects, jewelry? Or do you live the "nothing's sacred for me", punk thing?

    SEAN: This song is supposed to be a sort of "sequel" to my song "A Letter To God" from the CD "Psycho Magnet". This is supposed to be God's response to mankind. Essentially it's God saying "you guys fucked it up, you had everything handed to you and look what you've done with it?!"
    The only physical things that are "sacred" to me are the things I've had since childhood and family photos- things that remind me of my family and life before LAM, which was a much less complicated time without people trying to harm me or use me like people do when you're a known figure.

Please some words to the genesis of the song "Love You To Death". How deep have you loved in your life (someone or something)? That deep you didn't re-identified yourself, made things you never thought of doing them for yourself? And if I may ask, what about your love to your family, the - widely-used and usual - roots to your own past, the past of the roots?

    SEAN: This is a song about obsession, about people "loving" to the point of destruction, so it isn't a positive love song. This song was written from the point of view of a stalker, of which I've had more than my fair share. This song has less to do with love and is a more negative twist on what some people consider "love".

Can you perhaps tell us some news of the tracklist of the new album? some kind of concept, straight line, thread perhaps? And a name/title and a date of release?

    SEAN: The working title of the CD is Violent Acts of Beauty (but that could very well change). The track list is always changing as I write new songs, replacing other tracks. Some songs, in addition to the three songs you already listed above, are "The Pain Looks Good on You", "Pure", "Last Goodbye", "America's a F*cking Disease", and "The Kids are All Wrong". There will likely be other songs, those are just a few that are slated for the CD.

Have you found a producer yet with whom you're satisfied enough that he can produce the album? Or are there any other plans (self producing)?

    SEAN: The songs are pretty much produced already. I really only need someone to fine-tune the sound, but we'll see what happens.

Are there any plans for new sound (add-ons in music) or do you prefer to play the good old LAM-style?

    SEAN: If you listen to the music as a whole I personally don't think there is an "LAM style", since each CD is a little different. But the new CD will still be me, and I can't be someone else. But I do try to evolve. There is no point to being an artist if you repeat the same thing again and again- then ego gratification and playing "rock star" is your only purpose for existing, which personally repulses me (hence my dislike for bands who blatantly copy other bands, thus diminishing the true artists who strive to do something unique).

What about the actual line-up of live members? Has something changed?

    SEAN: I think its time for change in LAM's live line-up, just to make things more healthy and productive in the inner workings in that regard. So I'm sure there will be some changes. It will only help the live band become something better than it currently is.

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(Jan 2003)
In August 2002 you performed at the M'era Luna festival in Germany as one of the headliners to approximately 25,000-30,000 people. How was that?

    SEAN: It was great. LAM performed at M'era Luna once before and this time was even better.

In mid 2001 London After Midnight returned from an international tour, which took you through South America, Mexico and parts of the USA. You were featured on Via X (the rock MTV of South America) and audiences were exposed to new songs, which are slated for your upcoming CD. How was the response and that experience?

    SEAN: The response was great and the people were amazing. Although there is some social/political unrest in parts of South America, Chile and Argentina were beautiful. Argentina looks like a beautiful European city, but people were rioting over the economy. Kind of frightening and sad, an odd contrast. Also, the promoter in Argentina turned out to be a criminal who stole all the money from the concert and left town, leaving most people involved unpaid and looking to have him killed. Kind of a reflection of the turbulent times there with the economy. It was really a bizarre situation, but it was enjoyable despite all the trouble. Luckily LAM was paid prior to leaving for the tour. Then in Florida, someone working at a store that was selling tickets for our concert stole a bunch of money and tickets for that show, leaving people pretty pissed off. Luckily that show turned out alright though. Then in NYC someone stole one of the backup guitars LAM had on stage. There are always weird things that happen on tour. Luckily nothing serious has happened yet. But aside from the weird things, the whole tour was enjoyable.

LAM released Selected Scenes from the End of the World in 1992 (then on CD in 1995), "Psycho Magnet" in 1996, Oddities in 1998 with your music video. Fans nationally and internationally are anxiously anticipating the release of your new CD and follow up tour. What can we expect from the new CD and when will a tour take place? What is the title of the new CD?

    SEAN: The new CD is tentatively called "Violent Acts of Beauty". After the new CD is released LAM will tour. I'm talking with labels now about it's release. The next CD will be different in that it's less intensely personal and less about specific incidents in my life like "Psycho Magnet", but more reflective of the world and more observational of emotions. It does touch on fairly personal things though, it's a work in progress and always changing but it does have a broader message as well as political elements to it, with (I feel) references to the 60s and 70s culture and music, a decade that produced some of the most significant expressions of socially conscious and currently relevant, albeit sometimes naive, pop art in our time. It will be much more evolved and refined than past releases. I listen to LAM's past CDs, which were produced on absolutely no budget and broken equipment and cringe at the production. If I had to do over again it'd come out so much better now.

The title of the new album needs a bit more explanation. It combines violence and beauty, an uncommon combination. How should we interpret this? Is there a concept behind it. What does "Violent Acts of Beauty" deal with lyrically?

    SEAN: The concept embraces contradictions, birth, rebirth, violence, the state of society and modern human culture, etc. Humans are very contradictory creatures, claiming to want peace while waging war, saying they love you while they break your heart, stealing from people while they condemn thieves and dishonesty, it goes on and on. They always say one thing but mean another. It's rare, and a blessing, when we find someone who speaks their mind with an informed opinion. I think as a whole, the concept of the new CD will be clear so I don't want to give too much away with trying to explain it or the lyrics specifically. I want the music to speak for itself- but suffice it to say that rather than an intensely personal journal like "Psycho Magnet" was, this CD will be more of a reflection of society, but will still incorporate many personal elements as well.

Can you explain your favorite "violent act of beauty"?

    SEAN: I guess it was my birth. Without that I wouldn't be talking with you now.

In what direction do you see the music evolving? Do you believe that your current fans will evolve with you?

    SEAN: I think to stay relevant as an artist you must embrace growth and new ideas. If the fans accept that, then it says a lot for them. One reason I can't stand any "scenes" is because of their desire to stay stagnant and also the required adherence to perceived rules, styles and preferences of that "scene". Most bands try and create within the confines of a label or scene, copying other bands. It's sad that people accept this. Many of LAM's hard core fans are pretty open minded and varied in their interests so I think they will be appreciative of whatever I release. LAM is always going to be LAM, I am not purposely changing my music at all, instead what we have is a natural growth. And in fact the changes are positive. Being open-minded and always looking for something new and interesting is important to any artist. If you listen to LAM CDs, each differs from the previous release. So that idea of evolution is central to my artistic endeavors.

You've just re-released some of your CDs with Trisol records Germany and Iron D records in Russia? Are they import only or will they also be available in the USA? What titles? Will there be any new songs included on these re-releases? Why did you decide to present fans with these special re-releases?

    SEAN: LAM CDs have been out of print in Europe for the past year while I sorted out the new CD. I wanted to get that music back into fan's hands there, because there was a big demand. So it was decided to re-release the past CDs with bonus tracks and new packaging. The re-releases of "Psycho Magnet" and "Selected Scenes from the End of the World" are being released now, March 2003, on Trisol records in Germany. They are also imported to the USA and sold by Metropolis Records (see the CATALOG page of this site for ordering details). They feature at least 2 previously unreleased tracks each. "Selected Scenes..." will feature brand new recordings of 'This Paradise' and 'The Black Cat' as well.

Does the usual inverse correlation between success in the public eye and people of substance concern you or influence any of your goals?

    SEAN: Being successful doesn't necessarily mean you lack substance completely. But too often in order to be a "success" you have to sell your soul, somewhat, something I could never do. But I do think you can have both success and substance, and some people do, but more don't, unfortunately. But this isn't unique to "famous people". Unfortunately too many people these days seem to value vanity, ego and emptiness. And like I said before, someone voicing a well informed opinion, especially a public figure, is a blessing but often condemned by people who don't want others to have substance. I think that people feel threatened by someone who is informed and takes a stance on important issues- they are threatened because they don't understand and feel somehow inadequate or overwhelmed, and feel that its too much work to investigate and educate themselves. So they just condemn and show intolerance.
    Also, too many people seem to think their opinions matter, when they do nothing to validate or research those opinions. So I agree, most 'celebrities' are fairly worthless individuals, product for corporate sponsors, empty shells whose only purpose is to promote themselves, not contribute anything of value to the world. Unfortunately that doesn't stop others from praising them like religious figures, emulating them and their warped ideals of ego, self, greed and vanity. It's pretty sick that people place such importance on how someone looks in the dress at the Oscars (or dressed up in a goth club) rather than what that person offers to the world on a deeper level. This way, too many people who aren't deserving of being accepted as role models are accepted and emulated, and too many who are deserving are ignored. But that's our world for you. I think the only solution is to place serious emphasis on educating the next generation so they aren't so shallow, vain and petty, not to mention misinformed about the world and reliant on leaders or institutions like religion to make their decisions for them. (By the way, there isn't anything necessarily wrong with religions, just the reliance on it).

What is your opinion about the current atmosphere in America?

    SEAN: It's turned more conservative and surprisingly many people have gone along for the ride. You see this in the music they listen to and accept as popular representations of youth, like bland pop "punk", bland R&B, nonsensical greed and ego driven hip hop, boy and girl bands, generic rap rock and other formulaic "safe" product which does nothing but sell a lifestyle, a product, a way of thinking, all of which unfortunately aren't positive. Granted there was always the demographic that buys that sort of thing, but you'd think that people would be getting smarter rather than reverting to this 50s mentality of turning off your brain. There is little art today with balls, with integrity or that is truly rebellious. Some of it is good for what it is, simple pop entertainment, there is lots of good rap, however it amazes me that so many people prefer entertainment with little or no substance. They just want to turn off their brains. And to elaborate on what I said earlier, you also see it in many people's support for conservative politicians, like Bush, and more traditional institutions, like a dependence on religion rather than using your brain to figure out the world's problems. People just don't want to think, don't want to question anything. They want to have someone else handle the tough decisions, and when you do that you are subject to that person's agenda. And America is a scary place when it comes to religion, almost as scary as some countries where practicing an unpopular religion can get you killed. You'd think that people would be rebelling against this and other conservative steps backwards, but they aren't. The minimal strides gained in the 60s and 70s are being countered by big business and religion taking over the world, through the republican US government. I think many people are just lazy, egotistical and prefer being stupid and ignorant, letting others do the thinking for them so they can concentrate on petty self fulfillment. Hopefully that will change. But with the mentality of consumerism, ego and fear in America, the people in power kind of keep the public where they want them (ignorant, consuming and unquestioning). With big money controlling politics and controlling journalism, we don't stand much of a chance in changing the world for the better unless people really start thinking and getting involved.

What is your opinion on the common edict of sex, drugs, and rock and roll? In other words, do you find these items inextricably intertwined?

    SEAN: Music is very passionate and has a degree of sexuality at its core, especially rock music. Drugs have never appealed to me, I'm a total virgin to any drugs actually, never even been interested in them. I rarely even drink alcohol. Maybe like once a year at this point, so I can't speak to those points. But music is a fairly sexual thing. Can't explain why, maybe it's because it's a pure expression of emotion, like sex can be.

What have been your latest musical influences or inspirations?

    SEAN: I listen to everything. I love rock from the 70s- the Doors, Iggy Pop, old Bowie, old NYC bands, punk. Also a lot of instrumental and classical music. I love trance, jungle/drum and bass. There is great rap music out there too. Anything that's good. I really have no boundaries when it comes to music, if it's good I will like it. Anything that makes me think is something I'll find interesting, however I can also appreciate something for what it is at the same time- a good song can just be a good song. I can appreciate that. I have a fairly small CD collection actually, and only buy music that I know I can't live without.

What do you think about having your music labeled?

    SEAN: LAM has long attracted all sorts of people and has had an atypical sound to any genre. So all in all I am very grateful for that support regardless of what subculture people attach themselves to or if a person is independently minded and doesn't attach himself to any genre or subculture. But LAM isn't any certain type of band except a rock band... with eccentricities. I think being labeled as anything will limit an artist because it doesn't allow the listener to decide where it fits into his world. Categories exist as a shadow of the corporate world. Their view is music needs to be classified for the consumer, as means to sell and also divide people. You'd think people would be rejecting any and all labels, especially the self professed 'counter culture' types like goths, punks, etc, who should be embracing all sorts of influences and being open minded in order to establish themselves as a viable group with power (especially considering the roots of punk, which were poverty).

After reading some messages in the LAM Online Community condemning people spreading rumors, what are your thoughts on the term "mainstream" in relation to LAM?

    SEAN: To clarify, I just recently heard that a certain former female goth singer (who used to sing with a deceased male goth singer long ago) was going around slamming LAM, saying we were "mainstream". When she was asked to elaborate, she cited that LAM had a huge following, so that made LAM mainstream and therefore she hated LAM (she is also good friends with the people in the LA scene who do nothing but lie about LAM- see the first question in the E! interview below). That was her only reason for her "hatred", that LAM was more popular than she was. Now this doesn't matter to me in the least, I couldn't care less what this person thinks. It's the idiocy of the matter that intrigues me. To me, or any other person with a functioning brain, the way you live life is like this; you have your likes and dislikes, which do not change depending on the number of people who share those preferences. So to rate an artist's value based on how many other people are fans is juvenile beyond belief, but that's what many people in that scene do. They can't like something "popular". That's an indication of pure ego and complete lack of individuality; of someone either jealous of that band's success, someone who needs to be seen as 'trendy cutting edge' (within the confines of the goth scene) rather than genuine, or someone so egotistical that they can't stand it should someone discover their private realm and be able to figure them out somewhat through the sharing of the music. It defines "poser". Like a person so insecure that they need to be misunderstood eternally in order to hide their flaws. People like that just need to go away. So in the end, that whole matter was quite humorous. It always amazes me how truly dumb people can be. For her to slam LAM repeatedly while trying to restart her music career is pretty sad. I mean, when you can only get ahead by putting others down is an indication that there is very little you can offer to the world that's of value.

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(Autumn 2000)
What do you think of the E! special that was filmed at your 2000 Hollywood concert?

    SEAN: Most of the people they interviewed were pretty odd- Rat Bastard, a friend of the terrible people at Ghastly magazine (that's why he was insulting LAM ), and that woman (I have no idea who she is) were just outright embarrassing, as were some of the other people. A few people made great comments and seemed to care about presenting themselves well and cared about the music, but others looked like fools who wanted to pose for the camera. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. And it's sad because there are far too many people like this in the scene who make it negative and make it about things other than music. And what's worse is that when someone like me points it out, I get condemned. But whatever... some people think the scene is about lifestyle and it's just not. It's about music, or it should be. But that's changed, and its now just a fashion scene. That's why goth in America today sucks. There are good people in the scene, unfortunately they didn't show enough of those people in this special, and there were lots of great people there that night. But the E! Channel focused on some of the worst examples of people who go to goth clubs, the people that they themselves brought into the club with them and who Coven 13 allowed to be presented as typical goths. The E! Channel just wanted to get ratings.

Everyone was there to see your show, there was a line almost around the block to get in which is typical at every LAM show I have ever been to. If you didn't play its doubtful there would have been many people in the club that Monday night. Especially since no one wanted to be filmed by the E! Channel (except those weirdoes) and Coven 13 doesn't often draw much of a crowd- so much so that they closed earlier this summer (NOTE: they re-opened the club for this one night event). When you asked people on stage "Why are you here" they all said "London After Midnight". I noticed no one paid much attention to the people E! was featuring in their special, in fact any attention they got from the patrons of the club were laughs. Last Saturday, Coven 13 opened for an event to celebrate the E! special the night before it aired, and it pulled in about 150 people, not too impressive for a Saturday. LAM filled the club on a Monday with only under 2 weeks of promotion. And they virtually cut you out of the special and allowed you to be insulted and have Rat Bastard allude that you didn't play your instruments. How do you feel about that?

    SEAN: Yeah, LAM was used. It's that simple. I don't have a problem about how much they used LAM in the special, that's not the issue, but rather the way they presented a scene which they then associated with LAM . I was mislead about the special. When I committed to the show I were told it would focus on music and the club night, also that I would be allowed to say what I wanted to say about who and what LAM was. (I never thought or said that LAM were to be the focus of the show). After I committed, they changed everything- suddenly they were interviewing kids in graveyards, canceled the interview they were to do with us in my studio and told me I'd have to be interviewed in a graveyard (I refused to do this), they started talking about vampires being central to the goth scene, and trying to shape the whole affair into something very unappealing to me. At that point I couldn't cancel the show (although I really wanted to) because I already promised the promoters of the club LAM would perform. I was told the original air date was September 14th. One of the concerns I had was that E! would try to use this as "Halloween, look at the freaks" fodder, so when they told me it would air in mid-September, I thought maybe this special has some hope. Anyway, the producer and the club assured me they wouldn't do a hack job on the scene, but by using those cartoon characters in the special, they did just that. I am just glad that we were cut out of most of it because it was so embarrassing and the people they focused on made fools of themselves. I mean, *laughs* I am so happy that Rat Bastard is not an LAM fan. I'd be very embarrassed if he were.
    And regarding the negative comment from him: I find it funny that he claims he has been doing music longer than me (who ever heard of him anyway?), but he didn't know what a drum loop was. (UPDATE: Rat Bastard was recently arrested for child molestation and rape. Its true, even he admits it)
    It's too bad, E! and the club promoters missed a chance to do something good for the scene, their club and my band. I think the club promoters were mislead by the E! Channel to some extent but really screwed up a lot on their own too. They should have had an idea that this was going to happen judging by who they chose to represent the scene.
    E! has put another nail into goth's coffin.

Yes, the special was pretty comical. So, what do you think about "Pony Head Space"?

    SEAN: I have no idea. But really, that special like watching some bad cartoon show. Or an ultra low budget high school film with bad acting and egomaniacal self absorbed people ranting about things which they know nothing about and can't explain. I thought it was very odd that the "crack woman" was saying how glamorous death was one minute, then "praying" for a safe night the next. If death is so great, why not pray for death? The posturing and ego was just sickening. All those people contradicted themselves with every other sentence. And they all praised "drama", fashion, posing and image. Mr. Bastard said the first rule of "gothic" was to "look beautiful". Well, aside from the absurd fact that he thinks there are rules, shouldn't the first rule, or the core of the gothic scene be music? I didn't hear music mentioned once. After all, without the music, this scene would not exist. I was actually laughing through the thing when I first saw it. Then it settled in and I was pretty disturbed that those people were trying to represent an entire scene that my music was being associated with.

What is your true feelings on the Goth scene and do you consider LAM Goth?

    SEAN: No, LAM aren't Goth as goth is defined today, which is primarily a fashion scene rather than a music scene. I started playing in the deathrock scene in 1990 (goth wasn't even a term used widely in LA then)- in a totally different and much healthier scene where music was the main focus. However, even then, people either condemned or praised LAM because it didn't sound like what most people considered 'Goth', like the Sisters of Mercy or Siouxsie or something. So maybe even then LAM wasn't "Goth", I don't know. However, in the USA now the Goth scene is in such a terribly unhealthy state- the whole basis of the scene has changed. I don't feel a part of it and never did, to be honest. If Goth now is all about fashion, copycat music, drama queens, posers who project weird personal beliefs onto the scene, and a total lack of evolution then I have absolutely no interest in it. If that's what goth is, then the goth scene is dead. That's not how it was in 1991 when LAM was first performing. Most people in the scene are great and positive and feel this way too and want it to change. There was also some of the political vibe carried over from the punk scene that is absent today.
    Unfortunately, the small number of idiots in the scene tend to get the attention, like in the E! Channel special, so that's what people think goth is all about which discourages them and drives them out of the scene eventually. They abandon it rather than try to fix it, and I can understand that. Who wants to be associated with those cartoons they featured on the E! special? Also there is a real lack of innovative music and evolution which ends up boring people into abandoning the scene.
    As a fanbase London After Midnight has a large goth following but also people into other scenes as well- but even LAM's goth following is very positive and eager for evolution and all for getting rid of the bad elements. The current US goth scene as a whole is unhealthy and some people allow it to be that way. So people need to take control and get rid of the bad elements, otherwise what you saw in the E! special will truly become what goth is, actually I fear it's too late anyway. Those people they interviewed are examples of why the goth scene sucks now. I wish they showed the cool people. But E! had an agenda to make the scene look absurd in order to get ratings. And they succeeded.

Of the songs released on CD, which is most personal to you, or what song do you think describes you best?

    SEAN: My new songs mostly. But of the older songs- I think the most personal to me are "The Christmas Song" and "Atmosphere". When I wrote "The Christmas Song" it just flowed and the songs that do that when I am writing them are always the best for me- and it's kind of "me" anyway. Both songs are. Though produced on a total lack of a budget, they kind of worked out as well, but would be a hundred times better with proper recording. To shape the sound with "The Christmas Song" I just thought of my childhood, where everything had this sort of gaussian veil over it making it all seem perfect and hopeful, yet at the same time they both have that sort of melancholy feel about them. Maybe because it's being written in the present, looking back at lost innocence. "Atmosphere" is an abstract piece that really has some hidden meanings to me. But I would say the new songs that will be on the next CD are the closest to me now. They really speak for me.

Who are you voting for? What you think of this generation's lack of interest in the political process?

    SEAN: I think it's pretty sick. Americans are spoiled and to not vote is such a slap in the face to so many people. It's just a stupid thing. If you don't make choices they will be made for you. And if the sheep want that, then they deserve what they get (like a Nazi such as Bush). I would like to vote for Ralph Nader, we need the money control on politics to end. I find the Republican platform and many of their core beliefs to be sick, quite frankly.

Who is your hero?

    SEAN: There are a lot of people I would consider a hero, I wouldn't even know where to start.

At your last concert you debuted two incredible new songs, "Fear" and "Nothing's Sacred". Both show a growth in your sound and certainly a more advanced production process. Can you describe how you write and construct a song and can you elaborate on the themes of these two new songs?

    SEAN: I don't want to explain my new songs so much, though they have specific meanings. My past music has been really specific in it's meaning, which I think was pretty obvious. I want to keep the meanings of the newer songs a bit more veiled and let the listener interpret the songs and apply them to their own lives. Usually I write on my computer, sequencing the drums and keyboards, writing the guitar, bass and vocal. The new songs are much more advanced in their production.

We all know you are a vegan, when did you make this decision?

    SEAN: I have been a vegan for a long time, before that I was a vegetarian. I just think it's wrong to eat animals or use their skin for our clothes or test on them, etc. Not only is it extremely damaging to the environment to exploit animals for human use, but it's just unhealthy for humans. This is ignoring the whole issue that animals have emotions and feelings, which people have a hard time accepting because it would be too painful to acknowledge for most people. So don't even consider that aspect if you don't want when thinking about this, just realize that it's not healthy or good for the planet to farm animals. Farming animals also forces poor people further down the economic ladder by using up resources, etc, and spreads disease like deadly flus and other disease. For people who are only concerned about themselves or other humans and don't care about non-human animals, that should be something that might make them reconsider eating meat. But I wish everyone would visit a slaughterhouse. If people did this, most would become vegans in a minute. Less than a minute, actually.

We know London After Midnight has played in countless numbers of countries all over the world, is there any place you haven't played that you really look forward to, or any place you never want to play?

    SEAN: Yes, I am looking forward to playing in Russia and many other places.

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