¤ John Gore / 'kirchenkampf' / Oratory of Divine Love ¤

John D. Gore is an American musician, active from 1986. He plays electronic music which is often quite close to ambient and noise. His projects are 'kirchenkampf', Oratory of Divine Love, >wirewall< and JDG. He also provides a small label Cohort Records.


1. For me the most interesting of your projects is The Oratory of Divine Love. It's because I'm quite fascinated by radio noises and I've spent a lot of night hours on listening to this strange sounds. Please tell us why did you choose this source of noise and when have you become interested in it?

For most of the time I’ve been recording electronic music (I started on a cassette four-track with outboard gear and a CZ-1000 in 1986, I’m 57 years old now) it’s been me by myself in my studio and usually on a multi-track recorder recording one track at a time. but as time when on I wanted something that could be viewed more as a performance. I had used radio noises before in my compositions (see my track on the Malignant Records comp and my only vinyl 7” release “Probe” on my label Cohort Records) but never as the single “instrument”. The simplicity of one radio run through my effects rack gave me the opportunity of something easy to do with lots of sonic possibilities. In fact the first time I ever played live was with my ODL set up.

2. It seems that on "Meditatio" and "Purgatory" radio sound is strongly modified by gear because it's deep and dark, almost drone. But on "Untitled" material we can easily recognise source and even some popular songs. Why did you decide to make such "plunderphonic" material?

The “plunderphonic” material was my first attempt at using the radio for performances. I liked the cut-up/looped results but I then transitioned into the denser, more reverb-laden results because I love reverb, and I thought the results made the music more mysterious, and also that it gave the listener a chance to see if he could guess what the source was.

3. Tell us about the concept of >wirewall<. It's the more abstract and noisy side of your music, isn't it?

>wirewall< is my noise project, but it takes its esthetic from early electronic music, harsh, random electronic sounds with NO REVERB. I made this choice on purpose to distinguish it from my other reverbed project material. I could certainly add reverb to it and it would then become quite spacey. Just an example how one little change can make something completely new.

4. Your main project is 'kirchenkampf'. Why did you choose such name and what does it mean for you?

If you guessed that I am a Christian you’re right. I’m a Lutheran who makes electronic music, and since I am a Christian it influences what comes out of me. But considering the fact that my music is usually quite abstract you can ignore the titles and just enjoy the music as it is. Btw, the project ‘kirchenkampf’ comes from a 19th century persecution of the Catholic Church. Why I chose it is because I liked the sound of it and the fact that it’s in another language (German) which has made some people assume that I’m German (I’m a Canadian by birth). Another little secret. ;)

5. Please explain us religious (Christian) and biblical themes in your music.

As I said above, the titles give my music context but I don’t believe that these are specifically ‘religious’ and I certainly don’t think they’ll convert anyone. They’re just MY compositions and so they reflect my interests. I’m not trying to fit into any specific genre of music. I just make music that appeals to my own ears first. If anyone else likes it that’s great too.

6. And why did you choose name The Oratory of Divine Love? Does it refer to Catholic brotherhood founded in 1497?

Very good! Yes, you guessed it. One of my interests is Church history, specifically the time of the Reformation. When I read that name I thought it would be a good project name. It sounds so cool!

7. Do you think that the difference between CD, tape, vinyl and mp3 is important? Do you prefer any of this formats?

If you’d asked me this question three years ago I would have said CD/CDRs are my preference. But within the last three years or so the download culture has pretty much killed my label (Cohort Records [http://cohortrecords.0catch.com]). So now I’m making all my own music available for download on Bandcamp [http://kirchenkampf.bandcamp.com/] [http://wirewall.bandcamp.com] [http://deliciousdragon.bandcamp.com]. I previously resisted the download model because I just don’t like the sound of MP3s no matter how high a rate you use. But with Bandcamp you can download full resolution wave files (in fact wave files are required for uploading your music to the site) as FLAC files, and since there was really no other way to get my music available at the quality I want except using Bandcamp that was what I went for. There’s a lot of free stuff on the page as well as some stuff to buy at around $4 for the entire release long with the opportunity to buy single tracks. I would like to release at least one of my albums on vinyl but it’s so expensive and I just can’t see investing all that money on something I’ll probably only sell about 100 copies.

8. You record music from about 25 years (yes?) but it seems that your projects are relatively little-known on so-called "ambient" / "industrial" scene. Is that really so? And why? Did you think about better promotion, recording for big labels (I mean, big underground labels, of course) etc.? Or maybe you are not interested in such things?

Well I’m really not that good at self-promotion. Most of my sales have been a result of word of mouth and announcements on Facebook. I have had my music released on other labels though (small ones of course) like Diophantine Disks [http://discs.diophantine.net/] which has released a ‘kirchenkampf’ double CD (not a CDR) and an ODL CD. ODL has also been released on the Russian label Waystyx [http://waystyx.com]. Some of my earliest cassette releases have been released on various European micro-labels, most now out of existence. As for if I’m interested in better promotion, if I can reach more people that’s definitely a good thing for my music, but considering what kind of music I make and that I primarily make for myself, my expectations are not very high. It is fun when people write and tell they like what I’m doing. But having people like my music isn’t really why I do it anyway. I do it because I want to and can. Other people liking it is just a bonus. I’ll still be making music, I hope, another twenty years from now whether people are listening or not. And who knows what it will sound like by then!

9. What equipment (synths, gears) do you use most frequently?

What gear I use depends on what I’m doing. My live rig is quite simple (less things to go wrong!). For live work I use a laptop using energyXT 2.6 as a VST host running various VST synths and effects (my primary vst synth at the moment is Alchemy), a keyboard controller, and an audio interface. So far it’s worked very well. In fact most of the new ‘kirchenkampf’ releases have used this set-up since I’ve been going for a more performance oriented composition style. The decision has been to record single performances into my computer (using Audacity for the most part). This is different than the layered multi-track model I’ve been using for ‘kirchenkampf’ up till this time. It’s also good practice for my various live performances (one which will be on April 5 in Indianapolis, IN, USA).

My computer recording set-up is centered on FL (Fruity Loops) Producer. This has all my VST synths and effects installed. The keyboard controller is connected to that and I usually create layers to be added together later on. This is a lot more like modern recording models where you take a single instrument and layer everything else around and over it. I don’t usually use this method anymore unless I’ve got something I need to do and can’t do it live (I don’t really have that many keyboard chops anyway).

What is taking the place of ‘kirchenkampf’ in this way of working is my more modern, “ambient” style under the project name Delicious Dragon [http://deliciousdragon.bandcamp.com/]. This is my beat oriented project which I do when I get tired of the abstract spacey stuff. I like it but I’m really not sure what genre it falls into because I really make the stuff up to please myself. I guess someone else can tell me where it falls because I usually don’t listen to that kind of music anyway.

10. It is common among musicians that they listen to music different from their own style. For example, some guys who play metal say that they listen mostly to music of Chopin and Grieg, some noise artists declare that they are interested mainly in electronic rock (or tibetan gongs or anything other). Sometimes they even don't know what happens on their "scene". Is it your case? What are your favorite bands and composers?

My listening habits are quite different than my compositions. I listen to a lot of Prog (love the synths and also because that’s what I grew up listening to), Kraftwerk, Tangerime Dream, Klaus Schulze, American rock from the 70’s and 80’s, modern classical, avant-garde, modern jazz and its branches (Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Mahavishnu Orchestra, etc.), early ambient (Brian Eno, also like his rock albums too). Also like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, and Mahler. You get the picture. I like MUSIC, and I don’t worry about genres. If I like it, I like it.

11. After so many years, what has changed in your attitude to music? What are your nearest artistic plans?

I’m always looking for a new way to make music so I don’t get bored and don’t keep repeating myself (hence the reason for all the different project names). But there’s still so many ways to make music and I don’t see that fact changing for a long time. Granted, some of it will be junk (and that really doesn’t matter either because some people like junk), but there’s always a lot of good stuff there, but you have to look for it.

-- Adam T. Witczak [24 marca 2013]



ostatnie wywiady autora:
Interview with Harry from Audio Gourmet -- [20 lutego 2016]
John Gore / 'kirchenkampf' / Oratory of Divine Love -- [24 marca 2013]
Ludola - ułani z fantazją -- [10 grudnia 2012]
Panic Bedroom -- [25 sierpnia 2012]
Harry (SkullLine) -- [11 stycznia 2012]
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