Tony Wakeford (April 2011)

– In 1993, you released your first solo album “La Croix”. Seeing as you started your musical career in the late 1970s, why did it take you so long to release a solo record ?

– Confidence partly. Also in that first period when record companies still roamed the earth it was a lot harder to release stuff. The main thing first was to build up the profile of Sol. My solo material always sells less, but I’m not bitter!

– Why did you decide to start your own label (Tursa) ? Was it because of the decline of World Serpent or simply to be more independent ? How do you select the bands you release on Tursa ? Do you think it is still possible to make a profit with a label nowadays ?

– Well, WS was a distribution company (in theory anyway) so all the bands still needed an imprint. A label is as much or as little as you want it to be.
I no longer release material by other artists, which kind of answers your question about making a profit. I would still do it if I could guarantee just to break even on other peoples releases but even that is more and more problematic. I can’t afford to make a loss and anyway I feel a bit uncomfortable taking a % when the artist in a lot of cases could do as good a job.

– In 1996, you started a magazine called “ON – The World And Everything In It”. Why a magazine ? I have issue #1 on my bookshelf but never came across issue 2. How come ?

– It was a huge amount of work for bugger all back is the brief answer.

– What is the current line-up of Sol Invictus ? Why do you tour so seldom ? Would you consider touring outside Europe ?

– Its huge or tiny depending on circumstance.
Renee Rosen- violin
Andrew King- vocals
Caroline Jago- bass
Lesley Malone- percussion, laptop
M- percussion, dulcimer, synthesizers, producer
Guy Harries- flute, recorder, melodica
Eilish McCracken- violin
Lloyd James-Guitar
In this climate putting on a 5 or 6 person band is a risk which is why I tailor the size to what the promotor can handle. I like to pay the people who play for me even if its not a huge amount. Yes, we are open to offers.

– You have released several live albums as Sol Invictus (“Brugge”, “Trieste”…) and as yourself (“Paris”) on Tursa. Do you consider these to be an important part of your discography or was it more a way to get rid of bootlegs (akin to when Word Serpent re-released “Frankfurt Sound Depot 24-03-1991” and “Black Europe”) ?

– I think Sol work live and for the more die hard fans I think its good if we have some control over the quality thats released. Doing small editions of live concert is a way to try and do that.

– You have collaborated with my favourite artist from Monaco : Nick Grey. How did this come about ? Can we expect any new material from Grey Force Wakeford or was it one off shot ?

– I met Nick via My Space and Kris Force. It is possible we will attempt to work together again. Nothing is planned for the moment. I think we are all busy with our own projects.

– What is going on with Matt Howden ?

– God knows. Mooning on record covers. Won’t someone think of the children?

– Is anything happening after HaWthorn ? What about Duo Noir ? How did the line-up change from Matt Howden to Andrew King ?

– Nothing planned. Matt’s an old friend and we have both recently played on the same bill together which is always enjoyable. We are both busy but who knows.
Well, when Matt left Sol to concentrate on Sieben it seemed a good idea to change direction rather than try and find a pale imitation of Matt, who had shaped a lot of that sol periods sound. Unfortunately that that turned out to be….. King.

– In a few months, Sol Invictus will play in London with 6comm. It is announced to be the last 6comm show ever. What are your thoughts on this ? Do you miss the times where Sol Invictus was playing with Death In June and Current 93 ? Do you miss the 80s at all ?

– Well firstly I am very happy that Patrick and Gaya have asked me to be part of this historic event. It seems to have garnered a lot of interest, as it should. It nice being back in contact with Pat.
As for the past, of course there was a time when it was seen rightly or wrongly as a 3 headed beast but I prefer to stay in the present. As for the 80’s, well there was a period when I was on self destruct, and that I do not miss at all.

– May we talk a bit about symbols and more precisely the Sol Invictus logo? Why was this particular symbol chosen ? How important was it to have a logo for your band ? Some people see it as a lion and others as a sun. What does it represent for you ? How does it feel to see it tattooed on Henry Rollins back ?

– It was based on a old Mithraic symbol Tibet showed me. Anita Plank who designed the Trees In Winter cover came up with the design which I wanted to be a amalgam of a wolf and a sun.
I think it very important. What this says I don’t know. I have just had a logo done for my solo work which will appear on anything I contribute to as well. Little things please little minds, I guess.
Henry Rollins tattoo is lovely but is not “my” design. His is a sun symbol but different. The chap in fear factory has it my symbol tattooed, or at least he did have.

Tony photo by Aida Faramin
Band photo by Lesley Malone
Wakford logo by Peters Bernard
Interview by Albérick

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