.:.TRUE CRIME AND UTOPIA.:.
An Interview with Gaya Donadio
AntiChildLeague (also known as ACL) is the noise project of Italian vocalist and musician Gaya Donadio that began in 1997. In 2010, I came across ACL through the purchase of the Schräge Musik split single with them, and a review of this release would soon follow. It was the track “III MEMEME” that piqued my interest in ACL. This led to Gaya sending me the singles of Big Fat Arse and She Lost Control for review with Heathen Harvest. Needless to say, both releases got a favourable review. This furthered my interest even more and I sought out the two ACL albums Hellworm and The Father as well as her split release with Mike Dando of Con-Dom.
Gaya has also worked with Paul Taylor of Sutcliffe Judgend on his Worthless; the Final Act -Misogynist 2 CD (2009). She has also appeared as Gaya on the Elegy #2 (1997), Notre Dame 11 (1998) and on the Susan Lawly Extreme Music from Women (2000) compilations. There have been works with Mike Dando of Con-Dom (released as part of the L. White Records Free Speech for Your Right mini CD series in 2006), and an appearance on a recent Atrax Morgue tribute compilation with her version of “Sinfonia per un Sadico“. Gaya has made recent appearances on the Tribes of Medina album, The Exodus of Saints, and with 4GiftGas on their La Primiere Exhalation de 4giftgas EP. In addition to selling music and promoting gigs by other artists, Gaya has played many gigs as ACL and recently collaborated in a live context with Tina of Silent Abuse.
Heathen Harvest: What were your key inspirations in beginning to make noise music as ACL stylistically and conceptually? Had you had any prior noise projects to this, had you released anything?
GD: Prior to ACL I have sporadically adventured myself into musical projects with friends and acquaintances in Italy and in the UK. Worth mentioning is the Biotope Art Organization, where in the past we have experimented together with music / noise and visuals. We made a variety of weird videos, which we plan to edit and upload on YouTube at some point with ACL soundtracks.
Show Pan was a post-punk band I also front-lined as vocalist for some time (dis-banded for at least 22 years). I also collaborated with Contropotere in Italy with the running of the Tienament Events Organization. I played live many times before I founded my own project ACL, which it is nevertheless a sonic continuation, a metamorphosis of natural changes, a logical progression. I also formed a project with a friend which never saw the light of a release but we played live a few times. The project was called White Dog which I’m planning to resurrect with Patrick Leagas in the future. Since he came back to music full time in March this year he has been too busy setting up his own work and recording but we already have the idea and the format for the first release. Expect something harsh, weird electronic but very rhythmic.
Music inspires me as much as life and death. Philosophical ideals, utopias, true crime, psychology of the masses, abstract minds etc.. all this life things/ideas/experiences are transferable into creativity depending upon how someone is drawn towards these passions.
I have to admit that organising events within the post punk-scene and Hinoeuma the Malediction (also known as Level X and now Confession) for the past 20 years or so has taken up plenty of my time where I have somehow managed to regularly promote bands, labels and made up a nice little network in London for underground extreme experimental music.
From now on I will be focusing more on my project and only on selected gigs. I think it is interesting how social factors throughout history have shaped the way we exist, think/behave. The masochistic, the filth, the destruction, lies and the ignorance of religions fascinates me. The media are projecting guilt on us on a daily basis with venom doses, playing psychological games, creating mass hysteria and ignorance, splitting social classes even more, pretending to empathize with the population while twisting whatever news they can, projecting ‘their’ facts in favor of ‘their’ political party/associates and industry.
It is all a game to stir trouble and confuse people. They are the ‘Real Haters’. One thing I’d like to point out is that the name ANTIchildLEAGUE is a name that many people would immediately interpret as “she is coming to eat our children..”. I have had people asking me “so, why do you hate children?” not just once but many times… Sometimes I have too much hope thinking that humanity’s intelligence would rise above and see through, but I’m wrong. The ‘Thought Police” are out there using children as agents to control lives. People are afraid of what they can’t understand and as a result they behave ignorantly in a collective cretinism.
Control resides in every corner of society. Today’s ‘Freedom of expression” is only a superficial and meaningless new term just like ‘Human Rights’ seems to be becoming. Although it is the basis of society, a life choice and what people feel like doing of which I respect, the stigma of being a female in which it supposes to be a breeding machine, duplicating the self to please the secular patriarchal society we live in was also a great inspiration for ACL. I cannot associate this ritual with my own life and choose to navigate a life outside the institutions and the control that it brings. Maybe, I’d rather remain an eternal child…
Having said that I can’t deny that when I was back home and as a kid myself I have contributed to bringing up children in my family and it is hard work. Talking of breeding and how society has changed in a Christian country like Italy and Europe, women don’t breed anymore. New social conflicts are rising with other religions. The world is in a complete state of chaos and decline. Humanity’s greed, multinationals, consumerism, is/are shaping and have infiltrated our daily existence, breaking down Communities, Countries, Cultures, destroying and polluting our planet. America is mainly the cancer that is spreading the fastest. People have become very selfish wanting everything and now. There is no appreciation of what someone has. People want more and more thanks to the media brainwashing our lives.
There is no spirit of sacrifice anymore; all is to be obtained instantly as well as recognition of fame and celebrity. This enables people that have done fuck all with their life and even in music to be put on a pedestal instantly or so they think they are.. The word’s rising population and the strain put onto Mother Earth’s resources is enormous and already beyond repair. More and more people are experiencing some sort of mental health breakdown. There is no spiritual balance anymore or any feeling of belonging to something solid anymore. Community spirit it is fake. There is no such real sense of community as the media projects and wants us to believe, especially in big cities.
ACL goes towards a spiral of sonic vibes until the disappearance of the claustrophobic sense that religions bring. Religions are the people’s mantra that wants you to respect and sublimate. I reject these fake and artificially constructed pseudo divination of nothingness. ACL is no way here to shock or impress but to explore my passion. I have dedicated little time to the project, but only after the Father CD the urge to create more became more real and I’m very pleased with the sound deconstruction with my on-going recordings.
HH: One of my favourite ACL releases is your Hellworm cassette. It has a much rawer feel than all of the later ACL releases, and there are some really aggressive nasty electronics in there. I believe it was recorded on a 4-track. What kind of set-up were you using in regards to instruments and electronics?
GD: Yes it was a 4-track release and I really enjoyed the making of it. Hellworm‘s approach was very DIY-ish and the used sounds were mainly from field recordings and samples. Actually, some of the sounds I really like in this release are from the bakery machines I recorded during my time working there which I effected. My memory is a bit rusty but I think I used my little boss sampler sp202 with various FX pedals, Yamaha FX 500, Yamaha EMP 100.
HH: Will Hellworm ever see a re-issue as a cassette, CD or vinyl?
GD: No, maybe I will review the best tracks and possibly re-record them better.
HH: How did your collaboration with Tina (aka Silent Abuse) come to happen? What was it like making “She Lost Control”? You both seem very synchronised and work well together, did you both have an initial theme to work with or did that develop over the making of the single?
GD: I met Tina through organizing events. I asked her if she wanted to collaborate on something I thought of doing. She sent me some vocals which then were released on the She Lost Control 7-inch. The theme I had in mind was madness and mental health, and it fit quite well with Tina’s brutal vocals. I think we tuned up quite well.
HH: You seem to have an album working method of mixing a lot of different styles such as Noise, Power Electronics, Dark Ambient, Wall Noise, Ritualistic tribal and traditional Industrial into one album and making them gel together. Where as on your last three singles you use the medium each time to present something very different to anything you have done previously; particularly on “Big Fat Arse”, “She Lost Control” and “III Me Me Me”; if anything, the singles experiment even more. Can you tell more about these methods?
GD: I don’t know how this happens, I have no methods.. I do what I do by feeling the sound in tune with everything else, but technically I spend long hours recording, constructing, deconstructing and deleting sounds/songs. In fact, I’m never satisfied and very auto-critical of what I do thinking that I could have done it better and shouldn’t have rushed releasing it and because of this I never listen to what I do once it is released, as I know I will find something I probably won’t like. Recently I have become a bit more positive with the self-critique though. In fact, there are some songs I have to go on my new release which I really like and enjoy listening to.
I don’t like monotony, I get bored quite easily. That’s why I like tracks to sound different from each other. I could if I wanted to make 10 releases a year or even more.. but what’s the point? It is so boring to repeat the same sound with a borrowed concept and without a concept at all apart from “oh.. here we go another noise CD, look at the artwork..” Everything has been done and experimented with so I think is also good to do music by feeling it by heart. It is important to at least create something that has your own connection to it.
HH: What has the reaction been like to ACL live? From the Youtube videos, you seem to be able to carry across the intensity of the studio recordings into a live context.
GD: Yes, the reaction was amazing.. people loved it but I don’t know if the same sort of humorous songs like “Big Fat Arse” al la Whitehouse would go well abroad. I don’t have a huge repertoire.. I’m only a small project. Some people only know me as a concert organizer. I think you saw the Slimelight gig which was great. I think some other gigs I have done in small places like The Foundry were very nice and intense but there are no videos. It is hard to be one person on stage doing everything. Unless you do just wall of noise and experimental music, you cannot sing, mix and play live instruments at the same time easily.
When doing vocals, things are more complex. I recently persuaded a friend to come on stage with me for the forthcoming gig in Dresden as we have already performed together in the past and I’m very happy because it makes it easier with playing live instruments.
HH: Your most recent release, “III Me Me Me” on the Schräge Musik split, was the biggest departure in sound from previous ACL recordings. I felt it was a song rather than a piece of noise. Can you tell more about how the song came to be and its lyrical themes?
GD: I am not sure it is a one-off song. As I said above, I do what my feelings and mind tells me to do until I find a tune that is suitable to it. It can be noise, power electronics, melody and others.. I really like “III Me Me Me” and I will re-release a better, faster version of it on my next album. It is strange to explain how I came up with this song. I think human egos and the drama that goes with them has inspired me to make an ironic melody song such as “III Me Me Me”. The new album, The Son, part of the trilogy The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost is probably due for release at the end of this year.
ANTIchildLEAGUE - Discography Overview
ANTIchildLEAGUE - Hellworm – Cassette – 2001 – Self released
The Hellworm cassette was the début release by ANTIchildLEAGUE in 2001, stylistically it combines grinding Industrial and Power Electronics, and it falls into Darker Ambient territory through occasional murky muddy electronics and vague vocal samples. There are also lengthy passages of wall noise, field recordings and samples that are pushed to their extremes. Hellworm is defined through Gaya’s hysterical and rabid vocal that pushes itself through a wide range of extreme desperate emotion.
It is as if she is having a constant argument with herself and anyone within listening distance; shouting, yelling, begging, pleading, screaming and losing the plot until interrupted or drowned out by noise. Discobimbo is an impressive shifting mass of dense wall noise and demonstrates the projects impressive instrumental ability. There is a lot of quirky instrumentation particularly on the Giubilio tracks; this is a key method that would truly dominate the project in later years.
Hellworm’s DIY 4 track recording method is successful through its’ raw approach and despite continual shifts between what methods are used and combined, it stays interesting and gels together well to make an impressive album. The vocals scream, plead and are a lot more upset compared to those on later releases. The overall sound of Hellworm comes across, as a lone broadcast from a room in a mental asylum, a genuine sense of sheer desperation and broken rage is spread across every track.
Con-Dom /ANTIchildLEAGUE - Free Speech – Fight For Your Right – mini CD - 2006 - L.White Records - LW-027/9
This is the 9th part in the Free Speech series on L-White records, which also included the Grey Wolves, Sektion B & Grunt amongst others. This bleak mini CD released on the excellent L. White Records comes encased in a glass frame, you have to loosen the four clips then take the glass off to get to the cdr; the other way would be to smash it.
A distant guitar references the blues and serves as the intro to a throbbing claustrophobic passage of noise that becomes ‘Treadmill’, it combines an intense processed dual vocals and rumbling background noise. You (Sterile Humanity) is a clear concise Con-Dom rant with Mike Dando in full force, with slow blasts of noise cut through with sharper electronic sounds.
Family Man (Road to Freedom 2) is a sicker more infected affair with suffocated vocals in a similar vein to early Ramleh and Kleistwahr. It sets high standards for the following ACL album, through its improved production and bleak environment.
ANTIchildLEAGUE - The Father – CD – 2008 – Hagshadow - Hag 01
The second ACL album; The Father loses the four track recording and has a much larger sound that is demonstrated by polished production and sound quality. Gate to Heaven, Entry to Hell opens with massive pulsating beats and waves of synthesized electronics. The vocals are at times genderless. Yet at other times there is a return to earlier vocal hysteria on tracks like Father S Tarantella with its’ massive build up of ritual percussion.
On tracks like Occult Purity, Gaya experiments with rumbling lower frequencies that serve as a base for cuts of smaller electronic noises and feedback. With Project the Self Absent Self, this transforms into nauseous loops of sound and vocals and these methods increase on Prayers and Priests. Spoken more assertive vocals frequently replace the hysteria and madness of earlier demos, adding clarity of context to ACL, however they can be severely abstracted through effects on Prayers and Priests. Overpopulate Destroy uses aggressive sound and collages, massive waves of distortion and sharp jolting electronics to impressive instrumental effect.
Prayers and Priests warps its sampled vocals beyond recognition and plays on failed beats, turning its subject matter into black comedy. The beats form successfully in C from Far, which serves to support constantly shifting methods of sound. Noise takes over as the rhythm in Only One Mother to support of the power of nature. News samples, sharp electronics and farting electronics create impressive passages of sound to make Clone Life. This continues on a lower level for Ghost Holocaust, which has a haunted emptiness. Things are brought back to a fuller assault on Burn the Cross-for a final assault on organized religion.
The Father like Hellworm is a strong album that throws together a variety of different approaches to create an album; it has a more professional sound and builds upon the work of Hellworm. However, it would be over the course of three singles over the following years that would truly define ACL.
ANTIchildLEAGUE - Big Fat Arse – 7” single - 2009 - Hagshadow – N.xxx
Assertive vocals deliver the nasty comedy routine that is ‘Big Fat Arse’. The Power Electronics that were built upon on The Father are minimal as cheap quirky synths dominate the sound. Feedback kicks in along side the cutting vicious Gaya rant and accelerates into hyper speed and the vocal becomes even angrier; there is a nasty fun attitude to the single.
Nattering electronics introduce Shit Baby, as the vocal emerges it is speared by a bass riff and further electronic interruptions. The vocal combines Gaya’s spoken dialogue and Hellworm era hysteria, the combination of the two styles is fully formed into an effective flip out, this single is the strongest vocal performance from ACL yet. Despite the ugly rants of both songs, both tracks are Power Electronics done the wrong way, turning this single is a brilliant and effective experimental work in its own right.
ANTIchildLEAGUE & Silent Abuse – She Lost Control 7” single – 2010 – Hagshadow777
She lost Control is a split with Silent Abuse (Tina formerly of Bizarre Uproar), both artists provide the vocals and ACL provides the noise with some help from Bizarre Uproar on the B side – Neural. Both artists continually rant and scream in increasing waves of hysteria for OCB, help is given by background noise that serves to increase the vocal madness and block silences. Vocals switch between ranting and screaming effectively with screams put to the background while one artist may provide dialogue, screams rise to the forefront, and dominate for periods of time.
This single bares similarity to Big Fat Arse through its rage, She Lost Control is fully mature and realized in its vocal. However, there is none of the comedy of the previous recording, this is a return to the dark rooms of Hellworm; this is relentlessly dark and deadly serious.
Schräge Musik / ACL – Eternity / III Me Me Me – 7” single – 2010 – Schräge Musik – Einsatz 1
This most recent single was my introduction to ACL, it falls into a moodier, brooding territory, slow plodding synths, partly spoken and partly sung vocals are used. ‘III ME Me Me’ is a warped pop song and also a big departure from previous ACL works. There are no noise methods used, this is a slow moody song with deep commanding vocals. It is a different attack with its target being the self-obsessed Me Me Me mentality of many people of today, particularly celebrities.
Schräge Musik is the project of Patrick Leagas, and Eternity equally forays into darker territories; both songs compliment each other perfectly. This single serves as an opportunity for both artists to experiment away from previous styles they use.
III Me Me Me does however have that same sonic ‘wrongness’ that recent ACL singles revel in, the singles stick to the rules even less than the albums do. The 7” as a medium seems to be used by Gaya to represent ACL in just two tracks and really break down the methods of previous recordings, this sense of reinvention whilst simultaneously checking in with past, has become a key factor in ACL’s music. The new sound of this single opens up a multitude of possibilities for the future sound of ANTIchildLEAGUE.