The works of Spite Cathedral has been described as foreboding, almost overwhelmingly beautiful and nearly terrifying. Unnerving in a Hammar Horror way, awkwardly pleasant and even spiritual. It’s all true, turn it up loud and give in to the pull!
Suspended In Gaffa is a side project of Dan Stielow Mortazavi (Spite Cathedral, Mischling, Ism. etc). He started his escapades in electronic music back in his teens with a self released cassette back in 1982/83. Then with his best friend Kenneth Neuhaus as The Product, which some 30 years later was released on vinyl on Dark Entries. The Suspended In Gaffa project is mainly done with another long time partner Casper Holm which he also played with in the 90’s in the shoegaze band Pale Imitation Of Love. Casper Holm was also one of the original member of the legendary Danish post punk band Before.
Can you tell us a bit about your experience? Been turning knobs, pushing the key C and yelling into microphones since the early 80’s;)
Where are you from / how did you get into music? I was born in Iran and my parents were Norwegian/German and Iranian. We moved to Norway when I was a few years old, to Denmark when I was eight, briefly in Germany and I finally to Sweden back in 2004. I been told I loved music even as a toddler, dancing around in my crib. But I would say my musical awaking came in the late 70’s when music really resonated with me on deeper level with artists like Kate Bush, David Bowie and the first wave of punk/post punk and all the electronic stuff that followed. Bands like Throbbing Gristle and Fad Gadget.
Was it all internet based? No I’m one of the few dinosaurs still hanging on hahaha. The internet wasn’t invented yet, nowadays I stream music but still collection physical formats. Some claim I have of Sweden biggest collection of music.
Who have been your main inspirations (both musically and in “life”)? And how have they affected your sound? Kate Bush made me feel that music could be magical..erhmm larger than life. But what got me started was punk and the scene that followed shortly after. You no longer needed to be a great musician to make music…it only needed to be intense and hopefully make people feel and maybe make them think something new. Filmakers such as Buñuel, David Lynch and Lars Von Trier. I was also obsessed with the horror genre as a kid. The written word also inspires.
How would you define your sound? Sometimes soothing, mostly intense, always full of flaws:)
How has your sound evolved so far? A bit more layered and refined at it’s best.
What can you tell us about each song that makes up your latest work? What is hidden behind? I would leave that up to the listener, I feel you might alter peoples own listening experienc if explained in detail. But in short the Suspended In Gaffa album touches topics of loss, love and anger. The Spite Cathedral album mirrors on the current world situation. War and the hardship innocent people suffers, the disinformation being spread that unfortunately has turned into a movement that they found an alternative truth.. I fear this shit will break down our democracies.
How are you living the current situation due to COVID? Has your work affected you a lot? Do you think there is hope? I feel like the underground scene will continue to persist. With life there is hope:)
Hello ! Where can we find you now? How did you start your day? Way out in the country side in south of Sweden. Coffee and more coffee.
When did the idea of starting a project start to take shape? Has it always been something you wanted to do? Out of coincidence, out of an idea lurking in my head, by chance meetings.
How would you define the sound of your latest work? What is the concept behind? See above I guess.
What artists are you interested in these days? So much great music coming out all the time. Recent discoveries Swedish acts like KÅRP and Kriget, an artist called Ize and heavy rotations by Sex Swing, Blood Music, Dave Phillips, Phantogram and the latest single by pop queen Tove Lo is amazing.
How do you manage to combine such disparate genres? How do you manage to give them unity and harmony? What do they have in common for you? Don’t know if I do..the music happens and I squeeze’em in a box. At other times I have a complete concept where the titles and artwork are done before I even start recording anything.
Can you tell us something about your current or future projects? Oh a whole bunch, several collaborations. Have some finished material with John Reidar Holmes as Our Mothers Meds. New project started recently with my old mate Karsten Svendsen as ATE23, a bit clubbier than what I done for years. We label it Oblivion House / Stoner Trance haha. Also new project with Johan Fotmeijer…think we settled for calling us Choke Club and also one in the early stages with KAGAMI Smile.
Finished the second album as Ism. should be out this autumn. Vocal and guitar based stuff as the first but made with Casper Holm a legendary post punk musician from Denmark that also been highly involved in the Suspended In Gaffa project. And a lot of stuff recorded as Spite Cathedral since it’s my main project.
How do you feel your music influences or impacts your listeners? I friend of my jokely said to make them jump off a cliff. I sure as hell don’t hope so, lost a friend to suicide recently. If the music makes people feel, reflect wow great..get annoyed fine. Got cha;)
Do you feel safe now to play a more experimental sound? Safe in what way? I had people wanting me dead, religious people..I take it as a compliment.
We all know that the digital revolution has affected sales, but has it affected creativity? If anything I think it’s boosted creativity, people are no longer depending on record labels and turnover figures. With that budget limitations has also followed off course. On the downside, thanks to Zuckerberg we are all in a popularity contest for decades to come.
What was the first thing that attracted you to the world of electronic music? The simplicity, it was even more punk than punk…with punk you kinda had to mange a few chords. With electronic music, none as long as you had imagination.
Do you remember any record or concert that changed everything? It has happed a few times… A few every decade or so.. In the later half of the 70’s and into the beginning of the 80’s Sex Pistols ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’, Joy Divison ‘Unknown Pleasures, The Normal (Daniel Miller and Mute Records first 7” release), This Heat selftitled first and their second album Deceit, Kate Bush – The Dreaming, The Cure – Pornography in the 80’s Main – Motion Pool, Mansun – Six album and Autecres Anti EP back in the 90’s, Tim Heckers – Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again from the 00’s, Vessel – Punish, Honey, Ensemble Economique – Crossing The Pass By Torchlight and his Fever Logic album in the 010’s and the albums Bleie – The Adept, Amnesia Scanner – Another Life and an ep called Kyusa Embele from the African artist Ecko Bazz in the 010’s. Of lately Hide – Interior Terror and both Sex Swings albums got me bad.
Since you got into this professionally, what have you missed the most nationally, internationally and on the contrary, what has helped you to grow the most, even to believe in yourself? Missed a lot haha, not many heard of me. Still peoples feedback when they feel moved by the music, that means a lot.
What message would you like to convey to the public? Don’t believe everything you hear, consider the facts and who gains by bringing you the information. Sometimes it’s by a your enemy disguised as a friend
As for your studio, what is it currently composed of? Hard and software.
What is the one instrument you would never get rid of, no matter what? None
What was the last record store you visited? And what did you salvage from there? I usually visit all the Malmoe stores, buy hundreds of records each year. But lately I haven’t had the money to support my vinyl addiction so much. I was involved in the Bolero store when I had more time and it was under the Sound+Matter sign. I think one of the last buys from a record store was a record by Jonquera.
Do you have hope for the future of music? How would you like the future of the music industry to be? Where good music matters and get’s heard. Handled by people that care and heard for what it is to you not by what you been told.
What makes you happy? Music, my girlfriend, my kids, friends…craft beer and wine, nicotine and other substances.