Wyrd Question Daze: Philippe Gerber and Mark Harris

Where did you come from and where are you going?

Mark: I was born in Birmingham UK – even as a kid I was fascinated by experimental / electronic music – as a teen at school in the late 70’s and art college in the early 80’s my buddies were all listening to chart music, or Led Zeppelin et al. whilst I was listening to Stockhausen, Brian Eno, Free Jazz, Krautrock and Motorik. I would spend hours recording radio static and speeding it up slowing it down on reel to real tape recorders and messing about with oscillators experimenting with sound – I guess what I’m doing now is just an extension of what I was doing all those years ago.

As for where I’m going? Never had a clue where I’m going, I just follow anything that I get the ‘hmmmm that’s interesting’ vibe from and go with that.

Philippe: I was born in France, but I have German roots from my father’s side and Asian/African ones from my mother. (she is from La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.) I think my love of music/sounds was born from being raised as a CODA child. I started listening to stuff like Depeche Mode, Prince, The Cure from an early age, as well as heavier stuff like Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, etc. I started playing guitar from an early age and I never stopped since. I’ll be into music until the day I die! I want to keep pushing the boundaries of my music and I’m hoping to play more live shows in the near future.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

Mark: As I’m your average Anarcho-Communist leftist, the appalling state of the world at the moment. Apart from that I’m fascinated by the creative possibilities of new technology, AI in particular – the human interaction with these technologies could potentially open up whole new vistas of creativity to explore.

Under lockdown I’ve started experimenting more with MIDI programming using multiple chains of probability gates to create endless generative music I’ve put some examples up on my SoundCloud site particularly the ‘Staring at the Sun‘ series – https://soundcloud.com/mark-harris

Philippe: I’m becoming a real misanthrope – it doesn’t worry me too much to become one. It just shows how I’m feeling less and less in touch with humanity. I think it’s happening to more people since COVID. Being a long-term nihilist, I’d say I’m heading into the right direction haha. The only thing that could preoccupy me is to not be able to be creative on a daily basis. I need to play and record music all the time, it’s the only thing I really want to do in his world.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

Mark: Taste – this is a weird one… ‘Bloaters’ which is a dry smoked herring which used to be common along the Norfolk coast (the East Of the UK) where I spent a lot of time as a kid – almost impossible to track down these days but the taste sends me right back

Touch – Snow / Sound – Sea / Sight – As a kid I would set for hours watching clouds develop and change / Smell – Fresh ground coffee.

Philippe: Favourite taste: hot pepper sauce. I love the way it gets my mouth on fire. I’m addicted to the taste to be honest.

Favourite touch: my wife’s hair and skin.

Favourite sound: the sound of nature. Birds, ocean waves, anything humans don’t produce. Which is weird, since I’m a music lover generated by humans. It’s a real paradox.

Favourite sight: the ocean and the sky blending together.

Favourite smell: coffee!

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

Mark: I’m blessed as I can often lucid dream – so I’ve had many times where I can wander about in a dream walking into landscapes or exploring dream buildings and interacting with what I find there. But I guess the most memorable on was I was on a beach and these massive Lovecraftian Cthulhu like creatures came out the sea – As I walked up, I saw they were made of pots / pans and various cooking utensils – Anyone who can offer an analysis of that is welcome to it.

Philippe: a dream where I’m floating and falling at the same time, some kind of out-of-body experience. I try to scream, but no sound is coming from my mouth, I’m kind of lost, struggling to get back into my body. But at the same time all these dead people under me are trying to devour me. I had this dream when I was kid, and it still haunts me. Like some kind of after death experience. Some kind of visions of the hereafter.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

Mark: Oh boy… can of worms there! my family particularly on my Mother’s side of the family were heavily into hard core spiritualism … My grandmother and grandfather used to sight in a ‘rescue circle’ where they would help earthbound spirits into ‘the higher realms’ she told me of heavy Oak tables lifting off the floor and flying across the room smashing into the wall – my Dad and Step Mother swear blind they saw a spirit materialise right in front of them at a seance (“just like Star Trek” as my dad put it).

Personally, the strangest thing I saw was a walk past the old cottage I used to live in and they had demolished it and workmen were rebuilding it – what was strange was that they didn’t have any modern machinery and the dress looked out of place… Not thinking anything of it, I was coming back 1/2 hour later and the cottage was there completely normal- maybe I experienced some kind of time slip or something.

Plus, I was extremely ill a few years ago and spent two weeks in intensive care and three months in hospital – I spent a whole month solid hallucinating.

Philippe: I have had visions for as long as I can remember. It’s related to a part of my brain that is over-stimulated sometimes. The first one I can recall was at 6-years old. I screamed in my bed asking my sisters to remove the cross that was on the wall above my bed. I could see Jesus going down the cross and coming right at me. I think there is a reason I chose the JOHN 3:16 moniker for my project. I have learned to live with these visions, they can be really inspiring.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

Mark: A formative experience when I was a kid in Norfolk… the area we stayed around was called ‘The Wash’ where the sea would go out for miles and the salt marsh would go inland for miles. That area of the UK is almost like Holland it’s extremely flat … All along the coast during WW2 they built small hills along the coastline with concrete bunkers looking out to sea so they could lookout for incoming invasion of the UK.

I remember as a kid sitting on top of one of these hills looking out to sea  you could see the lights change on the water and mud flats – and see storms grow and fade miles out to sea and inland … I often think this has been a massive influence on my work particularly my ambient pieces, as I’m interested in very gradually change and development 

Philippe: I lived in different countries and cities – Paris, London, Geneva, Philadelphia. The way I’m writing music has been directly connected to where I live. Philly can be a rough city and I think it really affected the song writing. ‘Tempus Edax Rerum’ – the second JOHN 3:16 album – has been written and produced here in Pennsylvania. It’s a cold, raw, dark album.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

Mark: I recently rediscovered the drone work of Pauline Oliveros. The Album ‘Deep Listening’ is incredibly moving!

Also, Ellen Fullman’s work with the ‘Extreme Long String Instrument’ an instrument she developed:

The film ‘First and Last Men’ with score by Icelandic composer Johann Johannsson with text by the English communist philosopher / science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon.

I also was very moved by Laurie Anderson’s Animated Film / Album – “Heart of A Dog” when I heard the album, I was incredibly moved almost to tears…

Philippe: ‘The Requiem’ by the Hungarian-Austrian composer György Ligeti, Cliff Martinez’s score for ‘Too Old To Die Young’, as well as a couple of Japanese films such as ‘The Human Condition’ (Masaki Kobayashi), ‘The Sword of Doom’ (Kihachi Okamoto) and ‘When a Woman Ascend The Stairs’ (Mikio Naruse). I have been reading much more lately too, rediscovering some books from Hubert Selby Jr, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Paul Auster, etc.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

Mark: I was recently thrown out of the local supermarket for allegedly throwing cheese at an old lady. I was doing my Saturday morning shop and picked up a large ball of cheese, then dropped it and in trying to catch it I fumbled it & it bounced off my hands right into the face of a rather posh elderly lady… I Immediately went to apologise but she looked at me with complete indignation and started shouting ‘you threw that at me! You threw that CHEESE AT ME!” It was so absurd I started laughing as I was trying to apologise…. this took it to a whole new level – she started shouting “YOU THREW THAT CHEESE AT ME AND YOU’RE LAUGHING AT ME!!! SECURITY SECURITY!!!!!” Eventually a store manager came and I was escorted off the property being told “We don’t want your sort here, you should know better at your age”.

Philippe: Back in 2007, I had the chance to record at the ‘Electrical Audio’ in Chicago owned by Steve Albini. I recorded the first and only ‘Heat From a DeadStar’ album there. It was produced by Rick Harte of ‘Ace of Hearts Records’ and Bob Weston of ‘Shellac’ (long time pal of Steve Albini) was the sound engineer. We spent a couple of weeks in Chicago, I was hanging with Bob Weston, checking his every move on the mix console, etc. We had pizza, hot dogs and other unhealthy food together. Then long after the recording, he got me a VIP pass to the ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ in London in 2008. I managed to hang out with the Shellac dudes, as well as OM and other cool bands. Good memories.

Mark Harris: TwitterInstagram

Philippe Gerber: TwitterInstagram

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Wyrd Question Daze: Kevin Downey

Hi, my name is Kevin and I release music under the name Giants of Discovery. I hail from the Wirral in the North West of England. I love a good concept/story on which to hang my music. For example, see my Victorian Cosmic horror album, Out of Time (released on Library of The Occult) and my Greek mythology album, Orpheus (released on Woodford Halse).

Sometimes the music comes first, with the concept gradually revealing itself to me. On other occasions I have an idea for a concept and then frame the music around that. I’m currently finishing off mixing a couple of albums for release later this year on 2 labels. I’m eternally grateful to the fantastic labels that support my musical endeavours by releasing them in to the wild and to the wonderful people for buying them!

I have an upcoming album being released soon on Subexotic. It’s called And It’s Goodnight From The Human Race. It’s a Space themed album and is part of a trilogy of similar themed albums to be released on the same day. The other albums are by Letters From Mouse and Camp Of Wolves, two artists I greatly admire. The official release date is the 24th February but you can pre-order the album now via this link

Here’s a few other links to access my music:





Where did you come from and where are you going? 

I’ve come from a place very much focused on the secular, atheistic way of thinking with a smattering of “there’s some weird shit that happens in this world that I can’t explain and fit into this pigeon-hole”. I’m now very much on a Fool’s journey (to use the language of the Tarot), embracing the esoteric and High Strangeness that is prevalent all around us, if you’re prepared to look for it and acknowledge its presence. I’ve found that the more you look for and acknowledge the synchronicities and unexplainable stuff that goes on all around you the weirder life gets.

What preoccupies your mind these days? 

I’m obsessed with High Strangeness and learning the Tarot at the moment and have acquired a mountain of books that I’m trying to work my way through. I’m also listening to a load of really interesting podcasts that have blown and expanded my mind over the last year or so, including Penny Royal, Weird Studies, Consensus Unreality and Vayse (big shout out to the boys Buckley and Hine who present that one).

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

I’m a sucker for anything chocolate related, especially dark chocolate. My favourite sound is my wife laughing. I love seeing Archie, our Border Terrorist, running on the beach. Even though I stopped drinking it years ago I love the smell of a newly opened jar of coffee. Don’t think I have a favourite touch.

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares  

As a kid I used to live next to a church and I used to dream quite often that the vicar was secretly a vampire and he would get into our house and turn my mum and dad into vampires. I would escape out of the house from them all and run down the street trying to take off and fly away, like Superman. I would always get just a few feet off the ground before I floated back down until I was only a few inches off the ground, all the while the undead would be getting closer and closer. That’ll teach me for also having a love of Hammer films as a kid as well!

Have you ever had an uncanny experience? 

A recent one was when I was driving to Birmingham and was listening to an hour long podcast about the Death Tarot card which covered, as you would expect, philosophical discussions about death and its various guises/meanings. The second the podcast finished I looked across to the opposite lane and there was a hearse with a coffin in it driving past me. It blows my mind how the timings of a lot of things had to be spot on for that event to occur at that exact time, and for it to have that synchronicity aspect to it.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself? 

The majority of the music I write tends to lean more to the melancholic but I’m not sure if that’s as a result of where I live or that I’m just a miserable git at heart!

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

As previously stated I’m really inspired by this esoteric journey I currently find myself on. I’ve no idea where it will lead me but I’m just going with the flow at the moment. These type of experiences tend to seep into the music or writing over a period of time, generally subconsciously.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

I was waiting at the bus stop years ago to get the bus home from work. I was at the front of the queue, the bus arrived and the driver opened the door. As I stepped on, leaning forward the bus driver accidentally closed the door. Before I could react the rubber seals on either door squashed my face momentarily. People behind me sniggered as I remonstrated with the driver who was very apologetic. A bit miffed and embarrassed I slunk to the back of the bus and sat down. It was only when I got home that I noticed there were two black stripes down both sides of my face from the rubber door seals.

Wyrd Question Daze: Raymond Tani

My name is Raymond Tani and I was born in Toronto in 1960. We lived in a bilingual (Finnish, English) home that kept a strong connection to our roots in Finland from which my parents emigrated 8 years earlier. We were not well off, but found a way to go up north to the forests and lakes as often as possible. Our family found sanctuary and identity in the northwoods, something that has shaped me to this day. My mother was a lover of opera and classical music which she most definitely imprinted upon me – my first love in music is classical. My sisters gave me exposure to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Jimi Hendrix. My father, who went to war at age 17, was wrapped up in war songs played on the accordion. I think the table was set..

Unknown No.1 by solemnland on Waxing Crescent Records

Cover art by Megmayo

Where did you come from and where are you going?

I came from a modest and economically depressed beginning involving violence and alcohol abuse and have been charting a course in a line – away. I would see my children spared that if humanly possible.

What preoccupies your mind these days?

Trying to remember  everything I need to remember and expressing these emotions so someone else may encounter them and say- “Yes, I know this feeling too!”

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell

The first coffee in the morning on a canoe trip, the feel of my wifes hand slipping into mine, the A0 note on the piano resonating in the chest, a brown trout rising to a fly you’ve tied, the smell of woodsmoke especially tamarack.

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

A fever dream. My sweat drips onto the sheets and becomes blood droplets which proceed to make the sound of a jet engine on take-off.

Have you ever had an uncanny experience?

I encountered a bird of prey once as she was mantling her kill and she looked up at me – through me – actually. I saw recognition in the bird’s eyes. I know she thought the same.

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?

There’s an old saying – ‘Wherever you go, there you are’ and by extension (for me at least) where I am at, is what I am feeling. As I am not wealthy, most of my travel is courtesy of literature. And that brings to mind the quote of Thoreau – “I have travelled a good deal in Concord.”

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

Watching a full livestock truck on its way to the abattoir. Seeing their eyes. I’m not a hardass anymore. It’s almost unbearable.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

OK, you asked. Apologies in advance. There was a small country parish at the outer edges of the settled lands that existed in diminishing degrees of attendance. The church was led by a spare, nondescript  pastor of humble needs and frugal of mind. As week went onto week, and season begat season this pastor inwardly despaired at what he considered his failings as a shepherd. His flock was waning and too, his church was becoming dingier and dingier. This house was reflecting the state of matters inside. In time the pastor realized his flock was in danger of becoming less numerous than was seemly. He strove to think of reasons for his sad plight when he decided to appeal to another authority. He dropped to his knees and holding his hands prayerwise he implored  for direction. “I beseech you, tell me what I must do?” He perceived an answer. This house needed sprucing up. It must reflect something more uplifting. And so, the pastor decided to paint the outside so it would fairly shine. Alas, the parish was a poor one and the pastor reasoned he must be frugal. The next day he rode into the nearest town and purchased paint. It was costly. More than he was comfortable with but he knew he could do this job and not spend much. When he returned to his humble house he set out to paint in hopes of turning the fortunes around for his small flock. The problem was soon evident that the paint was insufficient for the task – but no matter. Water was free, plentiful and at hand. He would help the paint in doing what needed doing. Stretching out the paint appealed to his nature and by next Sunday he had finished. He waited for something, perhaps new members, perhaps words of approval from the old flock. There was none. In fact it seemed the numbers had dropped. He was in despair. The next week proved the same. Finally he dropped to his knees and in frustrated tones asked aloud “I have done what I thought would help! I have tried to make my shabby house shine but- I have failed! My efforts to increase the numbers are for naught. No one is impressed. No one approves. What oh what must I do?!” He heard a voice from somewhere high – – “Repaint, Repaint! And Never Thin Again!”

Music is the focus. Experimental, avantgarde, electronic.. Free classical. Free classical is to classical what free jazz is to jazz. My music is found primarily on Bandcamp.

Also on Apple Music

Raymond on Mastodon

My poetry which I have been writing since the 1970’s can be found on WordPress

When You Don’t Hear Wings At Night

When you don’t hear wings at night
and eyes
seeing – nothing
but overloaded with task
deciphering ten thousand
shades of can’t see enough
taking the anemic
from apologetic eyeballs
somehow passing off
the bits of sign
to the ears or,
for chrissakes, the nose,
a report card. The mental
headscratch follows.

you think
it must have been an owl
because I couldn’t see it
and I didn’t hear
the wings.

As well some of my photography can be seen here

‘Forks of The Credit’ (1975?)