Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Back in 199? (The Early 90's) the rapidly emerging "Spiral Tribe" we're saying a lot of things to mainstream media.  They were releasing singles, claiming to represent a lot of people - They were viewed by the underground with an equal amount of admiration and suspicion.... 

Since Castle Morton and the Canary Wharf rave SPIRAL TRIBE have occupied quite a space on/in mass media air time/publications. They suddenly seem to be regarded by the mainstream media as spokespeople for the multi-layered festival scene.... Spiral Tribe and their rave sound system are in fact quite a new addition to the ever evolving festival scene. We met three members of Spiral Tribe who, at the time, were lying low in London having had their bus/homes and sound systems Impounded by the authorities. After a number of phone calls we were told to go to a street, we were given no actual address, when we got there suddenly two people emerged from a van "Are you The Organs?" Yeah we answered and off we went to a 'borrowed' house for a chat. No names were mentioned, no identities, so we talked to number 1,2 and 3..

Why did you hold that one event at Canary Wharf? What was so important about that site?

1: There it was, this empty, sprawling mass of concrete... bollocks - with all the money they spent on Canary Wharf they could have given every man, woman and child in Great Britain five million pounds each. You can check that, somebody showed me the total amount, check it - billions and billions they've spent on it and totally empty. There we were on this only bit of green on this island.... We knew it was going to come on top of us but it just had to be done, we were just drawn to it.
2: The other angle is that basically we've been taken away from Stonehenge and thrown out of countryside, so we will do it in the city.... And we thought, where in the city is nearest to Stonehenge? If you check out that area, first you're on the Greenwich Mean line, there's heavy ley lines around the area.... Canary Wharf itself has got a true pyramid topped by a strobe light and it's this massive pillar yuppiedom that never happened, totally empty - you've got Greenwich Observatory over the water, the Queen's House, and to top it all, in the middle of all this chaos, you've got this field, a massive open space of grass like out in the country and Mudchute Farm full of animals that would have been in the country, right next door to it. So basically, when we saw this, even though there's only two roads in we knew it had to be done, it was the place, the energy there was incredible.

So it was something you had to do because of the energy and not because of the attention it would grab.

2: Purely because of that energy and it was so similar to the power that is out at Stonehenge that we feel...

For people coming in at the start - what basically are Spiral Tribe about?

1: Its one tribe, the spiral being like the beginning, the nurse of it all, spiralling out, bringing in everything to it at the same time..... We're a tribe of people, ever growing, who set out to put on parties, basically, free parties.

Some people seem to think that you're some sort of dodgy sect

1: Yeah, I know, its weird! people think all sorts of things....

So it just 'happens' then?

1: Yeah!, We just seriously get on the flow of things and just flow with it

How did it start - did somebody sit down and say, right, Spiral Tribe exists....

2: Well, we managed to get hold of a rig by persuading one of our friends to take out a loan (which I don't think was ever paid off!). At this point we were all living in squats, so we started doing squat parties and that grew on and developed until we did a party out in Amsterdam. After that we wound up coming back and found ourselves going to a free festival in Britain, near Stonehenge, Longstock, last year, where suddenly a lot of us received very spiritual sort of feeling, we all -
1: It felt so right to be there, the sun, the moon coming up, the garden, being outdoors - it was just....!
2: And one thing just lead to another until we started doing a lot of free festivals.... We've never really known where we're going, we never really planned for the future of anything, but every now and then maybe we'll see a bunch of 23s or something that signifies something's about to come up, and we see where we're going to go from that. We never predict where we're going to be, we just follow the vibe, we follow what feels right and go with it.
1: And usually there's a 23 in the area at that moment.....
2: A lot of people wondered why we went and signed this record deal, and the way I feel about it is that we had a series of free parties, one was at Chobham Common, one was at Acton Town and the other was Welwyn Garden City. Now, each of these parties, the police came down and pulled riot gear and trashed the rig; they beat lots of people up, Acton Town was probably the worst - 750 people received injuries from the police (apparently very severe, one person allegedly losing an eye) Now at that point, we didn't have a name, no one had heard of us in the media for sure; At that stage we realised that unless we got more of a public stance, we were going to get swept under the carpet by the police, it was as simple as that. We tried getting out to media, they wouldn't listen - We tried phoning up hospitals, the police, MPs, simply to get any word, and it was a closed door. So we figured next time this happens, we either want to be able to film it, or we want to be in a position to go 'Well what the f**k was all THAT about!?' and our voice would be heard. This is the whole motive behind what we're doing.

So you've almost had to put a label on yourselves just so you can say something exists?

2: Exactly, and one of the problems was - how can you do this without getting your name known? The only way to do that is to use the Spiral Tribe name, no one takes personal profit, no one puts their name to it for personal promotion or ego or whatever.....
1: It's not about ego or the personality - everything is done in the name of Spiral Tribe and it covers any creative thing that you want. Putting it into a kitty sort of thing?
2: That's it, or blag it - we never have any money...... The whole record deal is done on that basis, there's no names, it's Spiral Tribe, there's no credit to musicians.

So when you get played on the radio what does the PRS do with the royalty?

1: It just goes into Spiral Tribe, just goes into the cause and we get contracts to that effect. The first idea of the record company is: instead of making music to make money, make money to make music - Cash into noise. The ideal is a cross between the ideas of punk and the ideas of psychedelia: The psychedelic ideal that materialistic values and money were a load of bollocks, but its also the punk understanding of 'We don't need money to trash the system'. Basically what you have is a bunch of people who don't want to take personal profit, lay out for stupid cars or houses, but at the same time we use money to fund the underground scene, to put out white labels, pirate radio stations to set up a communication network so that we CAN communicate stuff like Acton Town

So, who controls all this then?

Well, its kind of like the Red Indian tribes where someone will walk in and they'll know what they feel called to immediately - one will be called to the music side, one wants to be a writer so he/she gets on the case.... it's all about thinking positive.

But what happens when somebody writes something that represents Spiral Tribe and you don't agree with it?

2: What... you talk about it, y'know what I mean?......

I mean, you've got no basic leaders or anything like that so who decides to put a record out?

2: It's very free flowing.....
1: You just follow your vibe, just sort of go with it - things just make themselves apparent.
2: I think the best way to answer that question is to say we've never had to face that problem because everything that's happened, it just happened so naturally that we haven't had to think about it. How do you know that someone's not going to go and put a white label this week and say 'this is Spiral Tribe? aren't you in great danger of loads of people just jumping in there?
1: Well to be honest if that happened they'd be right, it's what it's all about. So that could go on, you could eventually have a whole country that decides to be Spiral Tribe....
1: Yeah! whole world!

So you have a government saying they're Spiral Tribe and they're passing laws, or you have a market trader selling t-shirts with your logo so he's got enough money to go down the pub or hire a video and vegetate....

2: No, it comes down to the vibe, your understanding of the vibe, people can say they're Spiral Tribe but think about karma a second - it they're gonna do it for money or their ego then it'll be karma that gets you in the end.

Are you going to be able to hold on to that?

1: As long as we can get the element of, no name, no face - you know, our photographs are skinheads, dark glasses - no features, no one you can recognise, no idol......
2: The thing we'd like to see is everybody putting out a white label - in this day and age the thing that's freed up this particular part of the underground scene, techno, whatever, is stuff like the sampler, the Atari computer, the DAT machine, video cameras - the point is that now technology is cheap and available and people are setting up their own bedroom studios. Now if your motive isn't money or ego and all want to do is put music out, you can do that without going to the record companies. The only reason we're going to a record company is because we were getting beaten up by the police and we realised that by sticking our necks out we had to protect ourselves in someway. But if you just happen to want to put some music out for music's sake there's no reason to got to a record company anymore - we found out that they just screw about all the time.