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Deviant Logic Unfolding: English Heretic Interviewed

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Deviant Logic Unfolding: English Heretic Interviewed

You've divided the album into three sections, the first 'occult', the second 'psychopathology', and the third blends the two. Are these cornerstones of the type of research you like to do?

AS: Yeah, as I said, the early idea of "Anti-Heroes" is a kind of heretical notion of 'occult-icising' Ballard's work, looking at it from an occult perspective but also pulling in Kenneth Grant [English ceremonial magician and Aleister Crowley's heir apparent] who is the other main influence on the project; so mashing up these two things to create like a forensic occultism. The other aspect is that I've got background in medical – I did my degree and MSc in neuroscience, so I've got these kind of rational views, but I'm also interested in magic, so it's sort of harmonising two aspects of interest: occult psychopathology.

Much of English Heretic's work has occult connections. Are you an active practitioner, a student of the occult or is it more of an academic interest?

AS: I am definitely a practitioner, but influenced by certain occultists - particularly Kenneth Grant and some freeform strains derived from chaos magick - Jan Fries' Visual Magick for example. As a youngster I did perform magick for the common goals of getting a girlfriend, getting a job etc, but it felt that the pathworkings of traditional magic appeared relatively unimaginative compared to the imagery of visionary fiction. It felt that I was in some ways restraining the imagination through a conventional approach to magic. Conversely, when writing fiction I felt I was tapping into a malleable reality more akin to magic. So really the concept of creative occultism derives from the dalliance between fiction and conventional ritual - we are always involved in ritual when carrying out creative activity.

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