An Interview with Lacey Conner of NOCTURNE
Interview by Ray Van Horn, Jr. - May 2005
Six years running now, the industrial rock group Nocturne has adopted a metallic punch to their underground decadence on their latest release Guide to Extinction. Lacey Conner and Chris Telkes remarkably continue an artisanís partnership despite the end of a quixotic relationship that lasted well over eight years. As you read this interview with mesmerizing vocalist Lacey Conner, you will meet a deeply grounded individual with high ideals which cements her musical bonds with Telkes. A hearty ďright onĒ goes to Lacey and Chris for their perpetual humanitarian and animal rights stances as well as a rocksteady new album. If thereís one way to summarize the multifaceted personality of Lacey Conner, it would be to say that she would idyllically have the world united in inquiring thought if not action. After all, the simplest deed is mere awareness.
First off, I want to wish you peace for the loss of your mom. My wifeís father passed a month ago and we were all there to watch him go. My wifeís having a hard time, so my heart goes out to you.
Lacey Conner: Oh, thatís very, very sweet! I really appreciate you saying that to me. Thatís very nice. Yeah, itís been rough. Iíve been trying to hang in there, but obviously itís a difficult situation, so thank you, thatís very nice of you to say.
RoughEdge.com: My pleasure. Hopefully the music allows you to escape a little bit.
Lacey Conner: Yeah, anytime you have to deal with something like that, itís not easy, but yeah, it helps staying busy on the road. I think it definitely helps! (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: I should jump right into the music, but Iím a proponent of peace and I have to single out the fact that you and Chris support human and animal rights passionately. To me, thatís very impressive and I copied your myspace.com blog into my own blog Ö
Lacey Conner: Oh, thank you very much! It makes me really happy when other people realize that about us, our humanitarian efforts and animal rights efforts, and anytime anybody says ďHey, thatís cool, Iíve been out spreading the word too,Ē thatís the thing. If we could get everybody to care at least a little bit or even give it some thought, if nothing else, itís definitely a good thing. I appreciate the fact that you put that into your blog, thank you!
RoughEdge.com: No doubt, man. To me, it gets a big ďright onĒ and I would offer you the soapbox if youíd like to take it for a minute or two.
Lacey Conner: Oh, yeah! As far as what our thoughts are, you mean?
RoughEdge.com: Exactly. Iím pretty much down with most of what you list, but for the sake of the interview, I thought Iíd let you tee off as much as you wanted to.
Lacey Conner: Oh, great! Thanks so much, I really appreciate that! I think basically our standpoint is that everybody is so consumed with their own day-to-day lives. Itís like, ĎOh, I have to wake up at 6:30 and go to my job and oh, my boss is an asshole and now I have to get the kids from soccer practice and I have to do this and do that.í Weíre obviously so wrapped up in our day-to-day lives that we never really take a moment to just step back and look at the bigger picture and see what else is going on in the world besides whatís going on in our own little lives. Within the grand scheme of things, itís relatively insignificant. The thing is, I know that weíre all busy and we all have things that we have to take care of, so Iím not asking anybody to devote their lives, nor am I asking anybody to be Mother Theresa, but more just to read up on these issues. Thereís so many websites out there that are informative and educational and if people just read up on these issues and find out exactly what touches their hearts and what they might be concerned about, and maybe just spend a few minutes once a week, you know?
Lacey Conner: What can I do? Can I write a letter to somebody? Can I take a stance in any regard? Some things are as easy as not doing something! For instance, if people read up on how awful the food industry really truly is Ö itís not just that the animals get killed, but theyíre tortured and they suffer their whole lives before theyíre killed, and the food industry will never do anything to make itself better. The only way to stop it would be for everybody to quit buying fur, which would force them to discontinue. So itís as simple as saying ĎIím not going to buy a fur-trimmed item from the store,í or whatever, thatís easy! Iím not saying spend time doing something, Iím saying donít do something! How easy is that? Thereís so many things we can do to make this world a better place for our fellow human beings and for animals as well as help the environment, itís so easy. Itís not time-consuming, so if people just read up and took a few minutes to ask ĎHey, what can I do to make things a little bit better?í if we all did that, I think it would make a really big difference. So thatís what Iíve been preaching to people.
RoughEdge.com: Right on. Now for my next question, Iím not going to mention this band by name because I donít want to give them any extra publicity, but a promo came across my desk that featured a bunch of Neo-Nazis who were unabashedly racist. On the other side, Nocturne openly embraces human rights, which I think we need more of. Do you feel that mankind at its core is irredeemable with base intolerance?
Lacey Conner: You know what? Iíve asked this question to myself for so long now. Is it as far as whether mankind is overall good or overall evil that youíre asking?
Lacey Conner: Yeah! Iíve really been struggling with this question because on the one hand I see so many horrible, awful things that make me physically sick to my stomach, as well as some of the things I read about. On the other hand, I see things in the news where like a puppy fell down a drainage pipe thatís twenty feet below the surface of the street and everybody in the whole neighborhood has got their tractors and shovels tearing apart the road just to save this little puppy! So, I donít know what makes the difference; Iíd really like to figure this out. Iíve even been thinking about writing a book, more so I can try to figure it out from a philosophical and sociological standpoint what makes the difference. Some people are just cruel, heartless, evil people and on the other hand there are people that are just so great and so genuine. I donít know what makes the difference. I donít know if it has to do with age, I donít know if it has something to do with what part of the world they grew up in. Even in our own country we get both, so I donít think thereís really an answer to that question. Thereís a lot of great people out there and thereís a lot of horrible people out there and the only thing I can say is that this is why I try to do what I do, to show everyone and mainly influence young peopleóI think thatís the most important thingóand to get people to stop and think, especially the young kids. We can influence them, which is not to sound corny like ĎOh, the kids are the future,í but itís true you, you know?
Lacey Conner: I mean, some people are so set in their ways thereís no way of rehabilitating their thinking, you know? Whenever someone does wrong, they go to prison, or whatever. Youíre not going to change that thinking. If someoneís been a racist their whole lives Ö some of these people on Jerry Springer are just so ridiculous and theyíre misogynistic racists. Thereís no way youíre going to convince them otherwise, so those people are a lost cause. So what weíve got to do is reach out to people who donít really care either way and havenít formed an opinion, or the really young people and reach out to them and get them to start thinking about something, you know? Thereís more to the world than your own little life, not to put down anybodyís life, but thereís so much more to the world and once you step back and stop worrying about soccer practice or whatever for a few minutes ... I know people stress out on money and paying bills and I know thatís stressful, but weíve really got to step back and look at the whole world and what is going on, you know?
Lacey Conner: I also donít believe humans are more important than animals or vice versa. I started out being really into animal rights and the criticism I got was ĎWhy are you concerned about animals when thereís a child starving,í or whatever. I said ďYouíre right in regard that we also need to be concerned about people, but youíre not right in regard that animals should be blown off because weíre more concerned about people.Ē Those need to be addressed equally and crucially, I believe. Thereís a quote that I heard one time and it said that a human life is more important than an animalís. Itís like saying a white person is more important than a black person or a man is more important than a woman. Weíre all here, we all feel pain, we all feel emotional stress and we do what we can. I mean, every person who lives on this planet and every animal, every being on this planet has a right to a comfortable existence, you know? Bottom-line.
RoughEdge.com: Right on.
Lacey Conner: We just need to get more people to care. As I said, they donít have to devote their lives to it; just read up a little bit, just give it some thought. Have a discussion with a friend or a family member about it, you know? Just start opening your eyes and caring more about whatís going on! I think a lot of people get overwhelmed and they go, ĎWell, I canít do anything about it, so why even try?í Or they say ĎItís too horrible to think about.í This is the one I donít like, when people say that. Iíll say ďLook at this video footage of what this animal goes through and itís being tested on for that shampoo you wash your hair with.Ē Proctor and Gamble, who basically dominates the cosmetic industry, not just cosmetics, but clothes, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, they pretty much have all of it. When I go to the grocery store, if I want any dishwashing detergent, I pretty much have to look at the back of any box (laughs) to make sure itís not Proctor and Gamble, because I donít want to support them with my money since they test on animals!
RoughEdge.com: Right, right.
Lacey Conner: So Iíll tell people to look at this video footage of this animal seething and yelling in pain because what theyíre doing to it is with no anesthesia and itís being held down so it canít move, you know? This is so fucked up! This is disturbing and people go, ĎThatís why I donít want to look at it. Itís too disturbing; I donít want to see it.í But the thing is, thatís a really selfish way of looking at it. It says, ĎThat bothers me, so I donít want to think about it and Iím not going to have anything to do with it!í Thatís really selfish! We need to bite the bullet and say ĎYou know what, this is really horrible and I am going to make myself think about it and I am going to care,í because something needs to be done. This is not acceptable in todayís society! This is 2005 and weíre acting like a bunch of barbarians! Anyway Ö (laughs) Once you get me started I can go on for six hours! (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) That was the intention, but what I would add to that is that I agree with what youíre saying where you canít attack a lost cause, but you can certainly go to the middle ground, which is apathy, and try to educate.
Lacey Conner: Exactly! To just dismiss it altogether and go ĎItís too big of a problem, I canít do anything to fix it, and I donít want to think about it because itís too disturbing,í thatís just really selfish and itís lazy! Itís a lazy approach and itís a selfish approach. If all of us in the whole world decided to care just one inch more than we do now, that will make some differences. Thatís a good start, you know, which is better than nothing.
RoughEdge.com: Yeah. Now perhaps you would appreciate this, but in my review of your new album, "Guide to Extinction," I called it ďas entertaining and welcome as Greg the Bunny on DVD.Ē In many ways, that show is kind of a reflection of Nocturneís beliefs. I donít know if youíve seen that show before Ö
Lacey Conner: Iíve heard a little about it but Iíve never actually seen it, though.
RoughEdge.com: Oh my God, youíve got to check it out! They use puppets amongst humans to demonstrate mankindís bigotry and itís pretty much adult-theme oriented. It was on Fox for about 12 episodes, Seth Green was on it. I know you were in a film with him once? ("The Attic Expeditions").
Lacey Conner: Right! Yeah, yeah.
RoughEdge.com: Youíve got to check that show out, man.
Lacey Conner: Yeah, Iíve heard about it, I havenít seen it, but I want to, though.
RoughEdge.com: Yeah, yeah, I think a lot of our mutual ideals got reflected on that show. Of course, it was yanked ahead of its time, go figure.
Lacey Conner: Yeah, we need more of that. Anything like that that can be brought into the media or made entertaining somehow, thatís always really, really good. Music is one form of media and thatís why we try to incorporate it as best as we can because thatís a way to start getting the message across to people.
RoughEdge.com: Right. I know youíve probably endured a bunch of comparisons like ĎOh, Lacey sounds like thisí or ĎLacey sounds like that,í but I canít help but liken you in certain spots to Wendy O. Williams.
Lacey Conner: Yeah, Iíve heard that before! The funny thing is I never even listened to her band (Plasmatics) until maybe about a year ago when a friend of mine let me listen to some of her stuff. So yeah, Iíve gotten that a fair amount.
RoughEdge.com: Right on, man. She was such a revolutionary for her time. I kind of wish she was alive to see how far women have come in hard music, you know what I mean?
Lacey Conner: Yeah, I totally agree. Absolutely. Another example of somebody I really look up to is Gen from the Genitorturers. Anytime that a woman can express herself in her sexuality as well as be strongly respected at the same time, thatís really cool. Obviously thatís what Wendy O. Williams did and yeah, Gen comes across as being so aggressive and so domineering and yeah, I totally dig that. I think thatís great and actually weíre on tour with Hanin Elias from Atari Teenage Riot and I know sheís a big advocate of strength in women, so yeah, I think thatís a really cool thing. I think itís definitely come a long way in music.
RoughEdge.com: Itís refreshing to the scene that I came from. Iím 35 (laughs) so I come form the old school where you could count the female heads in the audience much less on the stage, you know? I like how far itís come.
Lacey Conner: Yeah, yeah, and I think thatís really cool you brought that up. I totally agree with you 100%.
RoughEdge.com: Cool. Now, on "Guide to Extinction" you guys have amped it up a little bit with more metal reflections than on past efforts like "Welcome to Paradise" or "Twilight." Tell me about putting "Guide to Extinction" together. I understand a fair chunk of it, and I apologize if this is being too personal Ö
Lacey Conner: Thatís okay.
RoughEdge.com: I understand some of it is you and Chris venting about your formerly intimate relationship?
Lacey Conner: (laughs) Yeah, donít worry, I donít mind that question at all! It is kind of amusing that we were together for eight-and-a-half years and we broke up about a year-and-a-half ago and the funny thing is we seem to get along together better now (laughs) than we did when we were together! But right when we broke up, we were still in the writing process of our new album. Heís actually right here reading a magazine! I know neither one of us have said it to the other one, but I know thereís one song in particular that I know he wrote about that and the funny thing is I sing it! (laughs)
Lacey Conner: The same thing with me, thereís a song that I wrote about the whole failing relationship thing, so yeah, it is kind of funny, the fact that it is kind of an ironic situation, you know (laughs) that weíre the cause of our own misery which fuels our lyrics and creativity that we do together, you know? (laughs)
Lacey Conner: It is kind of strange how it worked out that way! Our friend used to joke and say we were the industrial No Doubt of the underground.
Lacey Conner: Because I know Gwen Stefani was dating one of her guys too and they went through the same sort of thing (laughs) so yeah, itís kind of amusing in retrospect!
RoughEdge.com: (laughs) What is the muse on ďIndulge?Ē I mean, that song is beyond seductive, man! Itís like, submissive and it makes me wonder if it serves as metaphor for something else, maybe?
Lacey Conner: No, actually it doesnít. I actually wrote that about somebody in particular and basically that song is Ö thereís no hidden meaning. I wrote it pretty bluntly and basically itís about having fun in the bedroom and Iím usually a pretty dominant person, but in the bedroom itís fun to take on all kinds of different roles, you know, to be the type of person you wouldnít be otherwise normally and just have fun with it! (laughs)
Lacey Conner: And I know thereís a lot of people out there who would appreciate it, girls especially, you know? So thatís what I wrote that for! (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: Thatís cool, man. Now, given our conversation to this point, it probably wouldnít surprise you that ďClass WarĒ is one of my favorite songs on the album, so Iím going to give you the soapbox again.
Lacey Conner: Actually, ďClass WarĒ was written by Chris and he writes the lyrics for his songs as well.
RoughEdge.com: Okay, cool.
Lacey Conner: So obviously we do have a lot of political stances and we feel thereís a lot of change that needs to be made as far as the government goes and as far as the way things are handled. That kind of goes along with what I talked about with the humanitarian and animal rights issues. People just kind of go along blindly and go ĎOkay, thatís just the way things are,í but no, some really fucked up things are going on and thereís some fucked up things going on concerning our government, and I think a lot of people do realize that and we just either kind of put a finger on it and go ĎHey, this is whatís going on and we canít just sit back and let it be this way.í
Lacey Conner: This war in Iraq, which a lot of people are against, there are so many issues that are tied together with God and I think that song and a couple of other songs on the album definitely touch upon those issues.
RoughEdge.com: For sure, man. Now, your cover of ďCocaine Sex.Ē Man, I havenít thought about Renegade Soundwave since the height of the industrial movement in the late 80s, early 90s Ö
Lacey Conner: Yeah!
RoughEdge.com: The same goes for Meat Beat Manifesto, who I need to drag off of my shelf Ö
Lacey Conner: Oh, thatís true! Yeah, youíre right!
RoughEdge.com: Fucking love those guys, man.
Lacey Conner: Yeah, theyíre great, theyíre great. I remember I was like 15 years old and I went to this Öit was like this 14-18 aged nightclub type of thing, and they always played The Cure and all of my favorite songs, and one of those favorites was ďCocaine Sex.Ē I always loved that song, so it was like, ĎWe should do a cover of that one, thatíd be awesome!í
RoughEdge.com: Right on. Thatís a nice pull, man.
Lacey Conner: Oh, thank you! (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: Another song Iím really digging is ďNothing,Ē which gives you the opportunity for clean vocals on the album. You also fuse early 80s new wave like Missing Persons or what-not. I say cheers to that!
Lacey Conner: Yeah, yeah! That was another one of Chrisí songs and he and I have almost identical tastes in music and we grew up on a lot of those new wave bands when that was really big, and also The Cure, Siouxie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Smiths, you know, that whole scene. Thatís what was going on when we were teenagers and thatís kind of what influenced us and I think you can hear that in various songs that weíve written where those influences are. I think that was an unusual one for Chris as well. When he wrote that I was like, ĎHmm, you wrote that for you,í but I like it. Itís a catchy little song and everybody seems to dig it.
RoughEdge.com: Itís a nice break in the middle of the album. Now, you guys are playing with Pigface for the Fee for All Tour. Itís even been awhile since I got around to Pigface too; Iím going to have to pull "Gub" out as well! I mean, what a demented album that was! So what kind of lunacy has this tour been for you so far? I know you have Ben Graves of Murderdolls keeping you company on the kit, so howís this tour been so far? Pretty nuts?
Lacey Conner: Well, itís been grueling but a lot of fun. Itís been a blast and itís been a very beneficial tour for us. Weíve been well-received with the crowds and people are buying our CDs and giving us positive feedback and thatís all we can ask for.
RoughEdge.com: Right on.
Lacey Conner: Weíre already working on another tour for the summer. Itís not confirmed yet, but itís looking like itís going to happen and weíre talking with the guys in Mushroomhead about going out with them.
RoughEdge.com: Nice! I dig those guys a lot!
Lacey Conner: So weíre just going to try and go on tour all year and this oneís the first one of the year and so far itís gone really good! Weíre having a really good time.
RoughEdge.com: You guys have played with Ministry and Bile, King Diamond, Thrill Kill Cult, Godhead, Entombed and others, but you know what I think would be an interesting match for you guys is Lords of Acid!
Lacey Conner: Ooh, yeah! That would be really cool! I saw them actually about five years ago in concert and they were really amazing and yeah, that would be really cool. Iíd love to do that!
RoughEdge.com: You guys would be perfectly suited, I think.
Lacey Conner: (laughs) That would be a good match!
RoughEdge.com: Okay, letís round this off with a lightning round of word association.
Lacey Conner: A lightning round of word association, okay.
Lacey Conner: G.W.? Asshole.
Lacey Conner: (laughs) Cunt!
Lacey Conner: (laughs)
RoughEdge.com: Reality TV?
Lacey Conner: Entertaining at times.
Lacey Conner: Fun!
Lacey Conner: Boring.
Lacey Conner: Um Ö yikes!
RoughEdge.com: And finally, Peace.
Lacey Conner: Absolutely.
RoughEdge.com: Cool, well, this has been fun, man!
Lacey Conner: Thank you! I really appreciate it and I appreciate the extra exposure and the interest youíre taking in our band and what weíre doing.
RoughEdge.com: Certainly! I appreciate your time, Lacey! Take care.
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Copyright © 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 21 May 2015 03:10:08 -0400.