The uninitiated listener could learn a lot about William Control from the art on his “Punishment Tour” poster. On it, Mr. Control wields a paddle that appears to be in mid-swing on a collision course with a nude girl’s unclad posterior
Yet, not even the titillating tour poster could have prepared me for the interview with the Dark Lord himself and the subsequent fall into a rabbit hole of a concert. His sound I can only describe as being evil-underground-London-vampire-sex-techno-rock; other William Control listeners know that each of those words was carefully chosen. The interview, however, showed a different side to William Control- that of a traveled intellectual who has carefully crafted an exciting alter ego.
Technique: What’s the story behind the character of William Control?
Control: I suppose that every artist has a voice that he uses to convey what he’s trying to convey. For many years I did a punk rock band called Aiden, and used that voice. With William Control … I feel like there’s a lot of different voices in my head; a lot of artistic visions and avenues I can go down. William control is just one of those extensions. A lot of my favorite things that I’ve ever done have been created out of a lot of pain or heartbreak or hurt or violence.
William control came out of a really turbulent time in my life- Aiden had been on tour for three years straight without any breaks, and I was in a s****y relationship with a ridiculous woman. I decided I was going to quit my band and move to England in the middle of a record cycle. I left and I wrote the first William Control album and returned to put it out.
Technique: Your music has a dark, sexy feel to it. What’s your muse?
Control: Vagina. A**? A** more than vagina. Whatever inspires me at the time of writing, be it a particular song, or sonnet or book. I don’t really just have one thing, like this pack of cigarettes *gestures at pack of Marlboros*. There’s a lot of things in my life that inspire me. I think the world is just a beautiful place, and it inspires me.
Technique: With a look and a style as bold as William Control’s, have you met up with any controversy along the way?
Control: Not really. I’m not reinventing the wheel. I’m not too provocative — I mean, I sing about sex and BDSM, and a lot of the imagery I have is scantily clad beautiful women and other things that I’m into. It’s not a controversy- I’m not Marilyn Manson in the 1990’s, looking like the antichrist. I like music and dancing, and connecting with people.
Technique: You’ve been outspoken on the topic of religion before- Alternative Press published your essay “God is Dead” in 2010. How do your thoughts on religion influence your music?
Control: I’ve been studying monotheistic religions for a while. I grew up a protestant Christian, as most Americans have. It makes sense- that’s how America was founded. Now we have all these variations of Christianity — Baptists, Methodists, Lutheran … all of these different sects. I’ve been studying religion because as a kid I believed what I was told simply because I was a kid. A kid is going to believe what authority tells him.
When I started traveling the world after I got sober in 1999, I was more of an agnostic. As I started seeing other cultures and religions, a lot of it seemed ridiculous to me. I started to notice that every religion claims absolute truth. A lot of those studies and that style of thinking has influenced my decision to become an atheist. The Bible still gives me a lot of inspiration- there’s a lot of malevolence and darkness in biblical stories. That comes out in my music.
Technique: Your other band, Aiden, has a more punk rock feel. William Control’s sound is a little bit different. Why the original switch from Aiden, and what’s it like writing and performing in two different acts?
Control: I hate when a singer decides to do a solo project and it’s just B-Sides of a band. Just put out another band album! I started putting out songs that were on the other side of the spectrum from Aiden. You go to an Aiden show and you dance and mosh and whatever, and that’s the deal. Anger stuff. I wanted to make something sexy and grown-up. Something you can get f****d too.
Technique: What does the future hold for William Control?
Control: I don’t have any plans to hang it up. I feel at this point like I’m just starting. I’ve finally built an audience. I’m going to finish the third revelator book. The new William Control album will probably be a 2016 release.
William Control’s most recent release, Neuromancer, is available on iTunes and Amazon. His book series Revelator is also on sell at retail booksellers.