John Wisniewski: When and how did Sex Gang Children form, Andi?
Andi Sex Gang: The precursor to Sex Gang Children, Panic Button, was a spur of the moment creation in 1981. We had a gig booked before there were any band members. I put together the band overnight and we played around London and this developed into Sex Gang Children. It was a matter of jumping in and learning how to swim rather than taking it slow and easy. There have been a few changes to the lineup over the years since, but Sex Gang Children have always retained the same revolutionary spirit as when the band first formed. That spirit is the key to Sex Gang Children.
John Wisniewski: Was there a Goth music scene developing during this time?
Andi Sex Gang: The term ‘gothic’ had been used in a music press review to describe the deep, dark feeling of the music on Joy Division’s first album. However, the term Goth had never been used to describe a movement as such, until the mid to late 1980’s. The original term used to describe the new wave of bands from the early 1980’s was ‘Positive Punk’, a term I used in an interview with journalist Richard North. There was definitely something brewing, something new in the air, and in this time of change, what some people now refer to as ‘goth’ was coming into existence.
Howver, we played what we considered to be our ‘own’ music, which along with other bands at the time was later termed post-punk. A term that I believe is more fitting and without the limitations of overspecified categorisation.
In a later interview with The Cult, singer Ian Astbury told NME journalist David Dorrell the following story (which he also repeated in an interview with Alternative Press in 1994).
“One of the groups coming up at the same time as Southern Death Cult was Sex Gang Children. Andi used to like Édith Piaf and this macabre music. I used to call him the Gothic Goblin because he was a little guy and he’s dark and he lived in a building in Brixton called Visigoth Towers. So he was the little Gothic Goblin and his followers were Goths. That’s where GOTH came from.”
Ian Astbury of The Cult, (Alternative Press Nov. 1994).
Andi Sex Gang: The press latched onto the term in the mid 1980’s and wouldn’t let go. They needed to hang a new moniker on the movement that was sweeping through the UK at that time and the term ‘Goth’ suited their purpose and a lot of the newer bands coming through alike. When you have a category to describe a new genre, it makes it easier for the music industry and media alike to sell a ‘product’. Products need a brand name. And for bands it becomes easier to sell themselves by adopting an acceptable genre term. For the rest of us, well, we just held our heads in our hands with the realisation that the revolution we had kick-started was now a ‘marketable product’ to be sold like cans of soup/Campbell’s soup/or washing powder.
I was never confined to creating music with a certain genre in mind, but assigning categorisations is something society seems compelled to do. We, as with some of our peers created music from the heart, regardless of whether it fitted in to what was acceptable. We just followed our instincts and stayed true to our heart’s desire.
John Wisniewski: Do fans request Sex Gang Children songs at your current shows?
Andi Sex Gang: Yes, we get the odd request shouted out at us, but to their credit, our audience are on the whole, willing to listen to whatever we perform on that particular night. We draw from an extensive song repertoire and our audience knows that we’re not about playing to please with a ‘good time’ setlist. We play what we feel at that particular time and our audience respects that. It’s a mutual love affair.