DATE OF INTERVIEW: 25th January 2020
ALEXANDRA JAMES; ZACHARY JAMES
METAL DISCOVERY: So, if Satanism is about escaping the restrictive confines of binary thinking; individualism; non-conformity; anti-oppression; tolerance; anti-prejudiceÖ
ALEXANDRA: You really have done your research!
(Alexandra James on the innateness of Satanism)
"I think Satanists are born, theyíre not made. Zach and I both came into this world with a specific personality and it wasnít so much a becoming, but a realising. As we discovered more texts and more philosophy and writings on Satanism, then it was sort of like, this resonates with me. This is the name for what Iíve always felt that I was."
Photograph copyright © 2016 Harry Eelman
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official Twin Temple Facebook:
Thanks to Steve Phillips for arranging the interview
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Review + photos of Twin Temple @ the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, 25th Jan 2020:
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MD: I looked at that and thought, well, Iíve been a Satanist all these years and not actually realised!
ALEXANDRA & ZACHARY: [Laughs]
MD: Aside from the practice of Satanism, do you think Satanism can or should also be used as a word for describing people with a certain mindset and a particular way of being, without them ever identifying as a Satanist?
ALEXANDRA: Yes, absolutely.
ZACHARY: Thatís exactly what it is.
ALEXANDRA: Thatís exactly what it is. I think Satanists are born, theyíre not made. Zach and I both came into this world with a specific personality and it wasnít so much a becoming, but a realising. As we discovered more texts and more philosophy and writings on Satanism, then it was sort of like, this resonates with me. This is the name for what Iíve always felt that I was.
MD: Itís innate in a person then, rather than something thatís learned.
ALEXANDRA: You donít need to be initiated. No one can tell you that youíre not a Satanist, thatís entirely up to you. Itís up to the individual and thatís the beauty of it. You donít need to have a priest, you know, to initiate you. Nothing like that. Itís all about self-initiation and declaring that identity for yourself.
MD: Iím definitely a Satanist, then!
ALEXANDRA: Well, welcome!
MD: Thank you.
ALEXANDRA: Satanís blessings to you! [Laughs]
MD: Do you subscribe to a secular notion of morality with your philosophical worldviews?
ZACHARY: Itís all subjective.
ALEXANDRA: Itís subjective and objective, all at the same time. The world is a paradox. Nothing is true and everything is permitted. Itís about slashing the binaries and letting go of those really outdated and constricting ideals of good and evil, and letting yourself just be who you are.
MD: But I think if you talk about morality from a secular perspective, I think that does transcend the binary concept of morality. You know, nothingís inherently good or evil, it is all subjective to what each person decides is good or evil based on their own cognition from their own standpoint. So maybe secular morality could be part of Satanism in that sense? I could be hideously wrong, of course.
ALEXANDRA: I suppose I think that morality, at the end of the day, is up to the individual and itís about finding the compass within yourself to guide yourself and trusting that inner knowledge. But, you know, tempering it with experience and knowledge and rationality and logic and intellect. So I think morality is this thing thatís in flux and you canít really pinpoint it. And I think to say, ďThese ten things are evilĒÖ
MD: Nothing should ever be regarded as inherently good or bad, or good or evil.
ALEXANDRA: Well, it depends on where youíre looking at it from. I mean, for a long time, being gay, masturbating, menstruating are evil. Thatís completely subjective. I donít agree those things are evil from my vantage point, so how do you put laws on every single human when every single human is unique, on morality.
MD: Exactly. Good answer. So, out of interest, have you seen last yearís ĎHail Satan?í documentary?
ZACHARY: We have.
ALEXANDRA: We have, yeah.
MD: Is that a good representation of what it is to be a twenty first century Satanist, would you say?
ALEXANDRA: Well, I would say that itís one representation.
ZACHARY: From one perspective. We share a lot of the same ideals but we are our own form of Satanism because we, as individuals, practice our own practice. So, theyíre a political group, and we have shared political views, but we practice magic and we study the occult, which they call supernaturalism or whatever.
ALEXANDRA: Yeah, they donít incorporate that in their personal practice.
ZACHARY: But weíve met them, you know.
ALEXANDRA: Yeah, we had the pleasure of meeting Lucien [Greaves] at our show and heís lovely. I think weíre all fighting the same fight. But, again, the beauty of Satanism is you take what you want from it and you express it how you feel is best. Thatís what Lucienís done with it and itís a beautiful thing that heísÖ
ZACHARY: Itís a documentary about TST.
MD: The Satanic TempleÖ yeah, itís very specific.
ALEXANDRA: Right, itís about one specific avenue. As far as their political stance, you know, fighting the good fight of separating church and state, I definitely think weíre on board with what theyíre doing. Although itís not necessarily who we are. Like LaVey isnít who we areÖ or whatever. Thatís the beauty. Everyone finds their own path.
MD: So, looking to the future, I know thereís already diversity within your music, beyond the 50s/60s core of what you do, but do you envisage your sound and style progressing, to further diversify?
ALEXANDRA: Well, I think already on the record there are other influences.
ZACHARY: Yeah, weíll always draw from jazz, blues, rock íní roll, country, doo-wopÖ
ALEXANDRA: Yeah, everything that is rock íní roll and made rock íní roll and will be rock íní rollÖ you know, ďsaving rock íní rollĒ is this thing people have been throwing around forever, and it seems a bit silly to be like, ďOh, we want to save rock íní roll.Ē But we do! Itís an art form; itís a classic American art form thatís so close to our hearts and we wanna carry that torch. We truly love that musical art form and I think, to do that, you have to deface it a little bit, which is what weíve done, to make it more relevant for who we are and the time period weíre living in. Because I donít think preserving rock íní roll or any art tradition is about making it correct or authentic, because thatís about sixty years ago. You know, we have to do whatís in our hearts today. I mean, itís cheesy but, yeah, we love rock íní roll and we wanna see it live and continue to find new audiences.
MD: Finally, then, ending on a light note, or maybe that should be dark note, what would be your top five favourite representations of Satan in movies?
ZACHARY: ĎThe Devil Rides Outí.
MD: That would be top of my list, actually! I adore old Hammer movies and Christopher Lee!
ZACHARY: All the Hammer.
ALEXANDRA: Yeah, anything Hammer, you know. We saw ĎFaustí in London, which was a beautiful productionÖ I mean, we love all the pageantry and opera.
ZACHARY: All the early Kenneth AngerÖ you know, the shorts he made, those are great.
ALEXANDRA: Yeah, I mean, the devilís been around forever and will continue to beÖ
ZACHARY: All night, Iíll be like, ďOh, that oneÖ and that oneĒÖ Iíll keep remembering all night long now!
ALEXANDRA: Miltonís ĎParadise LostíÖ you know, there are so many incredible representations of the devilÖ how can you really choose? But we are big horror fans.
MD: But ĎThe Devil Rides Outí you said immediatelyÖ which was called ĎThe Devilís Brideí when it originally got released in the States, so kudos to you for saying its original title!
MD: Apparently, Hammer thought that if they released it under ĎThe Devil Rides Outí in the States, they were worried American audiences would think it was a Western, so thatís why the name got changed.
MD: Which Iím sure was patronizing to American audiences, as many would've read the Dennis Wheatley novel of the same name, that the film's based on!
ALEXANDRA: Well, weíre all riding out, what can I say, weíre cowboys!
MD: Well, thank you so much for your time.
ALEXANDRA: Thank you. Thank you so much.
ZACHARY: Thank you very much.