In the Bunker with Guy Tavares

In the Bunker with Guy Tavares

November 30, 2018

Written by:

Dragoș Rusu

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In the Hague

This May 2018 The Hague celebrated the tenth anniversary edition of Intergalactic FM Festival, an annual music festival operated by the cult radio station Intergalactic FM.

The Dutch electronic music scene became infamous years before the festival, and Guy Tavares is one of the persons who was at the forefront of this abundance of music. Along with his contemporaries from Unit Moebius, Tavares had set up a record label in ’92, Bunker Records - one of the most influential record labels from Europe and beyond. Like any radical and independent imprints, Bunker had its ups and downs, facing financial difficulties and also rising from its own ashes. Nothing was in vain though, as throughout the years the label gained a reputation as being one of the most prominent electronic music labels, with a rich catalogue of rare acid house, electro funk, industrial planet rock, new wave, techno-pop and other obscurities, as well as a wide spectrum of artists and bands.

Throughout the years, Tavares was also involved in many music projects, solo as Schmerzlabor and Sulphur Surfer, or in groups or ephemeral projects such as Godzilla vs. Metalhead, Los Hermanos Rodriguez, Moengo Tapoe, Orange Sunshine, Panty Boy and Unit Moebius.

In the last day of the festival, I visited Guy in his own bunker, in the basement of a squat positioned somewhere in The Hague. We stayed for a couple of hours in his studio, recreating and drawing a fascinating brave new world, surfing through topics (and thoughts) of utopia, trust, the importance of love, questioning the meaning of life and death.

Stepping down in the darkness, Guy started to talk about his home-built hydraulic installation to fight the recent flood of the bunker. We later moved to his little studio.

I found out that Guy Tavares is part Portuguese, part ‘Indo-European mestizo’ (from former colonial Dutch Indonesia), father of three, a tireless philosopher, a kind fatalist, an amazing musician and connoisseur of all kinds of sounds, a mathematician, a visionary person using his own methods for almost everything he wants to accomplish. Nevertheless, a completely free spirit.
I have to believe me and trust myself and the ones I love, you see... if I don’t, I’m gone. Since that is exactly what enables one to survive as a human being, vulnerable member of a social primate animal species: to trust each other. And you can only trust each other if you trust yourself.

Stimulus Overkill

Guy Tavares
Guy Tavares
Do you feel like an outsider?

My oldest memory is from when I was 3 years old. Every time I would leave my parent’s house and walk on the street, kids would come out to me and start beating me. Apparently I’ve been told so many times that I’m a freak, that it must be so. It’s not my problem though. It’s their problem (laughs).

You grew up in The Hague?

Yes, apart for one year as a 3-year old kid in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal (when it was still a fascist military dictature under Caetano regime heavily fighting bloody colonial wars in Africa), I was born and raised in The Hague’s metro area. Getting beaten up only hurts physically. Only the tissue hurts. It doesn’t matter. What hurts is when someone you love says “I don’t trust you”. That hurts. But if you beat me with a whip or whatever, I feel nothing. It’s just flesh, meat. It doesn’t hurt.

People tell me: you’re always losing! Then I would say: “Oh, well, winning is easy”. You see, it’s so easy to win every time. Because you’re not really used to losing. But maybe try losing. And then again, and again, and again. And then you may start evolving. You cannot lose every time without evolving. I bet many successful easy winners are bad losers. For they usually lose once and it’s over. I’ve lost so many times. I’m afraid most people wouldn’t be able to lose that many times.

How many times can you lose?

I cannot count, but I still try. So apparently, that’s the way it is. I do not really believe that we are very much capable of actually making our own destinies ourselves.

So you don’t believe in the free will?

Why, if you seem to have it, good for you. Congratulations! For me, with my compulsiveness and my sensitivity it’s a bit difficult. Since all my life really everything, all the input, all the stimulus overkill that I get (whether from outside or from the inside of my body), my, perhaps, troubled perception of Reality is non-stop overflowing my mind in such an intense and enforcing way, that I find it rather impossible to imagine a free will of my own mind, I mean, really? midst this ever-going ocean tempest? And so it seems that, one way or the other, the daily empirical experience is also for other people a rather enforcing argument. Now, as an example, let’s say I would try to deny really everything I could possibly sense; for instance, I may deny that I really have to drink water once in a while, I’ll be done denying quite soon, simply because I’ll be dead in a few days. Or the fact that Man still can’t prove gravity [1]. Yes, we still know nothing about gravity, despite all the many great theories in the world of academic physics. Yet even the biggest non-believer will still find it most wise not to step out of any window of a tower block. So, even if you say you don’t believe, you are wrong. You do believe in something.


What do you believe in?

As I said, It’s not a matter of choice. You want to refuse Nature? God? Read the Bible or the Qu’ran. But don’t just read it literally. Read it only literally, if you first learn the old Hebrew/Arabic or Aramaic alphabet and language properly. And then you may, perhaps, understand that those names are actually just allegories that stand for the many manifestations that Man may encounter and thus interpret in Reality, in Nature. Like Adam equals Adama equals Earth from which Eva equals Hava equals Life came, just as it’s been written in Genesis.

From that point on, they will no longer represent people. They become allegories. And then you should read the Bible or the Qu’ran in an allegorical way. You may indeed find truth in it, for, yes, you may even find everything in it! I daresay it’s not at all about giving perfect answers. I don’t give answers. I’m just looking for questions. As long as you can question everyone and everything around you, but most of all, can question yourself, we won’t have to kill each other. Also, I think it even wiser not to expect any answers just as well. If you stop questioning, and you come with an answer that tops it off, then everything simply stops. Then the Word, and all of Man’s reality symbolically constructed with it (as Man’s necessary ‘illusion of the World’, this necessary limitation of perception of the otherwise continuously overwhelming Reality, seems a most practical tool to deal with Nature and survive it), becomes nothing but a dead letter. Leading all too easily to those very same dead words of many a good Book of the Dead claiming that very same sterile, rigidly purified Absolute Truth and, oh, after which most necessary purification, genocide that is, shall follow soon enough, my dear...

I hope you don’t see me as a very negative person. I’m a true fatalist. But with ‘fatalist’ I do not quite mean what modern people would generally consider to be fatalist, in the modern conception of ‘humanist enlightenment’, ‘atheist logic’ and reductionist scientism where ‘everything is do-able and everyone is make-able’ (Brave New World, why, you better read that book, my child!) Oh, how ‘we’ all think to make and mould and shape and turn and re-create the whole of mankind into every ‘perfect(ly)’ human form, the whole society, the whole world after every ‘perfect(ly)’ human ideal we could wish for. This is the biggest illusion, but also a most ‘inverted’, artificial, corrupting, NON-constructive, totally unnecessary, ‘ganz entartete’ one, and with a most totalitarian impact. How many people were killed because of this? Think Stalin... Hitler... Mao… Pol Pot… The French Revolution (‘le thermidor’), any violent ‘revolution’, ‘inquisition’, ‘Ausradierung und Endlösung’, any ‘pacification’ and ‘salvation’ of the ‘poor souls of those pagan barbarians and savages’! And really all of this with the ‘very best’ of ‘humanist’ intensions, imagine!

Utopia, my God, the very idea alone for so many genocides because of this belief in Utopia. What does Utopia mean? It’s not just a name for an ideal place invented by Thomas More, there was a hell more irony in it: U-topos = non-place, and so the very same in Plato’s Republic I’m afraid. So would you really believe that nowadays our dearest academic officials of many a good National or Royal Society can really claim their rightful proper and just interpretations of all these many , sometimes even incomplete, versions of Plato’s and Aristotle’s texts., that as usual, over the course of time, got lost in translation and, most of all, lost by interpretation after more than two thousand years of being filtered through a serial plethora of continuously opposite ideologies all desperately trying to make them perfectly fit into their own systems? It’s really hard to get the right interpretation.

I once indeed did study philosophy, but just to learn in the end that most of it is plain dubious human interpretation, a history, a tradition, haha! of endless series of ‘masterful’ rhetorics of plain ‘onto-theological circular reasoning’, in other words: ‘seek and ye shall find’ (what thou willst!), for even the best of pupils very rarely completely understand the full concept of their own brilliant masters.


You studied philosophy in university?

Yes. But I never finished it. After 4 years of Biology, Philosophy and Prehistory I did not graduate. I was in a conflict with the University and the University showed it’s real face. I was happy for leaving it, and thankful. Just by leaving it, it only saved me from an ulterior, more painfully delusional and complicated situation. I started a record label instead. And I’m still the arrogant aristocrat, but without the money.

I did not inherit money. But there’s one true wealth that I did inherit: knowledge. I am extremely privileged, I know. I’m a bastard! Once I had grown to a man’s estate, I’ve always lived from nothing, a scoundrel’s life and I still do. You can only be settled and let things go once you know how it is to have it all. You can’t really tell people how to improve their lives and how to be a better person or how to let go of the ego-need or ego-drive. Because before getting it, you don’t really know what it is. And if you don’t know what it is, you keep on striving for it, for you simply can’t help it not to let go of it. Menschliches, Allzumenschliches!

Do you still have any fears?

If you have children, you don’t want bad things to happen to them. But that’s part of life. You just need to have trust. And that’s the conclusion I came to recently: love is trust. And the worst thing about this society is that it doesn’t teach us to trust, and therefore love, because it’s a system based on distrust: exams, controls, video-cameras, the full Panopticon! Everywhere. From day 1, and from every single side, you get a sign that you are not being trusted. How can you trust people that don’t trust you? It should always be a bilateral process from the very beginning. And once trust is broken it’s most likely irretrievable as well. When you were born, drinking out of your mother’s breasts (the most holy thing! The very holy image: Vera Ikon of the Virgo Lactans) is the point where you may start developing trust.

You best learn how to trust and love in the first five years, when your brain is developing, when you are vulnerable, and with the person that takes care of you. So it starts with your mother (or wet nurse in older times) feeding you, and not only feeding you food, warmth, shelter, safety, immunity, but love. And unconditional love, not some quid pro quo, which would only be mere vulgar meaningless ephemeral transaction, how cynical that is! Whenever I may indeed see unconditional love, I may only see it between a mother and a child, or a father and a child. If all goes well. Currently it seems to me that only in this parental situation I may witness from time to time some proof of unconditional love. The same love you should have for the Whole of Creation, for the Universe.

Nietzsche spoke about the allegory of The lambs and the eagles. Of ever-resentful, ever-distrustful, ever-insecure, ever-fearful, ever-hateful, ever-revengeful, ever-dissatisfied, ever-self-victimising, ever-others-accusing and ever-unpitiful pity little lambs, though who are in fact quite self-righteous in their so-called superior moral attitude, ever-regarding themselves as being just innocent and weak and always harmless, for such naturally good pity little lambs they are for sure, and all that just because of their humble inferior nature that appears to come naturally when lacking physical power, and this by just inverting every single sincere virtue and honest value of the eagles (the lambs’ eternal enemies up above, those big bad evil raptor beasts of helplessly feeble prey, and who have always dunnit all!), who do indeed kill lambs from time to time, but that’s only because they can’t help being eagles, as they simply can’t be vegan, yet will still always love all such lovely, sweet and sweet-tasting, tender and tender-loined, soft and woolly little lambs.

Now, in general, people, especially the ones that seem so sure about themselves and that would eventually kill you, are actually afraid. It’s not because they are so sure about certain facts, no, they are just afraid. And the more afraid they are, the more cruel they are. The Nazis and their elite troopers, the SS, were nothing but plain cruel cowards, and so were the Kempeitai, their Japanese equivalent, though way more sublime in art, as they tortured many, including several of my own family, in Japanese prisons and concentration camps. In all their aesthetics, and don’t get me wrong, I love their aesthetics, I know one thing that makes me disrespect them. They acted solely out of faux-masculine, faux-virtuous and faux-loyal hypocrite cowardness. Sheer continuous fear of risking to lose one’s face amongst their noble samurai peers with their ‘sublimely artful ways, all most rigidly according to the highly-esteemed classic Zen-Buddhist Bushido code for Absolute True Perfection’. Now, if they really, sincerely and honestly would have done this out of a Will for pure aesthetics, I could, who knows, have accepted it. I would at least have rather had that. If you do those things aesthetically, and that means without any fear, because your true intention is to do things aesthetically and fear is always the wrong intention for Art, then I could even, in a certain way, respect that. But if you do it out of fear, you’re a coward. So far your perfectly fitting and most carefully tailor-made uniform of most sturdy, yet most refined materials, your pretty haircut, your divine body looks so well in order, oh, how your boots do shine while one may hear the exciting sing-song of clacking heels, your swiftest feet that always dance so good. And how galant the very way you swing that katana sword, when you cut off, dispatch these mortals’ heads for good... so beautiful, God knows?
Photo credits: Rene Passet (Flickr: passetti)
Photo credits: Rene Passet (Flickr: passetti)

The Fall

What is important in your life?

Well, trust. I have to believe me and trust myself and the ones I love, you see... if I don’t, I’m gone. Since that is exactly what enables one to survive as a human being, vulnerable member of a social primate animal species: to trust each other. And you can only trust each other if you trust yourself. Only if you trust yourself you can give that trust to your child. The first five years are crucial for developing trust.

How can you trust yourself?

By trusting God, (or shall I call it fate?) for the real fatalist, that is in the ancient context of the word, is in fact much more hopeful, much more trustful, and as such, much less fearful towards even the most naturally violent and insecure future (his own, which is then always strongly tied to the future of his loved ones, as it should, since this provides the most maximized chance of survival of one’s bloodline) that Nature has provided for all these millions of years, than many of so-called modern enlightened mankind, who say they need no longer God, which means, ironically enough, that they need no longer Nature: for the more environmentally-conscious this modern mankind wishes to become, the more distrustful, fearful, insecure, hateful, hypocrite, entartet, de-sensitised, de-humanised and totally detached from Nature, thus totally lost in the Future (remember, the survival of one’s bloodlines, the very reason you and all the other creatures are here on this bloody planet in the first place!) this faux-self-assured, faux-self-righteous modern mankind becomes in the hybris of its own faux-infallible artifice of so-called safety zones, all those bubbles of convenience full of conventional wisdom, now, how unsafe, inconvenient and unwise this really is!

Imagine, now we trust technology, something I don’t trust at all. As I said, I’d rather calculate it all myself one by one then believing, trusting, those official academic statistic reports who usually either hide some shady double agenda or fall prey to conventional wisdom. You see? Now we trust in a new god: the Mammon. The False god. The Idol. Technology! Now why are all the people who may nowadays still live a little closer to Nature called fatalists? As if they really have no autonomy over their lives, no competence at all, as if they are always delivered to the gods, while as a matter of fact they actually do manage to survive there where boldly no modern man could. But then again, you try being on a little boat in the ocean during a storm, or in the mountains during a storm, or being in the desert! Oh, sure, you may perhaps consider yourself a fierce hard-line logical ‘no-bullshit’ atheist, but, boy, you’ll be praying to the Lord then! You would be so scared. But still that is exactly what all these so-called ‘fatalists’ must bear in mind to enable their harsh survival as they have no other life to live. You see, they have to go into the deep desiccated deserts, into the high cold stormy mountains, unto the wild ocean seas. Because they have to live, they have to do it, all the way or no way at all, they simply must do it. Man has to risk it, all of it and just... trust.

And so we have finally made it, this bubble called Civilization and indeed, nowadays, thank God (!) most of our children don’t die anymore when young. Back in the days, many times up to two out of three children would die at a young age. Pretty much all the parents were experiencing the loss of a child, which is awful. I cannot imagine how it must feel. And now it’s almost guaranteed that your child will grow into an adult. Regardless, we are more afraid of living and dying and risking life than ever before. And all those millions of years when we were really living a risky life, with high chance of dying from various reasons, we still kept on going, and making children. We are survival machines. All Life is. How do you get eternal life? Pro-creation. It’s divine quantum-organic mechanic technology. The best real high-tech is Nature. This is research and development that took billions of years. It’s way better than anything we can make. We cannot make children in machines. We have to make them ourselves. Why make replicants when we are already the best machines for that. Just like in the recent Blade Runner 2 movie: “A child, born of woman, not made.’’

We don’t really sing together anymore. We don’t focus together anymore. What does focus mean in Latin? Focus was the goddess of the hearth fire inside the home that fed all, warmed all, secured all, brought us all together, made us trust each other, where the old people, who had so much more life experience, would share their stories, their knowledge, so the young would get extra detailed knowledge, both symbolic and technical, to keep up their survival capacity. The center of life was inside the shelter, the family. Where women would rule, of course. She is the guarantee of the population. She is the basis. We don’t need that many men. We can risk them. But women we cannot risk. So, the center, the focus, around that fire that Prometheus once stole from the gods, the technology, which gave us a lot of fine things indeed. But it may just as well cause our fall eventually. So that’s why we were already being warned for this a long time ago.

Men is the only creature who can look into the future. It’s also allegorical, you look literally forward in the darkness, but it also means that your brain can look ahead, plan and calculate ahead. And the more you look ahead the more you evolve. But the same light could blind you, and that is about to happen now in the world. But I’m a fatalist and everything is cyclic. I’m ready for the fall, my three sons too; I trust them, they trust me, and we trust God, so to speak. And when the fall comes, we will probably have big chances to make it. As a new tribe, a new clan , a new blood line…

It’s primordial.

Yes, how could one trust authorities? For I will not completely trust the new priests in white, the doctors, pedagogues, teachers and psychologists who work for the state and the corporations, all those specialists that influence parents in a very negative way. People don’t trust each other. Parents don’t trust themselves, they get insecure because of the specialists, who think they know better, but if you look deep into it, you will realize that many times they are also talking bullshit. They can’t know everything, but do pretend it and just rely on arrogant and nowadays more and more programmed conventional wisdom.

But they make you insecure by telling you. And their super-magic is even better than the one of the old shamans, because the shamans back then didn’t have to proof their miracles. And this is the true brilliance of Reason and Science and therefore it’s better magic than the old magic. They are pushing the old ones aside ... “oh, superstitions”. Now they say: “look, we can scientifically prove it! ‘Quod erat demonstrandum’!

This is the first time in history of mankind in which most of society is living in a surplus condition, continuously. Of luxury, of food, of health, of safety and security, of choices and of rights. What is a right? Are they in the Bible? The laws are, but not the rights. Rights also mean duties. The Human Rights Declaration was a brilliant myth for power. Because it also obliges people to the max. Oh, you call that freedom? Augustus called it Libertas when he ‘innocently’ proclaimed himself ‘Princeps inter pares’ (avoiding any title that could have made the Romans suspicious of any possible return to their so much hated earlier era, when Rome was still ruled by tyrannical dynastical kings), but in fact had become the first true emperor of Rome. He applied this technique perhaps for the first time. “Ohh... libertas”. A beautiful myth of power, as our democracy is. Sallustius worked for Julius Caesar, and his military career didn’t really work out, so he became a military historian. A very good one actually, a very sarcastic one. So looking at facts, a very sarcastic undertone, because he knew too much, you know? He knew plots within plots. He worked for Caesar, so he knew the dirty tricks. So the quote is his: “History began when Man needed justification for war”. And Julius himself even wrote his own war propaganda while conquering ànd looting Gaul, ‘de bello gallico’, to impress, once the victor, all of Italy with a major triumphal parade into Rome ànd to bribe off the roman senate and his electorate with all the stolen Celtic goods, so that he could get voted in for another few years more of Roma Aeterna’s glorifying consulship! When we were primitive tribes, we would go to war, steal with no justification, but once there was a civilized society where things had to be dealt with. We needed and still need the right propaganda to have justification for war. That’s what Sallustius already said, before Christ was born. And he is still right.

Kind of a prophet.

Yeah, you could say that. A visionary. But very practical. Like Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World that I read when I was 15-16. So it was back in ‘85. I was shocked about how many elements I could recognize when I was a teenager. I could already see quite a lot of things. I’ve put the book aside, and a few years ago I read it again. And then I was really shocked, even more. What’s 30 years? Nothing. Almost two thirds of what’s in that book is already realized. Maybe more. I don’t want people to feel bad. I’m not negative. People are called fatalists with the wrong, negative idea, for in a certain way being fatalist is not negative at all, because they trust in God. Faith. I’d rather accept that Life is as it is, and accept it, surrender to it completely, then believe that I do have control over my life, whilst this may very well be the false life in the Illusion of Safety, which is much more dangerous. And much more stupid, you know?

So, indeed, it is a much more positive attitude than being a humanist that believes in improvements, programmes of which by now we should know that those are products of rationalism. Beware. It’s a good instrument, it’s a very good instrument. I’d rather prefer you to be logical in thinking, because it solves a lot of problems. I’d rather have that. Because if you wouldn’t be logical, we would certainly fight... It’s a very good instrument. But at the same time, bear in mind that it’s just an instrument. “Give me a hammer and I build you a nice house”. With the same instrument I can hammer your head. And probably only by a small misunderstanding or a simple mistake. Tragic.

There is one great English Oxford translation to Plato’s Republic. I was so lucky to have this great classical languages philosophy teacher with whom I laughed so much about Plato’s ‘Republic’, it was so funny! For we could both clearly see the satire in this nowadays (through the many ideological agendas, mistranslations and misinterpretations over the course of time) generally deemed propaganda for a perfect fascist state. We were laughing our asses off. It was a very good translation. From Clarendon Press, Oxford, in the early 1950’s!


What is music to you?

Like Nietzsche said “Of all emotional illusions, the most effective and beautiful one is music”. Yeah, I’m a true Nietzsche fan. And believe me, he did never say “God is dead’’. He’s not an idealist. That’s what he observed, around him. This is not a misinterpretation. They were wrong translating Ubermensch into Superman, from German to English. By Ubermensch Nietzsche meant “a man being able to transcend his human weaknesses, to overcome his old human conditioning, and the ape, the animal within”, not superior man. Man can’t help but being born a social animal with social drives, ambitions, greed.

In a way I can say that I am more religious than most people that call themselves religious. But I don’t have to make a point out of it. Why do you want to make a point out of it? If you are so sure of your beliefs, why do you have to sell it to others? Or even feel offended and attack people? I say that’s blasphemy, because then you actually prove that you don’t really trust your own believe in your own God.

Now bear in mind that I indeed got all this knowledge granted, symbolic wealth, because of certain forefathers of mine of ‘ill repute’ (amongst the many slaves too), who’d never done any fair play. So that, eventually, they had acquired, apart from Gold that Man can’t eat, these things that certain knowledge may provide, and that had been to many others never allowed, for [they were] not privileged enough. However, the bloody money is so old, that it’s all gone now (laughs). But there’s still certain knowledge, I presume. And it’s my duty to share it with all the people who wish to know, la noblesse oblige (laughs).

“After Life comes the Western ‘Okeanos’ to bring you home, ‘Ai, Thalassa(!)’, ‘Finis Terra Saturnia’, for once like driftwood washed ashore that Westland Wasteland Death awaits. For the cold and perilous Sea is Death, as it only reflects the Light just like the Moon, the ‘receiving feminine’ part (‘lysis’), that holds the unborn child, ‘teknon’, (like in the womb) and hides (the ‘arcana’) the secret, maternal cycle of Life. The Ancients have always associated the Sea with Death.

‘Tis the very Darknesse in the deep, the very ‘Matrix’, Mother of ‘Der Geheime Gottheit’, ‘Ayn Sof’, where all is being created, where all’s being kept ‘out of sight, far away from Man’s limited Light’.
First you die, and thén you’ll live…’’

Guy Tavares, ‘s-Gravenhage, Germania Inferior, October 2018


[1] The 2017 Nobel prize in physics is awarded for discovery of gravitational waves: "Three American physicists have won the Nobel prize in physics for the first observations of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime that were anticipated by Albert Einstein a century ago." - The Guardian

About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and co-editor in chief of The Attic, sound researcher and allround music adventurer, with a keen interest in the anthropology of sound.

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