Dagobert's Revenge

The Winter Chapter

A Chat With Felix of The Winter Chapter

ďIt will be cold indeed when they get in.Ē
- Frank Belknap Long
ďThe Space-Eaters.Ē

The Winter Chapter is a group from the San Francisco Bay Area with a decidedly dubious attitude towards life and all of its virtues. Their new album, ďTime of FaithĒ (second after Ď97ís ďNightmare SkyĒ) is, admittedly, a real downer. Of course, we like that kind of thing, donít we? In this following, we learn more about their frontman, Felix, a heathen unbeliever, a flunked-out member of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood and the only man in his family who has not become a Freemason. We ask him the obvious question: ďWhy?Ē, and also a few questions about his bandís excellent music.

DR: Your album is called "Time of Faith", and on the front cover you show a close up of a cross in a graveyard, and the picture's broken in half. Then on the song "Time of Faith" you say, "I haven't lost my faith. I never had it." Is the cover art your way of saying that your faith is broken and God is dead to you?

Felix: God has yet to be a living or dead thing to me.... Its an issue I have in the past applied to everything without sounding too much like Descartes but 'do we really know anything exists without proof and what is irrefutable proof if its all through senses we may not be able to trust. OK, but back to the God thing.... Itís funny because I do use a lot of Christian/Catholic god/devil imagery both with my visual arts and music (I think because its very strong imagery in a romantic sort of way)...but truth be told I have no religious/supernatural beliefs at all. So in answer to your question my faith isnít broken because (thatís right) "I never had it.Ē

DR: I think the best song on the album is "Blinded" because is reminds me of Mr. Mister. Do you agree? Which ones do you like best?

Felix: Mr. Mister?! Wow, now that is definitely a new one in our book. Iíve heard it being compared with old Bauhaus but never Mr. Mister. But yes that is currently the one that receives the most air play at clubs and radio. It takes a lot out of me live and I think that came through in the CD

DR: What's "Lion's Game" about? You say "I never wanted this lion's game with you." What's a "Lion's Game"? Does it have anything to do with being King of the Jungle?

Felix: Nothing to due with the King of the Jungle whatsoever ...hehehe...Actually we're looking at more religious/Roman imagery here. Being thrown to the lions. Itís about a breakup I had with my ex-wife. It means that I didnít want things to get ugly in a bare knuckle no holds barred kind of battle but she proceeded to try and get my band blacklisted from local clubs and took just about everything of value (including all my comics) so a I ended the relationship in one day and kicked her out. The deciding factor was infidelity. "I never wanted the Lions game with you..." , "...but as I look back at our life, I realize it had to die" so on and so forth

DR: How does this album differ from the last one?

Felix: Well for starters its full length (10 songs). The others were EPs. Second of all...we really hammered out how we wanted these to sound going over each one with a fine toothed comb and judging the feel of each one. Third, we had two keyboard players for the first time so we were adding stuff to the songs each day with new keyboard work. And finally, our guitarist was leaving (not on a good note) and we had contractually obligated him to finish. Weird feelings there.

DR: Why are you called "The Winter Chapter"? Do you like being cold?

Felix: I think that the name will mean what people want it to mean but to me its the part of a story or tale where the true conflict has been established and its now time to take that challenge head on or lose completely. Its a very introspective sometimes sad part of every tale, i.e. Snow White just ate the apple and took a nap (dismal, but now everyone knows the queen means business and its time to take her on.)

DR: What are you trying to accomplish with your music?

Felix: Expression. I mean it really comes down to a release of emotion for me and the band. If it wasnt with music there'd be something else (I also paint for example) but were a musical bunch and we work well together. I feel so refreshed after a show or even a practice. I've just got to express myself and the music is the best way right now.

DR: What's this about "expressing pain as a source of power."

Felix: Itís a simple thing really. When your hurt (physically or mentally) there is a lot of strong feelings and energy that comes from that...I think. And if that could be focused instead of just releasing it outward, it would seem that a great deal of power could be harnessed. Now like I said, Iím very skeptical but if things like Magick and or supernatural things exist it would seem that this would be a very strong force...but what do can I do without the solid belief to make it work right?

DR: Does your lack of faith in a higher power make your life seem meaningless?

Felix: I have to say Iíve had my days...When you donít have faith you try not to think about meanings of life or 20 years in the future for that matter. I have also been jealous of people that have something to believe in and say things like, "If you believe in it you will see the proof you need." I mean, I hate to be the one to be the bearer of bad news but that is the biggest Oxymoronic-Catch 22 in existence. But Iím not bitter. My lack of faith also keeps me from wasting my money and energy on useless televangelists and religions that force guilt on every situation.

DR: Why didn't you follow in your father's footsteps and become a Freemason?

Felix: Iíve read a great deal of manuscripts that put the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons together with the Masons being a testing ground to find Rosicrucian members while its underground (every 100 years). It seems that the Masons are the ritual without the results. And I have no belief to be a Rosicrucian and do ritual with results. So to me, it just seems like a bunch of people in both orders doing a lot of silly ritual and accomplishing not a lot. Sure its a brotherhood but I've got plenty of friends that are closer than family ever was so thats enough for me.

DR: What "Rosicrucian" organization were you a member of, the AMORC? And what inspired you to join? Did you make it past the 1st degree? What's the story?

Felix: Well I live in San Jose...(where AMORC was centered) so that was the one...I joined up but could never get into the classes...I just kept getting the home monographs and looking em over...The whole thing lasted about six months. I have a real hard time working on something that may or may not be real to me. I understand that some of the stuff in the monographs is supposed to demystify mysticism but in truth I have always needed something a little more in my face than how many people I can get to look at me by thinking about them (around 25 out of 40 by the way ...so I know there is something to it ...but what?) Anyhow...I never got past the initiate level and its truly a bummer because Iím totally obsessed with the supernatural/mystic but I just haven't been able to get past my skeptical side and now if I'm not mistaken the Rosicrucian Order has now gone underground again for 100 years or so. But hey if youíve got a whammie of a something that will prove that kind of stuff then send it over...I'll keep waiting as I have for 15 to 20 odd years and will continue to do so.

DR: Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?

Felix: Well if you follow that pain is power idea then sure. If you just want to be happy than hell no. I mean no one really looks back on a failed relationship fondly UNTIL they're already happy in a new one. As long as the failed one is all you know...youíre miserable. So I think that saying should be changed to: Itís better to have loved and lost...then loved again successfully, then to never have loved at all. Wha'dya think?

DR: What is it that makes your music unique?

Felix: White socks...(oh no wait thatís Adam and the Ants) err um...I donít know if this will get me in trouble but I donít think anyone following music theory (with harmonies and melodies and the like) is truly unique. I mean there are little 'rules' you follow out of instinct. And if you break those rules (it can still sound good) your still actively thinking of the 'rules' only now your breaking them. I think our music is very original and the vocals mean something in a perspective thatís a little more blunt than most sometimes. But Unique is a mis-used word that means unlike anything else and I donít think anyone qualifies.

DR: Where did you cop your vocal style from?

Felix: No-one..."I'm Unique." hehehe. Iíve been told I sound like a few (Dave Vanian, Andrew Eldridge, and Nick Cave) I donít see it necessarily but I do like all of them and would consider them an influence. But so is Adam Ant and Siousxie and I donít sound a bit like them.

DR: Why do you guys like synthesizers so much?

Felix: Personally its because you can create as many sounds as you can think of and your only limited by your skill at programming. Two keyboards also add a hell of a punch when used correctly. Iíve seen guitarists do amazing things with what they've got but you are limited to the confines of what a guitar can do (some people push the envelope more than others). We're working with the guitarist for Kill Sister Kill right now (check em out), and I have to say he is capable of getting sounds from his guitar in ways you donít think of (he doesnít just play the strings, he plays the whole guitar). But our keyboard players can create all those sounds and more when they want because its digital.

DR: Do you consider any of your songs "dance music"? When you guys play shows, do people dance?

Felix: Yes. As Iíve said, Blinded is being played in a lot of clubs around the world right now and I think a couple of the other songs are as well. The instrumental "In Transit" that Stacy wrote (although it has Polish lyrics so its no longer really an instrumental) is also popular dance music but its short so we're planning on recording an extended remix of it for folks. Yeah people have been seen dancing at our shows, but I will say itís rare to see anyone dancing at any show anywhere (or at least it seems that way.)

DR: You've opened for Modern English before. Did you find them rude or ill-mannered in any way?

Felix: Actually I left pretty quickly after that show (on a...um...date) so I didnít really get to talk to them that much but the rest of the band said they were very likable.

DR: Do you find it annoying that all of these goth/darkwave bands are recycling all of that 80s stuff again?

Felix: Nope...it's good music and I've heard some good versions of stuff out there. This goes all the way back to the Lords of the New Church doing 'Like a Virgin' or Rev Co doing Rod Stuart's 'Do ya think I'm sexy'... so Im sure it will continue...hell we did a couple for live shows (Real Life's 'Send me an Angel' and INXS's 'Devil Inside'...we've thought about releasing it as a 45 with a devil on one side and an angel on the other...cute huh.)

DR: Who's your favorite Beatle?

Felix: George Harrison...cuz he never really looked like a boy. He's always been a little more 'weathered' than the rest. But I guess Paul and John put out some good music.

DR: Ok, thanks, Felix.

Felix: Thats it? Somehow I thought it would hurt more.

DR: Oh, one more question. Do you know what your name means in Latin?

Felix: I would assume it would be something like ďhappyĒ, but Iím drawing that conclusion from the Spainsh ďfeliz.Ē

DR: Good answer, Felix Rex. Circle gets the square! (Subliminal Masonic message.)

To get a copy of ďTime of Faith, contact Dollhouse Productions at: 1638 Lexington St., Santa Clara, CA< 95050.

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