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D+M 2: Confessions of DX and Mahmood

Episode Transcript

DX: Daniel Stewart

MF: Mahmood Fazal

DX: Did you have anything prepared because I had a couple thoughts that I prepared?

MF: Did you motherfucker, no.

DX: In this bonus episode for our Patreon subscribers, we talk about counterculture, combat aesthetics and our mutual interest in militancy.

MF: Well, that's the thing with these kind of militant organisations, or countercultural movements in general, like the first thing I learned when I was an outlaw motorcycle club was that, you know, your, your rivals define you in some respect. And as outlaws our rivals were police you know, which made me proud. And now, right, and our enemies were always big, notorious clubs.

And I find that that interesting in a countercultural respect is like how, whatever whatever culture you're representing, not being aware that who, who it's against and how that organisation institution establishment idea is defining you.

DX: There's a quote that Douglas from Death In June uses a lot “much enemies bring great honour”. And I remember when when you were first talking about death in June, I was very interested to hear how you got into that

MF: how I got into Death in June?.

DX: how did you hear them? Like, where did they come from, in your life?

MF:

I had a death engine through my partner. Yeah, Leah introduced me to Death in June. And I became obsessed, because I was, I was quickly obsessed by martial music, which is very odd, because it's been absorbed by kind of right leaning, some would call them almost fascists, who like listening to this music as well. But it's a lot of music that uses militant drums. And, kind of sounds like marching music, but it's also very cinematic, which I enjoy, like, working out to when, on the rare occasion right? On that on that lunar eclipse moment where I choose to do some burpees. But yeah, I really enjoy it because it feels like something Mishima would nod to.

DX: death in June and Mishima both share like a substantial not in terms of size, but it's substantial in terms of life, we need to acknowledge this like right leaning kind of like affiliation or or fan. So what do you make of that, like personally, being not at all from that world or interests?

MF: I mean, I don't I don't relate it to nationalism. I like it purely as an aesthetic thing, because I really, I love the aesthetic of militancy. And always have, I don't know why. Probably because I was, I was, I was raised in an environment where the Mujahideen seen as heroes who freed us against the Soviet Empire. So I was always into guerrilla militancy, like the tunnel, I was interested by the Tamil Tigers, you know. ETA, I was super interested in Che Guevara like most young lefties are, before you figure out some of the atrocities that he was responsible for.

I was just interested in how these massive superpowers were overthrown by young men and women loaded with ideals and conviction. But yeah, and that, that that led to, you know, like, I love wearing tactical clothes. But so to military people, I don't know, I just like I just enjoy the aesthetics of it. And the sound of order, you know, in discipline, those kinds of things get me off. Even though when you look at my desk, it's the messiest fucking desk in the world. And my life is anything but ordered or disciplined.

DX: for you're wearing a mayhem shirt right now, which nothing more perfectly illustrate that, like the, I mean, aside from the fact that mayhem itself is such a wonderfully evocative word, but a band that like had a aesthetic that was very militant and also had a internal structure and, and scene that was complete, violent chaos.

MF: And there wore patches on their vests, just like we did, but I think I think there's something. Yeah. There's something about the way we think about what I think about armies, like, and I thought about this, like, when I was making that Audible project, No Gangster's In Paradise, and I was thinking about, like, the death penalty and life without parole sentences. Because I was interviewing a person who'd been sentenced to life without parole at the age of 21. And I was like, This is so fucked, man. Like, where, you know, we're essentially killing this person with we're locking him up and throwing away the key like, one evil government This is. But then it's like, How naive am I? We kill people all the time. Like murder is a language where we have, well, we're really well versed in I think that I read somewhere that Australia was in like the top five weapons importers in the world. Like will. And there's something about the way the army wears that on its sleeve that, yeah, there's something about that, married with the aesthetics of combat that I really, I guess it made sense to me in the environments I grew up with, where death and violence is an everyday occurrence. People people get stabbed, people get bashed, we get left in the streets. Dudes waiting for a train getting king hit and robbed like that, that shit happens. We just live in a very sheltered society where we try to ignore that. And I guess, my fetish for for that aesthetic comes from, like, it comes from acknowledging that combat and death is a set of is a necessary thing. For for our societies. And, yeah, I don't know something about that, that I liked. I think it's terrifying. And most of the things I like are quite terrifying. And that's why I like them because they make my brain tick in a certain way. But yeah, it's pretty the way that we've formalised it. In the military, the way we've made it a process and a procedure, this clinical, scientific thing that we do, murder and kill, overthrow regimes, create disorder, steal oil, overthrow and ruin century old civilizations, the way we wipe out, in general, create genocides, it's just, yeah, there's something in a micro way, in my in my societies, and the way the systems were broken, in the undercurrents of those communities that made, yeah, in a very deranged way, made me enjoy that aesthetic. Why do you like them?

DX: what you said, definitely resonated with me. There's a couple of things that were really clear, though, because this is like quite a recent fascination of mine. Because I was only ever really attracted to or interested in left wing militancy. And I would never have paid any attention to militancy that wasn't explicitly left. So even stuff that was, like, apolitical, I wasn't really even like musicians, artists, or writers, unless they were aligned with my idea of what, like, you know, a true politics or proper kind of revolutionary methods or aims or ambitions were, I wasn't really interested in it.

But then I think I saw the consequences of that mentality that I shared with certain small groups of people. And I saw where that would take me like, and I saw the then the kind of narrowing of ambitions and the the narrowing of imagination.

MF: Yeah, I mean, for me, it was just a bit maybe it wasn't as intellectual. Like, I was just in an environment where you wanted to do and get involved in things that people didn't want you to get involved in. Or the society probably probably didn't want to exist. And so I was always reaching for the limit, the far the far reaches of unacceptable kind of cultures and subcultures and a lot of that started with gangs, but in art and in music, I mean it's every teenager surely goes through that right like they they start digging around and wanting to find the fucking the rudest

DX: all in the saying is that the rudest to me or the the most true form of rudeness was always aligned with like, anti capitalist or anti fascist or anti racist or anti, you know, it was very politicall,it was it had to be rude but had to be politically correct.

MF: But you people, I think we need to be a bit honest with ourselves, you got to apply that brush to everyone. If you're going to do if you're going to start playing that game. Like, don't listen to fucking Michael Jackson. Don't listen to Tupac. You know, don't don't back Mike Tyson in anything he does. You know, like Don't you've got to be pretty, pretty staunch. And I'm just not that staunch. Do you know what I mean? Also I'm not fucking insecure about who I am. Like, I don't want to aid aid and abet these people. But you know, I think it comes back to me being selfish, probably. And liking liking music, like I have like some fucking Michael Jackson records, man. He's a fucking freak. I know. But I like them. But yeah, do I want to be supporting him? No, fuck no. Like, you know, but I'm not insecure about myself. It's a complicated thing. Like, it's, I think it's, I don't think I'm smart enough to be able to articulate this position. All I know is it's probably not appropriate to to give these people money from streams, whatever, you know. But it's sometimes, I’m selfish. I don't know how, what do you do do? Do you stop listening to Tupac?

DX: Well, no, I don't. I don't. And, and there's definitely a hangover in this kind of resilience that's come from being so, having such a correct collection of music and books that, like I would always ensure that I would read what was correct or listen to what was correct or whatever, you know, that kind of mentality. It it. Again, it stifles your imagination you, I guess the important thing that I'm trying to highlight in that kind of transfer for me was that I can understand that mentality. And it's the same mentality that drove that drives, like any kind of ascetic, like any any kind of overtly kind of Christian moralism.

MF: But I kind of respect that, like, don't get me wrong, I respect that it doesn't have the

DX: There’s something extreme in it that would appeal to someone like you because it but but what you what you would want from someone taking that perspective, is that they would go all the way with it.

MF: Completely diligent.

DX: That's why attraction as well is that I suppose, like, I approach this, coming from having been in that extreme mentality. And, and I was as interested in that extreme, extreme. Extreme, like, teetotalitarian like sober, disciplined mindset where, like, I would go really far with, with with anything that I went with, as far as my thinking at that at the time, and that would include, I wouldn't have listened to Tupac, it, I wouldn't have listened to Burzum. No way. Like not not I would not have watched the Polanski film or something like that.

And the shift in that, for me, was when you realise that the limitations on your imagination and your your, your curiosity about the world, like when you realise that those things happen, and you don't address it. Like you're, you're killing yourself. So as soon as I kind of clocked at the fact that I was so locked away from any impulses, influences like basically anything that wasn't kind of safe and acceptable.

MF: The other thing is like these things that were the people that make the most sense to me as a young migrant in this place, growing post-911 and all that shit. The only people that appealed to me are people that had enjoyed and experience really fucked up things. And...

DX: You can listen to the rest of this episode by subscribing to our Patreon. There's a link in the episode description.