Talking Influences with INCENDIARIES
Focused around society’s unhealthy obsession with money, Heenan’s lyrics are harsh and unrelenting, bringing to mind imagery of a city in ruins while he draws connections between the economy and the horrific god Molach. Speaking about the track’s context, Morgan shares “the song speaks to the idea that money, any amount, is worth more than life. Or that it's somehow realer than life, and that we need to organize ourselves, our wellbeing, around whatever is most profitable; whatever best increases GDP or creates more money for shareholders. An economy should be a way of distributing resources, of improving wellbeing. But instead of the economy serving life, we've found ourselves in this profoundly twisted system where life serves the economy, at any cost."
It’s a powerful introduction to the project and with its agitated themes and dystopia sonics leaves its mark well after its runtime is over. To pull the curtain back on ‘New Prophets’, Morgan talked us through some key influences that lie behind the track.
Howl, by Allen Ginsberg
One of the main images in ‘New Prophets’ is that of Moloch, a questionably-historical Canaanite god which is associated with human sacrifice. In the track I use Moloch as a representation of the systems we create which demand brutal offerings with the promise of prosperity - a metaphor that's be used a few times over the years.
I think the first place I came across that ideas would've been many years ago in Allen Ginsberg's classic poem Howl. Through a sprawling, chaotic mass of images, he conjures the monstrosity created by industrial civilization, a consuming monster that is utterly inhuman, unconcerned with its subjects.
Moloch whose mind is pure machinery! Moloch whose blood is running money! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies! Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo! Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!
Moor Mother & billy woods - Brass
And some of the bars are really just the best. Like on ‘Rapunzal’, where woods raps:
“Alan Greenspan fucking Ayn Rand;
She came, finished him with her hand.
Lit a cigarette, they split in the dark.
Men sang from minarets, but we'd already hardened our hearts.”
Pictures from Hart Island mass graveyards
The news: Bezos and co.
And then there's the other side: the news that over the pandemic, the ten richest men in the world doubled their wealth, or that the number of billionaires increased significantly, or that growing wealth inequality shows no signs of slowing down. While governments and corporations dutifully sacrificed the poor as fuel to the fire, the elites profited. If Hart Island represents the sadness, this is the anger, of which there's no shortage of in the track.
Capitalist Realism, by Mark Fisher
This is a bit of a classic, quick and dirty text of the post-GFC years, a period in which it became clear that even the near-complete demolition of our economic system wasn't enough to shake our absolute belief in it. At its opening, Fisher presents a varying-attributed and increasingly popular quote: “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”.
This fatalism is encapsulated in Thatcher's infamous line, which becomes a kind of dark refrain in ‘New Prophets’: “there is no alternative”. Abandon all hope. We might destroy every living thing on Earth, but we can't mess with the economy. ‘New Prophets’ was about revealing that 'realism' for what it really is: violence. Only then can we begin to fight it.