Godmachine Interview

September 26, 2012

Because of their mutual love for coffee and cats, we asked Jeremy Brautman (http:/www.jeremyriad.com) to interview Godmachine for Vannen. Jeremy reported back that since Godmachine had been asked to death all the usual questions, he was going to chat him up about coffee and cats. Here's what happened.

My mother-in-law once said to me how "interesting" it was for a man to like cats. I'm sure you catch the drift of where she was going with that. In a few sentences, please dispute the stereotype that cats are "girlie pets".

Cats are artistic creatures; they sleep all day and are up all night. They don't come when you call them, they don't roll over and do tricks on command. They are no one's fool, and you can fuck off if you think they will be subservient. I respect that. I find it interesting how people dislike cats 'because they look down their nose at you'...really? A cat's never done that to me...maybe you have issues if you feel that about an animal. Your anthropomorphization of an animal will say much more about you than it will the animal. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, odd how people will enforce their need to war against things on you 'if you like cats you must hate dogs, if you like coffee you must hate tea' ...fuck off. I just find that cats are less domesticated, more clean, more independent, less hassle and very much still wild. You don't own a cat, a cat lets you in. Cats suit me.

How did your cats come to be in your life?

We got Bear and his sister Kitty from a friend of ours in London. It wasn't kitten season, but we heard of this litter. We drove hundreds of miles and selected these two. Bear had identical brothers, and kitty was the runt. Bear was always giving me evils and causing a stir, and his sister was this quiet tiny thing. To be fair, I was worried about her so I picked her to make sure she got a good home. Strangely Bear's brother lives in the same town as us and is called Monkey.

Please describe the cutest thing one of your cats has ever done. Feel free to provide multiple anecdotes. We have unlimited bandwidth for cute cat stories.

Awww Jesus, everything those two do is cute. Kitty sleeps with her tongue out. People don't think I have two cats because I always say 'Kitty' and probably think I'm talking about Bear. Plus Kitty is super difficult to photograph. I bought this tree for them which I have screwed into the wall, and Bear claims it as his own and it's where he burns off steam; falls out, hangs upside down, bumps his head and so on. Basically, when they both sleep on their backs, belly rubs are inevitable.

You make pretty dark art, so single-minded people might assume you rob graves and eat babies. In reality, you are a cat-loving vegetarian who admits to liking cute stuff. Can you say something about these dueling forces within you?

I have no dueling forces, I am a whole complete person. Sometimes it doesn't work too well, bits are old and broken, but I am not two halves or parts of something. Very existential, huh? I think people like to assume things about others, it's a humanistic trait. Humans are built to recognize patterns as a survival technique; if you see the first half of a tiger coming around the corner you don't wait to see if it actually is a whole one: you fucking run. Assumptions are comforting and rewarding: it's called the AAB effect and it can be seen in jokes, film, music and art: its predictability. When you watch a film, you can always guess the outcome, when you listen to a song you know the chorus follows the verse, you know the punch line and so on. When all people see of me are the drawings I produce, its forgivable that they assume I'm into heavy metal or play computer games etc. I like Jazz, don't own a console and love Friends. Don't get me wrong, I'm no dandy, hung up my gloves a while back. I just love drawing monsters. I counted the pics in my portfolio that had blood and guts in; on my front page of my portfolio I have 49 pieces, of those only 14 have blood on them or guts. But people will say I am a blood and guts artist. I will accept dark, skulls, creepy. Fox Mulder once proposed (I should really find out the classic philosopher who originally said it and sound cooler haha) 'are we who we think we are or want to be, or will we only ever be who others see us to be'.

England has a rep for being a tea-consuming country. How's your local coffee?
Love tea, I swing back and fore - variety is the spice, but ultimately it's always going to be coffee. I have found a few places I will go for a coffee but no one makes it like me.

What's your home rig like (drip machine, French press, etc.)?

I used to use a cafetiere, but kept smashing them. Then, my brother in law bought me a drip machine. I like to call it 'The First Four Black Sabbath Albums' as there is nothing more metal, more black and more energizing for the soul. It keeps the coffee warm and reheats it at the push of a button, I can dig it. I hate microwaved coffee. While I'm here, 'a coffee plunger' or 'French press' is like calling a vacuum cleaner a 'floor sucker-up'er' or calling a gun 'a bullet thrower'. It's a cafetiere.

The easy assumption would be that you take your coffee black, but then question 3 above leads me to ponder sugar and cream...set the world straight: how do you take your coffee?

I drink coffee black, no milk no sugar. I like espresso with a glass of water on the side. Sometimes, the devil calls and makes me buy a chai tea latte from Starbucks.

How many cups of coffee a day are we talking about here?

I was curious myself a while back and measured. If I am out for the day, it could go up to 10 cups easy. If I am at home working all day, it will be about 4... and no more. It's because I'm working I refill, it goes cold, I pour it back in the pot with the warm stuff, re-pour...lets it go cold and repeat all day sipping as I go.

How many mugs with pictures of cats are we talking about (and could you please send a photo)?

I just counted them, only 12?! I can't believe I went and set them up on my desk like that for you hahah. I have been given a few, found a few and just ended up with a few. I don't really collect them. I have more mugs that don't have cats on than do. I have some surfer mugs. I don't want you to think I collect them. I think it's like when people buy you shit for X-mas.

If you've done much traveling in the states, where did you find the best coffee?

I didn't travel much in the states, just Boston side in and around. I wasn't a big coffee fan back then, it was all about the drugs and the booze back then. I loved Boston though, they have some great bars and the locals were fucking insane. I would spend most of my time wandering off to local bars alone, drinking with the natives all night, arm wrestling and getting messy. Good people. America was largely full of nice people, even an attempt to be mugged in Chinatown resulted in the guy saying sorry and leaving politely. Send me some of that coffee though. Best coffee so far was some from Africa and some from France that was called 'Expresso', go figure.

I've read that English kids are trying to use American vocabulary, which is fascinating because I'm an anglophile and often get in trouble from my wife for adding a stray "u" to words like "colour" or calling an elevator a "lift". What are some things about American culture you dig?

It used to drive me insane hearing kids say 'sidewalk' instead of curb, or 'jelly' instead of jam and 'yo, s'up'. But I'm older and a tad calmer now. Language has a way of changing and evolving and will never do as we want it to. Communication is a means to an end, sometimes it's better to make sure you are clearly understood, use proper English, correct grammar and spell check!! Other times, it's beautiful to hear evolved words and slang. I do cringe when I hear someone say 'I'm feelin' this shit' or 'You feelin' me'? It just sounds fucking creepy if you are not an American rapper. I have learned recently that a lot of 'your' words, 'fall' and 'mail' etc. that seem all American are actually British words that we stopped using when we were shipping you lot over. You continued using them, and we started evolving them again. Also hearing Fox news reporters say 'nitch' when saying 'niche' used to make me cringe, turns out, both ways are correct. Again it's an old English way of saying it. In revolt, we started using the French pronunciation.

As American culture goes, how can you not fall in love with it? Some may say it's all lies, false hopes, dreams and plastic, but it's a beautiful 'can do' attitude. You are all taught that you can be the next president if you want, and it's true you can. I love how America embraces cultural communities and people define themselves through their cultures. You have defined 'scenes'. Americans are very trusting people and come into the world nodding their heads. British come into this world shaking their heads. It's a vast divide that I could wax lyrical on and get more wrong than I could right. I would like to live in the States at some point for a short while.

What are some stereotypes about English people that are just not true? What are some stereotypes about English people that are completely true?

I should point out that I am Welsh, not English, not Irish, not Scottish, I come from Britain: The United Kingdom. While we are not overly different from one another, we do have our divides that are noticeable. I will talk on behalf of the British. I have had a long discussion with my brother on the pride of nationality, he is proud to be Welsh, I am not. I am quite pleased I am Welsh as much as I am pleased I am not a murdering sick fuck. Get my drift? I do not know any traits that a nation possesses that cannot be found in other nationalities. To say that the Welsh are fighters may be true, but then so are a lot of other nations and so on. I will talk about us Brits, Limeys, Roast Beefs etc.

We do have bad teeth, not everyone. The younger generation has immaculate teeth. You imported that to us. We never got on TV much so never had that vanity, we do now, thanks. We like a drink and a fight. We drink a lot. We don't talk about our emotions, we either beat the fuck out of you or hug you and love you to pieces, this mostly happens when we are drunk. We smoke, or used to, that's dying out too. I had to look up some stereotypical things that you guys think about us as I didn't really know. So, apparently we are stuck up, thin, wear fitted clothes (I'm taking this of a website I found written by a Yank), use big words, bad food, swear a lot, bad hygiene and so on....sounds like The Jerry Springer show to me. See, traits that are not applicable to one nation.

I hope I haven't arsed you too much with this interview or made you feel as though I was taking the mickey. Please be honest. Did you fancy answering these questions as much as I enjoyed writing them? Personally, I'm chuffed to have had this opportunity.

I too am chuffed to beans me ol' china. I did enjoy answering them, best interview so far, thank you.

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