Babylon Mystery Orchestra Interviews
An archive of lost interviews with Sidney Allen Johnson

SKYLIGHT MAGAZINE 2003

This interview with Sidney Allen Johnson was done in 2003 by the Greek web magazine Skylight.

1. Is Babylon Mystery Orchestra a project or a band?

Technically it is probably a little bit of both. I really would like for it to evolve into a band situation that could tour behind the records but at the moment I am content to leave it as it is. If a label expresses interest at some point then I would be in a better position to assemble a performing band. I however look upon it like it was a band even if I am the only one involved at the moment.

2. Why did you choose to release the album Divine Right Of Kings?

I have wanted for a long time to hear music that actually had something to say. Heavy Metal has always been lacking in reguards to serious subject matter. Its good that most bands aren’t serious and want to be more “fun”, but there needs to be some that do present serious subjects. I have always thought the combination of Biblical Prophecy and Heavy Metal would be a good combination. Virtually everything in life revolves around religion and politics. Why not face up to it in the music?

3. Please let us know about the lyrics of BMO…

The lyrics are at the center of the concept of all I want Babylon Mystery Orchestra to be. I want to go to places that other bands are scared to go. Thats why the first CD I went straight for the throat and wrote a record about the United States being the literal fulfilment of the Biblical prophecy of Mystery Babylon The Great. According to prophecy this place WILL be destroyed in ONE HOUR! Considering the recent all to easy conquest of Iraq it doesn’t even seem possible that such a thing could happen to us. Yet according to the prophecy, the whole world is amazed and shocked when it happens. The record goes to a lot of political ends to describe how current events point the way to identifying the United States as this place. I wanted the lyrics to portray America very much as the Bible delivers its messages in reguards to prophecy: Without question, without any emotional entanglements and with a certainty of purpose. Overall I think with the exception of “Save My Soul” and “Crestfallen” it comes off as just that. Those two songs were meant to convey a state of confusion and loss and even sadness. I think “We Are Power” is one of the better descriptions of current United States’ behaviors and attitudes you will find.

4. Do you consider BMO a brainchild of your ideas about religion or a heavy metal band?

Without a doubt it is a lot of that. I should point out however that I am not alone in a belief that America is Mystery Babylon.There is quite a lot of good reading out ther for anyone interested in the subject. I consider Babylon Mystery Orchestra to be a prophecy oriented band. Perhaps the only true doom metal in terms of what it truly means to be doomed. Since I tend to view things in very religious and political terms. I don’t see any problem however in viewing BMO as a heavy metal band though.  I think the combination will prove very interesting. I don’t feel an obligation to make all the records about religion and politics. I just know that inevitably that is how I view the world and it will come out that way.

5. Why you don’t like the category of Christian metal?

When you apply the label “Christian” on just about anything you paint a certain imagery to it. A lot of christian bands think their music is some sort of ministry for Jesus. Babylon Mystery Orchestra isn’t on a crusade to save the world. Quite the opposite. The message here is that it just may be too late to save the world. Perhaps all the more reason to seek salvation. I don’t think rock music is particularly suited for praising the love, forgiveness and salvation of Jesus. Thats a beautiful story. It should sound beautiful too. Its the realm of ballads. Forgiveness is just not a metal attribute. On the other hand there actually are Christian death metal bands. I however don’t want to rain on their parade. Babylon Mystery Orchestra may deal with a lot of religious concepts but from a different perspective. I think heavy metal is very condusive to telling stories of divine retribution.

6. What’s your opinion about Black metal bands and musicians that prefer to write lyrics against Christ?

More often than not they lose me on the music alone. I have never liked the more extreme music like that. However it seems to me that, like it or not, they ARE christians. They are completely dependent on him for inspiration. If you look in all the metal magazines those bands always describe their music as blasphemous. There can be no blasphemy without belief. So that establishes them as believers. If they write songs about “christian death” they are suggesting cutting their own commercial throats. They aren’t shocking or scaring anyone with their lyrics about hating Jesus or Christians.. I don’t know anyone who listens to it who doesn’t play in one of those bands. So they only appear to be playing to each other. The fact is no matter what they say or do they can’t offend me. Hatred is for the weak. All to often you find out it is just an act to the musicians and they don’t even take it serious. But for those who do…..more power to you.

7. What kind of influences do you have as a musician?

I grew up on KISS. They have probably always been my favorite band. I have always loved everything Ronnie James Dio ever touched. I think Therion is the best band in the world right now. That combination of classical music and heavy metal is to me the highest art form of music right now. Its a shame that here in America there is such a love for rap metal. I tend to like the more gothic and classically slanted heavy music.

8. How easy or hard is to promote this independent release?

I am impressed with the success I have had at getting the CD reviewed. And I am really impressed at the fact most of the reaction has been positive. Reviewers seem to appreciate the lyrical approach. It emboldens me even more for future recording. On the other hand I realize that I am still virtually invisible to the world at this point. It is hard to attract attention without label support. But I am in no hurry if it takes a long time so be it. The subjects this music is about are not going to go out of date until time itself comes to an end.

9. Which is the next step of your career?

The second CD is already started. I intend to have it ready by the first of the year. It will provide a few surprises in its subject matter. Plus I am expanding on the song arrangements and singing style. “Divine Right Of Kings” dealt with a future occurence entirely. The new one is tells of 7000 thousand year old story. And something that destroyed that world is back here today more powerful than it was then. Just as it was prophecized. I can’t wait to finish it so you can see what I’m talking about. Suffice it to say no record has ever dared to approach this. I also already know where I am going to take the third record. Of course I am always open to the possibility that my situation could change one way or another.

10. Please end this interview as you like…

I appreciate your interest in Babylon Mystery Orchestra. I hope to make some of the most interesting records out there. I am finding out that a lot of people are interested in these subjects and are appreciative of this approach. This type of thing has the possibility of really growing into something big. People are always going to be interested in the apocalypse at least until it comes to pass.

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