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

INTERVIEW WITH JESUS METAL WEBZINE

1. Please introduce yourself and Babylon Mystery Orchestra

I am Sidney Allen Johnson also known as Babylon Mystery Orchestra. BMO exists to bring my unusual musical perspectives to life as well as a point of view on the reality of the world that I believe is far different from the norm. Though all of BMO’s recordings have been reguarded as “controversial” in some manner I can assure you that I don’t see them that way at all. Nor is the controversial nature of it the true purpose. I believe everything I relate on these records. That may ultimately be the most I can say about them.

2. You recently released your third full-length, how has it been received? Have you sent it out to labels?

This record has met with the most favorable response of all the Babylon Mystery Orchestra CDs. I have been getting a lot of interview requests and I really like doing interviews. There are, as should be expected, some negative reviews. Some are very harsh even. But most are positive and there are many that have been very enthusiastic about this record. That is something I have noticed all along with BMO records. The people who like them tend to be very enthusiastic about them. It is often greatly appreciated by people who do not consider themselves Christians in any way. In fact many of them contact me telling me I have really spoken their point of view with this record. It is definitely not a record that comfortably falls into an easy categorization. Many Christians as well are very excited about how it was done. Although there are some who worry I focus on the negative aspects of my subject matter too much. The fact is, I believe now is the time for these subjects to be dealt with both seriously and severely.

I have only sent this CD out to 2 labels as of this writing. I really haven’t yet tried to shop it around. Believe it or not, I am already almost finished with a 4th song for the next CD. I am trying to keep focused on getting the records made. I should spend more time trying to get signed by a label but I just don’t. I will send some more out at some time but it is not a priority. I often hear people claim that they are doing this or that for God and he will lead them. To an extent maybe I am doing the same thing. I believe these records do serve a greater purpose than just entertainment or amusement, so this music will find its ears.

I have however managed to acquire distribution for the new CD through Lance King’s Nightmare records. So that should increase the visibility of BMO music considerably. In the greater scheme of things, this might be the best position to be in anyway.

3. When reading through the lyrics and the rest of the booklet of The Great Apostasy: A Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity, I was quite surprised by how controversial they are. Do you fully stand behind these lyrics? Do you go to church? Could you explain a bit of why you chose this subject?

Absolutely I stand behind these lyrics! As I said this record, as are all Babylon Mystery Orchestra records, has a greater purpose than just to amuse the listener. They are intentionally designed to provolk and entice the listener to think for himself. In an era where Bibles are readily available and basic literacy is the norm, people should not look to other people or institutions to do their Biblical thinking for them. They should think for themselves. Lately I don’t go to a church that often but I am a member of a Southern Baptist Church. I believe people should read the Bible for themselves and then decide which church is right for them…..if any. Unfortunately people tend to go to church for indoctrination rather than fellowship and discussion. The churches feel compelled to have an answer for everything. I cannot be too critical of the process though. I was raised in the church and went every Sunday growing up. So I know all about the indoctrination process. And there are very good points about it as well. You can be well exposed to all aspects of the Bible this way. But that can also have its negative aspects. Because there very definitely does exist an entity known as “the wrong church.”  I tend to view most denominations the same way Jesus does in his messages to the seven churches at the beginning of Revelation. He points out many good things about them…then points out what is wrong. I think you can find that to be the case in them all. As well you should expect that if that situation already existed 30 years after the crucifixion. It certainly would grow and expand over 2000 years. Both the good and the bad.

I chose this subject because it is very near and dear to my heart and mind. These are things I think about all the time. Especially as it relates to Biblical prophecy. I cannot understand where most Christians keep their minds. There seems to be a fixation on the rewards of Christ. And they are great rewards. But there are expectations and consequences as well. At least if you really believe. Too many are inebriated on their own salvation and they seem to lack a purpose.

4. You describe the church, Biblically described as the Body of Christ, as a tool of Satan. Don’t you think this can be a misguiding interpretation, or at least a rather one-sided one?

True, when you accept Christ and are baptized you are a part of the “body of Christ.” But this is also where the brilliance of Satan and his plan to poison this body comes into play. All the acoutrements that have been assigned to Christianity as we know it, do not improve or enhance the experience of Salvation, nor do they assist in growing with your faith. The massive outlays (and therefore, requirements) of money for buildings, ornaments and….idols are not a part of this body of Christ. Nor is the heirarchical levels of authority. Maybe a flock needs a shepherd. But why must many flocks be organized and further authority established to the point where you may be given religious instruction from someone thousands of miles away who may even speak another language? No. This level of authority only is necessary for CONTROL. The omnipotent God of the Bible does not need this. All everywhere amswer to him. But am non-omnipotent, mischievous angel does need this high level of organization. So what I am suggesting with this record is that the concept of “church” has been polluted. But….That was made very obvious by Jesus himself. Since the Devil did not leave Jesus alone, why would you think he would leave his followers alone? Jesus was divine, and therefore above deception…..his church, NOT! History has borne this out. That is why I believe this material is important on a level far above trivial entertainment.

5. Your previous works were also rather controversial. What’s your goal with Babylon Mystery Orchestra?

There is no goal other than to present these ideas in this particular and peculiar format. I am not trying to lead anyone to or away from God or any belief system they have. This point of view is unique and rather blunt. Considering it is paired with a gothic metal kind of music, it delivers this point of view with power and conviction. That is the purpose. When I was growing up I used to hear people talk about the old “Fire and Brimstone” preachers of the past. Well. it doesn’t get more “Fire and Brimstone” than Babylon Mystery Orchestra.

6. I had the feeling the lyrics on The Great Apostasy were more complex and more thought out than the music. What’s your biggest concern when writing a new album, which do you find more important; lyrics or music?

Babylon Mystery Orchestra is probably the only hard rock or heavy metal artist out there where the music serves the lyrics. The music is built around the lyrics to enhance and empower them. The lyrics are the dominant aspect of the entire presentation. Probably every artist will tell you they don’t want to be labeled in a certain genre and I do not go around calling BMO a “christian” band. Not that I mind if someone else says it but I do not identify with that line of thinking and I will tell you why. I don’t believe in any such thing as Christian Rock music. I do not endorse the concept of it. I do not believe music is neutral and therefore any kind of music can be used for praising God. The biggest reason I don’t advocate Christian Rock is because the lyrics do not dominate rock music music and everyone knows that whether they wish to acknowledge it or not. Rock music is not humble music. It is full of self centered braggadocio, defiance and rebellion. I just don’t think you can drop in a few “positive” lyrics or a Jesus praise into that kind of music and think it in any way is of use to God. Unfortunately with Rock music the lyrics have almost always been disposable or purely rebellious. It is the NATURE of the music. On the other hand, Heavy rock music is excellent music for accompanying songs about damnation and destruction. It is why the lyrics are so important to me with BMO. And why the music MUST be subservient to them. Still, is this Christian music? It is more Christian than almost any Christian Rock band you can name right down to its full fledged proselytizing. But it does not often focus on praising God. More on the consequences of rejecting him. The only type of Rock music that could really accomplish praising God is the big chorus style hair metal anthem. After all that style of music was pretty much built on the same frame as Gospel music whether Bon Jovi set foot in a church or not. Yet hair metal is frowned upon these days and Christian rock bands tend to follow the same trends as everyone else. So much for being different. Too many “Christian” artists claim that mantle simply because they put “positive” messages in their songs. Well BMO focuses on a lot of negative messages but never compromises the Biblical approach.

My saying things like this might make some people mad, but I just want everyone to understand that BMO is not just another frivolous band. There is way more thought behind it than what I see from everyone else. Rock music is not thinking music!! It never was and never will be. At best it is an amusing, entertaining distraction. No one should ever think it capable of more than that. I would call BMO many things, heavy metal included, but never rock music. Once you apply seriousness to your approach you cannot claim to be rock music. I therefore keep my rock and roll separate from BMO. I do not wish to be percieved as critical of others who believe in the concept of “Christian Rock.” That is just not the viewpoint that I approach BMO from.

7.What’s the meaning behind the name Babylon Mystery Orchestra?

The first CD, Divine Right Of Kings, focused on the prophecy of Mystery Babylon in chapters 17 & 18 of Revelation. I also originally felt I would put a lot of orchestration in the music in a way similar to bands like Therion. So I was toying with the word “Orchestra” all along. Mystery Babylon Orchestra really doesn’t sound too good but Babylon Mystery Orchestra flows off the tongue real easy. Plus, since I am the only musician currently playing in Babylon Mystery Orchestra, the word “Orchestra” has a desirable sense of preposterousness.

8. About the music, what gives you inspiration to write music? Which bands have influenced you?

I have been a fan of KISS all my life. Do you hear their influence in Babylon Mystery Orchestra? Maybe not so much in the sound of BMO(I think my guitar solo’s reek of Ace’s influence) but in the packaging of the CD’s. I work on the presentation of the CD as a whole. This is probably where the KISS influence shows. They took a lot of care to make the packaging special. So I like to make sure the booklet is a neccessary part of the presentation. I take a lot of influence  also from RUSH in the way they presented their 2112 and Hemispheres records. As far as other musical influences, I have thousands of CD’s and vinyl records. Mostly heavy music. Just too much to list but I think you can hear Blue Oyster Cult, The Doors, Black Sabbath, Manowar, Sisters Of Mercy, Therion and Tiamat swirling around as influences on the BMO sound.

9. What can we expect in the future from Babylon Mystery Orchestra? Got more controversial subjects to work out?

Absolutely! I firmly believe the next Babylon Mystery Orchestra CD will be the most “controversial” of them all. On this CD I made my position clear on the concept of the pretribulation rapture. I firmly believe that the rapture will not happen before the tribulation and that the Churches MUST go through it. In fact it is almost entirely designed for them. This I will explore on the next CD. If, as I proposed on “The Great Apostasy,” the pretribulation rapture doctrine is a Satanically planted poison designed to decieve Christians into believing that the prophecies of Revelation do not apply to them, the the ramifications of the mark of the beast will be most severe. I assure you, no one has ever said or suggested what will be presented on the 4th BMO CD. If there is a true message and purpose to BMO then this will be it. A tremendously frightening warning. I firmly believe it to be true. But that is all I will say about it now. I am working on the main message songs for it right now. I even have several booklet parts done. I am excited to finish it but do not look for it until early 2008. I might finish it sooner but I doubt it. If I do I will put it out sooner. I am contemplating the 5th CD to be a non conceptual record at this time. I need to try that once don’t you think? Who knows, maybe my vision will “lighten up” for it.

10. Any final comments?

I want to thank you for providing me with this opportunity to talk about Babylon Mystery Orchestra and its concepts. I know I say a few provocative things but I like to make people think and give them an interview worth reading. I really enjoy doing them and I hope you will let me do another one again some time.
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