Actual Pain is the brainchild of artist TJ Cowgill created in the winter of 2006. Essentially, they wanted to make a brand that was new and fresh yet had it's ties to old school metal, punk, trash, horror and basically the darkside of life. He personally design every piece of Actual Pain. In April of 2008, his band, Book Of Black Earth signed a deal with Prosthetic Records and their second headbanger "Horoskopus" has just been released. To say he's busy is understatement. Everything he do in art, Actual Pain, or Book of Black Earth comes from the deepest part of his subconscious. Enjoy enjoy our one-on-one interview with the man behind the clothing label and the band. Read on and find out for yourself.
HPDC: Hey TJ, hows it goin?
TJ Cowgill: It's going pretty good thanks.
HPDC: Where are you from?
TJ Cowgill: Seattle, though I grew up specifically on the southside which is the poor neighborhood.
HPDC: So, who's Actual Pain?
TJ Cowgill: Actual Pain is my deepest subconscious mind unfolded upon humanity like a disgusting plague. It is no one and everyone.
HPDC: What inspired your Actual Pain?
TJ Cowgill: The blight of the world. Suffering, religion, metal, punk, injustice, politics, death, blood, bath, and beyond.
HPDC: What are you working on at the moment?
TJ Cowgill: Right now we are wrapping up the S/S 09 collection, and should be shipping it in Feburary. It's called "Wild Life". It's about being wild, being free.
HPDC: So, tell us about Actual Pain S/S 09 Collection?
TJ Cowgill: Like I said it's called Wild Life, it's based on the idea that life is dark and wild sometimes, but we should never forget to party and be ourselves.
HPDC: You recently teamed up with Mishka. Could you tell us the story?
TJ Cowgill: Well, I'm not sure how we met, it was a year or so back. I think they got in touch with us and just said "Hey good work" you know. But after talking with them and meeting them we found a lot in common. I really wanted to do a New Era hat but getting it done is hard unless your in with New Era. I told them the idea and they were stoked. Also, the Rasputin tee as their concept, I just drew it up and we both made it happen.
HPDC: How do you keep things fresh?
TJ Cowgill: I don't know, I try not to pay attention to what the other brands are doing but it's hard because of the collective unconscious artists share. So I do look and try to see what others bring and instead offer my personal approach to the clothes we make. A lot of people draw, but almost nobody I know draws just like me. I try and remember that the art is already there, I'm just helping it remember itself in this world that we're in now.
HPDC: Do you think this recession will affect the purchases of fashion and apparel?
TJ Cowgill: No not really, the whole world bank is set up to keep people content but not to have too much. As long as we keep delivering, people will buy Actual Pain.
HPDC: What's your daily uniform?
TJ Cowgill: Sleeveless tee shirt black or white, black denim jeans that fit, and bleached chucks or vans. If I have to wear a coat it's black denim or leather. Always.
HPDC: Anyway, you're also have a band called Book of Black Earth. What can you tell us about it?
TJ Cowgill: BoBE is my love child, seriously I spend so much time on this band it's ridiculous. We play heavy metal but with a punk mentality. We are on a 5 week US tour and it's awesome. It takes away from Actual Pain but it's worth it. If I just did one thing all the time I would go crazy. And it's really inspiring.
HPDC: What's behind the title of your new full-length, "Horroskopus"?
TJ Cowgill: Well the new album is about how all monotheistic religion is based on astrology and sun god worship. Christians for example have been taught to appropriate the old pagan holidays as their own. Nowadays your average christian has no idea that Easter is actually the spring equinox, the day Jesus rose from the dead is also the day pagans celebrated the return of the sun, and longer warmer days. This is just one of many examples of the bible being an allegory and not a literal, historical text as so many people take it as.
HPDC: What makes your second album different from the first?
TJ Cowgill: Well we have two new members in the band Tony and Dav. They bring their own style to the table. Also we were not as interested in an overproduced sounding album. This record is raw. The way heavy metal was intended to be.
HPDC: Totally agree! So, why did you not stay on 20 Bucks Spin Records?
TJ Cowgill: We are still on 20 Buck Spin, Dave who runs the label is a friend of ours and did an awesome job with the Feast. We signed a deal with Prosthetic because they could offer us more and help is reach a wider range of people with our message.
HPDC: So, how's the tour with Watain?
TJ Cowgill: Awesome, totally rad dudes. They bring of every night it's amazing. Not to mention they're one of my favorite bands and I get to see them every night!
HPDC: Any special preparation for the Black Metal Magic Tour?
TJ Cowgill: I always will my intentions every night we play. I create my own reality by my own will. No gods, no masters.
HPDC: So, what's your playlist at the moment?
TJ Cowgill: Dismember, Bolt Thrower, Watain, Neurosis, Repulsion, Black Breath, Mastodon, Carcass, Death in June, Tragedy.
HPDC: What's the wierdest records that you ever bought?
TJ Cowgill: Probably some disco record.
HPDC: Any last words for anyone in Indonesia?
TJ Cowgill: Don't believe the hype! Follow no one that is selling their message! Life is short, you have to make it better while your still in it!
Actual Pain will be available @ Orbis - Concept Store: Jl. Gandaria Tengah II no.1-2 Blok D/1, next to Circle K Gandaria Jakarta, Indonesia