Adel Souto, Thirteen Questions
The Following is an excerpt from the book, 9 Worlds of Hex Magic , 2012 by Hunter M. Yoder
II met Adel at Germ Bookstore on the opening of a show there I had put together titiled, "Deitsch Heathen Hexology" in February of 2009. The show Heathenized, the Pa German practice of painting Hex Signs and did it with magical intent. Adel presented me at the time with a box of snuff from India with a proper Hindu Swaztika on the package, a sign I had used, Runically in many of the Hexes in the Show. His We Will Not Celebrate The Death of the White Gods translation of a Miguel Serrano work, previously only available in Spanish was at the bookstore. Later in 2011 he presented me with a copy of his Some Words a "best of" his old fanzine, Feast of Hate and Fear when he had moved to Brooklyn. Adel has also made music and art objects and is always up to something.
1) Adel, any reflections on your experience walking from Miami, Fla to Jacksonville Fla last year. I know you intended to walk all the way back to NYC, but this still is an incredible feat.
Quite a lot, actually. From admitted embarrassment to pride, and anger to acceptance.
It was to be a two-month walkabout, which lasted less than a week. I’ve hitchhiked, hopped trains, and even walked for a handful of days, here and there, but never had to keep moving, only depending on no one but me, for such an extended period of time. Also, I wanted to experience much of the U.S. east coast as possible, as well as its people. Plus, the meditative time alone.
I humbled myself, as, after big talk, I failed.
I carried too much on me, but worse, became a home for the Plasmodium ovale protozoa which causes a strain of malaria. It was not a tough one, but it put me down nonetheless. I had to take a Greyhound bus back home, feeling defeated and deflated. I had to use a cane for a week, and, for almost a month, lost the vision in my left eye.
At first, I kicked myself for trying something so bold. Later, I calmed, and kicked myself only for doing it wrong. As time passed, I stopped kicking myself. With more time, I’ve begun to pat myself lightly on the back, in thanks, at least for trying.
There are still hopes to attempt it again.
2) What is the significance of the number 156? Any thoughts on 666? Numerology in general?
The number is used in the Crowley system to represent Babalon, a figure who herself represents many things: the Scarlet Whore, the Great Mother, a veiled version of Ishtar, and an initiatory goddess. In the Enochian langage of Dr. John Dee and Sir Edward Kelley the word means “wicked”, as they used Babalond as “harlot”. Crowley may have had it mixed up.
No matter to me, as Babalon represented a certain female type, my opposite. My Yin (to Yang) so as to do the dance.
Since, it has taken on much more with me.
Mathematically, 156 is a dodecagonal and refactorable number. It’s also listed in the number sequences of Harshad, Abundant, and Pronic numbers. Though admittedly not found in the more commonly used “greater sequences”, such as Fibonacci, Lucas, or Motzkin numbers.
666 is an interesting number. Qabbalistically-speaking, the Sun is 333. To me, 666 represents something greater, beyond that. The occultists Black Sun, or the Sun behind the Sun. An unknowable greater.
3) Your work has an immediacy about it that reminds me of the conceptual art being done in the early Seventies. The objects you create are throwaways or giveaways like it’s the act of doing rather than the thing itself. What can you say about that?
I love to create, and much of what I do is strictly a hobby. It’s a drive, so I can call it a “passion”, but admittedly an unfocused one. It manifests through vast media; some of it, like my acrylic work, is sold, while works, like my poetry, is more often disposable (maybe because I do not want to be referred to as a “poet”).
I can see your point, and understand it. While unintentional, much of what I do does have immediacy, where I create something as soon as it comes to mind, and almost immediately give it away. I often don’t cares who sees it, or if it is even noticed at all. Like my disposable camera project, in which one may never see the photographs I’ve taken, because the art on the outside may be ruined.
Also, much of what I do is based on concept, over tangible art object, so it can’t be held in one place too long, anyway.
Strangely enough, while the man himself does not own his worth, the $25 million dollars Ian MacKaye is said to be worth, is due to the value of an idea, more than countable material possessions.
I think in disposing of my art, it finds its way to many of the places it needs to be. I have recently discovered street-art bloggers who have taken to posting and following some of my work.
I guess, I’ve figured the power of art, along with the power of ideas, while maintaining a spontaneous creative output.
4) How would you trace your own cultural/spiritual evolution from your youth in Miami to the present day?
I was a Spaniard in a place that, throughout the 50s to the Mariel Boatlift of the 1980s, had a largely white population, which begrudgingly tolerated the Spanish-speaking population of Caribbean islanders.
I was an outcast. The white southerners knew I was not one of them, but I didn’t have the tropical skin-tone to, apparently, even be thought of to speak Spanish by the Cubans and Puerto Ricans.
After around 1982, I felt even more of an outsider, when the element I did associate most with left.
It made for a strange upbringing, which, to no surprise, by high school, I found myself to be the only punk rocker for about two years. I found that I had to leave my immediate area, just to find the likeminded. Ever since, I’ve realized that I need to get further and further from where I grew up, to get to where I want to be, when grown up.
It’s a place I will write of often, but want to visit little.
Plus, I’ve caused that place enough grief, too.
5) You have dealt with the darkside of Western culture throughout your creative career. Names like Anton LaVey, Boyd Rice, Charles Manson, Aleister Crowley and on and on have had influence on you. Is this a way of rejecting the whole Western Judeo/Christian culture in favor of something very different? If so what might that be?
Not at all. I reject little. I take in as much information as I can, and decide things for myself. That is why I cannot align myself with any named philosophy, or religion.
Many people point out a lot of dark writing on Feast of Hate and Fear, but forget I have many light topics and reading material there; from poetry to pranks, and even material on sex.
While everyone you mentioned is definitely an influence, I would also like to point to Robert Anton Wilson as being one of my biggest influences.
Both sides (the negative and positive) should be taken into account. Too bad many people, who got into the Abraxic mindset concerning equilibrium, mistook the map for the territory, and just figured to be assholes all the time, instead of when it’s simply necessary.
I understand, and use, the parables of Jesus and Buddha, both figures who are said to have “figured it out”. One lashed out against those in charge and was crucified (pretty dark in itself), the other ran off to have a decent quiet life with no holes in this hands or feet.
I have learned to take as much in as I can. After, when I learn, keep as much to myself as I can. “Do not cast pearls before swine,” is a very Christian thing to say, so I can’t be all that much against it.
As an exCatholic, I can see the need for ritual, and even mass, but find no significance in their idol. Still, this does not mean that I cannot be found in a Catholic (or any other) church giving reverence to “nature” (Lucifer).
6) What is your interest in ritual magic? Satanism?
Ritual magic is an important part of my life for one reason only: it works. Don’t care about the (or lack of) logic, science, skepticism, spirituality or set creed. It works for me, so I use it.
Satanism was an important part of my youth, as I understood it to be adversarial. I began with devil-worshipping, and, later, I read LaVey’s book. Agreeing with much of the Church of Satan’s philosophy, I felt a kinship with those involved, but still practiced a bit of what they preached against, as I was also a member of T.O.P.Y. at this time.
My current interest is only in the Church of Satan’s history, as well as viewing Anton LaVey as an impor6tant figure in American history.
I still have my membership card, and have distanced myself only as a mouthpiece. I will continue to believe it is a step up (though many in the organization have decided to sit still over evolve), but feel I have ascended past that certain step, even if only just a little.
7) Perhaps in reaction to your own built-in subcultural barometer, I have noticed some interest the Runes and blood. Has Heathenism had any effect on your thinking?
Runes, yes, but only so far as any other mystical symbols / language. I use Enochian words, runes, voodoo dolls, modern Industrial music, candles, herbs, Tibetan bells, automatic drawing of sigils, body postures, seals from the Book of Solomon, etc. There isn’t a system I do not pull from.
Blood is very important to me, as each drop lost is thousands of lesser-lives being sacrificed, and many times one doesn’t need to sacrifice a greater being, just a part of them.
Heathenism has had an effect on me, as that is the path I took in my mid-20s.
It was only after that step, where I felt I had found my own way.
8) You are taping TV shows, working daily in the social media, doing street art. Artistic expression now is so very different then in the past where activities might only be exclusively writing, making music or art. What can you say about your creative process today?
Mainly, I use the media you spoke of to get in step with modernity, if not attempting to reach for the future. Technology has just as many positive sides as negatives, and if you wield the positive, you become less of a victim to the negative.
I use a medium or two of the old masters, when I paint or write, but I also create and edit short digital films and tv shows, as well as familiarized myself with Photoshop and Dreamweaver, to get with the times, and create the needed website, and images to spread my words and works and art and ideas and, sometimes, even my poor judgment.
Like life, it’s not all win / win, but better to try, and fail, than not try at all.
9) You yourself have done a great deal of interviews for Feast of Hate and Fear. What is there about the interviewing process that is so cool?
Not to sound like a narc, but the collection of information.
There’s no other way to make up your mind about everything, than to get multiple takes on every experience.
I think that is the coolest thing about, not just interviews, but conversation.
10) I spent thirty years in Brooklyn and now live in Philadelphia mostly to escape the gentrification and expense of NYC. You seem to have found a home in Brooklyn, what can you say about that?
It’s everywhere. South Beach was Miami’s LES, then it became a spot for the jetset crowd. Now it’s half-abandoned, and almost back to what it used to be.
Money was there, then the elderly moved in, lowered rents, and pushed the vacationers out. The artists later displaced the elderly. The rents went up, brought in a market, money followed. Then it crescendoed, died out, and now, the elderly are returning.
It’s a cycle that is constant: the artists get apartments dirt cheap in bad areas, displacing all those already there (and often getting hostility in return), those who base their lives on fad, as well as money know this - such as the posh / rich and companies - then they move in soon after the artists (which make the artists hostile to those moving in on “their” neighborhood).
It’s already happening in parts of Philly, like Fishtown.
We’ll all probably be looking for another place to get away from it all soon enough.
11) You worked as a long haul driver for a time, you must tell us one of your stories from that experience.
I was hijacked south of Newark, NJ.
A man approached my driver’s side window, and proceeds to mouth something while pointing to the back of my truck. I tried to ignore him, but he kept dramatically pointing.
When I lowered my window to see what was the matter, he jumped up, placing a knife to my chest, saying, “Unlock you doors.”
After unlocking them, an unseen partner, also with a knife, jumps in on the passenger’s side, and yells directions. I oblige, as, after just waking up, I’m not in the mood to get stabbed.
After about 10 minutes, and pulling into a terrible neighborhood, I begin to plead with him, pointing out that I’m just carrying a load of paper towels.
He tells me to shut up, and starts to point out where to pull over.
Upon pulling off to the side, I pop my brakes, and using the loud noise to cover that I’m jumping for him, as well as his knife.
With one hand on his knife-holding hand, I punch non-stop with the other, screaming, “Get out of my truck!”
Once I heard him respond, “Stop yelling at me! I’m an adult!” I knew my blows were getting the better of him. That’s when I unlocked his door, and pushed him out.
I jumped back in my seat, unlocked my brakes, and high-tailed it out of there.
It didn’t end there, as I was lost, and even came up upon a bridge that was only 11’, and I drive a 13”6” trailer.
It was a full-on hell ride, that morning.
12) You grew up in Hialeah,/ Miami in the eighties and nineties? I myself ran between NYC and Miami in the late eighties early nineties especially SW Miami. Loved Calle Ocho on a Saturday night. South Beach was still on the raunchy side, Any reminiscences from that era? I know you are still in touch to some degree. How has Miami changed if at all?.
In all honesty, too many to go into.
The short of it is: I grew up riding a bike to the Everglades for fun. Had an equally hard, yet boring youth. Found punk, and made fanzines, and bands. Found gangs, and made trouble, and heartache. Found, drugs, made high nights, and low days. Found travel, made great stories, and bad connections. Was a homeless bum, and a hard worker with a mortgage. Since it was while growing up, they lasted for longer stretches. Now that I feel I’ve grown so much more, I still experience much of that, in all the new places I live in, just in smaller does on the negative, and larger on the positive.
It has changed for the worst. By catering to vacationers, FL has created an entire lifestyle of living beyond means. It truly is a plastic city, and now a terribly cartoonish facsimile of Los Angeles.
Been to every corner of south FL, and found what I needed, until I needed to move on. I’m having fun up north, right now.
I miss the true friends I’ve made, but they visit. I miss the weather, but I visit.
13) What can we look forward to from Adel Souto in the near future?
Much more of the same.
More personal art for friends, as well as public art with purpose, similar to what ManWoman was doing, associated with the swastika, so as to help redeem an innocent symbol.
More video work, as musical artists are asking that I create more of my visual collages for them to place their music to.
My disposable camera project has added more artists to help hide the photos I take.
Speaking of which, my photography - which, in no way, is a real attempt to be artistic - is being displayed in galleries, as well as on releases by musicians, and even in art magazines. I say that I’m not trying to be artistic with my photography because I tend to capture images not meant to be seen by others besides me, and maybe a few friends. They manage to be images well-caught, with decent composition, which others find seems to speak to them.
I just finished writing my piece on a month-long vow of silence. It will be released as a small chapbook, in an edition of 333 copies. I will now get to writing on a six-month ritual, which helped me open the pineal gland several times - once for a few hours short of a complete week.
Musically, I still perform under the name 156, and churn out industrial rhythms (using only glass, metal and concrete) with a number of EP releases in the last two years. I’m currently working on a recording featuring all human bones, as well as collaboration with other musicians on several other projects, both separate from, and in league with, 156.
There’s also less artistic work, such as the Infernum tattoo shop in NYC, which I helped open, and run with one of my closest friends, and macabre tattoo artist, Liorcifer.
I’ve begun lecturing on ritual practice and occult influences on photography, both in the developmental process and the art.
I definitely enjoy taking about what I’m about to do, more so than what I’ve done. It helps them physically manifest.
Plus, I’m happy to have been where I have, but excited to see where I’m headed.
Feast of hate and Fear