PSYCHIC TV + TOPY
Psychic TV are one of Britian’s most multi-facted and fascinating bands. Though, as is too often the case with radical artists, their input into British culture is often overlooked. Not only should their contribution to music and art be recognised, but also their contribution to British mysticism. If you are looking for a truly subversive, underground band, look no further.⠀
Forming in the 1981 Post Punk landscape of Hackney, #PsychicTV was formed by the former members of the pioneering industrial band #ThrobbingGristle. If you aren’t familiar with them either, check out 20 Jazz Funk Greats for it’s crazy-for-its-time electronic ingenuity. Members Genesis P-Orridge and Peter Christopherson wanted to continue with the experimental, avant-garde work they had previously established. Only this time they wanted to push the standard format further to ensure the psychedelic sound was unique and expansive.⠀
Whilst Genesis wrote the lyrics, they brought in different lineups of musicians and creatives for each release. They collaborated with the likes of Derek Jarman, Soft Cell, William S. Burroughs and Timothy Leary. They are a prolific band, holding a Guinness World Record for the amount of albums they released. They were also known to put out ‘fake’ albums, which heavily influenced the subculture and genre that would become Acid House.⠀
Becoming somewhat specialists in experimental, homemade videography, they fused their sound with oftentimes disturbing imagery and performance art- solidifying the relationship between art and music. Something we take for granted now, but up until this point it was commonly assumed that sound was music and painting was art. It was this, and their esoteric endeavours that caught the negative attention of the mass media. In one such case, Channel 4 wrongly used a video of theirs to illustrate a point of Satanic Ritual Abuse in a Dispatches documentry- highlighting the assumption that the band were dangerous. Untrue of course, but it is true that within the field of spirituality and occult, Genesis especially has made their mark on the time’s mysticism.
Wanting to create a branch to share their philosophies and ideologies that would run alongside their band, they formed Thee Temple Ov Thee Psychick Youth. Using the ideas of the burgeoning Chaos movement that inspired many subcultures of the 1970’s in England, they blended various practises of magic into their artistic collective. Though Genesis left TOPY in the early 1990’s, their influence remains. Pyschic TV rebanded for a few years in 2003, and Genesis continues to work on a number of creative projects. Their understanding that breaking down and subverting everyday conditioning can propel you further in your evolution has concreted their place as an icon. An icon in changing what art, music, gender, language and spirituality means.