Praga Khan of Lords of Acid on the role of sexuality in his songwriting and writing music for Mortal Kombat
In 1988, Belgian electronic artist Maurice Engelen released a song under the name Praga Khan called "Sit on Acid," and it became something of an international dance club hit. Ultimately that aesthetic and sound became what is now known as Lords of Acid. The unvarnished sexual themes of Lords of Acid songs are probably scandalous to more puritanical sensibilities, but Engelen and his collaborators over the years took a much more sensible approach to human sexuality in music and art than outright repression.
Over the course of the next two decades, Engelen has released an impressive amount of work both as a member of Lords of Acid and as a solo artist. It's been eight years since the last Lords of Acid release, but the band is touring as part of the Sextacy Ball tour (which stops by the Ogden Theatre this evening) with its old friends and fellow electro-sexual provocateurs, the always impressive live band, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.
We had a chance to catch up with Praga Khan recently and discovered an unlikely Colorado connection. We also spoke with him about his early years of making music, his songwriting and the role of sexuality therein, as well as how he came to write the music for the video game Mortal Kombat.
Westword (Tom Murphy): How did you come to be called Praga Khan?
Praga Khan: It's a strange story. Back in the '80s, I was in a lot of projects, because I was very creative and I couldn't wait six months to bring out another effort. Praga Khan was one of those names and so was Lords of Acid. I probably had 25 projects. That "I Sit on Acid" record took off, and people asked me to tour, so I had to think of a name.
Ww: You've been involved in making electronic music since the '80s. Did you start there? How did you first start making that kind of music?
P: I had my own record label called Antler Subway, and we had a lot of electronic music on that label, and I was close friends with Front 242, who lived three miles from me. Daniel Bressanutti was like a guru for me; he introduced me to a lot of bands, so I got excited by a lot of that music, and I decided to do it myself.