Death in June

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Death in June
General information
Genre (s) Post-punk , post-industrial , neofolk
founding 1981
Founding members
Douglas Pearce
Tony Wakeford (until 1984)
Vocals, drums
Patrick Leagas (until 1985)
Current occupation
Vocals, guitar
Douglas Pearce

Death in June is a British music group founded in 1981 that is one of the pioneers of Neofolk . Due to the importance of the band, the remaining member Douglas Pearce is also said to stand “like no other for the genre”.


Founding members are Douglas Pearce (vocals, guitar), Tony Wakeford (vocals, bass; later founder of the groups Above the Ruins and then Sol Invictus ) and Patrick Leagas (vocals, drums; later founder of the groups Sixth Comm and Mother Destruction ). Pearce and Wakeford first played in the Trotskyist punk band Crisis , which professed anti-fascism and anti-sexism. (In another interview, Pearce described Crisis as a mixture of socialists, communists and pacifists.) Among other things, Crisis played for Rock Against Racism . Death in June added the piece All Alone in Her Nirvana , which was written during the crisis times, to his repertoire.

Pearce and Wakeford cited the reason they were disappointed with the Left for the end of Crisis ( “Death In June was our reaction to the way the Left treated us” - Pearce) and turned away for a brief moment Phase to national Bolshevism :

“In the early 1980s Tony and I were very involved in left-wing politics and also history students. [Translation error; the expression “studied history” in the original means “we dealt with history” .] In our search for a future political perspective, we stumbled upon nationalist Bolshevism, which ran like a guide through the hierarchy of the SA . We noticed people like Gregor Strasser and Ernst Röhm , who later became known as the “second revolutionaries”. The fact that they were overthrown in June 1934 probably has the course of history and the development of humanity [translation error; the expression "humanity" in the original means "humanity" .] decisively changed. One can wonder whether Röhm would have prevented World War II in the event of a victory over Hitler. "

- Douglas Pearce : Zillo Music Magazine , 1992

In early 1984, Wakeford was forced to leave Death in June under pressure from Pearce: "Tony, our bass player, had right tendencies, but we thought this was his private business and it was okay as long as he kept it that way. But he started doing the in Bring the band in and we couldn't let that happen, we're not like that. And I think Tony wasn't interested in the band either, so we had to get rid of him. " In mid-1985 Patrick Leagas got out too. There are contradicting statements about the reasons for his departure, as he had previously written a large part of the Death-in-June songs. He himself stated in interviews that he got out of the car because, after a concert in Bologna, he was insulted by a woman attending a concert because of his SS uniform. A few days earlier there had been a bomb attack with a right-wing extremist background in this city , and he was now ashamed of his clothes. On his later label Kenaz, however, he subsequently released several Death-in-June records that were not authorized by Pearce. In 2005 Pearce and Leagas entered on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Nada! together again in London.

Since 1985 Douglas Pearce has continued the formation with a changing line-up. From this time on, the topics dealt with on the phonograms revolved more or less around runes , mythology , homosexuality , fascism , war and peace , but Douglas Pearce's poetry defies simple categorization. The writers Yukio Mishima and Jean Genet also had an important and audible influence .

He collaborated with various musicians such as David Tibet ( Current 93 ), John Balance ( Coil ), Rose McDowall (Sorrow), Boyd Rice (NON), with whom the cooperation ended after the album Alarm Agents , Andreas Ritter ( Forseti ) and Erik Konofal ( Les Joyaux de la Princesse ).


Death in June's music was multi-faceted, before the output focused on Neofolk . The band initially played post-punk in the style of Joy Division , but sounding more martial due to the percussion , and from around the mid-1980s increasingly tended towards the post-industrial environment, while titles like The Calling (Mk II) still typical electro- Wave nuances. Although the first Neofolk tracks were on the album Nada! The album But What Ends When the Symbols Shatter? as representative of the Neofolk genre. But already on The Guilty Have No Pride "many set pieces, sounds, loop techniques or approaches can be heard that were later to have a significant impact on the sound of the band, expanded and refined" .


Death in June are controversial because of their playful approach to totalitarian and National Socialist aesthetics. Occasionally it is suspected that the name of the group (in German Tod in June ) refers to the so-called Röhm Putsch that took place on June 30, 1934 . However, the group rejects these allegations as false. Pearce himself stated in a 1991 interview that the name came about during the studio recording of the song Heaven Street . The band member at the time Patrick Leagas (aka Patrick O-Kill) shouted something to Pearce, which Pearce misinterpreted as "Death in June" due to the volume and studio noise. Since the band didn't have a name at the time of recording, they decided to use Death in June as the band name. Pearce also recognized that the name was in line with the issues the band was dealing with at the time. This included in particular the discussion about the night of the long knives :

In the National Socialist movement in 1934 the SA was purged by the SS. For us, this event was a turning point in human history, because after that the roller coaster headed for war and we are still living with the consequences. So it was an important day - and it happened in June! We were looking at that side of things at the time, with the early reasons behind it. "

- Douglas Pearce : Glasnost Wave magazine , 1991

Pearce uses two symbols as the official symbol for Death in June, a hand holding a whip and a modified SS skull. For Pearce, the skull expresses “total commitment to his art” , the whip stands for control and alludes to the expression having the whip hand . The number 6 can usually be seen under these symbols.

Pearce, who is always committed to his homosexuality and uniform fetishism (including Austrian military uniforms), has an increased interest in Ernst Röhm as a person . For example, Pearce used the name "D." on various mail order lists. Röhm ”(Douglas Röhm), ​​a photograph by Ernst Röhm, surrounded by several SA men, was used as a cover image on the re-release of the bootleg Night and Fog, authorized by Douglas Pearce .

Pearce visited the local front during the Croatian War. During this time he also made contact with the nationalist HOS militia , a circumstance that often triggered criticism. He also donated 30,000 euros , the proceeds of the album Something is Coming , for medical equipment for the destroyed Zagreb .

Critics consider Pearce, who denies being a fascist or a Nazi in interviews, but also keeps a low profile when asked about his attitude towards the New Right , repeated verbal derailments (understanding for East German pogroms or the rise of right-wing groups, anti-migrant statements as well as various statements on his Yahoo Group), interviews for right-wing publications ( Europakreuz , Junge Freiheit ) or his contributions to samplers by the right-wing VAWS publishing house. The speech of justification for the “Night of the Long Knives” played in the background of the song Runes and Men also “points to the tension between“ homoeroticism and NS ”, musically, because the innocent Rose McDowall hums and the general pop appeal of the song contradicts the "disturbing" text ("german wine / greater times" etc.) ” . Advocates oppose Pearces' homosexuality or his concert appearance in Israel in 2004. When asked about this problem, David Tibet said in a television interview on the Hamburg Open Canal in 1991 that Douglas Pearce liked the style (Nazi uniforms / aesthetics), but was not a Nazi. In an interview shortly after the Rose Clouds of Holocaust album was indexed , Pearce mentioned that his father, who died when he was 14 years old, fought German troops during World War II ; he himself was in favor of international understanding between England and Germany - the war had been several decades ago.


  • 1981: Heaven Street (12 ")
  • 1982: State Laughter / Holy Water (7 ")
  • 1983: The Guilty Have No Pride
  • 1984: Burial (studio and live recordings)
  • 1984: She Said Destroy (7 "/ 12")
  • 1985: Nada!
  • 1985: Archive Material (demo recordings)
  • 1985: Born Again (7 "/ 12")
  • 1985: Come Before Christ and Murder Love (7 "/ 12")
  • 1986: Lesson 1: Misanthropy (compilation)
  • 1986: The Wörld Thät Sümmer
  • 1987: To Drown a Rose (10 ")
  • 1987: Oh How We Laughed (live recordings)
  • 1987: Brown Book (indexed on List B in 2006)
  • 1989: Östenbräun - cooperation with Les Joyaux de la Princesse
  • 1989: 93 Dead Sunwheels (Remixes)
  • 1989: The Corn Years (compilation)
  • 1990: 1888 - Split album with Current 93
  • 1990: The Guilty Have No Past (re-release of The Guilty Have No Pride with some bonus tracks)
  • 1990: The Wall of Sacrifice
  • 1991: The Cathedral of Tears (compilation)
  • 1992: But What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?
  • 1992: Frankfurt Sound Depot 24-03-1991 (live split album with Sol Invictus , Current 93 )
  • 1992: Paradise Rising (Maxi-CD)
  • 1991: The Cathedral of Tears (Maxi-CD)
  • 1993: Something Is Coming (concert and radio session live recordings from Croatia, the proceeds were donated to a military hospital)
  • 1994: Sun Dogs (7 "/ Maxi-CD)
  • 1995: Black Whole of Love (Remixes)
  • 1995: Rose Clouds of Holocaust (indexed on List A in 2005)
  • 1995: Death in June Presents: Occidental Martyr
  • 1996: Death in June Presents: KAPO (cooperation with Strength Through Joy)
  • 1997: The Guilty and the Fog (re-release of the debut with the live bootleg Night and Fog in a slipcase)
  • 1997: DISCriminate (compilation)
  • 1998: Comradeship (Maxi-CD)
  • 1998: Passion! Power!! Purge !!! (Maxi-CD) - Cooperation with Der Blutharsch
  • 1998: Take Care and Control - cooperation with Der Blutharsch
  • 1999: Death in June - with NON , Forseti , Der Blutharsch
  • 2000: We Said Destroy - split single with Fire + Ice
  • 2000: Operation Hummingbird - cooperation with Der Blutharsch
  • 2000: saints! (Live recordings)
  • 2001: All Pigs Must Die
  • 2002: Not Guilty and Proud (Picture-LP with material from The Guilty Have No Past )
  • 2004: Alarm Agents - cooperation with Boyd Rice
  • 2005: Abandon Tracks - Compilation 1987–2002 (compilation of sampler contributions and new recordings of old pieces)
  • 2005: The Phoenix Has Risen (demo recordings with the cast Pearce / Leagas / Wakeford)
  • 2005: Death in June: Behind the Mask (DVD with concert excerpts and an interview with Douglas Pearce)
  • 2006: The Guilty Have No Pride (new edition including DVD with an early live concert)
  • 2006: Live in New York (concert DVD)
  • 2006: Free Tibet (MP3 download album. Remixes of recordings with David Tibet.)
  • 2008: The Rule of Thirds
  • 2009: Braun Book Two (Remixes)
  • 2010: The Peaceful Snow
  • 2010: Lounge Corps (instrumental piano versions of 17 Death-in-June pieces, played by the Slovenian pianist Miro Snejdr)
  • 2013: The Snow Bunker Tapes
  • 2018: Essence!


The album Rose Clouds of Holocaust was indexed ten years after its release on December 31, 2005 by the Federal Inspectorate for Media Harmful to Young People , because it shows Nazi tendencies (the songs Rose Clouds of Holocaust and Lifebooks were objected to ) and the lyrics to Rose Clouds of Holocaust portray the Holocaust as a lie . Initially the album was placed on list B, later the indexing was deactivated so that the album is now on list A. Exactly one year later, the 1987 album Brown Book was also indexed and placed on List B. According to his own statements, Pearce relates the song Rose Clouds of Holocaust to an experience of nature in Iceland, and would like to see the word Holocaust understood in its original sense, based on the Greek holókauston , which means ' complete burnt sacrifice '.


  1. Interview with Douglas Pearce
  2. Michael We .: DEATH IN JUNE: The Rule Of Thirds .
  3. a b c Glasnost Wave magazine · Issue no. 27 Interview with Douglas Pearce Page 20/21 May / June 1991
  4. More light · Issue no. 6 1998
  5. Death in June: Behind the Mask (interview DVD) · S6K Media • 2005
  6. a b c Zillo music magazine · Issue no. 5 Interview with Douglas Pearce Page 34/35 May 1992
  7. Death In June Interview . Sounds Magazine, July 1984.
  8. Zillo Music Magazine · Issue No. 9 1993
  9. Interview with Douglas Pearce from 2005 ( Memento of the original from October 18, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. a b Tony F .: Death in June - The guilty have no pride .
  11. a b Douglas Pearce: Rose Clouds of Holocaust "banni" en Allemagne - dà © clarations de Douglas P. ( Memento of the original from October 21, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  12. Interview from 1996 ( Memento of the original from October 6, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. Glasnost Issue No. 37 January / February 1993
  14. Death In June (Interview with Douglas Pearce) · Online Interview 2003 ( Memento of the original from July 17, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. Scapegoat (interview with Douglas Pearce) · Interview 1998  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  16. Attention Baby (Interview with Douglas Pearce) · Online Interview 1999 ( Memento of the original from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  17. Dominik T .: VON THRONSTAHL: Mother of Pain .
  18. Douglas Pearce: Rose Clouds: Douglas Pearce in his own words ( Memento April 7, 2008 in the Internet Archive ).


  • Jean-Louis Vaxelaire: Le livre brun . 1994, ISBN 9782910196028 .
  • Robert Forbes: Misery and Purity: a history and Personal Interpretation of Death in June . Amersham 1995, ISBN 0952556200 .
  • Andreas Speit u. a. (Ed.): Aesthetic mobilization: Dark-Wave, Neofolk and Industrial in the field of tension of right-wing ideologies. Münster 2002, ISBN 3-89771-804-9 .
  • Andreas Diesel, Dieter Gerten: Looking for Europe - Neofolk and backgrounds . Zeltingen-Rachtig 2005, ISBN 3-936878-02-1 .
  • Aldo Chimenti: Hidden under runes: Death in June (band biography). Plöttner Verlag Leipzig 2011, ISBN 978-3862110308 .

Web links

Death in June in music databases: