Chain D.L.K.: You formed around 1989. It’s been more than fifteen years now, a really long time for a band, above all considering you’ve basically had just one line-up change (a guitarist, right?). What kind of glue has kept you together for such a long time?
Kill The Thrill: It’s a long story, because Nicolas and I met in 1989 and since we’ve never parted! First we started as a duet called “Smash The Slash”, then when we recorded our first album “/Dig/” in 1993, we were playing as a trio that was Kill The Thrill and since that time we have changed a lot of guitarists until we have decided to remain a duet for our second album “/Low/” in 1996. Since the end of 1998 we’re playing again in trio with Frederic on guitar. At this time we were desperately looking someone to play with us, but when we met Fred the alchemy came immediately. It has always taken a really long time before we could trust completely a third person, but now we are living as a unit and each of us is devoted to the other.I’ll say our music and our personal development have evolved together, it is quite impossible to separate one from each other because it’s a whole. Music has always been a reason to meet each other and reach ourselves, to forge our identities through the time and to please us. Finally, it’s more a question of longtime relationships between some individuals. There are no differences between the artistic and the philosophical side or the personal side, that’s our glue.
Chain D.L.K.: If you can think way back, can you remember why you had decided to form an industrial band and start touring?
Kill The Thrill: Well, we hadn’t decided to form an “industrial band”, and though most of the time people put on us this label, I’d not so much agree onthat. Of course you can find some industrial aspect in our music but compared to Cabaret Voltaire for instance, or to Throbbing Gristle, we arefar from the real industrial music! As many young people we have decided to create a band just because we were passionate for music. It was areally good way for experiencing something different in life than what we were supposed to at this time.
Chain D.L.K.: I’ve noticed your releases are separated from one other by a good lapse of time. Is it just a matter of perfectionism or what?
Kill The Thrill: Although there have always been some very creative periods, on the whole we are not in a hurry to create a title for an album, it comes always spontaneously but it is never settled in advance; most of the time we are exhausted when a song is finished because we give to it a lot of energy. It’s true that we’re able to spend a lot of time on it, working on the harmony between samples and guitars takes us a long time.It seems that each LP needed about 3 years and a half to be issued, I can’t explain to you why, but is it maybe the needed time we must have for composing and achieving an LP in its whole.Since we started playing we still have had some very intensive moments when we were composing, because we are always thinking we could never create something stronger than what we’re working on. It’s a little bit as if each song should be the ultimate, and in fact we are right now doing new songs with the same excitement and with the same outgrowth of feelings! It is something that never ends….
Chain D.L.K.: You’re on Season of Mist, which a lot of people know for its metal roster. You’re really far from sounding “metal”, and in truth you’re far from many other boundaries and genres, despite your industrial influence being somehow detectible.
Kill The Thrill: We were at the end of our deal with Noise Product and they were pushing us to find a deal with another label that would be a bit bigger; the Seasons of Mist’s offer was the click. Even if it’s true Seasons of Mist is more metal-oriented, I think Kill the Thrill has got its place here, we aren’t… of a purely metal, noisy or new wave style. We are simply at the crossroads of this all and this is maybe what seduced them. At the level of the promotion, I think they work rather well, their huge distribution in the world allowed us to get some good opportunities both with the media and with the selling.
Chain D.L.K.: From the first listening of “/Tellurique/” I couldn’t help but notice you got more and more refined without losing your dramatic element (probably one of your “dominant” characteristics).
Kill The Thrill: Though our songs are filled with dramatics and even pathos (in a positive way), it has much more to do with emotion.Emotion has so many variations and so many ways to express itself that it is normal from time to time to refine it. Since our debut we are very accurate to extract from each song a sense. With “/Tellurique/” we have tried to give more air, more space in its listening.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you think it will help you to reach a broader audience?
Kill The Thrill: It wasn’t for us a way to reach a broader audience, just a need, but of course if it helps us to reach much more people, it’s fine. As you cansee we are not cultivating any marketing aspect, the point is to be honest with yourself and that people can feel it. I think that people who really enjoy listening to music are able to experience it whatever they’d rather listen.I’d also say it would be hard for us to play another kind of music since this style is what fits the best to our identities for now.
Chain D.L.K.: I’m sure critics would have bet a band like you were damned to repeat itself and to stick to the old fashioned dogmas of industrial music, instead you started to evolve while remaining yourself. Has it been the result of a conscious decision? I’ve noticed you worked a lot more with electronics like Jesu.
Kill The Thrill: In fact we are not working with more electronics because the inner aspect of our music hasn’t changed since our beginnings. The recipe is the same: 2 guitars, bass, vocals and a drum machine. We are simply just using more samples than before.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve been touring together with Dillinger Escape Plan, Isis and Jesu lately, plus at the same time a while ago I’ve heard your CD in the U.S. should have been distributed/released by Aaron Turner’s Hydra Head, was it just a rumor? What about the American release?
Kill The Thrill: It wasn’t a rumor, Aaron has proposed us first to release “/Tellurique/” on Hydra Head, but… his label has too many projects at this time and we didn’t want to wait such a long time for this album, so we finally decided to stay on Season Of Mist. And as Season Of Mist have also their own label in the US, “/Tellurique/” has been issued there.
Chain D.L.K.: Since we’re gossiping, I’ve also heard that during the first recording of “/203 Barriers/” Michael Gira was sitting behind the mixing desk, but after several listenings and discussions you decided to record it again yourselves (Nicolas is an excellent sound engineer). Can you tell us more about that?
Kill The Thrill: SWANS’ music is familiar to us for a long time, we organized a concert for them in Marseilles few years ago and we were very impressedto see how Michael Gira held all the music in his hand on stage, so we decided to contact him for this album. As he agreed to work with us we went to New York to record it. There we found good things and the worst, too…. In fact we’ve learned a lot ourselves. It has been a very rich but contradictory experience, even if at last we didn’t agree with him on how the album should have sounded; so we mixed it ourselves and have taken some of the artistic directions he has proposed.
Chain D.L.K.: Do you think your music reflects a lot of your personalities? I’m writing that because your records have always been “catastrophically sad”.
Kill The Thrill: Yes, many people have this idea that our music is sad, but more than sad I think it’s melancholic. Victor Hugo said that ” Melancholy is Sadness in Happiness,” wouldn’t it also be “Happiness in Sadness”? I guess that this ambiguity is turned into aggression, because there’s nothing you can do to fight against it.Playing music is a good catharsis, we take pleasure from playing, the most important thing is to develop a feeling, to flow in sensations. That’s why our aggressiveness is not addressed to the others or a way to complain about the world. I think there’s also some beauty and hope in what we are doing.In the whole, we aren’t different in our daily lives, our image on stage is the reflection of what we are. But I can’t say if our music really reflects our personalities, we are 3 different people and I’ll say that we are sharing an experience, a point of view, a direction in which each of us fits.To be able to play our music is by far the most enjoyable moment we are able to live for now. It works a bit like a protection, even if we often miss some other things.
Chain D.L.K.: After punk, post-punk and some goth influence have been revived to sell new products on MTV, some may bet on “industrial music” for the next step. What do you think about it?
Kill The Thrill: Industrial music nowadays has nothing to do with what was played in the ’80s. Which band can really pretend today to this label? I would be very surprised to listen to that kind of music on MTV!!! No riffs, no rock ‘n’ roll, no attitude, nothing fashionable enough for that kind of media. That would be a real challenge for MTV to make industrial music an easy listening music. 🙂
Visit Kill The Thrill on the web at:
[interviewed by Andrea Ferraris] [proofreading by Benjamin Pike]