Interview with MYK of Testify.
Chain D.L.K.: So for those new to the group tell us about yourselves, how you started and about the name Testify.
Testify: In 1992 some members of the German band The Fair Sex wanted to testify to the whole world to see that they were able to create an unbearable sound. A few weeks later they came up with the title “Testify 01”; the beginning of the band Testify. Later on, some of the members decided to make Testify a separate band from The Fair Sex.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of your influences?
Testify: Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, and the early Marianne Faithful…sorry, kinda misplaced joke. But the answer to this question is always so sober and disappointing: It was the usual Industrial/Industrial Metal> some of the music of the late 80’s and early 90’s that inspired us; but – luckily -most of all it was our wrath and dissatisfaction burning inside. Dissatisfaction with ourselves, our earlier works, our lives, the world itself and its strange patterns of life. I think. If I remember correctly.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice over time the electronic aspect seems to pick up more and more on the CD’s, especially sample-wise. Why more samples on this one?
Testify: Do you really think that? That’s weird; I feel that the electronic aspect has been slowing down a bit recently. I got the impression that Testify never sounded as “hand-made” as on “Triviality Beyond Acceptance”. And I already thought about raising the amount of vox-samples again.
Chain D.L.K.: What are some of the sources for the samples? Are they live ala Throbbing Gristle or recorded from movies and such (in true industrial style! )?
Testify: We took a lot of samples from videos, Internet radio, and ethno-CD’s etc…in real Industrial style. We also make a lot of the samples ourselves.
Chain D.L.K.: How did it feel being called “the next Ministry”? Was that more like being pigeonholed or was it a compliment to you?
Testify: “The next Ministry” somehow includes: replacing them on the Throne of Industrial Metal. That didn’t come true. We’ve grown very tired of that comparison. But in 2000 we still, obviously, thought that it was funny. For we created two titles with the thought: “OK – then let’s sound like Ministry. How will we sound like if we give way to the wish for constructions in the old 92-style? ! ” These 2 titles are “Fragile Puppet” and “Abuser´s Gabble”.
Chain D.L.K.: Does the Fair Sex sound ever come into play with the Testify sound or is it a totally different field?
Testify: The Fair Sex created more the sort of electronic/synth/sequencers/sample/aesthetic, less guitar-driven music. The wrath of TFS is not that obvious as Testify´s. The music is calmer and sometimes brings forth ballads and solemn moments of dark sadness.
Chain D.L.K.: Why the title “Triviality Beyond Acceptance”?
Testify: It all started as a joke. We originally came up with the album-title “TBA” (To Be Announced) which was announced months before the release. So we decided to really make a “TBA”-title. We pretended to take up the position of Testify-critics who consider our style of music as somewhat banal. We thought “This sound that we create – might it indeed be trivial? Even beyond acceptance? ” We didn’t think so, but nevertheless it became the new album title.
Chain D.L.K.: Have you ever tried the technique of synthesized guitars (for those reading this interview who don’t know, it’s where you run the guitar through a keyboard or computer and distort it, much like Ministry used to do) or do you like the organic sound more?
Testify: We appreciate the organic sound of raw guitars. We never tried synthesized guitars. Who knows? Maybe we’ll try it out sometime in the future.
Chain D.L.K.: What inspires the rage on this album, though it seems to be more controlled this time around?
Testify: Yes, the rage might be a bit controlled on “Triviality Beyond Acceptance” compared to former releases. The reason behind this? Perhaps I should try an old standard: We’re getting older and our wrath dies down with age. This world has so much insanity, situations full of madness; and it is worth creating The Scream Of Wrath against this. Even if this wrath might be mingled with dark brooding (which a title like “Under The Cold Moon” represents).
Chain D.L.K.: Where did the idea and title for “Karl Found Out…” come from? I’m thinking Karl Marx but I’m guessing that would be wrong.
Testify: We had the idea of a definition of “Testify” – as if it was printed in a dictionary. We asked Karl Bartos to read for us. And he did it for us. That’s it, and that’s all.
Chain D.L.K.: Also what is the idea and meaning behind “White Skinned Heroine”?
Testify: Aaah! Wonderful weird phenomenon. It is about sexual slavery. About the sheer yearning and addiction that the Heroine who is naked and white-skinned might bring to her helpless victim. The Ruthless Ruling Mistress. Green eyes devouring the very flesh of the soul. Or so. Endless joy, gigantic mental pain – the “White Skinned Heroine” is this and more. She burns and bites.
Chain D.L.K.: What bands can we expect you to be touring along with?
Testify: We haven’t set any dates yet.
Chain D.L.K.: Explain the cover art a bit if you could, I’m curious.
Testify: What we wanted were structures. Bizarre structures in black and blue – and we found them in those strange stone-fragments, formations of desert rock that were photographed and a bit modified. I still like the artwork very much.
Chain D.L.K.: With the aggro scene’s short burst into the mainstream a few years back, could you see yourselves bursting into the mainstream like Rammstein did?
Testify: I don’t waste time thinking about what might happen with the aural constructions I have brought into the world. Or what’s going to happen down the line. My mind is exclusively bent onto creating the result. I hear the songs before they are written. Then, I try to make these sounds a reality.
Chain D.L.K.: Could you see this CD appealing more to Aggro-Industrial fans or to metal fans? I actually know a few candy-ravers who like it as well.
Testify: What are candy-ravers? Sounds interesting. I personally come out of the Industrial regions of music. But I invite everyone to listen to Testify.
Chain D.L.K.: Any words of wisdom or philosophy?
Testify: OK then I answer with a German sentence: “Laßt uns entfliehen Der Vergänglichkeit! ” (Let´s escape transience)!
Chain D.L.K.: Before we go, why do think, in your opinion, a newcomer to the scene or to the group should buy the CD? Tell us what you love most about it.
Testify: I love the whole album “Triviality Beyond Acceptance”. But there is something on it which I still can’t understand because of its dark beauty, which still leaves me absolutely breathless with astonishment and pain of heart: The 10 minutes-Black Ballad that seems to have reached mankind coming from the very shores of hopelessness, gray though those may be: “Under The Cold Moon”. You have not lived life to its completeness, if you have missed this goddamned Blackest Jewel! (So. Now I have even invented an advertisement-slogan I fear).
Chain D.L.K.: Die Krupps and Testify/Fair Sex members playing together in a group. Could it ever happen?
Testify: I don’t think so. But: no one knows the real face of future. Perhaps your strange question will swirl in my head, slowly becoming unbearable – until one day I simply have to call Juergen Engler; and we will form a group. Later on the historians will name “the most important band of the second decade of the 21rst century”.
[interviewed by Shaun Hamilton] [proofreading by Erica Breyer]