Chain D.L.K.: Hi guys, let’s start as usual with an introduction about Guilt Trip. How, when and where did you guys meet and decided to unite for this project? You’ve been active in the early 90s under the band name Chirugie Esthetique, which sounded “aesthetic” too. Why did you change the band-name to form Guilt Trip?
Guilt Trip: As usual, at the right time in the right place.
We met as teenagers back in the days, both being interested in electronic music of the Belgian variety. We thought why not to start a band? We were Draining Faces for a couple of weeks, some name changes later we were Chirurgie Esthetique.
New hammers, new rhythms, new chants.
We changed the name because we changed our sound, e. g. adding guitars and becoming somewhat heavier and darker. You can call it to end our Gothic period, although we were not really Gothic at all. We’ve been quite into Tool and NIN at that time. Again with this album, “Feed The Fire”, we took one step back and two steps forward becoming more electronic again. Guilt Trip is also theme- and lyric-wise different from CE. It is lesser introspective, not as surrealistic. Nowadays we are dealing with more politics, more existentialism, more value nihilism and some rants about religion.
Chain D.L.K.: From the start under Chirugie Esthetique, to rename into Guilt Trip and to the release of “Feed the Fire”, it has taken more than 20 years. Why to your opinion wasn’t it possible for you guys, to earn earlier a bit more recognition from the international fans, labels and press?
Guilt Trip: Because people are stupid, evil and deserve to die.
It was hard for us to do everything ourselves, and we couldn’t reach out as much as we wanted to. And also, maybe our music was too… don’t know. We try not to follow trends and we try to do what we want to do and that’s not always appreciated. We contacted different labels and tried through different channels to get our music out there but to no avail. And also in Sweden our “scene” was very much into Synthpop – we are not Synthpop! The guitars we added are another explanation. For some reasons people in the “scene” dislike guitars even though many of their favorite bands have used that particular instrument, even Kraftwerk. People are stupid, evil and deserve to die.
Chain D.L.K.: You could release three self-produced albums through the years; two of them are nowadays freely available as download-only items via your website www.brap.org. So why did you decide to give it a chance and signed with your Label Complete Control Productions? Tell us a bit how’s working with them…
Guilt Trip: To get the revolution started, finally.
It was time to get out there, to make our voice heard, a shout out to the herd. It’s time to kill the shepherds and release the sheep or at least get them to hear us and then maybe not just hear us but also listen and act. But to be heard is always important when you think you have something to say, musically and otherwise. Musically? Yes, and no we’re not claiming to be unique but we feel that we contribute something that is lacking today, at least a little bit. No, we’re not particularly humble (depending). Should we be?
There’s honey in the hollows, but also bees.
So far working with CCP has been good. We can focus on our music more than before now that CCP is handling many of the distribution and marketing issues. This of course does not mean that we’re just sitting on our asses doing nothing in that area, but much of that load is off. CCP, as we have said in other interviews, is a label with integrity and a vision. We like integrity and vision. “Yeah, yeah suck some more of that label dick why don’t ya?”. We would never, we mean it. CCP is new and is still growing but we’re quite sure that this integrity and that vision will make it to a label to reckon with. The bands are free to do what they want, more or less. If CCP likes it CCP will release it, if not, we’re free to go elsewhere. Vision and integrity is good but can also be limiting, this however is not a problem as we, the bands, also have freedom. Vision + Integrity + Freedom = good times. So keep your eyes peeled at CCP, they do not release crap (obviously).
Chain D.L.K.: Please fill in some internal content about the production/composing process of Guilt Trip. Since you are active musicians for a long time: how do you rate the “Hardware vs. Software” discussion regarding sound processing / studio equipment?
Guilt Trip: Music is noise shaped by wisdom.
It differs, it can start with a beat, or a melody, sometimes even a malady. Feeling is the start then comes the shaping of that feeling into something concrete, lyrics and vocals are added – est voila, another song is ready to get heard. Hopefully the docile masses will enjoy it, listen and “throw off their chains and pluck the living flower”.
We create don’t rate. Everything is beyond good or evil.
Whatever makes a noise is good, we don’t care as long as the noise is useful. Hardware (e. g. pots and pans, mandolin or bagpipe) or software (e. g. Pac Man, Cubase or Paul Stretch) makes no difference to us as long as it sounds good in the end. Use whatever tools you feel like using be it your grandmothers old harmonica or that new fancy state of the art software from that Whatever’s company…. as long as it’s useful and does what you want it to do.
Chain D.L.K.: The name of your web resource, as well as tracks like “Inanimate”, “Braptism”, or “Life Spit Love” are obviously pretty much influenced by the works of Skinny Puppy. The Canadian masters seem to have a huge impact on you. Please describe us a bit about this dedication.
Guilt Trip: Kill your idols!
Well, it’s no secret of course. They have always been with us, so to speak, and one of the reasons why we named the song and the web page after them is to let people know that we are aware. We know and we do not try to hide it like some other bands do. We were hoping that this would kill the debate so to speak, but no… Anyway since their reunion, and we started using the BRAP thing before that, it has become a bit weird but still what to do? They have and will continue to influence us but we still think that we have a voice of our own and a relevant one at that. If we were just a clone then what would be the point of our existence?
Chain D.L.K.: Although already composed years before, “Inanimate” features a critic lyrical content regarding Israel and the ongoing Palestine conflict. Please explain us your point of view. Why do you think is there a need for a music project to reflect political themes?
Guilt Trip: The conflict poisons everything.
Our point of view is that the conflict has to be solved because it’s been going on for years and years and there seems to be no end to it. No end to the suffering on both sides but mostly on the side of the Palestinians getting fucked both ways. Our point of view is quite clear in the lyrics. Who is to blame? All sides, but right now it seems to us that Israel is the one with the power to do something, to make it stop. And the conflict has grown beyond the question of Israel vs Palestine and comes up in other debates, other conflicts even art.
Everything is political.
Despite what people think, there is no such thing as an apolitical band, no matter if there’s a need for it or not. The choice to not express political views is a political choice and everything is ideology even “love songs” are based on ideas, on ideology, on norm, convention and directed by that all pervasive discourse. Is there a need? Yes, of course why else would we do it? It’s time for someone to say something and anyway if you know your history you know that politics have always been a part of the Electronic-/Industrial-/EBM-scene (or whatever you want to call it). From Suicide and Throbbing Gristle to the bands of today, just take the name Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft, if that’s not a political name then I don’t know what is, and there are people who say that EBM is not political. Well… a genre does not dictate the politics expressed or implied but all is ideology so the politics are always there, whether you want it to or not. You can choose to ignore it of course but there is no getting away from the fact that we are all “controlled” by.. how shall we put it… discourse “reality”, construed “reality”, ideology in a wide sense of the word?
Chain D.L.K.: By checking with your previous, self-released albums it is a striking fact, that you have integrated more guitar riffs into your music in your earlier years. Why did you decide to reduce or remove this element out of your sound-outfit for “Feed the Fire”, if we exclude “Breathe”?
Guilt Trip: Our guitarist got lost in the forest.
The main reason is that we lost our guitarist to his main project Man Machine Industry, but we also felt that maybe it was time to do something more electronic anyway. Like we said before, it is one step back and two steps forward. Will the guitars return? Probably or maybe we’ll have bag pipes, who know. We try not to limit ourselves, limits are for cowards.
Chain D.L.K.: You have recently taken part on a Swedish “revival” festival under the Chirugie Esthetique-moniker. The whole concept behind this event seems to be quite interesting to talk about. How has it been? And how does a performance of Guilt Trip generally look alike? Any plans for more gigs, or a tour?
Guilt Trip: Look to the past to see the future. It’s been interesting, some things change others stay the same.
The concept behind the nostalgia party/festival, and yes, there will be more coming, is to be – well… nostalgic. As people grow older they tend to look to the past to find their place in the here and now and to be able to look past the past and go into the future strengthened by the knowledge of where you come from; who you are reflected in who you were.
Join us and come see.
We don’t have a concept or a show. We put ourselves out there, heart and soul, sometimes joined by others, sometimes on special occasions with a twist of some sort. But always heart and soul, rarely are people disappointed or unaffected. Given time maybe we will develop something like a show, but do we really want to be U2 or Pink Floyd?
There are always plans.
Of course we have plans for shows. Right now we are to play the Castle Party in Poland. And there are some yet to be confirmed plans. There are always plans.
Chain D.L.K.: Any projects else you guys are involved, which we haven’t discussed here so far? Any plans for a new release already able to confirm here?
Guilt Trip: We produce, we create, we collaborate.
As with most bands we are individually doing other things besides Guilt Trip, production work, remixes and as part of other projects. You will hear of some of these in the future, we’re sure.
There are always plans. Den som vantar pa nagot gott vantar alltid for lange. (translated: The one who waits for something good is always waiting for a long time.)
Yes, we have plans. What those plans are more exactly is still a bit hush, hush. But there are things cooking in the kitchen and it smells good…
Chain D.L.K.: Finally some words about the private persons K. Lindberg and M. Nilsson. Please give us some insight about hobbies, relations, scandals, and other things of interest…
Guilt Trip: We build bombs and blow shit up.
Our private lives are… well… private. Sorry. But OK here’s something private: one of us has four nipples.
Chain D.L.K.: Any final words you feel important to say to the world outside…?
Guilt Trip: “The message is very simple: Think for yourself and question authority.”
If you’re ready to be counted, Step Forward!
Visit Guilt Trip on the web at: www.brap.org
[Interview by: Marc Tater]