Visceral Post-Industrialists Kollaps are set to embark on an extensive European tour later this month, heralding the release early next year of the follow-up of last year’s Siblings Lovers LP.
The Melbourne based trio of Damian Coward, Robin W. Marsh and Wade Black will be appearing in many cities for the first time, where audiences will be treated to an onslaught of sonic textures so abrasive that the sound will become tactile enough to remove several layers of skin.
We interviewed vocalist Wade Black, European tour, Industrial music, and what we can expect from the new album:
I hear your live shows are legendary, can you tell us what you try to bring to the experience on stage versus the intensity we hear on the record?
From a band and performance perspective things are obviously far less scripted live. The nights that equipment failures occur and we’re forced to react and improvise is an element that can really make our show something special, there have been many times when anomalies in the songs have naturally and unintentionally occurred causing us to veer into alternative versions. This happened regularly on our last tour and some of the songs changed and grew drastically into elongated crescendos.
The visual element allows us to further explore themes that were on the record; from a personal perspective I’m usually trying to bring on a kind of emotional melt down or psychological crisis before the performance which allows the incitement of civil disobedience, chaos and hopefully catharsis for the audience and myself. The Sibling Lovers LP deals heavily with emotional turmoil and existentialism and I feel that it is necessary that I’m within an extremely negative headspace before I perform with the band. Interestingly, our live performances often allow us us to illuminate what is behind the very thin veneer of civility of the common person and how quickly and easily that is eroded under the right set of circumstances. There are many polite and well spoken members of our audience who have engaged in violent acts towards me whether that be cutting me with glass or beating me only because we’ve provided them with the opportunity to do so. The temptation to descend into degeneracy without repercussion seems to be widely alluring and I’ve learned some hard lessons about crossing the line with this band.
Can you tell us about your next LP “Mechanical Christ”?
While Damian and I were discussing what the record should sound like I had said that Sibling Lovers was like having a knife plunged into your stomach and that Mechanical Christ should sound like having it pulled out. We wanted the record to have a sound that conjured a feeling of resistance. We experimented with creating this record in a short and efficient timeframe and refused to languish over it as we had done with the last one. We had even booked studio time while only having a one song ready. This was a gamble that resulted in a very aggressive sound and spawned some very different styles of songs that some may not expect from us such as a fast, industrial-punk song and also an ambient neo-folk track. It is varied but coherent. Lyrically the album is a little less self focused and has opted for narratives about varying subjects.
How extensive is this upcoming tour, and will be hearing new material from the LP?
The tour spans 30 shows in 32 days and will see us travel to a total of 13 different European countries. We’ll be playing our first ever shows in Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia and Austria and returning to many countries and cities that were included in the previous tour. Our audience will be hearing re-worked songs from the previous record as well as many new tracks from our unreleased record. We’ll be playing varied sets across the tour to allow for spontaneity.
There have been many missed opportunities to include industrial music in Sci Fi. Terminator 2 famously passed on having Nine Inch Nails on the soundtrack. However, the film Hardware famously included Ministry. Can you tell me about Kollaps being included on the soundtrack to a recent Sci-Fi Body horror film?
This is something that I have considered and I do wonder if this is because of the marriage of Chi Ishikawa’s soundtrack with Tetsuo: The Iron Man being so iconic that anything which tried something vaguely similar would pale abysmally and face heavy criticism.
The band was contacted via Leigh Whannell’s agency very shortly after our last European tour in 2017 with a request to use Capitalism in their film Upgrade, which was at the time being referred to under the working title Stem. If I recall correctly it was only a matter of days after the tour had ended that we had received this email. We accepted enthusiastically and around a week later we were again contacted regarding the use of a second song, Sibling Lovers which we also accepted. Both Capitalism and Sibling Lovers were used on Upgrade during a violent torture scene in a dive bar which ironically quite closely resembles our live shows!
How has your music evolved since The Heartworm EP, and Sibling Lovers? Using any new instruments and techniques? Any methods of creation you are continuing to utilise?
The difference between these two recordings is so vast that I barely consider them as having been released by the same band. The creative period during the Heartworm EP was very naive, we were unsure of ourselves and had no intention or ambition to make a cohesive release. Fast forward to 2016 and I was much more sure of what creative direction I wanted the band to take, which was essentially a very dark and tortured place that reflected how I was feeling at the time. We found that it was much easier to make this kind of music by deconstructing the standard formula of instrumentation that makes up a modern contemporary band – guitar, bass and drums. We’ve since made a heavier commitment to utilising foreign objects and abandoning the use of a 6 string electric guitar altogether.
What do you think Industrial represents? Is it a genre, or a method of making music? And what artists personify that and influence you?
The appeal that industrial music holds for me is mostly that it is designed for outsiders of society and it captures the interest of a wide variety of people ranging from street types, junkies, straight edgers to lawyers and academics. It attracts people of all colours, creeds and classes and represents diversity in the true sense of the word; not in the ideologue definition that the blunt-fringers present to us. Secondly, the genre is very versatile sonically, the fact that it is so malleable to an artist means that it isn’t a stale genre of music and there still lies a lot of room for creative innovation within the genre itself. Comparatively, many other genres such as punk and rock n’ roll are perpetually stuck in a xerox state of repetition and dilution.
Artists who personify at least some of what industrial music means to me are Chi Ishakawa and obviously early Einsturzende Neubauten. I think SPK’s Information Overload Unit was a very poignant discussion on what it is to be human, our flaws and capacity to feel pain.
Since the band takes it’s name from the song and album by Einsturzende Neubauten, do you feel there are similarities to the way Kollaps creates music, despite the obvious?
We’re very different bands from very different times however a similarity that we do both share is that both acts are a band effort which seems to currently be unusual in industrial music. For various reasons a lot of music made in the industrial music scene is now comprised almost exclusively of solo or duo acts.
Do you find it either wonderful and strange the musical crossroads between Melbourne and Berlin, especial for those making post-punk and industrial music. Yes, we are alluding to Neubauten and Nick Cave. But I heard about Kollaps initially through August and Luna of Operant and Instruments of Discipline.
I’m aware of this relationship between our cities, it was quite famously depicted in Wim Wenders’ film Wings of Desire and it certainly is a wonderful and strange phenomenon that has resulted in a lot of innovative and interesting music over the years. Die Haut, Foetus and even our dear friend Ash Wednesday who performed with Nina Hagen comes to mind.
We cannot speak highly enough of August and Luna / Instruments of Discipline. I was amazed by their dedication to the label during our tour with Operant, the lengths they went to running it while we were on the road with them was truly impressive. They’re lovely people and our tour together was really something special.
Who of your contemporaries have you either played with, or would like to that have inspired you?
Brighter Death Now are certainly high on this list. Their show with us in Warsaw last year was incredible and caused the audience to completely disintegrated into lawlessness. The major acts on this current European tour such as Pharmakon and Trepaneringsritualen are hugely inspiring to us. Future acts we’d like to perform alongside are Genocide Organ, Rome, Uniform, Merzbow, Godflesh, Psychic TV, Con-Dom and Keiji Haino / Nazoranai.