Recenze/review - CENTENARY - Death…The Final Frontier (2021)



sobota 5. ledna 2019

Home » » Interview - DIE KUR - Music is a universal language.

Interview - DIE KUR - Music is a universal language.

Interview with industrial metal band from United Kingdom - DIE KUR. 

Answered Ays Kura. 

Translated and questions prepared by Duzl, thank you!

Photo credits: David Newbold, Anwar Jamand, Mariz Tzili, Jenika Ioffreda

Hi Ays! 

Soon you will celebrate with DIE KUR 20 years of existence, unofficially it is even a few more years if we added the era of THE CARE, did you think when you formed a band with Tony D that you will keep it so long? 

I don’t think back then I ever thought about the future: there’s always been only the “now” and this is how I saw all these years, concerts and releases. When talking with Alan (Hicks - Retribution Alive) about the January gig I realised that it will be 20 years of existence of Die Kur and now looking back, the whole thing amazes me having arrived to such a significant achievement and, in a way, I am quite surprised about it. 

I honestly have to say that your band is hardly graspable to me, according to the traditional division you play „industrial metal“, I would certainly add a few suggestions like experimental, avant-garde, psychedelic, cosmic, improvisation ... and that's how I can proceed ...How you perceive your music and what will your best definition, if it is possible to define it at all? 

The definition "industrial metal" came very early on, when a friend defined what I was playing as “industrial” and I kind of liked the sound of it. I had no clue of what "industrial" really meant but this was later reinforced by the first reviews which described our music as “industrial metal” and I guess it fitted well. I agree with you though, there are way more elements, especially for the latest releases which I saw them more and more as a Musique Concrète / Avant-Garde concept, but at the end we always bring these experimentation down to some form of metal as it’s the common background we have in the band and I guess the electronic touch I give can be considered the industrial element. As a positive outcome, this allow us to perform in front of both electronic and metal crowd and I love them both and always try to unite them as I believe the two genres are closer than some people might want to admit. 

After all I just make music with anything at my disposal that inspires me without having expectations on the outcome. I just keep on playing until it sounds good, often with the full band, sometimes on my own and I constantly record everything including noises and sounds surrounding me. Most of the time with the band we pursue an idea and keep on jamming, arranging it and working on it until we reach something which we think it’s worth to develop further. Other times it’s more of a classic approach to composition but I try to avoid rigid structures and fixed details especially early on, in this way everyone in the band is free to contribute with the best of their abilities and this is possibly a very powerful thing in our band. I am very lucky to be in a band with some of the most talented musicians I ever met whom I love and respect and together we develop music in a very interesting and innovative way. This also means our music is difficult to define because is unpredictable, but that is a quality I love. 

Can you evaluate the development of DIE KUR since you founded the band in 1995 to the present? How different is concept and philosophy of the band when you compare it with visions and philosophy after twenty years of existence? 

Back in those days it was all easy: we were just kids playing music when I was literally thrown on stage to perform live in 1995 in the main square of my town. I didn't know what to expect but the feeling I got from that gig kept me going. Today that aspect remains the same but with time, and various lineup changes, the band evolved and the music refined. We always strive to play at our the best giving attention to all details but ultimately the band is always only about pure music. Now every gig is of course more demanding as it requires planning, transport, accommodation, promotion etc. with many more people involved and there are also expectations and pressures for both concerts and releases but I always try to keep the band and my mind as free as possible and to focus only on the performance and especially music, which ultimately is the most important element. 

Let's just say what you consider as a biggest success in DIE KUR's twenty-year history? 

The biggest success for me is always the one to come and at the moment it is the Underworld concert and Renaissance Alternative Music Festival soon after. But looking back, the biggest success happens to be the overall experience in itself: every time I hear our songs played in radios and clubs, when we play important venues and nights such as the Electrowerkz and Reptile, and the honour to be performing with many legendary bands I grew up listening to. Also being selected for the Record Store Day with Beneath the Waves has been quite special but all in all the biggest success is that I can continue to make music with people I love for people I love and this is what keeps me going. 

Seems to me that you are a person who has a slightly different perception of music and sounds / noises generally in comparison with others. Did you ever study music in any way, or is it pure amateurism in connection with passion and enthusiasm? 

Since the age of 5 I took piano lessons and later I've been in the Conservatoire of classical music. I kept studying piano until the age of 15 when I realised the music I was making didn’t fit the Conservatoire vision. Later on I graduated from University with the title of doctor in Music, Art and Multimedia but still I feel that what brings me to make music is pure expression and it is driven by enthusiasm and passion: I never follow rules in composition and both music experimentation and sound research have always been my priorities. I am glad to have been working with some of the biggest name in the music industry from which I learnt a lot, and that made me grow both personally and musically and taught me to appreciate and respect the industry and its people as a whole alongside teaching me all aspects related to music making. 

How many instruments do you play? 

I play various instruments, possibly the most relevant to the band are piano and synthesisers, organ, sampler, guitar and bass, percussions, theremin and of course voice. All these alongside many non-traditional ones such as an alien shaped percussion made specifically for the band from AM Drums, tesla coil, radio, harpsichord and more, many of which I build myself like an experimental sampling machine, tape loop players, single string instruments with self made pickups, gas mask vocoder and more. 

Originally you come from Italy, can you remember your metal beginnings at that time, how did you search music, merch, what were your very first concerts that you visited and who influenced you most in the beginning? 

Back in the days discovering music wasn't as easy as today as it was way before internet hit the masses. The main way was either by suggestions or by going to a record store and browsing but mostly for me was by mix-tapes made by friends. It was more challenging to discover new music but at the same time possibly more rewarding as you would really spend time to listen to the tapes you had without any internet advertisement or instant message to ruin your experience. 

When I was a kid I had a nice collection of vinyls and tapes from the likes of Giorgio Moroder and Queen and I was very appreciative of Brian May guitar style. Later I discovered The Doors and various others until my friend handed me a mix-tape with King Diamond and Merciful fate and I fell in love with it. From there I had various tapes of Max Cavalera's Sepultura, Death SS, Carcass, Cradle of Filth, Megadeth, Voivod, Biohazard, Sadist and many others alongside bands like Joy Division, Sister of Mercy, Exploited. I was also listening more electronic styles like ambient, hardcore and jungle and more extreme ones like Black Metal/Grindcore and many of the hybrids in between. 

I have always been listening to all possible kind of music and learnt to appreciate it outside of a specific genre boundary and producing many bands of different styles later on enhanced this further. 

My first live concerts were by local bands, mostly punk and metal as I have always been part of such movements with sometimes some live industrial rave set in between those. But definitively Death SS gigs were the ones who left an impression on me. 

DIE KUR discography contain four full length CDs, two EPs and more than twenty singles, what is the reason you are releasing mostly singles? Which of your recordings is the most successful in terms of sales? 

We release a single when we feel we have something special that sounds complete on its own. I always think and write as concept albums and singles are always part of those but releasing them separately is useful to focus on a precise moment and atmosphere which could be overlooked within an album's length. They are very good to distribute to DJs and radios without having them to go through many songs before finding something more suitable and they are also a nice preview for what is to come as often are released before the full album. From point of view of sales Die Kur remains an underdog as we saw relatively small sales figure comparing to many commercial bands but From Dark (Renaissance of Evil), ERA (Formicidae) and Manifesto stood the test of time to this day. 

Last EP „ All the Way Down to a New Regime“ was released this year, what kind of review and feedback did you receive from your fans and media? 

We were very pleased to have each song from the EP played in exclusive previews by radio shows like Hard Rock Hell Radio’s The Fix!, Zach Moonshine show on Metal Devastation Radio and K2K Radio Rock Show and feedback has been very positive albeit it's worth noticing we released the EP silently and as a free download. In any case the best feedback comes from a great crowd response while we play these songs live. 

Improvisation on the stage is not strange to you, as I have seen with my own eyes, maybe I would not even call it a concert, but rather a certain kind of „performance“, sometimes I felt that the UFO would soon land, than you sweep me by raw metal, then one of your friends took the microphone and sang a purely improvising song with you, is that what you want to achieve, shock and create mixed feelings in fans? 

Improvisation is a distinctive element for Die Kur and in doing it we usually aim to return at some point to our original compositions keeping the dynamic as a key part of our shows. It is definitively important to shock and open the vision of the crowds and listeners although that's not our main purpose but rather a consequence of what we do. At the end we just play what we feel it is good, we don't use any backing track or any rigid structure to give ourselves freedom of changing songs on the fly accordingly to the atmosphere we want to create. 

What is the driving force behind you in creating music, what motivates you? 

Music is a universal language and I always found natural to express myself creating music and, consequentially, performing it. My motivation comes from my feelings, thoughts and experimentation with sounds, as well as the sensation I get uniting those while performing live. 

Are you using a lot of different and even a lot of non-traditional sounds and instruments so where you get inspiration? 

My inspiration comes from playing any instrument I have at disposal until I arrive to something which it touches me, I relate to it and feel I am expressing something through it. Sometimes this might come from a sound I hear occurring naturally which I will try to record, other times from a single word or a full lyric I wrote or from what my band mates create jamming with me. Anything to be fair can be a source of inspiration, it's enough to be able to look at it within the best prospective. 

At the same time, you are the author of the lyrics, can you mention the topics that DIE KUR talk about for those who did not read them? 

Generally my lyrics are about my views and feelings about everything I experience in my day to day life like people I met and thoughts about my surroundings such as the environment or about mass behaviours of human beings. Sometimes I write in first person other times in a more generic way but the lyrics are always true to my belief and observations. 

Each song and album concept is unique on its own. 

"From Dark (Renaissance of Evil)" is more personal and therefore it's very direct, although at times metaphoric. In "The Fall of The Empire" I portray the constant social decline we witness in our generation and "ERA (Formicidae)" is the answer to that and a wish to organise and act against it. "Manifesto Part 1: Modern Society Manifesto" is a journey in the contemporary use of propaganda and how we are all exposed and influenced by it while the second part, "Manifesto Part 2: Songs of Freedom" is about the awakening from such propaganda. "Beneath the Waves" refers to the tragedy of Submarine Kursk K141 and precisely when the mother of one of the sailor was questioning the appointed committee and the only answer she got was an injection of tranquillisers as she was brutally taken away. This is well documented in video and only goes on to show how oppressive modern governments are. "All the Way Down to a New Regime" is the precursor of our new album which we aim to release this year. The opening track is about the closure of the Intrepid Fox which was the centre of Heavy Metal in London uniting us in many amazing moments. It also refers to the current situation where many cultural places are closed down to make space to useless empty buildings, which are good only for deplorable investors and corrupted politicians. 

Do you personally consider lyrics as an important part of the music? 

Yes, definitively I consider lyrics as one of the most important part in music. I write always on my notebook everything I have in mind: my view of the world in general or about some precise happening and the feelings I might have like anger or joy. Only at a later stage I unite these lyrics with music and usually they fit perfectly without any major adjustment. It is like some sort of magic, like a gift I always had.

18.1. 2019 in London at The Underworld club you are organising a concert to your „20th Anniversary of DIE KUR“, where fans can see you along with other bands as - THE HERETIC ORDER, APOPHIS, ANOXIDE, MAXDMYZ. Are you planning something special, can you tell us what to expect and look forward to, will there be some surprise? 

It is an honour to share the stage with such a great lineup of bands and we are definitively planning something special. We will perform some old songs we never played live before and possibly give an update on the new album which is a work in progress as it's getting closer to completion. But all in all we just want to play our best gig yet and give 100% all the way as we always do. 

We are coming to end so I have to ask what are other plans for DIE KUR and where do you see DIE KUR in the next ten years? 

There is not really a plan except the wish to keep on playing everywhere in the world and constantly improving ourselves: every year has been a constant evolution and the tour we started in 2018 with 24 dates across Europe has been amazing but also quite demanding and made us realise how much work we still have ahead. Definitively I look forward to more and more tours and releases and to play everywhere in world and I hope in 10 years from now I will look back with a feeling of gratification at today as I do today looking at the past. 

Thanks you Ays for your time and answers, I really appreciate it. I wish you and to the band all the best and see you in The Underworld! Last words are yours.... 

These 20 years haven’t been always easy and the band went through many lineup changes and many difficult moments, as every band do. 

But I learnt that however difficult life might get, everyone should always keep on following their feelings as all difficulties will be dealt with as they appears and eventually the passion will prevail. 

Also I would like to give a big mention of thank you and lots of love and respect to all the past members who helped shape the current state of the band and I would like to remember Daniel Zagni (Die Kur bass player 2010-2012) as life took him away way too early and I still miss him so much. 

A huge love and thank you to the current lineup consisting of my brothers Tony N, Nicholas and Amadeus and our manager Jenika and the special status member Takatsuna: they work so hard and have to deal with every possible situation. 

Also a special mention to all the guests we have in many releases and gigs and a big up to all venues who made us feel welcome and gave us the best hospitality we could have asked for, to all the promoters and friends who believe in us like Alan (Retribution Alive) and Arif (Reptile) to name but a few. Also to all the DJs who played our music, all the people who work behind the scene to make this all possible, like yourself who spent time to prepare these questions, and of course to everyone who appreciate our music and attend our concerts. To all of the above including those whom might be reading this: thank you! 

It’s ultimately thanks to you all that this is possible! 

Keep on supporting alternative music and see you all at The Underworld!

Share this games :