Hello Schkeudizter Kreuz and welcome to Brutal Resonance! Let’s start off with one of my favorite questions to ask to newbies on the site. What are three of your favorite albums of all time and why?
SK: This is always such a hard one to answer – favourite today, yesterday, when I’m partying, when I’m chilling. But I will go with three that have stood the test of time, but I have still been blasting out in the last couple of weeks.
Crow. "Bloody Tear". This is such a brain destroying punk album. It is almost painful in its intensity and gut-wrenching brutality.
Melt Banana. "Fetch". MB are an impossible to pin down band, they play with grind bands a lot, but they play messed up electro stuff. I played a festival in Tokyo where they played in 2015 and picked up this record at the show and so often keep coming back to it. Amazing driving music
Snog. "Lies inc". This is some of the stuff that really got me interested in electro/sample music back in the 90s. Awesome miserable day tunes
Another day I would give totally different answers – sometimes full of nothing but hardcore, other days it would just be three different nick cave/birthday party records. But today this is true.
I read that Kreuz came out when the pandemic was taking over the world. Is this true? And if so, what influenced the start of Kreuz?
SK: When the pandemic first kicked in over here and we first went into lockdown my response was to break out all the instruments I had at home and try and make some music that was a bit different from what I had been doing recently. That first project was not a live thing – I wrote and recorded 12 songs and sent them to friends around the country and around the world to put vocals on or in one case do a remix. I was not at all comfortable with my own vocals and it seemed like a good way to keep contact with people as we all lived through the crap going on. People recorded in studios, on phones, and in one case directly to a lathe cut record machine and then posted me the record. I mixed it all together and released it on CD and cassette as a project called INFECTED. When that was done, and the lockdown was still going I figured I didn’t want to repeat myself so I planned on doing something I could do completely live. The main hurdle was getting over my discomfort with my vocals which I forced myself to do. So I started working on it – it took a little while to settle down to a feel and sound I wanted but once I found it and really started to explore what I could make I got kind of obsessed and went from there.
What does the name mean and where does it stem from?
SK: Haha – this is the worst band name ever! Nobody can pronounce it! It is the name of an intersection in Germany – between the 9 which take you up to Berlin and the 14 which heads off towards Leipzig. Two of my favourite cities in the world. Many years ago, I was in a car heading back to Berlin and we drove past that intersection. I was in the back of the car having a couple of beers with my friend and I looked up and said “Schkeuditzer Kreuz - I’m going to call a band that one day” and so now I have. I probably shouldn’t have. But I did.
You’ve been around for a little over a year under Kreuz, yet you’ve four records. I’d like to go through those. Your first was a five-track 12” EP titled “Give Me Nothing”. What was your goal with the initial release of Kreuz? Was it just to put it out there and hope someone would give a damn or was there more to it?
SK: I had put a set together and was ready to start touring. In some parts of Australia that was still possible, and I wanted to throw myself into it and see what I was capable of. It’s always best to have something to leave behind with people when you’re touring so I recorded the EP. At first it was just going to be a cassette release. I made 30 copies, dubbed at home and hand wrote a little message inside of each of them but then I thought – why not push it further, release it properly on record and live or die by it. Put all my money into one release, take it on the road and either people will like it and grab copies, or I will get back from tour and have piles of them under my bed for evermore. As it turned out I sold every copy on the tour and to my knowledge it is no longer available anywhere. Basically, this was all the encouragement I needed to keep it all going. That first record is raw and simple and there are some techniques for making sound that I have learnt since I recorded it so it is not exactly how I would make it if I did it now, but I love that. I have always been someone to collect first demos/first Eps by bands to hear them when they were 100% enthusiasm and not focused on continuing a sound.
Your second record was a 7” titled “D-Beat Raw Synth Punk”. A throwback to the noisier end of punk rock. What are some of the bands within Punk rock that inspired this industrial take on the genre? And how did you tribute those bands on this record?
SK: Bands like Disclose, Framtid, Contrast Attitude, Kromosom, Crutches, Cluster Bomb Unit, Absolut, Unknown to God etc. Bands I have listened to and some of them gigged with for many years. Some of the best live music you will ever see – Framtid live in Hoogeveen is to this day one of the best live gigs I have ever witnessed. A lot of this music either from Japan or heavily influenced by that Japanese scene. The cover and name of the record is taken from Disclose – a band which I love very much and own far too much of. I adjusted the graphic to have the soundwave coming through the skull and then stuck with the same kind of artwork and imagery throughout. The record has one original – There Is Only War, a song that I play on synth exactly as if I had written it on guitar. Massively distorted, simple riffs with a solid d-beat through out (although like everything else I do, there are no “real” drum sounds, only sounds of metal, chains, wood, glass etc. being hit) and a screeching lead break which I didn’t write beforehand, I just played it once and recorded what came out. A lot of this music is written and played by incredibly talented musicians making huge overpowering noise through extremely well written and considered composition, but I knew that if I put too much thought into the lead, it would start sounding wrong. The lyrics are short, straightforward, Discharge style with no subtlety, just screamed anger about the atrocities going on this world. It’s a fun one to do live because D-Beat synth isn’t really a thing anywhere in the world haha.
The other song is a cover of Australian band Pisschrist from their split with Appäratus – Australian // Malaysian Raw Punk Split EP. Pisschrist is one of the best live bands I have ever seen, and I saw them often. Ironically (maybe) this song doesn’t work live very well. I have tried to play it a few times and it just doesn’t work. The whole record was done with absolute love for this style of music that has made me very happy for many years.
You also released a split EP with Low Life under Wintergarden Records. You both covered Discharge’s “State Violence State Control”. Why did you both cover the same song and why did you choose to work with Low Life?
SK: One of my closest friends and regular coconspirator Spider made this one happen. I have done several bands with Spider over the years, and he also did vocals on one song on the INFECTED project. He was having an art exhibition where he had made artworks based around different Discharge songs and he contacted and asked if I would do that song to be released on a split lathe cut record with Low Life to be sold at the exhibition opening. I was totally keen – partly because I will do pretty much anything Spider suggests, partly because I love Low Life and doing a record with them was heaps exciting, and partly because it is such a killer song. The record is long since sold out, but I still play the song live and it works really well and gets people up and dancing (or at least shaking fists). The version of the song on this split is different from the version I did on the LP. The exhibition opening never happened because of Covid but that is just a part of life.
Finally, we come to your most recent record “Isolated and Alone”. There’s a bit of a funny story behind the printing of the record as I heard initial prints got destroyed. What happened there?
SK: I will never totally get my head around this one aye. I pressed the record through a broker in Melbourne who use a pressing plant in China. I sent off everything and all was fine. I got the test presses and approved them, and the record was put into print. A couple weeks later when I was expecting to be contacted to let me know the record was on its way, I instead got a phone call from the broker:
“There has been a problem”
“What is happening?”
“Your record was pressed, packed and about to be sent when it was checked by local authorities, and they have taken issue with the content”
“What does this mean?”
“They have destroyed them all. Destroyed the stampers, everything. They deemed it not fit for export and destroyed it”
I was at a loss. Why? What? How? But there was nothing I could do. We discussed what the problem might be but with so many people between me and the authorities who made the decision I could never really know. The broker suggested we might be able to press it with changed content but of course that wasn’t really an option.
Eventually the broker decided to cut their losses and get it repressed locally. They covered all the costs for this, but it had to be re-cut with new stamper plates and everything, so it took a while. The new record sounds very different from the test presses from the original plant but I think I probably like it better. It is louder and has more bass than the original
And what is the overall theme of “Isolated and Alone”, if any? If not, do the individual songs have their own stories to tell?
SK: Misery and despair. Pretty much that is it. The title is taken from a sample in one of the songs that I grabbed from someone talking about how they had been taken into hell. I thought it pretty much summed up what we were all going through and the feel of the record in general. Whether it is through decaying mental health such as in Broken and Disappointment, isolation forced by an uncaring unhuman state such as in Warning or the way we all turn on each other such as in Traitor. There are very few happy themes here – except in Last Dance, a song I wrote after losing a couple of very close friends during lockdown when me and my friends only saw each other at our friends’ funerals and not in between. The song is about enjoying every second you spend in your friends’ company because it could be the last second you have.
What’s your favorite song on “Isolated and Alone” and why?
SK: Probably Disappointment – partly because I like the way I put it together, using samples that I had been hoarding for a while combined with some I made specifically for the song: for the heavy drumming at the end, I walked down to a nearby disused tip where there are various old rusted out car parts lying around in the forest. I found an old truck fuel tank and recorded myself beating the shit out of it while listening to the song on headphones creating a mix of noise and rhythm that makes me happy. And partly because the song plays with themes I think about a lot – the ways we choose to try and deal with the ugliness of the world we live in and where they lead. What choices we make or feel we don’t make but just have them thrust upon us. In The Hellbound Heart (Hellraiser) the Cenobites ask “will you partake in this? There’s no turning back” after offering experiences he has never known before… Everyone knows that story, but it makes me think about those choices we make for pleasure that might have no way out and how for many those choices are the beginning of a long death. So that is what the lyrics work around, the desire to escape from the world and where it leads. Not particularly deep for sure but it made me happy when I put it all together.
What do you have planned for 2022? Any shows, singles, EPs, albums, etc. in the works?
I’m about 4 gigs away from the end of the Isolated and Alone release tour. This has been an interesting one with gigs cancelled and rebooked at short notice over and over mainly due to covid outbreaks. I have managed to play most of the shows I planned although almost none of them were exactly when I first planned them. After that I have some touring with my other band until June and then I will stop for a while and write a new album. I have a couple of songs complete and some more that are in the works, but it is hard to find time when I am off every weekend playing somewhere around the country.
Then next year I will tour Europe. This is something that has been at the back of my mind for a while but has been on the back burner as I focus on playing everywhere possible in Australia. But once I get a bit of time to start booking, I will put it together – looking at about 4 -5 weeks in sept/oct 2023.
Lastly, I’d like to thank you for your time. I wish you the best of luck and leave the space below for you to mention anything I may have failed to cover. Cheers!
SK: Thanks heaps for the interview. Really appreciate it.
...on tour you live excessively, faster than real life, you suck it all in and ride the bomb, so to speak, and after the touring is done, you spit it all back out in the studio, however, it has undergone a process of digestion in the meantime, and that is the motivational momentum for me.
KMFDM, Apr 25 2011
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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