Crack the Mind...and the rest will follow

Interview with Kullf, Moses and Myk by Tate Bengtson

Testify's latest release, Crack The Mind, contains five new tracks that number among Testify's best creations to date, and four tracks from its last album presented in remixed form. Terse guitar riffs, monstrous industrial rhythms, and growly vox infect the mind and body with a far great impact than that previously achieved by Testify. Crack The Mind sees Testify transcend the Skrew and Ministry comparisons by developing a more unique sound that utilizes sharper dynamics, more sampling, and faster speeds to veer into a direction that is uniquely Testify.
To say that the members of Testify constitute an interesting dynamic would be to put it mildly. Guitarist Kullf possesses an acidic wit that most often prods at vocalist/programmer Myk, who remained rather silent for this interview. Meanwhile, guitarist/programmer/vocalist Moses provides the more serious answers.

I definitely think that your newest songs are your best yet - they're heavier, catchier, more rhythmic, and more layered than anything that I have heard from the band previously. I also hear a lot of more experimental ideas coming forth, such as the cleaner vocals used in "The War of Minds". Were there any differences when Testify was writing and recording for this album? Was there a conscious effort on the part of the band to incorporate these new elements into the songs, or was it just a natural evolution?

Kullf: Testify is changing. The development is probably due to the fact that Moses and even me are taking over, taking the sceptre from Myk and Mathias.
Moses: We are the better instrumentalist. The better song-writers.
Myk: says nothing. Murmurs something.
Moses: No, more serious: We have a different crew, two guitar-players inspiring each other, more knowledge concerning recording-proccesses and techniques

What is the meaning behind the album title, Crack The Mind?

Moses: The title? It's something Myk created. But it has no meaning. At least no we could discover. "Let him his obscure album-title!" Sven said; and we let him.
Kullf: It's about themes of madness, I suppose, insanity, as usual. I don't like the title too much.

Some of the lyrical topics for the new songs are grounded in social and political issues, such as "Guevara" - will this direction continue in the future? What are some of the lyrical topics discussed on Crack The Mind?

Kullf: Ah, this left-wing-shit! The ever burning wrath! The scream for justice and revenge; all this "social aspects"-bullshit - I'm really fed up with shit.
Moses: In fact there are not many themes Myk is writing about, perhaps two, three at best: The anger, the wrath, the rage. So in reality it's only one theme. But we let him. We have found no better theme, so far, but we will, believe me!
Myk: "Violin" is different. It's nothing out of the circle of social issues, it's about something fragile, something mystical-blurred, which is beautiful beyond enduring...
Kullf: You are somehow blurred, Myk. But not beautiful beyond enduring, if I may tell you that.

How did the decision come about to have Crack The Mind contain five originals and four remixed songs?

Moses: It was not our idea. We had enough material to release a full-length-album, with nothing but new material. Unfortunately there was no budget for something like that. So Van Richter wanted to put out an EP plus perhaps one remix. The conception then was blown up a bit.

Do the lyrics reflect the ideas of a single member of Testify, or are they written as a group? Do all of the band members have very different views on society, politics, religion, etc., or do you all come from a similar school of thought?

Kullf: I think we already have discussed this problem. It's still Myk who's writing most of the lyric stuff. We don't tell him, but behind his back we laugh: Always these heavy themes, always this crying. We all are different. I would prefer more lyrics about German beer, for example. And more sex! That would be nice.
Myk: But there are so many popsongs thruout the whole globe with themes like that.....
Moses: What might be the next question?

Is Testify's songwriting a reflection of the bandmembers' personalities, or an outlet for those darker emotions, a way to vent them?

Moses: What we do within the Testify conception is our way of wrestling or car-racing. Something to vent aggression. Power, aggression, adrenalyn. It is a kinda outlet, a way to get rid of something. Mathias always wanted to define what this is that we wanted to get rid of. But he never found out...
Kullf: I, for my part, want to get rid of Myk. And of Mathias himself, the old headmaster in the back.

Are any of the members of Testify active on the Internet? How do you feel that the Internet has or will change the music industry?

Kullf: Out of our circle only Ramon and Mathias are really into that. I am not very interested, I have to admit. I am more for the play-station-bit. The internet will change much in future, no doubt.
Moses: Myk ought to do more in the Internet. To have something to do. Instead of writing lyrics.

Do you listen to your own CDs much? If so, what sort of response do you get from it, as one that directly participated in the making of the albums?

Kullf: In the very first weeks after finishing an album we use to listen to it very much, and sometimes we are satisfied. After some weeks we never listen to it again, only when we rehearsal: "Hey, how long is this riff-part? Let's listen to the CD!"

How does it feel listening to remixes of songs that you initially wrote and recorded? Does it feel odd to listen to something that you created, that is then changed and remixed into something new?

Moses: It's like the two sides of a coin. On the one hand side, it's strange to listen to my baby reborn with a new spirit, on the other side it makes me proud to listen to my music gone thru the hands of other musicians. Maybe like listening to cover-versions of your own songs?!

How do you feel about the remixes that appear on Crack The Mind? Which remixes are your favorites? Does hearing the remixed versions give you ideas on possible directions to take your music in the future?

Kullf: I't s like a new spring of inspiration. It gives us new ideas for the future. Ideas of conceptions we had not before... The "Quest Of Nothing"-remix is my favorite.

Could you go over the remixed songs on Crack The Mind and then describe , as you hear it, the differences between the originals and the remixed versions?
a) "Dumb"
b) "Head of Compassion"
c) "Under Queen Whore's Grim Protection"
d) "Quest of Nothing"

a. "Dumb." is more relaxed than our aggressive version. Very cool, almost surreal.
b. The "Queen Whore" remix works with interesting changes of parts, even with interesting new creations of parts
c. Quite electronical. It is more far off the original Testify-sound aesthetic than the others. And so, perhaps, the most precious addition to the whole collection
d. "Quest Of Nothing"! It has almost become a new song, another great title! Very impressive. We never would have been able to get so much out of it which is transformed into a new being

What has been the most exciting event in Testify's existence, to date?

Kullf: Nothing. There was nothing exciting. Except for the little girl on tour that Myk wanted to get, but she prefered me. Myk bent with dissatisfaction.
Moses: Each time I look onto a new release and listen to it. All the work done! Like beong reborn, is that!

Is there anything about Testify that is often misunderstood by the fans or the media?

Moses: In the German media there is one big misunderstanding: They believe we're not existing, but we still exist.

Is there a lot of difference between Testify on stage and Testify in the studio? When you set foot on stage, do you have a specific goal in mind? What could a fan expect to experience at a Testify show?

Hard to say. Maybe you should try to meet us on tour to find out. On stage evrything is more natural. Drums, two guitars, bass: all the natural stuff is ruling.

What would a typical set list be for Testify when playing live?

Kullf: One Man's A Gang, Head Of Compassion, Block In The Eye, Dumb, Queen Whore, Pink Goblin, A.N.G.E.R., Violin, Quest Of Nothing... and so on

What is the weirdest show that you have ever played, or the strangest touring experience that you have ever had?

Kullf: The weirdest thing is Myk stumbling aimlessly across the stage, whirling his microphone this way and that way, especially against the mechanics of my guitar, so that everything is detuned...
Moses: great show element, Myk!

Testify has previously been compared to bands like Skrew, although it is very obvious when listening to Skrew's new album and Testify's Crack The Mind that both bands have gone in very different directions - would you agree with this? Do you feel that the comparisons had more to do with a member of Skrew producing one of your previous albums, or do you feel that there were some similarities? What characteristics do you feel identify and define Testify as a unique force on the industrial music scene? What sort of impact do you hope that Testify will have on electronic and/or industrial music? What do you see in the future for Testify, and industrial music in general?

Kullf: We have gone a different direction as Skrew? That is not good. We wanted to go the same way! Our sound must be changed.
Moses: Yeah, the comparisions might be due to the fact that Adam Grossman helped us producing the MMMYAOOOO-album...