TESTIFY's Myk Jung (vox) and Mathias Black (chief-inspector)

Interview by Austin Govella

How did Testify come to be an industrial metal act? Did you come from an electro background and add metal influences to form Testify, or were electro & industrial equal parts of your backgrounds?

Considering the current line-up of the band, it is indeed right to say that both metal and industrial were equal parts of our backgrounds - Kullf (git), Moses (git) come from the more-metal-regions, as well as Sven Stone (drums) - whereas Myk and Mathias are electro-scene offspring. But the latter two were the ones that founded Testify, together with Rascal and L'o, back in the blissful year of 1992.

What made you bring in the guitars? Jurgen Engler said he was drawn to the guitar by their raw aggression. What made the metal guitar attractive to you?

The raw-aggression statement is indeed one that we might easily follow. The nineties' metal-guitar is somehow thicker than the guitar-aesthetic of former decades - and that particuliar sound made the metal guitar attractive to us.

Your songs seem particulalrly brutal. What kind of emotions & experiences fuel the music? How are the songs written?

Mathias: Myk always states that these emotions are somewhat like wrath against this world with all its insanity, repression, injustice - and so on. But I think that he had some unlucky affairs, or something, that made him be be so furious... Love-dissapointment and such banal ridiculous things - that's what I think, but he doesn't like to confess that. What about to confess it now, Myk?!?
Myk: Hmmoomph. Weird shit. You seem to want to destroy the basis of our cooperation!

What is the current line-up & how long have you been involved in music?

Moses, Mathias, Myk, Kullf, Sven and Bull (bass) - that is the line-up since late 1996; but all of them are far longer involved in music; so long, that it is beyond human memory-measures.

Industrial metal is big here in Texas, but I don't know of many groups like that who come out of Germany. Is there a large industrial metal scene in Germany?

It doesn't seem too big in Germany nowadays. This genre meets with growing disapproval, pitiably - which might be different in the near future; let's wait and see.

How did you meet up with Skrew?

When we were on a small interview-tour in LA some years back, we had some telephon-talks with Skrew-mastermind Adam Grossman, brought about by our label Van Richter. The result of which was the idea that he might come to Germany to help us producing the MMMYAOOOO-album. Half a year later these plans became reality.

Last time I saw Skrew, they seemed like a metal band on stage: very little electronic element. Do you balance the electronic side with the metal side during live shows, or does one override the other?

As far as we can judge this, Testify has a slight more touch of electronic-atmosphere on stage than Skrew - nevertheless Testify is not totally balanced: the guitar-side might be a little bit stronger of these two features.

You'll be hitting the road soon on tour. Where will you be heading? Will you be headlining? Who will you be playing with?

As often in the life of Testify, some events are being delayed - as our 99-tour is, which still needs a phase of planning and checking. But it is likely that it will be a package-thing with another group or even two bands from the Underground fields, probably one that is more electronic-dominated.

What are your shows usually like? Do you pull more industrial or metal fans? For the time being more Industrial fans, we would say. The whole event is characterized by aggression, dirt, and hollow poses.

Is your response in Europe as good as it is here in the U.S.?

We tend to say that it is not that good as in the States: the reactions are not too enthusiastic; quite lukewarm over here in rotten Germany.

Do you have any plans to tour the U.S. any time soon?

Regretably not. But as you see: We keep on working on plans like these.

What about other future plans: have you started working on a new album?

We use to work on new material ever between the recording-sessions; but the next hot writing-phase will start in early summer, or so; in the mean-time we work on our live-thing, and promotion-activities for the album here in Germany - and on other musical projects for which it it high time to record some titles.

Recently, several seemingly successful independent industrial labels have been going out of business. Offbeat, Celctic Circle, Re-Constriction & Fifth Column have all gone out of business within the last year or so. Do you think this is symptomatic of the scene's profitability, or of how the scene operates?

We do not care about how some people handle their label-politics or whatever. Or about any general streams or developments or so; we make our own thing and hope that the co-operation with the people that we work with do not go out off business - and sometimes it works.

What have your experiences with labels been like? Generally positive?

Generally negative, harr....with the exception of Van Richter