TESTIFY, Germany's darkest import, on Van Richter Records, combines the elements of speed metal, aggro industrial and death (if it had a sound), earning itself the tag of the next Ministry from more than a few prominent music publications. FAD caught up with Myk Jung outside of his element, in sunny California, and learned a bit mom about he positive side of dark energy.
FAD: As a studio band, how do you keep the energy up? Do you miss the live stage dynamic or is that something that doesn't really mean that much to you?
MYK: For the moment, yes. Because it's the thirteenth month since I entered the States and now I'm hungry again to perform live. This seemed like too long...one year. But we needed it to find new direction, new people, and new forces.
FAD: What you're doing now is a very strong evolution of classic rock. Can you go much further with it? Is that something you think about much?
MYK: No. I think we are at the point where we are closest to rock or rock themes, and we will not go further in that direction. Where we're going is an industrial, heavier electronic crossover and I hope it will still be fresh.
FAD: Describe the difference between The Fair Sex and Testify. Are you guys generally working together or you go into the studio separately?
MYK: Oh, it's quite connected. Moses, the Testify guitar player, has invented many riffs and ideas for the newest TFS record. At the center of both projects is me and Rascal and TFS, but there are many other people also. Although the projects are connected, there are people working an one who have nothing to do with the other. But you know, their influences are there. Sometimes when you've been working on electronic stuff with TFS for days, weeks, and centuries you get hungry for more guitar stuff like Testify. It's great though. For the moment, I'm doing exactly the thing that I have in mind to do.
FAD: Where does your vocal style come from?
MYK: When we grew up with TFS, I never had any ideas of sounding like this. I just invented my sound from the stage, and from the '80's. I think it was back in 1986 that we were kind of new wave, so we were used to singing very low, kind of "ommm, ommm" (makes groaning, "om" sound). You couldn't hear it on stage. When I made this "waaa, waaa" sound it was better to change it a little bit into... arrggh (groaning more violently).
FAD: What do you think of the States?
MYK: It's very amazing. It's quite as one would have expected it, this strange American way.
FAD: Los Angeles is very unique. Other parts of the States are quite different, but there's nothing like LA.
MYK: Yeah, I think in other places I wouldn't have seen those great pictures of Angelyne all around.
FAD: Isn't she cool?
MYK: She's cool, I like her very much. I've been talking about Angelyne for the last couple of days.
FAD: Well, perhaps you can meet her.
MYK: No, I haven't seen her. I walk in the street and wait for her pink corvette (laughs), and I hope she will let me climb in.
FAD: What do you think is the message behind your music, if it has a message? Is it an expression of your psyche, or is it a virtuoso trip?
MYK: Mostly, it's a kind of expression of my psyche. I always hope that other people can do something with it, but mostly it's something that I bear inside, that bears some messages, themes and stories. Sometimes I just invent and narrate some strange, weird stories. These are funny tales of crazy guys. But I always come across my main theme again and I think this is expressed in titles like "A.N.G.E.R." Anger and dissatisfaction are always my driving forces. I always come back to these points.
FAD: What are you angry about, Myk?
MYK: It's often a feeling that I feel in my veins, of hot anger rising. I have to scream about it. When I feel this kind of anger it's not possible to take an acoustic guitar and sing a sentimental song about how angry I am. So my music can only have a harsher sound. I need these rough sounds. It's not to cultivate pure violence for itself - I'm not happy about the violence and the sick things in this world - but to express my anger about a world that must pay heed so that it's not totally ruined.
FAD: Yes, we can only hope. Is there much of a skinhead scene still in Germany?
MYK: A few years ago people were afraid, me included, that the skinhead population was getting greater and more powerful. For the moment, I have the feeling they are getting weaker and are becoming more afraid, seeing that some people in Germany, perhaps more people than they expected, are showing some civil courage. There are many forces against skinheads in Germany. Nazi-ism is the ugliest thing I know. For me, when I think of the sickness of this world, the Nazi thing is probably number one. My hate against this is greater than [against] anything else.
FAD: What's happening here in the States is not so much the people revolting or a skinhead thing, but the government is getting freaked out about young people. Under the guise of anti-crime measures, they're now passing curfews in many cities, particularly here in California, as such that if you're under 16 or under 18 you can't be out on the streets after 11:00 PM
MYK: This kind of governmental repression is not that strong in Germany, but it's the thing that I'm afraid of. This is the thing you should fight, but you do not know how to fight against it.
FAD: Our politics are very funny because we have a very strong two- party system and I think in Europe that is relatively unknown.
MYK: There are political directions in Europe which are quite unknown in the States. For example, social democracy is a quite liberal, good direction and I think it's totally unknown in the United States. All politics in the United States are a little bit farther to the right, unlike the politics of Germany, England or France. I prefer the left-wing direction. Though there are traitors and assholes in all these political systems.
FAD: Can we expect you to come over to the States to tour live anytime soon?
MYK: We are planning something, a kind of European package, which should be sent over the ocean and it should contain Leather Strip, Project Pitchfork, and The Fair Sex and perhaps one or two other groups. I don't know what's going on right now because the organization of this project is in a very hot phase over there in Germany and I don't know the latest news. Another project we ore working on is our own cyber opera.
FAD: What's a "cyber" opera? Is it anything like a rock opera?
MYK: Yes, but the rock opera has already been invented by Pete Townsend. We decided to call ours a cyber opera.
FAD: Do you find that in getting more electronic the improvisatiomal aspects are less possible, or are you interested in improvisation per se?
MYK: No, I'm not that interested in that. Sometimes things are improvised, but I never indulged much in improvisation. Titles kept their time and length.
FAD: Any last thoughts?
MYK: My last sentence would only be that I hope to be here in autumn playing with those other electronic bands and, perhaps the cyber opera. Singing, of course. We can only show extracts of our cyber opera, but we are already planning how it could be visualized on stage, with apparatuses and machines. I will come back to sunny LA. and climb into Angelyne's pink corvette. But then the tour would be over and they would have to continue without me because my greatest aim is to stay here with Angelyne (laughs).
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