Testify's Myk Jung

Interview by Cameron Archer

So, Testify, is that a Christian death metal band?

No, Testify is no Christian death metal band. They are ever clothed in black and have attitudes toward life that may not be THOROUGHLY christian.

Tell us about the history of Testify. And start at the beginning, because if you start at the middle and go to a certain point before going to the beginning I get confused.

That was a nice sentence of you. Testify was founded in late 1992 as side-project of the EBM-Dark-Wave-band The Fair Sex - to be the louder/harder version of TFS. In 1993 there were the first releases, in 94 began the support-tourings, and in the same year the first US-releases. Since then no positive developments. With the exception of our getting better.

Do you find, as labels like Relapse, Roadrunner and Metal Blade find a bigger audience, due to the popularity of GWAR, Soulfly, Coal Chamber, etc., that small labels like Van Richter are going to be buried in obscurity?

That might be... On the other hand - we cannot know, can we?!

Any influences? Okay, you have to have some, so who are they?

Ministry. What else?

How does the live show differ from the recorded material? Is it better or worse than the recordings?

Personally I don't think that we could outmatch the quality of our recorded material. But indeed I have heard that some people thought our live-performances better than the studio-stuff. That is very amazing. Indeed even astonishing.

Do you find that noise labels like Van Richter suffer from second-hand status in the metal industry, being more into pure noise than straight-ahead death metal?

Might be. But this I know: I don't understand Death Metal - I really don't get why Death Metal should be above Pure Noise which is a thing I understand.

What do you think of the present-day music industry? What of the metal labels in particular?

I don't care about the industry and all these patterns of desillusions. I only take care of Testify and the besides-projects.

In your opinion, has metal come of age, or is it still seen as hair-farmer music to the world at large?

I think Metal will ever develop some new aspects - fusion elements or whotsoever - that will keep it fresh and alive... Although with no doubt other, older styles of Metal then will seem very old and grey.

What can one expect from releases like "01" or "Ballroom Killer?"

One can expect pure noise and wrath-crash - but regretably less quality than on "MMMYAOOOO" our successor-album

In your opinion, has the line between hardcore and metal been blurred together? Labels like Fat Wreck Chords and Epitaph release stuff from Refused and Sick Of It All, both hardcore metal acts. Wouldn't that make noise bands REAL punks?

That is an interesting theorem. And indeed there might be some truth in it. But even Testify has left the path of the real punk-like noise with "MMMYAOOOO".

What's in the future for Testify?

The downfall into oblivion, I fear

How difficult is it trying to spread the word of Testify?

Yeah, and this indeed is the reason for my gloomy prophecy! To spread the word of Testify seems to be an unexpectedly hard and fruitless enterprize.

Do you find that people mistake you for a Christian death metal band? I am referring to bands like Embodyment and Zao, and the name Testify sounds very much like a Christian death metal band. Do people make the distinction?

When I remember it right, there was indeed a Christian White Metal band called Testify in the US some years back - but we urged them to change their name, for we were the first with that name. But you are the first in decades bringing the name Testify in connection with that Christian-band - stuff.

How is the European market different from the North American market, in your opinion?

We do not know enough about the American Market to answer that.

Labels like Relapse are becoming more of a presence on the shelves of record stores. How hard is it for a label like Van Richter to be noticed?

It will seem to me that indeeed this is not the easiest of all tasks.

Does Testify straddle genres, or does it stick to one genre like gum on a table?

Testify will stick like the gum you mentioned. To straddle genres there are the other projects of us - The Fair Sex, NGB, Electric Pow Ow.

How do you get along with your labelmates?

On the rare occasions we talked to each other everything was fine. But as I said - that is indeed very seldom.

Has college radio, in your opinion, done its part to promote metal in all its many forms, or does it get obscured by often-times death (pardon the pun) time slots and all-around poor broadcasting? Midnight does not seem like a good time to broadcast a program.

I don't think that radio has done all that it could have done for this genre. Not at all.

How long does it take to put out an album, on average?

We could do this much faster as we have done recently - we could bring out at least a full-length-album each year. But label-policies are against this.

When is Testify going to be touring Canada?

The question is: Will Testify EVER be in Canada?