Foto: ©Vilhelm Sjöström
I tisdags var det dags för finska K-X-P:s, av oss efterlängtade, Stockholmsspelning. Det var i ett proppfullt och svettigt valv i Gamla Stan som vi under en magisk timme fick uppleva dessa urkrafter live. Trots avsaknad av både rökmaskin och strobe light (dessa båda gick sönder innan giget) som, enligt bandet själva, behövs för att till fullo nå det transliknande tillstånd som brukar uppstå, både hos publik och band under spelningarna, kan vi intyga att det var omöjligt att inte uppfyllas av den energi som trion fullkomligen pumpade ut från scenen. Enbart de båda batteristernas skulle ha kunnat strömförsörja en mindre stad. När Timo Kaukolampi äntrade scenen iklädd kåpa, tog ner sitt halsband från mikrofonstativet och trädde det dubbelt runt halsen hände det något … Kanske var det just denna ritual som gjorde att portarna till K-X-P:s parallella universum öppnades, drog oss in och tillät oss att glömma allt för en stund … ?!
Några timmar före spelningen fick vi möjligheten att prata lite med Timo Kaukolampi och övriga medlemmar i bandet. Se intervjun nedan.
Albumet III Part II släpps den 18 mars på ÖM / Svart
Geronimo’s FGT, The Old Town of Stockholm, 2016-03-01
Hi guys, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. We’ve been looking forward to seeing you live for quite some time now, so we’re pretty excited. Geronimo’s FGT seems like the perfect place for your live show. Which is the coolest concert venue you’ve played at so far?
Once we played in a bunker that has been empty for like a hundred years. That was pretty special. But I’m totally in to loud sounds so any club with a very strong PA and big monitors is good. And if you’re able to use smoke.
Is smoke the main thing for you?
I don’t know but it creates a kind of ambience of safety.
Where is that bunker?
It’s in Helsinki on this military island where you were not allowed to go for like a hundred years but now they’ve opened it to the public for the first time.
Your “maximalistic” description of K-X-P (Original-Electronic-Motorhead-Space-Trance-Spiritual-Rock-Meditation-FreeJazz-Godz) gives the impression of quite a bit of musical variation and diversity. Yet your sound is quite minimalistic and driven. We easily get the impression that you have a lot of musical references and yet you have this special sound … a distinct sound …
Yeah, I think there’s the element of failure, that is the biggest creator of the sound. We try to do something and then it becomes something else. I think this is important when you make any kind of art, that you don’t try to push through the vision that you had in theory, before you started the project. And that you rather follow wherever it’ll take you and that’ll be the outcome of it. For example, we have an idea that we’re gonna make this amazing really fast track with a slow intro and when we record it we realize that the slow part is much better than the fast, then we only use the slow part. Even though the idea seemed grand from the beginning.
Kraut and space rock, often instrumental, are important parts of your sonic force. We really like your voice, Timo and the way you sing. But has it always been given for you to add vocals to your music?
Oh, good to hear. I’m not the biggest fan of my own voice, that’s why I mostly like to make instrumental songs. And it’s also a matter of time, if I make an instrumental song it could take, let’s say a hundred hours and if I make one with vocals, maybe 500 hours. Vocals change everything. I tend to work to much with the vocals only to return to the first two takes in the end. It was like that during the work with ’Obsolete and Beyond’, I did like a thousand takes of the song but ended up using the first take. But I couldn’t have known that it was the best one until a tried everything else out. I just had to go through the whole madness of searching for the right one. I think this is because I’m producing my own vocals, which is kind of schizophrenic, and that’s also why I sometimes do a lot of extra work that isn’t really necessary.
Reading some of the previous interviews gives us the impression that you’ve been struggling at times. Meanwhile the world as we know it goes crazier day by day. Is K-X-P about escapism or creating a world/space of your own? Or both?
Both. I think the world is as it is. And I don’t think you can change it … in a way. But on the personal level you can … But it’s exactly like that kind of escapism of the reality …
And, are you still trying to be the best band in the world at the moment? (Referring to an interview with Ian Maleney in April 2013)
Of course! You have to be the best band in the world. I mean otherwise there’s no point. But it’s not about competing with other bands it’s about being the best K-X-P in the world. It’s not like we’re trying to be better than U2 or whatever … That stuff is irrelevant. I don’t think there’s a competition to start with, there’s nobody in this world that’s competing with K-X-P. I don’t believe in competition at all. I just think we make our own “slice of the music pie” and everyone else is making theirs. It’s not easy for other bands to play with us because we’re so good. I don’t know if we’re good but we’re so intense and loud … and all over the place … Sometimes this loudness is creating problems for us but for the moment it is what it is … But things are also changing … We’re evolving. This version of K-X-P has been existing for a bit over a year, or maybe 18 months and I think this will be its future form.
We’ve come to understand that at least you Timo started to listen to music at an early age (five years) and that you’re musical references are many … ?
Yes, I was five but it wasn’t exactly so that I was buying NEU! music records … More like songs like Saturday Night Fever.
It has often been said that to become a good author you have to read a lot of books. Is it the same way with music?
I think so but then you have to forget all of it. We have never been doing it like we go to the studio and listen to some song and say; we’re going to do it like this! In the very beginning of K-X-P I made a reference CD for Toumo (Puranen reds. anm.) and Anssi (Nykänen reds.anm.). But eventually it didn’t turn out anything like that.
Was that like 10 years ago?
Yes it was. But K-X-P didn’t start functioning until 2010. Before it was like you know … an existing matter playing maybe three shows in 2006. We started to tour right after our first album. So 2010 is when we start counting.
We really like your new album, III part II, we had the honor of listening to it before the release …
… The consistency of it, can you tell us a little bit about it? Did you write it together, how does the process of making a record look like for you?
I’m the speaking head but we’re more of a collective. Like Ilari, (Larjosto reds.anm.) he did the mixing. And we’re making a video now with the guy that is sleeping in that chair over there… And Tomi is the one who’s making all of the design stuff. So it’s kind of a production house on wheels … All kinds of media apprentices are represented (laughing) Video, audio, picture …
Is it like a concept?
(Laughing) I don’t know if it’s a concept … It’s more like we’re interested and we don’t have to go look elsewhere for an amazing designer, we have an amazing designer right here at the table. So way don’t let him do it instead of a designer from the UK that’s going to make it shitty anyway … (laughing).
But do you write all of the lyrics?
Yes, kind of. But I get some help now and then. On this record I’ve been writing together with a few people … Some co-writing partners, with whom we were jamming ideas and so. But I don’t think we’re going to use that method for the next record. I think I want to go in a much more abstract direction with the next one. I would like to get away from the structure that we have today to something more chaotic. Like a more energy driven kind of thing.
Do the lyrics come to you before the music?
Yes, I’m writing down words and lines all the time. Like with the track ’Freeway’ (from the new album III part II), that at first was created together with Toumo, who doesn’t play with us live anymore. But he made this great ”drone track” that had a good vibe. So we played ”on top” of that track and it had this one sound that sounded like cars driving by fast in it. I had totally different words for it at first like, ”demons disguised in a form of love” or something like that… very dramatic! And then the ”car driving by sound” got me to think about high speed kind of deep frequency meditation that happens inside your head, kind of like an open highway … I think that suited much better.
So in the future you want to step away more and more from your regular form and structure of making music?
Yeah, and go towards something more abstract and instrumental. But there will be a few songs with vocals in it, otherwise I don’t think it’s going to be very interesting. I’ve got an idea for the structure of it my head. And we’re also thinking about dropping this dogmatic thing with the albums, part I, part II and so on … The original idea was that we would make a record that would come in three parts but then Tomi thought that this numerological thing is slowing down progression. (Tomi Leppänen replies) There’s some leftover stuff that maybe we can use later. (Timo) Perhaps we’ll make a part III someday but only with outtakes in that case.
Your music seems to put your audience in kind of a hypnotic or trance like state …
If the smoke machine is alive! (The smoke machine broke down before the gig at Geronimo’s FGT. So did the strob optical machine).
Damn, we we’re so hoping for it!
You will still get in to trance. But with the smoke machine, deeper trance.
Do you yourselves enter that state of mind when you’re on stage as well?
Demamba, who’s in one of the promo pictures, he’s from Helsinki but originally from Ethiopia, he just recently experienced his first K-X-P live show and he was saying: – Oh my God, this is like going into meditation and pumping iron at the same time! There are shows were I don’t even see the audience and that’s no lie, I really don’t see them. The whole idea with the capes is being faceless and to set your ego and musical ambitions aside to just be a part of this ongoing groove.
That is what our last question is about, the capes. You’re talking about how putting them on is kind of a ritual act …
I just think that you need these rituals where you’re transforming yourself into something else. Personally for me I think this cape thing is about how the inside of it is totally empty. There’s nothing inside. Just emptiness. Like a black hole. But in a way, do we want to be this ”cape band” forever? Maybe the capes are now owning us … We started something but … I don’t know, it’s fun to wear the capes but …
Is it like your resetting your minds or brains inside of them?
I think it’s the noise that’s resetting them. And when we’re playing … How did this whole cape thing start? (The other in the band replies) It’s about aesthetics at the same time … And it’s also practical. It’s easier to focus on what you’re doing … But, we could also wear motorcycle helmets but that would be so much heavier …
Maybe that’s the next thing for you … To wear helmets …
Yeah, yeah … (laughter)
So in a few hours we’re gonna see these capes live on stage and we’re so looking forward to it! Thank you Timo and K-X-P.
Singeln ”Freeway” som Timo refererade till i intervjun är ett bra smakprov på vad som väntar på nya skivan.