KHOST

KHOST s a strange entity that enthralled me so much that I had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2017

Do you notice that there is an anticipation for you to release an album? Have you built a large enough following for people to eagerly await a new album?
Damian B – Hi to you. It’s great to speak to you.
We always get people talking to us at gigs – all over – and want to know about releases, to talk about what goes into them and the personnel behind the releases… this is about as much as I personally can gauge as don’t have much more basic awareness than gigs and the road.
Also ‘Governance’ is very unique though so am not sure if there can be an anticipation for something people don’t know/doesn’t exist in their world yet.
Andy Swan – Hi and thanks for showing an interest in khost. We’ve had lots of people approach us at shows we’ve played at as far afield as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv asking about new recordings so there does seem to be an interest. We were also contacted by a Japanese label to contribute a track to a compilation to accompany a manga book release which was killer as it was mastered by Ena. So the khost name is definitely out there.

Is it important for you that a new album picks up where the previous left off? How important is continuity??
DB There are common themes and personnel, and the concepts behind the work are very very driven into the bedrock of the music… as they are things in the day to day surrounding us, as far as we can perceive. But ‘Governance’ has its own momentum and force which is ironic as this is in itself part of the structure.
AS There are common motifs that run through previous releases but ‘Governance’ definitely has it’s own individual aura and visceral atmosphere.

Was it hard for you to come up with a sound for this album that you all could agree on?
DB Generally for me the songs come first ceaselessly and there was easily enough for another album after ‘Governance’, so it was a case of decimating a lot to get to this part that’s left.
Adrian has destroyed with the remix on here, using drum parts from the late great Daniel Buess… his last or one of his last sessions captured back in Basel.
AS – The sound of the album evolved very naturally. There are times when we play the tracks live that certain frequencies and occurrences spontaneously appear which always influence the overall sound. But, for me, it’s more about illiciting a feeling rather than a specific sound.

How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
AS – Lyrically I’m influenced by authors such as J G Ballard, William Burroughs and Isodore Ducasse. Additionally, using the Gysin cut-up technique on lyrics has been highly inspirational. The lyrics are usually quite abstract but revolve around certain themes and elements. ‘Deathsset’, which appeared on the Godflesh remix EP ‘Needles Into The Ground’ on the other hand contains the lyric, ‘Dig deep, austerity’s a fucker’ which is pretty specific.

How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
DB I drew the cover, from a couple of bad dreams, very important was put down as it was and when, was from a bad series of time.

In terms of importance, have always loved art and sort of work on the assumption that many do. Wouldn’t you say?
AS – The art is extremely important as it’s part of the whole package – visually, sonically and aesthetically. Or not as the case may be. We always try and do something interesting with the art such as the limited edition ‘Marked’ release that consisted of a USB stick contained in a glass vial. Even our live shows aren’t regular shows as we use films, video clips, spotlights, lighting techniques and other random elements to create an event rather than just a gig.

How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
AS – I think it’s hugely important that a label puts it’s backing into a release when there are so many other platforms out there these days. Having music instantly available has taken out a huge amount of the mystery that used to surround a lot of the music scene in years gone by. A grainy black and white photo or a live review might have been the only way to discover new music back then. Having instant access has taken away some of the magic unfortunately.

I guess that today’s music climate makes it harder for a band to sell mega platinum. How do you tackle the fact that downloading has changed how people consume music?
DB It’s a case of just creating art, as ever: nothing’s changed in slightest.
AS – the creation of a piece remains the same however the way the final item is decimated be it by downloading, streaming or whatever. For me, having an actual, physical item is always better than a digital file.

Does nationality matter today when it comes to breaking big. Does nationality play a part in if or not you will make it big internationally?
DB It’s intriguing to see what music – for the sake of this discussion, heavy music – comes from places that some may regard as ‘obscure’, places in South America, South East Asia, less glamorous parts of the States, parts of Europe in small towns/cities, but then there’s always been amazing bands from countries less obvious than the ‘main’ places, and it just makes me want to visit those places even more, to see them and see what they do.
I never stop hearing totally bad ass music from places, and makes me think they are from somewhere unknowable, even dangerous, in answer to your question re nationality.
AS – It certainly shouldn’t matter. If the music is good and appeals to the listener then there shouldn’t really be an obstacle with nationality. Corrupted, for instance, are well known in the UK scene.

I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
DB If things are dead and buried than that is only as far as peoples’ awareness extends. Have no idea about others’ habits.
AS – There seems to be quite an upsurge in demand for vinyl so maybe musical buying trends go in cycles and online streaming was the recession before the boom. We can only hope.

What does the future hold for you?
DB I keep listening to FZ.
AS – We’re hoping to go out on the road again as the previous two tours with Godflesh and Conan were incredible.

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