interview : Killing Joke

Killing Joke, the band that gave the world some of the first glimpses of goth and industrial, is at it again with the outstanding new album MMXII recently released in North America.

interview by : Mike Kieffer
introduction by : Paul Morin

Formed in the height of punk and postpunk, London’s Killing Joke carved a path in the history of music that even the most outrageous of their contemporaries couldn’t follow. Heavy, distorted guitars were cranked into the red with insistent, tribal rhythms thundering behind them, giving the world some of the first glimpses of the upcoming goth, metal, grunge, and industrial revolutions to come, while turning punk and noise on its head and slamming it all through the speakers with fierce political statements and bitter, nihilistic cynicism. Thirty plus years into the music business and still counting, Killing Joke remain as confrontational as ever and “the system” remains as in need of an overhaul.

Youth (AKA Martin Glover) was a founding member and bassist of Killing Joke. He took a brief hiatus from the band in the mid 80s or, rather, the band took a brief hiatus to Iceland to prepare for the end of the world. Youth followed, but returned to England when the prophecy didn’t pan out, and Killing Joke continued without him. As Killing Joke continued to record and the band took on various additions and subtractions, Youth appeared and disappeared from the lineup through the 90s and into the new millennium. In the meantime, Youth spent time as a producer, working with artists as diverse as The Orb, The Verve, and Tom Jones, and he continues to produce, remix, and perform. Now, Youth has returned to the fold (and has been a solid member since 2008), and with the world poised for doom and gloom again as the Mayan calendar comes to a close, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Killing Joke have returned with one of their strongest albums to date, the aptly titled MMXII, to give the world a soundtrack for the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (or whatever is slouching towards Bethlehem) to ride in on.

Auxiliary sat down with Youth to discuss his past, present, and future with the band and his recent recognition as The Man with the Golden Ear at the SOUNDEDIT festival.

A lot of bands don’t have the longevity that Killing Joke has had, plus continually releasing new relevant material. What circumstances have allowed this to happen?
Youth : Well the fact that I have not stopped recording and producing for the last thirty years is clearly a factor. Also Jaz is very active in the classical world, composing, conducting, and he does a few collaborations/productions. Big Paul is very active in the ancient art restoration scene in NYC and Geordie always has strong opinions. All adds to a volatile Molotov cocktail of possibilities.

read the full interview in the December/January 2012/2013 Issue

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