(From Flipside (Issue #34), US music magazine, August 1982)

Killing Joke

Killing Joke were interviewed by Al and Pete in July 1982. This was our second confrontation with this controversial band, last year we did a short introduction interview and this year we got a lot deeper into their ideas. Killing joke are not the life of the party - quite the contrary, they are very realistic and serious - to the point of being Stoic. Some people are put off by their apparent preoccupation with doom and the decline of this civilization, this is however, a very realistic point of view. America and especially Southern California are important to their scheme of things because the plastic culture here has a lot to say about the future of our species. You can deny the obvious and live each day as a party, but Killing joke choose to very seriously observe and learn, and apply that to the future.

After a brief warm up talking about Disneyland, both the place and the attitude, we quite easily slipped into the way America reacts to Killing Joke...

Jaz: We're really out of order here, if I compare this to Europe it's unbelievable. All over Europe there's this feeling, before we go on it's acknowledged. Over here it's so relaxed and they can't understand the intensity of the music. There's no feedback, when we're on stage we have to feed off of each other, there's no tension to feed off of.

Geordie: We come from England where we play in front of 5 ½ thousand live and we play here to this...

Jaz: They're not programmed to understand any other rhythm except the really accessible a) punk or b) disco. They are musically conditioned so anything out of the ordinary they stand and watch when they come to a show. I hate this whole culture, it's despicable! I saw Black Flag the other night and I watched those punks and they weren't dancing to any music, just moving, you might as well have a saw mill going. It's inconceivable to compare it to the tension in Europe. It's like soulless here. The whole fucking country - nothing. No foundation. A huge gap... We're not far away from the biggest bloodbath in the history of our species... I'm not worried about it, I'm banking on it. It doesn't matter where you live. It's your free will to live anywhere as long as you fulfill the demand you need for yourself as far as being biologically and spiritually required. That's how I see it. It may mean you live five to ten years more but that doesn't make that much difference in the long run. As long as you fulfill what you have to do.

Al: What do you have to do? Will it be done as Killing Joke?

Jaz: Sure. Leave a mark. I hate the attitude that young people take. They only see the period of time, now up until the intuitive feeling of a great big chance like a nuclear war or something. They only see this time, not beyond that. I consider what comes after that more important. The further evolution or our species basically.

Al: If there's anything left.

Jaz: Of course there will be. There's no way the species will be extinct. I consider that nature only creates that which it can cope with - like from oil to a nuclear bomb. Ultimately in nature there's a synthesized product it can cope with - ultimately. Everything is a mutation. We are a mutation in our present form and I see evolution changing with the changes that will happen. And I consider preparation should be made for that.

Al: What kind of preparation can you make?

Jaz: An irrational view of existence I think is necessary, as opposed to the methods of reason that we are conditioned to.

Al: We read about your move to Iceland, is that part of the preparation?

Jaz: What do you think?

Al: Sounds like it to me...

Jaz: Of course there's a motivation behind every holiday.

Al: Is Iceland a holiday for you?

Jaz: It's all a holiday isn't it?

Al: Well, a holiday to the nuclear missile basses of Iceland...

Jaz: It's one target as opposed to twenty in England. Taking a nuclear view is taking a short sighted view. That's only one aspect of the events taking place. I see natural changes in every aspect... Iceland is at sea level, you see a lot of water and maybe these icecaps will get exposed to the suns rays, maybe? Maybe the majority of the western world and some of the eastern is below sea level, maybe this might have something to do... in the Koran and in the Bible they say it will be fire followed by water, who knows? They say biologically all life stems from water so it makes sense to me.

Al: Do you keep up with what it says in Revelations or...

Jaz: I don't read the Bible, I read it once, it's the biggest sin of the last day and it's wicked, wicked, you know why? Because basically it's a doctrine that neither spiritually or biologically goes with nature. It's doctrine that goes by restriction which is a doctrine that goes against the nature of our species.

Al: Do any of those books, you mentioned the Koran...

Jaz: No. None of them. They're all opposed to it. It's crazy.

Al: But the quote "followed by water"...

Jaz: Right, then it follows into a promotion of the individual religion after that. It's wank.

Al: The press seem to link your moves with the occult?

Jaz: That's a word that has no great level but we do take an irrational view and irrational methods to the necessary ends or beginnings required.

Al: What might these methods be?

Paul: Looking for as many things as you can. Looking to the source.

Jaz: As long as you're successful that's all that matters. We shouldn't question how it works or why it works as long as it works... in America it's futile to make an effort to change anything because you'll be continuing at the mercy of the mass consciousness. Therefore why make an effort except in personal development. It's a common feeling, we're demanding words again, the words just mean Killing Joke if you need words. In one sense it can mean you the individual is in control or his or her self, will, or destiny - or you are at the mercy of that which will control you. I consider the future holds a hierarchy where there are basically those who are kings and those who are slaves. The King masters himself and the slave doesn't know his own will. You master what is your own individual will. I consider those necessary values for the future - inequality should be increased as opposed to suppressed. Those people who have not found themselves individually should not be with those who have.

Al: What about people at the mercy of alcohol, sex or drugs?

Jaz: Slaves, slaves to themselves. Drugs are fucking important, if you know how to use them to, can benefit 1000 percent. If you become a slave to the drug that's good to because you eventually die. You have a hand on it or you don't. And I consider that the law of nature - survival of the fittest. What determines it? Time can only tell.

Geordie: We like finding strategic locations.

Jaz: We're interested in geography, certain things about the earth basically - again in an irrational view. Icelands got some interesting qualities... I consider 500 years of dark ages, of barbaric times, all present morals/values shattered, all religions destroyed.

Pete: It's like that now almost...

Jaz: It's well on the way, but there's gonna be a big crunch...

Al: How does living in Iceland help you come to grips with this?

Jaz: Nothing. Exactly that. 150,000 people, underpopulation, a place where nature dominates the senses. Which is fine because in one sense Killing Joke has always used fear of the elements, fear of that which is beyond and taken that orally more than any other unit.

Al: Will you visit other places?

Jaz: Sure. Totally. Soviet Union, Peru, lots of other places.

Al: Energy centers of past civilizations or like there are great magnetic forces in Iceland...

Jaz: Iceland has particular qualities but that's our business. This place, the west coast is of particular interest to me because it is cursed by the Indians. They absolutely cursed it. There used to be sacred places between San Francisco and Los Angeles of the old Indians... it doesn't have too much of a future. I consider culture a vile thing taken literally, I think just the individual potential is important, wheter you're born in the U.S. or the Soviet Union has no importance at all. Al it is is the capacity of the individual to master himself in his own environment. Patriotism is a vile thing, a low trick designed for low mentality.

Al: A lot of that in England with the Faulklands.

Jaz: Excellent in one sense. I'm concerned with segregation of capable and incapable or mindless like the patriotic. They will be amongst themselves. People who have the ability to control themselves will find the people who it's best to be with. Birds of a Feather flock together. That's the kind of segregation I intend to perpetuate.