From Flux, a music fanzine published by students at Hunter College in NYC, Spring 1985)
Jaz is the keyboardist and singer of the British band Killing Joke. Their music has a tribal sound that has influenced many new bands over the last few years. So often I have heard other bands described as "Killing Joke style." Even though their music is definitive of a whole genre of bands, they still remain an original. Drums are the basis of many of their songs, along with a chant-like quality reminiscent of powerful African "primitive" music. Killing Joke records should be played LOUD. They recently had a huge hit in England with their song "Love Like Blood", which I recommend.
Are you in America trying to get a business deal?
Jaz: Well, there's definitely something in that. What we want is good distribution of our music. If -- you know, you can't go everywhere and buy our records at the moment, so we want people to be able to buy our wicked noise everywhere.
What was the best thing you liked about living in Iceland?
Jaz: What I like about it is it's a country that I believe will still exist beyond the year 2000. There aren't many countries that I see fulfilling that.
Do you think the Soviet Union or America will still be here?
Jaz: Not much of it.
Where do you think you'll be?
Jaz: Wherever the gods want me to be.
What goals do you want to accomplish in Killing Joke?
Jaz: I want to paint a picture of what's beyond the year 2000. That's what we do in Killing Joke -- we're interested in painting a picture beyond the year 2000. We're not a doomy band, no. We're people interested in our future. You know, it's a funny thing, most of the people who come to see us in England don't think they're going to survive the next ten years. They think they're going to be blown to bits. It hurts me to see people despair so much. I think there's too much despair and not enough insight. I believe in a world beyond the year 2000.
Bombs could go off at any time, but people should deal with the present and go on living instead of making themselves sick with worry.
Jaz: You have to deal with the present, you're right. But it's important to have insight and to have direction and that's what we're consumed with in our music. It's savage music. We've got our own sound. If you hear us, you know it's Killing Joke and it can't be anyone else. And what's more than that -- we're a family in Killing joke. We stuck it out for four years. I love my colleagues, I think they're the most marvelous people in the world. We're not going away.
Who else went to Iceland?
Jaz: Me and Geordie.
And Paul stayed in England?
Jaz: Yeah, then he joined us again; then we got Raven.
What caused the split between Youth and the rest of the band?
Jaz: Youth is a different sort of guy. He wants different things out of life. We all like a particular sound -- all four of us right now. Youth was really interested in disco music and I can't tolerate that sort of stuff. I like hearing imperfection in music, I like hearing sweat in music, I like hearing drums in the front, I like our sound. I like hearing fire in music.
Have you heard that band Executive Slacks from Philadelphia that Youth is producing?
Jaz: I haven't heard them. What are they like? Any good?
They sound a lot like Killing Joke. When I heard their song I thought it was you.
Jaz: Oh well, there you go! It's a shame people can't establish their own identity innit? I think the most important thing for people to do, whatever their creative outlet is, is to establish their own identity. That's everyone's obligation to themselves. That's what I think.
Do you want to have a large following in America?
Jaz: In Europe and in England especially, we've got a huge audience now. It's about 3,000 a night. We're bigger than the Motorheads [sic] and all these sorts of groups now. We want to do this in America. Our music has nothing to do with nationalism, patriotism and all that. It's a mentality in its own right, and when people come to see us, I believe they come to feel sanity. They feel at home with us. Whenever we play, it's gonna be home for people who want it -- sanity.
Does it ever get boring being in Killing Joke? Playing the same repetitious songs over and over?
Jaz: Actually I was thinking about that. Some of the songs are repetitious. We like repetition. We love "Wardance." "Wardance" gets more relevant by the day to us and many people. They get crazier and crazier every time we play it, and we love tradition. I think that the old numbers that we do are very relevant and they seem to become more relevant. What we're doing with our music is painting our direction, not our dissatisfaction.
So it never gets boring?
Jaz: It gets exhausting, but I love it. I adore it. We live seven days a week in Killing Joke. We all love what we're doing and we've got great respect for each other. Our togetherness, and the people surrounding us in Killing Joke, is very strong. We're noted for our family in Killing Joke. I think it's a great thing to travel with them and play music with them.
Where do you want to go next?
Jaz: I go everywhere I want to go. I'm going to Egypt tomorrow to work on a book I'm writing. I'm interested in preliterate cultures. I went to South America and studies about these things in relation to the future. The mentality of these people is very interesting.
|Is there anything else you'd like to say about Killing Joke?
Jaz: You know, the funny thing is, the way I see it all going is people with such direction that it's beyond discussion. Such spontaneity is beyond talking and beyond analysis. I see it as the activity of humans in society being so spontaneous. It's like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west; that's spontaneity. I believe in that spontaneity. I believe that the analysis between a man and a woman is a very cold, horrible thing. It's like a bloodsucker on a wall, it's like positive and negative. But if we don't analyze it and just go with it, there's beauty in it. I believe in that spontaneity, and Killing Joke for me is that spontaneity. The drums and the fire in the music, it just is. There's no analysis for it. You can write all you like about it; it's just what it is.