Interview: Christian Death (St. Louis, 11.2.2017) (goth/death rock)



“Keep the faith and always be true.  Be honest and always search for reality and the truth about everything.  Don’t just take the world as you see it.  Research it.”

– Valor Kand


Christian Death is a band who needs no introduction.  That’s obvious.   Back in November, we did an interview with Christian Death during their stop in St. Louis, Missouri.  We’re posting this now after having addressed some follow-up questions.  And while I had met Valor and Maitri previously, they were still two of the most intelligent down-to-earth people I’ve ever met.  We were joined after their set across the street from the venue by drummer Mike 26 and touring guitarist Andy.

We are also honored and excited to announce that we will be handling PR activity for Christian Death mainly in the US and Candada.  But we will be using the tools we have at our disposal to help promote their upcoming European tour and to defend the church online.

We are very grateful to Christian Death for their time…..

Are you pleased with the reactions you’ve received on this tour given the fact you are stylistically different from the other bands? 

Valor: I’ve been amazed, myself personally.  People were saying, “that’s a really good show.”  We were just saying this before the snow…The reaction from people is that it’s amazing or awesome.  It’s not just “oh it’s really good.”  Especially people who haven’t seen us before seem to be blown away.  I think that the show so entertaining that it gets a really good reaction from everyone.

And do you think this tour could open doors for more Christian Death headline tours in the US?

Valor: One would hope, yeah.  The thing is that it’s making our presence more aware.  A lot of people may have even assumed that the band doesn’t even do anything anymore because we don’t get to do that much.  We haven’t done that much as a full tour.  We’ve only ever done regional things.

Yeah because that last time I saw you was when you were on tour with Mortiis and Diet of Worms.

Maitri: Whoa… that was a long time ago..

About 18 years ago and you guys were driving a school bus.

Everyone laughs…

Speaking of which… explain the school bus.

Valor: It’s now a storage compartment. “laughs”

The last record, “The Root of All Evilution” came out a couple of years ago and was 11232120_10153675569822262_8732614990425767303_ndone through Crowdfunding.  Is that something you think you’d explore for the next record?

Valor: The reality behind that is that a lot of bands  I mean Lords of Acid just did that with their new album.  And the difference between crowdfunding and labels are that all the labels are these days are a bank with a really high interest rate.  In other words, they’ll give you a little bit of money up front with a lot of percentage points on their favor.  Whereas if you do it with crowdfunding, there isn’t anybody to pay back except the fans; to give them what they ordered, making sure you’ve fulfilled your obligations to them.  Whereas with a label, they just want everything you make for infinite or as long as the term of the contract and they don’t really do a lot, a lot of labels unless they’re a major, major label don’t really do a lot anymore.  And we’ve never been on a major label.

Have you worked on much material for the next album?

Valor: It’s tentatively called, “The Evil Becomes You.”  We may change that.  But it is philosophically and conceptually a continuation of the last album.  But we’re approaching it in a different way which…’s complicated to go into but we’ve got a lot of the basic tracks all ready to go.  So that’s our plan is after we get off of this tour-is to hopefully finish as much as we can and then instead of waiting until we start crowdfunding and then even if we do 100% do that because we do have other options.  We’d like to get a little more groundwork done before we get to that stage of actually advertising such as in crowdfunding.

(follow up question given at a later time)You stated that the next album is a philosophical and conceptual continuation of “The Root Of All Evilution.”  Could you perhaps talk a little more specifically about some of the ideas you are dealing with in this release?

Valor: Well the new album is Metamorphosing and evolving as I write these words into something much more than we expected. All I can say at this stage is we are not prepared to let the cat out of the bag.  You will have to wait and see.

(To Maitri): Any plans to do another Lover of Sin album?

Maitri: I have no clue.  I want to.  I have a lot of ideas.  I’d like to.  And people keep asking me about it as well.  It feels like I should.  There are all kinds of things that I’m going to be doing.

(To Valor): I know that Maitri has done the Lover of Sin project.  Have you ever considered a solo project apart from Christian Death?

Valor: Not Really

So back in the Catastrope Ballet days, when you initially came into Christian Death, it was kind of like stepping into a vision that was already established.  Since you’ve taken over the name,…the term “Christian Death”what does it mean to you now?  How has it evolved into something that you created instead of having walked into it?

Valor: Well on the initial stages of walking into the Catastrophe Ballet era, it’s a slightly different story..

Maitri: Make it short (laughs)

Valor: “Well I would if I wasn’t being interrupted.”  We were Pompeii 99 and Rozz joined our band.  And then it morphed into Christian Death at the will of and urging of the label.  And nobody really wanted to use the name, Christian Death.  But once it became Christian Death, then the philosophical content of my vision did change,   And it changed in a way where I thought that… (Interrupted by waiter).. 

A lot of people assumed that the band was overtly satanic.  And I didn’t really want to promote that kind of concept because that’s a little bit more narrow-minded than the vision of being open-minded and accepting.  The concept is more of an open-minded worldliness as opposed to a narrow-minded adolescent impressions of what Christian Death was at the time.

Can you takes us back through the day when you first heard about Rozz’s passing and the immediate days that followed? 

We Were on Tour in Europe, I got the phone call. I was in shock for a while and eventually settled into the reality, that as I had to thwart his earlier suicide attempts several times years before it was inevitable he would eventually succeed at fulfilling how he always meant to go. Sorry I do not recall the events of that day.

So if you re-did American Inquisition… because obviously there’s been a shift in administration..given that and the atmosphere we have now, would you do anything differently content-wise?

Valor: I think on a world-wide level, the American Inquisition has been continuing since the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan.  So it’s just a different perspective of a story of corruption and global empire.  It hasn’t really changed.  It’s just … you know, like Caesar.. there were many who called themselves “Caesar” and it’s just a continuation of the same thing.  In fact, where we are at right now is that the Roman Empire is in the United States and the Vatican still is in Rome.  And I’ve been saying that for years.  So, I said that long before American Inquisition.  So nothing’s changed right now.  When the Pope comes to America, he’s the most honored guest of the political elite in this country.

In 1986 according to Discogs, there was a limited release, 75 copies of a tape called “Inhaling the Smoke of a Dead Man.”  Was there ever any plans to release this?

Valor: I don’t even know what that record is.  I think that was something that somebody did that I never heard of.  In 1986.. I … No.  That has nothing to do with anything that I know of.  It’s probably a bootleg.

What we did.. we did a lot of improvisational things on stage that were recorded that people gave names to.  And there were things that we’ve done that were improvisational that I actually gave names to…obscure names such as that.  But that name doesn’t ring any bells to me.  I don’t know where that came from.  It may have been a name that somebody gave to an improve session that we had live.  Because a lot of our shows used to start with just going on stage because we didn’t have decent sound checks.  So we’d just go on stage and start improving until we got the levels right and then we’d start our first song.  So that’s how we approached things. 

These days we like to go on stage… like tonight where everything is nailed down before we start.  Back then we didn’t have crew.  We didn’t have any kind of organization.  We’d start with chaos just to get ourselves through the chaos in order to be able to perform at least a real song after that.

So do you still have any issues, I guess more or less in countries other than the USA with bomb threats?

Valor: Germany was one.  We’ve had loads of problems in Germany.  We’ve had problems in the UK.  We never had problems in Italy.  Never had problems in France.

Maitri: But really that was a long time go.  Luckily we don’t have to deal with any of that shit that’s been going on with other bands.  It’s terrible what other bands have to go through.  We just had a couple of threats years and years ago.

So for the rest of 2017 and into 2018, I know you mentioned doing some work on the next record.  Any other plans?

 Valor: In April, we’re starting a European tour…the end of April and we’re also planning to come back to do another US tour next autumn.

So more of a headlining type of thing or less of a “festival?”

Valor: I don’t know.  The thing is, when we do a headlining thing, we’re preaching to the choir.  When we do like what we’re doing now with Lords of Acid and Combichrist, we’re playing to different audiences that… like just as we walked outside the door, there was a gentleman said he’d never even heard of us before and he thought it was awesome.  So that’s nice to be able to reach new people. 

If we’re playing as a headliner invariably, we’re playing to people who already know what’s going on.  But yeah… I’m not saying we’re not going to do a headliner.  But at this stage, we’re open to suggestions.  We’ve only put the word out like a week ago to our management that we want to be able to tour again next year at this time.  This is a good time to do it here.

A couple of tracks off the new record, “Illuminazi” and “Secrets Down Below”… if you could talk a little bit about those tracks.

Maitri: I love Secrets Down Below.  That one seems like we should play it live somehow.
Valor: No, we just didn’t do it
Maitri: It is a very sexual song.  I thought that the whole album was like so serious and I just wanted to put more sex into it.
Valor: On a headline tour we could do that.
Maitri: I mean especially when it’s really hard for us to try to play 35 minutes, to get a set together.  So that’s really really hard.
Maitri: We have so many albums so it’s hard to make everybody happy and most importantly to make ourselves happy.  I’m very satisfied with our set right now.  We’re trying to get across how we feel and think in this band, our opinions, and also give everybody a good time.

“Illuminazi” was the first single from “The Root of all Evilution.”  Could you talk a little bit about that track and the video?

Valor: Obviously a play on words in the title, my research into the wealth of information out there on the subject, seems to overwhelmingly suggest there is at least some truth to the conspiracy theories.

The video is a little tongue-in-cheek, however, an artistic demonstration of the cliche imagery and symbolism that exists out there. We had a lot of fun making the video and recording the music. Hopefully it makes people open their eyes and think a bit more.

You were interviewed in Chicago where you said how some of the earlier records you wished you never released because at the time, the record companies rushed you to get them done.  Which albums were you talking about and what would you do to make yourselves happy with them?

Valor: We are always interested and often surprised at the songs that some people hold near and dear to them, as every song is someone’s favorite. If someone’s God were to appear through a wall and say to the worshiper, ” You know I created humanity.  Some of my creations I love, Some I just sort of like.  But you are shit” how would you feel? I know certain people would be hurt if we were to shit on their favorite song.  It would not be fair to slander or burst the bubble that each song is floating in to the people that love any particular song.  Just be content with the knowledge that as the creators, we are hard to please.

One of my all-time favorite (if not the favorite) songs you’ve done is “She Never Woke Up.”  Take us inside the meaning behind that track if you don’t mind.

Valor: Maitri and I were discussing the death of someone we knew and how that was a shock to both of us.  Then we decided to put it to words which turned into a memorial that needed music. It was a good send-off.  Sorry.  Details of this person are reserved.

So do you think that living in Maine, does that have any influence as far as like when you are doing writing or whatever?  Does it have any effect on you in terms of creative work?

Valor: Yeah because the two things about Maine that I like is that it’s very mystical for start.  (Interruption)

One thing what I was going to tell you was that Maine is very mystical in the fact that it’s got a lot of ancient history as far as the native culture is concerned.  And then the fact that … it used to be part of Massachusetts which is the oldest state.  It was part of Massachusetts when Massachusetts was the first state or the first province of the British Empire.  Just the nature in itself… the mountains, the rivers, the lakes..  it’s magical.  And it’s also a nice place to get away from people.  Because we travel the world.  We’re around people constantly, you know… 24 hours a day and for me, to go to my place and just be surrounded by nature and turn up my amplifiers and play as loud as I want without bothering anybody.

It’s magical… you know.  Some of the best records I’ve made were in Wales.  The thing I liked about Wales is the same thing with Maine.  Maine is even more mystical than Wales.  Because Wales has an old culture.  I mean the culture of Stonehenge is all about Wales.

We recorded down the road from a church that Jimmy Page owned.  So the Welsh atmosphere was very magical for me.  The only other place I experience that is in Maine.  So I can be outside with nature or see the full glory of the stars at night without smog or shitty lights.  Same thing I experienced in Wales..

When we were recording Ashes, sorry Catastrophe Ballet, Scriptures and Atrocities.  There’s a magic about that place.  When we recorded in Maine, there’s a magic there.  And also, the isolation there.. you’re not distracted by city lights… I’ve recorded in Los Angeles.  I’ve recorded in New York.. in Rome.  I’ve recorded in Berlin… in Cologne, Germany.  I’ve recorded In Paris, …. In various places in England.  And there’s nothing like being in a place where there’s no distractions.  And that’s one of the things that I liked about Wales.  And that’s what I like about Maine.

12552569_10154091457552262_1379099630168788389_nSo when you and her write… what dictates who’s going to sing?  I mean is it just the nature of the song or who comes up with the lyrics or what dictates that?

Valor: We each write lyrics separately and sometimes we’ll collaborate on modifying them.  Generally she does her own thing.  I do my own thing.  Sometimes we make suggestions to each other.  Or we find bits that we want to add to each other’s lyrics.  Then we take those lyrics and we try to translate that into a musical feeling.  The emotion behind the lyrics has to be conveyed musically.

Many many years from now, a distant relative locates a box in the attic of an old house.  In the box is a collection of your work since Ashes.  What do you want this person to know about your legacy simply by listening to your music?

Valor: That there is philosophical content and depth to it all.  There’s something to be considered and contemplated.

Maitri: I just want it to be something truthful.  I want people to feel the truthful meaning of all the stuff we do.  I’d like to be remembered like that.  It came from the gods…it came from the heart.

Christian Death’s latest album, The Root of All Evilution is available now.

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