If you think guitar driven industrial is a thing of the past, think
again. Testify - a band not so well known in Scandinavia - have acquired
quite a fan following over in the States as well as in their home
country of Germany. Having already released two full length albums as
wellas a recent mini CD , Crack the Mind, Testify's Myk Jung
(vocalist,programmer) and Bull(bass) gave Prospective the honor of an
interview. Having formed Testify in 1993 as a side project of the
legendary Electro darkwave band The Fair Sex; musical mastermind Myk
Jung set out to create music that had balls! Something allot different
than the classic snth pop hooks of The Fair Sex.
Combining razor sharp treated vocals with roaringly aggressive guitars and mentally deranged sonwriting, Testify soon released their first single Testify your vision on the label Our Choice. It was soon followed up by the album Testify, which was later licensed to the independent Van Richter Records in California by the name 01. Van Richter has handled the distribution over in the USA since then, and it has been the band's actual label since Testify's fourth release Mmmyaoooo.
With four releases behind them, Testify released their fifth, titled Crack the Mind in 1998 on Van Richter. It's actually a mini CD with five remixes of older songs by Die Krupps, Skyline Dave, Plastic Noise Experience and Die Warzau.
Firstly I have to admit that I hadn't heard any of your material prior to receiving a promotional copy of "Crack Your Mind" from your label Van Richter. But I have to admit that I enjoyed listening to the album and craved for information concerning Testify. How come your records can't be found in Scandinavia at all, is it a matter of distribution, since you do seem to be quite known in Germany, as well as in the States?
Myk: Indeed it is a matter of contribution, and of course it is very
regrettable that there does not seem to be a good link to the Northern regions - and never we have found any licence-interest-partners over there.
Bull: Myk, don't forget the Seven-Years-Plan! We are still under its shadow! When the seven years are over, all things will go our way again - and we will be known even in Scandinavia!
Myk: What Bull is hinting at is the curse having been laid upon some of the Testify-members back in 1992. Seven years of break-down were foresaid to come.
Bull: I thought it was you alone that the spell was thrown at?!
I also started wondering about the remixes on "Crack The Mind". Since the promotional copy I received doesn't tell, could you please inform me who did which remix on the album and how you got in touch with the bands remixing your songs. Do you know Die Krupps, Die Warzau and/or Plastic Noise Experience from before, and how do they relate to the scene you're from? You are stationed in Essen for the moment if I got it correctly, what about other bands in the area?
Myk: Track Six on Crack The Mind was remixed by Die Krupps, Track 7 by Skyline-Dave, Track 8 by Plastic Noise Experience, and Track 9 by Die Warzau. Most of the connections had been brought about by the Van Richter label - Die Krupps however we know from tour-activities centuries back. They live in the same town as two Testify-members - in Duesseldorf. The original stock of Testify-members come from Essen, that is right
Since we're at it could you also list your current line-up with information on each members position in the band.
The current line-up is: Moses (guitar/programming) - from Essen/ Bull (bass guitar) and Mathias Black (sound-chief) from Duesseldorf/ Myk (voxes/programming) from Essen/ Kullf (guitar) from famous Mettmann/ Sven Stone (drums) from M3lheim.
And also list the names of all your records and the year they were released.
Testify Your Vision (S-CD) / 1993/ Our Choice-Rough Trade
Testify (CD) /1993 Our Choice which is Testify 01 for the States/ VR 1994
BallroomKiller (30min.CD)/1994 Our Choice/1995 Van Richter
MMMYAOOOO (CD) / 1996 Van Richter/1998 Nove Tekk/Eraser
Crack The Mind(40minCD) / 1998 Van Richter
While looking for information concerning Testify I stumbled upon quite an impressive collection of interviews on Van Richter's homepage. You seem to like giving interviews, and especially shooting out sarcastic comments at the interviewers. I was surprised by how much fun you seem to have, you really seem to have a good time answering interviews! What kind of part does humour play in your lives, is it a change from the aggressiveness in your music? (I KNOW you'll make fun of my questions, so please go on).
Myk: Most times - at least when two members together do the interview
like now - we use to shoot sarcastic comments at each other, rather than
on the interviewer. That is simply because all Testifylers do not understand
each other - and everyone has a different image of how Testify ought to be. All this has nothing to do with fun.
Bull: I never understood what Testify is all about - moreover I dont understand why I have joined the whole company. And because you ask which part humour plays in our lives: I think Testify itself is a joke, but not one of the real good ones - and we try to hide this with exaggerated aggression; or at least that is what Myk and Moses try, for example.
What about the testosterone and adrenaline in your music, you have described it with concepts such as "aggression with songwriting ability" and "adrenaline shock", is it all about aggressiveness or is there maybe a hint of irony in this? At least it seems light-years away from anything funny, but I really enjoyed this raw, mad and deranged side of your music! I also did sense something that reminds me of the self-irony Al Jourgensen from Ministry is known for. Is there a connection here?
Myk: We do not write the PR-slogans for our albums, so we will not take
the responsibility for what you have mentioned. One time we wrote one sheet
as proposal how labels could present us to the writing guild - but we described
Testify as being one of the most paltry bands in the world, as it is our habit -
and our info-sheet- proposal was rejected...
Bull: Nobody wants honest info-sheets nowdays. A world of hypocrisy... But whois this Al Jourgensen you have mentioned?
Myk: It's the guy from this band we always are compared with, Bull, you must remember him!
Bull: Seems like I have built a barrier in my subconsiousness
What about other influences than Ministry, there must've been others since you have stated that the decision to form Testify came earlier than Ministry broke through in Europe? And how did Myk Jung's and Rascal Nikov's earlier band The Fair Sex influence Testify? What about the background of everyone else in the band?
Myk: Indeed the first writing-activities started in 1992 before the
Psalm 69-album brought about such a huge break-thru for that type of music in Germany.
Bull: You get never tired to mention that, eh? But I never believed you old Testify-members! I think the Psalm 69-album was always in the CD-player in the studio while you recorded the first Testify -album. Admit it.
Myk: You are one of the more fresh Testify-members and you are not allowed to give away our best hidden secrets! I must talk with Mathias about this grave strike to our trusting you!
Bull: The older band The Fair Sex influenced Testify very much, after all I have heared about these early 1992-days... As threatening example how not to make music, harr -
Myk: Indeed Testify was planned as project having BALLS - something that The Fair Sex had lost on their long tiring wayThe background of the others: Moses and Kullf and Sven come more from the Metal/ Rock genre...
Myk Jung seems to be quite a driving force behind the band's activities, at least lyrically and in terms of a concept for the music. What kind of background does he have aside from music, anything political, artistic? What about the other members in Testify?
Bull: That is the curse of Testify that Myk has all these visions
leading us intoo nowhere land. Forget this driving force Myk. That drove us to
nothing but insanity
Myk: Thank you very much. My background is The Endless Dissatisfaction - the wretched torn soul. Torn by this world of shit and...
Bull: No, not this pathetic words again! You are torn by your unhappy love-affairs, at least that's what Kullf says. Tell us about the White Lady Queen of which you murmurin your sleep in hotel-rooms! The one tearing your soul to shreds - eh?!!
Myk: Name not the green-eyed one that feasts on the poor remnants of my soul!
Was signing on Van Richter a conscious move? Do you enjoy working with a small independent label or was it just a question of getting a record-contract with whatever label offered one?
Myk: Van Richter is doing a enthusiastic work for Testify; and that's what we felt before-hand as we decided to sign with them
What about touring, then? Do you enjoy getting on the road and travelling to different places, or is it just a must? Does your live-sound differ from the one on your albums, do you have something special for those fans eager to see you live?
Bull: Touring, eh? We would enjoy it - if anyone would send us on the
road. But nobody seems to be interested in that! We are even more aggressive and mentally deranged on stage - with all those star-step-movements that I want to mention - because they are MY special show-feature.
Myk: Do not forget the star-shape-like formation of Testify-groupies around our band-car! Very impressive situations when we go on tour....
Are you planning on coming to Scandinavia to play or do you have other tours that take up all your time?
Myk: As you know by know it is not touring that keeps us away from touring Scandinavia. It is our physical sickness - Kullf always invites us to his gigantic sessions of drinking German beer, which is ihis background - and that has wrecked our health thru these long exhausting years
TESTIFY PAGE | NEXT INTERVIEW