Normality and questions by Chris Jagasits & abnormalities and answers by Myk Jung
"If Ministry had more BALLS, they'd still have to drink a quart of gasoline to match the INTENSITY of the German-based Testify's sequencer & guitar driven debut." - If you're going to have a slogan like this, you'd better be able to back it.
Back in 1992, Raskal and Myk of the club charting elrctronic Fair Sex decided to venture off with some other musicians to collaborate on something that would translate into the polar opposite of their existing project. What resulted was a project that weighed heavily upon the use of a lot of guitars, distortion coated vocals, considerably less electronics, and their raunchy creativity. Aside from the oppressive, yet excellent, "Testify 01" album on Van Richter records in '94, Testify continues with "Ballroom Killer/the Blitzkrieg mixes", an EP whose sole motive is to rack up as many casualties it can in the clubs (see Damaging Frequencies for review).
Ballroom Killer/the Blitzkrieg mixes is an extension of the 01 album essentially, 5 tracks were given a reworking. More evident in the remixes of "Killer," "Spoil," "Ride," "A.N.G.E.R.," and "Get Busted" are the programming cycles and added samples. The focus of the EP was to reinforce and increase the hype of their existence on the dance floors. DJ's can finally get excited over something worthwhile. Heavy metal has been very popular in Europe and in the U.S. for years; industrial is behind, but slowly growing. So far, Testify has been received warmly in both places, countries and genres.
"But that's the way it has always been, from the earliest years of rock 'n' roll when Jagger was a little schoolboy until nowadays, hasn't it?" asks Myk with sly intonation.
Allow me to introduce Myk Jung, the vocalist for Testify. He has been with partner Raskal Nikov from the very beginning, meaning the not-so-closely-related FairSex. Formed in 1985, the Fair Sex has been successful in the release of 8 CD's of hard electronic music. In 1992, there came a change.
"We got a little bored with the TFS work - the TFS sound had become too smooth and self-complacent with too great pop appeal as the whole music scene of '92 could testify." Myk explains, "So even while recording the '92 album Spell of Joy, we already planned
a project which should be noisy and disgusting as TFS itself had been back in 1924 when we were young. L'o, the old TFS guitarist, always had a liking for heavy sounds, and since he was involved in the early Testify work, it was perhaps a logical step to go that direction. It was a time when obviously the same thing took place in many different heads for we were not the only ones having ideas like this, suddenly appreciating the beauty of the new aesthetic of the new generation of heavy riffs, which in fact DID sound very in 1988 ans were totally unattractive for us THOSE DAYS."
One thing to learn about Myk, don't take him seriously. It's obvious where Testify gets a good portion of its personality. "Bub you cut the lust/bub you muck up our lust/ba ba ba etc. etc..." -taken from "Spoil," and "The want for the youngest flesh/fruity fruity fruity fruity/your 18.8 prick, what a lovely sight ..."-taken from "Get Busted." And as he further attests to this...
"I had to be persuaded by subtle punishments like chain saws. The other members were too eager to re-create this song, nobody knows why."
Myk is referring to their cover of Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz," also included on the new EP.
"I always hated the idea oc covering a Sweet title," sours Myk.
You can still find the original version of the song floating around in the budget bins in record stores. You can also hear it whimpering; it happens everytime Testify is played. Gone is the glam rock era essence and present is the earsplitting, energy filled thrashability and mentality known to Testify.
Covering such a song fits Testify, if you know them. They're satirical and rebellious - they're a buch of punks. The line-up has stabilized recently with Moses (guitarist and arrangement wizard), Raskal (bass and arrangement master), Myk (voice and vision), and Mathias black (sound wizard). "93/'94 members L'o, Thor (both on guitars), Shoby (drummer), Eddie (noisy sample sound deliverer), and george (deliverer of forbidden things) have retreated into the background while Ulf, the new guitaris from Aachen, the most western German city, may stick around to replace Thor. When testify is wholesome, the process of writing songs and lyrics is usually a collaborative effort. One may think so naturally, seeing that most of their favorites are not too dissimilar. All the members are metalheads or hard rock purists - Pantera is common among Moses, Thor, L'o and Ulf. Moreover, Kiss is adored by Moses, L'o is fond of Van Halen, Thor likes Anthrax, and Ulf, well, ... has obscure favorites nobody knows the names of according to Myk.
In addition to the remixes done by the band, a few people new to Testify were involved with the EP. They include Keith "Fluffy" Auerbach and Howie Beno. Both are very involved in engineering and production especially with current industrial metal like 16 Volt, Acumen, Drag (Beno's project), and SKrew. Speaking of Skrew, Paul Abramson (president of Van Richter Records) mentioned members of the band were going to be working with Testify's new recordings.
Myk spills some info, "... we have the plan to come over to the states throughout this year for we are interested in working with Adam (vocalist/songwriter of Skrew). When I was in L.A. some time ago, I talked over the telephone with Adam. We both admitted to appreciating each other's work."
Interesting as it sounds, what is the new amterial going to be like? Can we say that it is better to favor the next Testify CD and not the new Ministry CD?
"You underestimate the Testify phenomenon. There's a special concept behind this, which of course doesn't become clear on first sight. The first Testify album was planned right from the start to sound like a cheap version of Ministry, but the second album will be an inferior copy of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. There's a master plan which we will follow precisely, wait for the coming years."
It will be safe to say the new material will be as gritty and guitarsome as 01 but not as alectronic as the EP pr the Fair Sex.
Myk confirms, "The two brothers the Fair Sex and Testify will not come too close to each other. Those who hated our first album will be the greatest admirers of the second. Perhaps the other way around is even imaginable as well, although the idea is not that pleasant to us."
Touring is another obvious factor enlarging their scope of popularity. In late '93/early '94, Testify supported Die Krupps in Europe. Besides the tour, they have done gigs on their own. Exposure in the United States is planned to happen soon.
"In '95, we have to create a new stage line up since Thor and L'o have vanished into the fog of the unknown. After the TFS tour in Germany, we'll have to see about that, and then the '95 newbrutalstrtofTestify will come about in Europe AND the states as well, we hope," Myk says. "The best part of our live performance is always the scene when I don't know if I'm on stage with the Fair Sex or Testify. The result of this confusion leads me to obscure actions like puking on stage."
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