Musicscan: What have Knut currently been up to? Does it feel good to finally be back with a new studio record?
Knut: It’s great. The feeling about this record is special because – as you may know – at a certain point we didn’t know whether we wanted to keep going with the band or not. Somehow we felt that what had to be said had been said, we had reached a point of satisfaction and exhaustion as well, but as time went, we started to get excited again and slowly the idea of making a new record didn’t sound that bad. We never broke up, it was just a case of stopping the crazy schedule that followed Challenger and finding the energy, and will, to express ourselves again.
Musicscan: How do you describe the actual status of Knut? Is it still a real band or more kind of a project you work on from time to time?
Knut: In fact it’s very much a band again these days. We’ve had an important line-up change recently, for the first time in 7 years, which has been as painful but necessary for all parties involved. Philippe no longer is our guitarist, he’s been in Knut from the first day on, but now he’s moved on to something else and seems happy about it. We are too, because the friendship remains intact and we’re now getting even better a live proposition, which was always the biggest concern. We have a new member and the bass player now plays guitar so there’s a sense of renewal.
Musicscan: What’s the reason, Knut aren’t playing shows at the moment? A lot of people would like to see you, especially as you just released a new full length…
Knut: We’re getting ready to try the new line-up so there’s no hurry, but we have a small tour in France planned for March 2006.
Musicscan: How has the response been for the record so far and what made you settle down with Conspiracy Records?
Knut: The response has been great for the most part. I mean, we seem to divide the audience in two between those who have somehow associated us with metalcore (which I can imagine why, but is just not right) and those who expect Knut to be experimental and always pushing the envelope. Without sacrificing the power and the aggression of course. But there aren’t as many vocals, the sound is less “over the top” and distorted than on Challenger, plus there’s some droney, electronic shit. To me Terraformer is a grower, don’t expect Challenger part II. As for Conspiracy it was a natural move, as they had been licensing most of Hydra Head’s latest releases in the past years and had been taking care of our tours. They’re friends, or family I should say and I’m glad that they’re still active as a label.
Musicscan: Your new record again has a very dark mood to it. How did you approach the songwriting to have that dark mood in it as well as have aggression?
Knut: We never plan anything, we just gather songs over a long period and the result becomes a record. If it’s dark, I guess it represents how we were feeling at the time. We’re definitely not dark as people in everyday life, but then there’s the state of things throughout the planet, the shit that everyone goes through on a personal level, we’re pretty sensitive. Knut works as a filter or an amplifier that makes everything more intense, it’s an outlet for all kinds of things including things we’re not aware of too consciously. I keep wondering why the sounds I like to produce end up being extreme and ugly.
Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progression on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound?
Knut: I have no idea. Over-intellectualizing harms the beauty of creation.
Musicscan: Were there any particular adjustments or things that you wanted to improve upon from a technical aspect of writing compared to Challenger?
Knut: The only conscious decision was to include more electronics and soundscapes to improve dynamics. Then as we recorded what was supposed to be a demo, we made another major decision: to pick a more liberated approach, a more natural sound as opposed to the “forced” and over-the-top, constant aggression of Challenger. What you hear on Terraformer is basically a demo recorded over a week-end with a few overdubs and segues added afterwards.
Musicscan: Many things have been said about what particular style Knut is described from heavy post rock to noise-core to whatever… . How can you describe yourselves to our readers?
Knut: A mix of both? Anything but metalcore is fine
Musicscan: If someone where to only listen to one song of Terraformer, which and why would you recommend?
Knut: Well, our folks at Hydra Head made the record available for everyone to stream (www.knut-terraformer.com) so sit tight, enjoy and make your own choice, you won’t have to steal the music. Of course you can buy it because CD’s sound better than your computer plus the artwork is beautiful.
Musicscan: Do you feel like you’re out to make a difference or more to make people more aware of heavy music? And how do you feel about Knut s place within the scene of heavy undeground music?
Knut: I don’t know if we’ve made any significant difference but I’m satisfied with what we’ve achieved. No compromise, it’s always been about the music we wanted to hear, be proud of, and if we’ve managed to inspire some other people, that’s great.
Musicscan: What’s behind this remix-album of Terraformer to be out soon? Who came up with the idea and how did you choose the artists to do the remixes of your songs. As you surely have heard the results already, what’s to expect?
Knut: The remixes have nothing to do with Terraformer. Except that you can hear similar concerns, the taste for experimentations, that’s all. The remixes came up a couple of years ago when we were reflecting on our ten year anniversary. We wanted to do something special, so we threw a dreamlist of people onto paper, people we loved who could fuck around with our sounds and make it their own. They all agreed to participate ans it turned out great. The album should see the light early 2006 hopefully.
Musicscan: How did it happen, that you played drums for Jesu on their summer tour?
Knut: I’ve been a fan of Godflesh for 15 years, like everyone in this band. Also Head of David, Techno Animal, Final, Ice, and basically everything Justin Broadrick has done. When Jesu got signed to Hydra Head and after the album came out and he was suposed to remix us, I thought: since Jesu is essentially a one-man band, why not take a chance and ask now that we have this closer connection? I didn’t expect anything, I just went for it and suddenly came this e-mail in return saying that he was looking for a drummer for the whole tour... wow. There was no way I could even quit my job for so long but how could I turn down the offer? It’s been an amazing tour really, although not exactly the easiest performance-wise since I had to turn into a machine basically, but it’s been great nonetheless.