seven | article | interviews | .

interview with nkvd/mlada fronta
posted on 11-Apr-2000 by alan
nkvd/mlada fronta were kind enough to take some time off their busy schedule and answer our questions. both projects have released excellent cds in 1999 and this year has even more surprises from the bands. the interview was conducted over email by alan.
1. Where, when, and how did this project emerge?
3. How long have you been writing music, was it always is this direction?

 
mlada fronta NKVD was created in summer 1998 by Rémy Pelleschi (Mlada Fronta) and Jérôme Schmitt (ex Corpus Delicti). We are both from Cannes and Nice in the south east of France. We are writing music under the name of NKVD since that time, but we have both been involved in music for a long time. Jérôme was the former guitarist of a famous French gothic act called Corpus Delicti, and I am active with Mlada Fronta since 1989, we decided to hook up because we were really good friends and shared the same musical ideas at the same moment, indeed at that time I wanted to stop Mlada Fronta and start another project more industrial and violent. So NKVD is quite a recent project, and we have chosen to express a violent side of music and life in a cinematic and futuristic way.
 
2. What does NKVD stand for and how does it relate to your music?
 
nkvd album cover NKVD was the name of this secret police created by Stalin that killed many people during its period of activity. Stalin was permanently afraid of everything and never trusted anyone, everybody (even in his close family) was supposed to assassin him. What is interesting is to make a parallelism between what has really existed in our society and a similar and futuristic perspective. NKVD is 100% industrial S.F. (S.F. for science fiction) music!
 
4. What inspires you to write? Is your inspiration more emotional, musical, or spiritual?
 
Rémy a big fan of electronic, ethnic and tribal music. I love the complexity and the sound of the Indian music, but also the African trance (percussions); indeed I am fond of cyclical and repetitive rhythms which make the music bewitching. The ritual music comes from the oldest times. In electronic music, you can also find this repetitive side, but it is done with some more modern sounds. What would be great is to make the music for a science fiction movie telling the story we created with the Barbarians.
 
5. What is the central theme in your music? What are some themes your have approached in the past?
 
NKVD is a sound representation of a futuristic world dominated by the violence of the Barbarians who are warriors thirsty for blood, the Barbarians are leaded by their master: The "Admiral". The "Barbarians", beings of primitive look (3.20 meter high, 400 kilos of muscles) are granted a superior intelligence which they have earned during generations of conquest in the universe. However, their look doesn't lie; their weapons are very sophisticated but look very much like the gladiators'. They go on without mercy toward the conquest of unknown territories. They rampage, rape, kill and burn everything on their way. They have no morality, no feelings, no religion and obey the orders of the "Admiral", a hero among them. He has led more than 500 planets destruction. It is noticeable that they have been nomads for more than 5000 years. They lived before that on a planet they ended up destroying... More precisely, NKVD is the name of this high nuclear ship (150 km long 3000 meters high) where all these Barbarians live, it has the form of a huge piece of glass and travels across the immensity of space without making any noise, which has surprised many killed populations.
 
NKVD tells a story which begins with the first album "Prolog" (Hands Productions), and it will evolve with the next chapters to come, each NKVD album will represent a chapter of the Barbarians' story.
 
6. What equipment and gear are you using currently?
 
We have our own recording and mastering studio called Millenium Studio, we use : Macintosh G4 400 Mhz, Pro-tools 32, Yamaha O2R, EMU 6400 Ultra, Yamaha A-3000, Kobol, Oberheim Matrix 1000, Oberheim Ob-8, Yamaha CS2X, Supernova novation, Korg Wavestation EX, EMU Vintage keys+...
 
7. You are both a part of what other projects?
 
high tension album cover Rémy is part of Mlada Fronta which new album "High Tension" has just been released on Flatline records, this is fourth album of Mlada Fronta, and once again we show on it a different face; each Mlada Fronta album is a surprise for the listener, this one is completely instrumental, in the past we sometimes used some vocals and even some guitars.
 
Jérôme has his solo project called Gom, he is finishing the recording of his debut album, it is experimental electronic music between electronica and trip-hop.
 
8. How is that material different from the NKVD material?
 
high tension album cover Mlada Fronta is more open to live performance, it has more tribal influences than NKVD. Also the members of these 2 projects are not exactly the same and as a matter of fact it creates other sources of inspiration. Mlada Fronta is less harsh and violent than NKVD, NKVD is much more harder and violent than Mlada Fronta, and on some tracks this violent side is accentuated by a distorted voice.
 
9. What musicians have you worked with in the past?
 
NKVD is quite new so we had not time yet to work with other artists, but in the near future some remixes are planned with some good artists such as Imminent, Haujobb, Needle Sharing. As Mlada Fronta, we worked with Xingu Hill, Collapse, Converter; now we are also working on a collaboration track with Celluloid Mata.
 
10. The design & artwork on your cd is incredible, who did the work? Have you worked with this artist before?
 
The booklet has been done by some excellent friends of us who are professional graphists, they are called "La langue du caméléon" (www.cameleons.com), they are also from the city of Nice. "La langue Du Caméléon" is also currently working on our website (www.millenium-studio.com). They are astonishing, they are real graphic geniuses, and they have some great ideas, in one word they are brilliant! They are in the same mood as Designer republic (the famous group of designers).
 
11. Hands Productions seems to be putting out a lot of strong diverse artists. How is the label treating you?
 
Well, we have a good treatment with Hands even if it was slow to start, now everything seems to go better and better, Hands seems to be a honest and fair label, Udo (manager of Hands) really supports and believes in NKVD. We now have a project of limited picture vinyl for this year including three new tracks and three remixes, it should be out this year. Thanks to his good connections with Orkus, Hands has been able to put us on the next "Industrial Frequencies III" compilation (Orkus); there will be also Mlada Fronta on this one.
 
12. What other labels do you feel are presenting and supporting strong musicians in the industrial scene?
 
I mainly think about Ant-Zen, which really does a good job to support its artists, if you really look, there are not hundreds of good and real industrial labels.
 
13. How did you meet Laurent Le Fers/Doctor Avalanche? How is he involved with the band?
 
Laurent Le Fers is a very good friend of us, we met him at a concert in 1993, he is also from the same area as we are; since 1992 he is running an excellent radioshow and always supported us; we made some very funny live interviews with him. Since then he became a really good friend of ours, we asked him to be our manager, even if we (both Laurent and us) don't like this word as it is a friendly collaboration, Laurent has also his daily job and he is very nice to help us in his remaining time. So he is responsible for all our management (also for Mlada Fronta and Gom, this is like a big family!), he found us the deal with Hands and is working very close with our label. He is also running the booking things for NKVD. He can be considered as a third man in NKVD.
 
14. Do you or have you ever deejayed? If so what material do you usually spin?
 
No we have never deejayed, but Laurent Le Fers is a Dj (Terror-X) and plays drum and bass, electronica and harsh industrial stuff.
 
15. Do you have any deejays locally that spin any of your material at the clubs?
 
Yes we have some good DJ's in the city of Cannes, Marseille and Montpellier who play our stuff in the clubs, these ones also support us, and we are very thankful to them.
 
16. Are any compilation appearances coming out soon within the next year? If so what tracks?
 
There will be the track "Psykoz part one" which will be featured later this year on the "Industrial Frequencies Vol. III" compilation put together by Orkus. We have also written 3 new songs which will be included on a double compilation called "2000 Hands", it will include new stuff from all Hands' bands, it will be a double compilation, expect the best from this one!
 
17. What bands are you listening to currently?
 
At the moment we find many qualities in the works of Autechre, Download, Dither, Orphx, Zonk't, Xingu Hill, Massive Attack.
 
18. What is the scene like in your area of France?
 
Well the scene is not huge yet (and it's better like that!) but it is developing well. First we have some very interesting artists and also the audience is growing day by day, France is becoming slowly an interesting market for foreign labels, moreover since last year we have a big magazine called "Elegy" which is out every two months with a cd sampler, and more concerts and tours are organized in France. Some concerts are really successful, I remember Industrial #4 organized by our manager Doctor Avalanche in Cannes, the hall was completely crowded by 400 people to see Haujobb, Synapscape and Collaspe, and it was really successful with acts such as Imminent Starvation, Noisex...
 
19. What is your live set like? How many people are involved on stage? Is there any particular mood or theme you try to convey to the audience?
21. How is the response usually from the audience? Is it better in some places or areas than others?
22. What was your very best show ever? Very worst show?
24. Any plans on touring?

 
NKVD has never played a live set yet, indeed NKVD is a above all a studio project, first we did not want to play live, but finally we have decided that we would only play some festivals if we have the opportunity. You can expect from us a real live performance, there will be no DAT, no CD player, it will be a real improvisation set, it means that ALL sounds and loops will be played live. On stage there will be two people with their percussions and it will be powerful as you can imagine. There also will be a special visual concept, we prefer to keep it for us, you will have the surprise when you will attend to one of our gigs! We hope to participate in some good festivals like Maschinenfest... but we don't plan any tour, however if Autechre asks us to be their support act, we will do it!!!
 
20. What kind of equipment do you mainly uses for your live set?
 
Electronic percussions connected to samplers!
 
25. Best releases of 99-2000?
 
Dither : Apogée
Monolith : Tribal globe
Orphx : Vita mediativa
Zonk't : Fearless
 
26. Biggest disappointments of 99-2000?
 
Nine Inch Nails : The Fragile
Panacea : Phoenix Metabolism
Cubanate : Interference

related links
flatline records homepage
nkvd "prolog" review
mlada fronta "high tension" review
millenium studio

 
seven | article | interviews | .