Heathen Harvest: Can you discuss how Von Thronstahl came into being and who the founding members are?
Josef Klumb: The general idea was conceived around 1995 when I was still in Forthcoming Fire, playing Gothic and Darkwave. I was searching for a way to express the European identity in a musical way. That’s how Von Thronstahl came into being.
HH: Can you explain what the name Von Thronstahl means or what significance it has for you?
JK: The prefix “von” indicates aristocratic nobility when put in front of a name. And “Thronstahl” translates “the steel of which the throne is made”. The whole name stands for being untouched or irremovable by the constant change of the world.
HH: What was the initial founding vision of Von Thronstahl?
JK: The idea of the REICH for Europe, or Europa, as I’d prefer to call it. The terminology is stated in the song HEIMATERDE MUTTERBODEN VATERLAND (native soil, mother soil, fatherland). It’s about the general idea of the Reich, of identity more as a feeling, an emotion than something concerned with parliaments or a supposed “democracy“.
HH: Can you explain the previous musical experience of Von Thronstahl's members prior to joining the band?
JK: Both Raymond and myself used to play Punk, Rock’n’Roll and Gothic. Marcel has played in Rock and Metal bands and worked with various Folk projects (and he still does). René comes from a Metal background. Both of them play a variety of instruments in different bands and projects.
HH: How did the band feel particularly inspired or drawn to the post-industrial music scene and to Martial Orchestral music in general?
JK: I wouldn’t say that the scene itself inspired us, the inspiration came and still comes from life in general and the musical creation happens organically. Our music reflects the longing for the true European identity and soul, as well as a kind of underground thinking, so to speak.
HH: Are there other bands within the post-industrial music scene that have had a direct impact on the formation or sound of Von Thronstahl?
JK: There are a lot of bands and project that we enjoy. As I may be a bit older than some of the others my taste goes more to the origins of the scene. Cabaret Voltaire, Clock DVA, Throbbing Gristle, Thomas Leer, Industrial and Electronic, I’m not a Noise fan, I need structures. Very important in this decade were Allerseelen, which I’d recommend to all the people out there. Plus I enjoy most of the material released by the label Cold Spring Records.
HH: Von Thronstahl debuted the first full length CD title "IMPERIUM INTERNUM" in the year 2000. Looking back how was this CD received by the post-industrial music community?
JK: The debut CD was a big step for the project and it was very well received; in fact the first pressing was sold out some time ago, but it has been re-released by Cold Spring (remastered, plus now it’s a digi-pack instead of a tray) recently. The press reactions, both to the initial release and to the re-release were very positive.
HH: "IMPERIUM INTERNUM" established a particular aesthetic that would continue to define Von Thronstahl for sometime. This aesthetic was founded on a romantic remembrance and exaltation of Europe's past. Can you discuss what inspired this aesthetic why the band chose to pursue this aesthetic?
JK: The basis for all the aesthetic creation of Von Thronstahl is emotion. Emotion in a sense of really being “moved” from the inside. From heart and soul, so to speak. And emotional longing to reach the shores of our secret home that is Europa.
HH: Can you explain what significance the albums title had for the band?
JK: The title stands for the feeling I’ve just tried to explain. The emotions, thoughts and dreams don’t just need a “vessel”, they also need a name to be written on the flag; a title that implies attributes like “holy” or “sacred”.
HH: "IMPERIUM INTERNUM" contains a recurring theme of medieval Europe and the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail. What significance does this legend have for the band?
JK: It’s almost too perfect to be used in a symbolic way. The “true belief” that is connected to the legend and the combination of a true kind of Christianity with the old, deep pagan roots.
HH: Does Von Thronstahl strive to explore or comment on European history before the Christian Medieval era or does the band see its interest deriving from medieval Christianity to the modern era?
JK: Raymond and myself are deeply inspired by the traditional way of Catholicism. The so-called modern Christianity seems to be on a spiritual level that you’ll likely find at an esoteric fair. If you explore the old Christian tradition you’ll find so many influences dating back to the pagan times, but most of the people who call themselves Christians nowadays aren’t even aware of that.
HH: Does Von Thronstahl express any interest in the pagan or heathen origins of Europe and its peoples?
JK: Raymond and myself are Catholic, but we also are interested in studying the pagan roots, which I’ve mentioned before. Through studying I came across a common theme in both the Old Testament as well as pagan lore (like the Gilgamesh epos) which one could interpret as an insertion of knowledge. “God” or “gods” who came “from the skies” to teach man, inspiring religion and tradition. These passed down stories about god-like beings could be interpreted as records of contact with extraterrestrial beings visiting earth. Although this may sound strange to some folks: Keep the idea in mind and then read the bible (try to picture the Nephilim for example). Marcel and René are both atheists, but both of them are interested in religious tradition in a philosophical way. And after all religion keeps influencing political decisions each and every day all over the world.
HH: "E PLURIBUS UNUM" was Von Thronstahl's second full length CD and was released in 2001. "E PLURIBUS UNUM" is a collection of rare and unreleased tracks produced by Von Thronstahl. How did the band come to have such a wealth of secondary material so early in your career?
JK: Well, I suppose we’ve had more time back then. And we participated on a lot of compilations which mostly were sold out at that time and we felt that people who were interested should be able to get a hold of that material all together.
HH: "E PLURIBUS UNUM" saw Von Thronstahl beginning to comment on modern politics and current events. In fact the title of the album is taken from the American one dollar currency. Can you explain what shift occurred that directed Von Thronstahl to embrace current affairs as well as the past history of Europe within your music?
JK: The connection of these topics happened organically. There’s something like a spiritual war going on between the traditional and modernistic thoughts, which influences modern politics very much.
HH: Several songs on "E PLURIBUS UNUM" garnished fierce criticism from far left anti fascist groups. Songs such as "Verein(sam)t" contain text from German writer and physician Gottfried Benn who was criticized in his lifetime for his involvement with National Socialism in Germany. How does Von Thronstahl reconcile the artistic and philosophical achievements of such historical figures as Gottfried Benn with their involvement in National Socialism?
JK: Gottfried Benn was enthusiastic about the National Socialist movement during the early years, but soon he recognised that a lot of things simply went wrong with the movements direction. He was taken in by the potential and the power of the movement but disappointed when he saw some of the results. Actually I can relate to that; there are thoughts in between the world of, say, a totalitarian approach from the right and the very same totalitarianism from the left which is slightly disguised as “anti-fascist”. People like Stefan George of Ernst Jünger did never belong to just on side of this conflict that nowadays is mostly being projected as strictly “black and white”. The world needs men who stand for something all by themselves.
HH: "Hail You Captain And Thy Guard" also commissioned outcry from far left activist as the song was created for Daniel Ghettu's "Totalitarian Archangels Foundation" in Romania and pays homage to "The Iron Guard" and Captain Codreanu. The "Iron Guard" remains notable amidst armed fascist militia groups as they promoted a religious doctrine amidst their ranks. Can you discuss your interest in the "Iron Guard" and the "Totalitarian Archangels Foundation"?
JK: The Codreanu tribute compiled by Dan Ghetu featured a lot of different projects which, Blood Axis aside, I’ve rarely seen blamed as “right wing” or something. That should make one think how the “far left activists” choose their targets. Actually Marcel is even more educated on the subject than I am, but the history of the Iron Guard and mostly the personal struggle of Codreanu, who stood up for his belief and his men to the very minute he was murdered, is very inspiring. To western Europeans the old Romanian tradition may seem a bit “dark”; the musical works of the Iron Guard convey that feeling to many listeners, but it’s also full of “light” with regards to the religious tradition and the tremendous dedication.
HH: What is Von Thronstahl enduring interest in the fascist era of European history?
JK: It is unquestionably a very interesting and diverse field. In terms of what is kind of appealing to me I would say that it is the honesty about it. The European nationalist movements were very frank and open about their beliefs and politics, which by no means can be said about the self-proclaimed “democratic” politicians. Most of them are front-men for a hidden agenda. People should be more educated about the facts that the controlled media won’t report. In a side-note I’d ask the question of “style”: Do you see style in Brussels? I don’t. I see clowns, and the hidden powers behind their masks.
HH: Does the band believe that there is knowledge or guidance to be drawn from this tumultuous era of European history?
JK: I don’t suppose that there is any era from which knowledge shouldn’t be drawn. The human life is a constant learning process, both for the individual and humanity as a whole. The official attempt to black out knowledge and wisdom from sources that do not fit the “Zeitgeist” is one of the most spiteful crimes against humanity.
HH: How does Von Thronstahl feel about the societal and cultural censorship of ideas, art, and philosophy from this era?
JK: That’s what I was getting at. In the western democracies there’s actually more censorship going on today than we are told that there supposedly was during the “forbidden times”. Especially the German political system has its very own “democratic” ways of silencing people.
HH: Is Von Thronstahl's exploration of fascism inspired at all by the belief in an imperial ruler unifying Europe?
JK: That is, to some extend, a religions question. A leader or ruler in my eyes is someone to work in between, who has to prepare for the true order. For someone “godsend”, which is to be understood literally. There will be now European Imperium without divine order!
HH: Von Thronstahl does not seem interested in Europe's communist era. What has drawn the band towards the Fascist era and away from an exploration of the cultural and ideological era of communism?
JK: I do perceive both Communism and the freemasonry ideals of western materialism as the exact opposite of what Von Thronstahl stands for. So in a way we have dealt with the topic.
HH: "E PLURIBUS UNUM" showcases some of the first reworking of traditional rock songs by Von Thronstahl as is illustrated in songs such as "Bells" which samples a guitar riff from AC/DC and "This Is Europe Not L.A." which reworks "Mr. Blue Sky" by the Electric Light Orchestra" What inspired Von Thronstahl to infiltrate and hijack pop music?
JK: We like to work in this manner sometimes; to use (and maybe sometimes abuse?) this great material for our creation. For an upcoming more Folk-oriented release I would like to use the first 20 seconds of The Who’s “Pinball Wizard” from the rock-opera Tommy!
HH: Has Von Thronstahl ever received a backlash or feedback from bands whose material they have reworked?
JK: Not really. I have informed the managements, partly copies of the CDs were sent, but no real feedback.
HH: Von Thronstahl faced a lot of critical press and an attempt was made to keep the band from performing at the Leipzig music festival in 2000. Can you discuss how you overcame this attack and were able to play the event?
JK: Well, we did not actually “play” the event. I was surrounded by all kinds of secret police, even the MAD (Militärischer Abschirmdienst; translates something like „Military shielding force“, a kind of military police / secret service ) was there to prevent me from entering the stage. But all these people weren’t familiar enough with the bands or the people to recognize that the line-up of The Days of the Trumpet Call used to be the basic line-up of VON THRONSTAHL in those days. And I managed to tool the agents, telling some guys of whom I knew that they would report it, that I would enter the stage, so that they were using all their men to “guard” me. Meanwhile, as I had told them before, the line-up formed on stage with the spade bearers left and right and the flag bearer in front of the microphone. Raymond started the E PLURIBUS UNUM CD instead of the backing music, so my voice was coming over the PA which the agents did not recognize, but the crowd did and applauded frenetically. And all the while I was standing very satisfied in the midst of the crowd.
HH: Does Von Thronstahl face opposition everywhere you play?
JK: The only problems were in Germany (where all other concerts, apart from the one mentioned above, did go ahead as planned!) and Austria. We haven’t had any problems like this in the rest of the world. But about ten years ago the opposition used to have a face of some sort. Today it’s either bureaucracy or faceless and cowardly internet threats and accusations.
HH: Has the band ever incurred threats of violence by censors?
JK: As I said: In former times they did show their faces. And, to some extend, their fists, although this was not related to Von Thronstahl. But the one thing that made me crumble in some way is the sharp weapon of bureaucracy.
HH: Do you feel that closing discussion and exploration into the fascist era of European history denies Europeans the opportunity to understand and explore their history?
JK: It seems to be only a question of time until the people realize that the self-proclaimed democrats deny them, among other things, the exploration of the truth. By truth I do not mean something in particular, but merely the right to ask any question you like, as an expression of true freedom. But the truth, the ideals and thoughts are more or less everlasting, whatever the politicians of today decide. So we could be seen as a generation “in between” (times?). We’re the one who can merely proclaim. Others will come later (to reign?).
HH: Do you feel as if discussing the fascist past of Europe has the potential of opening old wounds or stirring dormant resentments in Europe's population?
JK: The only thing that is able to truly heal the wounds of the past is truth. Total truth; although all information always has to be renewed. But without truth, there can be no real understanding among peoples. And regarding the wounds: Some do not heal because the truth hasn’t been spoken (i.e. out loud) while others are being kept open artificially due to certain people’s interest in it.
HH: In America we have a long standing tradition of freedom of speech. Though this freedom often faces challenges we have been able as citizens to maintain our right to explore any subject matter we choose artistically regardless of who it offends. Do you feel as if Europe has a different standard of freedom of speech?
JK: Well, first of all, American civil rights activists have been shouting it from the roof-tops that the USA are rapidly heading towards a police state, so enjoy jour freedom while it lasts! Any American who feels offended by this statement should read the two so-called “Patriot Act” legislations. The basic concept of “freedom of speech” may be right, but even with the police state aside: Is the freedom to say what you like worth something if it doesn’t make a difference? Is the freedom of choice worth something if you can only choose between “Burger King and McDonald’s” (or say, between one of the two political parties in a two-party-system in which both presidential candidates are members of “Skull&Bones” and even belong to the very same family bloodline)? All in all one can say that we’re in the same boat, which is sinking ever faster due to the globalist agenda, or, in freemasonic terms, the “New World Order”.
HH: On "E PLURIBUS UNUM" Von Thronstahl features the song "Fahnentrager" taken from the "Thorak" compilation which paid tribute to the sculpture Josef Thorak? Can you discuss what you enjoy in the artistic expression / aesthetic of Joseph Thorak?
JK: Strength. Glorification of the sun. The victory of beauty. I truly believe in art as an expression of the soul itself. Von Thronstahl has drawn a lot of inspiration from art in its various forms.
HH: To fully understand the music of Von Thronstahl listeners have to conduct their own research in order to fully grasp all the influences and artists that have inspired the band or even a single song. Do you believe this scholastic approach to music creation has helped gain Von Thronstahl an audience?
JK: Yes, indeed and I think this is one aspect of the underground music scene which attracts many people from the “outside”, keeping in mind that music like ours is not played by radio stations and music television.
HH: Do you think most of your audience takes the time to research the references within the music of Von Thronstahl?
JK: We sincerely hope so. Plus we’ve received a lot of feedback indicating just that.
HH: Do you ever receive feedback from your audience concerning new artists or influences that you may have introduced them to through the music of Von Thronstahl?
JK: Yes, we constantly receive such feedback and the relation with our fans, so to say, is very warm and friendly. Recently we played at the COLD SPRING anniversary festival in London and people came there to see us from virtually all over the world! There were people there from England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Norway, Lithuania, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Russia, Italy, the USA and many more. We were truly overwhelmed. And this made the fact even worse that we had such a lousy sound-engineer. To be blunt: We were playing “blind”, nothing came out of the monitor system except noises, plus the guy hooked the mini-disc device on the same connection as Raymond’s electronic drums, so the two kept causing interferences in each others signal-flow. That caused the backing music to skip a couple of times and to top it off the guy tried to “solve” the problem by gradually lowering the volume of the drums. Later in the set and after some complaints which didn’t amount to anything, Raymond simply left the stage because nothing came out of his drums pads. That guy truly wrecked the show for us, but somehow we tried to give the audience as much as we could. After the performance we were truly pissed. Marcel, who had put a lot of effort in the preparation, was devastated afterwards and it took quiet a few people who thanked us for the “great performance” to lighten up his mood again. At first none of us believed that the sound for the audience had been better then what we heard on stage (to be honest: during some songs we were surprised that the people weren’t leaving!) but after talking to a lot of them we got convinced of the fact that they actually had a good time. We all agreed that meeting all these nice people (a lot of colleagues from other musical projects were there) was the highpoint of our trip to England. But one thing can be said about this “horror show”: It was closer to my Punk roots than anything we ever did with this line-up!
HH: Cold Spring Records recently re-released "IMPERIUM INTERNUM" and "E PLURIBUS UNUM." What influenced Von Thronstahl to re-release these albums?
JK: They had been sold-out for some time and people kept asking about them. So you could say (and I even think COLD SPRING advertised them this way) that they were re-released due to public demand. Although there are some limited edition releases by Von Thronstahl I’m not really a friend of limitations with regards to the music, which I like to be spread.
HH: "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM" released in 2003 was Von Thronstahl next full length release and it saw the band focusing upon modern politics. Images of American politicians such as George Bush and Defence Minister Donald Rumsfeld appear in collages displayed in the packaging alongside other prominent world leaders like Pope John Paul the II. What inspired Von Thronstahl to engage in modern political commentary?
JK: As I explained earlier the interest in politics has always been there and it is organically connected to the interest in the tradition mentioned above. The modern US-lead wars are a phenomenon you can’t hide from and we took up the challenge to give an artistic comment to what was and still is going on. Some people have compared the album to the LAIBACH release NATO, which was also a “musical statement” about a political and military conflict.
HH: "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM" also saw Von Thronstahl take on pop culture with new strength. Samples of songs and appropriated songs from sources as wide as The Clash, The Exploited, Crass, Killing Joke, The Stranglers, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. Can you discuss this emphasis on adulterating pop music and pop culture?
JK: I think this kind of artistic expression goes back to my punk roots in general. Von Thronstahl took up the punk tradition of, in a way, shoving that so-called “ pop culture ” right back at society in a distorted way; a kind of rebellious approach, if you like. And much of the material that was used is part of my cherished past, like THE CLASH, KILLING JOKE, THE STRANGLERS, CRASS, Conflict. Although I don’t follow the anarchy theme (anymore) I can praise these groups for their energy and creativity and punk in general for the rebellion. By the way: .J.J. Burnel, the bassist of THE STRANGLERS did inspire me a lot with his though about Europa on his album EUROMEN COMETH in 1979. And The Skids from Scotland are recommended. Richard Jobson had a great voice and proclaimed a lot of European thoughts. You should check out the albums DAYS IN EUROPA, JOY THROUGH STRENGTH, CIRCUS GAMES and their debut album. One of the first punk bands that brought “traditional” thoughts across to me was KILLING JOKE. In a way I feel connected to Jaz Colemen whom I admire as a great artist. He has an immense amount of knowledge and wisdom behind his lyrics about society’s problems and the criticism of modern (American) politics.
HH: "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM" seems overwhelming inspired by themes of war and resistance even more so than previous releases. Can you discuss the focus on war and conflict and how the band came to settle upon this theme for "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM"?
JK: The (first!) war on Iraq and the American politics in the middle east in general inspired the album simply because we saw an agenda (the so-called New World Order) unfolding in front of our eyes that even we (not being scholars, but simple musicians) have been warning people about long before (see, for example, the Forthcoming Fire album “Illumination?”). Plus, after all, “wars and wounds” seem to be true European topics, if you consider our history.
HH: Do you feel as if Von Thronstahl gives equal emphasis to the glory of war and victory as to the darker side which encompasses the human suffering and loss that results from armed conflict?
JK: I don’t believe that the two sides can be separated in any way. Plus I think a form of “transformation” is possible to turn suffering into “light” (speaking in Alchemical terms). The result will be golden; like the golden age.
HH: Von Thronstahl seems to have America in its cross hairs on "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM". Was this album influenced at all by the events now commonly described as 9/11 or the subsequent "War on Terror" launched by America?
JK: Yes. But we were often misunderstood as being simply “anti-American”. We do not have anything against the American people nor have we ever made any statement against them. In fact the American people themselves wake up to the hidden agenda in growing numbers. We’ve received a lot of material from the USA; among it there are some truly revealing documentaries about the 9/11 incident. More and more people are demanding answers. Some of the material was used for the new version of the BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM title track released on the STURMGEWITTER ZIEHN DURCHS LAND split-CD. There is strong evidence that 9/11 was a planned catastrophe, the so-called “new Pearl Harbour”, which would get the population to back the policy of the elite. Many researchers have put a lot of effort in this. The basic principle is “problem, reaction, solution”: A problem is created, like a terror-attack, to achieve the reaction “something must be done”. After that the politicians can present their solution, which they had planned all along. I’d advise all sceptics of so-called “conspiracy theories” (a term mostly used to slander and ridicule people who found out crucial information in the eyes of the public) to take just a few minutes to check out the information sources on the web. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes which the corporate media does not report.
HH: Can Von Thronstahl offer any personal insight into the mounting war between the Christianized modern West and the Muslim traditionalist East?
JK: At first you’ll have to understand that it is the old game all along: Two sides being played off against each other while a third party sells arms to both of them and gets rich. Even if you only take the official documents under consideration you’ll find out that for example Osama Bin Laden, “the” face of Islamic terror in the world, used to work for the CIA. His whole group was created by the US secret service to have them fight against the Russians. And this story goes on an on. Many people wonder if Bin Laden is still on the CIA pay role. To sum it up: Much of the conflict between the “ Christianized modern West” and the “Muslim traditionalist East ” (a discussion about the accuracy of these terms would be too long I think) is phony. It’s a scam. It’s a lie. Then the questions should be asked “who stands to gain from all of this?”. The cultural aspect is a totally different issue. One should respect other cultures, but there’s a growing problem that could destroy both the Western and the Muslim heritage. The so-called “multi-culturalism“ is another one of these lies; it simply does not work. It only creates a mixed population without any real culture. And such a population, without roots, without identity, is much easier to control. So again: “Who stands to gain from all of this?”. The current discussion about Turkey joining the European Union is a farce. Trade agreements and partnerships maybe possible, but it is simply a different culture and the “clash of cultures” already has caused a lot of damage in big German cities, where you can see and feel the spenglerian “decline of the west” simply by taking a walk through some streets.
HH: "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM" also seems to incorporate a commentary on globalization. Can you discuss your thoughts or impressions on globalization?
JK: Globalization is an important part in the “hidden agenda” to which I referred above. It is, if you think it through, an act of crime. It robs countries of their sovereignty and peoples of their identity. In the end you’ll have a “world population” living in the so-called “one world” which can easily be ruled be a supposed “one world government”. In short: We’re against it and we see through the disguise. In fact, one of the first two Von Thronstahl tracks ever was WIDER DIE MASSE (translates “against the mass”, a hymn to individualism), which was re-recorded recently for the STURMGEWITTER ZIEHN DURCHS LAND split-CD. On a personal note I used to say that I favour a good old Whiskey over a *censored*tail with too many ingredients. Globalization and multi-culturalism mix too much together and in the end, nothing has a taste of its own anymore.
HH: Without a doubt the music and artistic vision of Von Thronstahl could be described as Eurocentric. Do you believe that globalization and the new industrialization of culture is eroding the identity and traditions of Europe?
JK: Yes. And I think I explained that I do see a pattern in all of this which should really be hard to ignore. Yet still many people choose to ignore it and even ridicule those who try to explain the connections.
HH: "BELLUM, SACRUM BELLUM" was released on Fasci-nation Recordings. Can you discuss the origin of Fascination Records and who runs the label?
JK: Fasci/Nation is only myself. I started the label for “special” ideas of mine, plus I liked the name. When the album is totally sold out there might be a re-release on COLD SPRING some time, because we’re very happy with their distribution work.
HH: Can you explain the rather derogatory title of the label?
JK: I wouldn’t say that it is derogatory. It has many connotations; after all, art should always be open to interpretation. The inspiration is mostly drawn from the art and style of fascist Italy. It’s my own form of rebellious neo-classicism. It is more “ Rome and style” than “ Berlin and politics”.
HH: In 2004 Von Thronstahl released a split release with Days of the Trumpet Call titled "PESSOA / CIORAN." Can you discuss the relationship between Days of the Trumpet Call and Von Thronstahl?
JK: THE DAYS OF THE TRUMPEL CALL is Raymond’s solo project, serving as a vessel for his ideas to combine religious ideals with artistic expressions to create neo-classic with a sacral element. Recently the project evolved by adding Carl from MEGALITH and Marcel, who also participates in VON THRONSTAHL. Both the more recent recordings in that line-up plus the live performances were very well received. And to be precise,
HH: What distinguishes these two musical projects from one another?
JK: The topics of THE DAYS OF THE TRUMPEL CALL are more of a spiritual nature. The music has a different mood; it is not as rebellious as Von Thronstahl and where Von Thronstahl has a wide variety of styles, from folk to wave, from neo-classic to electro, from rock to industrial, THE DAYS OF THE TRUMPEL CALL is, a few guitars aside, pure neo-classic.
HH: The "PESSOA / CIORAN" features songs based upon the writings of Fernando Pessoa and Emil Cioran. Can you introduce these writers to the audience and discuss what influenced you to record music around their writings?
JK: The CD was released to accompany our concert with both projects in Portugal and we wanted to do something to honor the country and the Portuguese audience. So we read up on Fernando Pessoa after attending a reading of some of his works in Munich around that time we started the recordings. And to us it seemed that material inspired by Emil Cioran, whose works we knew before, would make a fine addition to the Pessoa material. I really like this CD and it has received very positive reviews.
HH: The songs featured on "PESSOA / CIORAN" between 2002 and 2004. Why did it take so long to compile and record the music for this release?
JK: It didn’t take so long, we just took some material we had recorded earlier and used it for the CD. As I explained above: We thought it would fit, and we still think so. Actually the material for the CD came together really quick, simply because the literature did inspire us so much.
HH: The Von Thronstahl website features a sub section that contains articles on "The Occidental Dandy-Pose." Can you discuss the bands interest in Dandy fashion?
JK: It is not so much about the fashion in particular, it is about the “taste” or the “style”. Having an eye for the beauty of things or just having a nice cup of coffee in some inspiring European coffee-house where you can literally feel the ambience of style. Try to imagine something between the Grand Hotel at Lago di Garde and the BURLINGTON BAR near Piccadilly. Nowadays the so-called Dandy’s are more into clothing and fashion, but have no background; there’s no thinking going on. The early Dandy’s did share one cup of hot chocolate with 5 guys, but they were discussing poetry and visions for society. These days everybody gets a cup of his own, but the discussion if about Business on Wall-Street.
HH: Do you feel as if Von Thronstahl's intent is ever misinterpreted?
JK: Our work has been misinterpreted by many people, but we don’t really care.
HH: What has inspired Von Thronstahl to promote this particular fashion?
JK: I suppose my personal history. I grew up in the 60ies and 70ies and we children and teenagers had to dress like our parents told us to. And I hated it. I wanted to change it as soon as I would earn my own money. Then I got into punk, which set me free of all the clothing I hated. But after years and years of rebellion in leather jackets it turned out that leather jackets weren’t rebellious anymore. But there was something else, the “fascist fashion”, so to speak, the exact opposite of worn-out t-shirts and leather jackets. It’s always been there, it never died. It’s Avant-garde and it’s sharp. Look at the early times of THE CLASH: Terrorist chic, tight bondage trousers; maybe there’s so room in between the two for a new creation. I started to work on something like this, but I haven’t had the time to pursue this any further.
HH: What can Von Thronstahl fans expect from the band in the near future?
JK: We’ve started recording some purely acoustic material, after having played acoustic encores at all the latest concerts. Also the performance in London was recorded on film by a TV-crew. I haven’t seen the results yet, but according to what we heard during the set, we’d rather not see this released in any form, although that was initially the plan. The one thing that is still on our minds is that, again, we would like to apologize for all the mess regarding the performance in London. We need to get ourselves a sound-engineer of our own. Thinking about all the money many people spent to see this concert gave us a hard time sleeping that night in England.
HH: And lastly is there anything you would like to contribute in parting?
JK: We’d like to thank you for your interest and wish you all the best for your magazine.
And to all the readers out there: Never stop questioning what you are being told!
“Wir kämpfen nicht für die Wahrheit, sondern für die Suche nach der Wahrheit!”
(“We’re not fighting for the truth, but for the search of the truth! “)