Interchange No. 4 : (ca May)1981
Surgical Penis Klinik
System Planning Korporation
Selective Pornography Kontrol
Special Programming Korps
Strategig Psywar Kampeign
.........................And so it goes on.........................
Are they a group ? Would you say that what they play is music
S.P.K. were first bought to the attention of most people via the single on the collectable Industrial label entitled "Meat Processing section". This record was a sort of mutant cross between Hawkwind type riffing, wierd synth injections while on the other side "mekano/Slogun" we have extreme sound collages with distortion noise level making Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse etc. sound positively tame by comparison ! The sheer sound levelsthat the single was recorded at sound positivly frightening when played back at high volume.
Earlier this year and album was released by S.P.K. on their own Side Effects Rekords with the title "Information Overload Unit" and a sleeve featuring someone being given a lobotomy (hmm lovely).
I got in touch with Mike Wilkins of S.P.K. to find out what is going on in their minds to create such a sound.
F.M. It would appear from the sound of your records
that a lot of sounds are played randomly to create a whole ?
M.W. S.P.K. music is not random in any way. Every idea is carefully thought out before commiting it to tape. We do not use 'inappropriateness' which could be misunderstood as randomness. We overload concious mental processes by an intensity of information which is strengthened by unexpectadness or inappropriateness.
F.M. There appears to be a hell of a lot of things
going on in your album tracks. I imagine they were heavily
overdubbed to almost distortion level ?
M.W. The aim is to be as unaesthetic in the active mode as possible. The effect of several tracks being overlaid on top of each other we call 'information overload' where layered sounds bury each other and change each other in such a way as to create a completely new whole. We are dealing largely with the subconcious section of the mind, which has been researched and found to be capable of accepting high speed multi-dimensional images as well as the co same time. It is a double edged campaign. It is also a distorted reflection of the mass of information and images with which we are constantly bombarded.
(The first track on the album "Emmanation Machine R. Gie 1916" leaves an immediate impression, with a bombardment of distorted guitar and scraped synth imploded with a rhythmic base that turns out to be a simple drum machine when the volume falls towards the end of the track. By the time you reach the last track on this side of itis quite likely you may have a headache. "Berufsverbot" rounds off this side with the vocals forcibly spoken in German whilst guitars shriek with feedback over a synthesized rhythm.)
F.M. I wonder how the sound is built up in the studio ?
M.W. The actual construction of the sound starts with a rhythm which we play through our P.A. very loud. The other sounds and ideas are then fitted into the rhythm which we have vibrating through our systems. We always work at a very high volume which affects our metabolism and our perceptions. That is why we recommend our music to be played as loud as possible.
F.M. The booklet 'Dokument One' which you have bought
out with the album has a lot to do with the mental states of mind
which are also dealt with on the L.P. itself. Why do you consider
peoples minds to be such an important subject ?
M.W. We chose mental illness as the basis for our ideas because the first musical S.P.K. was the result of a certified mental patient in a state institution in collaboration with a certified nurse (Operator) in the same institution we also feel that each of us could be considered mentally ill dependant on the society in which we live.... those unfortunates in mental hospital : who decides which personality types should be considered abnormal ? It is only the majority of one type, reassuring themselves that it is they who are normal, and should therefore, be in control.
(Originally S.P.K. released an E.P. in Australia entitled 'No More', 'Contact' and 'Germanik'. This came out on Side Effekts Rekords early in '79 as a ltd. pressing of 500. In june '79 their first concert was performed with a line up of Operator (a psychiatric nurse) NE/H/iL a schizophrenic mental patient and two pnks to fill out the sound. The next E.P. re-released on Industrial, had three tracks on the original, the third being a badly recorded noise by NE/H/iL, who then killed himself !)
F.M. Where do the S.P.K. initials come from or are they
something you created yourselves ?
M.W. The name S.P.K. comes from a group of patients in Germany, who with the help of their psychiatrist - Dr Huber formed themselves into a functional society THE SOCIALIST PATIENTS KOLLECTIV. An offshoot of this was the Working Circle Explosives, making bombs. Therapy through violence.
F.M. Well we've covered a lot of your past. What plans
have you got for the rest of this year ?
M.W. Future plans for us include a live cassette in the late summer and a second LP in the new year. There may be one or two more live disconcerts but we may well leave the aural medium in favour of the visual, possibly with a video but whether it proves to be an adequate medium remains to be seen. There will also be other Dokuments either released on their own or in conjunction with the cassette and LP.
F.M. Thank you.
Be warned. S.P.K. are not an enjoyable experience. It is up to the individual to decide whether or not they are unique, listen.
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