Email interview by Sabrina Selkis
I have always been intrigued by a band I keep hearing good things about. So I decided to know more about this one, Die Kur, and Ays Kura, founder of tthe band, who kindly answered some questions for us. He is definitely a very interesting person with a lot to say!
Thank you for taking the time to answer, please let’s start with a basic one : Who is Die Kur?
Die Kur is Amadeus (Bass and studio Guitars), Drake (Drums), Ivan (Guitar), Tony N (Guitar) and I (Keyboards, Noise, Voice and everything else).
Die Kur is also past members and guests, many of whom I still cooperate today: Andi M, Gigi, Daniel Zagni (R.I.P.), Alberto, Jenya, Claudia, Brendan, Andrea Captain DaFeira, Miguel, Esteban, Barry Carrera, Axel, David Reskizio, Janos Themira, Pawel and many more and a special mention to Tony D who founded this band with me.
Alongside this Die Kur is also Jenika Ioffreda (Manager and some Backing Vocals), Claus and Isabella (Live Sound Engineers), Martine Bocci (Official Photos), John Kowalsky and Diezel (Crew managers) and all people who work behind the scene for every Die Kur release and live show.
Moreover Die Kur is the crowd and the people that support our music and I can’t but thank all of the above as all these people together are the ones who make this all possible!
How was the name chosen?
The name Die Kur came out when Tony D and I, after a rave party at the Fintech in Rome in 1998, tried to translate The Care (the name we used to do all of our releases until then) to German because we had found a dictionary of German language in a girl friend of ours’ place. Turning pages we found this “Die Sorge / Die Kur” and I thought: “it sounds evil!”. Tony liked the fact that Die Kur was twice 3 letters and was easy to stylise, and we thought it was sweet to use it as Tony was only born in Germany but lived all his life with me in Italy, and when we were kids we always dreamt of going to see his native city in Germany especially after I met his grandfather who worked in the BASF factory in Germany who told us amazing stories about this factory, so choosing Die Kur was like a statement of this dream we had. The more I liked the fact that Die Kur has some sort of twisted English meaning by sound and as well the fact that if you see Kur as mythology and Die as the verb, you get a connection with the end of the world: pretty heavy for a name and you get it all in 6 letters!
Why did you move to the UK from Italy?
In Italy I believe the band did everything that could have done back in the days.
We had many releases back then especially as The Out Mind Zone, The Care and No More The Care among other projects, then from around 1999 finally as Die Kur and we managed to get some attention of media having an exposure in national TV in Video Music (we have been guests in a TV transmission called Help/Roxy Bar) and eventually a deal with a record company. But even though we always had absolute artistic freedom I always felt I wanted something more for this music. Die Kur already completed 3 albums but none of them would ever see an official release except for a few of singles.
Also music venues in Italy are very sparse and there was not a central music scene (with possibly a few exceptions) making it difficult for bands to play, so when I came to London first time I felt this was the perfect place.
Within 1 year since the move there’s been the releases of “Hell Machine”, “Nihilist Act” and “17 Seconds of Pure Pleasure” that lead soon after to the album “From Dark (Renaissance of Evil)” which can be considered the first official release, and slowly met all these fantastic people who would work with me in the years to come. After so long I still feel couldn’t have done a better choice.
What are the main differences with Die Kur since you started the band in 1999?
The main differences between the Die Kur 1999 and today aren’t so pronounced as one could expect. The band is now at the best of its expression with an ultra-solid and strongest lineup ever. This comes true both in studio as in live concerts where the energy of these guys just doesn’t stop to amaze me, but especially in social moments where I am surrounded by true friends first and amazing musicians after.
Also what is possibly the biggest evolution I feel it is within myself as I feel I have become a better vocalist and especially much more calm to handle difficult situations which helps a lot during gigs where there is always something unexpected.
Nevertheless the music core has remained intact and it is always pure to the line.
You like experimenting/improvising with different sounds, can you tell me more about it?
I see this band as a fully experimental band, I like to go in routes that I never heard of. In studio we are improvising constantly and I always try to capture this raw energy. The guys are incredibly talented musicians and I try to direct them to express the best of their abilities in every situations and to follow the music by instinct, by guts. On top of this in my everyday life I am always recording all possible sounds, I am really in love with sounds such as any simple noises, instruments, tones and especially weird machinery that can generate those and I recorded any possible thing: from mechanical machines, to explosions, to high voltage electric shortcuts. Among the most crazy things I recorded there is a Tesla coil which literally set my speakers on fire during the recordings of “Manifesto” (the company that produced the speakers, ADAM, asked me how this was possible and I felt a little shy in answering), my bicycle, which with the help of some small plastic pipe attached to the microphones, managed to sound like a twisted kalimba at the end of “About Communism” song, my friend Andrejs hitting with a spanner on gas tanks: this is the sound you head in loop in “The Leader of Zeros”, including me hitting him by mistake and him shouting! Also a clipper (hair trimmer) which does the drum machine in the song “The Chemistry Steamer” before the song ending in the duet of piano and typewriter; and of course radio noises, which has become my main instrument, so it seems, pushed forward in songs like “Radio Waves”. One thing I like about the radio static noise is that you can fancy it is the echo of the Big Bang if you believe such things this new religion called science says.
Along this I love to record more “traditional” instruments such as a Grand Piano which I can say it is my main instrument, the Harpsichord for “Antiphon” and for the new album, which we will release next year, I recorded a huge Pipe Organ in a church thanks to my friend Roger, guitar player of the great Apophis and Maxdmyz (he managed the contact for me). Every instrument you hear in a Die Kur release is something I recorded out of somewhere, it’s all authentic and true and I like to keep it real. With the last releases I wanted to blend some of my side project sounds that could be seen somehow connected to Musique Concrète line and I saw it as an abstract music portrait more than anything else. You could think of it as a Picasso portrait of sounds.
I couldn’t help but notice some changes in Die Kur song titles: From your first album “Hardcore Pornography”, “17 seconds Of Pure Pleasure”, “Umbilical Death”, “Diamond Disease” , and then from your last album “In The Kindergarden With Adolf”, “The Leader Of Zeros”, “Propaganda Illusion” … What changed? It seems like Die Kur is more activist/critical?
I don’t think Die Kur is more activist, but rather it has always been. The lyrics are reflection of my belief and sensations as well as life experiences.
They evolve my states of mind and I am true to myself on what I write. I observe the world and don’t stop on first impression. I like to question what makes us what we are, what is it I really see and what’s the real meaning behind things. And I reflect this in my writings. And when I see such a bad political situation like the one the world is in, I can’t help but translate it in music as I do. But ultimately I don’t tell the people what to do, it is not my purpose. I, instead, try to create some sort of awareness and hope that one day we could reach an intelligent human evolution.
About song titles I can say that each song is a story on his own but it is always connected somehow to the concept of this band which keeps on flowing through the albums.
What annoys you the most?
I am not easily annoyed; actually I find fascinating when something bothers me as I can study and observe what to improve or change about that.
Nevertheless within the music industry there are things which annoy me in some sort of way: what companies like Spotify did to exploit over music.
I am a believer that everything, not only music, should be free. I believe that the current system is corrupted and not able to deal with its own evolution. That’s why we see restrictive policies on every front. And the power given to people by the means of communications and information gets faked by all the useless propaganda ever present and masked within it.
Also, another thing which annoys and upsets me the most it is the lack of respect for music and culture in general which I see happening always more and more with historic places being destroyed by the greedy hands of corrupted politicians. It’s important to point out how places such as Astoria, Intrepid Fox, 12 Bar, Purple Turtle, Camden Market to name but a few local ones have been victims of this.
On another note, who creates your artworks and logo? What is the concept behind them?
I personally create the artwork and logos often with the help of my companion Jenika Ioffreda. She’s the author of Vampire Free Style and Midnight Tea comic books and designed the RAM of Renaissance Alternative Music Festival. She’s very talented and often gives me advice and helps me develop the graphic of this band as well as of all related side projects.
The red mechanical spider (Araneae), cover of “The Fall of The Empire”, was the stylisation of a project of robotics I did discuss a few time with one of the most interesting person I met in my life, H. Vogel, who introduced me to very rudiment of robotic and some pretty cool advanced audio techniques. I drew it one night after one of the most crazy party I ever experienced. The other logos like the Ant (Formicidae) from “ERA: Formicidae” and the Scorpion (Scorpio) from “Manifesto” are evolution of such concept and style. The concept is: while Araneae is a metaphor for capitalism (the Spider builds the net and wait for the prey) Formicidae it is for the communism (Ants work together to build the tower) and Scorpio is the religion (propaganda and brain control poisoning the world). I can’t announce yet what our next album will have, but I am very pleased and excited about it.
Can you share with us one of your live show story,the first that comes to mind?
Earlier this year we travelled to play a show in France with our friends Obszön Geschöpf and by the time we went out of the bus in the morning at Calais we had already drunk a bottle of Gin and many beers. When we arrived we were pretty high and happy and when the promoter saw us he wasn’t too sure of what was going on, but nevertheless joined us and we kept on drinking Zubrowka, some Rum, JD and more. By the evening we were all pretty hammered indeed. Just before the show a full beer fell in my drum machine/sampler which now wasn’t turning on anymore.
When they announced us, everyone was wondering and joking if we could actually play. Amadeus, who is the youngest in the band but also the wisest of us all, managed to dry the drum machine and make it work so I could use the only 1 sample it had: a French speech of an airline hostess saying that the commander is requesting your attention.
And then we started to play. Drake revealed once more to be the master I adore, and lead the band in a perfect way trough these complicate structures we torture ourselves in doing. Tony and Walter were superb as always – these two guys really surprise me every time – and Amadeus was just incredible and solid. We managed a great gig, and the crowd went really crazy giving us the best feedback we could have asked for. Clubs in Europe are very kind and friendly and the hospitality we received was absolutely phenomenal. We gave a fantastic performance without counting we spent the previous 12 hours drinking continuously.
The main point of this band is that we are so unite that I feel nothing can stop us!
What is it you are trying to achieve?
I am not trying to achieve anything. I make music as an expression, it is my first language.
I feel lucky to have established both myself and this band in an industry where it is very difficult to be taken in consideration, and I feel I was strong enough to be able to affirm my works in music production.
With Die Kur we already went very far, I am fully satisfied by the point where the band is: we had some very interesting releases which are widely appreciated and that makes me feel proud and happy meaning we must be doing something good.
The band performs many shows live and has played with some of my all the time favourite bands such as The Young Gods, Mortiis, Die Krupps, Cold in Berlin, Beholder, Tribazik, Bleak, Breed 77 among many others and this makes me feel part of this crazy music scene.
We played some festivals and we work very hard to make the band grow and at the same time we are constantly struggling to deal with the growth of the band itself and all the extra work it brings, but I can only hope the moment will last and the evolution will continue, possibly bringing us to a vaster audience and to play bigger shows and festivals. But in this point in time I can’t but thank everyone who made this possible. Every show is important and we feel honoured to have played some of the best alternative nights like Reptile, Voodoo Rock, Slimelight in great places like The Garage, The Electrowerkz, The Lounge 666 to name but a few.
But if I should really chose what I am trying to achieve it would be awareness and wisdom in a world united by music.
Are your live performances all the same?
Definitively not! Drake always jokes about the fact that I often come up with a new song or intro just before going on stage and I quickly explain it and then we play it live, writing it on stage in real time. This keeps the live environment interesting for me and remarkable for the public.
It’s not an easy thing but I am so glad to have found band members who do understand this totally and feel the same about music, heavy metal and live concerts.
I also believe that CD releases and live shouldn’t be the same. A music release is meant to be listened in the most disparate environments, like at home, in studio, in radio and eventually in clubs with DJs etc. But a concert is something different, where I personally like to see music played live. I like concerts to be real and this is what we are doing as a band. We don’t use backing tracks, click tracks or anything like that. I like that we have the possibility to change structures on the fly, to improvise when we feel like it. I play all synths, percussions and radio noises live. I believe this gives a weight to our performance which remains true and unique every time. This is the result of a painstaking work we do all the time in rehearsals which makes us understand where we are heading to in every moment within each song and concert. We also like to integrate some theatrical element to give some extra level of interest to our shows but without taking away from music which remains our main essence.
And lastly,on a more philosophical note, is music the blood of Life?
I wouldn’t say that music is blood of life, but rather than music (by which I include sound and noise) is life itself. It is amazing when you see that sound and light are the same thing vibrating at different frequencies. And then you think that matter itself is just vibrating emptiness and as vibration is music, you realise: we are music.
David Newbold Live Photos
Martine Bocci Promo Photos