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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Killing Joke’s Big Paul Ferguson

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Killing Joke’s Big Paul Ferguson

Paul FergusonOn 24th August, Killing Joke’s Big Paul Ferguson, proudly releases ‘Remote Viewing’, a seven track EP on the Dead Radio Station label.

Killing Joke embark on their 40th anniversary World tour, Laugh At Your Peril. in September 2018.

We caught up with Paul to discuss both the upcoming EP and Killing Joke tour.

 

How did the solo project come about?

Over the years I’ve written a lot of lyrics, many of which have been taken by Jaz and incorporated into KILLING JOKE songs, and a lot of which have been KILLING JOKE songs in their entirety. There was a point recently that I thought I had some strong ideas that were being ignored and I wanted to do something with them, bring them to life, explore them with my own voice, and see where they took me.

Mont asked for a track to release as an added bonus to his book, and I sent him Fear The Great Motivator. I had met Mark Gemini Thwaite through KILLING JOKE’s erstwhile bassist Paul Raven. They had worked together on a project named Mob Research. So, on Mont’s suggestion, Mark put some guitar and bass on the track, and it was shaped into the track that you can hear now on Remote Viewing. I was delighted with what he did and what he contributed, and it made the prospect of a future collaboration very exciting.

That was the impetus I needed as I’d found somebody with talent who without judgment took my ideas to another level and had no problem changing direction if something didn’t work. We had a rhythm: I’d send Mark a raw track of drums, vocals, maybe some bass or guitar, maybe some keyboards, and he’d take it all to a better place. We’d bounce the tracks back and forth a few times until I was happy. There was one track that I had a problem with, and that was X-BOX. Mark had done a lot of amazing things on the track but I thought it needed a third perspective to bring it to where it needed to be. So after several remixes, I was introduced to Niklas Rundquist, known as Brainshadow, who mastered the album, remixed X-BOX with the addition of some electric violin, and everyone was happy with the result.

 

Who apart from yourself is involved? 

My original intent was to do a percussion/poetry thing, and I laid down a few that were just that. It was only when Mont Sherar, DJ extraordinaire, photographer, and video artist, asked about putting out a book of his photographs of KILLING JOKE – Twilight of the Mortals – that I began to think of making something more of my ideas.

 

Did any members of KILLING JOKE get involved at all?

I didn’t involve any of KILLING JOKE. We have a relationship based around the band, and as with any 40-year relationship, it’s been a constant atmosphere of struggle between personalities. I’m happy that Remote Viewing has been an easy and rewarding collaboration between some talented people whose egos have been left at the door.

 

Is this the start of a solo career or if your main focus is still KILLING JOKE? 

I don’t have plans to stop focusing on KILLING JOKE; this was something I felt needed to be done and I do expect to do more, as I have a lot of things to say about the state of the world we’re living in, and my state of mind within it.  As far as a solo career is concerned, who knows? It was not my intention when I set out to create these tracks.

 

What does it mean to you personally for KILLING JOKE to reach the 40-year milestone? 

To have been working with my KILLING JOKE band mates for decades now is reward in itself; that we’ve managed to retain our enthusiasm, creativity and still have an audience despite relatively little commercial success is certainly an achievement.

 

What in your opinion is the best KILLING JOKE album and individual song? 

Very difficult to say which is my favorite KILLING JOKE album. It’s usually the most recent. They all have very distinct memories and associations from where they were recorded and when, to what was going on in my life, and hence have very distinct flavors.

I’ve always had a personal fondness for a track called The Hum. That has some vivid memories of performing at the Elephant Fair in the UK, where the song coincided with some particularly ominous black clouds and a storm filling the sky. It lent the song a poignancy that I won’t forget.

 

What are the highlights/lowlights of the 40 years? 

If there was one experience that stands out the most for me, it would be recording in Berlin before the wall came down. Our music being made and played in that city created a very unique atmosphere, but along with the sweet comes the sour, and Berlin has some particularly dark memories as well.

 

It’s a big tour coming up; is there anywhere you’ll be playing that stands out for you? 

It is a big tour coming up and I can’t say that there’s any one place that I’m looking forward to playing the most. I always enjoy our shows in Paris, Berlin, Prague, Geneva, London. I’m particularly fortunate to have made friends amongst the Gatherers in so many places that every gig is like a reunion with old friends.

 

What country do get the best reception?

 It’s hard to say where we get the best reception because our fans tend to follow us pretty much everywhere we go. So we’re always surrounded by our “family.”

 

What can we expect from KILLING JOKE in the future?

As to what I expect from KILLING JOKE in the future, KILLING JOKE has thrived on uncertainty and political instability for many years. I foresee political uncertainty and instability in the future. Can’t say much more than that.

 

Special thanks to Paul for taking time out to answer our questions and to Matt from Savage Gringo for helping organise

 

 

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