In this day and age it is easy to remember a band, but seems more and more that individual talent is being forgotten. Tim Skold thankfully is one name everyone remembers no more or less than some of the huge names he has worked side by side with. For those of us familiar with the head banging days of the mid 80s, we remember his first band Shotgun Messiah, who in reality were so ahead of their time you would think someone had jumped into Doc Brown’s DeLorean and snatched them from a seedy bar of L.A.’s future. However later on he had managed to become close friends with none other than the infamous Kapt’n K of KMFDM. Joining the ranks of these revolutionaries he was one person that most every KMFDM fan is more than familiar with and his contributions, including being a key member of MDFMK. Skold later departed to help modern music’s bad boy Marilyn Manson, leaving us all to wonder if he would reunite with Sascha and company.
All of this brings us to December of last year where we all got one hell of a stocking stuffer when KMFDM announced that they are jumping back into bed with Skold. In Feb. their offspring of electronic genius “Skold Vs. KMFDM” was born, and the rest is history. I found myself with a unique opportunity of getting to interview the man who has been living and breathing music since he was a kid, so without further jabbering from me I give you Tim Skold:
DeathWish: I have read that your father was a drummer, is this where your love for music began?
Tim Skold: I've seen pictures of me next to my fathers mother of pearl Ludwig kit but I don't remember even trying to play it, I was just a baby. Those were sold before I had a chance to destroy them but there was always music around the house when I was growing up. Everything from ABBA to Led Zeppelin.
DeathWish: It seems like you spent a lot of your youth busting your ass not only to survive, but to build your collection of musical equipment. You were building military equipment and you were drafted into the army. How did this effect you as an individual/musician?
TS: Yes, I had a few jobs but mostly because I was never really comfortable with taking advantage of the system solely for my own benefit. Most any effects this might have had are negligible because I was lucky enough to get out. Being Swedish means that I was essentially born to be a Volvo factory zombie or a military drone but somehow I got away.
DeathWish: So, if I recall correctly ‘Violent New Breed’ was the first time I heard you start experimenting with industrial sounds. Was the change in approach the reason for giving the album that name? What got you into experimenting with Industrial sounds? It was kind of a gamble at the time, wasn’t it?
TS: Well, even the first 2 Shotgun Messiah albums have some triggered drums and sound effects but yeah, you could call it a gamble. We were hell bent on being an underdog so we shot ourselves in the foot I guess. A bit of the 'Practice what you preach' thing. Rock music has a surprisingly large amount of people who pose as 'scary rebels' but in reality are incredibly safe and calculated. But to get back on track here, I started sequencing and sampling as a side thing to being a front man of a rock band and at some point there was no way to stop the two from merging. By the time guitarist Harry Cody and I were left without a drummer and bass player, I knew that I had to pursue a hybrid electro rock kind of sound and Harry was right there with me. I think we both also knew that it was commercially doomed and the record company was in a real hurry to prove that true. Many of the people at the label really didn't understand what the hell we were up to.
DeathWish: I recall the mixed reviews the album got back then, yet most of the same critics fell in love with your solo project Skold. What difference do you think exists between the two projects, and how do you think it changed their minds?
TS: Shit, I didn't know it did. The Skold album was the only logical extension/progression for me at the time and for some bizarre reason or another I ended up on a major label with proper funding that I promptly spent the next 2 years pissing away on experimental and avant-garde recording sessions in large selection of very high end recording studios. Co-producers Scott Humphrey and Bill Kennedy (a team up to this point...) was supportive of just about any crazy idea I could come up with and added a few themselves. So I would say, one project was done in a structured way based on songs and the other was an unconventional experiment in noise.
DeathWish: In 2002 someone stole some of your material from your bus and leaked it onto the net (minus four songs), are there plans to ever release the whole album to fans? Anything you would like to say to the individual who leaked your music online?
TS: No, it was not stolen from a bus. What happened was that after I moved back to LA from Seattle I started working on music that could be a second Skold album. After some time I made less than a dozen copies and gave these to what I at the time considered trustworthy individuals for some feedback and comments. The material was not completed and still in a demo state but somehow it leaked and the cat was out of the bag so to speak. I saw no way to make any money from it and had to abandon it. I don't have a trust fund and I did not win the fucking lottery, I just can not work for free, it is technically impossible. Nor do I have time to dwell on the past. Someone suggested I restore those master sessions and finish the job and maybe I will, some day.
DeathWish: On a less serious note; you joined up with KMFDM in 1997. I have heard of your love for vodka, how much did Kapt’n K’s secret recipe for “red hot” pepper vodka (which Benny Hell re-created for me in Denver) help to entice you to come on board?
TS: I didn't even know about that concoction sounds awful, along the lines of the vodka + jaeger + mentos mix habit I devised on tour a few years later. As far as me ending up in KMFDM, I think that was only a matter of a pint or two of nice warm Guinness, nothing harder than that.
DeathWish: You've worked with some incredible people while with KMFDM, including Nivek Ogre. Was that the first time you two had met? Also, how did you come to play bass for him on the OhGr tour for ‘Welt’?
TS: As Ogre realized he needed to tour for that album he called me to ask if I could help him set up the show. Like digging through Pro Tools sessions and such. As he was putting the band together he conveniently forgot to find a bass player and I had to come along for the damn tour. I know it sounds like I am kidding but it really isn't that far off. Looking back, that whole thing was a great experience. Live electro improvisations with cEvin Key and William Morrison, truly priceless.
DeathWish: Last year, longtime fans were given one hell of an early X-mas gift with the announcement of Skold Vs. KMFDM which was finally released in February of '09. What made you and Sascha decide to join forces again?
TS: When Sascha got wind of my departure from Marilyn Manson he called me to congratulate. We both realized we needed to make more music together and we practically picked up where we left off many years earlier.
DeathWish: SvK. is completely different from any “Vs.” albums of the past. It contains all new material rather than previous material remixed. What made you get away from the usual formula of release, then remix?
TS: This album has 11 main songs and each of those have a sibling that is somewhat related to its parent. Almost like little remix mutations that we decided to include. Electronic fetus in fetus. This portrays the concept of duality, there is a flip side to every coin, there is a silver lining to every cloud and there is a dark spot in every man's heart. This can also be seen in the album artwork. On the front we, the viewer, is a part of the death-squad but looking at the back of the album, we realize we are about to get executed.
DeathWish: You also helped out with the sequences and drums on KMFDM’s ‘Blitz’. How has it been to collaborate again with Sascha and company? More crazy nights with that pepper vodka in the future?
TS: I am of course honored to be asked to contribute to KMFDM. Being able to do so is a great pleasure. I also had the opportunity to stop by the Kommando Zentrale in Hamburg when I was in Europe earlier this year. I only had time for a short stop, we stuck to sake and wine.
DeathWish: You seem like an individual who is always working on one project or another. Are there any other projects we can look forward to in the coming future?
TS: I am taking the opportunity to experiment with music and I have been writing and recording a lot of new material. I have not decided how, when or even if it will be released. It can be very creative to just make music for the sake of making music, not for a specific project. I'll worry about that later.
DeathWish: We have a great deal of young musicians and aspiring artists on our site, is there any advice you would like to pass onto them?
TS: It seems that for humans, wisdom can not be passed on. Each generation starts fresh and has to make it's own share of mistakes. Besides, I don't preach, only lead by example.