An interview with foundational deathrock band Kommunity FK
by Oliver Sheppard
Kommunity FK are one of the founding bands of what came to be known as deathrock – that particular admixture of gloomy/gothy punk rock and postpunk experimentation usually seen as a regional byproduct of the late 70s and early-to-mid-80s Southern California punk scene. Although Kommunity FK’s 1st LP, the classic Vision and the Voice, was not released until 1983, the band had been playing out since at least 1980, and can be counted among LA bands like Christian Death, 45 Grave, the Superheroines, and others as one of the flagship acts of the movement.
In a broader sense, Kommunity FK are musical and cultural cohorts of other bands from the dark post/punk scene that was just beginning in the late 70s and early 80s, a milieu that includes bands like Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Specimen, Joy Division, The Damned, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. In much the same way that The Fall or Death in June crystallized into the musical outlet of their respective lead singers, despite personnel changes, so Kommunity FK persists into the present as Mata’s vehicle for expression. His early spiky-haired look (and two early KFK songs, in fact) were inspired by Discharge, but Mata’s vocals evinced a David Bowie influence; aesthetically, the influences of Dadaism (Tristan Tzara) and Surrealism (Jean Cocteau) weighed heavily upon Kommunity FK’s look and approach, as well. They were employing tribal drumming, more sophisticated and experimental tempos, and more poetic and introspective lyrics at a time when the punk counterculture largely demanded uptempo, political three-chord thrash from its bands. (In fact, 35 years on into the punk scene, many punks still insist on this, and nothing but this!)
In person, Patrik Mata is an incredibly friendly, personable, and down to earth person. I got the chance to see the newest Kommunity FK lineup in action during their Summer 2013 Texas tour, and the live impact of the band far outweighs the experience of listening to them on recording. (You know how some bands sound better live than on recording, while others sound better on their recordings than they do live? Kommunity FK are in the former category.) I was recently able to talk to Patrik about the upcoming Kommunity FK, Thee Image & Thee Myth, and below is an advance track from that LP, “Thee New Tribe” — a pretty balls-out rocker that recalls their earlier days in the LA deathrock scene.
Oliver: Patrik, for readers who don’t know, can you give the basic information on the band — where and when you all started, who the founding members were, and who is in the band now? Also, what was the original idea for the band’s sound, imagery, and aesthetics at that time?
Patrik Mata: The legend ov Kommunity FK has been documented thousands ov times but allow me to share the ‘cliff notes version’ here….
The blue spark ov founding my own band in which I could express myself as I desired began in 1978 but it didn’t blossom into fruition until 1979-80 when I was joined in alliance by 2 other like-minded musicians. My girlfriend at that time was named CeCe (R.I.P.) & she was literally the only person who would play bass & play in a band with me — and very primitively at that as we both, really, could barely play our guitars & learned as we went along. Together, while searching for a really great drummer, we discovered thee drummer named Matt and he had already been studying drums, percussion, rhythms & theory at D.I.T. for 10 years. He was only 20 years old at the fateful time ov meeting him.
I was very bored with the local “punk scene” and I was inspired to start a band that would be more experimental. My influences were Bowie (his “Low” LP particularly), William S. Burroughs, The DaDaists, Throbbing Gristle, and Antonin Artaud. I had my own original ‘look’ then, dressing in black with a wedge hairstyle inspired by the founder ov The DaDaists, Tristan Tzara. I came upon an article in an early issue ov The Face, an amazing British magazine that featured the best ov the British bands & music stylish genius icons on its cover every month. This particular issue had Bowie on its cover — as I buy everything with him on a cover — and this was during his “Scary Monsters” era. He was topless in his Pierrot costume that he lifted off ov Steve Strange ov Visage.
Patrik Mata: The magazine had an article about The Blitz Club & The Blitz Kids. I adored the way they looked. They were an influence. This was something that I began acquiring myself when putting myself together to go to the clubs, and even on a daily manner. There’s a page dedicated to them on Facebook, so everybody, go look that up. Later those same blitz kids became Boy George, Marilyn, Spandau Ballet, Visage, Ultravox, & the OG Trad UK Goth scene. I had procured a Rosicrusian priest coat made ov exquisite wool with cloth buttons & 2 blood crosses atop both sleeves which I wore constantly & had bought at Fiorucci (infamous big ass shoppe in the slums ov Beverly Hills that was located in a huge old refurbished movie theatre called The Beverly. I’m still blessed with having a friend from those days named Tommy Gallo who collect Firoucci shite memorabilia. He has stories regarding this place & probably about me during that time as well. Hmmm. Anyway, Darby Crash frequented this store as it had an Italian cafe inside for customers & looky loos alike for people watching.) as I worked there.
I also wore black PVC steel-capped 3-eyelet Oxfords that I bought inexpensively at a Sears store. Then I added a pair ov black PVC ankle weights that had buckles on top ov them to make them appear as boots. This was before anyone could buy boots the way we can now. My style was completely ‘DIY’ — putting myself together as best as I could in order to create my very own style. I was poor as FK. I wore whiteface make up when I could afford it & when I could coax the make up girl there to tart me up, eyeliner and eye shadow. Not many boys looked this way at the time with the exception ov a few girls. Later on, I began to place egg whites thru my hair to style it like the band Discharge after having seeing them on their debut LP. But because Kommunity FK didn’t sound like them or like punk generally, it, too, made us stand out. I did compose 2 songs influenced by Discharge, which are on the debut Kommunity FK lp. The songs are entitled “Bullets” and “Fuck The Kommunity.” This, in fact, helped pull in the local punx to our shows & this cross-over effect became categorized by the local music critics as “Deathrock.” A lot ov other like-minded lost souls came out to see us whenever we could procure bookings & then started their own similar bands — some original, some not, sounding a bit as KFK. We were seen roaming the local clubs promoting our gigs and giving away flyers that I designed in the DaDaist fashion. U can find them on the Internet to this day.
Patrik: I was blessed to have these 2 band members by my side in bang-on experimentation towards the discovery ov our own identity in sound. Our actual live performance setlist became what is now known as the classic debut lp, “The Vision & The Voice,” released in 1983 on vinyl. Only 1000 copies were pressed on vinyl & I designed the entire anti-artwork. This line up only lasted 1 year after the release ov that lp.
Then I continued onwards onto KFK Mach ll by losing the bassist to her ligging with Killing Joke as she followed them around Europe. She later became a junkie. Still having my loyal drummer & with a new bassist & now a female synthesizer player, I took the band into another more cohesive direction losing the confrontational attitude & began concentrating on applying my voice to it’s fullest capacity. This is 1984 & this line up recorded another now renown classic lp, “Close One Sad Eye,” released in 1985 on vinyl as well. The lp was recorded in A&M studio B thanx to my drummer’s father who became our patron while Matt’s Mum tried to help us with management. With both ov their graces, we rose to another whole level where we could expand our horizons, reaching more fans. We also were blessed with being able to film the only official Kommunity FK film for the song “Something Inside Me Has Died” thanx to a man named Mark who owned his own production company. He wanted to help us out. We filmed that video at the old Griffith Park Zoo in the lions den (Go Millwall!). Most ov the songs from both lps can still be heard being played in the best Gothic clubs Internationally to this day.
Patrik: Which brings us to this precise moment & the band lineup that Sherry & I chose from after years ov roaming the beige-ocity ov Albuquerque, New Mexico for the proper professional-minded musicians. My present band line up consists ov local musicians that we’ve found here in the Southwest where Sherry Rubber & I reside, and they’re very proficient with their instruments — mature, good looking, & perfect for what our songs require live in performance.
THEE BAND 2013-?
Sherry Rubber plays lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals, synth, & is our deadly gorgeous enchanting chanteuse. Thee proto-Punk Rock Grrl whose attitude brings a missing element to KFK’s powerful sound. Brian Keith is a very kool reserved person & a good friend that plays bass very well for a guitarist whom put his guitar down to play bass for us. Julian Martinez plays drums & electronic drums respectively. His attitude behind the drums is very refreshing as he captured the original sound quite well which blew my mind. He has the instruments & technical knowledge for applying electronic drums underneath the acoustic drums for an amazing blend live affect.
I am celebrating the 35th anniversary ov founding KFK by touring & producing a brand knew lp entitled, “Thee Image & Thee Myth”. We have released the very first single, “THEE NEW TRIBE” on December 23rd, 2013 on our new official webstore at Nimbit.com: http://www.nimbitmusic.com/kommunityfk.2
We have 2 tours under our belts thru California & thru Texas recently. The shows went extremely well. We look forward to continue touring as much as possible.
Oliver: Can you give a brief description of the band’s name, why it was chosen, and how it came to be spelled “Kommunity FK”?
Patrik: The band was very confrontational at the very beginning calling for some very aggressive & suppressed violent performances with some tension between us & our audience & especially between KFK & the venue booking personages! Plus, personally, I was a very unhappy person, filled with angst which at times was almost overwhelming. I really had no grounding, no foundation physically; the people surrounding me were really just acquaintances, not on the same level at all. I discovered that immersing & submerging myself into expressing myself with my own band might help me locate the salvation that I needed deeply.
As far as our early performances, some ov the attendees just came to grok & hassle us as there weren’t any other bands at that time that looked, sounded, or had the vibrations that we did. We also didn’t take any shit from anybody. We always stood our ground. Still do! For instance, the second time that we ever performed at The Whiskey A Go-Go was with the band Twisted Roots, a local band that rose from the Germs crowd. Their audience, or shall I say following, hated us. One girl threw a wet wad ov toilet paper at me, landing on my guitar body. So I followed her through the audience with my eyes, picked the wet wad from my guitar & nailed her straight in her face. She went ballistic as she was being carried out ov the venue by security, shouting revengeful remarks at me. Funnily enough though, she later became a friend & follower ov KFK & even had auditioned for the bassist slot after CeCe split to lig with Killing Joke! So naming the band “Kommunity Fuck” came easily when the local booking talent buyers didn’t understand where we were coming from, wouldn’t give us any shows, and wouldn’t place the band name on their venue marquees.
We also became a sort ov ‘scapegoat’ for some ov the local bands whom hated us & thought that we were rich kids buying our way throughout the Los Angeles scene & paying for our quick growing press. So we started achieving a bad reputation ov sorts which was great & something a lot ov bands would give their left tit for. As far as I knew, we were the ‘community fuck,’ the band that a lot ov people would fuck with just because. So in a personal rebuttal, I shortened the spelling to make it easier for these wankers to deal with & because I luv the way it looked. So, there!
Oliver: One thing I’ve always wondered about Kommunity FK — there seems to be a definite sonic progression from the raw, early hardcore punk of the song “Fuck the Kommunity” on through to most of the songs on the 1983 “Vision and the Voice” LP, and on to other projects. Are there any demos or unused tracks out there from the period before “The Vision and the Voice” – maybe stuff in that earlier punk rock form — that have yet to see the light of day? And if, so, do you know if there ever will be a release of that material?
Patrik: I do own some live bootlegs from our second ever performance at The Whiskey A-Go Go in 1981 where we were being heckled but the songs are being directed at that particular audience in the manner ov which you inquire. One day I’ll release those. I also have some unreleased rehearsal tapes & performances on cassette & videotape. But, on the new upcoming lp, “Thee Image & Thee Myth” you will be happily surprised as to a few ov the new compositions as they are also in the fashion that you inquire, “The Vision & The Voice” vibrations. Just wait…
Oliver: Can you recall how the Deathrock scene in California began — what the mood was like, and why you think it occurred when it did? It seems like several movements simultaneously popped up in other countries or regions, all making similar styles of music. What do you think happened after the punk explosion of the late 70s that made musicians want to explore darker sounds?
Patrik: If it wasn’t for bands like The Sex Pistols, there wouldn’t have risen bands like Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, etc. It is well documented that after musicians & non-musicians witnessed The Sex Pistols they all changed their appearances in style & started their own bands. I was & still am very interested in what transpires universally in Musik & Art/Anti Art. I absorb as much as possible everything that is new; this also leads me to dig underneath that to find the Unknown. When putting it all together, when I was founding KFK, I had many inspirations. But so did a lot ov other personages that wanted to form their own bands.
I will say this boldly: KFK was at the very Beginning, one ov the first to bring this sound to the streets ov Hollywood, doing it our own way and not knowing nor caring what would transpire or what result would be achieved. A lot ov people who came to experience the first stage ov KFK have told me that they were truly inspired to form their own bands. So at least we did something to help start an allegiance towards those whom wanted to express their inner feelings ov despair & unhappiness & angst. As far as a scene coming into fruition, I witnessed a few bands with like minds expressing themselves along similar lines. I was at 1 ov the early Castration Squad performances at a place called Peanuts. They were all female, looked great & had their own playfully dark sound. I was also at the original line up ov 45 Grave‘s debut at The Starwood. In an earlier incarnation ov the very foundation ov forming KFK, the incorrigible Don Bolles (Germs, 45 Grave) would sit in with us just to help us out. I was very frustrated & felt that I had to exorcise this inner demon out ov me & some ov the songs on “The Vision & The Voice” refer to these feelings. The same for the others who felt as such, and there you are.
Darkness always seduces the Artiste & it is very romantic. Bowie did and still very much inspires me. In fact, his “Diamond Dogs” lp is very dark for it’s time & inspired me to want to explore this avenue. I know that that lp is still in me as a lot ov similar dark inspirations shows itself when I feel rather melancholy & the feelings ov melancholy & despair have inspired so many others — thus, a movement for these feelings.
And to be honest, it’s all in the Aethyr universally. Nature is change & vice versa & everything dies. Death & Darkness is a way ov life, things that everybody & every animal species on Earth experiences. Once it was a bit frightening & darkly romantic & then it also becomes another exploited trend in all media. In the 70s it was taboo to be dark, as it was the end ov the hippies & Flower Power & “everything is beautiful.” But then it turned darker — sprinkled with paranoia with Charles Manson & his Family’s misadventures in the Hollywood Hills & The Altamont death trip with the Rolling Stones. But there have always been people that just luv horror, creepiness, & the funereal medium.
Post Punk rose from the ashes ov Punk when the latter became stupid, redundant, and exploited. Look at where ‘punk’ is now. But in my opinion, the Deathrock & Goth movements are the most deadly gorgeous ov anything that has come before them.
Oliver: You’ve mentioned a David Bowie influence quite a bit (there is the “Hang Onto Yourself” cover that Kommunity FK has done, for one), and in the live show — in your vocals especially — I could really feel the Bowie influence presenting itself. Are there any other musicians, like Alice Cooper or the New York Dolls or anyone else, that you feel had an influence on your artistic and aesthetic direction? Or outside of musicians, were there any art movements?
Patrik Mata: I’ve always been an avid reader ov avant grade literature & novelists outside the norm & that had definitely been another influence towards the way that I wrote the lyrics & titles for my songs. In 1976, I went through a major Jean Cocteau phase, reading everything that he had written & every film that he produced. My favorite ov his films is “The Blood Of A Poet.” It’s a phantasmic surreal masterpiece. Also his film version ov “The Beauty & The Beast” is another ground breaking iconic film. Writers & the Surrealist film makers are still a huge inspiration on the way that I look at composing music. I can easily state that authors ov great influence are William s. Burroughs, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allen Poe, Huysmans (Des Esseintes), Baudelaire, Hubert Selby, Jr., to name a few. I luv biographies & especially autobiographies about the Dandys & eccentrics ov yore, plus every book written by the anti-artistes themselves and/or written about the DaDa Movement. I’ve collected many books about & by Salvador Dali & have books ov & by The Surrealists as well. Dame Bowie is still interesting to me, having been a main influence upon me in several diverse ways since my youth. He is in his Golden Years now, in his sixties, & yet surprised the world by releasing a brand new lp that he had been producing over the last 10 years in secrecy. Sure, there are a few other musical influences inside ov my psyche besides Bowie: Iggy Pop & The Stooges, Bob Dylan — especially during his mid-60s effeminate junkie era, particularly 1965-1966. Dylan metamorphosed into 6 different personas within his life that he has never, ever repeated — which I find completely fascinating. The film “I’m Not there” exposes this enigmatic fact. But during those particular years he was at his most fashionable, cynical, demure, prolific & mysterious & his output ov 3 game-changing lps, in my opinion, are the most profound albums ov his career. That still really inspires me. I could ramble on & on… Films have a huge influence upon me; one can be anything that they choose to be as an actor & with the film format.
Your body, your psyche, your personality, your philosophy, your physical appearance, & especially your creative process can all be changed anytime & anywhere in this short life time. Why not be anything & everything? I apply this practice myself as if my body & mind is a kick ass muscle car & I’m also it’s mechanic, ever-changing my parts. I call myself a shapeshifter. Seriously.
Oliver: You’ve met, played with, were friends with, toured with, etc., a list of musicians that would make any audiophile’s jaw drop. You mentioned to me your playing with Killing Joke on (what I think was) their first US tour in 1981. Are there any friendships, meetings, or collaborations you had that especially stand out or might surprise readers? For example, being friends with Rozz Williams, or performing with PIL and John Lydon, and Nick Cave, etc? (Sherry mentioned to me that you all have even played with Sol Invictus, Tony Wakeford’s neofolk band – something that is of particular interest to me!) I guess I’m wondering if you could share any interesting anecdotes about some of the more bizarre or noteworthy encounters you’ve had.
Patrik Mata: I could, but I do not want, to be rude here, as some ov my experiences with some ov the names mentioned herein, especially those still with us & adored by many, would most probably wish that I didn’t mention them as well. I can tell you a few things that may bore the FK out ov you & your readers reading this right now, so….
I’ve partied in an almost dangerous way with Peter Murphy back in 1983 when Bauhaus were headlining their 3 night stand at The Roxy in Hollywood, California. I was introduced to Pete when KFK was to be second bill on those shows per Peter’s personal request (fact), but the owner ov that venue thought that KFK were a hardcore punk band that would destroy the place, so he vetoed us from performing those now historic shows. As a result, Peter put me on the band’s VIP backstage guest list all 3 nights & I got to witness their very last shows in LA before they disbanded. On one ov the nights they performed a song called “Red Fix” for 20 minutes. I’d been accepted by Killing Joke as to be allowed inside their cabal back after performing as second bill to their debut performance on the West Coast at The Whiskey A Go-Go on August 28th, 1981. I guess we impressed them! They were staying at The Tropicana Hotel where all ov the more underground touring bands holed up while in LA. I went over there with my bass player to give them our debut vinyl lp, “The Vision & the Voice,” & to just relax & hang out. What happened was apparently Killing Joke never allow opening bands to have their own sound checks but this was way before this mandatory demand. Drummer Paul Ferguson seemed impressed enough ov our sound & attitude to become a friend. After our 2 sets (back in those days one had to perform twice on the night) we were invited backstage to hang out with them & Paul gave me a huge ball ov red hashish. Unbelievable.
Another time KFK performed second billing to PIL in San Diego at the California Theatre . This was 1984. We had 2 dressing rooms with a coke dealer in each one. I was wandering around backstage awaiting sound check when up saunters John Lydon looking for his own dressing room. I invited him into one ov ours to offer him a few toots but he declined with “O, thank you, but never before a show, mate!” He had come to see us a year before at The Lhasa Club & dug us enough to want to go out for pints at The Cat & the Fiddle British pub when it was in Laurel Canyon. He hated the ale as it seemed too watered down for his liking. I’ve partied with Andi Sexgang in San Francisco when we toured together in 1984 for Sex Gang Children‘s “Quick Gas Gang” tour & even gave him a short tour ov the North Beach area where we shared a pint ov Guinness at the bar next door to the legendary City Lights Bookstore. KFK again second billed to Specimen, also in S.F. (original line up), & when I was back in the UK I toured with The Virgin Prunes during their “The Moon Looked Down & Laughed” tour plus hung out with some ov Princess Tinymeat (one ov my favorite bands). I also toured the UK with Xmal Deutschland during their “Tocsin” tour, & too many, many incredible bands, and I respect them all. This was in the years 1984-1987 when a lot ov bands were so FKing original in so many ways, with their own sounds, and even with their own stylish looks. They weren’t trying to emulate anybody. They were making their own statements, which, in my opinion, all bands should do. This is the mindset that I have always kept with my own ideology. Originality until it actually separates you from everybody else. You’ll stand out.
Oliver: You’ve created The Vision and the Voice Studios for upcoming projects of yours. What have you recorded there so far, and what are you planning to do? What upcoming projects are in the works as far as that goes?
Patrik Mata: I am blessed with an endorsement by an electronics company called Presonus who graced me with all ov the recording equipment necessary for me to keep producing as much diverse material as possible. I was also chosen as their “Artist Ov The Day” recently. So far, Sherry Rubber & I have recorded several songs for a few different projects which remain inside our vault until we feel like releasing them.
I have a solo project ov electronic DeathPop material which I adore, & we have a Funkadelic-sounding SpaceFunkPunkElektroRock project which is so FKing awesome. That will arise one day soon, called Thee Soular Flarez. Sherry is composing new solo material as we speak & I’m engineering for her. That will definitely blow minds as she, too, is also a multi-instrumentalist & it is so FKing fun working with her anyway! We have recorded a brand new lp entitled “Thee Image & Thee Myth” with another one being produced as well. We also have a second remix companion being produced for this new lp, too entitled, “Derangementz Ov…”.
Again, boredom kills. We are such creative people with new possibilities available to us at any time so we take advantage ov this blessing. If only I had had this opportunity back in The Day…
Oliver: Your recent Texas tour saw you bring out the dark rock and roll project Texylvania – and to my delight you all ran through a cover of Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Jack the Ripper” that was pretty amazing. Is that sort of old school horror rock something you enjoy? I get the impression that Texylvania is more an outlet for that sort of Cramps/Misfits/Meteors style horror punk, whereas Kommunity FK is more like a dark postpunk Joy Division-y type band. Is this a fair assessment of what you’re going for in the two different projects….?
Patrik Mata: Texylvania was born in Seattle, Washington in 1999 with the ideology ov being Jack Ruby’s house band. My identity is the Undead Link Wray. Sherry has always been into hardcore punk rock & this is what was she was immersed in when we first ever met eyes. So as we both adore Discharge, The Plasmatics & 60s PsychGaragePunk & The Fuzztones, we decided to form another band where we can enjoy expressing this luv. Texylvania is still just getting started. We also decided to bring Texylvania aboard any & all Kommunity Fk tours so that we have the blessing to perform twice, opening for ourselves & being able to get our rocks off performing our interpretation ov Punk, Psychobilly — er, Hexabilly — Gothabilly, & PsychGarage Punk. 2 diverse sounding bands, therefore 2 diverse looks. As far as tour descriptions ov both bands, we really, & I mean really never ever try sounding like anybody else but the only little thing that may seem for us to sound akin to any other such band is simply the style ov music that Texylvania produces. We are just throwing ourselves into the jungle with everybody else against everybody else against all odds. It never stops. So whatever it is you interpret ov our 2 bands’ sounds is what YOU derive from them. You can call it whatever you like. We luv it!
Kommunity FK has always been compared to Joy Division, especially during our first incarnation, by the L.A. music journos. But it wasn’t a deliberate thing to emulate them nor any other band back in 1978-1980. So i would like to think that KFK has always had its own identity from the very start. Texylvania has a full length lp entitled, “Texylvania 13” & two EPs. One is entitled, “Slut Nation” withe the second entitled, “Gutterati”. Both are outstanding collections awaiting their releases & very soon we hope.
Oliver: Now that you have played Texas and California, do you think any tours elsewhere in the states are going to be organized? Do you think a big comeback is on its way, and will this accompany the release of new material?
Patrik Mata: First ov all, we loved performing throughout Texas. The audiences were really into it & were there for the right reasons. We are scheduling more tour dates but not until after this winter. Spring Equinox will be our target to tour through the Midwest, hopefully beginning in Denver & hopefully upward to Canada, where we’ve never performed. We have interests in Canada, New York & the Eastern Seaboard & we really desire to tour there. We also desire to tour throughout Europe & hopefully make it to St. Petersburg, Russia, Scandinavia, South Amerika, & the Mediterranean as well.
Oliver: There’s a somewhat obscure punk and deathrock compilation out there from the mid-1980s, “Let’s Die,” on Mystic Records. You appear as a solo artist performing the title track. Did you do much solo material in that style, and is there more out there that could be released somewhere? What was your association with Mystic Records like?
Patrik Mata: “Let’s Die” was never an official solo release. What happened was that I had a very friendly relationship with the guys there at Mystic Records in Hollywood, California ever since we recorded the debut Kommunity FK lp, “The Vision & The Voice” in 1982 there. So I think I asked for studio time & they granted me this favor. It was one ov those ‘come in around midnight’ arrangements where time was not ov the essence. The engineer was in need ov some practice so it all made sense for us to work together. It was just myself & I decided to just invite my KFK drummer extraordinaire, Matt. I asked him to bring his electronic kit & some percussion instruments as well. I wanted to improvise an experimental composition not ever thinking that it would ever be released on a compilation. I told Matt what drum beats I wanted him to interpret & to play outside his comfort zone, which he obliged me. What you hear is an actual ‘improvisation,’ with me improvising the lyrics as well to what we were performing simultaneously. I’m only playing a bass guitar with Matt on drums. He also brought into the studio pieces ov an electronic drum kit with which he applies white noise. I entitled the song “Let’s Die” and the song is social commentary. I improvised the lyrics on the spot as I had none. Then, without anybody asking me, Mystic Records released the song using my song as the title for a compilation lp. Then they also released it as a solo track, which I hadn’t planned on.
Oliver: After seeing the live appearance, I really think an underrated asset is your voice. It still sounds like it’s in perfect working order as opposed to some others whose voices have showed signs of wear and tear at this age (Glenn Danzig, for one). Are your vocals all self-taught, and is there anything in particular you do to keep it up? I once read an interview with the singer of the 60s psychedelic group Music Machine and he claimed he drank a glass of slightly warm water with a teaspoon of honey in it, before singing. Anything like that?
Patrik Mata: I was born with this ability. Simple as that. My Mum is an amazing vocalist, therefore I thank her for my ability to be able to sing anything just by ear. She made sure that when I was growing up that we always had music in our home. So she would play her collection ov 60s girl groups 7″s & I clocked it proper. I learned to harmonize while singing along with those records as well as singing along with Beatles, Stones, & Bowie lps alone in my bedroom. Anyway, at the time ov the Texas tour, my drummer, Julian, is a sommelier — professionally so, since he has been playing in Kommunity FK — and he makes it a necessity to bring an excellent assortment ov fine wines with us on the road. Well? Some ov the wine is chilled, some not. I go for the unchilled red wine & champagne. Before every performance we all drank some exquisite champagne beforehand & while performing onstage. Champagne, I find personally, is great for my voice. It allowed me to hit those really high notes when I improvise the long droning ending for “FK The Kommunity’ which is our encore. It actually surprised me that I can still do this while on tour during the California warm up shows. There are those that smoke or have once smoked cigarettes heavily & have lost their range terribly but I don’t smoke anything, never really smoked ciggies, & I’m a vegan so taking care ov my body temple helps, I imagine. Actually, I feel very good these days. I’ve wrecked my body in the past & have moved forward as I really want to stick around a lot longer than previously thought. I luv what I do, I luv Sherry & live for it every moment. Time is fleeting, therefore I mustn’t be late for the next Dream…or nightmare.
Oliver: What do you think about bands you’ve seen performing today, or newer bands that are trying to play deathrock (or at least deathrock-influenced music). Are there any you like in particular? Do you think “deathrock is dead” and that it’s to be caught in a timewarp to enjoy it or try to make new music in the genre? (I’ve heard this argument from some people.) Since you’re one of the principal figures of the original LA deathrock movement, what you say might carry more weight than just some random commenter on a message board.
Patrik Mata: In my opinion, today’s Deathrock bands sound a lot alike, for some reason. When I first founded Kommunity FK, there wasn’t yet the category or genre moniker of “deathrock” applied to our music. KFK was more ov an experimental band which meant that we were really into experimenting with diverse genres ov music simultaneously. It allowed for critics to label us in a few different categories which I found curious. “Gloom & Doom,” “Brittle Psychedelic Dark Drone,” “GothPunk”, just to name a few. You can still label KFK in diverse categories especially nowadays with the mashed up influences I’m inspired by & composing with. This is not trying to be clever. It’s just what the results are while trying to move forward as an Artist really should.
I would luv to see today’s bands not be afraid to step outside ov the Deathrock genre to attempt to bring something new & fresh to it. Otherwise, keeping it frozen in time kills it. How can the younger bands emulate something that doesn’t exist anymore? I do believe in keeping the true Deathrock genre alive but to imitate those who came before just sounds like a tribute band, & there are some! Be a Deathrock band, but be original with it, or at least try. Make your own statement.
Some people think that Deathrock is associated with Death Metal & the like. Seriously. Especially the venue talent buyers that I’ve run into when attempting to book our tours here in the USA & where the venue promoter is quite young & blinded by his own musical interests, then books KFK on a Death Metal bill thinking that this is a brilliant thing to do. I’ve heard a few opening bands on tour & what they think is Deathrock actually sounds like bad metal. It can also be just the ‘trendy thing to do’ as well for some. But as far as liking any ov the new Deathrock bands, there are a few but not too many. I look to the more avant garde side ov things & luv electronic noise music more than today’s Deathrock. When I finally hear that amazing new Deathrock band, I’ll definitely pay attention. Hell, I may even want to produce them.
Oliver: When you all completed the Texas tour and got back home, what was the first thing you all did? What were the high points and low points of the Texas tour? How do the California and Texas scenes compare and how has Calfornia treated you since you’ve been back? (Good, I hope!)
Patrik Mata: The very first thing that we all did when returning from both tours was sleep & hug our felines. Touring seems to have no time element as you are always in a van & in some cases not able to see outside ov it so you try to amuse yourself by listening to music, reading, try to take naps, & chat bonding as friends & colleagues. Eating on the road is minimal & attributed to bringing your own snacks because you can’t stop to eat in a restaurant as it takes up too much time from your allotted scheduling so you only stop for gasoline. At the end ov any tour you really want to see your loving pets again. Sherry & I used to take our feline familiars on tour with us sneaking them into our hotel rooms & bringing in their supplies. That was really fun. We always try to bring our family vibe with us on every tour. We can’t bring the pets with us anymore as they are getting older.
The high points ov the California tour was being at sea level & seeing familiar faces at the performances, selling new merchandise to new fans, & meeting with some ov our endorsers, & buying a new silver skull walking cane at Necromance on Melrose Ave. We were in need ov a date on a Friday when in California as one ov the tour dates got changed at the last minute due to somebody stealing a klub’s entire sound system, but an old colleague put together a last minute arranged performance for us in LA & that was so FKing awesome. I’ll never forget the respect or the love from this individual for doing that for me.
A low point was having to leave the West Coast.
Texas was incredible but FKing scorching hot. Definitely the low point! We’re not used to that hot ov a temperature, I’ll tell you. How the Goths in Texas survive is a Magickal element! Every performance was great, we felt, & most everybody involved was respectful & nice towards us. We got to meet & hang out with a lot ov amazing fans & followers who had never seen Kommunity Fk before. That was touching to be face-to-face with such wonderful people. I made a lot ov new friends from that tour. You are one ov them, Oliver. you played such killer DJ sets. You have an amazing collection ov music that I enjoyed listening to while working together. Thank you!
[Oliver: You’re most certainly welcome!]
Oliver: What was your time in England and at the Batcave club like?
Patrik Mata: I LUV England. Especially during the beginning ov 1985. Kommunity FK had just performed a concert in Hollywood at the Continental Club (or Crush Club, whichever it was called that particular night). Psi-Com was opening act. I had already been personally invited by Sex Gang Children‘s tour manager Graham Bentley (discoverer ov Bauhaus in his & their hometown ov Northampton, UK) to come over to live with he & his immediate family in Northamptonshire, UK & become part ov a band that consisted ov Cam Campbell & Kevin Matthews, both ov whom were part ov Sex Gang Children during the “Blind: Quick Gas Gang” era. We were touring with them for the second year as well as letting them use our back line.. Recently, my colleague Dave Roberts, original founder & bassist/composer for SGC, told me that that was actually a coup to have me replace Andi Sexgang as their lead singer(!!!!??). Seriously!
Ov course, I thought that I was coming over to kickstart a new band, leaving KFK on a hiatus for awhile & I had no desire nor even any idea to do that to Andi. Anyway, so then Kevin left & I had invited this “friend” over from the USA to play drums for me & then realized that he couldn’t play due to time fluctuation but I went with him anyway as that was all that I had at the time. Cam & I became very close mates & he had even went so far as to create all the necessary backing trax for us to work with in rehearsals on a drum machine with scribbled out note-by-note arrangements before I arrived there in the UK. We then — unfortunately, in a drunken stupor which I regret a bit to this precise moment — had had a bit ov a falling out so in came Eddie Branch (UK Decay), out ov retirement, mind you, & a very close friend & neighbor ov Graham’s, to play bass with me. We then needed a synth player & I always loved bringing in an ‘anti-musician’ to play that instrument as I had done previously with Margaret in 1983 during the “Close One Sad Eye” era. Cam had a girlfriend named Lone Erickson, a Danish Goth Girl who worked at The Common Market down the Kings Road in London. I asked her to join up much to Cam’s dismay. She obliged. So this was my new 4 piece Gothic band & we were christened “Between The Eyes” by our manager, Graham Bentley. Graham organized a recording session inside his home which was designed out ov brick & had incredible acoustics. We recorded 3 ov my compositions: “Dreams for A Better World”, “Head”, & Your Voice At Twelve”. These have never been released but I do own the masters & will surprise the world one day by releasing them as ‘bonus trax’ on an upcoming album.
We all lived in Northhampton which I fell in love with for its rich history & beauty. Really. I did not want to leave. The band toured with The Virgin Prunes during their “The Moon Looked down & Laughed” lp, Xmal Deutschland during it’s “Tocsin” lp, & we all toured the university circuit. I loved it.
My band also headlined many Goth clubs throughout the UK & one incident comes to mind when we performed in High Wycombe. While we were performing onstage I witnessed the promoter taking all the money out ov the register & then split out ov the venue before we could get paid. Eddie began questioning every person involved with the venue to locate this bastard until we found out where he lived. Eddie had also brought in one ov his very close mates, Peanut, who was a boot boy & member ov their local hooligan affiliation — namely, their ‘firm’, called the Oxford Mental Mob, & our roadie/minder. We loaded the van & went straight to this person’s abode to find that there was a huge after party being held in the promoter’s house. We made our way in & found this bastard counting the money for himself in his room. Eddie grabbed a table lamp with great gusto & asked for our money. The twat was stuttering & mumbling until Eddied grabbed him by the throat with the lamp now with a broken light bulb being held under the twat’s throat until he finally obliged us to write out a cheque for our performance guarantee. We grabbed the spliff out ov his mouth then took off. That’s how it’s done, lads & lasses, when this ever happens to you for your band’s performance services. Nowadays I always use contracts.
Everything was dandy & exciting then. So many British bands that we now have adored since 1985 had just released ground breaking lps during this time. There were so many amazing clubs in London that I had frequented & I had the opportunity to actually see incredible bands performing in them as well as hang with such illuminates as Ian Astbury & Billy Duffy ov The Cult & even Sham 69‘s Jimmy Pursey, among others.
We visited the oldest cemeteries that had tombstones dating back to the 15th century & a lot ov the original goths were known to have hung out there. One night, some mates & I went to a club called Gossips on Dean Street in London & this was where the famous BatCave was held. But on this particular night it so happened to be ‘the last night ov The Batcave’. The interior was decked out like what you can imagine the best ov goth clubs today have taken their cue from. spider webbing strewn all over the gaffe, everyone tarted up in incredible black deathly make up 7 ensembles. Jonny Slut ov Specimen was DJing & had changed his entire appearance. He had shaved his long DeathHawk completely off leaving a blonde little curly cue as his fringe. He wore a red windbreaker as did Bowie way before Jonny claiming it was his ‘James Dean look’ & this was during his Station to Station look with a white tee shirt underneath. He continued to spin the best Bowie, Glam, Goth classics as well as the beginning ov what has now become minimal electronic dance music throughout this night. Then that was IT. I still have my membership card!
I also hangout at The Embassy Club in London. This was thee hang out for all the coolest Brit & visiting rock legends where they could just have a drink among their peers. There were a few different nights where I made acquaintances with both Ian Astbury & Billy Duffy, Martin Fry ov ABC (yeah, I know), & one night the entire band Wall Of Voodoo were taking up an entire couch while in the city recording trax for their new lp which title slips away from me. I attended a club run by christain ov Dr & The Medics called Alice In Wonderland. This was during the Neo Psychedelia era where bands like The Damned became their alter ego, Naz Nomad & The Nightmares whose lp “Give Dady The Knife, Cindy” was influenced by my favorite psychGaragePunk band The Fuzztones. This lp was a conglomeration ov 60s Brit & Amerikan PsychPunk classic covers that I bought as soon as it was released. everybody should have this in their collection. Ion this particular night, Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction were performing one ov their first gigs & after their set nobody applauded or reacted! I thought that that was so kool. They were amazing loud & live. I saw Dave Vanian squirming through the packed house like a snake dressed in 60s psychedelia fashion wearing a Brian Jones wig, a tan lsuede leather fringe jacket, & skintight black jeans with pointed high-heeled Chelsea boots & he had shades on. Too FKing kool, indeed. Then I went to another psychedelic club called Pidgeon Toed Orange Peel. This was the very first night & there were a small crowd but the sight that totally entranced me was there was a small cult ov Droogies hanging out over by a black light glowing menacingly in the corner. Psych Boot Boys in Clockwork Orange fashion. They looked incredible. I later realized that it was the Gavin Watson firm. Gavin is a renown photographer & Trad Skin who’s works have been published in many magazines & books pertaining to British subcultural fashion.
I know that these memories are a bit lengthy but I had experienced so much in 1985-1987 being in the thick ov it & also being in the UK during such a revo;luminary time for ground breaking music. I went to see The Jesus & Mary Chain perform at The electric Circus & they had recently released their very first lp, “Psychocandy”. This show was so FKing chaotic & wonderful. They waited almost 2 hours to come onstage & when they did Jim Reid was so FKed up that he fell over with the mic stand in his hand. Then they only performed for around half an hour. The audience mainly consisting ov rowdy hooligans & punters went ballistic destroying the venue ferociously. The band left the stage in hurry for their lives. I hid in the men’s bog as the riot squad came running in arresting everyone in sight. You can find this show on youtube filmed in black & white. True story! I also had the honor to have free entrance to see The Damned with The Fuzztones as their chosen touring opening band at The Derngate in Northampton. This show changed my life. The Damned were touring behind “Phantasmagoria” as The Fuzztones had been a major influence on Dave Vanian & Capt. Sensible to go their psychedelic way with “The Black Album” & their Naz Nomad & the Nightmares affair. The Fuzztones are still doing their thing where founding leader Rudi Protrudi is living in Berlin with a new kick ass line up. Rudi has recently asked me to be in his upcoming documentary about The Fuzztones to share my memories ov he & I hanging out & creating some very crazy hijinx together during the 90s. They have released several new lps as well as a tribute to them lp. Check them out.
One fine day I will publish my book, an autobiography that I have begun with an old colleague ov mine that has known me since he was 15 years old. The book has it’s working title as, “1000 Years Ov Attitude”.
Oliver: Lastly, is there anything you want to add that I might not have touched upon here? Where’s good place t either buy your music, keep up to date with what’s going on, or both?
Patrik Mata: Everybody can buy the new single, “THEE NEW TRIBE” from the official Kommunity FK store here: http://www.nimbitmusic.com/kommunityfk.2
Our official website: http://www.kommunityfk.com/
Our official Facebook profile page: http://www.facebook.com/kommunity.fk
We have at least 3 other official pages on Facebook, just type our name into its search engine.
You can also Google the FK out ov Kommunity FK for more trippy facts, rumors, lies, & stories ‘they’ made up.
I wish to thank you, Oliver, for this great collection ov interview questions & kudos. You are one ov us.
I also wish to thank graciously all ov our fans & followers throughout these 35 mad years. Stay tuned for more from Kommunity FK.
TEXYLVANIA FACEBOOK OFFICIAL
TEXYLVANIA SOUNDCLOUD OFFICIAL
When hanging out with Texylvania here, play trax at maximum volume.
In closing, I want everybody to grab a copy ov the new lp whether it’s in digital, CD, or vinyl format. Listen to it with headphones on & play it at maximum volume.
I know that you will love it. We put everything into it. also grab it’s remix companion, “Derangementz Ov…” as it, too, will have some incredible sonics for a wonderful headphone experience. There will be remixes designed by Kitty Lectro, Sherry Rubber, DJ Cruel Britannia, Mark Lynall, Moe from Burning Image, as well as many others which will be disclosed soon. If there are any DJs out there that want to design remixes for KFK please contact us at:
Oliver: thanks so much, Patrik! It was a joy seeing you in Texas and I hope you all come back soon!
Patrik: Thank you, Oliver, & thank you all whom follow Kommunity FK & Texylvania. Look for us touring through a city near you in 2014.