Schkeuditzer Kreuz is about to crash Nambour with a fresh onslaught of raw D-Beat synth punk, joining Burst, Choof and Awful Noise for an afternoon of extreme sounds at Morts Brewery this Sunday.
We threw some Qs at Kieran, the mind behind the music, as he prepares to hit the road, cases of keys, knobs, cords and pedals in tow.
BAD HABIT: In my head, SK was the first Australian post-covid project to set the tone for the new punk world. Touring places that aren't normally getting punk shows, functioning in a self-contained way, using social media in an engaging way – especially that first tour – and using it in a 'comfortable' way that perhaps a lot of people from your generation aren't used to. Is that a correct assumption from where you stand, in the eye of the storm? I'm sure none of it was planned or calculated but...how does the world of SK function and how do you think the wider world of underground culture has changed after covid?
KIERAN: That first tour was nuts. So important but looking back I struggle to work out how it happened. I mean, I have the daily tour reports of everything that I shared but it seems so detached from any reality. And there is a very small part of me that wants to be back there. The crazy innocence of solo touring through a flooded land locked by covid. But then on the other hand, not.
Being solo has opened doors for me, or at least windows, that a full band can never have. Playing everywhere, travelling often, being flexible. Just splashing my ugly noise across this land with no regard for custom or convention. Connecting with people from the widest imaginable variety of scenes and systems so that I have regular innovative and constructive interaction with groups of people across the country and across the world through the contacts I have made on tour and online – sharing ideas, collaborating on songs, doing remixes and weird WEIRD noise sessions. It makes me so damn happy. Surely this is what it is all about? Not always being locked into a single thing or having a solitary goal but working alone and together purely for the joy of doing it. As an old and slightly washed up (but still unwashed) punk, I think of things like those Bullshit Detector comps where anybody who could create, would create and be released. And our digital world (for better or worse) has made that a wider reality – and this feels like a part of that. SK fits in with everything from metal and grind to electro and noise to goth and punk. Sometimes this is a curse, but mostly it makes life so much more open than it ever has been.
I work on creating something new almost every day. 95% of that is created and then dies the moment my ears have stopped ringing but the other 5% gets shared around through the wires to my friends and co-collabs around the place.
BH: I know mental health plays a part in the SK project. I know this cause I'll often get semi-panicked messages from you about shows and other things, and your social media posting at times highlights your own struggles. Often the best and most exciting culture comes from a place of stress and adversity, and overcoming obstacles. A thing I've been thinking about, with punk becoming a more age-diverse demographic, is....does that struggle ever end? And what your world would be like post stress/challenges/insurmountable odds stacked against you? Can punk ever win? And if it does...is it still punk?? We are grown ups and does it matter if it's not Punk??
SK: Mental health (or lack thereof) is the reason why I did this thing in the first place. When shit stopped cos of the plague, I lost my fucking mind. So I started doing stuff solo just to keep myself sane. I did not intend to write quite so many songs about my mental deterioration, it just happened that way – when I stand up on stage, alone and mentally naked, I am as vulnerable as can be – open to the slings and arrows of all. And so, it feels natural to be starkly fucking honest in my song writing.
The struggle doesn’t end. And can never end. We will still die alone. But we fight to make life better for those around us, for those we care about, for those who can’t fight for themselves, and through so doing we make our own lives better. Sure, it’s a piss in the ocean, but sometimes a piss in the ocean can feel pretty fucking good.
Punk is just punk. There is no controls over it. Who knows if there ever was but there sure isn’t now. It is what it means to whoever needs it. Some of those things I might hate, but that doesn’t actually matter. We make noise and we make friends and that is what it is.
BH: New album new album new album. What's the story with a new record? How has the new one changed? What lessons have been learnt between the two?
SK: I learnt a LOT about the recording process since Isolated and Alone happened, how to get the sound closer to what it is like in my head. I have also purchased some small pieces of equipment that have made that process more efficient.
I have 8 songs on the new album – 2 of them I have been playing live for a while, 1 is a cover and the others range from weird and fucked up piercing synth experiments accompanied by the bangs and crashes of wanton destruction and live percussion on various metal implements that have drifted my way over time, through to distorted industrial goth dirges dwelling on the exact point at which I can so clearly see as when the two main parts of my mind went in different directions.
Some songs took a lot of piecing together, as I could hear what I was after but took a long time to work out how to make those sounds while others (particularly one called Ratchet) took probably under 2 hours to write from scratch, including lyrics, as the layers of synth happened in an almost jamming kind of fashion. Like I recorded one synth line over a drum pattern without writing it, just played the bass synth, bashing the keys that felt right, and then every layer on top of that wrote itself through my hands rather than my mind. And then next thing I know, I’ve got a fucking song. Then I had to go back and work out what the fuck I had actually played in case I ever decide to do that one live.
And then there is the time factor – I smashed out I & A very quickly, whereas this time I took longer, in part because I was doing so many other things. Because of this, there ends up being more space and variety, not only between songs but within them as well. As I played parts with a different mindset and a different filter on my brain.
I have learnt a lot again and the next record will be different for sure. I don’t know what direction that difference will be in, but it will be different.
BH: Thank you. Nambour is looking forward to your return. Anything to add? Do you believe in aliens?
Many years ago when I was young and hirsute, I was at a disco in downtown Christchurch strutting my stuff to some early 90s alt club bangers after another day of nothing in that terrible city, when a woman came up to me on the dance floor. She stood too close and stared into my eyes and asked me a couple questions – about the length of my toes and the colour of my eyes outside of the setting of disco lighting and disco bickies. I answered as truthfully as I could under the pressure of her mad gaze and the pumping bass from the nearby stacks and she looked at me in startled, ecstatic fascination and told me “I knew it! You are an alien like me – our job on earth is to find each other and awaken our true minds that we have kept under lock beneath our human façade and then we will rise up as one and make the world a beautiful place to live”. Then she stuck her tongue down my throat. It was a pretty weird and convoluted gambit to try and grab a snog but it was intriguing and so it stuck with me. So in memory of the alien disco queen, yes, I do believe.
Cheers. See ya soon cobber!
Schkeuditzer Kreuz play live at Morts Brewery in Nambour this Sunday 12 February from 1pm along with Burst (Noumea/New Caledonia), Choof (Melbourne) and Awful Noise (Brisbane). Tickets are limited to 50 and are on sale now here.