The French industrial trio Kill the Thrill, never distinguished by an abundance of news, in the middle of the 2000s was disappeared from sight. Rare posts on Facebook were published in French, and from them it was impossible to understand what was happening in the band. Having sent a request for the opportunity to communicate in the interview, we waited 4 months before the message was read and we received a positive response. Another 8 months were spent on our fault. However, one year after the first attempts, we resumed communication. Our interlocutor was Nicolas Dick, who answered to the retrospective questions covering the entire creative career of the team at the moment, and shared his plans for the future.
The main creative union for many years was and remains the duo of Marylin Tognolli and Nicolas Dick, initially in 1989 you played under the name "Smash The Slash". How did you meet, what brought you closer, what did you play at that moment and have you any records of those times?
We met with Marylin in 1986, at the time I played guitar with a band and we were looking for a singer. Marylin became our singer and 4 months later the band split up.
Marylin and I were without musicians and decided to buy a bass and a drum machine. Marylin learned to play bass and we started to play. One year later a guitarist, Marc Murcia, joined us and we called the band "Smash the Slash". We did a couple of demos but no records. The band split up two years later. We started Kill the Thrill in 1989.
In 2015, you posted a collection of early demos entitled «1989». How relevant are these records for you as a band now?
Atypeek proposed to put our records, remastered, on the web platforms. At first it was all Kill the Thrill albums and later they proposed to published old unknown tracks from the past, the first songs from the band in the 1989 first demo.
Your sound on the debut album «Dig» and ЕР «Pit», which were issued in 1993 significantly changed compared to demos. It became heavier and bass guitar sound like typical industrial metal of the first half of the 90's. Was it a conscious change or simply a sign of the times?
We were involved in heavy noise stuff since the beginning, we needed time to make the music more intense; at first it was more "pop" and became heavier year after year. In 1985/86 listening to bands like Sonic Youth, Big Black, Swans, Einsturzende Neubauten changed our way of thinking from listening to Joy Division, Killing Joke etc... We needed time to digest the music.
Initially album «Dig» was issued by Atypeek Music, which changed it’s name to Agony, and before that was known as Go Get Organized (French alternative label created by a group of musicians). Did you have anything to do with his activities and what was the reason for such a choice?
At the start of the band, in 1989, we met Christophe from Go Get Organized, who wasn’t interested in the band at the time. Three years later he changed the name of the label to "Agony and the Ecstasy", and agreed to release our first album in collaboration with WMD and NOISE PRODUCT, a Swiss label. At that time we didn’t know any other labels.
In fact Aypeek is just for web platforms.
Album «Dig» was issued by another two labels Discordia and Semetery at the same time. Semetary, along with the release of the album released a companion ЕР «Pit». Several publishers started working with your team because you were so interesting to listeners at that time?
Discordia was a German label which decide to reissue "Dig" for the German market - it was a little after 1993.
From the beginning the guitarist Thierry Ringelstein played with you than during the Pit/Dig recording period In the band was Patrick Allard. What was their role in the development of the band? What contribution they made to the music of Kill the Thrill?
Thierry Ringlestein was our guitarist at the beginning of the band in 1989 and 2 years after Patrick Allard replaced him and recorded on "Pit" and "Dig". Thierry was a melodic guitar player with a lot of delay, reverb, Patrick after was more rough, dissonant, with a lot of tension; that’s why in one aspect the music changed a little.
According to many musicians, the second half of the 90's is not the best time for bands performing heavy or experimental music. Did you have some kind of difficulties at that moment?
At this moment there was a courant of noise music in France, it was easier for us to play but still for a minority audience, both in small clubs as on big stages.
As part of the work on the album "Low" you collaborated with a certain Eric who prepared a number of electronic sketches. At the beginning it was meant as a one-off action?
Yes he proposed to us to do small pieces between songs, as a one-off collaboration.
During the creation of the first album «Dig», you collaborated with the producer David Weber, but on the next album you worked independently. You could not find a suitable candidate or it was not required initially?
We recorded at the "Studio des forces motrices" in Geneva with David Weber and I did the mix. For our second album "Low", we had enough equipment to do it ourselves. Anyway the label Noise Product didn’t enough money to pay for a studio and a producer and I knew better what I wanted to do.
Album «Low» was issued by Noise Product, their stylistic coverage was very wide - from noise, punk and alternative music to bands with elements of cabaret and chanson. How comfortable was it to work with them? Are you contacted with other group of this label? Was it a club of interests with general hangouts or you have a purely business relationship?
Noise Product was really open to different music, Alban from the label became a friend from the beginning. We played many times in Geneva with different Swiss bands such as Goz of Kermeur, Ka, Vomitose etc, which were in the label and also Young Gods, La Muerte and others at "l’Usine", the main concert venue in Geneva.
The covers of your releases are often quite abstract, and I was not surprised that for release design you used to work of the same person a long time. it was French artist, photographer and traveler Michel Hezard. How did the idea of such cooperation come about?
I was fat the Beaux Arts art school when i was 16, Michel was much older than me and i knew his work and loved it a lot. He did abstract pic superpositions, and we chose his work for the three albums until "203 Barriers".
Next album «203 Barriers» was issued after long pause – it was recording in 1999, the label began distributing promotional CDs in 2000 but official release took place only in 2001. What caused such a delay?
We had to work at the same time as we made music, that’s why it was long and also this time we did the recording in New York, which took time, and we had to redo everything at home afterwards... In the end it was released by a new label, "Season of mist", which took time to organize.
Initially it was planned that Michael Gira would be a producer in a "203 Barriers» album but after some time you decided to finish the job on their own. What was the reason for your differences? Are there any intermediate results of your joint sessions?
There were different kind of vision of the production and it turned out to be the wrong decision. We redid everything and lost a lot of money.
Major label with wide distribution Season of Mist became your new label. Releases of Season of Mist (including your albums) issued under license in Russia. How noticeable was the difference?
Suddenly we had international releases, interviews and articles too. Often for metal, gothic magazines.
We also did a tour with Arcturus, a metal band. At the beginning it was strange for us, we used to play with noise, industrial bands. But new possibilities came to us as Dillinger Escape Plan asked us to play with them on tour, Isis etc..
For the album "203 Barriers" you worked in a trio format - you were joined by the guitarist Frederic de Benedetti. Has anything changed in the approach to writing songs with his arrival?
With Fred it was the continuity of Kill the Thrill music, finally in the same way since the beginning, but with time and experiences of life.
Season of Mist releases your new album «Tellurique» after standard interval for the group but I noticed the information that firstly you sent out promo versions on your own without mastering. It’s enough unusual move for the band which have a deal with major, which ensures the promotion of the release themselves. Did not you like something in their work?
No we haven’t done it. We were with Season of Mist, perhaps someone had the album before the release and done something with it, but i don’t remember it. there wasn’t idea to do it in this way.
Around the same time, you toured with bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan, Isis, Pelican and Jesu - not the typical counterparts on the stage for your music. What can you say about this tours? How were you perceived by the public? To put it mildly, you were not very well-known band among the listeners of post-metal and hardcore.
It was good to play with them, we shared good moments, played with a lot of people and on good stages. The audience liked Kill the Thrill’s music. It was a good experience.
There is a Godflesh cover «Us and Them» on «Tellurique» album. Your choice is mostly interested because the album from which this song is taken is very peculiar and contradictory. Justin Broadrick not too flattering responds about him and groups that perform Godflesh cover versions prefer to choose something more canonical. What was the reason for your decision?
We did this cover for a tribute to Godflesh, and we decided also to put it on the album because we loved it. Justin agreed, he liked it and told me once with a smile, that this version is better than the original... i don’t think so, just a different one, the original is really strong.
After the release of «Tellurique» you quietly left in the shade - since, your work has only been split-EP, where you presented a cover version of Joy Division, and a small joint work with Overmars called "Buccolision". What caused such a serious decline in your creative activity?
We had to work for a living, music often is not enough. it’s difficult to find time, when your have work, children etc... Only the well known bands can live from it, and they have time for it.
We have done covers of Killing Joke and The Cure only, not Joy division.
In 2013, Atypeek Music reissued a number of your releases in digital form. How different was the current cooperation from what was 20 years ago?
I remastered all the Kill the Thrill albums and demos for it. it sound more clear and powerful than before. I have also been working for Atypeek mastering bands for 4 years.
You posted the remastered versions of all Kill the Thrill albums on your bandcamp page two years later. Do you think this is the best way to bring your music to listeners at the moment?
To tell the truth, I don’t know the best way to do promotion for a band... Except for u tube stuff. CDs are finished, vinyl records have come back but are actually bought by very few people. Giving tracks to web stores, i tunes, Deezer, etc. doesn’t bring back any money .
A band has to play for its promotion, and if you’re not well known enough, it’s really difficult to find places to play.
We will see how it goes for bands in the future.
Collectives returning after a long pause often either weak or just repeat the old songs in a new way. Do you think you have something to say to people?
I don’t have "something to say to people" through my music, I just try to give the music to everyone with as much freedom as possible. Each person can receive Kill the Thrill’s music in their own way.
We have been working on a new album for a while now. We will be 4 or 5 people, with drums, 2 guitars, 1 bass guitar and myself only on vocals.
i have done both guitar and vocals for 28 years and now i’m tired of it.
The album will be in French and the music is the next phase of what we have been doing since the beginning...
We will see what happens.