As stated in my recent article, I’m a huge fan of France’s UFO GESTAPO – the most original purveyors of spaced out weirdness and slow insanity in many years. I wrote the puff piece and decided that an interview would also be in order. It emerged that the band was coming to an end after a mere 3 years, and it seemed even more vital to get a few last words out of vocalist/guitarist Seb KKK – here’s what he had to say about the band, Frank Zappa, aliens, the past and the future…
Thanks for the interview! I hope things are going well in camp UFO Gestapo!
Well, as you know now, camp UFO has been deserted, the war is over, creatures from another planet are searching for a new occupation, I guess tryin to make a little money in a McDonald’s or something… It’s hard time, even for evil aliens….
Do people like your music in your area or are you total misfits?
We have a bunch of friends in the area, they supported us but we cannot talk about “audience”, we only had 2 gigs in our town. …So, total misfits!
Do you guys come from a punk or metal scene? Or neither? Or both? Or are you the result of a chemical experiment in a madman’s laboratory?
J Ovni is involved in punk, garage, noise music for years, and he keep on doin that way (check out J. Ovni’s projects: LaMort, The Zombos, Drog). Sinapti and I were more into psychedelic music (NNecra Packe, Kulfi) but in the late 90’, we were all 3 playin into One Million Gravity, our first metal/doom/stoner band….It is not really possible to talk about “scene” in our area, no scene at all, but we listen to many different kind of music, so we can move into really opposite directions.
Prior to UFO Gestapo, you were in a band called “Partners in Crime” – what was this band like, more punk? Are there any plans to re-release this material (and any earlier stuff – you mentioned a band called “Nneckra Packe”?)
P.I.C. was the band Ovni and I created after the disbanding of Gravity. We started as a duo, tryin to cross some punk stuff with slow doom. Then, we became a 3 ad 4 people band, adding a bassist (MR Void) and Sinapati on the second guitar.
It wasn’t more punk, it was less weird. We did DIY CDR, released a few copies, most were given to friends, some sent to labels, one was at Calculon Records, he said ok to us, in the meantime we disbanded and became UFO GESTAPO.
NNecra Packe was my main band from 1996 to 2000, we did 1 album, released on Musea Records, I guess it was a mistake, but it was the only offer we ever had. Sinapati was playin in that band too, totally different from doom or sludge music.
Name me your favorite Frank Zappa record! (I love Frank Zappa, so I always ask this!)
“How Could I Be Such A Fool” from Freak Out!!!!!!!!!!! (killer choice!)
Unfortunately, the band is now being put to rest – why did this come about? Was the split amicable?
Well, it is not easy to disband when you play with real friends…We’ve been talking about disbanding a year ago, after recording Grandemissair, it was the 3rd record, we were tired and had other stuff in the head (other bands, family….) but we did not, and during the process of releasing the record (it took a year), we had few rehearsal, we all had other stuff in mind but we slowly came back and we had new tunes, new tuning…in the meantime, I was talking with Edgy 59, we wanted to make a split lp with his new band, Bird Eye and UFOG. I wanted to record that stuff in other conditions, with a new sound, and so on…J. Ovni and I weren’t in the same mood about it, so it was better to end UFOG, Sinapti and I will make that record with a new band. J. Ovni and us are friends for years, so we had to protect our friendship, even if we had bad words, now the war is over.
Name your top punk/hardcore and doom/sludge bands! (generic I know, but it’s always interesting!)
The Screamers, P.I.L., Upsidedown Cross, Sourvein, Burning Witch, Thrones, Melvins, toadliquor, Crust, Rudimentary Peni, Bad Brains, Void, Angry Samoans, Amebix, X, and so many more….
Is all UFO Gestapo stuff recorded live, or do you record every instrument individually?
We recorded live, than added vocals, keyboards and guitar solo/effects.
How did you get your records to sound as filthy and skuzzy as they do? I know bands that would kill to get that sound! You mentioned your drummer had a large part to do with this?
Yes, he ‘s got the music culture so he knows that sound, the sound was the way our sound engineer, Anders Billion did it…I mean, he did it his way, assisted by MARVIN aka Bernard LAMORT…I really don’t know how they managed to make it, but I know it was making sense to sound that way because of our musical background, and specially Ovni and Billion’s musical culture.
Tell me about your amps and Farfisa organ!
I had a Vox AC30 on the first recording with a Vox cabinet, then, I used Sinapati’s Sovtek amp with the Vox cab for the second record, then I played my epiphone transistor amp for Grandemissair. The Farfisa was mainly on the first record, I play the Microkorg since Vatependr.
Do you intend to tour outside France with your new band?
…we are far from that kind of plan! We need to first work on the recording and making a band mood between us to figure out any kind of future out of the recording session…but I think it will be cool.
How did you divide up the songwriting duties in UFO Gestapo?
I made the riff and the lyrics, mainly, but we talked about each idea, we took decisions all together, including riffing, titles, and so on.
Although the Melvins influence seems obvious, I also hear the influence of ‘tardcore bands like Sloth – is this accurate or am I talking shit?
We do not really listen to Sloth, I personally don’t really know them, just have the split with Netjajev S.S. the hardcore part of the band was the way J. Ovni was turning my riffing into that direction, I remember so many times I came with a slow riff that became (at least!!!) a mid tempo stuff because that is the way he plays!
Are there any French bands currently doing the rounds that we should be aware of? Or old, obscure ones we should listen to? Dynastie Crisis is a given as is anything Jean-Pierre Massiera ever did!
No idea, but into French obscurities, check out Lucrate Milk, Glu, Ptôse. I guess you already know monarch?
You have a total 50s B-Movie sensibility to your music, can you name some old horror/sci-fi movies that have inspired you? Musically or visually…
That was J. Ovni’s influence again! I don’t really care for B movies.
The artwork to all your releases is stunning, really unique style – who is it that does the artwork, and what are the influences? I’d love to see more of that outside the band!
J. Ovni, once again, héhéhéhé, was behind the artwork, you can see more of his work on the page of his own project, DROG : http://www.facebook.com/pages/DROG/129579757133007
How did you get in touch With Edgy59? Did he discover your madness or did you thrust it upon him?
We started to talk when we did Vatependr, he wanted to have the records, so we started to talk about anything, sometimes about music, and we decided to make that split record.
Do you believe in aliens, and do you think they are here to rectally probe us, conquer us or make a TV show about us?
I was hoping for a massive dangerous spaceship invasion, to burn humanity but it looks like we don’t need them to kill ourselves…that is the real reason for the end of UFO Gestapo.
Is “Grandemissair” the last UFO Gestapo offering? Or is there something unreleased that remains?
Yes, that is the very last record and nothing remains.
What next for you guys? I gather two of you are now forming a new band – tell us more about that! What about your drummer?
Next is Transatlantic Rat’s Atom, I make the band with Sinapati, ex NNecra Packe drummer (we started to play together in 1994 ) and ex Keyboards/Sax man from Kulfi, a good friend of mine. We will record early January the tracks for the split LP with Bird Eye.
Thanks for the interview – any closing statements?
Thanks for supporting us since the beginning man!
Interviewed by: Saúl Do Caixão