Perpetual flux is the norm for Kollaps, despite a period of deceitful quiet. In plugging the recent informational vacuum, and to share some compelling updates, I spoke with lead masochist Wade Black about the present and future of post-industrial behemoths, Kollaps.
Discipline Mag: Hi Wade, thanks for returning to speak with Discipline Mag for the second time. You’ll be pleased to know I was projectile vomited on by my child while preparing these questions. Last time you spoke to Discipline Mag was in mid 2021 (2021 Kollaps interview), how have things been for yourself and Kollaps since then?
Wade Black: I appreciate the invitation to return. I’m likewise grateful that you felt comfortable enough to disclose the tale of your child’s sweet guttural vomit. Purging over perjury is an advisable course of action, I’d imagine, and so may the bile of truth spill forth onto the pavement
As for me, I have existed in various cyclic states of deaths and rebirths, with periods of elongated purgatories, all of which are applicable on a personal level and also for Kollaps. For the moment you’ve happened to catch me in a positive and transformative period in my life and so I’m feeling quite energised and focused on the future.
DM: Kollaps recently performed at the Brutal Assault festival in the Czech Republic. How was this show? And how were you received amongst a lineup of predominantly metal bands?
WB: I have truly loved performing in the Czech Republic during our tours that have crossed through there previously as we’ve always been warmly received and well understood there, it seems. Regarding the show itself, I didn’t have any expectations prior to arriving, honestly, as there were some difficult logistics that we had to overcome in order to be able to attend and so the majority of my attention was handling this although upon arrival to the festival I couldn’t help but notice that there was some kind of magnetism in the air that was inherently infectious and once we had began setting up all the scrap metal junk that I had brought by flight I immediately knew that it wasn’t just going to be a ‘normal’ show and for the first time in quite awhile I was pleased to be in a personal position where I had felt quite hungry to be on a stage again. Overall, it was an inspiring return to form for us as a live act and it also reminded me of the impact that Kollaps can have on people when the correct circumstances present themselves and they certainly did on this night as we were blessed enough to have an engaged audience that were wondrously overzealous in their enthusiasm and willingness to participate in the chaos; of which I was appreciative and encouraging of.
Brutal Assault being predominantly metal is a fact, this is true, of course, however there is a historical stage at the festival called the Keep Ambient Lodge (KAL Stage) which is dedicated to more avant garde styles of music which was where our performance took place. Due to the stage’s orientation towards more esoteric styles of music I had expected that we’d perform to a smaller audience however it was ultimately a very well attended stage and I consider this a treasured experience and one of my favourite memories. Inciting degeneracy unbridled, my friend, that is the perpetual aim.
DM: Speaking of festival appearances, I was proud to see that Kollaps were part of Roadburn 2022. Roadburn seems to carry with it a sense of prestige and the lineup always appears meticulously curated. How was the experience of playing this event?
WB: From time to time we get invitations to perform at festivals like Roadburn – though there is none exactly like this festival which is much to their credit. I feel honoured and appreciative when these opportunities present themselves as the controversy of Kollaps is not lost on the promoters and festival organisers. We’re purposefully antagonistic and do not have a particularly ‘clean’ public image, likewise I feel the band can be misread and misinterpreted rather easily. To elaborate on that, I mean in the sense that the discussion of certain subject matters and presentation of particular types of imagery is mistaken as an endorsement upon a superficial glance and so I hold much respect for the organisers that pay close attention and employ a good degree of risk taking in their curation; it shows a healthy degree of intelligence and interest in the art.
It can also be an additional difficulty for organisers that we’re not really embraced by traditionalist listeners of extreme genres due to the subject matter of Kollaps not being typical to the archetype of what is commonly found amongst our contemporaries though ultimately, we were well received at Roadburn. The festival is widely known for having an open minded audience where attendees tend to be forward thinking and in search for new and unusual experiences in music; so much like Brutal Assault, despite the fact that we were outcasts on the billing, it still felt, somehow, that we were in the right place at the right time.
DM: I believe a celebration is in order in regards to your successful navigation of the Italian visa system?
WB: Ah, yes, thank you most kindly. It is a bit of a tired old story for me now and a fairly dreary ordeal that I’m committed to moving past after having lived a life during the past 12 months that was akin to navigating through an ocean of pus though I’ll say that the residency itself wasn’t so much permission to live in Europe as it was permission to live.
DM: It would be remiss of me not to ask about your band mates. How is Andrea (Collaro – bass & coils) and what can you report to me about him? Also, I believe you have a new drummer?
WB: By all means, I warmly welcome questions about my dear friends. Kollaps is exclusively built upon a foundation of friendship and people that I trust without any reservation. As for Andrea, he is now on tour with his death metal band Devoid of Thought and so they’re out there roaming exotic parts of the European continent, and from all reports they’re very positively crushing it. He has a Siberian wolf that is a very lovable menace and runs a rehearsal space called Hangar 121; which is also the ground zero of where Kollaps hatches plots and on occasion also rehearses.
We do indeed have a new drummer by the name of Lorenzo who made his debut on the last run of shows that we did with Pharmakon in Italy. He was new to drumming and learned all of the instrumentation involved and also the technical side of using a sampler and live contact microphones in only three rehearsals and by the time we performed at Brutal Assault, he had fully arrived in his joining with Andrea as an essential part of the band’s live sound.
DM: Are there any noteworthy announcements you’d like to share with the Discipline Mag audience?
WB: There is quite a lot going on currently. We have an extensive tour organised that we’re on the cusp of announcing which will be released in sections of three parts where we will be touring alongside a revolving cast of artists and musicians that we hold in high regard and are close friends with. I’m very much in a mode now of being grateful and appreciative of friendship and so I wanted to be able to celebrate that alongside musicians that I harbour a good degree of reverence for as artists. For these next tours, we will be presenting mostly new, unreleased material.
I mentioned already that Kollaps is currently under a fairly transformative period. This is mostly in relation to how we present ourselves as a live band and I intend this transition to be quite a significant one involving a serious degree of reinvention on various different aspects of sound, visual, approach and even merchandising. More specifically, these changes will range from intricate AV projections and self-programmed lighting designing down to the ‘crafting’ of newly additional scrap metal instrumentations the parts of which we have sourced from a variety of decrepit locations within Italy and beyond. There will also be a collaboration with a designer on some limited edition merchandising and we’ll also be selling limited edition lithographs of some collages.
We’re working on our next album which I anticipate will be ready in one way or another around the Spring of 2024. The new music is more elaborate in its composition and also deviates quite wildly from our past methods of creating. Currently we have a live string section recording some parts that I have written which is a totally strange and new experience for me. The goal for the new record is to breach the barriers of our existing sound while also strengthening our existing sonic idiosyncrasies. Lastly, and this isn’t so much related to Kollaps, but I’ll also be releasing a book of poetry bleak enough to ruin your day.
DM: Last time we spoke, it was in the lead-up to Kollaps’ last album, Until The Day I Die. As this has been out for about a year now, how have you found the reception to this release?
WB: I was surprised, honestly, by the positive reception that the record received both by listeners and also by some of the praise it received in the media. I figured that it’d be subject to fairly harsh criticism due to the imagery and fairly romantic subject matter of the record however contrary to my expectations we received a lot of positive feedback and this was all very heartwarming.
DM: On ‘Until the Day I Die’ there are underlying themes of dependency and addiction conveyed through various lyrics and the album artwork of poppy plants and syringes. These ideas of love and substance abuse seem to interweave between each other, and I’m wondering how you see this connection?
WB: I appreciate your attention to detail. I’m interested in love as subject matter and find many aspects of it in art and music to be quite moving and not at all commonly discussed within the realms of industrial music which has assisted in creating a unique tone for Kollaps. Being in love is a powerful, beautiful thing just as heartbreak is an excruciating experience to have to endure though both are evocative and transformative aspects of being human.
Regarding your question about the correlation with love, substance abuse and addiction; I was obsessively inspired by specific ideas and methods of creation during this period, particularly William S. Burroughs’ cut up method. I used this a lot with words and imagery to either generate ideas or expand upon them. I found the correlation between love, morphine and religious iconography to be profoundly evocative. It also created interesting ‘sub categories’ that were of conceptual interest to me; totalitarianism, canonising, withdrawal, violence, togetherness, abuse, im/permanence, deterioration, etc.
All of these things are seductive and dangerous themes. The religious iconography likewise played a strong part as I was attracted to the concept of devotion and dedication to something that is of a higher cause than oneself; generally this idea is appealing to me both in life, love and in music and essentially Kollaps exists as an entity of its own of which I feel to be of service and calling to. I enjoy this kind of philosophical approach to music making where it doesn’t simply exist to please oneself and satisfy the ego.
DM: How close is heroin or drug abuse to you personally?
WB: Heroin wasn’t ever truly a thing for me though sucking on the mouth of death is always a particular type of satisfaction that I have enjoyed in its different variations; it’s a particular itching of an internal void that only things malignant may claw at. I must confess that I have gained all that I can from flying too close to the sun in this regard and so for the time being I consider the curtains to be firmly drawn on all of this.
DM: What is the current state of your love life?
WB: Explosive defecation into an open heart surgery. And me behaving like a bit of a nonce, honestly.
DM: It’s now been 4 or possibly 5 years since you left Australia. How settled are you in Europe?
WB: Quite settled. I mention this often in conversation with friends however I feel that in many ways Australia is now a foreign country to me. I have few ties remaining back in the colony outside of family and a handful of good friends that have stayed in touch since my departure. Europe is home to me now and has felt so for a long time.
DM: Some consequential events are happening in Europe right now, and I am of course referring to the War in Ukraine. This is having a huge impact on everything from food security, supply chains, energy costs, and general human suffering. While these issues are not unique to Europe, I feel non-Europeans may not always grasp just how significant this confrontation is for the European continent, due to both geographical proximity and 20th Century history. What has been your experience of the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? And how do you feel the general mood in Europe is right now?
WB: Interesting question. In my current experience this all depends on where you are located in Europe. Initially, the outbreak of war was felt Europe-wide and I saw quite an influx of refugees appear both in Switzerland and Italy though the prominence and obviousness of this has waned in these regions; this is based only upon my experience and not on any kind of conclusive research or data. Presumably the countries where the influence of this can be immediately felt is in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries and those situated nearby such as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. It is my understanding that the Western countries of Europe have largely abandoned them to deal with many of the humanitarian crises on their own; more importantly these countries nearby often have familial ties and friendships in Ukraine and so the misery of war is directly felt in terms of the loss of life. I was horrified by watching political events unfold into an all-out war and to have learned of how rampant destruction abruptly began to permeate Ukrainian culture and daily life. It is all unspeakably tragic.
DM: Something that I appreciate about yours and Kollaps’ plight is that, in a number of ways, it has defied certain odds. From reforming Kollaps in a new continent, developing a career in the music industry, and the continued sense of legitimacy and acceptance that Kollaps enjoys in Europe’s alternative and left-of-field music landscapes, the trajectory thus far has looked positive.
It would be naive for me to insinuate it’s been entirely glamorous, or that there is not more work to be done. However, I’d argue that the results achieved correlate to the commitment invested. It’s possible that you take a different view to what I’ve outlined above, but what do you make of where you started and where you are now?
WB: Well, thank you for this recognition of my efforts and of the efforts of the band collectively, I agree that Kollaps has managed to frequently defy expectation and continues to do so though I should point out that the sound of crushing bone as we bulldoze through opposition is an immensely satisfying one despite the arduous path we decided to choose for ourselves. Kollaps is a necessity to me of which I’m somehow inseparable from. Everything we have achieved was set in motion by a serious degree of planning, sacrifice, and relentless endurance through searing failure. It is a demanding undertaking and not a band for the faint of heart and so as we continue to gently glide our way down this little boulevard of slit throats I’ll continue to pay my dues in the necessary blood currency.
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