With the release of Wat, Laibachs presence and vision is as revolutionary and equally paradoxical as it has ever been. Transcending any pigeonholes of message or intent, Laibach continue to exist as an enigmatic statement of music, art, politics, and pop-culture commentary. Ivan Milan of Laibach provided a rare opportunity to have some of their intrigue cleared up but Ill admit, I leave this interview with more questions than when I started!
Daryl Litts: What sparked the creation of Wat, and why is it being released so long after Jesus Christ Superstars?
Laibach: We were waiting for the miracle of Christs resurrection and the Second Coming, but this time it did not happen. To pass the time, we decided to do a record, asking ourselves simple questions: who are we, what are we, where do we come from, where do we go, what are we doing here. Soon we realized thatlike TimeLaibach is too large and it refuses to let itself be filled up. Therefore we made a conclusion that Laibach = Time. And this is where the title for the record is coming from.
D: The chessboard style of the logo on Wat is a great statement; I especially like the press photo of the band playing chess on it. Tell us the thought behind this.
L: There is nothing much behind it; we invented the chess for four players game more than 20 years ago already and we play it occasionally when we meet. Chess for four looks like a Laibach cross except it is made of five chessboards. Four players play against each other, creating flexible and quiet coalitions among themselves, until the very end, which gives us only one winner. It is a very interesting game, full of intrigues and diplomacy, with the majority of deals made under the table.
D: Tanz Mit Laibach is described as a tribute to the alliance between German and American people. How does this relate to the SS skull symbol that was chosen for the hat on the singles cover?
L: A Death is a Death, no matter what is her origin and heritage. The death skull is one of the most widespread symbols in the history of Mankind. Democratic as it is it represents the equality of all people in Death, no matter what race, religion, nation or social class they belong to. Death is the very essence of man; in fact our lives have no real meaning without Death. Germany and America were the biggest mass executioners in the 2nd World War, with their guns turned against each other and everybody else involved. This should not repeat again. We believe that German-American friendship is extremely important in these difficult and sensitive times for the entire World and especially for the future of good relations between the European Union and USA.
D: What inspired the imagery used for the accompanying video?
L: The Dance Macabre (The Death Dance), a beautiful 15th century fresco from a small Slovenian church.
D: Certain themes tend to stay consistent in terms of Laibachs visuals. Im interested in the significance of the deer throughout the various albums and videos.
L: The deer signifies the dignity of life. The antlers personify the striving for purity, sublimity and ennoblement, uniting eternity with power, dignity with courage and love with death. The marrow of the forehead bone of the animal (a stag) first sends the stimulus (the impulse) through the nerves to the nerve center of the antlers. The intensity of the activity of the optic nerves depends on the amount of light and on the degree of blindness. When the nerve centers of the antlers receive the signal, they stimulate the hypophysis. The hypophysis is hidden under the cortex and is composed of three layers. Each layer secretes its own hormones. The most important hormones are those secreted by the front layer of the hypophysis and among them the hormone of growth, which stimulates the activity of genital glands and the thyroid gland. The testicles, stimulated by the activity of the hypophysis secrete the sexual hormone and produce semen. The activity of the growth hormones causes the growth and development of the sexual hormone and development of the antlers. The growth progresses until the sexual hormone enters the bloodstream. During the growth period of the antlers the gristle tissue is soaked in blood, supplied by the double blood circulation system, the external and the internal one. The venous system leading from the marrow to the gristle is the internal conduction of blood and the one between the fur and the periosteum is the external conduction of blood. The color of the antlers is more intensive and darker when more blood remains in the antlers after brutal tribal combats.
D: Laibach cant seem to get Wat reviewed without silly comparisons to Rammstein. Ive seen lots of arguments about Rammstein stealing elements from Laibach in the past, mostly concerning vocal style and even logo design. Im curious of your reaction to this.
L: Laibach does not believe in originality and we dont consider ourselves as sole authors and owners of our own ideas. Therefore, Rammstein could not steal much from us. They simply let themselves get inspired by our work, which is absolutely a legitimate process. We are glad that they made it. In a way, they have proven once again that a good copy can make more money on the market than the original. Anyhow, today we share the territory: Rammstein seem to be a kind of Laibach for adolescents and Laibach are Rammstein for grown-ups.
D: Laibach is well known for use of fascist imagery in an almost mocking and contradictory gesture. What do you say to people who dont comprehend this and misunderstand your use of the imagery?
L: We say nothing. From our position every understanding of Laibach is correct. Laibach is big enough for contradictions and opposite interpretations.
D: After 23 years, most other bands do reunion tours or going on low-rate TV shows, yet Laibach is always progressing. How long do you think Laibach will press forward?
L: As long as there will be some pressure left.
D: How do you think the world will view Laibach a hundred years from now, or, what is Laibachs significance in history?
L: Lets wait and see