What can we say about Roger Karmanik? How can we even estimate his contribution to the most extreme and experimental aspects of power electronic music ? The captain of the legendary Cold Meat Industry gave the boost to the darkest and wildest sounds of industrial music and, through his own project BDN, disturbed by the power of sound, the brutality of words, the simplicity of the spoken horror, Karmanik defined Death as Bright and revealed the aspects of his own world that few dare to bring up clear.
Could you share some words with Last Day Deaf readers regarding how Brighter Death Now have emerged? Before BDN, were you involved in any other projects/ bands?
I started experimenting with sounds in the early 80s. I had a few projects and released some tapes. That emerged into the Lille Roger project in 1985. If I wasn’t so busy living a life these days all this would have already been rereleased in a couple of boxes, both the early material and the Lille Roger stuff. I have so much of it -and pretty funny stuff too. Someday it will be out. Patience. I ended Lille Roger with the first release on Cold Meat Industry in 1987. In 1988 I started Brighter Death Now.
You are the founder of the nowadays legendary Cold Meat Industry. Could you share some good and bad experiences you had while running the label?
Good memories and bad! All the freedom of creativity was a good thing; all the people I got in contact with, all the craziness we created. The bad thing was that I spent too much time isolated in my little world, communicating only on the Internet. Too little interaction with real people, too much interaction with my ex wife! [Laughs]I crashed as a person, became sick with depression and anxiety. I literally couldn’t move my arms at times.
After the closure of Cold Meat Industry, and in order to continue releasing music by BDN, your last album ‘With Promises of Death’ was released in 2014 through Familjecraven. Are you going to release any other artists from this label or is it going to be BDN- exclusive? What were your main influences for this particular release?
The main reason why I created a new label is to release my own music. I have so much to reissue, live stuff too. And I will not deal with other artists since I am not capable of working with other people anymore. ‘With Promises of Death‘ was a closure for many bad events in my life in the past 5-10 years. However, it was also a way to start making music again as I, having been more active in recreating a new kind of life after my breakdown, had not been able to get back to music for many years. And what I realized is that much of my inner strength comes from my 80s in music and that way of thinking. So I wanted Promises of Death to have a feeling of this attitude and simplicity.
Bomb The Daynursery, Lille Roger, The Swedish Nature, Brighter Death Now. A long journey, more than 30 years now, into some of the darkest and most extreme aspects of music. Have you ever regretted any of your works or been dissatisfied with the result? Would you do anything differently if you could turn back time?
Of course there is a lot I could have done differently but I can’t go regretting my past. I have done a lot of really great stuff so, at the end of the day, I am pretty proud of what I’ve created. It is all very personal to who I was and what I’ve become. It is me. If I could turn back time, with the experience I have now, I would surely do things differently; at least when it comes to my life.
Some punk aesthetics can be noticed on some of your works; especially the cover of the ‘May All Be Dead‘ album which reminded a lot of covers Crass did for their albums. So has punk been more or less one of your influences?
I was introduced to music with punk, among other genres. It rooted in me as early as my teens or earlier and became a way of thinking. ‘May All Be Dead‘ is a mix of all controversy in life, my life and my reflections. The punk attitude has always been a great inspiration for me; Crass and Throbbing Gristle, refined art and attitude; both bands set a standard for my life.
Brighter Death now have a unique logo. Is the logo your personal creation? Is there any special symbolism behind it?
I wouldn’t like to talk about the BDN logo.
An extremely interesting collaboration was the one with the American filmmaker Jason LaRay Keener, back in 2009, where you remixed his short films, as a projection for live shows. What was the experience like? Should we expect anything similar in the future?
Yes, the collaboration was a very smooth one, he sent me a DVD of short movies which I found really intriguing and funny so I asked him if I could use them for my backdrop videos and cut them in a way which would suit my ideas. I would like to do something like this again; it was a very inspirational way to work.
You have done a great cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ (I can even remember a Velvet Underground cover of yours under the project Swedish Nature). Should we expect Brighter Death Now to do another cover in the future? Are you considering a classic song or hit you would like to present a Brighter Death Now version of?
You can say that all my music is cover versions of my life but I don’t listen to music much anymore; it doesn’t interest me. Therefore, we shouldn’t put too much expectation on this happening again.
Which genre and non-genre artists/bands do you admire the most?
I admire Deutsch Nepal and Raison d’être, but because I know them as really good friends. Otherwise, as I said, I have lost quite a lot of interest in music- but not in the people I got to know in the past. I have lots of great friends that I admire, but not just because of their music.
Would you say that your music is associated with politics in any way? Please discuss.
I would say that my music is a way of feeling, and, maybe, a way of living. Many would claim this constitutes a political stance. But I feel beyond any political or religious belief. I live and think in my own way. I strive to develop, emotionally, in my way.
Late 90s you appeared in a noise festival in Greece that took place in Bug Club. I was one of the lucky few who managed to remain for the whole show. Should we expect something similar for the ETOR Fest?
What’s next for Brighter Death now?
A new album and all these re-releases!
Anastasia Andreadou – Christos Doukakis