Today we have the honor to speak with Damian Bennett and Andy Swan. In just one word: Khost. A newly formed duo from Birmingham, active since 2013, which can boast live collaborations with noise legends like Con-Dom and Godflesh . Despite the recent existence of this fantastic duo, it has already released 4 albums and a significant collaboration with Godflesh. Unique sounds, dark and heavy but still rich in a single charge.
How was the Khost project born?
Andy Swan: I wanted to create something out of solid blocks of sound, almost like huge granite slabs fitting together and with it, the overall ultra heaviness. Over time the sound has evolved and now evokes a feeling of unease.
Which would you say are the main influences for your music?
Damian Bennett: For me it’s the instruments themselves: their shifting sounds, and the actual choice of instruments as it’s quite wide ranging. Outside influences would be films from bygone eras and found sounds in music. Lots of art.
Andy Swan: Books are a great influence for me – Burroughs, Ballard, Ducasse – anything that speaks of alienation and paranoia.
Tell us about your last collaboration with Godflesh. How did it come about and how did you get along?
Andy Swan: I’ve known Justin and Benny since playing in Final with Justin back when we were both teenagers. We’re both massive fans of the same sorts of music so the collaboration came quite easily as we’ve toured the UK with Godflesh in the past. All the track parts went over for remixing with an ‘anything goes’ remit and the results were visceral and feral which were perfect for us.
What was your best live performance? And when should we expect a live performance from you?
Damian Bennett: The three piece Khost with Syan was really great… a good venue too, in London.
Andy Swan: Yes, the show in London with Syan was great as were the two shows we recently played in Israel. The first show we did was special too as nobody knew what to expect and what we were going to sound like. We’ve got a Doom festival lined up in November along with another Birmingham show with Iron Fist Of The Sun, Tunnels of Āh and Steckdose.
How did your latest album come about? Any special story behind it?
Damian Bennett: ‘Corrosive Shroud’ came from many influences and had many people contributing: Syan, for example, who has also done her vocal work with us live, in London; Eugene Robinson‘s voice, Daniel Buess on drums, and Gustave Savy on sax, on Red Spot… this harks back to the wide range of instruments mentioned before. The concept revolves around how we exist, day to day, where we exist, what places these are, even what we eat when we are there. Also how they are at night, how they contain us. In a large part it is a toxic and corrosive existence. You perceive things a certain way, sometimes it’s not right or accurate… that for me is where the sound comes from.
Andy Swan: Coming from Birmingham there’s a huge industrial heritage that’s been coated over with high gloss, mirrored buildings. I think there’s a subliminal presence of the old buildings that seep through. It’s like painting over a rusty gate or whatever. The corrosiveness is still there – like an undercurrent of decay.
Are there any messages that come out through your music?
Damian Bennett: Watch where you are and who you are and what entities surround you.
What do you think of the rock scene and its evolution in these hard times we are all going through?
Damian Bennett: I don’t see how it’s a hard time… how do you know this? With what evidence? I go out a lot and attendance is huge from what I personally see. If you subscribe to online culture then by default you have a massive problem sure.
Andy Swan: We played a show recently supporting Anaal Nathrakh. It was a Sunday evening and a complete sell out so I guess the live scene is still thriving to a certain extent. Sales are down regarding every scene though so I don’t think it’s anything specific to the rock side of the business.
Do you believe that rock is dead or the underground scene is ‘strong’ enough to make escape routes?
Damian Bennett: There’s loads of bands around, loads of gigs, loads of festivals and judging by parameters such as the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show (Daniel P Carter)… it’s thriving. The ‘underground scene’ may be hard to define: All touring music is sort of ‘leftfield’ or fucked up… as if you are constantly playing then you are living an ‘upside down’ life by default. So if you are playing country music, religious music, blues or whatever – genres that may be naively seen as ‘conservative’ – well you will still experience a fucked up lifestyle if you’re doing it right. Working hard and driving when others are sleeping, writing while the others get more entrenched in computers and kneejerk corporate data-compiling devices.
Andy Swan: It’s a bit clichéd but there will always be an underground scene of some sorts. We play noise shows as well as rock shows and the noise scene is massively underground but has a dedicated following.
Will there be any future projects or any new collaborations?
Damian Bennett: Next album will be very much advanced.
What would be the first thing that comes to mind that you would like to say to your fans?
Damian Bennett: Khost is evolving regardless of input.