Jaz Coleman Killing JokeKilling Joke

Jaz Coleman, Killing Joke

On the eve of Killing Joke's 16th album release, Jaz Coleman chats spirituality, sustainability and... the weather

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 23 Oct 2015
  • min read
On the eve of the release of Killing Joke’s 16th album, Pylon, PRS for Music’s Amanda Gentle talks to Jaz Coleman about education, sustainability and how the best is yet to come…

To what extent has mysticism played in defining your core values and sound?

To us it’s huge. We all have similar mind sets and values which form the providence of KJ. Big Paul started to be interested in magic, and spirituality is part of my Indian DNA. Three of us are cabalists and Youth is a Druid so it’s part of who we are as people. All of us feel we have been reincarnated. We are of the view that consciousness survives death. Quantum mechanics are an interest too.

Improvisation is important in your creative process. How does this work in practice?

You know I have spent more time with these guys over the last 36 years than I have my own family, which makes us close so we know each pretty well. It’s great knowing you can say anything you want and it doesn’t matter. It’s good to know we can be that way and say anything and what we feel.

Do you feel you have collectively achieved the majority of your creative and social aims?

Yes. As you may know I have been conducting which is not as easy as you may think. I took weeks to practice in front of the mirror. I have never known panic like it before I went on stage recently in Czech! I was in the dressing room and lay on the floor and actually fell asleep, which isn’t what I normally do. This big scary Czech woman stormed in and said, ‘you have to go on stage now,’ and virtually forced me to go on!

I used to be a heavy drinker but stopped nine years ago. Everyone around me said stop (laughs). I had bottle a day. My mum told me I looked like Orson Welles so it was time to change.

Was it easy to give it up?

Yes I just stopped and that was it (laughs).

Jaz Coleman Killing Joke
Sustainability and legacy are important to you too. Why?

Food supply is important and human beings are more important than money. My views on capitalism are well known. We are raping this planet of its natural resources and we need to do something to protect the food supply.

What has self-education given you as individuals over the years and what would your key message be to aspiring bands and artists regarding its value?

You know we have always educated ourselves and we share books and have regular debates which keep things interesting. Two key things I would say that are vital are nutrition and physical fitness. Do what you can to create more joy and enjoy life. Learn all you can. Media studies are key as you need to know how to create a following. You’re nothing if nobody knows who you are.’

You have commented before that KJ is about emotional not intellectual expression. What new insights, theories and ideas have come to light through your new record Pylon?

Pylon is about the weather and full spectrum dominance. It’s about how the military can achieve control by harnessing natural resources such as the weather, how weather can be utilised and harnessed and be a force multiplier.

Does keeping yourself away from media and technological influences give the writing process a purist dimension?

Yes. Many people complain that I’m so hard to get hold off. The drummer from Guns and Roses tried to track me down a while back and it took him three fucking months (laughs). I still don’t use email and I don’t have phone. When someone wants to contact me it’s usually through my Manager. Sarah Brightman took ages to find me too recently (laughs).

How easy or difficult was the recording process this time around?

Same as before. It all comes together naturally and quickly when the spirit is upon us. Gordie works through ideas and we then synthesize. Big Paul then comes in with drums. It’s the same process.

Are you still as excited about playing live as you were back in the early eighties?

Yes, much more as now as we can play better than we did then (laughs). We are producing our best work now.

Will you be playing any older material on the tour too?

Yes, we will be playing some old material that we have never played live before plus more from our back catalogue.

Pylon is released today (23 October). The UK tour starts on 26 October at Concorde Brighton with a sold-out warm up event at HMV Oxford Street today.