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Kommunity FK - Interview

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Interview with: Patrik Mata
Conducted by: T.V.

A specific alternative genre that emerged in the late 1970s as a darker offshoot of the pre-existing punk rock, and is best documented in Los Angeles music scene. You guessed it right,... I'm talking about deathrock here, and many are still arguing who are the true beginners of it. Not only Christian Death were around at that very place and time, it's a fact that Kommunity FK (or shorter KFK) were there and must be noted as one of the very first bands who helped establish what came to be known as the deathrock scene in Los Angeles, but yet Kommunity FK is not only that. Kommunity FK was created by Patrik Mata in 1978 in the midst of the LA punk explosion. Unknowingly, Patrik's new musical genre became a cross between post-punk against a darker gloom that became the genesis of American alterative/gothic/deathrock. Mata's style of creating original pieces reaches far into several genres of music with the classification of "Alternative Music" as the structured sound of Kommunity FK. Their first two albums, The Vision And The Voice (1983) and Close One Sad Eye (1985) became true cult albums, real classics and essential albums of the scene, as well is La Santisima Muerte (2010) which was released after a long hiatus started in late 80s. Kommunity FK's beginnings were raw. Mata's influences of William S. Burroughs, Jean Cocteau, Salvador Dali, and early Bowie were woven through a dreamy musical side combined with experimental synthesized art punk. Mata's visionary soundscapes were all his own. Now it seems that Kommunity FK are more alive than ever, ready to release a new album entitled Thee Image & Thee Myth through Crysella Records this June. We talked with Kommunity FK's mastermind and founder Patrik Mata about the new album, past life, future plans, live dates and much more in this insightful interview.

T.V.: Hi Patrik! First of all I want to ask you in which phase is the work on new album and if you can reveal us some details about it?
: The upcoming new album is entitled, Thee Image & Thee Myth. There are several trax composed for it, some ov which were composed & produced especially for our fans to experience through headphones. When I compose a song, it’s inspiration ignites several ideas immediately as to how I envision the listener to become sucked into it as a lone composition, sonic in sound and as a whole environment for him/her. This album is a new frontier for KFK as a project that I have been desiring to accomplish for years. Sherry Rubber has been working by my side in many ov the lp’s progressions as well which will be eminent to everyone. She is an incredible multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, & ov course, guitarist extraordinaire. Her colors from her guitar playing are both bludgeoning & yet delicate on several ov the new trax. We are both very much anticipating releasing it on both vinyl & CD. It also will have it’s remix companion as well with many trax already remixed by some ov our favorite colleagues such as Kitty Lectro, Mark Lynall, DJ Cruel Britannia, among others. Sherry & I both design all ov the artwork for every release but she really is the sole anti-art director within the KFK Koven.
T.V.: In terms of sound,... how much did Kommunity FK changed? Are you remaining loyal to the sound you've played years ago or did the modern era stuff had any impact on new compositions? What exactly can "death-rock" fans expect from it?
Patrik: When I first initiated the now infamous influential KFK sound, first ov all it was mainly by accident, & it was mainly from choosing to play my songs with my immediate surrounding friends, which was a girl who was the only person who would form a band with me. Her name was Ce Ce. I procured her a Fender P bass which she could not even play. I decided to pick up a 1965 Fender Electric 12 String Guitar which had been given to me by a childhood friend but I never ever attempted to play as I am really a vocalist. So I picked it up and applied myself. I could not play it as a real guitarist does. Then, roaming the Hollywood wilderness searching for the right drummer, we went through about 50 drummers then we witnessed a remarkable drummer onstage at The Cathay De Grande who at the time was performing with a band called De Detroit and her Cartunes. His name was Matt. He apparently was dissatisfied with his band so threw his drum sticks directly at the bass player then stormed offstage out the venue door. I followed him & asked him if he would be interested in perhaps playing some new type ov music together sometime. He said he would be available in around 2 weeks, which turned into a month, & we finally arranged a meeting at a local rehearsal studio & the rest is history. Matt ended up staying with me in KFK for the first 9 years.
T.V.: The album will be released through Crysella Records world wide. How did this collaboration started and what in their offer made up your mind to sign with them?
Patrik: I have an a very good manager, Damian Gibbs, & I had sent him everything he needed from us to procure KFK a great recording contract with a professional European label as here in Amerika, it could never happen for a band like mine. So, he sent Crysella Records a copy ov our full album at their request & they ‘clocked it’. The label representative is also a huge KFK fan which we did not know & this is a great blessing. It is meant to be. So mote it be. We mutually drew up a very strong good workable contract between them us, & our attorney, & it was totally agreed upon to join forces. Thee Image & Thee Myth was recorded & produced by just Sherry Rubber & myself in our own DIY home studio. We performed all instruments & all voices while I programmed all drumming. We have such self belief in our abilities that we knew it would be just a matter ov time when some professional label would finally have it’s own self realization that what they were listening to would be great enough for licensing with us. Also, the fact that Crysella Records has such incredible enormous world wide distribution, promotion, & is perfect for our genre that by fate and hard work this is a very rewarding relationship. Let’s see what happens from here on out. We will also now be able to tour throughout Europe, Germany, Scandinavia and the UK, which we are really anticipating in coordination with our new label.
T.V.: You are on the music scene for more than 35 years. Tell me, how do you feel after all these years in the underground and where do you get the energy to compose and play live?
Patrik: Actually, I just had my 333rd birthday recently & mortality does flap it’s wings occasionally around my ear drums & crosses my mind so this being shared, I have decided to throw my entire lifestyle into my music & my life with Sherry Rubber. She has decided to as well. Not just with KFK but also for our 2-headed LuvChild, Texylvania, & solo compositions & projects. Having founded KFK 35 years ago in the Underground wilderness ov Hollywood, Kaliffornia, & considered & renown as one ov the creators ov Amerikan Deathrock, Goth Rock, Art Punk, Industrialism, & experimentalism Rock, I still reside in the Underground. I guess that I can state most freely that I have never really ever ‘sold out’ either. One element ov my creating process does have what is considered ‘crossover potential’ but this is definitely without attempting to do so. The world that embraces such genres formerly stated have finally caught up with me. So now hopefully more new doors will open for me/KFK so that we can tour world wide to get our music to everybody. As far as the energy to compose and perform live, those elements are doing me. I have no choice. Sherry has these emotional drives as well and she and I will continue composing and performing live for the rest ov our lives together. I am so FKing blessed.
T.V.: You've always played with words in the titles of your songs and albums... can you tell me more about the meaning of the title Thee Image & Thee Myth?
Patrik: Throughout my 35 years as founder/mainman ov KFK, I have always referred to my Self as a ‘shapeshifter’. This is because I have a somewhat chameleonic nature, also there is a diversity when composing my songs per album. A lot ov my songs do not sound alike therefore creating a style that cannot be categorized easily. Even though my band has been categorized into the genres such as Deathrock & Gothik, there is way more than meets the eyes & ears happening within me/KFK. There are many diverse attitudes that then lead my fans and followers on the outside to think that they have me figured out, frozen inside a certain descriptive category therefore blocking me into a very uncomfortable box. As I have said many times, “One must remain in a Constant State ov Being. Otherwise you die.” Thus, Thee Image & Thee Myth. Nothing here about me is as it seems…

T.V.: Kommunity FK were in its beginning named Kommunity Fuck. So, why did you changed the word "fuck" with "fk"?
Patrik: The reason is because back in 1980-1981 the local Hollywood venue owners and talent bookers refused to put the band name onto their venue marquees. Even though KFK was being both acclaimed and even ostracized in Hollywood for being one ov the city’s most loved & hated new upcoming original bands, audiences still attended our performances mainly to see what would happen onstage and at the event. Back then, we were a 3 piece group (with a confrontational attitude) with a Prophet 5 synthesizer, which back then was mainly used as a bass for funk bands and artists such as George Clinton and Stevie Wonder. We applied it as a soundscape underneath what compositions were being performed live. We would use noise, preset sounds but mainly at random. As we started to become more popular in 1984, I changed the spelling to ‘FK’ to give it a more harder DaDa look, make it easier for those venue owners to deal with and place on their marguees, as well as leaving out the letters in-between giving it it’s phonetic sound and a more harder appearance visually. You might say that I was compromising so that KFK could move forward.
T.V.: And how does it feel to be the one responsible for formation of something that is now called "deathrock scene in Los Angeles"?
Patrik: I never really think about it, to be honest. What happened, happened. Like Punk, as an artist I was just doing what was inspiring me and what the muse was directing me to do. Leave it to the ‘music critics’ to have to put everything into a category in order for them to try understanding where KFK is coming from. We were first labelled, “Doom & Gloom”, then “brittle psychedelia”, “ArtPunk”,  “Drone Music”, then “Deathrock”, & then “Goth”. KFK is all ov these things, yet more ov other unknown things and yet still, none ov these things.
T.V.: There's a huge gap in your history... What was going on with Kommunity FK in the period between 1985 and 2010, or better said between your albums Close One Sad Eye and La Santisima Muerte?
Patrik: I had always had a line up when necessary for KFK, in order for me to continue performing live, as, again, I have no choice but to do so, especially when truly being inspired. So, in a nutshell, I had the pleasure and the displeasure, to have played KFK music with a few other great and not so great musicians. This being said, this playing with various other musicians creates the possibilities for unexpected friction, misunderstandings, hidden agendas and a zillion ways for everything to go wrong. So far, I can truly say that Sherry Rubber still desires to work within the KFK framework as she truly does understand me and where KFK is coming from. For some strange reasoning, I have not had the opportunities to record more than the 2 classic albums, The Vision & The Voice & Close One Sad Eye and this astounds me. Anyway, I know that KFK did it right the very & only first 2 efforts as those two albums are now considered classics with many ov their songs still being played in clubs both nationally and internationally to this precise moment. When I did have an opportunity to possibly record, release and tour behind a new KFK album it was in the year 2006. I had just come home from a West Coast tour behind a second CD reissue ov the very first KFK album released with bonus trax on a label out ov S.F., Kallifornia when I discovered a message on my phone machine from a "prestigious" label CEO/musician saying that he wanted to sign me to his label. So, thinking that this was very kool, we danced around each other until contracts were co-signed. But, he wanted me for 7 years where I only desired to do a ‘one off’ then see where we were at thereafter and decide whether to continue or not together. Long story aside, I felt that I could trust him by his charms and signed on and so I was FKed By The Music Business. I couldn’t record, release, nor tour for 7 years until this personage decided that he had the desire and/or time to do so, at his leisure, when not promoting himself. I entered into a near suicidal emotional state for the first three years when realizing the situation I was in until a colleague told me how to procure a pro bono music attorney. I did and now seven years later, here we are…..BUT, at that third year, not being able to wait any more longer to record and release a new album, I received a desperately needed recording electronics company endorsement by Presonus whom gave me all ov the equipment to start making my very own albums inside my own in-house studio, which I have christened, “Vision & The Voice Studios”. That was where Sherry and I produced our very first DIY album together, La Santisima Muerte in 2010.
T.V.: While listening to some of your new tracks it seems that the time stopped for you somewhere in early 80s. Each track has kind of a vintage charm, not only because of compositions, but as well from productional side. I wonder if you are not into experimenting with new sounds?
Patrik: If you listen very carefully, I am experimenting with new sounds and production techniques. Every new album from La Santisima Muerte to now & thee future will be what I consider, ‘headphone lps’. Our fans and followers will and should be able to listen to our new and upcoming releases with headphones to hear several trippy subliminal sounds and messages as well as production techniques that I have either planned or are happy accidents left into the mixes. As far as your referral to “80s” sounds, this is just how I have composed all ov my material since day one. It isn’t something that I am stuck into, it’s just my own style ov composing which is still being emulated by many new bands. The earlier music critics labeled my style as “Deathrock” or “Goth” but it’s just my Way…
T.V.: You've been playing live quite a lot lately, tell me when can we expect to see Kommunity FK in Europe and what can the audience expect from your live sets?
Patrik: We have always been invited to tour throughout Europe and recently Scandinavia but what these younger “promoters” don’t realize nor take into account is that they must pay our traveling expenses and pay our performance fee in order for any touring overseas to happen. It is a sign ov respect towards me and KFK to book us and do such payments. This is what we do for a living. Besides, it’s called ‘business’. We’re professionals. Not only that, but this is KFK’s 35 year anniversary and this should make it easy for bookers to promote and sell anywhere. A lot ov our International fans and followers have never seen KFK live so we desire that tours should be made available for them. We are in discussions with more professional promoters at this precise moment for touring throughout Europe as we speak.
T.V.: And is there any specific show that you've played in all these years that must be mentioned as something truly unique and remained in your memory as kind of "best of" show ever? Beside that can you share with our readers any special anectode?
Patrik: Once KFK headlined and performed a show at the legendary club Scream in Los Angeles, California in 1989 and we brought the audience ov around 2000 awesome personages into such a frenzy that I was attacked by three luvly female fans during the last minutes ov our very last song. Here’s how it occurred… My favorite guitar, a 1965 Fender Electric 12 String, had malfunctioned by cutting out during the last chord progression ov the very last song, “Something Inside Me Has Died”. So a roadie from across the opposite side ov the stage whistled loudly for me to slide my guitar across the stage floor to him to fix it and all the while as the band was holding the crescendo. During all ov this chaos I knew that I had to continue performing as nothing was wrong, being a professional. Once he had adjusted the guitar, he again whistled and slid it back over to me across the stage to where I had positioned my fingers against the fretboard holding down the very last chord with my guitar lying flatly on the stage and the band held that one chord until I cued them to finally stop the song. This was when the three females ran up onto the stage and attacked me fondling me and kissing my face. This was the only time that this had ever happened to me in 35 years. I had always thought that KFK just wasn’t one ov those types ov bands where this could ever occur but it did. Blew my mind, I must say. I will never forget it. This just shows me how when everything clicks in this Universe and the entire band is one complete feverish powerful sexual note, you can emote such Bliss. As far as an ‘anecdote’, coming from me, I have many that apply to my own life. But I must say, “be righteous. Stay strong & have courage for all those that are not there for you". “All God’s people beware for all the people not there.” - Ian Curtis.
T.V.: When it comes to writing music and lyrics, are you doing everything by yourself or is done as a team work?
Patrik: I mostly compose everything that you hear on a KFK song, lyrically and multi-instrumentally, but there have been exceptions. Recently I have invited Sherry Rubber to co-compose on certain compositions within KFK and she has added another more wonderful texture to certain trax, especially in live performance. She has been performing and recording with KFK ever since I cordially invited her to join the band 15 years ago. Her very first show was when we headlined an event for the club, Coven 13 at The El Rey Theatre. We even broke the attendance record there which was previously held by Clan Of Xymox. This was in the mid-90s. We began composing together when we formed the legendary Wrong People, our very first side band together, for the very first time. Then we morphed into what is now Texylvania. Where we still co-compose when inspired to, Sherry is a composer and a killer multi-instrumentalist in her own write. A powerful guitarist ala Mick Ronson as well. Stellar without prejudice.
T.V.: Please, let us know who forms the line-up of KFK today beside yourself and Sherry?
Patrik: Thee official KFK line up is as follows respectively: Sherry Rubber (lead guitar/multi-instrumentalist/backing vocals/chanteuse), Brian Kneiriem (bass guitar/otherworldyness), Patrik FK (guitarist/vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/sShapeshifter).
T.V.: There are many explanations for the death-rock genre around, but I ask you as one of the founders of this specific genre to describe this term. And how much is this death-rock vibe still present on the west-coast where it originated?
Patrik: I can’t really say. I didn’t just awaken and announce, “I think that I’ll invent Deathrock”. Again, as with Punk, as with any genre, it is outsiders whom need to label and categorize our music so as to be able to relate to it, I reckon. When KFK received their very first proper review it was in the hot Summer ov August 1981, in the August issue ov the L.A. Times in their music section. We had the honor ov performing second billing twice on one night for Killing Joke at The Whiskey A Go-Go on August 28th, 1981. Their music editor and music critic, Terry Atkinson, reviewed the event and gave us a full killer couple ov paragraphs labeling our sound as ‘gloom & doom’. It wasn’t until the surrounding personages both fans, followers, lovers, haters, bands, venue bookers, & more music critics began labeling KFK’s sound as ‘Deathrock’. This was after 1978 when I founded the band as a trio, well into the early 80s. It wasn’t until 1983-1984 when I had changed KFK’s line up and we were performing as second billing to every band from the UK’s Batcave that we began becoming labeled “Goth”. Then the second album, Close One Sad Eye was released in 1985 and that album was the Goth sounding album. So, deathrock bands are still being founded by the genre’s most beloved believers which I think is really amazing. The thing is, though, any type ov originality within the deathrock scene seems to be stalemate. When KFK arose from the wilderness ov the Hollywood piss-stained streets & clubs, you had your own ideas, your own ‘look’ & style, everything to help you stand out amongst the throngs, your own original identity. It was you against the world. I really don’t see this much today. How many vocalists still think that imitating Peter Murphy is kool or actually saying something about your Self? It doesn’t make it. Take a hallucinogenic then look into your mirror and see who you really are. Trip with your band mates in a rehearsal room while making music. Make a stand as your true Self. I did. Still am….
T.V.: What about the lyrics of yours? Any special thematics that intrigue you more than anything?
Patrik: The spark that ignites me to compose my lyrics or poems within my composition context is most usually Human Politics. Social interactions, revengeful feelings, having to defend my honor. Believe it or not, I have had to fight for my own integrity a lot since founding KFK. There’s always an asshole. There’s always a cunt. Always something or someone in my way. But I got this. I luv it.
T.V.: You Patrik released also a couple of solo albums in the past and I wonder if we can expect anything new also from that side of yours?
Patrik: Yes. I have recorded several solo trax for when I feel the time is perfect for releasing a very good strong solo LP in the near future. It allows to show another more direct side ov me. Nothing is as it seems or as it appears when you rub up against me.
T.V.: Ok, thanks for those very expressive answers Patrik. I think that we covered up quite a lot of interesting things. Still, what would you like to say to our readers and especially to your fans at the end of this interview?
Patrik: To our most dedicated followers , fans, old & new, thank you for staying behind us, supporting us, throughout these years. It is now 35 years since I founded KFK & fought to maintain it’s direction, sound, image, & to keep experimenting, moving forward, not staying frozen in time just to please anybody. If you luv KFK then you are also a Voyager, a Dreamer, looking for ’NEW’. We continue in a State ov Being. Once you do not, you die. We will not fall. Stay tuned for the next three years. With a new label behind us & the power to go world wide, anything is possible.

Kommunity FK links: Official website, Facebook

KFK photos shot by: Esteban Cortina, Wes Naman, plus others...
We graciously thank all named & unnamed photographers for these shots. Kommunity FK