When Clash shows up, trembling slightly, to The Haxan Cloak’s live show at Birthdays in London, we’re imagining it’ll go something like this: sipping on the tears of orphans in pitch blackness before an audience member is sacrificed in fire.
Drop the needle on his Tri Angle LP ‘Excavation’ (review) and a sudden escalation of strings hits you, along with 10-ton drones and hellish screaming. It’s nails-on-blackboard horror OST music; a grisly narration of the afterlife.
So it’s a surprise to discover that the man behind the Cloak, Bobby Krlic, is actually a very normal, very good-humoured guy. “I’m definitely interested in a lot of things which people would probably find depressing or macabre,” he says. “But I don’t think that translates into my day-to-day.”
The music and visual arts graduate got his Haxan Cloak on after playing assorted frequencies through speakers and watching how different objects reacted to them. “It really got me thinking about sound as a physical presence as much as an aural presence.” Physical his music certainly is, going on the deep, incessant vibrations that assault your core at his live show.
“If it comes to a time when I wanna sit down and listen to something seriously, then I want it to affect me in as many different ways as possible,” he explains. “I don’t want it to be easy. It makes sense to me if someone says, ‘Oh, I didn’t want to listen to it all in the first sitting, I had to go and have a cup of tea or take a walk,’ or something.”
When he’s not performing live or composing, Bobby gives music workshops in a young offender’s prison. Has he played them his stuff though? “Yeah, they just thought it was weird!” he laughs. “It doesn’t really cut the mustard with them!”
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What: Blacked-out drone core
Get 3 songs: ‘The Drop’, ‘Excavation (Part 1)’, ‘Miste’
Unique fact: One of the instruments that Bobby recorded for ‘Excavation’ was an eight-foot gong.
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Words: Felicity Martin
Photo: Neil Bedford
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