Metal Hammer (UK)
When we heard there was a new, bizarre, Jonathan Davis-approved duo scaring the shit out of the underground, we decided to investigate. Things got… weird
A bAre spotlight
illuminates four chairs in the centre of a dungeon. In one sits a man in a hoodie and a gimp mask with the mouth sewn up. In another sits a woman with her hair scraped up into a black-blonde topknot, her outfit part catwalk, part fetish club, impenetrable black contact lenses covering her eyes. In the chair next to her is a doll – her mini-me, she says. The fourth chair is for the interviewer. Or maybe the victim…
The man and the woman are F (him) and Skynd (her) and the latter is who this project is named after. Their music – cold, dehumanized glitch-goth – is a vehicle for a shared fascination with death, serial killers and the darkness inside all of us.
“My biggest fascination is the evil aspect of the human psyche,” says
Skynd, her whispered voice tinged with an accent that might be French, Swiss, Swedish or none of the above. “We’re all capable of doing cruel things. Inhumane things…”
Skynd (the band) aren’t big on real-life details. Skynd (the person) will reveal that she and F met at a party in the Australian bush in a few years ago. “He was rocking back and forth on a stone, I wondered what he was doing,” she says. “But we talked and I felt this magical connection. This twin flame.”
“She was the only person talking to me. I liked her from the first moment,” says F, his thick middle-European accent muffled by his mask. It’s not clear what the initial stands for – Father? Fucker? But he’s not saying. In fact, he’s not saying much at all.
All this weirdness
bleeds through the duo’s debut single, Elisa Lam, a slice of harsh, nocturnal electronic noise featuring an alternately distorted and childlike vocal from Skynd. It was inspired by the death of a student named Elisa Lam, whose body was found in the water tank of a Los Angeles hotel. Her demise – and how she ended up in the tank – is a mystery. Or maybe it isn’t.
“She played the Korean elevator game,” says Skynd, referencing an infamous urban myth. “You play it in a building with more than 10 floors. There’s a code you have to press – 4, 2, 6, 2, 10, 5, 1. On the 10th floor there’s a dark lady. If you look at her, she will take you to hell.”
The name Skynd comes from an imaginary friend the singer has had since she was a child. “I saw him for the first time when I was three,” she says. “He was sitting under my grandparents’ kitchen table. But he is the one showing me that evil lies in all of us, and it’s all around us.” What does he look like?
“He was a normal boy, actually. He has changed a lot, drastically. He has blue-ish skin now. He looks really sick at the moment.”
What are your real names? Skynd just smiles, blankly.
Where are you from?
“From a dark place.”
F, why do you wear a mask?
Skynd: “You should not ask him that question.”
F: “Because I don’t like my face.” Why? What’s wrong with your face? F: “I just don’t like it.”
This sense of theatre perfectly suits Skynd and their weird, otherworldly songs. It’s attracted the attention of Korn’s Jonathan Davis, a likeminded soul who duets with the band on forthcoming single Gary Heidnik.
“Yeah, Skynd’s weird,” laughs the
Korn legend when we ask him how their collaboration came together. “But she’s awesome! They sent the project to be mixed by one of my guys, Eric Racy. He goes, ‘Dude, I got something I think would be right up your alley, check this shit out.’ I was like, ‘This shit’s dark, I love it.’ And so from there, I got the track, and I sang! Then they added me into the video, and I think it’s really cool. It’s very different.”
Like Elisa Lam, Gary Heidnik takes its inspiration from a grisly real-life event. Heidnik abducted, tortured and raped six women between 1986 and 1987 in the basement of his house in Philadelphia, killing two of them.
“He wanted to make a baby farm with them, which is pretty sick,” whispers Skynd. “He was some kind of priest. He thought he was doing something good. That’s just sick. I had to write a song about him.” Do you admire it or does it disturb you? “It disturbs me. Of course it does. I don’t admire it at all.”
Like Marilyn Manson and Slipknot before them, Skynd are disturbingly brilliant and brilliantly disturbing. Death, darkness and serial killers are hardly fresh ground for a band to cover, but few address it so chillingly and as convincingly as they do. Step into their dark world. What’s the worst that could happen?
FASCINATION IS EVIL”
SKYND’S DEBUT ALBUM IS EXPECTED LATER THIS YEAR