Killing Joke have been cited as an influence by all manner of bands, they've been put into every genre category going and still continue to produce new records that are as good if not better than their early work. They return to live action this summer as well as working on a follow up to their 2012 album MMXII. Bass player Youth brought us up to date as well as taking us on a journey through Killing Joke history:

R13: First time around the original line up managed to stay together for just 3 years and this time you've managed twice that so what's the secret? Have you all mellowed a bit?
Y: Well first time it was 3 years and then I went back in 1990 or something and did pandemonium and Democracy and that was 4 or 5 years. I don't know why we've lasted longer this time, I think maybe we're just able to cope with each other now we're older. I think it's really helped that now Jaz is sober as that was a big problem before. I went back in to do an album and wouldn't tour it because Jaz and Geordie's drinking was just so bad and Raven stepped in on that. Possibly because we had so much unfinished business because we didn't really fulfill what we were going to do at the beginning. That's the impetus to do it now. The chemistry just works with us. It's difficult and it's always challenging but what comes out always makes us feel good.

R13: Some of the reviews of your last studio album 2012 said it still sounded like a band in their creative prime so given what you've just said about the chemistry, is that how you see the band now?
Y: Well that's how I see it myself sure! I think we are in our prime and we're better than we've ever been before because we've still got a lot of attitude but we've got more skills in terms of what we do as musicians. I'm certainly a better musician than I was ten or twenty years ago. With music though it's weird because some of the best work you do is some of the earliest work you do for whatever reason, it's that first rush of creativity that comes out. We've all got other things we do so we're constantly learning as artists outside of the group and then we come to the group all that comes together and it pushes us forward. We're not complacent as individuals, artists or as a band and that always helped us to make a good record or to do a good show.

R13: Going back to the early period you recorded some pretty out there music with What's This For? and Revelations for example, and there were some well documented issues around the band at that time so what was it like being in the band then?
Y: What's This For? was a pretty strange album because I'd had an LSD breakdown, I was 21, I'd just come out of a mental hospital for burning money on the street in a kimono on the Kings Road and I had a total meltdown. So that album was kind of me coming up on that, which was great actually because it made it very psychedelic! There's a lot of space on the recording and I got really involved in the production. When we came to Revelations I was on the other side of that and I'd almost forgotten how to play and we brought in Conny Plank, who'd produced Kraftwerk and Can, who was the only producer we could agree on. We produced What's This For? ourselves and it wasn't that commercially successful so there was pressure to work with a producer and I was kind of on the bench a bit cos I'd had this acid meltdown but I thought it got a bit mushy in the mix and it just seemed like a big comedown. For me it's one of my least favourite albums now but nevertheless the experience of working with Conny Plank was pretty mind blowing and I'll never forget that. There were a couple of tracks like We Have Joy that still stand up but we were also going through a phase where we didn't have any choruses! "We don't need need choruses, everyone has choruses, let's not have any!" (laughs) It was a regrouping time for us but the fans often cite it as their favourite so what do I know? So those were difficult times and at the end of that Jaz went off to Iceland, he was forming his own magical journey and we had to implode, the energy was so dense.

R13: Your first post Killing Joke band was Brilliant, which featured Jimmy Cauty who went on to be in KLF and your A&R man was Bill Drummond, also later of KLF and you were produced by Stock Aitken and Waterman! Again it wasn't particularly commercially successful but I wonder how you view that period now?
Y: Killing Joke was like my university really and Brilliant was my M.A! As you say it wasn't that successful commercially but what I learnt in that period was seismic and some powerful things came out of that. What came out of that collaboration with those people was very significant, KLF, The Orb, so much stuff that was very commercial and successful but also very cutting edge and innovative. Weirdly for me one of the most important experiences was working with Pete Waterman, not necessarily because of what he did but how he made the records was completely revolutionary to me at the time, sampling, direct deliberate reference to other records, really quick working and so much that I still use today. Fantastic experience for me in my early 20s to get some penetration into the mysteries of those areas. I'm a full spectrum producer, I love everything from pop to dark wave, techno and so on. There's no contradiction these days listening to Led Zeppelin one minute and then Daft Punk the next, it's all just there and they just like it but I was doing that when it wasn't cool to do it! It's interesting seeing how the world has moved towards that way and Killing Joke are basically just a mash up band. Totally different people into totally different music all in the same band! It goes against your intellect that says I should be in a band with people like me that are into the same things I am but often when that happens you get a very boring band! Now I suppose is the age of sub niche niche niche! Everyone can calibrate their preferences to about ten people who like the same thing and they can get in touch with them on the net and have their own little group. That's becoming is own phenomena. I'm fascinated by the psychology of society and of people and their generation and it makes me want to understand why we do what we do. It's endless for me.

R13: You did the Killing Joke in dub recently, which kind of brings it full circle so I wondered if we can expect to hear more of that on the next studio album?
Y: Well we're half way through the next studio album and we've always had a certain amount of dub influence yeah there is a fair bit on the new album but it's a bit of a vicious pill as well. The dub album for me was a two year labour of love and something I've wanted to do for a long time, to put the old dub mixes into one place and I'm very happy we managed to pull that off.

R13: You never play anything from Brighter Than a Thousand Suns and in the past Geordie has said that's because you refuse to...
Y: It's more Outside the Gate that's the big issue I think laughs Geordie refuses to play all that cos I don't think he thought the album was all that. When we come to tour we work out what we're going to put in and we ask fans which songs they'd like us to do and then we'll probably ignore it haha! We do talk about things and try a couple out and it's just down to the band deciding which ones we want to do.
R13: I guess the songs from that period would have to have a pretty radical re-working to make them fit in?
Y: Yeah, well they all kind of fit and we try and have a good spread of stuff and stuff we haven't done for a long time but I don't know, if it was down to us we'd just do the new record! laughs

R13: You're doing a couple of festivals in August, Alt-Fest and Rebellion and there are some quite big names on there; is that something you pay much attention to or is it just a case of getting up and doing it?
Y: Jaz wouldn't bother looking at who else was on but I like to, I like to see the context you know and I'm a fan as well so at Alt Fest I'll be checking out Pete Murphy and there are lots of acts I want to be checking out and at Rebellion. Jaz doesn't listen to other people's music full stop laughs and Geordie has got a very narrow gauge of what he likes. Paul has his tastes that he loves but I'm the one that's more of a punter in that sense.

R13: You played on Kate Bush's Hounds of Love album so with her announcement of the dates she's doing are you going to be going to those or even playing?
Y: I'd love to go and a friend of mine offered me a ticket so if they go ahead I'll be there. I won't be playing although I'd love to. It's one of the great honours, one of the peak experiences of my life playing on Kate Bush's Hounds of Love and I'd probably drop pretty much anything to do it again but I know Kate is very particular and specific about what she does let alone live you know so she'll have a band rehearsing those shows for a long time before and I don't think I'll be privileged enough to do it. I'd love to do it but I think that's very unlikely but I hope she does the shows and I can't wait to see it.

R13: Who's easiest to work with? Axl Rose, Paul McCartney or Jaz Coleman?
Y: Woah...well the hardest working man in show business has got to be Jaz Coleman but having said that Jaz is one of the easiest people to work with because I love him to bits! I love spending time with him even when he's being really difficult. All those artists are probably the toughest artists anyone could ever want to work with and that's one of the reasons they are so significant as artists as well I suppose.