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Thrill Kill Kult reveal the “Spooky Tricks” behind their latest album

Thrill Kill Kult released their latest album "Spooky Tricks" earlier this month
Thrill Kill Kult released their latest album "Spooky Tricks" earlier this month
Photo from Tracy George

My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult revel in the taboo, the forbidden, and the unspeakable all set to funky grooves and pulsing beats. The band, going 27 years strong, have recently released their latest album “Spooky Tricks” and while it dabbles in their favorite topics of sex and temptation, it manages to sound like nothing they've done before. Founders Groovie Mann and Buzz McCoy talk about the band's longevity, their influences for the new LP, and what keeps them going after so many years.

“Spooky Tricks” will be your 13th studio album. What drives you to continually put out new music?

Thrill Kill Kult: That is our art. A combined vision between Groovie and Buzz. That is what we do. We love making music and writing songs, and performing them live for our fans. We would be lost without it in our lives.

What were some of the influences for the songs this time around?

TKK: Per usual sexual themes and innuendos abound throughout the album, though this time we took a more voyeuristic approach. A look behind the curtains and forbidden doors, into a sensual, almost mystical realm, existing somewhere between reality and fantasy.

Did you ever think in all the 27 years you guys have been together that you would ever release so many albums?

TKK: Not at all. But then again, we don't really think about the future too much. We try to live in the now. Try being the key word. Thinking too far beyond today just clogs up the brain. Maybe that's why we are still doing what we do.

Was there anything you were listening to that inspired the sound on the upcoming album?

TKK: We listen to a lot of "older" music. 70's rock and disco, and some of the more obscure 80's stuff. We're not really in tune with most of today's current bands. But in actuality, music isn't what we turn to for inspiration. Day to day life is the muse.

When it comes to writing, what comes first the music or the lyrics?

TKK: We usually start with a groove, or perhaps a vocal sample of something we find intriguing or funny taken out of context. That sets the wheels in motion. The lyrics and melodies build off of that.

Who did you guys collaborate with on this record?

TKK: We never have really collaborated with anyone in the writing, recording or mixing process. There is an awesome remix by DJ Toxic Rainbow on it though. And there are guest appearances by Bomb Gang Girlz - Arena Rock and Viva Nova, along with performances by our current live musicians - bassist Mimi Star, guitarist Westin Halvorson and drummer Justin Thyme.

Thrill Kill Kult have been a huge influence on numerous bands everywhere. How does it feel having your music not only gain so many fans, but have it to inspire people to create their own music?

TKK: Hmmm. I guess the point of art is to inspire and make one think outside the box, isn't it? It's flattering to know we have been able to do that.

After listening to the album, it seems to be a mix of the industrial sound you guys become known for along with a 70s disco groove you've experimented with before. Is the album a look back at what you've done, but also a look ahead to the band's future?

TKK: We don't consciously look to any particular sound or style. It all just kind of comes out as we write and record. We never know what the future sound of TKK will be. It's all just an expression of where we are in our lives now.

You guys always have the most interesting album art, but this one is particularly creepy. What's the story behind it? What are fans looking at when they grab the album?

TKK: Groovie is the photographer. Buzz is the designer. That's the way it's been on almost every album from the beginning, with the exception of one or two. We try to create album art that is an extension of the music. I like to think we accomplish that most of the time.

With the new album comes another tour. Where do you guys get the energy to keep putting on these crazy shows that make everyone lose their mind?

TKK: That is a mystery to all of us! Performing the songs live is just as important to us as writing the music, It's part of the TKK experience. They go hand in hand. If we lost the energy to perform, we probably also lose the energy to create. Tired or not - onward we march!

Of course you'll be making a stop in Chicago, your hometown. Are the home shows any crazier or more satisfying than the others?

TKK: Naturally it's great to play home with so many dear friends there to share the experience, but we have so many life long friends and fans around the country by now, that all the shows have their own unique kind of satisfaction for us.

Where do you see the band in five years? Maybe another album?

TKK: Hopefully it won't be another 5 years before another album. We just get kind of lazy sometimes. We took 4 years off. We wrote this new one in just under a year. Some people don't understand you can't just turn on the inspiration when you want to. Something usually has to trigger it. I suppose professional song writers can do that. But we're hardly professionals writers or musicians. We're nothing but mere minstrels entertaining the townspeople. But more importantly, we entertain ourselves first.

Thrill Kill Kult will be on the road in support of the new album beginning May 28 in Ramona, CA. They'll make their Chicago stop June 21 at Bottom Lounge. Tickets are currently on sale. “Spooky Tricks” is available now. To get a copy and for more Thrill Kill Kult news, visit their website. Make sure to also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.