In today’s spotlight, we present an invigorating discussion with KILL, THE ICON!, a potent, London-based protest punk trio who emerged on the scene in the summer of 2020. With a mission rooted in a vibrant symbiosis of art and activism, they’ve carved a unique niche in the bustling music industry.
Their journey started modestly yet ambitiously as a minimalist proto-punk ensemble. Nevertheless, KILL, THE ICON!’s creative curiosity would not be tethered to a single genre. Demonstrating an impressive musical fluidity, they began weaving synthesizers into their stark punk canvas, culminating in a soundscape that is as dynamic as it is expansive.
Engaging in a spirited conversation with KILL, THE ICON!, we had the opportunity to unpack the complexities of their work, delving into their provocative, and deeply evocative music.
When queried about the message underlying “Deathwish”, lead singer Nishant explained that it is a nuanced portrayal of his personal encounters with racism, especially in East London during the 1990s. The stark realities of this era, marred by events such as Stephen Lawrence’s murder and insidious, lingering racism, became the essence of the song. The band sees “Deathwish” as a prelude to their forthcoming EP, “Your Anger Is Rational”, a collective effort to navigate and rationalise emotions within the backdrop of contemporary British racism.
Artistically, KILL, THE ICON! initially set out to mirror the audacious minimalism of Death From Above 1979, employing rugged, bass-laden riffs, brusque drums, and vocals. Their soundscape took an unexpected turn when their producer Ian Flynn worked magic with synths, catapulting them towards influences like The Rapture, Depeche Mode, and LCD Soundsystem. This broadened their horizons, enabling them to strike a balance between heavy riffs and dance-inducing rhythms, a distinctive feature of their EP.
Their innovative video for “Deathwish”, however, did not receive the reception they had hoped for. It was deemed too controversial by Vevo and overlooked by major publications. This unique piece, created through AI, serves as an effective and thought-provoking form of protest, reframing the words and actions of politicians in an intriguing visual narrative or nightmare.
On stage, the band has faced its own challenges. Recalling an incident at Shacklewell Arms where the lead vocalist’s sunglasses slipped off, they reflected on the discomfort of fitting into a stereotypical box, either for their predominantly white audience or for their family. This moment of vulnerability underscored their determination to break through boundaries.
Justice is the fulcrum of their music. KILL, THE ICON! aims to create a space for listeners to reflect on their lyrics, scrutinise existing power structures, and participate in unlearning harmful stereotypes and prejudices. The band asserts that it is passionate about instigating critical dialogue through its music.
Looking ahead, they will kick off with their EP release on June 2nd, but an album might also be on the horizon, depending on the support they receive. Among their upcoming songs, “Average White Band”, a satirical number, is expected to turn heads and, quite possibly, ruffle some industry feathers.
Ultimately, for KILL, THE ICON!, music triumphs over politics. The joy and fulfilment derived from their musical endeavours could easily eclipse a world devoid of politicians. This sentiment encapsulates the band’s profound dedication to their craft.
In terms of their creative process, video concepts come to fruition much later, allowing them to continually explore and experiment with video editing software. Their video for “Heavy Heart” explicitly tackles far-right and alt-right ideologies and posits the Tory Party as modern-day fascists for the bourgeois. The video for “Deathwish” showcases a completely different creative approach, but ultimately one that does justice to the song. It’s a testament to their ever-evolving visual expression and narrative creativity.
KILL, THE ICON! embodies the fusion of art and activism, painting an authentic picture of the society they observe, complete with its ugliness and beauty, and demanding change in their uniquely unapologetic manner.
Should the curators of the illustrious Glastonbury Music Festival be perusing this piece, they would be well advised to pencil in KILL, THE ICON! for a prime slot on the John Peel stage posthaste. In our current era, the urgency for music imbued with potent political messages has never been more paramount.
KILL, THE ICON! can be found on Bandcamp
Art Book Review Books Capitalism China Climate Emergency Conservative Government Conservative Party COVID-19 Economics EcoSocialism Elections Event Video Fascism Film Film Review France Global Police State Imperialism Italy Keir Starmer Labour Party Long Read Marxism Marxist Theory Palestine pandemic Protest Russia Solidarity Statement Trade Unionism Ukraine United States of America War
- Reactionary BrandingMuch has already been written about Russell Brand’s recent downfall, and it is crucial to understand Brand and the context that made him. But a deeper problem is opened up by Brand, the problem of the reactionary left. Rowan Fortune charts the fall of Brand, and then tackles what makes the left converge with far-right conspiracists.
- Defend the right to protest, strike and boycott..Veronica Fagan explores the ways the Tories are attacking our rights to organise – including the under-discussed anti-boycott bill
- Birmingham City Council: honour your commitment to net zero by 2030A statement initiated by Birmingham Climate Justice Coalition.
- Degrowth: a remarkable renaissanceThis article, by Alan Thornett, was written for the current edition of the Green Left’s publication Watermelon in advance of the Green Party conference.
- !NOW!! Can you join the Climate Crisis ‘Dots’?!Allan Todd writes: Chris Packham can join up those ‘dots’, if others still can’t or refuse to do so, despite it, sadly, being something that’s increasingly easy to do these days. Those still unable to see the bigger picture should tune in to Chris Packham’s programme, ‘Chris Packham: Is It Time to Break the Law?’ – which will be shown on Channel 4 next Wednesday (20 September), at 9.00 p.m.