Interviewed: Climax Denial at Milwaukee Noise Fest

Image courtesy of Myspace
It can’t be denied — Alex Kmet of local noise band Climax Denial doesn’t view or approach music the same way as most people do; in fact, he’d probably be grouped into a slim ten percent of the entire global population. For true musicians, though, music is not just a high school popularity contest. Those that view it as such would most be unlikely to hear the overtones of one, singular note played continuously for minutes on end, nor would they find music in the screech of feedback, the wash of pedal fuzz or various eerie, looped sounds as thrilling as three-part harmony. 

For Kmet, that’s okay, because he’s got the proper viewpoint to gain full appreciation of all this and use it to create some of the most interesting compositions and arresting performances that win him an esteem that is genuine. This weekend, Climax Denial will be launching Boy Dirt Car’s reunion performance at Milwaukee Noise Fest at The Borg Ward. Kmet talks to Fan-belt‘s Erin Wolf about this, and the true beauty of noise.

Creating feedback is done in many genres besides noise music, but most feedback is guitar-manipulated…without the guitar, what is your essential equipment for creating the desired feedback for your music?

Guitars are for wimps, let’s make that clear. A cheap microphone and a heavy-duty distortion pedal cranked to the maximum are all you need for optimal eardrum-damaging feedback. 

Feedback is often the staple of my live performance — it’s simple and effective. I don’t go for all the pretentious frills like ‘guitars’ or ‘rehearsing’ or ‘bass guitars’ or ‘pleasing my audience’, like musicians do.

Where do you prefer to perform — smaller or larger venues/spaces?

I have played in tiny holes and I have played in larger spaces, but it’s not the size of the venue, it’s what you do with it. I prefer to perform for an energetic crowd. The more psyched, the better, using as loud of a sound-system as possible. It’s a matter of vibe and volume, only.

As far as collaboration goes, would you consider it, or is it better to write independently?

I like to have total control. I have collaborated in the past, but I much prefer flying solo. If you write a song with your left hand, it’s like someone else is writing it. My project is my means of personal expression, so I don’t want anyone else involved who would only inject their own silly problems.

Who do you admire in experimental/noise music in Milwaukee? Nationally?

Peter J Woods is my hero. Custodian is one Milwaukee harsh-noise dude to look out for. Everyone else here is doing some great stuff. Let’s not talk of any acts who are not from Milwaukee, as this is Milwaukee Noise Fest.


I really like Enya, actually. Oh, and Kate Bush.

What’s going through your mind about playing alongside (specifically, right before) an act such as Boy Dirt Car, who paved the way for many Milwaukee musicians, such as yourself?

It’s exciting that they are playing, but I wish Eric Lunde was still in the band. I’m a little nervous about playing directly before Boy Dirt Car, though…I don’t want to upstage them!

Climax Denial is performing as part of Milwaukee Noise Fest this Saturday, September 27th at The Borg Ward (823 W. National Avenue). 6 p.m. door, 7 p.m. show.

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