AN INTERVIEW WITH ST. DIGUE - TOXIC KISS
"Toxic Kiss" is the second studio album by Danish music artist St. Digue (a.k.a Kasper Deichmann). He is known for his unique and almost "unclassifiable" music style which is a brand of darkwave, black metal, post-punk, and EBM.
After the success of "Everything hits at once" and his acclaimed cover of "Bloodhail", his new album feels very much like a continuation of his previous works.
"Toxic Kiss" holds his signature apocalyptic tone. It's decadent and obscure, like a hurricane ravaging the world. It feels intimate yet universal, devastating yet hopeful. This is a record filled with big contrasts, both emotionally and artistically. It loudly speaks of his personal battles, and path to self-acceptance.
The track "Shadow" is a grand opening. It immediately sets the tone straight and it doesn't shy away from descriptive lyrics that feel abstract but also extremely real in the context of mental health and anxiety.
The production on "I live in spite", turns more chaotic and vexed. It's a trademark of pure angst and self-acclamation. Despite this track being a call to war and a theatrical ritual of angry synths and daunting vocals, there is definitely an element of fragility and melancholia in it. I think this is one of the contrasting aspects that I appreciate most in this artist: the armour/the production seems unstoppable and destructive, but the content/writing is magnificently human and frangible.
The track "Toxic Kiss", is probably one of the boldest in the album. It's a lullaby turning into a nightmare, one you cannot wake up from. The music and production choices on this song truly reflect the narrative and the feeling of it. This is a long promenade into the tunnel of addiction and the abyss that follows. It feels visceral, raw, and authentic. "Toxic Kiss" is for me one of St. Digue's most accomplished tracks, and it holds one of his best melodies.
In "Countess of the night" we have another clear example of his music contamination. This is probably one of his first tracks with an evident EBM stamp throughout. The production is again raw and chaotic as a stylistic choice, and this mood is fully reflected in the enraged political lyrics "Cuts like a knife, she makes fascist pigs beg for their life".
A special mention goes to the conclusive track "New Day Pt. II". This is were we eventually find relief, light, and a renewed hope in humanity. Be it love, or friendship, this song sure sounds like the comforting feeling of an encounter that has given us a sense of belonging, making it worth every battle we go through as human beings. We are home.
I have been asking some questions to Kasper following the release of his album and here is what he had to say!
How did you start St. Digue and what is the story behind the name?
"I started making music under that name during the first corona lockdown in 2020. I bought my first synth in 2018, as a small side interest so to speak, while I was playing in the atmospheric black metal band ‘Sunken’. During that time I was trying to figure out how it worked and what kind of music I wanted to make with it. Once the pandemic came and everyone was quarantined inside their homes it gave me an opportunity to get a head start on my solo endeavours. At the time I was also dealing with employment, depression and for the first time, time to process the traumas i have faced throughout my life, thus 'St. Digue' was born.
The name is sort of a 'deified' re-working of my surname 'Deichmann', 'Deich' being the German word for 'Dyke'. I then took the french counterpart 'Digue' and added 'St.' In front of it. At the time I mainly thought it looked cool, but gradually as I made more music and got more comfortable sharing my experiences the name took on a deeper meaning for me. 'Deichmann' is who I was born to be, including all the baggage that comes with it. Whereas 'St. Digue' is who I aspire to be."
Your music style holds a wide and diverse mashup of influences in which we could perhaps spot the atmospheres of artists such as TR/ST, Drab Majesty, Kite, Sidewalks & Skeletons, and Lingua Ignota. How would you best describe your own brand of music?
"I'm very much inspired by all the bands/artists you've mentioned! I think my brand of music is rooted in diversity. My sound draws from everything from darkwave to black metal to punk to pop music in many different ways. Even if each genre reference is subtle, in the big picture it all comes together to create everything I do. "
You are a multi-layered artist. What I found most attractive in your work is the distinct mix of styles/mediums, and how you were able to design a very specific production to enhance the uniqueness of it. Do you think that in your genre, being in control of your own production is a crucial element? If we think about synthwave/darkwave/witch house music nowadays, you can see how impactful the production process is. For some of the most experimental artists, we could say that it became the “product” itself, just as important as the music writing.
"Oh absolutely. That's one of the things I love most about making St. Digue is having absolute control, even if the end result isn't as polished as it 'should be'.
I can only produce music to the best of my ability and having no formal training or the finesse of a 'real' producer kind of enhances the overall output I think. I like to think that it makes the music even more authentic in a way."
This album has a very arty and “baroque” production. It doesn’t need to be clean or particularly crisp. The concept of chaos is a common denominator to your works, but what I find truly special is how you are able to layer it and technically organise it. In “Toxic Kiss” the most haunting melodies are hidden and born from darkness and chaos, they are the unexpected light at the end of the tunnel. Would you say there is hope/light in this album? Or did you conceive it as a pure celebration of darkness?
"Chaos and darkness will always be part of the St. Digue DNA, but I did very deliberately try to add light at the end of the tunnel on 'Toxic Kiss', because unlike when I began making music, now that I'm older and have gotten a better support system in my life, I do believe in hope. It sounds super cliché and all but love and support is far more tangible and uptainable then we often assume and I'm definitely guilty of forgetting that when times are tough. I wanted to remind myself and the listener that even in darkness and chaos there's still a sea of people in ones life that will drop everything they have to just be there for you no matter how bad things are in your life.
As this is your second album, do you see it as a continuation of “Everything hits at once”? or is it a separate project/concept?
"To me, 'Toxic Kiss' is somewhat of a continuation of 'Everything Hits At Once' in that the roots of the ennui and anguish are the same. Both albums deal with self-destruction, drug abuse, self hatred and otherness (i.e. being on the spectrum), but this time the perspective is different, perhaps a more mature one.
A Lot has happened in my life since 'Everything Hits At Once'. I'm more at peace with who I am now than ever before thanks both to those I choose to have in my life now but also because of how the last album and the shows I've played since then have connected to people.
Both albums belong in the same universe, but are still worlds apart in that there are certain things I'm more comfortable expressing now than before, both sonically and lyrically."
What is your creative process like when you are writing a new track? Do you have a pre-conceived idea of what is going to sound and feel like or do you instinctively write not knowing where it's going to go?
"I think it's different for each track I make. Most of the time I have a very clear idea of what I want to say and how I want to say it. That's at least the case with songs like 'Countess Of The Night', 'Shadow' among others.
But then there's songs like 'Downfall' and 'Burnout' where I had made short instrumental ideas without knowing where to take it until I've stared at it for 6 months. Then usually just use the first lyrical idea that comes to mind based on what I feel at the moment and work that into those 'uncertain' songs."
The single “Countess of the night” has a very evident EBM component. Would you say that EBM is part of your DNA?
"Very much so. I've always loved EBM, but haven't found a way to work those influences into St. Digue until I made that song.
I think that has to do with a lot of EBM being very macho haha. I didn't really know how to incorporate that into my more vulnerable universe. In some ways 'Countess' is kind of an outlier in my discography in that it actively avoids that vulnerability and indulges my more explicit antifascist political ideals instead."
Another element I find really interesting is the illustrations and graphics on your albums and singles. Are those your art?
"I've made all the graphics and illustrations on everything I've released yeah! I have a degree in Graphic Design and would be a shame to not use it."
You are also a member of post-punk band Hævner, which we actually placed in our top albums of last year. Are you still part of that project?
"That's right! I love playing in Hævner and I'm happy to announce we are currently working on brand new material we can't wait to show sometime soon!"
Are you planning to play at any Summer festivals or individual gigs?
"My plans so far is to play at Metal Magic Festival in Denmark, Plan B - Malmö, Sweden with Diavol Strain and I'm currently booking a European Tour this Autumn, so look out for that!"
What is the best concert you have ever been to - if there was one that has really impacted you as an artist.
"Death Grips at Pumpehuset, Copenhagen. I've never experienced anything that visceral and chaotic in my life. It was breathtaking."
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
"That's a tough one! My dream collab would probably be Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. He has probably inspired me the most as a teenager."
I would like to personally thank Kasper again for taking the time to answer all our questions, it was a long list!