Music journalist Kevin Cummings recently interviewed Krom .. following some snippets from the interview about the single and why it was made.
Christopher Minko is the lead man for the Cambodian noir band Krom, which made a historic three venue debut in Bangkok, Thailand in December of 2014. Krom strive towards originality at all times, they work acoustically and have the objective to establish a musical genre called contemporary Mekong Delta Blues, based on the merger of Delta Blues guitar work with the magic and mysticism of Khmer vocal sounds. Krom is unique on many levels, one of them being that they are a bilingual band, Khmer and English.
Thailand Footprint is pleased to have Christopher Minko back today to discuss, among other things, his new song Taliban Man.
KC: Christopher, welcome back for a second interview at Thailand Footprint. Our last interview went two parts and ended up in a couple of newspapers in Thailand and Cambodia. Lets see where this one goes. Today’s interview will be short, sweet and sour. You can’t escape sour in many Krom songs. And that’s putting it mildly. Taliban Man is no exception. It’s your latest release. Tell me where the inspiration came from and how long Krom worked on the song creatively once you had the lyrics down?
CM: Probably enough love songs floating about out there mate and someone has to do the dirty work and sing the songs that tell of the very sad reality of; it’s a mighty fucked up world out there at the moment and that we need to speak out or sing more about the grave social injustices and horrendous levels of violence and slavery that are enveloping this world.
It is the historical role and responsibility of the musical troubadour to write and sing about these issues, so in a world dominated by plastic mind numbing music and with very few troubadours left, that’s what Krom does (acknowledging author Christopher G Moore for that last reference to the role of the troubadour).
So with Taliban man – I am the father of a now 21 year old daughter whom I raised on my own and of course I dearly love my daughter and am proud of her successes and growth into a confident woman – so I am a parent –When I heard of the Taliban massacre of the Pakistani schoolchildren – It somehow belted the shit out of me; the tragic and utterly insane concept of adults murdering innocent children is, for me, the ultimate act of cowardice and somewhere in the equation I see humanity as sliding downwards into an abyss of no morality covered by a cesspool of blood and I am horrified that humanity can stoop so low with such acts of violence – The level of violence and selfishness that is swallowing the globe, deeply disturbs me along with the increasing use of children in warfare – so all of a sudden the following lines came into my head.
“Yeah, I’m the man
I’m a Taliban Man
I shoot little children
In the head
Ah gotta make sure
That they are dead”
….and from there came the song Taliban man
And it became, like so many Kromsongs; “a song that has to be sung.”
KC: The song opens with laughter and gunfire. Tell the story of Taliban Man to our readers as a lyricist might and then in broader fashion – how it could be interpreted by different listeners.
CM: Very simple / very blunt – Taliban man describes the ultimate act of cowardice carried out by so called “men” who slaughtered 165 Pakistani schoolchildren – Adults killing Children ! – a senseless, brutal violent act of pure cowardice and the horror of this tragedy is described within the lyrics – the lyrics are very simple and are meant to be that way – To the point – for example
“A bullet in the chest
A broken breast
Her blood on the floor
Naked and raw”
Recognizing the complexity of the theme and the sensitivity of current global politics, I have included the below KROM statement about this song in order to avoid confusion or a misinterpretation of the song – however I very much stand by this song, as I repeat – It’s a song that needs to be sung and I do acknowledge that mockery is a very very powerful tool to campaign against violence in all its manifestations.
A KROM Statement: This KROM song is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of innocent children killed in war and civil conflict. The lyrics can be equally applied to the thousands of Jewish children gassed in Nazi concentration camps in WW2, to the multitude of children who died under the brutal regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia, the recent kidnapping of innocent children by Boko Haram and the innocent children currently being killed by US drone bombs in Afghanistan. Saddest of all is the recognition that even in the 21st Century, humanity continues to use innocent children as tools of war and civil conflict.
released March 23, 2015
Taliban Man: A Kromsong
Guitar / Vocals / Lyrics: Christopher Minko
Vocals: Sophea Chamroeun
Keyboards: James “Mao” Sokleap
Music: Christopher Minko + Sophea Chamroeun
Produced by James “Mao” Sokleap
Recorded in Phnom Penh Feb/Mar 2015
Mastered by the Carvery (UK)
Released by Metal Postcard Records