Polish music project Clicks has a new album out today called G.O.T.H. that is one of my favorite releases of the year. Despite the gloomy cover art with its trope-ish cemetery setting, the album contains rumpus, beat-driven electro that reflects life and elements of the dark music scene. It’s also terrific fun.
The album’s title, G.O.T.H., is not just the name of dark underground culture, it’s actually an acronym that stands for “Getting Old, Tired, and…” The release notes call it “a thoroughly serious and respectful examination of this former youth culture, which has been aging noticeably for several decades.”
G.O.T.H. is a compelling premise that feels relevant to me and many of the people I see out in clubs—after all, I’ve been going to goth-industrial clubs for more than 30 years. There are many nice surprises across the album, including an homage to the Nitzer Ebb classic, “Murderous,” known for asking the important question, “Where is the youth?”
Wojciech Król is the artist behind Clicks, and he’s no stranger to the scene. G.O.T.H. is his third album as Clicks, and he’s also a member of other bands, including the former electro-industrial project Controlled Collapse. I had the opportunity to ask Wojciech a few questions about the themes on his new album.
G.O.T.H. stands for “Getting Old, Tired, and…” I’m dying to know what the H stands for?
H stands for “Hello!” Nah, the H stands for whatever’s in your mind. To me, it stands for “Hungry.” Even though I think I’m getting the fear of getting old and tired, I still long for more. I need more. I’m hungry for more!
I noticed on Facebook that you’re having a lot of fun with the title. My favorite explanation for the acronym so far is “Gathering Of Tormented Hearts.” That’s too perfect. Are you trying to start a KMFDM thing?
I used to be a huge KMFDM fan. I still own like 9 versions of the SYMBOLS album even though the music is the same. I do like the idea of people coming up with different variations of what G.O.T.H. could mean. Especially if there’s anything specific it means to them. Like… Good Old Tony Hawk. It’s always fun to engage your listeners into something creative.
A few years ago, I began putting orthopedic inserts in my boots before I go out dancing, so this concept is really relevant to me. Are there any specific incidents like that that inspired the album?
Hah! Well, not really to be honest. Nothing specific at least.
I think it’s been a process. I started doing the music, various demos, right after the first album. It was around the time I decided to finish my other project—Controlled Collapse—that I noticed that I don’t really miss a lot of things that are happening around having a band or a music project. There’s a lot of things that you have to do besides just making music. I think I got tired of it all.
The parties that I was attending also got very repetitive. Same small bunch of people. Same small bunch of music. Leaving my house at 10 pm started being a very challenging thing to do. I realized I was becoming the very person I was always missing from the gigs I was throwing. Then, somewhere on the internet, I found that acronym for G.O.T.H. and I thought to myself that’s exactly what this album is/will be about. It’s 100% spot on.
Why do you think the dark scene is so middle-aged and not attracting many young people?
I don’t know how it is in other countries, to be honest. My experience is mostly with what is/was happening in Poland. Since I can remember, there was always discussions about “where is the youth?”
You could see that when it comes to “new” or young people that come to parties, there usually was only a handful. I don’t think there’s one reason for this. There’s plenty for sure.
One of them is the fact that people are listening to music these days differently. You don’t ask what bands someone’s listening to anymore, you’re asking what genre you’re listening to or what playlists. Bands don’t really matter anymore. They might find something they like specifically on a playlist and they will “heart” it, to listen to it more often, but it still won’t matter what band it is. It’s just music they like.
To be fair though, with how many bands there are now and the way they all sound, I do see the point in this. I mean if I’m hearing something that’s the new metal-djent or whatever is hip now, it all sounds the same to me. Same in our scene. If I hear, I don’t know, a new Hocico single (which I find quite all right to be fair), this could be just as well any other band that plays this music. In this case, what’s the point of knowing the bands if they all sound very similar. Having Spotify, Apple Music, and all those streaming platforms, nobody needs to buy records anymore so there’s no need to support the artist. Music IS THERE.
Now I hope you won’t get me wrong, CLICKS is no different when it comes to the sound. The only difference that I can see is that I really don’t take this so serious. I can make fun of the music just as much as I can make fun of myself. CLICKS is meant to be fun music.
Growing older can be difficult and a bit scary for many people. You could have gone dark and somber, but this album really is quite fun… there are a lot of clapping high hats, bouncy beats, and swirling electronic noises. What was your intention there?
CLICKS was always meant to be my “fun” project. I can do whatever I want with it, yet it was always supposed to be club-friendly. Whatever club that is. If it’s a goth club, electro club, or even EDM club I don’t care. With that, even though when you think about it, the theme is actually quite serious—I made it this way to enjoy it. You know, to quote one of my fav bands: if it’s too loud, you’re too old.
How do young goths and middle-aged goths differ?
I’ve yet to see a young goth. Hah! I honestly don’t know. I’m sure younger people still have that passion in them, especially if they only just discovered the genre. They want to be the genre, help it strive and evolve. The latter just want to enjoy themselves with songs they know and like. That’s obviously a nasty generalization, but that’s how I see this looking at myself heh.
Is G.O.T.H. a celebration of middle-aged goths? Or is it a bit of poking fun?
It’s a bit of this and that really. I mean when I was doing parties, throwing concerts here in Łódź, Poland, I was always pissed that so few people come. There’s no youth, but there’s also no “old guard.”
I later understood that they’re not here because the priorities change in life the older you get. So from one side, I am making fun of the obvious (“Every Bloated Muscle”) but then again I am trying to reconcile with getting older myself (“Mr. Nevergonnabe”).
“Every Bloated Muscle” is clearly an homage to Nitzer Ebb’s “Murderous,” but with a G.O.T.H. spin. Why that song?
At first, without vocals, that song sounded to me very much like my previous song, “Party Hard,” but a bit less electro and more EBM. I think one of my friends started singing “where is the youth” to it and I thought: YES. Decided to reply to that question… there is no youth. It’s one of those fun quirks I have that I tend to sing other songs on top of my music. “Call The Ships To Port” was always one of my favs.
Which track on G.O.T.H. do you think best captures the spirit of the album?
Hah! Ironically, there’s one track that does that perfectly that is NOT on the album. I’ve even shot a video for it, so it will pop up at some point.
You reference yourself a few times on the album (“Clicks. Dead” and “The Clicks in Me”). Is this album ultimately about you?
The album has a lot of my thoughts about the scene, the music… the struggle… Few of the songs are about me particularly. I just think we all take this way too seriously, and therefore it’s all very stale. We need to open the windows of our hearts and let CLICKS in…