Posts Tagged ‘Skumfukker Nation’



November 24, 2009

MARAZENE circa 04.21.06 from l to r: Kristov, Stiph, Thrall, Gash, Skum - backstage after A Pearl Room performance with American Head Charge. This picture was taken only weeks before Kris would be diagnosed with cancer.

In thinking about my times with Kristov over the course of the last 8 years this is what comes to mind. I thank you for understanding a random missed detail during a time of mourning.

I wrote this for myself. To make sure I would not forget. But I also wrote it for Kris. To make sure noone else would forget what he meant to me and to the band MARAZENE.

I miss my friend.

I found out Kris had cancer on May, 17th of 2006 at a HIM concert at Congress Theater. Nikk had slowed down to take a phone call while we were walking up to the entrance of the venue and I would later find out it was Kris who was relaying to us the awful news. It was extremely serious. He required immediate surgery. He would need further treatment with follow up chemotherapy.

This was also the same night our video for the song ‘XecuTe’ was making it’s Chicagoland area debut on JBTV. The ‘XecuTe’ video had been a major project for me not only as a band member but as my first significant producer credit. For the band, the video was our big introduction to fans who were outside the Chicago area that we had met online through various social networking sites. It was a teaser for the eventual touring we would do in ’06 and ’07. The celebration fell a little flat and the whole evening seemed a bit out of place.

Needless to say, cancer was a difficult thing to wrap the brain around. I had no real personal experience with the disease. Kris was far too young to have developed such a bitch of a diagnosis. I would find out later on that Kris had suffered from mild symptoms of his condition as far back as the 2002 tour with BILE that he was a part of. So he basically started fighting the disease properly well into the onset. It would prove to be a very difficult thing to manage with the cancer having that much of a headstart.

What I do remember about all of this very clearly is that one minute I’m up to my eyeballs in deadlines for album mixes, album artwork, CD tour dates, phone calls, emails, follow up phone calls, lining up press for the album – all very typical for an independent band – and then *KA-BOOM* Kris all of a sudden gets dragged off (literally) for major surgery that he has to do without a second thought or choice just to survive. Head-spinning doesn’t begin to describe the situation. It was a split second requirement for Kris and we (the band) had all of ten fukking days to figure out wtf we were going to do about our ‘MachiNation’ CD show which was scheduled for May 27th at Kinetic Playground in Chicago.

The first time I actually visited Kris in the hospital after the surgery was a very stressful time. I distinctly remember the feeling while we were on the way that I was just going to freak out. I think I hid that well but inside the thoughts were a chaotic jumble. You have to consider that over the years of playing shows with him and rehearsing and hanging out that Kris was a given. He was a rock to me. He always had my back and I didn’t even have to think about it. Even through hard times there was respect. So I knew I would have to brace myself for whatever came my way that night. I know I had a beer on the way to the hospital just to calm my nerves. I had a beer in the hospital room with me tucked away in my coat. At the least I needed something to take the edge off and something to do with my hands. It was a very sad moment watching my friend struggle in a weakened state I never thought possible. There was no logic to it whatsoever. Here was a key change I had no note to cover.

Cancelling the CD shows seemed the obvious thing to do – but nothing was ever really that obvious in those days. It would have destroyed the momentum we had built up for our album and I don’t see how the math would have added up to us taking part on the National tours in ’07. We definitely would not have been prepared for them. Odds are we would never have left Chicago and we would have always been remembered as the band that could have been. Our detractors would have loved that.

For the most part, Kris and the band received a tremendous outpouring of support from our friends in the Chicagoland area but there were a couple of notable local nitpickers and naysayers that had been doing their best to derail the bands overall progress that we had been making by stirring up the pot about “leaving Kris behind” and all sorts of nonsense. But these people never had the bands best interests in mind. These were just a few people voicing an invalid opinion about a band and a collaboration that they never really fully understood. Kris, Nikk, and myself were determined to make a musical statement the likes of which the city of Chicago would always remember.

There had to be another way and Kris and I spoke about the pros and cons of cancelling or postponing this event or that event at one of my hospital visits. Our focus was always on building for the future but that didn’t mean we weren’t keen to the possibility of obstacles along the way.

What we eventually decided to do was to turn our CD show in to a sort of tribute to Kris’s struggle and with Kris’s blessing we agreed to play the out of town shows with a sub drummer. Kris believed in our album. And he was determined to fight like hell to rejoin us as soon as he could to help push it. So with the bands complete understanding and unified from the get-go we set our sites like we wrote our music – with a bigger picture in mind.

Marazene always planned for the future – and Kris was always a part of that plan.

On the night of our CD show I suggested that our videographer for the evening tape well wishes for Kris who was still recovering. Our MC for the evening made sure to dedicate the evening to Kris and there were many many toasts in the name our struggling friend that night. He wasn’t present but Kris was certainly on everyones minds.

Kris underwent an intense chemotherapy regimen in Spring 2006 following his surgery and determined fukk that he was, still managed to join us on the road for most of our shows. Despite all the hardships involving logistics I knew I wanted him there rather than have somebody else. And contrary to what many people think (including myself in the beginning) the doctors favored his staying involved with the band when it came to shows. They thought it was good to keep Kris active and involved. To keep things positive, etc.

Toward the end of 2006 I was able to land some really cool shows for MARAZENE with OTEP in Minneapolis, MN, and MUSHROOMHEAD in Flint, MI, and Chicago’s House of Blues through some of my connections. It was an especially optimistic time for the band which would end up leading to our first National tour with Mushroomhead the following year in March of 2007. I was able to confirm a tour with Deadstar Assembly about a week later for April of 2007. With the band at full strength and ready to promote the ‘MachiNation’ album it was nothing but shows, shows and more shows.

It was every bands dream to be able to tour in support of the music they created. And by not putting the brakes on in 2006 Kris, Nikk, and myself were able to capitalize on the momentum and do even cooler things in 2007. This completely invalidated the whole “leaving Kris behind” nonsense and consequently confounded both our local critics and our local competitors who – for the most part – have yet to acknowledge Kris’s struggle and the bands achievements that were borne in the shadow of incredibly negative odds and faced completely on our own.

Kris’s chemo regimen wrapped up long before we did the National tours but the after effects were still present. We wore the battle scars of a nasty fight for survival (his hair [dreadlocks] had fallen out) but it didn’t matter to him. I don’t know if I would’ve made the same decision to leave the house while still recuperating from an illness such as his and I think that gives you a good idea of how Kris – through thick and thin – managed to live his life to the limit no matter what was thrown at him. It’s what I admired about him. The never-say-die, middle-finger-in-the-air-mentality. It’s one thing to rock out with your cock out. It’s quite another thing altogether to undergo rigorous surgery, chemotherapy, and travel to do shows to rock out with your cock out. I’d be willing to bet that most people (myself included) wouldn’t leave the house until they were 100%.

Kris won the first battle with cancer. And he was able to join us on our tour dates and two National tours because of it. That’s quite an accomplishment and a victory for Kris and the band he helped found, however you want to look at it, by any measure of success.

to be continued…


THRALL WORLD EXCLUSIVE: “Remembering Kristov” Part 1 – Minneapolis Meets Chicago

October 28, 2009
RIP Kristopher "Kristov" Kemp: 10.28.74 -- 01.26.09

In thinking about my times with Kristov over the course of the last 8 years this is what comes to mind. I thank you for understanding a random missed detail during a time of mourning.

I wrote this for myself. To make sure I would not forget. But I also wrote it for Kris. To make sure noone else would forget what he meant to me and to the band MARAZENE.

I miss my friend.

The first time I ever spoke with Kris was over a phone call in early Spring 2001 when I was still living in Minneapolis and sorting through my immediate and future plans for a possible relocation to Chicago. We met by fate, chance, or karma (as most musicians do) when I responded to a Chicago Reader ad loaded with all kinds of bells and whistles that just happened to be looking for a bassist. It seemed like a good opportunity at the time and it was through this initial contact that I got Kris’s phone number. I gave him a call to test the waters and get an idea of just wtf I might be getting myself into by a move to the Windy City. I asked Kris his advice on areas to check out (and areas to stay away from) and stuff like the local Chicago music scene while just feeling out a potential future bandmate. I always appreciated the optimism that Kris made me feel about taking such a big leap into the unknown.

The first time I met Kris in person was at House of Blues in Chicago at an Orgy/Spineshank concert. It was the designated meeting place we set up to introduce myself to the band or – Bar Star Azzemblage – as I like to call it (the band never really did anything) he and I would join together very briefly in 2001.

One thing I have noted since this night was that even though Kris and I attribute our initial meeting as through this particular project, Kris had this theory that we would have met regardless for two connected and specific reasons. One was that he mentioned that I was pretty driven and was already on a path to Chicago one way or another no matter what. This is true. I had been looking for an excuse to make the jump to lightspeed. Two was that we were shooting for a similar goal. So I happen to agree with Kris’s logic.

By the end of the evening we all ended up at an afterparty held at a local dive (which has since changed its name) called Jub Jub Club over off Fullerton and Halsted in Chicago. The place was small and the bathroom of the club was like the smallest one in the world and people were just piling in to do coke off the sink and if you were lucky enough you got to use the bathroom before you pissed yourself.

Rammstein was blaring over the DJ speakers (“Hierate Miche”) at some point in the evening and Kris was asking where I had first heard of them. I told him the David Lynch mindfukk movie ‘Lost Highway’ and we proceeded to have this crazy intense conversation about bands, music and all that stuff that musicians talk about when they first meet. There was a good vibe. We hit it off and I was extremely excited about moving.

Kris had seen the future but as it turns out – it wasn’t with the band I had moved down to Chicago to join. In fact, he bailed out of that situation completely within several months of my relocation. Kris had been working on some dark, heavy, electronic musical filth on the side with a guitar player named Nikk Skum. Kris introduced me to Nikk at a Dope concert held at Chicago’s Metro Cabaret Theater on one of our many excursions.

From the onset Nikk and I hit it off and we talked about working together and putting together an album of covers for shits and giggles. But once we got into the studio together and started jamming the symmetry of our writing styles became obvious and we went with that instead. Our first jams sessions ended up being ridiculously productive and everything pointed to an inevitable destiny. There was a magic in the air in those early days.

Nikk and I would eventually go on to write the ‘MachiNation’ album in 2005-2006 as well as loads of other tracks that didn’t make the album. The two of us really had a knack for complimenting each others songwriting. Together, Kris, Nikk, and myself would refine that material at dozens of Chicagoland area shows. As of this writing, ‘MachiNation’, stands as one of my most important life acheivements and I’m only happy to be able to say that Kris played a critical role in that acheivement.

I gave the benefit of the doubt to the project I moved to Chicago to join and stuck with it much longer than I should have. By the time I said “fukk it” I was in a place where I could barely recognize myself. And while the ending may have been disappointing – the optimism and possibilities with a newfound musical manifest with Kris and Nikk seemed endless. The bottom line was – I had seen enough of the Windy City to realize there was nothing here that I couldn’t accomplish and that I could do more in expressing my musical ambitions with Kris and Nikk in what our friends and fans have come to know as MARAZENE.

And so it was.

In 2003 the beginnings of an early developmental phase of MARAZENE took a major step forward playing a show at a suburban Chicago bar in Barrington called Penny Road Pub. And it steadily got bigger from there. By 2005 Nikk was fronting the band after moving over from guitar and I was singing secondary lead vocals. In our continuing evolution as a band it’s easy to point to this time period as a critical jump forward in our bands ability to compete and excel on a National and International level. The goal of just being one of the best bands in Chicago wasn’t even remotely close to being anything more than a means to an end. We were always shooting for something much much bigger.

In January of 2006 we headlined our biggest show to date at Chicago’s legendary Metro Cabaret Theater for about a thousand of our closest friends. The music for ‘MachiNation’ was being test driven around the block for what we knew would be some very active years to come once an album was released.

to be continued…


THE MARAZENE MACHINE: “We Remember Kristov”

October 26, 2009

RIP Kristopher "Kristov" Kemp: 10.28.74 -- 01.26.09

Taken from THE MARAZENE MACHINE’s Myspace blog:

As most of you have probably heard by now we lost our brother Kristopher “Kristov” Kemp a little over nine months ago to a hard fought battle with colon cancer.

Kristov would have been 35 years old today (10.28) and as per a band tradition that dates back to the beginning of our band we would have been in the process of celebrating birthday week (and more often than not – birthday month) as well as having a show lined up for whoevers birthday it happened to be.

But not this year.

All told it’s been a very strange year. It has definitely been strange not having Kris around. That and sorting through personal issues and trying to figure out when Kris was going to be able to jump back in the mix full-on. We never really planned for this without Kris. So this year has all been new ground for us.

We had to come to a new place – a new starting point.

One of Kris’s last messages to me in the final weeks was the following: “Just keep things movin along no matter what.. We got too much ridin on this to just give up ya know…”

I think about Kris and his enduring positivity every day when I wake up. It keeps me going. Gives me clarity and strength on darker days.

For those of you who didn’t know, I met Nikk through Kris. And what we have accomplished together is something I consider uniquely special and something that would not have been possible on my own. For that I am eternally grateful for.

MARAZENE was as much Kris’s dream as it was ours. And through all the good times and the bad we endure. For Kris, for ourselves, and for each other.

For those of you who have been emailing and commenting and asking – the answer is YES – there IS new music. There’s a lot. And it’s ready. More on that in the coming weeks…

But for the time being – thank you for reading. And thanks again for your continued support as we have figured out our next move.

~ DieTrich
The MARAZENE Machine

Kristov performs “AnTiThesis” with MARAZENE @ Chicago’s legendary Metro Cabaret on 06.17.07

Its been 9 months now since my brother and partner and bandmate for 8 years passed away.

kris was 6 years older than I. And we became friends in 1996 when I was 16 years old. We met at a keg party thru a mutual friend. He was wearing a Fear Factory demanufacture shirt and I won the keg stand competition. Lol and it all took off from there.

Its strange that there are still times when I think of something and quick reach for my phone to text him and realize that he isn’t and will never be at the other end of the line. Of course its been very difficult and painful at times, but in recent months its become more about remembering him and our times we’ve shared together.. As well as a kind of standard or status quo.. The thought frequently passes thru my mind of ‘what would kris think of this’ or ‘what would he say/do’. I’ve always thought of him as a loyal and ‘down’ person. If something wasn’t being handled in the ‘right’ or ‘proper’ way, he’d stand up for what was right!

I remember COUNTLESS times when I was younger, when someone was bein a fuckn prick to me, or wronging me in some way, playing on my lack of experience or confidence, he’d step right the fuck up and shut them the fuck down… ALWAYS! He ALWAYS had my back.. That is SO rare. He was a BROTHER. Someone you KNEW you had in your corner no matter what!!

I feel these days an overWHELMING urge to ‘make right by him/make him proud’ by continuing his legacy and NEVER falling short of the quality standard that kris wouldve allowed. Its like he’s still here. He IS here always in the souls and minds of everyone his life has touched. And we will NEVER let them forget…

The MARAZENE Machine

MARAZENE circa 04.21.06 from l to r: Kristov, Stiph, Thrall, Gash, Skum - backstage after A Pearl Room performance with American Head Charge. This picture was taken only weeks before Kris would be diagnosed with cancer.

MARAZENE circa 04.21.06 from l to r: Kristov, Stiph, Thrall, Gash, Skum - backstage after A Pearl Room performance with American Head Charge. This picture was taken only weeks before Kris would be diagnosed with cancer.



MARAZENE: Drummer, KRISTOPHER ‘KRISTOV’ KEMP Loses Battle With Cancer

January 28, 2009

Kristov, Stiph, Thrall, Gash, Skum

MARAZENE circa 2006 from l to r: Kristov, Stiph, Thrall, Gash, Skum

Source: Myself and the Official Marazene Myspace page

Taken from my Myspace blog:

Photo John Weaver Prod.
RIP Kristopher Kemp: 10.28.74 — 01.26.09

It is my very sad duty today to inform all of you that at a little after midnight on January 26th, 2009, my very brave and very dear friend Kristopher Kemp passed away due to complications with his battle with intestinal cancer. Below is the obituary I wrote for Kris. It’s my first one and I wasn’t sure if I did it quite right but I promised a friend and a promise is a promise…

On Monday, January 26th, Kristopher Kemp passed away due to complications from his fight against cancer. He was 34.

Kristopher Kemp was born on October, 28th 1974. He spent most of his early years in the Naperville, IL area and attended Naperville High School.

KRISTOV, as he was known to his friends and fans, was a founding member of Chicago’s MARAZENE, whose accomplishments include the soundtrack to the MATRIX Revolutions and MATRIX: Recalibrated, as well as one self-released album, ‘MachiNation’. Kristov performed with Marazene from 2001-2007, participated in multiple National tours with MARAZENE from 2006-2007, and appeared in several videos for the band.

Kristov performs “AnTiThesis” with MARAZENE @ Chicago’s legendary Metro Cabaret on 06.17.07

Kristov also toured Nationally with New York’s BILE in 2002.

Kristov was first diagnosed with intestinal cancer in May 2006 and had surgery to remove a cancerous growth and numerous lymph nodes followed by chemotherapy for much of the remainder of the year. Despite the intensive treatment, he continued to perform with Marazene as they toured the Midwest and Nationally with such acts as MUSHROOMHEAD, PSYCLON NINE, DEADSTAR ASSEMBLY, and THE HUMAN ABSTRACT.

Kristov is survived by his parents, John and Marcia Kemp, his sister Erin Kemp, his nephew Liam, his girlfriend Lisa, and his dog Petunia. Another pet, a dog named Schmoo who recently passed away, is looking forward to hanging out with Kristov once again as they both wait patiently for all his friends in this life to join him sometime in the distant future.


The Kemp family has provided me with the following information to pass along:

As most of you may already know this morning our sweet angel, Kristopher Kemp returned home to be with the Lord. He fought a courageous battle and heis a hero to all of us that knew him and even to those who did not have the pleasure in knowing him.

Please keep his family and friends in your prayers.

Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home
44 South Mill Street
Naperville, Illinois 60540
Phone: (630) 355-0213
Thursday 5:30-8:00pm



THRALL WORLD EXCLUSIVE: MARAZENE Second Life Machinima Added to Youtube Channel, Animated Video “First Of It’s Kind”

December 27, 2008

The MARAZENE Machine

The MARAZENE Machine



Source: De Los Santos Productions,,

MARAZENE have added a first of its kind SECOND LIFE performance video (commonly known as a machinima) to their Youtube Channel; CHANNEL: SKUMF***ER. The footage was assembled by SUSI SPICOLI from a ‘live virtual performance’ of the band in June of 2007. Watch the video below:

MARAZENE made history last year as the first Nationally touring band from the metal genre that exists in the real-world to make the jump from reality performance to virtual performance.

While most people are more familiar with virtual bands such as the GORILLAZ or even an animated band such as METALOCALYPSE making the jump into live performance and touring, MARAZENE have done the exact opposite, taking their machine metal sound and applying it to todays ever-evolving and edgy online platforms in a unique virtual statement.

Machinima, by definition, are animation movie(s) filmed using real time, interactive 3D environments. To understand the depth and complexity; picture dozens, if not hundreds, of unique virtual avatars each controlled by different users converging in one location much as real-world people gather at a concert. A machinima is collected real-time video footage of a virtual gathering just like a real-world multi-cam video shoot.

Marazene band member avatars were custom designed based off of band member photographs and a custom stage was designed to reflect the look and feel of Marazene in an over-the-top arena type environment. The video, or machinima, features scenes from multiple angles and in some cases, multiple cameras of the entire Marazene performance set to the song “XecuTe“.

SECOND LIFE is a new and continually developing medium that provides the opportunity for an underground ‘buzz’ band such as Marazene to reach an audience that might not be able to see the band perform in person“, director Susi Spicoli commented. “This medium carrys with it a signature live feel to it that can’t be matched by social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook or even Youtube. There’s also this group vibe being there are so many persons involved and thus a real live concert feel. It’s truly a global experience considering there are people from all over the world participating.”

We’re proud to be representing the Marazene machine, the metal community, and Chicago, in this new avenue of entertainment,” multi-instrumentalist and Marazene co-founder DieTrich Thrall also commented last year during post-production. “This is the first significant performance of this kind in this medium and the first for the metal genre and it puts us in the position of beating to the punch our peers in the metal community including innovators such as KISS, MARILYN MANSON, IRON MAIDEN, OZZY, ROB ZOMBIE, KORN, NIN, etc. Instead of following someone elses lead, Marazene was here first.”

The Marazene Second Life machinima was co-produced by De Los Santos Productions and Ballenger Media.

Other than a short run of tour dates in July of this year with WEDNESDAY 13 and a headlining performance at the Quad Cities Cream Of The Crops Festival and The Chicago Horror Film Festival, Marazene have focused the better part of 2008 on writing and refining material for a new album which is expected to be released in 2009.

For more infomation:



MARAZENE Drummer Completes Chemotherapy, Condition: “Stable”

March 27, 2008

Source: De Los Santos Productions

MARAZENE drummer and co-founder KRISTOV KEMP has issued an update on his battle with cancer.

“Scans came back stable today [Thursday, March 27th] which means the affected nodes haven’t gotten any bigger or smaller and no other cancer has developed. Thanks to everyone for the comments and kind words! The tremendous outpouring of support over the past six months has been uplifting to say the least.”

In late September of 2007 Kristov suffered a last minute cancer relapse which prevented him from joining MARAZENE on their tour with MUSHROOMHEAD last Fall. Careful last minute logistical maneuvering by the band and an 11th hour confirmation by Mushroomhead percussionist DAN ‘LITTLE DAN’ FOX (who filled in on drums for the band on the five week trek) saved the tour.

Kristov Kemp was first diagnosed with intestinal cancer in May 2006 and had surgery to remove a cancerous growth and numerous lymph nodes followed by chemotherapy for much of the remainder of the year. Despite the intensive treatment, he continued to perform with Marazene as they toured the Midwest in support their debut album, “MachiNation”.

MARAZENE would go on to complete three national tours in 2007 with such acts as MUSHROOMHEAD, PSYCLON NINE, DEADSTAR ASSEMBLY, and THE HUMAN ABSTRACT as well as dozens of Midwestern regional tour dates in support, all under the banner 100% DIY.

Marazene are currently in the studio writing the follow-up to their debut album, “MachiNation”, self released on 06.06.06.

MARAZENE multi-instrumentalist and co-founder DieTrich Thrall recently issued a studio update for the band:

“We have a couple dozen really strong song ideas and we’re writing more every day. There’s plenty of new material in all different stages of development and we’re constantly bouncing riffs off of one another on whatever instrument the part calls for.

We’re aiming for a Spring ’08 Sneak Peek at live shows and other audio outlets and of course we’ll keep everyone up to speed once we have things a bit more ironed out so sit tight.”

For more information go the the bands Official Myspace page.



MARAZENE Present: “Night of the SkumF***er: 3”

March 25, 2008


On May 25th, 2008 it will be two years (almost) to the day that MARAZENE released their debut album, “MachiNation”, to the core Windy City SkumF***er Nation at an event called “Night of the SkumF***er” on May 27th, 2006.

On May, 26th, 2007 MARAZENE headlined Mechanical Playground at NOTS: 2 after returning from their first National Tours.

Night of the SkumF***er: 3 adds to the unique history and continues the tradition of one of most exciting, enticing, and continually evolving bands to emerge from the City of Chicago.

And just how do you top the previous two NOTS? If you’re MARAZENE it’s as easy as reminding everyone that the best is yet to come.

Don’t miss this very special evening.

Details and Special Guests TBA