Last updated: 08/29/2009 12:00:00 PM
The group Laibach was established in the year 1980 in Trbovlje, an industrial-coal mining town in the centre of Slovenia (YU).
Upon its founding in 1980 Laibach prepared in Trbovlje its first multimedia project "Red Districts (Rdeci revirji)", designed to challenge the striking contradictions of the political structure of the town at that time. The project was banned before it opened, which prevented the first public appearance of the group, though not the angry media response which followed. Laibach appeared again in 1982, with their first concert appearance in Ljubljana. This was followed by the first concerts around Yugoslavia (Zagreb, Belgrade), and a headlining appearance at the New Rock festival in the centre of Ljubljana. On June 23rd 1983, the group made its first television appearance, an interview on the political/news programme "TV Tednik". The interview provoked numerous reactions, and was followed by an administrative/political ban on public appearances and the use of the name Laibach. November and December 1983 saw the first European tour by the group, the "Occupied Europe Tour" (with the British group Last Few Days). The 17-date tour covered 16 cities in 8 countries in Eastern and Western Europe. The group made a successful anonymous appearance at the Malci Belic Hall, Ljubljana in December 1984. April 1985 saw the release of the first album by Laibach, on the Slovenian Ropot label. Because of the ban, the record came out without the group's name, and instead the cover featured a symbol, the group's trademark. The 1985 album "Rekapitulacija 1980-1984", for the Hamburg independent label Walter Ulbricht Schallfolien, was also the first of the group's records to gain an international release. Following "Nova akropola", Laibach's 1986 album for British independent Cherry Red, the group were signed by the London-based Mute Records. "Opus Dei", released in spring 1987, was the first album for the new label. February 1987 saw the first concert in Slovenia since 1984, and the first official concert since the 1983 ban. The release of "Sympathy For The Devil" in 1989 was followed by a European/American tour. On the 26th December, 1990 the group appeared at the thermoelectric power station in Trbovlje, their first appearance in their hometown since the (aborted) project in 1980. The concert marked the tenth anniversary of Laibach and the founding of the NSK State. In October 1995, as part of the "Occupied Europe NATO Tour 1994-95" the group appeared at DC3 Dakota in Ljubljana. The tour ended with two concerts in besieged Sarajevo, on the 20th and 21st of November, under the banner "NSK State Sarajevo".
In 1997 Laibach toured extensively in Europe and USA but conclude the year with significant tour of 9 concerts trough Ukraine, Russia and Siberia, all the way to Novosibirsk and Barnaul, next to Mongolian border. The final concert of 1997 nevertheless happened in Serbian and Yugoslavian capital Belgrade, where Laibach appeared on the emotional concert in front of 3500 people, not playing there since the beginning of war in ex-Yugoslavia for more than eight years.
One of the most significant concert for the group in its career was the opening event at the European Cultural Month in Ljubljana (Slovenia), where the group appeared, in front of the presidents of several states and in front of diplomatic choir, with a huge show, together with the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and mixed choir, playing Laibach's early heavy industrial music, orchestrated with massive philharmonic sound. Again, the show produced a lot of controversial reactions and Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra dropped all further collaboration.
On 10th of July 1998 Laibach performed in London (Queen Elisabeth Hall), at the occasion of Central European Festival, presenting new single »Barbarians« from the forthcoming record. This was Laibach's second appearance in prestigious Queen Elisabeth Hall (first one happened on April 1. 1987) and 11th London solo concert in 15 years (22nd, including 11 London performances with Michael Clark in his "No Fire Escape in Hell" show in Sadlers Whells Theatre in September 1986).
On 1st of September 1998 Laibach performed in Sarajevo at the occasion of Bridge festival which was projected as coordinated series of cultural events including a cross-cultural concert of musicians and artist from east and west (also with Eric Burdon, Natacha Atlas, Trans-Global Underground, Djam and Fam, The Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra,…), the Sarajevo Film Festival, a number of exhibitions, and an international peace forum. This was group's third concert in Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital in the last few years. Laibach already played several concerts in Sarajevo before the break of Yugoslavia.
On 1st of June 2000 group celebrated its 20th anniversary. At the same time The Blair Witch Project premiere in Slovenia was held at the unknown location. On 18 th of June Laibach took part at the EXPO 2000 exhibition in Hannover (Germany).
Laibach is mainly oriented into popular media, although it associated different levels of work from the beginning, including gallery and theatre installments. It had performed in as many territories as ex-Yugoslavia, Germany, Great Britain, USA and Canada, Austria, Benelux, Scandinavia, Middle and Eastern Europe, Italy, France, Switzerland and Greece.
Laibach has played in worlds most known halls such as Bloomsbury Theatre, Sadlers Whells Theatre, Queen Elisabeth Hall, Riverside Studios, Astoria Theatre, Town And Country, Union Chapel (all in London), Manchester Pollytechnic (Manchester), James A. Doolitle Theatre, Scream Theatre and The Palace (Los Angeles, Hollywood), Moore Theatre (Seattle), The Kitchen, The Palladium and The Limelight (New York), Opera House (Toronto), Park West Theatre (Chicago), Deutsches Schauspielhaus (Hamburg), Volksbuehne, Loft and E-Werk (Berlin), Teatro Verdi (Genoa), Teatro Miella (Trieste), Lucerna (Prague), Museum of Modern Art (Stockholm), Theatre Gorbunova (Moscow), Great Tivoli Hall (Ljubljana), Sports Hall (Zagreb), National Theatre (Sarajevo), etc.
Laibach participated on important festivals such as LIFT in London, L.A. Festival of Art in California, New York Seminar of Music in N.Y., Wiener Festwoche in Vienna, Biennal of New Music in Zagreb, BITEF in Belgrade, etc.
In sixteen years it has published 15 LP records (among these three double LP's) and numerous amount of singles and cassettes. It has created music for fifteen theatre productions and strongly participated in some of these projects: Baptism Under Triglav (NSK/Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre, Cankarjev dom), No Fire Escape In Hell (Michael Clark and Co.), Macbeth (Shakespeare/Wilfried Minks, Deutsches Schauspielhaus, Hamburg), Noordung Prayer Machine (Cosmocinetical Cabinet Noordung, SNG Opera Ljubljana), etc.
On Laibach and NSK several documentary and full length movies and 10 video spots had been filmed. Some of the important films are:
- Pobjeda pod suncem (Victory under the Sun)/directed by Goran Gajic
- Bravo/directed by Peter Vezjak and Daniel Landin
- Prerokbe ognja (Predictions of Fire)/directed by Michael Benson
In 1984 Laibach has established (together with Irwin group of painters and a Scipion Nasice Sisters Theatre group) wider, unformal organisation and esthetical movement NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst). Today the main NSK groups are: Laibach , Irwin, Noordung, New Collectivism Studio, Department of Pure and Applied Philosophy, while there is a number of flexible subdivisions which emerge as the need arise and dissolve under own inertia. NSK had in at least in ex-Yugoslavia and Slovenia strongly marked the eighties and develops in the nineties with an establishment of the NSK State with its own passports, proclamations, embassies, consulates, stamps, etc.
Laibach participated in several books, but the most important is NSK Monography, published in 1992 by AMOK Press in USA and Graficki zavod Hrvatske (Graphical Association of Croatia).
Laibach works and lives in Ljubljana, its record company is Mute Records from London.