W+K, Amsterdam's Night of Darkness

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Agencies often throw special events in the name of creativity, morale boosting or just plain ol' booze-fueled fun. On Friday July 3, an arty shroud of evil descended over Wieden + Kennedy, Amsterdam. This evil was dubbed "Slaughter" and it came with an Englishman named French.

Organized by resident death metal heads Jeff Kling, Andrew Koningen and Hector "Sanchez" Muelas, the event was a "vernissage" followed by "a brutal, live metal massacre." The art show showcased the dark, detailed stylings of French, whose commercial work repertoire includes Vans, Carhartt, Paul Smith, Nike and more, and was followed by a live death metal musical onslaught featuring Inhume, Leng Tch'e and Nox.

After the agency art show the party moved to the confines of Amsterdam metal club The Cave, for the musical portion of the program.

We spoke to Kling, Koningen and Muelas about the various ins, outs and what-have-yous of the show.

How did the idea for this show come about?
Kling: I knew French from before and we'd done a couple art openings here. So we had talked about showing his stuff at some point, and it just worked out that now was a time that worked for everyone.

Ideally you'd want to do a show like this during the darker winter months but then why not counter-balance the oppressive sunshine of summer with some French art work and a metal show? So we're really glad the timing worked out that way.

What was your goal for it?
Kling: The goal was really just to have a good time. That's mostly what it's all about. We were thinking at first that we'd just maybe have a couple bands play here at the agency but things are really close-quarters and cramped in Amsterdam. We not only get noise complaints from the neighbors, we get light complaints. We have curtains we need to close if we want to work past five o'clock or something (laughs), so Hector and Andrew did some digging and found this one great metal bar in town. French was sending over some suggestions on what bands we might try to get and when Hector called to ask them they were all really stoked.

You had a coffin full of beer.
Muelas: Yeah, we custom-made a coffin fridge for the art show.

Koningen: One of the maintenance guys here built the coffin and put a pool liner in it to hold all the beer.

Kling: Our Heineken client sent over a bunch of beer and people were getting into the darkness, arranging the bottle caps in the shape of pentagrams and stuff on the lid of the coffin. Really getting into the spirit. It was blasphemous.

What was the reaction to the show from the agency folks?
Koningen: Massive. There were two parties going on, one on the street and one inside.

Kling: People lost their fucking minds at the show. It was wonderful to see. A lot of people from the agency stepped well outside themselves, their own aesthetic and what they usually do on a Friday night and were just happy to go a little crazy, drink a bunch of beer and see a metal show. One of my favorite people is this middle-aged German account exec, who shall remain nameless, but she got right into the spirit, pulled everything black out of her closet and got right into it.

Muelas: Yeah, it was great to see so many people just embrace the metal, get a bit smashed and have a ton of fun.

Kling: I think people were actually surprised at how much fun it was.

Koningen: Shirts came off.

Kling: Yeah, shirts came off.

Leng Tch'e
Leng Tch'e
Jeff Kling (left) and French
Jeff Kling (left) and French
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