Watch the trailer for ‘Who Killed The KLF?’ documentary
The story of The KLF -- dance music anarchists and pranksters Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty -- has long needed a documentary as so many things happened that don't even sound real, including guns, #1 hits, sheep, music biz excess, pyramids, burning £1 million in cash, uncleared samples, Tammy Wynette, submarines, Doctor Who, lawsuits, ABBA, and more. We've now got one with director Chris Atkins' new film Who Killed the KLF?
The documentary includes interviews with Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, Alan Moore, and more. But not Drummond or Cauty. Atkins didn't let that stop him, as he told The Guardian:
The pair were then in their mid 50s, and patiently listened as I explained how our film would chart their extraordinary journey from sampling stolen records in a south London squat to becoming one of the biggest bands in the world a couple of years later: six UK Top 10 hits in 18 months that crashed an entire mythological rave universe into transatlantic pop culture. They nodded sagely, and very politely told me to piss off.
Normally that would be the end of it. The rules of film-making dictate that music documentaries require the artists’ consent. No access meant no rights to music, and no first-hand stories. But I kept ruminating on this exasperating paradox: that the band with the most unhinged story imaginable was slipping into obscurity because they didn’t want their story to be told. It was my cameraman Chris Smith who made the mistake of drunkenly asking: “Well, what would the KLF do?” The answer was suddenly obvious: they’d stuff the rules and get on with it. Which is exactly what we did.
Who Killed The KLF? uses previously unheard interviews with Drummond and Cauty, as well as recreations of some of the group's most infamous moments to tell its story. After the film was finished, THe KLF ended up giving Atkins their seal of approval which helped him get some of their music in the film. The film is out now in the UK and will hopefully get a North American release soon. In the meantime you can watch the trailer and some of The KLF's over-the-top music videos.
After having deleted their entire catalog in 1991 at the height of the success, The KLF finally put their music back on streaming services in 2021.