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Radio Interview with Kevin, Chris & Sebastien
WBER 90.5 FM
Transcribed by Robert Ferent
Transcribed from an audio recording. The recording cuts in mid sentence (the beginning of the interview is missing). Q = Interviewer, SM = Sebastien Monney, CS = Chris Schleyer, KM = Kevin McMahon.
Q: ...hooked up with the Bowie and Nine Inch Nails extravaganza tour?
SM: That's a dream come true. [laughs] That's all I can say.
Q: You definitely gotta be happy about this?
SM: Totally happy...
Q: Leads to a lot more exposure across the country.
SM: Yeah, well, there's that and also there's, you know, the fact of us on tour with David Bowie which is, you know... prestige or something, I dunno, someone who's had great influence on us, so, we're proud of that.
KM: Yeah, I think it's a good mix of an audience. The people who would come for Bowie and Nine Inch Nails, it may be extreme to some extent, but the taste in music and the adversity I think is something that will be satisfied by our presence there. You know, it might be something that, well, it's not over too far in one direction, you know, cuz we kinda bounce back and forth from those extremes, even if sometimes it seems like the name may be completely aggressive, the music isn't all there, and neither is the content of the lyrical expression.
Q: Do you think in the future we're going to start to see more of these kind of tours with veteran artists like Bowie touring with new, more popular artists like Nine Inch Nails and yourselves? Do you think this is gonna be something we're gonna see more of in the future?
CS: Umm... I dunno. I think Bowie was pretty smart to hook up with Nails because they're so huge right now, and I think he also realizes that a lot of the kids today that are into Nails and the alternative scene are still in touch with the old stuff, like Bowie and some of the older artists that come from 20 years ago, cuz there's definitely a lot to learn from those guys. So, I think it's a good thing that they're together, and we're all gonna be kinda on the road together. I think it's gonna be great.
Q: I definitely think it's healthy for music today; blending everyone together.
SM: I think also that Bowie's someone who reinvents himself all the time so it's not like he's [indecipherable] going on tour with Nails, you know, it's a new thing for him and [indecipherable] new Bowie, too.
Q: OK. The album, which is self titled PRICK, has been out since late January of this year [Editors Note: We've got two conflicting dates in January & February for the release of the PRICK album], and the first single is for “Animal”, which has been doing extremely well for us at WBER...
KM: Glad to hear that.
Q: ...a lot of great response to the song. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
KM: About “Animal”?
Q: About “Animal”.
KM: Ah, well, it was recorded in London, produced by Warne Livesey... it was recorded, I guess, two years ago... two and a half years ago. As far as, like, the content of what it's about, I think it... that's sorta like the work “Prick”. It has, and potentially should have, different inference to a different person who listens to it. I was trying to think of what, and prioritize what it's mostly about, you know... if it's an anti-fur thing, or if it's anti-meat, or if it's just some anthropomorphical dream, you know, what exactly it is. But I think it touches on just the issue of obsession, mainly, and what can happen to a persons mind when they're obsessed about something that's in the physical realm, even though you always seem to be struggling to get out of that, you know, and use your mind to think yourself into a different reality you do have to wake up in the same sack of skin, you know, and wonder what this is all about and what we can do with these desires.
Q: Right. Now, the video for the song is definitely one of the more interesting videos on MTV now with all the various animals, and the flashing nature of it. Did you come up with the concept for that, the video?
KM: No, that was Erick Ifergan, the director. It was kind of a mutual honing of the concept, but usually when these kind of things get started you look for directors, go through a bunch of reels, and in my case it was about a hundred before I came across somebody who, just judging by their reel, seemed to be different enough and would look for another dimension in the music rather than just going to the obvious. And, although this, to me, is an obvious interpretation on the surface, the way that it was handled and what it does to your thinking as far as these humans and animals being caged in the same environment, and all subjugated to the lens... the confines of where they are, I think was a nice touch.
Q: Now, the album, from a few of the reviews that I've read about the album, people have kind of described it as a 70's attitude meeting 90's technology. How do you feel about that? Is that kinda the way you were...
Q: Chris? Sebastien?
CS: Let me just say that, umm, the 70's attitude, I don't really understand where they're coming from there.
Q: Yeah, when listening to the album, granted some of it... it's kinda hard to hear the lyrics, co it's kinda hard to see where they were coming from when they said the 70's attitude, that's kinda why I wanted to ask you guys why critics had gotten that feeling from the album.
CS: I don't know if I agree. I don't understand that. I think that, uh, the thing that separates this record from the industrial edged acts that are out now is that the core of the record is the songs. I mean, if you strip away all the machines and 90's technology part that they say, all you're gonna find is just really strong, basic songs. I mean, you could play these songs with an acoustic guitar and vocal and they would still be great songs, you know. If you did that to some of the other industrial bands you may not find that. So, maybe that's what they mean when they say the 70's meets the 90's, because back in the 70's, you know, the older like bands in the 70's, they didn't have all the technology to fall back on that we do today.
Q: Speaking of the lyrics, something that sets the album apart, Kevin, you are the one that writes...
Q: … the lyrics?
KM: Yes I am.
Q: Now, when you're writing, do you like looking into your personal life and taking that into your songs, or do you like l;looking at, say, society and the ills of society and writing about that? How do you, when putting together the songs, what do you like to..?
KM: I have to be involved in there somehow. And so it's... it's kind of through different... I have a problem saying character because it seems then that you divorce yourself completely from it, which is not the case. I'm comfortable with all these different, you know, voices or points of view, but it is kind of throwing yourself into, or myself into, a situation that may happen and seeing what I would do if that was me, if I was the victim or the oppressor at the time and try to speak from that position and then also analyze it simultaneously from somebody outside of it who doesn't have any sympathies in those regards. Like in “Other People”... that's pretty much not coming from one particular mind and... umm... I guess it is because it's coming from mine, but the voice is not necessarily from one mind, if you know what I'm talking about. So it's kind of different, because I think in a way I write for a stage or fiction type thing rather than “I have a band and this is what I think”, you know, and so I'm gonna say what I think about today's trail or something, and it's not so much today's trial that interests me as much as the act of trial and the procedure and how it is the same, what is the same between this trial that everyone's obsessed with now and the one that happened in 1597 France when some woman they thought was a witch or something... that type of thing. So, I'm not personally involved, like, it doesn't happen to me in my life, but I try to throw myself there as much as I can... as the brain allows.
Q: Right. In case you're just joining us, we are live in the studio with Kevin, Chris & Sebastien from Prick, in town tonight for a show at the Waterstreet Music Hall, and yes, there are still tickets available. In case you're wondering tickets are available at the Waterstreet Music Hall for the show tonight. Back to the album for a little bit, features an all star cast of people working on it. Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails produced four tracks from it, Warne Livesey produced the other six. It was remixed by Alan Moulder, and Brian Liesegang of Filter also does some work on the album.
KM: Well, yeah. The term “remix” isn't...
Q: Mixed? Remixed?
KM: Yeah, it was a mix. The album was mixed by Alan, or the majority of it. Some of it was mixed while we were doing it in New Orleans, the tracks Trent and I did. Brian's involvement was in pre-production, some of the things that I was working on before recording the actual tracks. Brian was working at the house that... what's that last Nine Inch Nails record?
Q: Downward Spiral.
KM: Yeah, that one, was being done. And so, he had a hand in that as assistant engineer, engineer, sound manipulator kinda guy. I'm not too sure about whether or not anything ended up on the record, but it was valuable for the time being cuz that's where a lot of ideas come from, or a lot of, umm, ideas get nixed in the trial period, pre-production, so he was mentioned for that reason.
Q: Now, can you take us a little bit into the different elements that, between Trent and Warne, what they... what did Trent add to the record that was different than, say, what Warne put on the tracks? Is there anything?
KM: Well, Trent is pretty much, to me, a good arranger, keyboard player, can strip down the song and rebuild it up from a keyboard standpoint which is a lot of the stuff where it went through, you know. Since we didn't have a band, pretty much the band was myself and Trent on the songs he did and Myself and Warne on the other songs, with the addition of Chris on guitar and Andy played some drums in the London sessions, but the approach and the recording is pretty much the same that we used a computer and sequencer to get the stuff from my mind to, our minds, down to tape. What each brings... they do bring different things... but, I don't know, to put that into words is a little difficult I think. Maybe that's why there's music. That would be one of the things to listen for when you're going through the album... What is the different thing here, and would something be approached differently. Also, the choice of songs. Some songs I think were cut out for Trent to be involved in, such as “Communiqué”, and then other ones, like “Makebelieve”, I felt I needed somebody who would kick back a little bit and let some ambient room and space be as important as a big noise or a grinding whistle or something, you know, and so it's hard to define in words what the difference is, just knowing the individuals and feeling that they would be right for certain songs, certain moods.
Q: Now, just one last question, cuz I know you guys have to get going. There's been some criticism in the music industry in regards to electronic music. I know we had Filter in a couple months ago, and we talked to them a little bit about this idea, and even on their album they have a little liner in regards to this criticism. Are you guys involved at all in this battle where people are kind of putting down electronic and computer music? Are you guys... have you seen any of this?
SM: I never knew there was such a battle.
Q: So, you guys haven't seen this at all?
SM: No. Have you guys seen anything about that?
KM: I have.
CS: I haven't seen anything as far as talking about us directly. I mean, I have heard things about people maybe have a bad attitude about this type of music, and I think what it all boils down to is sound, I mean, whether it's coming from a plucked string, or if you go out and record something that you hear onto a tape and then use it as a sound/texture, I don't think it matters. It's all sound. If it enhances the song and the overall sound of the record then I don't know what the big problem is.
SM: I think in the end machines don't create, external humans start the process. Machine or not, it doesn't matter, it's all human creativity. That's the main thing right there.
Q: Exactly. Each artist brings something different. If everyone was just doing the same thing then everything would sound the same. People using electronic and computerized stuff adds a different element to music, and it's kinda what makes everything sound good today and not sound exactly the same. Well, I'd like to thank Kevin, Chris and Sebastien for stopping by our WBER studios today before their show tonight at the Waterstreet Music Hall.
[All respond simultaneously with gratitude]