Interview by Brian Firth and David Basteri

cEvin Key has been carving out the shape of electronic music for over fifteen years. Skinny Puppy the most influential and pioneering electronic band, was the offspring of his and lead singer Ogre's copulation. Later joined by keyboardist Dwayne Gottell Skinny Puppy released albums throughout the 80's into the early 90's shaping the club culture and inspiring other artist (Trent Reznor, Marilyn Manson) to take the essence of SP's electronic art to the masses. Skinny Puppy collapsed in 1993 under internal strife within the band and label, and was finalized by the tragic loss of Dwayne to a heroin overdose. During the last years of his life Dwayne and cEvin along with DJ Philth and Mark Spybey began to work on outside projects that became a revolt to the corporate pressures placed on them by American Records. These truly uncommercial creations were released under the name Download af! ! ter his death. Download's "Furnace", "Eyes of Stanley Pain", and "III" have since proved to be some of the most amazing works of art ever released in any genre. cEvin continues to produce music at an amazing pace and has released a solo album "Music For Cats" and is working on several other collaborations to be released as well as more Download. In June look for the album "Space Cake" under cEvin's herb righteous band platEAU.

What are your impressions or opinion of the electronic music genre,and it's evolution up until this point. What do you think of the success or lack there of that your contemporaries are experiencing in relation to your own musical projects. Does it even matter to you? If not...do explain.

I think electronic music has developed into a appreciated art form. I love some new artists brilliance, and always feel as though the envelope is still being pushed. I definitely feel that the music is more difficult to make now than it was. When we started ! ! we had very little influence as to how we should sound, and that gave us a lot of freedom to create something that had yet to be heard. With today you have a lot of genre's and styles that are easy to fall into when creating. It is always a challenge to try and defy "Industrial", "House", "Hip HOP", "JUngle" "Trance" etc, all of which never existed when we started Skinny Puppy.

Elaborate on your theory of music, or the making of music, as a transcendental medium and its ability to create or invoke spiritualesque experiences.

Sometimes I have felt that there is a energy which helps the music to be created that is outside of our "control". I used to feel sometimes that we were channeling sounds from some external energy. This concept was utilized a lot in Skinny Puppy. We didn't really try to create our music, we helped our music create itself.

What musicians from the past or present have had an influence on your own music or that you truly admire? Who, if anybody, do you wish to work with in the future, in relation to musical collaborations? Aside from your own music, what do you listen to in your spare time?

In the past a lot of music has excited me to extremes : Kraftwerk, Fad Gadget, Human League, Joy Division, Japan, Yellow magic Orchestra,Gang of four, Portion Control, Nocturnal Emissions, Legendary Pink Dots, The Doors. The present: ( stuff I really think is brilliant) Aphex twin, Autechre, Maurizio/Vainquer or any artist on the Chain Reaction label, Muslimgauze (maroon),pole, squarepusher. The present (stuff I think is overrated) Frontline Assembly, NIN.

With album names like 'Music For Grass Bars' and 'Space Cake', you have made it clear that cEvin Key holds a warm place inside for Cannabis and its dreamy nature. What are your thoughts of marijuana as a creative stimulant, and its effects, if any, on your personal creative process? Your thoughts on its legality.

I can only speak from a position whereby THC helps me to feel better about life. It helps me in the way prozac may help someone else. I am able to feel more active, and I am able to function better without the stress of depression. I can laugh and have a sense of humour ( I am still recovering from a rash of deaths of all of my closest family and friends in the last 10 years) I am not a advocate of drug use though. I have tried and experienced a lot of drugs in my twenties, and I feel though it was a experience, I am not sure if it has been entirely valuable. I have always admired most the people that have been raised in such a way that they have internal peace and serenity. My family was unfortunately plagued with alcoholism and neglect, so I took my solace in my own mind, with my cats and my instruments. I am a firm supporter in the legalization of marijuana for the people to decide whether it is right for them, not the government. It is a nonviolent, creative and medicinal plant with many beneficial qualities. The 3000 million dollars the US spends each year to prosecute and imprison pot smokers is the biggest crime TO americans to be committed each year. With a country based on freedom of rights, this is very hypocritical.We could be feeding Thousand of homeless, creating new less violent schools helping people, and benefiting from the sale of the the products that are taxed. The only way that Marijuana is any more of a danger than alcohol or tobacco as being a gateway drug is because the US is forcing over 10 million people per year to purchase and deal with The Black MARKET. Taking helpful medicines away from the SHIT drugs like coke/heroin/speed/crystal would help identify problem areas of town, where people could focus on treatment centers (paid for by Marijuana taxes), and give people a option to treat themselves with a plant that calms and stimulates creativity and sense of being. So many people smoke pot, including some of the biggest celebrities in the world. There is a lot of violence toda! ! y because of our prohibition. Most people I speak to are "furious" about this Prohibition. When I travel to Holland I see a system that answers the question "does it work ?" In most cases in Holland most people DO NOT smoke pot, even though they can go out and buy it anywhere in town legally. When someone can be given the choice to behave like they have the choice, smoking it does not have the same associated thrill with doing it that kids have when they first MUST try pot. Most kids will get into the liquor cabinet very young and make a bottle of"jungle juice"get drunk to the point of vomiting and learn from this. I know I did. learned that I didn't like it, I can see if it was illegal though that Kids would love the associated thrills. Today I never get drunk .

It's been said 'Music For Grass Bars' was a collection of leftover material and jam sessions with you and Phil Western. Is 'Space Cake' more of the same or a more focused and structured effort?

The headspace behind platEAU is chill. We like to be mellow but be in a grooven headspace. The new lp is steps above the first Lp Music for Grassbars. actually we did the first LP in 3 weeks , Space Cake we have spent longer on but it still is designed to be a LP that is for people who like to chill out and party with friends.

When collaborating with other musicians, i.e. Download, Skinny Puppy, etc., what kind of role do you assume in the creative process involving the creation and writing of the songs? Are you the "ringleader" so to speak? Or are you more of a solitary composer, with others ideas being inserted separately, devoid of group interaction?

Everyone is a equal on these projects. Everyone has their own unique talent and style. It is when it all comes together then it turns into Skinny Puppy or Download. I guess each combination determines the outcome.

Expand on the professional relationship that's developed between you and frequent collaborator, Genesis P. Orridge, and what you think or feel his contributions add to your work. Your image.

I really admire the brilliance of Gen as a individual . He is one of the most knowledgeable fellows you could ever hope to collaborate with. His words are like pictures to me. I have tried to set a landscape for this feeling. I think he is a innovator and has added a lot to the spirit of where the music s soul comes from.

Many feel 'The Eyes of Stanley Pain' stands as the standard for all electronic music that has followed to be measured. What does the future hold for Download?

I also love Stanley Pain . Working with Ken Marshall is always amazing. The guy is a genius engineer. It is a real treat to be able to just play and have someone so talented able to control and mold you. There are major Dwayne moments on the Lp that blow my mind. Download III was made by Phil, Valcic, and myself over a six month period. The new LP is starting in the summer for the projected March 2000 tour. In the meantime I can imagine it will be heavier sounding. Both Phil and I have agreed to make a harder LP for the next one. We have just put together a lot of new releases for Subconscious. The first being the new subconscious compilation #2 'Wild Planet' featuring all the bands and even more friends, for Nettwerk. Then there is the new LP for PlatEAU called Spacecake on Metropolis released in June. I have been working on the new Tear Garden LP for a year with Edward and the LPDs, this will be finished in the summertime. Should see a fall release on Nettwerk, March 2000 tour. The Download Lp should commence recording in the late summer, that is on Nettwerk. Additionally I am working on my second solo LP also for Metropolis.

Have you been approached with the opportunity to score movie soundtracks, or have you previously, or plan to be involved with this type of work?

This is a thing I hope to do more of. We have some music in the up and coming Blair Witch Project which is supposed to be very scary , as well as incidental music for Psycho , and Suburbia , Charlies Family, etc. I would love to do more video game music or collaborate with a filmmaker video artist. Interested parties should contact me at ckey@jps.net

Are there plans for more work between yourself and Mark Spybey? Why or why not? If so, what direction would a project like this stray?

Yes I am looking forward to doing something again with Mark. He is a good friend. I like the darker material we were doing around Eyes of Sp, that was very nice to jam.