Litany: Interview Archive

Clark, Ron. "???." Power For Living, 17 December 1985.

Iíve been a Skinny Puppy fan since their 1st E.P., and was looking forward to the show (the highlight of the club Degenerate.) So with a ton of crap (books, bags, camera, tape recorder, etc.) and with a ton of things going through my mind, I approached Nivek Ogre at the club before their set and asked for an interview. N.O. agreed and got the rest of the band together. So I entered the interviewers spot, and like an asshole, notice the microphone had been off for the whole interview. Embarrassed, I asked if I could do a real quick re-interview, the band said it would be cool to do the whole interview over again from the start. So this is the 2nd interview below, round 2.

Interview done by Ron Clark 12.17.85 at Club Degenerate.

Power for Living (PFL): Skinny Puppy History?

NO: The band started out in December of 1983. It sort of started out as an accident, we did our first song and the audience in Vancouver, (the underground audience) was very supportive. It started out as a result too similar tastes, we were friends a few years before that. Similar aspirations to continue to do something different and to become more or less what we have, the accident sort of created something, a spot of energy that made us want to continue on.

PLF: Musical Influences?

cK: We were all influenced by this postindustrial scene, probably for myself it was Thomas Leer, Robert Rental, ďThe BridgeĒ was a very inspiring album.

NO: Early Portion Control

cK: Yeah, early Portion Control, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, anything that came from that era.

PLF: The Nettwerk Lable?

NO: Nettwerk actually came around the same time we started up. It originally started by Moev member Mark Jowitt and Terry Mcbride who was the former manager of Moev, and at that time we were in the studio recording our 1st e.p. with our own money.

cK: Our first song actually.

NO: Yeah, our first song, and after we finished we took a tape to Terry and played it for him, and he liked it so much he immediately asked to become one of the bands on the label.

cK: So we went ahead and spent the rest of the money. We spent about $600.00 on the 1st e.p. out of our own pocket and finished recording it, and they pressed it and it just carried on from then, it was like opening a bank account.

PFL: The cost to record the new l.p. ďBitesĒ?

NO: It was like $2,500.00 for the new album.

PFL: Is ďBitesĒ in its third pressing?

NO: 7th pressing

cK: Itís listed in Rockpool, which I think is giving it a boost in sales.

NO: It was good on this tour, weíve run into a lot of people who have been incredibly helpful with getting our products exposed to the right people. Fran Duffy from Some Bizarre and few other people have been incredibly helpful.

PFL: Any changes with the lable?

cK: The whole lable has been signed over to Capitol. One bandís been signed directly to capitol, the grapes of wrath. The rest of the lable has been picked up, and itís good for us because we donít lose any control over artistic integrity, we still got 100%.

PFL: How do you finance your equipment?

NO: Most of the equipment we have is bargain basement specials. Mind you itís mostly Moog equipment we use when finding the sounds we come up with, we tend to come up with older stuff on the older equipment. So itís not really todayís standards, like you have to go out and buy the newest emulator, the newest DX7, to get those sounds we tend to be able to have more fun experimenting with cheap equipment; sort of misusing it in a way to get a different sound.

cK: Mind you, we hope to get a sampler that will hook up to the DX7 so we can start sampling found sounds and using them on the keyboard.

NO: We do use a distortion on everything. So even if we use a modern day synth it will often distort it beyond recognition. Itís a lot more fun that way.

PFL: Where do you get your voice samplings from?

NO: Weíre all movie addicts, in Vancouver there isnít much to do on a Friday night, but to go out to pick up a few videos and go home, sit back and watch them and smoke a joint or whatever. Most of the voices we use just come from a lot of our favorite movies, or just seem to have that kind of sound.

cK: Anything that sounds bizarre.

NO: Or anything that has that sound, that this should be in a song.

cK: Something that can bee seen and heard on film can be seen in one context, but when you listen to it without the visual it can be taken in another context.

PFL: You said that you want to get a sampling unit so I assume you havenít use one in the past, how have you been dropping the voices so far?

NO: Manually with cassette tapes - actually it has been done with a cassette deck, you sit there with the pause button on and release it, just a fluke.

PFL: Whatís your favorite piece of equipment?

NO: For myself, itís my Multi-Moog, the daddy of industrial synths and distortion pedal.

cK: Mines a PCM 41 Digital Delay Lexicon with a rhytm massive repeat switch. And I donít think any of our music could be in existence without a digital delay, I think that has been a pretty important piece of equipment for us.

PFL: Do you run into problems with older equipment?

cK: Itís always nice to have new toys.

NO: I donít know, itís funny. I think the thing we learned recently it that, say for instance a stereo equlalizer or something like that, you get so many people who buy one and use it properly and it will sound a little better. But we tend to misuse them a bit, and turn a hand clap into a massive gorilla crash.

cK: Gorilla noise.

NO: It can be a normal piece of equipment, but sort of misused can prove for some exciting results. Often the most energy we get in the studio will come when we turn something thatís completely normal into something different by misusing it.

PFL: Howís your first tour gone so far?

NO: Itís been an exposure tour so weíve been playing some rooms that have been cafť size rooms. But for us, we always have a great time playing live and just the ability to go around to all these cities and meet people who are into it and into the scene, and move onto different cities isÖ

cK: Just keeping busy. There was a point in time when we were just standing there waiting for what was going to happen next. Thereís a void you have to pass through, itís like, well is it going to happen or is it not going to happen? Now we passed that and at this stage its great because weíre staying busy for extended periods of time.

PFL: Whatís the next advancement.

cK: Just to keep busy and keep putting out products.

NO: As long as we can keep doing what weíve been doing, that the important thing. When we get back to Vancouver weíve got some goals of getting in the video side of things and experimenting with some conceptual videos that wonít be like your typical video, something that will be fun.

cK: A little different.

PFL: With 7 bonus tracks on the ďBitesĒ cassette, youíd have to be the king of the bonus tracks, why?

cK: On ďBitesĒ the reason we put 7 bonus tracks on was that Chris & Cosey toured Canada for 5 dates and we opened for them under a different name, not Skinny Puppy, but Hello Death Day, and the tracks on the Bites cassette were basically the music that was performed at that concert when we opened. So basically itís having it on a tape for our own means as well as for people that are into hearing a different side.

NO: People expressed interest after the show, wanting to get ahold of those songs, so got good results and decided to put them on the cassette. Itís always good, I mean Iím a record buyer, in a sense.

cK: Record Collector

NO: So when you can buy a cassette that offers something more than just the album on cassette, Itís definitely worthwhile, it creates excitement. I know, when I went to Northern Lights I spent way too much money.

PFL: Whenís the next release?

cK: Weíve got an idea for a 12Ē e.p. thatís going to be coming out when we get back. Weíre going to do a re-mix of one song off the album and one song off the 1st e.p. and 2 new songs. Itís tentatively called ďPiece of MindĒ

NO: Chunk of Mind (ha ha)

PFL: Anything worthwhile coming out of Canada?

NO: Youíll probably see a lot of bands that will come out, itís just spawning there right now, and there seems to be a great amount of interest in industrial music, especially in Vancouver. My god I canít believe it, it seems like everyone there is familiar with the entire industrial scene.

cK: Which is ridiculous. And bands like Front 242 and Cabaret Voltaire have like Mega-Star like status, and you move onto the next city and its like Front 242, whoís Front 242? And so you get these misconceptions of being in a city where things are blown out of proportion.

NO: Thereís a few bands in Vancouver that could be releasing some product soon. (I hope they do)

PFL: Closing Statements?

NO: Itís great to be here in Minneapolis.

cK: When we started the tour we heard about the date here and about the city and itís great to be here. People have been really great too. Theyíve really catered to our needs.

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