Litany: Interview Archive

Lacouceur, Liisa. "???." Pulse, April 1998.

"I KNOW THAT MUSIC FOR CATS IS PROBABLY THE WEIRDEST RECORD I've ever made," says cEvin Key. Key certainly knows the barometer: As founder of Skinny Puppy, he's been responsible for some pretty weird music. The Vancouver band started experimenting with harsh electronic manipulation and programming and nihilistic lyrics over a decade ago and has influenced every industrial act that followed. Over the years, Key has made even more unconventional music with such projects as Doubting Thomas, the Tear Garden, Plateau and his new band, Download. Yet even though it features many of his past collaborators, Music For Cats (Metropolis) is Key's official solo debut.

"It didn't conceptually fit in with anything that was done up until now," he explains. "I feel that it just scratches the surface of where I'll go as a solo musician now that I'm working out of the area where I was so linked with Dwayne [Goettel, the Skinny Puppy keyboardist/sampler who died in 1995]."

The "concept" this time was to take pieces of recordings collected since the production of Skinny Puppy's swan song, The Process (American), and assemble the sound bytes into collages of free-form ambience, periodically interrupted by beats and/or spoken word. Most of the voices come from field recordings Key has collected on numerous trips to Jamaica, with Psychic TV's Genesis P-Orridge and 74-year-old poet Ashok Sarkar also contributing guest musings (on "Beauty Is the Enemy" and "Full Circle," respectively).

With Skinny Puppy albums called Rabies and Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse (both Nettwerk/Capitol) on his résumé, Key's choice of the mild title Music For Cats may be interpreted as irony, but he's actually quite serious about his feline fixation. In fact, the album contains samples created by his cats, which were sometimes placed on the keyboard during recording so they could walk across and create sounds.

"I used to sit around a lot and work on pretty weird stuff, that normally I wouldn't release. I found that my biggest fans were my cats, because they were sitting around with me while I was making it. Occasionally, my cats would really react to my music, they'd get all spastic." They wouldn't be the first. --Liisa Ladouceur

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