Californian industrial rock band, FILTER have a new album Crazy Eyes out next month. It’s a return to some more electronic sounds to Filter and has the man behind it all, Richard Patrick and his legion of fans a tad excited.
Wall of Sound caught up with Richard for a chat as we got the scoop on Crazy Eyes and also delved into some of the influences on Patrick’s career from his early says with Nine Inch Nails to the band’s affiliation with Pledge Music and more. Take a read….
I’m at home in Southern California.
So the new album is called ‘Crazy Eyes’, it’s out early next month and I had a listen over the weekend, it seems a lot more electronics have been returned to this Filter album. A bit more expansive & definitely more experimental?
Absolutely, I’ve always wanted to do a record that was just straight up for myself and the fans. Sometimes in this business you forget who’s paying the bills. I don’t want to make records that are disingenuous so I had to produce the record. I thought that was the big missing link. I took full control of the sound and just did what I wanted.
Despite more creativity in the use of electronics, it’s still heavy and although I hate comparing Filter to your former band Nine Inch Nails (I guess it comes with the territory), it definitely has a bit of that early Nine Inch Nail ‘Downward Spiral’ era feel in a few tracks, particularly the track ‘Mother E’.
Here’s the deal. When you listen to ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ and then the ‘Broken’ EP (by Nine Inch Nails) there is massive change between those two releases. The only difference is that he (Trent Reznor) thanks his live band as being an influence. From ‘Pretty Hate Machine’, the only song I really liked from that record was ‘Head Like a Hole’. That was the song that really got me involved with Trent. I thought a lot of it (PHM) was pop. So when I was in Nine Inch Nails, Trent was listening to the same music I was, like Ministry and Skinny Puppy and I was constantly telling him you’ve got to make it heavy. I’m not saying I had anything to do, whatsoever, with his music but there was the vibe it had to be heavy.
When I wrote ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’ I had to try distance myself from what Trent did but now, over the years, I think I was in the band (Nine Inch Nails) for four years, he’s listed me as an influence why can’t I go back to the original pool of influences we had at the time and do some stuff that sounded a bit like Skinny Puppy or Ministry, because that’s where industrial music came from.
Actually I recently reviewed Al Jourgensen’s new project, Surgical Meth Machine last week. It was a relief to hear your album to be perfectly honest, I think Al was transcribing a week long drug binge on his record via his computer. Some really crazy stuff on there. I’d love to hear a Richard Patrick/Al Jourgensen collaboration one day. I can only guess that early Ministry was an influence on some of your music?
We’ve known each other since the ‘80s, that would be an amazing collaboration. His new stuff is amazing.
The writing process for ‘Crazy Eyes’, firstly can you explain the title of the album and some of the themes or stories behind some of the tracks. I believe ‘Take Me to Heaven’ was about the passing of your father?
Inspired by my constant quest to hope for an afterlife or God but living in the convinced reality that when the brain dies, you die. If there was a glimpse in his eyes when he was going (Patrick’s dad), maybe it was because he saved me, maybe because it was he was on a ton of drugs, maybe he saw something else? When you have a bed of music and something like that happens (his death), you’re going to talk about it.
The rest of the record I ended up writing about the riots in America that we’re having over race. People are getting shot in the back because their black when they’re running away. Cops aren’t meant to shoot you in the back, they’re meant to run after you. There is all kind of shit going on in America and the rest of the world. Isis, look at the shit that just happened in Brussels, Belgium, the whole world has got ‘crazy eyes’.
Donald Trump, ‘crazy eyes’. He is a crazy eyed motherfucker! I write about things that are interesting to me.
I was interested to see that you guys did this record with Pledge Music. It seems the way these days for artists to connect to fans on a personal level?
When we made enough money to quickly make our record, I would update the site and fans on what we were doing and I’d ask them what they thought of something. They’d be like, yeah, that’s ok. Then I’d play them a little bit of ‘Mother E’ and they were like, ‘Yeah! That’s it, do more of that’! So instead of making record executives happy I was just connecting with the fans and they would respond. They would buy shit. They would pay for the music, the download, the pre-order, the vinyl and then they’d want it signed and want a t-shirt. People bought like clothes I had they were just sitting in my closet that I’ll never wear just to get a piece of the band’s history. The reality is, they literally were our bosses because I got to do what they wanted me to.
The fans are telling me to be crazy and be old school and be drunk Richard not be ‘super in control of his life responsible father’ Richard. So I had a hoot remembering all the crazy stuff I use to do in the studio and fun and the late night parties. It just bought that element into the record.
I like working with new people, new talent. Some band mates have joined other bands but mainly it’s just I do a record and maybe I want someone more gifted at this so I work with that person for a little bit. I like new faces. Some people get fired, they say things to wrong people. We had one bass player that got into a fight with Zakk Wylde’s bodyguard’s girlfriend. I was like, you can’t disrespect fucking Zakk Wylde, he’s like an old friend of ours! So shit happens.
But that’s the thing, it’s not a band. It’s never been a band. The first album was a ‘Mac S.E’. That there was my band mate. My drummer, my recording person.
Also I have to touch on your band members these days. Two of your current members of the line up are from my part of town, Perth, Western Australia. I think they were both playing in a covers band just 2 years ago in drummer, Chris Reeve and Oumi Kapila? How did they come to be part of FILTER? A real Australian connection now?
‘Crazy Eyes’ features those guys, they played on a few different songs. We’ll see. This record could do really and we’ll stick with the same people on the next one or maybe I want to do something different on the next one. It sucks being a hired gun. I’m actually in a documentary called ‘Hired Gun’ and that comes out soon. It explains the life of a hired gun.
Last time we saw you, was Soundwave Festival. Can we expect you in Australia anytime soon?
We usually hop on a bus in America and ride around. Only problem is our bus does not float and it costs a ton of money to get there. We just need to keep pumping this new record, and I’m positive it’ll happen. We’re not a fucking arena band, we’re not Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift. We got to fucking slum it out. I would love to go, but we’ll see.
New Album ‘Crazy Eyes’ Available for Pre-Order Now ft “Take Me to Heaven”
PRE-ORDER – http://bit.ly/1S4aBGw