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16Volt - interview (2005)
2005-12-17 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz | e-mail interview
NINa: Some people may have a problem with typing the band name - is it 16 Volt or 16Volt? ;)

Eric Powell: 16volt, but it's no big deal if people mess it up. I always had bigger battles to fight with.

I can't believe that the band has been definitely quit reading the bio at 16volt official website. It sounds like you were persistant enough to start over and over again... I've read in some interview that 16volt name is bound with the energy of 16 years old teenager. Did you quit with 16volt agression due lack of rough energy to create such music?

No, I put and end to it because it felt like it was time. I had tried to resurrect it a few times in the past and it just never felt right. It was like getting back together with an old girlfriend. All you remember is the good stuff, not the times when she trampled on your heart. Once I would get things going it would settle back down into itself and all that negatives stuff we need to be overcome again. It just felt like 16volt had a ton of baggage. All the people who were in it over the years, all the ups and downs. It has this stigma attached to it. All the labels we were on. It just felt like it needed to be let go of. I needed to start something new to grow as a person and as an artist. I think the fans got sick of hearing about "news" that never came to fruition, about how we were in the studio for so long and how nothing really came out of it. A lot of people have given up on me because of those times. I intend to fix all that and at least redeem myself to the hardcore fans who gave so much to me in the past. My new project is getting closer to realization and I hope people will like where I have gone with it.

There is the song called 'Carla's Tarantulas' on LetDownCrush album. Who was that girl on the phonetalk?

'Carlas Tarantulas' was just a little joke, we recorded this wacko who kept calling the studio, we just taped her and put her on the record I don't know who she is really. In the days before Myspace it was kinda like comment spamming.

You included Keith Auerbach and Dave Ogilvie in cooperation to bring your debut album Wisdom into limelight. Was it difficult to recruit them?

Well there wasn't really any co-operation between the two. I did the stuff with Dave in Portland, and the stuff with Fluffy in Chicago. It wasn't difficult to get them in because they liked the material.

I've heard lots of good music from Re-Constriction label, how do you recall times when you released your first album for Re-Con?

It was an exciting time. It felt like we were becoming the new Wax Trax, a label and a scene I was a huge fan of. So for me it felt like we were doing something similar. There was a lot of hope and hype behind it so it was fun to be a part of. For the first time in my life I felt like things were coming together, I was starting touring, I was traveling to Chicago to make records. It was amazing.

It's a bit irritating that your new bands Ringer and Are You Loose have official websites, .com domains and actually not many informations are there... I'd like to know who is in Ringer line-up... I've read that there are involved musicians of Orgy, Deadsy, Coal Chamber, Crazy Town... Rumours only?

Ringer started of as a project between me, Kraig Tyler (Crazytown, Chemlab), Carlton Bost (Deadsy, Berlin), Paige Haley (Orgy) and Mikey Cox (Coal Chamber). The idea was to do something completely different than what we were known for. We wanted to do a pop sounding rock record that was really sweet and innocent, without the darker sides of all of our own projects. Once we got started it just didn't come together. We weren't gelling on how we all work. Kraig and I are very studio oriented, where the rest of the guys like to get into a rehearsal studio and jam so writing became very segmented. Kraig and I ended up just making the record without them and their interest an involvement fell off understandably. Last year Kraig and I put together a band and did some shows in Los Angeles. Ringer is basically a studio project at this point though. I don't see much more happening with it but I am usually wrong about that kinda stuff so who knows. The lack of info on the Ringer site comes from just that. There isn't a lot of info. As for the Loose site, it's just getting going so again there isn't much info yet.

Ringer music sounds very cute and catchy... You worked with Brian Black (ex Haloblack) in H3llb3nt project, now Brian runs X- Lover band and also presents such easy listening sounds. Is it an accident only that you turned to post-new romantic and the 80's pop music...?

Hehe. Purely accidental. I love Bryan's style. I have always been a fan and it was awesome to do H3llb3bnt together. A lot of what we did with X-Lover and Ringer comes from the sensibility of H3llb3nt. Simple, catchy pop based. I think as you become a more mature artist sometimes you want to experiment with what you've learned about emotion and harmony. I think we both had fun looking into the lighter side of life for a while. You can't always stare at the black side, eventually it will get to you, no matter who you are and what you believe you need something that makes you happy and feel joy.

Were you a fan of new romantic style in the 80ties?

Yeah, that was when I started getting into music. All the 80's stuff when I was a kid. I think what is going on now with music will be short lived though. There are some great bands borrowing from that era. Bloc party, imarobot, hot hot heat, good stuff. But how will it last? who knows. I see a big industrial resurgence coming :-P

Is it better to run a band alone or with other musicians?

Alone. For me anyway. I have tried it with other guys. It just doesn't work. I like to work with people. Just not in the sense of a band. Your the drummer, you play bass etc. Too many egos and personal vendetta, I am bored of trying to be a diplomat. When you do it alone you can say to yourself, that sucked without hurting anyones feelings and getting a rock star tissy fit thrown at you. The thing is most musicians have a personal defect. That's why they become musicians. Trying to balance that within a band is like trying to be a psycho therapist in a loony ward. I can't do it. I have no training.

What is 'Whisper Cure' album?

No such thing. There was a song I was doing for "new" 16volt called 'Whisper Cure'. It was a tribute to the guys who hung out on the 16v message boards. But there is no album.

What about the term 'industrial music' nowadays? Has it changed in your opinion since the 90ties? Actually I'm afraid of looking for any new bands describing themselves as 'industrial'...

I have gotten into a lot of trouble for saying this but it's barely hanging on right now. It's virtually dead. That's not to say that it will never rise. You still have your big bands going on. NIN is still huge. KMFDM is still doing well, Puppy did okay last year, Ministry is off doing there own thing, they are all doing it for a living. The smaller bands though are few and far between and it certainly isn't what it was in the early 90's. There were so many industrial bands touring then. Now there just isn't that many places to go play. But this is the way music is. It's circular. Things come and go. Look at metal. It has seen a resurgence in the 70's 80's and 90's. Every decade it gets born and dies. All music does. All scenes do. It's the nature of it. So will it come back? Yes. It always does. It always will.

How did you manage to give a song for 'Primal' videogame?

It was actually 12 songs. I was contacted by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. The guy who wrote the story of Primal and the creative director where fans of 16volt and they thought we'd fit musically within the game.

What could you tell us about Are You Loose?

Loose is my new project. It's kinda taken the form of all the things I have done mixed into one. 16volt, Ringer, H3llb3nt. Mashed up. Add in some electronica type stuff and there you have it. The website is "are you loose?". I thought it was a funny name, it can have so many different meanings. I needed that diversity to not get bored with it. I am close to finalizing all the writing for it. I hope to be done with it by next summer.

I see you find yourself also with running a business - web designing, banners and such stuff... Wow, there's also Virgin online megastore... How is it going? Do you have lots of customers?

I've had to make a living somehow :-) I have been fortunate enough to have some major clients. On paper I have done far better at design than I have with music. It's a terrible trick on me by God. She's so mean sometimes.

16VOLT | RINGER

Pictures by Eric Powell, all copyrights reserved by Eric Powell.
This interview must not be used for promotional or commercial purposes. See a Legal Note for the copyrights below.
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