2005-09-27 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
NINa: I caught you at Myspace.com What do you think about this web service?
Mark A. Miller: It's pretty cool. I enjoy the viral marketing aspect of it, to be honest. Like the shampoo commercial years ago: "I told two friends, and she told two friends, and so on and so on..." Nothing wrong with that, in my mind. It's kind of the way of the future of music, in some ways, like uber-word-of-mouth.
In other ways, myspace.com isn't really for me. I don't chat online, email is mostly more for getting stuff done than keeping in touch, that kind of thing. Ironically, though, i've reconnected with more than a couple old friends, and actually made many new ones, in at least an e-friend sense, because of myspace; so don't get me wrong, the interpersonal aspect is good.
Their support for artists in a connected, but distinct, way is why I really have spent almost no energy on any of the other online "band sites", save, perhaps, garageband.com, where I did invest the time to go through a round of judging for a song. Don't know if I'd do that again, though... really time-consuming, and I'm not willing to pay cash for that kind of thing.
You've been leading Out Out since 1988 so it has reached such an age that we can describe the project as mature. What changes in the project you can describe as the most significant?
The first change was the establishment of Out Out as an 'identity' - which, as it happens with most bands, coincided with the first album's release. Every record after that marked a change in some way that was also significant, probably because of the labor involved in creating them. Most significantly, I think, was my decision to take a hiatus. It was a letting-go, a exhalation, which allowed me to step back and really look at what about Out Out is important to me, what its essence is for and in my life. I discovered that it's what I always felt in a lower-level way all along: that I really don't care about whether or not what I'm doing follows or forms any trends, breaks any kind of new ground, or makes anyone think my music is somehow some sort of object that is worthy or worthless enough to be a basis of comparison. It is simply what it is - the music I am making at a particular time. If others like it, that's a bonus, and I've always maintained that. Sure, record/download sales help make it easier to do the next recording, but long ago I gave up the notion that Out Out would ever be my main career. I enjoy it more that way.
How about software, what kind of sequencers you used previously and what do you use nowadays?
I've dabbled in Reason recently - a cool sound generation tool, for sure but I hate the sequencer in it. I'm still principally using Vision, although it has not been supported since 1999, I keep several computers around that can run it, and have no intention of losing it anytime soon. So it's Vision, with a bunch of hardware synths and samplers mostly. Some audio manipulation in Vision happens during the writing process, too, but it all ends up as audio tracks, recorded onto a multi-track, and mixed through an analog console. I am still looking for software that allows composition in a way that Vision does, but so far none come close for me. Live, combined with ProTools and Reason perhaps, looks like it might be a possibility, so the next time I've got a day or three to spare, I'll look into it.
I've read at Metropolis website that your recording studio is placed in a building which was a slaughterhouse in the past. Why did you choose such a facility?
I bought into a business (Slaughterhouse Recording Studio) back in 1994 that was running out of that building. We're still there, but not for much longer - we're building a brand new facility a few towns over from there. We're keeping the name, but it's gonna be a much better studio - including the integration of my 'home studio', Radio Valkyrie, into the control room. I've been wanting to build a new place almost immediately after I bought into this studio back in '94, and finally, the means are available.
Plus, it's been pretty cool to record in an old slaughterhouse, with the big meat locker door and the hooks and all. The rock bands love it. The folk artists, not so much. Ha-ha. Really, most people settle in pretty quick, 'cause even though it's kinda freaky, the vibe is good - it's been a studio since 1981, and sat vacant for a decade or two prior to that... a long time since it's original purpose.
You're a recording engineer. If you could choose between Charlie Clouser, Rick Rubin and Rhys Fulber, who would be the most desirable person to cooperate with and why?
I will say that that is impossible to answer. I'd work with any of them if the pairing of them, me, the artist, and the material was right. They've all done records I respect. Good questions sometimes have kinda thin answers, sorry!
It seems to be the great comeback of Leaether Strip project soon. Was Claus Larsen's music kind of inspiration for you?
I actually have only been peripherally aquainted with his work. Couldn't name a single song. That's not meant as an insult to him in any way, he's just not an influence in any respect, for better or worse. I've always been a little amused that a very old press release likening my work to his and another very famous guy's work has stuck around for so long.
Does my material resemble his? That's cool if it does, but it's far more likely that we've been influenced by similar things in our history than each other specifically. I doubt he even knows who I am!
'No.5 United' is still in the Top Ten of industrial alltime chart at Garageband.com How do you think, what lays behind its success?
I have no idea. I joined garageband.com, like I mentioned before, to try a round of judging. It's one of the songs that people always seemed to react to, so I picked it to try there. It's still in the top ten, you say? I haven't logged in in weeks..!
Oh, I was suppposed to say "It Rocks", right? Ha-ha! Really, I wish I knew what makes that kind of thing tick. Another song of mine that seems to stick as my "hit" is 'Admire The Question' - for some reason it just resonates with people. If I knew exactly why, I'd probably be more 'successful'...
What bands do you like listening to?
Oh my. A little of almost anything. That's a tougher question than the Charlie/Rick/Rhys one! My LP/CD/7"/12" collection fills a walk-in closet, and it's all over the map. Admittedly, there is a lot of 'industrial' from the late 70s through the early 90s (at the beginning of my 'career' where I got less and less interested in what the 'scene' was doing, and focused more on what I was doing.) There's a lot of obscure new wave, too. And then a wide smattering of rock in all forms (not so much 'classic' rock, even less so 'progressive' or 'jam' rock), lots of 'electronic' in it's myraid forms aside from the umbrella of 'industrial', some jazz, blues, classical (both older and contemporary), dashes of hip hop, techno/trance, even some acoustic music. And on and on.
It's almost easier to say what I don't listen to, but that's also not hard-and-fast.
To name any particular band would give them more weight then they deserve in the grander scale, so I won't do it now. Suffice it to say, my favorite artists span many styles, and there are many.
How about industrial rock scene in the USA? Are there any clubswhere bands play gigs and DJs present such a music all the time?
There are a lot. More so it seems to me these days they play EBM (to cite a large umbrella genre) than more rock-style stuff. However, I'm no authority. When I travel I hardly ever go to clubs. There are a couple in our area. My friend Scott from Collapse Into Reason is one of the folks that runs "Dark Millenium" in Hartford, Connecticuit. It's a scene night they do once a month. He and the other DJs support a wide range of 'industrial' and other relavant bands, spanning all styles. One local radio station also has a DJ that supports the music widely - DJ Twitch on WMUA. I've had some great pockets of play on a lot of stations this year, and wish to thank all those folks. Tommy T from Diverje has been super helpful in getting the word out, too.
What are your aims for the future?
There's a new album 'in the can' called "The Acid Pirates Present Virtual Sound Images" - I hope to release that early next year if all stays smooth. It's mostly instrumental, no guitars, much more clubby than most of my earlier work at points, but I seriously doubt anyone will accuse me of making a record to cash in on the current 'industrial' sounds - it's more like drum-and-bass meets trance meets whatever anyone wants to call it, but probably a lot more sonically dense than those styles get. I have no idea how people are going to recieve it. (To be honest, it no longer matters to me - I'm making music that I want to, perhaps need to, make. Isn't that the best reason to? I don't depend on the records to make a living, and while it would be nice for them to at least pay for themselves, I'm gonna keep making music anyway.)
After the new studio is completed, spare time permitting, I'm going to get back to writing and recording. Who knows what will come of it - I've got no preconceptions.
I've been having a grand time doing remixes for people recently, too. I've got my 'thing' - my 'approach' that I like, and it's not to common it seems these days to do remixes like I do. But it's how I like to, so I stay with that methodology mostly. I talk about those kind of things, as well as general updates and sometimes personal insights or opinions on my website, outout.radio-valkyrie.com
Well, thanks for listening/reading. I always like to thank everyone who enjoys my work - like I mentioned before, that is a bonus, and it is really appreciated! Thanks all.
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Pictures by Mark A. Miller, all copyrights reserved © by Out Out.