2007-05-05 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz
and Brian Backlash |
Brian Backlash: Your homestate of Arizona is well known for the Grand Canyon, the Barringer Meteorite Crater and Machines of Loving Grace. What's Arizona's best kept secret, the thing you love most about it?
Damon: Arizona is the desert. It's like death out here, there is something romantic that speaks to the cowboy in us all, that tells you to ride out west, where the lizards die of thirst, and rough it out. All of us have chosen to remain here, having plenty of opportunity to go somewhere else.
Arizona's best kept secret? Live music. People out there in the internet world would not believe how many F#@#$ awesome live bands there are here of all types. It's not like LA, everyone here is friendly with each other and support each other.
NINa: Tell us about that Arizona Fetish Ball - a film clip, during the show, is attached to your www.Myspace/n17 profile please. Looks extreme. Were the girls amateurs?
Damon: That show was done as a favor for an old friend of N17, Steve Haworth, the church of body modification and life suspended guy. It was a fetish ball, with merchandise, performances by several groups, the (amateur) girls were entered into a contest. We played on the other side of the bar, away from all the fetish booths. It was a huge show, a ton of people were there. There's a vid of the whole set somewhere.
NINa: N17 has been in the music business for 14 years, and you've had the fortune to share the stage with Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Danzig, Fear Factory, Front Line Assembly, Type O Negative, Neurosis, Misfits, Clutch, Christian Death, Acumen Nation, Die Krupps, Sevendust, Low Pop Suicide,Thrill Kill Kult, Lords of Acid, Skrew, Bile, Chris Connelly, Prick, Snake River Conspiracy, Electric Hellfire Club, Numb and many others. Few bands have shared the stage with as many prestigious and well known groups. Has good management helped?
Damon: All those bands kick ass. Back to the question.....
Good management is essential for any professional band, being self managed is easy, in some ways easier than getting together with an outside voice, someone who always has your best interest, in long and short run, at heart and will push you to your limits in some way. We got good advice, we took good advice.
Brian Backlash: As NINa mentioned earlier, you've shared the stage with a huge swath of industrial/metal/rock groups. Who would you like to share the stage with these days, whom you've not previously?
Damon: N17 would like to share the stage with New Model Army, the best band in the world, and we say that with authority. If we got plane tickets, we're going to Europe to play with NMA. We've played with non industrial rock bands plenty of times, and we always emerge with new fans when they haven't seen us tear hell out of a place before.
In the electronic world, we'd play with just about anyone who wanted to come in from out of town, it doesn't matter to us how many records you sold, it's all about putting on a special , memorable show, with bands that dont play here all the time. We got to play the opening slot on the FLA/Die Warzau/Numb tour, and that was the biggest industrial festival show we ever saw around here.
Brian Backlash: What's been your favorite show you've played, to date?
Damon: We all have favorites, there are hundreds, hundreds of shows to cover in that category. To say one, for the sake of impact, we played at the Edgefest on the Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday when the Super Bowl was in Tempe, Arizona. It was one of the biggest Edgefest shows they'd ever had.
We played our set in the patio area and Gravity Kills was playing on the lawn stage. There was a riot type event at our show and the police came and shut off the mixer, they had to break up a huge moshpit on the concrete. We asked our soundman to plug it back in and he did, and we played another half a song before the found the plug and unplugged it again. We did a rant as we tore down our gear about fuck the cops, fuck the Edge, fuck the Super Bowl, good times. I met someone from Denver who head heard about that show from someone else in Denver who was the Edgefest. Big impact.
Brian Backlash: Has it been difficult playing in the trenches for so many years while newer groups like Static-X get all the glory?
Damon: Each band get's it's own reward. I can't tell you how many times I've been told to go see so and so and they are the best band, and it just wasn't for me. I tell people check out something and they hate it. Best of luck to Static-X, and any other bands that bit themselves off something to work with in the business side of the business. To us it's about fans and fans only.
Brian Backlash: You were signed briefly to the ill-fated Mercury Records imprint Slipdisc. Label mates included Rorschach Test, 16Volt, Drown and 13Mg - all of which save 16Volt disintegrated shortly thereafter. How did your band deal with the death of the label and it's unfortunate aftermath?
Damon: Hahaha, the 'ill fated' Slipdisc. In case anyone out there doesn't know, the ill fate of Slipdisc was to throw expensive elaborate parties with industry people and not really be able to sell enough records. It's the sad truth. We had our attorney check them out, he said that we should take the deal they offered, because it was a better deal than he was getting for his major label artists and we took the advice. We would not take back that decision, because it allowed us to have our fanbase nationwide, and second guessing doesn't help anything. N17 is not about looking back.
The band broke up in 2000 something, for various reasons. The Slipdisc thing was kind of like one thing in a series of aftershocks, the earthquake was the shootings in Colorado. That killed the industrial scene in most large markets, because nobody wanted people like us around. Manson cancelled his tour, it was a bad time for kids in black, or anyone who owned a trenchcoat.
N17 has endured many ups and downs, and refuses to die. We all thought it was put to rest and it surges and calls us back, as the fans constantly ask us to do more stuff and not quit. If it weren't for those people, the N17 project would snuff itself out.
Brian Backlash: As your records are currently out of print, what's the best way for a new fan to get a hold of your music? Are you actively seeking a label to sign with at this time, or re-releasing your older material?
Damon: We don't care about labels, this is for the fans, we're producing the CD ourselves at Villain Recording. If a label wants to pick it up, that all comes later.
Scavenge it, when you can find it on places like Soulseek. We hear someone is hawking our music on Itunes. You can get our CD's on Amazon.com for as low as a penny, I've seen them! Amazon rules.
If anyone wants mp3s, email us at nfkn17(at)gmail.com
and we will see what we can do.
Brian Backlash: What bands are you pleased to still see active? What still-active bands do you think should have called it quits?
Damon: We are glad to see everyone active who wants to be active and play their own music for their own audience.It would be unfair of us to say so and so should call it quits, we say this, when people aren't coming to see you play, think about it then.
NINa: As for quitting - Ministry plans to release the final album this year. Can you believe Al's tired of rocking?
Damon: I don't think he'll stop being a musician. I don't know what kind of a statement Al can make with Ministry that he hasn't already made. I like his work, his side project stuff is some of my favorite industrial, and Ministry, well, they are a big part of why we like industrial vs say, EBM, which we all also like.
Brian Backlash: What do you think is N17's strongest song?
Damon: "B.A.A.L." from Defy Everything, but some like the first record, because of the electronic drumming, and then it would be "Version 1.2". That was the first song N17 wrote together, and it was named "Version 1.0", subsequent recorded versions incremented the count to 1.2.
Brian Backlash: What's been the key to N17's longevity? Do you envision the band continuing for another ten years?
Damon: Fans=longevity. A year ago we would have said probably no. Recent interest from fans old and new has propelled us to put aside what has evolved in it's absence and go back and focus on being an explosion of sound again.
We have plans for a full length CD, a live DVD with old footage mixed in from our US tours and new footage, and with the two new members, Byron and Tanner, we feel energized and ready to find the spot where N17 was mutating towards, and take it a few steps further out.
Brian Backlash: Your music is infamous for it's energized, abrasive intensity. What is your primary motivation for such an escalation of sound?
Damon: N17 likes heavy bands that crank their amps up loud on stage. It came from a heavy music scene that existed in Phoenix long before, the merging of two vastly different projects - but we all knew we wanted a loud band with loud electronics and fast hard beats.
We are also a bunch of very angry guys, and we pushed that into the way we play the music we write. We may appear calm at the surface when we meet in public, but this band is full of piss and vinegar on an epic scale. Inside.
NINa: I heard news about an upcoming N17 album scheduled for release this year. Will it be as hot and heavy as your previous work?
Damon: We are unbelievably stoked to be working on new songs and giving something back to the people who come to see us year after year and have been asking for something new to listen to.We are not planning on making predictions of the final stuff, we want to let it evolve naturally and see if we can take it to new levels of heaviness that we might not have achieved yet.
We would also like to say thanks to anyone who took time to read this, and if you are an N17 fan, you are a friend of ours. Just like that. Cheers to all our friends in Europe, and around the world, but especially, those crazy fans in Phoenix.
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Pictures come from N17 archive, all copyrights reserved by © their authors.