2006-10-15 | NINa
and Brian Backlash |
NINa: You hail from Texas. I'm not an American but in researching industrial music subgenres it seems industrial rock has concentrated around the Chicago area while industrial metal is focused around Texas. I came across several interesting industrial metal ventures coming from Texas like Skrew, Ministry, The Paramecium, Snow Black, SiNDADDY, Chant and others... Is it possible a local industrial Texas scene was built because Ministry's Al and ex-Ministry's Paul Barker live there?
Phildo: Actually the Texas industrial scene has been very active for quite some time. Paul and Al moved here to Austin after “Psalm 69” and the Lolapalooza tour. However, Skinny Puppy and Ministry were well received by capacity crowds at their first shows in Texas during 1986. At that time I was a DJ and the promoter for their Austin dates at the Cave Club where I worked. I had been a DJ for a several years by that time bringing many industrial acts such as Chris and Cosey, SPK, RevCo and many more to Texas. During the Wax Trax “heyday” Austin was second only to Chicago in sales for the label.
Brian Backlash: When did you form Snow Black? Is it a new project, or something you've worked on for sometime?
Phildo: A few of the songs have versions that date back to the 90's. They were intended to be Skatenig songs as I had planned on regrouping Skatenigs in one form or another. The decision to form Snow Black and to use it as sort of a solo outlet for myself came about in 2004.
NINa: Seems you've decided to stay in the middle of so called industrial metal style of music, including your endeavors like Skatenigs, Snow Black or a direct cooperation with Revolting Cocks, Skrew or Al Jourgensen himself. What lead you to keep close to this genre?
Phildo: I don’t really think of it like that. I approach each song more like writing a short story or screenplay. Once I have a foundation for my story then I consider what materials the structure will be built from. Some people like to build with wood and some with brick for example. I prefer to build with durable materials that represent me and hopefully will stand the test of time. In other words the materials or sound palettes may be similar in what holds them together but it is the design of the songs or the sonic architecture that should make it stand apart. At least I hope to always maintain a signature style in what I do. There will always be those that don’t stand apart or simply blend in but that is with any genre of music. Just because I love the industrial sound or sample based palette to work with doesn’t mean that’s all I listen to. I strongly subscribe to the theory that 90% of all music is shit regardless of the genre.
NINa: Snow Black's soon to be released debut album is "The Suggestion Of Power." Your bio says the songs will be about "to wreak havoc on conformity, to rebel against the idiocy that is inherent in societal institutions, to stop tolerating nefarious political administrations, corrupt corporations, and the evils of capitalism." What drives you mad today about society as opposed to how you felt in the 80's or 90's?
Phildo: At present it seems more similar to vibe of the eighties. We only take notice or voice ourselves in times of emergency after we have already been backed into a corner. The 90’s were a time of laziness, complacency and apathy. Here in America we tend to relax whenever the left of center is in power. For example the “Clinton years” certainly weren’t as tense as the Reagan/Bush era.
Brian Backlash: Snow Black is your newest brainchild. Did you record and produce "The Suggestion of Power" alone or did you bring in other musicians and producers to assist you?
Phildo: Self-produced but recorded with the assistance of musician friends. As well as Mark Dufour engineered the record and assisted writing some of the material. And as far as working with other producers, I have several friends (Luc Van Acker, Gibby Haynes, Marstin of TKK to name a few) that are remixing selections from the album. I will also be giving several DJ’s an opportunity to remix some tracks at some point very soon.
Brian Backlash: It's only seems to get harder these days finding a viable record label for the kind of music bands like Snow Black and Ministry create. Will you be releasing "The Suggestion of Power" on a label, independently, or as a digital download?
Phildo: Independently as a download first, then as a label release. I am currently shopping for a label at the moment. I did not finish the album until just before the Masterbatour in May, having completed the tour at the end of July. So I have just recently been able to get back in the Snow Black mode.
NINa: Will be Snow Black touring to promote "The Suggestion Of Power" release?
Phildo: Absolutely, once there is a release date we will focus our efforts on a lengthy campaign. Next week I will be joined by Paul Raven (Killing Joke/Ministry), Sin (Society 1) and Mark Dufour (original drummer for Skrew) for rehearsals. We will be playing some shows with KMFDM and Combichrist in October.
Brian Backlash: NINa asked you about a Snow Black tour. What would be your dream touring lineup?
Phildo: I have been extremely fortunate to tour with some of the best in the world. I’m really excited about the line-up right now. So I would have to say that I just really enjoy playing with those that are truly into it and are as excited as I am to be there. Because it doesn’t matter how technically good a player is, if they are not into it then it’s going to be obvious and I would want someone else.
Brian Backlash: You've gained a lot of notoriety recently with your outing as a performer on the Masterbatour with Revolting Cocks and Ministry. Your friendship with Ministry's Al Jourgensen goes back decades - how did it begin?
Phildo: Ministry did a short post Twitch tour in 1986. At this time I was a DJ at the Cave Club in Austin when we were offered a Ministry show. I knew we couldn’t pass it up so I raised the money for the deposit and booked the show. Al and I had an all night discussion about the music that we both liked as well as an in depth conversation about the past, present and future of Ministry. At this time he played Stigmata for me, as it was one of the first mixes for what would be called “The Land of Rape and Honey.” We became fast friends and asked me to DJ on the Texas shows when the Revolting Cocks come through and I did. Followed by Al encouraging me to get a band together to open some dates for Ministry on the “Rape and Honey Tour.” So I got five others together with borrowed gear. We had six rehearsals and wrote six songs and opened five sold-out shows. After one of these shows Al said he wanted me to write lyrics and sing the title song for the next Cocks album. The only stipulation was it had to be called “Beers, Steers and Queers.” The rest is history.
Brian Backlash: You've finished a 60 date RevCo/Ministry tour, as well as contributed vocal and writing work to "Cocked and Loaded." Do you for see working with Jourgensen and his upcoming projects as well?
Phildo: Al knows when he needs me I am there for him if at all possible.
NINa: Why didn't RevCo hit European tour with Ministry this year? I bet lots of Europeans would like to see RevCo as well.
Phildo: The European dates for Ministry consisted of mostly festival dates that would have been extremely difficult to pull off with both bands.
NINa: It's also surprising that there were booking agents from Hungary or Czech to get Ministry interested into expanding the tour to their countries. Wasn't there any interest from Poland to watch Ministry or Revolting Cocks live?
Phildo:I think there has been a great deal of interest all over the world and especially in Europe but between schedules and finances the reality can be a difficult task to overcome.
NINa: Some reviewers compare the latest Ministry and RevCo albums against each other and conclude that RevCo's "Cocked and Loaded" to be the much more interesting effort. Do you think as far as line up goes, that Ministry's current incarnation is more or less promising than the Jourgensen / Barker duo that lasted from 1986 to 2004?
Phildo: Certainly the line-up on the Masterbatour is a dream team. They were awesome! As far as writing music for Ministry, it is much more dependant upon what is going on in Al’s life and whether or not he is comfortable, inspired, entertained or just plain having fun the people around him. Make no doubt about it Ministry is and has always been Al.
NINa: Being a long time member of Revolting Cocks, did you consider joining Ministry after Paul Barker left the band?
Phildo:Al had mentioned to me a long time ago about being the singer for Ministry. Though it would be an honor it just would not be right. Ministry is the platform that WE all want to hear from Al.
NINa: What is your top 5 of heavy guitar driven bands these days?
Phildo: Any thing Tommy Victor is doing. Broken Teeth (an Austin band), Steakknife (a German punk band), Ministry and always AC/DC.
Brian Backlash: What's your favorite song from the recent Revolting Cocks album?
Phildo: “Dead end Streets” In particular I like the remix, which is to be released very soon. You’ve got to love Billy Gibbons and Rick Neilsen playing with the Cocks on the same song.
NINa: Your old band is called Skatenigs? Is that band over?
Phildo: If anything ever happens with the Skatenigs it would be to make a live recording called “A Few Beers later” simply to document the live aspect of this band. I feel that was our strong point and there never was anything tangible to represent it.
NINa: In 1992 you produced Skrew's debut album "Burning in Water, Drowning in Flames." What do you remember most about that project?
Phildo: Trax studio was extremely busy at the time. Ministry was working on “The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste” and we were working on the Skrew album around Ministry’s schedule. Needless to say things were very chaotic. When the mixes were finished Al took me to a hockey game in the Blackhawk’s original arena. We listened to the mixes on the way to the game. We arrived at the game Al told me his thoughts on the mixes and ultimately “job well done.”
NINa: Are you interested in producing more heavy music like Skrew in the future?
Phildo: Sure, I would like to produce other bands whether heavy guitar or electronic. I am more concerned with the songs and their content than the sound or genre of the band.
Brian Backlash: You've been involved with the music industry for a really long time. What in the end is more important – enjoying yourself, or making music with a message/purpose?
Phildo: Certainly for me enjoying myself is first. Whether it is enjoyment because the situation is fun or funny, learning something new, being in a creative surrounding with interesting people or whatever. It is necessary for something to inspire me, without inspiration it is impossible for me to deliver a message with any conviction. Songs that I have written about my personal devastations are written after the fact as more of an acknowledgement or reflection of the experience rather than during the moment itself. Sometimes I will make a point to not have a clear message in a song. In other words, “I will make a point to not make a point” that is important as well sometimes.
NINa: What are some of the disadvantages of bubble gum pop music, as opposed to music that's more 'real'?
Phildo: Let’s see. Broken promises, doing what you are told even when you know it is the wrong thing to do. Video budgets, radio play, product placement, tour support, fake friends, false icons, big ego, low self esteem, those closest to you stealing from you and being forgotten as soon as you are not in the limelight. I don’t see any at all.
Brian Backlash: It's been a while since you've had a creative vehicle like Snow Black all to yourself. What have you done, or will do, with this band that you couldn't do with other projects in the past?
Phildo: No band meetings and no compromises. This will be the platform to launch my ideas from. That is not to say that people I write songs don’t have any influence in the writing of a song. Just that I will have to live with the final product therefore I will have the final say. The songs will sound the way they are meant to sound regardless of orchestration, level of difficulty or simplicity. Pass or fail the end result will rest on my shoulders.
NINa: Let's spread some rumours about you. What are you well known for in your private life?
Phildo: I raise dogs from Argentina that I hunt with. I am also a “want be” cook. As a matter of fact cooking is how Gibby Haynes (from the Butthole Surfers) and I became friends. We would go to the meat market buy a whole hog to smoke in his smoker (that was kept at my house) and discuss recipes or try to figure out how something we had eaten recently was made.
Brian Backlash: As your music is staunchly politically and socially motivated - what books can you recommend for people to open up their eyes to the horror of the 'fast food' mentality?
Phildo: Read a book. Read any book, just read something. Open up your eyes and question everything. The “fast food” mentality is everywhere. It’s the culmination of lazy habits we have all accepted and become accustomed to.
NINa: What do you think about people who killer or harm others than claim to be influenced by a band's lyrics? Is there any legitimacy to their claims?
Phildo: Though that is quite a compliment I don’t believe there is ever one single motivator that drives someone to the point of taking life. I look at it more like we all use music to put us in a mood or to intensify our mood a sort of soundtrack for our own lives. Maybe music is the drug? The drug used to give someone the explanation or reason for his or her actions, a cop-out. It’s just an excuse, at most just an ingredient in the recipe not the main course itself.
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