what extent were you involved in the remix project?
"I approached the whole thing from a different
angle. I was invited to take part at the eleventh hour so the project,
which was then a straight Skinny Puppy tribute album, was already well
underway. I was actually in the process of checking out some of the
older Skinny Puppy tapes and had mentioned [to the record company] that
I was interested in re-doing one or two with Mark [Walk, "The Process"
and W.E.L.T. collaborator] and I was invited to take part that way."
"It's a great representation of Skinny Puppy
from a range of mixed genres. Throughout the 13 years of Skinny Puppy
we always believed that we were taking from different genres of music
and totally dissecting it and reassembling so I enjoyed the idea."
"Yes, it was challenging for me to listen to
it but it begat some inspiration to me in as much that I was fascinated
where these artists were taking my songs. Some things were perhaps too
minimalist and yet there were some excessively OTT work which I thought
was great! I personally found it more rewarding to hear the extravagantly
you react when you heard someone like Deftones tinkering with your output?
"I don't want to single anyone out; in the beginning
I had a more judgemental approach to all of the interpretations. I think
the interesting thing is that it takes a lot of viewpoints from other
genres of music and reinterprets Puppy. The artists have a more personal
input and that is what makes it more interesting for me anyway."
uncomfortable to listen to?
"Very much so. I would hear a particular vocal
phrase being sung one way yet I'd know how it was done originally and
know where that emotion was coming from and it would make me cringe
a little bit to hear it in the new form."
in mind the obvious influence Skinny Puppy has had on Nine Inch Nails,
Marilyn Manson and Ministry do you know if any overtures were made for
them to appear?
"The concept was to distance the project from
the usual suspects and concentrate on the fringe artists. Beyond that
I don't know, and wouldn't wish to know, the politics. I know Rave [Dave
Ogilvie, long-time 'Puppy producer/collaborator] was contacted to be
involved and he declined and he does work very closely with Trent and
Manson, so the answer is I don't know what went on..."
you like to get respect from the NIN and Manson people, after all when
you see Manson's stiltwalking routine onstage it's blatantly obvious
where it comes from?
"I find it funny. On one hand you have to realise
that historically speaking musicians have always stolen from each other.
Little Richard ripped off some blues guy, so did The Stones and Zeppellin,
so you have to give yourself a chuckle. As far as paying homage to where
they got their ideas from is different; to disregard your influences
like they have is showing an insecurity - and that's what it is, I'm
not being nasty or derogatory at all - they are insecure. There's a
part of me that goes, "C'mon guys just admit it!"
the success of NIN and Marilyn Manson do you ever wish that Puppy could've
broken through to such heights where Trent can take 4 years and people
will wait to hear it?
"What a hell! Can you imagine the pressure of
expectation? Can you imagine the battles that you must put yourself
through because you might not be what you once were yet you are expected
to be just that? I'd consider Trent's positition to be a mixed blessing.
The ability to re-invent yourself and go off to do new projects without
people expecting it to be one thing in particular is what I consider
my strengths to be. Maybe Trent does have the ability to do that but
at his level in the business it all becomes some weird mathematical
equation anyway - with that many records sold where you have to base
the next record on the success and style of the previous one, to be
defined as simply one thing. That's a pressure I'd rather do without."
the world faces the re-release of the entire Skinny Puppy back catalogue
would you see it as the right time for everyone to sit up and finally
take note of what Skinny Puppy achieved?
"It would be nice if the world did take note,
wouldn't it? Skinny Puppy weren't plodding along asking, "Why isn't
anyone noticing what we're doing?" because we were so involved with
doing it. It was a very real time excursion into the netherworld and
my own depths of unreality. To reflect upon it now is strange. I find
it gratifying to know that we were riding a virtual wave that predates
all present trends in music for one thing. The most satisfying part
is that we fulfilled an idea of being able to sustain ourselves in an
unreality that is so off-centre from the norm. It was a tremendously
exciting part of my life."
on from the finality of "The Process" has that last album finally achieved
a context in your mind?
"From the public's perception, an expression
I hate using, I can understand that "The Process" just burst out with
little or no warning, but to us it was an extremely laboured birth,
wedged in sideways and still born at the end of it all! It went through
a lot of hands business-wise and emotionally with losing Dwayne [Goettel,
drummer/programmer etc]. It's a huge part of my life emotionally speaking."
regard "The Process" as a complete album?
"I always did. Maybe I was the one who understood
it more than anyone else because I was the one left holding the shitty
stick when it came to doing press and I had to explain it. Among the
confusion and cacophony I still think that it has my best work. It also
added certain flavours that we hadn't had before but at the same time
I think we could have done more."
the current Ogre projects?
"I'm working with Mark Walk who writes with Ruby
on a project. He helped out on "The Process" which is where I met him
and we started a friendship that carried over into W.E.L.T."
"When I left Skinny Puppy I was served "leaving
member" papers which meant that American had first refusal on any new
material I might write. At that time Skinny Puppy had piled up a lot
of bills with "The Process" being delayed. We had demoed 16 tracks and
the company really liked W.E.L.T. so I felt confident and we asked for
some money to take it one stage further. It was around then that I got
wind that American was having financial difficulties, which I think
we bore the brunt of, and that 'Puppy had built up some resentment with
the delay of "The Process". Obviously I was very concerned over that
but I was assured it wouldn't matter. However it dragged on for over
12 months which meant I was free to leave the contract." "It was probably
one of the most depressing times of my life. I remember feeling like
I was on the wrong end of someone's toilet paper."
happened to the record?
"I'm trying to get W.E.L.T. back from American
Recordings. I've opened up a line of dialogue with Rick Rubin [American
Recordings label boss] so I'm hoping that we will be able to go back
and finish that album soon. Right now I'm working with Mark on a new
project in Seattle. It won't be called W.E.L.T. anymore because some
punk pop band have taken the name now. "We definitely have a flow going
right now and there are labels interested in it but I'm going to wait
until the record is totally finished before they hear it!"
question: do you have any plans to hook up with cEvin again in the future?
"Not at all. I like cEvin's music and having
worked with him for 13 years there's obviously some admiration and respect
for his talents but I'm on a different road now and I want to pursue
it until the end. All things considered, things which I won't go into
here because it's a long, complicated personal bullshit, it's been really
good for me to be where I am. We still talk and we still have good communication
going over Skinny Puppy business."
the "Back and Forth" series of posthumous releases can we expect any
more unreleased Skinny Puppy albums to appear out of the vault?
"I don't know because I don't have the keys to
the vault! There's probably a file in that vault marked "Ogre's stuff"
but I wouldn't know about it. I'm not sure what cEvin has but I have
heard rumours of a "Back and Forth 5 & 6". All I can say is send one
in the post and don't forget the cheque!"