Doesn't the name Spahn Ranch come from the place where Charles Manson
used to hole out in the desert? What's the story behind that?
Yes, it does in part come from there. Before that, in the 1930's and
40's it was a movie ranch where they filmed some classic Western movies.
Matt overheard some people talking at a club and they mentioned Spahn
Ranch and he thought it would make a great band name.
Beat Noir has been out for some time now, what are your thoughts on
it and how well is it doing for you?
Overall, the album has done rather well and we honestly received a better
reception for it in the UK but I think some of the purist Industrial
fans didn't care for it as much though. I really let Matt do with it
as he pleased and I was merely involved in the vocals but I am pleased
with the outcome.
C23: Spahn Ranch
have enjoyed a healthy longevity, what does success mean to you and
what goals do you still have for the band?
Athan: Quite a
subjective matter. At this point all I am expecting out of it is to
travel with the band. We have toured the States 12 times now so I'm
a bit tired of that, but I am looking forward to coming back to Europe
where we've been twice thus far. I would like to see the band continue
to grow and pick up new fans but I have no delusions of grandeur that
we will ever be a household name. I think success is the feeling that
you have accomplished a number of things you set out to do, with Spahn
Ranch I feel as if I have managed that.
Have there ever been times during your career with Spahn Ranch that
you've ever considered calling it quits?
Athan: Yes, on
many occasions! But it has become somewhat of an old auto to me, one
that you plan on getting rid of when the engine blows, but it just keeps
on running strong.
C23: Could you
please give us a few words on what each Spahn Ranch album means to you...
Damage... I started on it after being in the band for three weeks and
it sounds that way! The Coiled One... Matt did a great job. I thought
I was washed up as a lyricist! Architecure... My favourite!
C23: Which part
of "the process" of an album do you guys prefer? The writing, recording
or live aspect?
I prefer live, Matt prefers the studio.
You finally made it over to Britain for the first time earlier in the
year, what did you make of the whole experience? What was the highlight
of your time here and when do you plan on returning?
was great for us from top to bottom, it really was one of the best tours
yet. The first highlight was the London gig and the second was the festival
in Bradford at the end, both amazing shows. Becoming great friends with
Inertia was also special
as well. We may be back in the spring or summer of 2000.
C23: Live, you're
very energetic and wind up all over the place. How does your onstage
persona differ to the REAL you?
Athan: I think
it's a somewhat super-charged version of me. Maybe what it really comes
down to is I become the sort of fellow I would like to be.
C23: And what goes
through your mind when you're performing live?
Athan: It is somewhat
of a blur. I am thinking of the lyrics, getting them right. Have I moved
enough tonight? Have I given enough to those folks on the right? Is
the lorry ok outside? Did I pay that phone bill back home? stuff like
C23: When you're
out clubbing and, say, Heretic's Fork comes on, will you dance to your
own stuff, or do you run and hide? Also, do you listen to your own stuff
Athan: Sad to say,
I really don't dance. Besides, I prefer to watch women dance and it
is easier to do from the side. The only time I listen to our stuff is
when it first comes out to make sure that it is okay. Aside from that,
I listen to it just before embarking on a new album to make sure I don't
Over here, the Industrial/Alternative/EBM/whatever you wanna call it
scene appeals to a select few and is generally ignored by the mainstream,
how does that compare to the scene in the States?
C23: Working as
the PR bloke at Cleopatra records means you get to hear a lot of bands
before everyone else, which bands recently have most impressed you?
Athan: Mors Syphilitica,
Rhea's Obsession, Culture Kultur, Air.......and?
C23: You've been
known to cover a certain Madonna song ("Swim", from Ray Of Light"),
if you had to do a covers album, what bands would you cover?
Athan: Roxy Music,
Bowie, Sam Cooke, Psychedelic Furs, The Doors, Marvin Gaye, Al Green,
Arthur Brown and Billie Holiday.
C23: As this interview's
primarily for Cybase 23, the Webzine for the discerning music freak,
how popular is the band's website? And how much input does the band
have into the site?
Athan: Matt has
been excellent about handling this and has shaped it up quite a lot
as of late.
C23: There's the
option of being able to e-mail the band individually. How much do you
get and do you find time to answer it all?
Athan: We receive
a fair amount and deal with it when we can.
C23: Do you spend
much time surfing the W.W.W and are there any sites you'd recommend?
is one of my faves but I try not to spend too much time surfing.
C23: When it all
comes to a close, how would you like Spahn Ranch to be remembered?
Athan: As a good
band that is still in print!
C23: And last,
but not least, have you any last words for your British fanbase?
Athan: We'll be
Be sure to check out the band's official website: WWW.SpahnRanch.Com