Skinny Puppy's Music Was Used for Torture, So They Invoiced the Government
I look at Ministry and see how you get tied in together--both started in the club scene.
Al (Jourgensen, Ministry founder) basically started in one direction, but once he heard Skinny Puppy decided it was time to make a heavier band and made the album Twitch. Twitch was a really important album for the whole genre. It actually introduced not only Al, but also Adrian Sherwood. Adrian Sherwood's production at that time was pretty much the peak of where people could imagine taking rhythmic music.
Where could industrial music go at its peak? At that moment Adrian Sherwood possessed the next level skills. When he worked with Al on Twitch it opened big doors for him, but obviously for us as well. Along came Nine Inch Nails a few years later, and Adrian was responsible for tweaking and morphing what would later become the first Nine Inch Nails record.
I'm giving a pat on the back to Adrian Sherwood for his skill in crafting what would become industrial music. He worked with us on the Addiction EP. That was how we first met Al. He came armed with a demo to the studio. It was a classic time period where the industrial sound really came together.
Skinny Puppy is more or less an electronic industrial dance band. Is this a good time for your sound given that EDM is on the rise even as industrial music itself is in decline? Where does Skinny Puppy fit in at the moment?
Luckily, Skinny Puppy has never desired to fit in. At the beginning there wasn't a genre called industrial music. It was just a label. What we actually did and created was just what we felt. We were surprised and blown away that we were achieving some form of popularity. That wasn't really our thought when we started. That it went where it's gone has been quite... I couldn't have guessed.
We like follow what our original vision or feeling is, which has always been a gut feeling. People say the albums change a lot, but that's because we don't follow any trend. We don't try and keep up or compete with other bands in the genre. We keep our vision glued to the formula. It's like Coke Classic; you don't want to mess with the formula. For us you get this feeling when it's on track, and we try to follow that track. It we ever felt like it wasn't worth following that track it wouldn't be worth doing anymore.
When you've done something for 35 years you see things change three or four times. When we started there wasn't anything called hip-hop or house music. There was no such term as techno. We have been witness to all that but stick to our guns. We have gone through various morphs and influences through the times. We have been inspired by the 1993 techno scene and bands like Aphex Twin. There have been things that have affected us, but coming full circle I see us returning to our original vision more often than not.
Your stage shows have always been quite theatrical. What can we expect on this tour?
I won't really know it until I see it. Orge doesn't really tell us what his costumes are going to be until we see them. We all work on our departments so when we come together it's like a big collaborative. We've got Orge, our visualists, our drummer. We learn songs we haven't played before so that in the end it's interesting and not just the typical get on stage with jeans on. It's a chance to say something. I'm looking forward to seeing what he'll do. I really don't know.
In February you're reissuing The Greater Wrong of The Right. This is the first album released after the reunion, and it was perhaps the most poppy and most accessible Skinny Puppy album. But why choose this one given the strong earlier recordings in the catalog?
That era when we were reforming, it was a different era than now. The band has grown, matured and learned the way to become, in some ways, a different band again. It's more true to form of what Skinny Puppy will become. Right or wrong, it was a collective of people who wanted to perform in Skinny Puppy, but it was a collective and it wasn't really turned back into what I consider the purist form.
I'm not trying to degrade the album, but I'm just trying to say that after five years of having a band split up and having one guy die, maybe the band wasn't supposed to come back. We were brought back together by two German guys who insisted on overseeing everything. Orge and I got back together before the Doomsday gig, since he and I originally formed this, so that was the impetus.
We had so much fun doing that Doomsday show (Doomsday Festival, Dresden, Germany 2000) that we followed up with the idea to make an album. And I think the idea to make an album is preserved in The Greater Wrong of Right. Hence the title.
And if you can believe it, it is over 10 years since it was released. (The rights have) expired from SCV, the previous license holder. So now we can relicense it with another label, Metropolis. They've done a great job with the vinyl package and remastering.
Any bonus material or just the original album?
Just the album.
So we get a sonic overload, but no extra music?
Unfortunately, we can't go back in time to make more music.