Skinny Puppy: "We Spent an Unnecessary Amount of Time on hanDover"
On an already long list of distinctions, Skinny Puppy recently added a new line, and not one that makes the pioneering industrial band very proud: the United States government has used the band's music as a torture device.
"We heard through a reliable grapevine that our music was being used in Guantanamo Bay prison camps to musically stun or torture people," founder cEvin Key explains by phone from his Los Angeles home. "We heard that our music was used on at least four occasions. So we thought it would be a good idea to make an invoice to the U.S. government for musical services, thus the concept of the record title, Weapons."
So how did you feel learning your music was being used liked this?
"Not too good," Key continues. "We never supported those types of scenarios. ... Because we make unsettling music, we can see it being used in a weird way. But it doesn't sit right with us."
Released in the first quarter of 2103, Weapon is a return to earlier Skinny Puppy days when songs were frequently conceived, recorded and mastered in a single night, what Key calls, "more on the spot."
"We decided to get back to that philosophy and that type of idealism," he says. "We spent an unnecessary amount of time on HanDover. ... The album took several years. That was not the way Skinny Puppy made records."
The band took the unusual step on Weapon, re-recording "Solvent" from its debut, Remission. Not really an uncommon idea, but what's unusual is that Key followed the original recording and production steps without knowing what the modern results might be. The hard-edged, driving song that first introduced the concept of electro-industrial music also rekindled the old school "on the spot" recording concept for Weapon.
"I had an idea how I originally made ("Solvent") and I wondered if I followed the exact steps if it would turn out the same. It kinda did, but in a weird way because it obviously has a newer sound," Key says. "It set the pace for the whole record. (A song) didn't sound right if it didn't sound like something we had just made quickly like in the old days. The goal was to make something fresh and quick and if it sounded too complex, like we need to spend two weeks more on it, then it was like, 'no, this isn't where it's at.'"