Raising Cain 1997

Raising Cain Associate Editor Alexx interviewed Raymod Watts, also known as Pig, a few months ago for Interface Magazine and Raising Cain.

N. Jefferson Fuzzy had the privelege of listening in, and can attest that it was a wonderful conversation. The Interview was used as basis for an article in Interface, and the complete transcript reserved for us. Read on to see for yourself.

alexx: Hi.... how are things?

Pig: Oh... uh... um... not too bad... have you listened to Sinsation?

[Editor's Note: Sinsation is out on Nothing Records in the States, and the newer LP, Wrecked, is availible on WaxTrax!/TVT. Also look for the EP, Prime Evil, released after Wrecked, and a bunch of other titles released before Sinsation.]

alexx: Yeah... I've had it for a while

Pig: How do you find it?

alexx: I like it a lot... I really like the first track, Painiac, Volcano, and some of the instrumentals... Since then you've done another album, haven't you?

Pig: Yeah... it's called Wrecked, on Victor in Japan.

alexx: Any plans to release that in America?

Pig: Don't know. I mean, I don't know if people are going to like it... if people like it then it might see the light of day there, but Pig releases have been going on for ages now. They come out on little labels here and there and there's no strategy behind the whole thing. People get excited about an album, and there's been a lot of releases so the whole fucking thing falls by the wayside... A lot of them don't get released in America. Sinsation, though, is on Trent (Reznor)'s label and it's obviously going to get a bit more exposure than the other ones, so if there are people interested in hearing the other shit, then for that reason alone, it might be quite nice to stick it out there. Whether people like it or not is an entirely different issue.

[Editor's Note: The interview was conducted before Wrecked was licensed to WaxTrax!]

alexx: Was the licensing through Nothing Records just a one album deal?

Pig: I think we're going to decide sort of generally. I think the call is on their side of the fence as to whether they want to continue with the same kind of relationship. It's their decision on whether they want to pick up Wrecked and move ahead with it.

[Editor's Note: Nothing artists include Marilyn Manson, Prick, Nine Inch Nails, and Einsturzende Neubauten. WaxTrax! has long been the label for KMFDM and related labels have harbored various solo and side projects.]

alexx: There's certainly a growing market in the states for music like yours and it would be a shame for it not to see the light of day.

Pig: Right.

alexx: What are you working on now?

Pig: I'm currently in the middle of an encounter with Steve White who does a lot of the programming and guitars for Pig now. We tracked up some stuff here and took it over to Tokyo. I was actually there two weeks ago, working with a couple of Japanese musicians, 'cause I've been doing things over there with some labels there and just sort of hanging out for quite some time now. We're doing a new Pig single and it seemed quite fun to acutally go and do some of it over there, to do some guitars and vocals with some Japanese guys over there. I'm also going to be doing some tiny tiny tiny live ventures over the next fourteen days for which I'm desperately trying to get some backing tracks, but I'm running the band and I'm kind of cracking the whip there to get people all day to play harder Harder HARDER. We're going to do a couple of shows and then we're going to go to Seattle to mix some of the stuff with Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM and that may see the light of day as a Pig single... we'll have to see... We released a couple of new tracks and remixes from the last album on an EP called Prime Evil a couple of months ago. Hnnnn..... That's kind of been all really... pretty non-stop, actually.

alexx: You mentioned having lived in Japan, and I also know that you've spent time living in Germany and France. What inspired you to leave England to go to all these places?

Pig: I just didn't feel that in the English music there was anything that resonated in me and had any kind of profile or importance that I could take any notice of. I was stuck in an experimental recording center with an 8-track machine just outside London in the early 80's, and it was through that that I got hooked up with people like Psychic TV and Einsturzunde Neubauten and a German band called Abwarts. I did some touring with them and ended up setting up a studio in Hamburg... Actually "studio" is stretching the definition of the word. It was really just a couple tape machines and a broken mixing deck. It was very low- tech, but through that situation, I found there was slightly more interesting stuff going on over there than in London or around the whole scene in England. Then I met Sascha and En Esch. We started fucking around doing things which turned into the recording that was the first KMFDM album, as well as ones that turned into the first Pig album, but we didn't know they were going to be those things at the time. It was just a question of diving in. So I was in Hamburg for a year and built up a bit of a relationship with the guys from Einsturzunde Neubauten and went on tour with them. We were based in Berlin and I was doing live sound for them, doing things that were more left-field experimental stuff. I kind of gravitated to living there and working all kinds of people and producing stupid little records of my own. That was what took up my time for a while, and needless to say because of that, I lost touch with the guys from KMFDM. Halfway through the second album I just wasn't around anymore. After that they sort of peeled off and based themselves in the states in Chicago, I was meanwhile still banging oil drums in freezing cold cellars in Berlin and miking up great big fucking pieces of metal and shoving microphones in oil containers and breaking things and that sort of shit. That's the main of it.

alexx: Do you speak German or Japanese or anything?

Pig: I used to try and speak German, but in Germany, everyone I worked with was into music and so we were all brought up hearing the Beatles, and they really had it down, I have to say. They'd go, "Raymond, speak English." I never really got it together beyond "Kunst du machen die mikrofone nar die floor tom-tom bitte?" to which they'd go, "What the fuck are you saying?" and I'd say, "but didn't I just ask you to put the mic by the floor tom-tom?"

Basically, things got done a lot faster if I was speaking English.

[Editor's Note: Rumour has it that the moniker KMFDM was coined because Watts could hardly pronounce the longer german tonguetwister Kein Mitleid fur die Merheit.]

alexx: In '95, you joined back up with KMFDM for the Nihil album. What inspired that?

Pig: I hadn't spoken to Sascha for ages and I think we had been talking about some loose ends regarding publishing on some old material, so the first time we talked, we just kind of caught up on things, and figured it my be quite fun to get back into the studio again and do some things not really under the umbrella of KMFDM or of Pig. When we did the first stuff, we'd book a studio for four days and just go in for that time armed with a few half-baked ideas, very loose-feeling, disparate, unrelated things -- song beats, lyrincs tapes, riffs, whatever, and we'd just throw it together to see if anything worthwhile came out. For the most part it wasn't really worthwhile but sometimes things occasionally were vaguely interesting. So having made contact in early '95, we decided to do that again. We booked a studio, I put a few sounds on cassette, put a few bits and vocals on DAT, got a ticket on the plane and went over there. I came to the studio and in five days, we had done an EP called KMFDM vs. Pig. The process was enjoyable. I was in the meantime working with some Japanese guys and touring with them out there and doing stuff, and so when that was finished, Sascha said, "Why don't you come over and stick your nose in on the Nihil record?" So I went over there, and they already had backing tracks which were really down and almost thoroughly finished. They asked if I just wanted to come up with any ideas for vocals, words, whatever, rogramming. I did some singing and shouting, which was all right... It turned into the Nihil album and so they asked me to come on tour with them and so I did a shitload of touring with them. After that I went off and did some more Pig stuff... another album.

alexx: What are you doing right now?

Pig: We're in my studio, Apocalypse. We're trying to do some backing tapes and sequences.

alexx: What's the writing process for you music?

Pig: I not really one to go for the whole thing of going off and writing songs... it's a genre and it's a kind of lamp post that's been pissed on many many times and has been done a lot by people for the last thirty years or so in the way that of a poet with an acoustic guitar who bashes out "Yellow Submarine" or "Cigarettes and Alcohol"... It has specific parameters and I can't compete with that fucking shit. They do it really good, and good luck to them. I've always been more interested in the idea of throwing together slightly more disparate and seemingly un-related sound sources and concrete music ideas in the hopes that you may possible create something that says something new and may possibly push back parameters, where the songwriter may not get into that kind of territory . When I got my first 8- bit sampler with a one and a half second storage, during A Poke In The Eye and Don't Blow Your Top, it was complete liberation because I could suddenly put in a metal guitar here and there, which I realize is now being done by everybody, but at the time it raised a few eyebrows -- things like colliding big band samples with orchestral samples with guitars and metal percussion and random noises. Sometimes it does create a structure where sometimes if you were really drunk enough, and stupid enough, you maybe could interpret it as a song. There is no process. It's basically a procession of futile avenues and bringing out ideas, sounds and structures and bringing them together. But there's something in it... I don't know. Even in the first song I wrote, a Pig single called "Shit For Brains," I knew where it was going. here was some idea, some kind of little strap line that sounded like it came off the page of a really fucking low brow tabloid newspaper. I knew somehow that it had to define and dictate how the song would sound. In songs like "Symphony for the Devil" and "Blade," I see those sorts of things, or like in "Red, Raw and Sore." Those were all defined in my head in a way that summed up what they were to be like. From there I just try to fill in the dots but otherwise, it's a question of maybe trying to get some orchestral thing to try to fit with the metallic percussion.

I'm sorry for going on and on. I'm sure this makes no sense. I'm just really fucking exhausted.

alexx: What have you been listening to lately?

Pig: All sorts of eclectic shit... I've been listening to the Carpenters and ABBA recently, and I've been listening a lot to the new Arvo Part CD, which is wonderful. I've also been listening to some Jill Savanaugh which is some gooey romantic cello music... Unnnnnggh... I'm not really up to speed on Brit-Pop or Indie music hit parade Top 20 shit... All kinds of weird shit.

alexx: What place does a sense of humor have in music?

Pig: I kind of mock myself quite a bit harder than you would mock me. It all seems a bit ridiculous, this angsty thing, but at the same time I love it. I kind of like to take the piss out of myself. I say it to mock. I've been around the block too long to take this kind of angsty stuff seriously... I'm not fucking... no, I don't want to get into this, but I think it's better to start laughing at yourself before you start laughing too hard at other people.

alexx: What do you think of using shock value in your music?

Pig: It doesn't even enter into the agenda. People unfortunately have a lack of ability to view anything in its own right or standing on its own two feet. Marilyn Manson, for example, are a fine band, and I respect what they do, but just because we're on the same record label doesn't mean we are at all alike. They'd be the first to agree with that. And as regards to the whole thing about shock value, I haven't been shocked by a pop band or any kind of whatever the fuck you wanna call it industrial noise terrorist nah-nah-nah-nah-nah vomit-inducing bile-fucking shit-fucking fist-fucking super evil scary satanist fucking fuck band. I get a lot more scared by seeing the fucking National Inquirer than listening to anything on an industrial so-called subversive label. Forget the shock value stuff, I mean you're preaching to the converted, pal.

[Editor's Note: As always, the best I can say about this classic rant is "Wow."]

alexx: What do you see as being the future of music today?

Pig: I don't know... it's probably in Buenos Aries somewhere for all I know. At the moment I've got my studio here, and this is where myself and Steve are forced by the intense nature of the work we're doing to lower our horizon to the edge of the mixing board. I'm afraid I can't really see much further beyond that. This studio is in a building with lots of other bands who've got nothing that excites me incredibly. In Tokyo, though, I've come across Hobi Kamayamu (sp?) who has a band called Optical Light which is probably the most exciting thing going down at the moment. Otherwise I'm too stuck up my own arsehole at the moment to take time to find out what else is out there is grooving, so to speak... grooving really isn't the right word.

alexx: What was the last thing to piss you off?

Pig: The last thing to really fucking piss me off was myself and my own shortcomings and lack of ability, and lack of discipline. I'm too busy being pissed off at myself to start pointing the finger at other people. I was pissed off that I couldn't fucking get out of bed this morning and I was so fucking hung over and weary from last night and yet I had loads of things to do so I was pissed off at myself. I finding myself to be completely inept and ugly and useless as usual, which seems to be my daily prayer.

alexx: Is not being able to get out of bed a common problem?

Pig: More often it's that I can't get into bed. I'm not cheesed off. I'm not pissed off. I'm just really fucking tired. I think you're getting the impression that I'm some grumpy reclusive fucking wallowing self-indulgent idiotic fart who takes himself too seriously. Excuse my tone of voice it's usually much more JOYFUL and fucking FULL of the JOYS that SPURN in the WORLD.

alexx: Don't think that I think that way. I understand completely.

Pig: Alright... anyway, I'm sorry about all this... I've hardly heard you speak because of the noise and a bad connection. I've been rambling on and on about all this and you've probably been asking what ther weather's like. I hope this has all made some sense. I'm just not feeling too lucid right now.

alexx: Please, don't worry about it. One last question: What goes well with pork?

Pig: Self denial.