The Fritz Interview 1998

I was slated to interview raymond watts of pig during sound check before the tampa pig/kmfdm show. after making my presence known to the crew, i was taken backstage, where i was introduced to raymond, who was suffering from a horrible hangover. we proceeded to his tour bus, where the interview took place, raymond all the while drinking wine and popping aspirin like candy. after some pleasantries and a discussion of the logistical bungles, raymond started the questioning:

Raymond - Are you familiar with the pig stuff then?

psycho dave - Yes i am, actually. I reviewed the last album that came through the fritz, and I have the new one, but I havenít written a review yet.
Raymond - How do you find it?

psycho dave - I actually like it.
Raymond - Actually like it? I quite like it.

psycho dave - I donít hand out praise very quickly.
Raymond - I donít myself.

psycho dave - Would you mind me asking you some quick questions?
Raymond - Fire away.

psycho dave - I guess standard lame beginning, how has the tour been?
Raymond - I donít like touring, I really donít like it, I just find that... I find the whole process frigginí really weird. I guess I donít feel quite comfortable in america either I get really scared by the scale of america, I canít get my head Ďround it.

psycho dave - Youíre British right?
Raymond - Yeah, I mean I live back in london now, and I find the scale of europe I can get my head Ďround. america frightens the shit out of me. Itís too big and I just donít feel very comfortable here. But the tour has been, well considering we are a fairly, kind of, not very well-known band here, and a lot of the people are not familiar with us. It has been a surprisingly positive response. But that sounds like iím blowing my own trumpet I suppose. But it has been quite good on that side of things. I know the guys in the band would like to carry on, because we are jumping off the tour in new orleans...

psycho dave - Really?
Raymond - Yeah, Rammstein are coming for the last few dates. But, itís been ok, I just miss being in my home, and I miss my cat...

psycho dave - What has been the worst experience youíve had this tour? Not including todayís hangover.
Raymond - I find that I tend to loose control sometimes. Thatís not very good.

psycho dave - In terms of the act itself?
Raymond - Everything... Because I find so much boring about this process.

psycho dave - Do you see yourself as more of a studio act, or a touring band? itís obvious what your preference is...
Raymond - Well I have a studio in london where I record this shit, and iíve done the last two albums there and eps and all sorts of things. Well, I have decided that I have to change where I work because I seem to just feel I work better when iím reacting against something ... the energy that started pig just sort of happened, and it happened because I react Ö I used to do sound, and people would ask me to go in the studio and produce and engineer their recordings, and I found that very very frustrating. So to react against that, I would have fucking white knuckles on the board because I was so pissed off at the fucking general standard of rubbish that I had to work with. And so when those people werenít around, iíd go back and have the studio all to myself and I would do stuff. And so that was the motivation, itís kind of negative positivity, if you know what I mean. but that was the kind of motivation for it. And I find that itís still how it works best. Like once I get off this tour I want to go into the studio, because you know itís so fucking annoying, you know you have too much studio, and then you have too much touring. And kind of going back to your question, I feel a bit more at home in the studio, but even there iím kind of frustrated at the parameters in which you have to fucking work in. And so I want to get rid of that now, and change it around again.

psycho dave - What donít you like about the industry standard? You said you were really reacting against that at the beginning.
Raymond - well i find most music fucking boring.

psycho dave - I can agree with that. are you talking about production standards or quality standards?
Raymond - Iím just fucking pissed off at people moaning-on in their fucking bloody self-important righteous fucking overserious fucking, ĎIíve suffered, and now youíre going to suffer for ití fucking bullshit. You know iíd rather watch paint dry. Iíd rather listen to the fucking Carpenters or Abba, you know. Most stuff is just total shit. Just always more and more fucking shit pouring into the bucket, and the bucket is overflowing.

psycho dave - Tell me about it. You know we review everything we are sent, which means reviewing countless horrible albums. Iím just glad that iím not the designated metal reviewer with all the shitty death metal these days. youíre in the position to see a lot of stuff that doesnít even get released.
Raymond - Its funny isnít it. I just donít know if this is really the medium where itís at now. You know when I was young there was this sort of rock thing, it was a kind of handle you could get on things... Now there is this whole brit-pop oasis thing, I just canít understand it, iím not slagging them off, I mean iím sure theyíre great people, but that whole kind of thing is a lamp post that has been pissed on so many times before, I mean whatís the point? and these guys are using the same framework, the same parameters - exactly - that was already done really well before by those people that set that standard, like the beatles or whoever the fuck they are trying to imitate. Itís like Ďhey letís go back and try to do exactly what those other people did before.í Thatís exciting, itís like dressing up as someone else.

psycho dave - So you see this as being financially motivated? Produce what you know sells?
Raymond - No, I just think it shows a fucking limited horizon, thatís all. Its not financial motivation iím sure they think itís great. Iím sure the more cutting-edge kids have nothing to do with music anymore, theyíre probably programming video games or whatever the fuck they do. I mean, some of the drumíníbass shit coming out of london is fucking far-out and there are people who program like miles davis played trumpet.

psycho dave - Intelligent Techno movement?
Raymond - There is some good shit there...

psycho dave - I wanted to ask you about the history of pig. Is it true you have a background in performance art?
Raymond - No, not really at all... This whole thing a just a fucking great big accident, the whole pig thing is an accident, itís just a reaction against other peopleís mediocrity. That may sound self important, but really thatís why I have such a dreadful hangover, because when I drink, I drink to excess and I do this and everything... I have so much respect for people who can just do this almost like a kind of day job. There are these people who go on doing this for fucking month after month and manage to keep their normal life going. I just donít have any self control, thatís the problem... Do you know any of the old albums like Praise the Lard?

psycho dave - No...
Raymond - You should check out Praise the Lard, there has just been an illegal reissue of it on cleopatra Ö But anyways, to go back to that older shit, itís kind of like this with some elements of big band and orchestral and music concrete... Now it has kind of calmed down a bit and I suppose thatís why weíre here. [laughs]

psycho dave - How much have you been influenced by the avant garde and the fringes of classical, turn-of-the-century stuff?
Raymond - Stravinsky and fucking ravel, yeahÖ that kind of stuff. You can take your Metallicas and go thatís tough shit, or your Skrews or whatever you call them, but to be Petrouchka or the fucking rites of spring, that stuff is just tougher than leather. I just canít imagine that people could do that stuff. Itís phenomenal that people can do that ... But coming back to the pig thing, the shit that were doing live, I mean donít expect us to go into our weird big band stuff or weird orchestral things because we have to go and kind of perform. [raymond makes noise like crunch guitar with appropriate hand motions]

psycho dave - Could you explain your relationship with kmfdm? i have seen you listed as part of them a couple of times, and i also see your individual albums and the fact that you have remixed their stuff as a separate entity.
Raymond - I met sascha [konietzko] through this guy I used work with back with EinstŁerzende Neubauten.

psycho dave - Yeah? Theyíre great.
Raymond - I used to do their sound live, which is probably the best job you could have in the world.

psycho dave - Back when they were banging rocks together with contact mikes on them and that kind of shit?
Raymond - They had contact mikes on fucking everything. I think I did six or seven tours with them. I didnít work with them in the studio that much, although I worked with them all individually in the studio, like Alex, the guitar player, he played on the first Pig album, shit like that ó side projects. I used to do their sound and it was like riding this huge great fucking volcano-come-motorbike, over this weird terrain. We used to throw fucking molotov cocktails aroundÖ it was completely insane. I just think they were probably the best band ever... anyways, I met Sascha through one of the guys, and he had this thing Kmfdm, and I had a studio, and he had done a performance with vacuum cleaners or something and he actually wanted to record stuff. So I said Ďwell Iíve got a studio,í so he came down and there was immediately like some kind of... well it was good... it worked. before we knew it, there was this collection of songs and it became the first album. Me and Sascha and Nick [last name unavailable], and an 8-bit sampler. And I did half of the next album with them, but by then i had gravitated towards berlin, they were in hamburg, and we just sort of drifted apart. and then, a bit later, we kind of ran into each other so we did this ep called Kmfdm vs. Pig, you know, we were talking about the sort of boringness of that kind of three and a half minute pop song with two guitars, and those kind of finite parameters and rigid structure, and you get a chorus and then a bridge... I find that whole thing very boring. And the one kind of thing I kind of like about this thing is that people kind of zoom in and out of orbit, and you donít see them for ages and then you do something, and then youíre off. the relationship is just kind of fleeting and then youíre off.

psycho dave - Actually you lead into an interesting thing, I wanted to ask you about your experiences in the studio, the stuff iíve done in the studio has mostly been Ďwow, i can make these incredibly cool noises, how can i put them together?í when you go into the studio, do you have a clear conception of what you want to make that idea into sound, or do you discover interesting things when playing with the equipment?
Raymond - It depends, for example I have an album called The Swining, which wasnít released here, and on there is a track called Symphony For The Devil. And this thing came into my head symphony for the devil and I just knew it had to be it had to be four movements, it had to be really long, and had to go from this into this into this into this. the title wrote the fucking piece, I know that sounds really fucking pompous, but the title wrote it... The same is true for find it fuck it forget it the title defined it... Also certain sounds motivate things, I donít know. you know iím not interested in playing instruments. If you want to play an instrument, you have to be so fucking good and work so hard, and practice relentlessly, and if youíre going to fucking do it you have to be fucking great. So I donít work in that, being that iím too lazy. So I just work more like driving things together. See, I donít know about music song writing, to me its just something I donít really understand, so I would rather just think of these different kinds of music as different cars and just smashing them together so you get a wreck. You know what i mean?

psycho dave - Yeah.
Raymond - And thatís what this is.

psycho dave - Cool.