Pig Pen Interview 1998

The Pig Pen interview with Raymond Watts
Interview conducted by Aaron Abt and Sean Lambert
Interview given 5/7/98

Pig Pen: What have you been working on most recently with Pig?

Raymond Watts: Right now I'm in the middle of putting down a mix for some pals of mine for this band called The Dons of Quixote, who haven't released anything yet. They're just signing to, I think, R&S Records, which is a Belgian label. They do stuff like Ken Ishii and various techno shit. I had popped in their studio to see them the other day, where they were mixing their first single for R&S and I really liked it. I wanted to do a little change and they threw me a few sounds on DAT and I've been having a go at that the last couple of days. It's nice to kinda jump out of the doing Pig stuff for a little bit. Tomorrow I'm starting a remix for this Japanese guy called Die. I'm going to be doing a mix for him and I think Jim Thirlwell's doing the other one. I think that will be fun to do in the midst of writing the new Pig album.

PP: How is work on the new album going?

RW: It's kinda been sidelined, unfortunately, in terms of concentration. There was all this talk I was supposed to do this one tour and then it got blown out, and then I was supposed to do another one and that got cast by the wayside as well. There's been a lot of shit going on with TVT with whether they were going to support us if we toured or not and whether they wanted to get involved with doing and EP and stuff. Everything seems to be moving pretty slowly.

PP: Yeah, Yoshi (Hoshina) had mentioned a possible tour around May.

RW: Yeah and unfortunately that's not going to happen now. You sort of get the feeling things are going well and you then see how quickly things move with people with really good relationships with the company. You see that some things are going okay, but others are moving very slowly and I wasn't getting any things to actually happen, like for a band, getting stuff released, old stuff and even releasing current singles, and it gets a bit frustrating. It hasn't been when I was working on Japanese labels. I have a really great relationship with Yoshi (Hoshina). Apart from being great at managing, he's been a really good old friend. We just did things on a basis where I'd be thrown in a part and we'd pick up the ball and run with it and we'd do things immediately or the decision might be made not to do something and things ran really smoothly that way. This guy I was with named Yoshi Kubota, I started off with on Alfa Records and did a few releases with him there and then he moved to Victor and so I moved with him to that company. We just had a really good working relationship, even with things like going on tour with people. We would be like, "We need a few thousand to go on tour." Things would be done very much on a basis like, "That's a good idea, lets do it." Like for "KMFDM vs. Pig", Sascha and I were talking on the phone and this idea came up and we decided it was a good idea. I made a call to Yoshi (Hoshina) and he talked to Yoshi Kubota. It was like, "Yeah, okay, we'll go with it." So I literally grabbed a few discs and flew to Seattle the next day and spent five days in the studio with Sascha and Gunter (aka Svet Am). It just went back to the way we did the first KMFDM album, which was going into the studio and seeing what you could do with them. It was like that. It happened really quickly. Those kinds of things aren't possible with TVT. They mean really well and they like the stuff, but there's other things to think about, which I find frustrating, having come from a background of doing things like I just described. TVT loves reaping the rewards for it, but they don't want to take the risks of making it happen. No disrespect to them, because they work really well in other ways. Some really positive things about them is the way they dealt with "Juke-Joint Jezebel," just that whole cycle of getting stuff out and getting it on movie soundtracks and that shit. It's really good the way they do that. I believe it was more of a mysterious approach to things. I think small and do it quickly. That's been a motivating sight my whole thing, just working with people I want to work with. As a result of TVT, I find it impossible to work with other people too much.

PP: What direction do you feel your music is taking compared to your past styles?"

RW: Almost contradictory to what I was just saying, I have actually started working with Steve White. He used to just play in the live band with me and I got him into being my programmer. We're starting to work more on writing stuff together. That may be reflective of the fact that having done albums like "Praise The Lard" and "The Swining," that was me locked in a room for literally months and months and months doing thinks like "Symphony For the Devil," which has a certain territory to it. I used to really like getting into that kind of territory. It was just a thing I got lost in, just my kind of thing. It was totally redounded of influence, although it was completely and utterly a product of exterior kinds of sound sources. It's kinda very much external in one way. You also get kinda lost remeshing this weird shit and ending up trying to push together sounds from more orchestral, romantic sides of things with a kind of music concrete. That whole weird territory I feel I've done. I'm trying to let go of that and work on new ideas with Steve. We would like to take things a bit further. Pig has done quite a few releases now and I feel you can't just go on the same ground. So maybe I'd like to work in a more simple way and making more simple musical structures and being a bit less lost in it.

PP: With your new releases, do you plan on releasing them at the same time in the U.S. and Japan?

RW: Hopefully.

PP: I know a lot of people would like your new stuff, but it's tougher to try to get from Japan in the U.S.

RW: Did you get "No One Gets Out of Her Alive"?

PP: Yeah.

RW: See I think I'd like to get some of that stuff released in the U.S. There were a couple of tracks on the Japanese version of "Wrecked" that didn't make it on the U.S. version. I'd like to remesh those and do stuff with that. I'd also like to get some of the songs from "Prime Evil" out in the states as well. A couple of those songs were actually released in a half-done state, which was weird. For example, there was potentially a lot more work to be done on "Keeper of the Margarita." There was supposed to be a bit more programming done on that track. I'd like to get that track out in the U.S., as well as some of these other tracks like "Fuck Me I'm Sick" and "The Book of Tequila." I would like to put that stuff together as well as the new stuff.

PP: What do you like most about doing Pig?

RW: Well actually I'm not really enjoying it at the moment. I'm so fucking side-tracked with this other stuff. It's not so enjoyable funnily enough. It's not something I would protest about either, but I wouldn’t call it enjoyable. It's more hair-tearing. It all just happened by accident. I was doing all sorts of music before Pig. I would be locked up in a studio with guys like Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten). I would do things with different people. Then I started working with KMFDM. What happened was I sometimes found it really frustrating working with different people. You want to have both hands on the rails at all times. So I just started doing things so I could stretch out on my own. I ended up releasing this and releasing that and before you know it you're just doing this stuff. It's just part of my life. It's just something that has to be done.

PP: What do you see yourself doing in ten years?

RW: That's something I have no idea about. I think that's fairly normal. I would like to do something completely different at some point and try something else. Things just open up. Certain doors happen to open up. I don't have any burning ambition that I have to do Pig. The music just happened to end up where it is. It's a very interesting idea and question actually. I feel the whole thing controls me, rather than the other way around, so I don't know where it may take me.

PP: What are your favorite projects you've worked on?

RW: Well I did this really funny thing called Rotting Sausage, which was a complete fucking laugh. We did some mad stuff. I think we did one live show back in 1985. We made a few recordings. I don't know what happened to them. I think they got lost. I think the most authentic thing was this fifteen minute track called "Ich Brache ein Schnitzel," which means "I want a sausage." I think we played with a couple of guys from Adwarts. I used to play in this band called Adwarts, which was sort of a new German wave band in the early 80's. A couple of those guys were on stage as well. That was really fun. I used to enjoy doing sounds with my band because it was so mad and so completely and utterly fucking vulgar. It wasn't like doing sounds for a normal band. It was absolutely hysterical and really intense and fun.

Additional Questions (from Pig Pen visitors)

PP: What is your middle name?

RW: George.

PP: What is your date of birth?

RW: September 1, 1961

PP: Were you in any garage bands when you were young?

RW: Yeah, I was in a band ages and ages ago called West End. It was the first band I was in really. I played bass. It was great. We just went off and on into different studios. We released one single. It was way back in 1981 or 1980 or 1979, I don't know. I didn't do so much garage bands. I did this cassette thing once. It was a weird thing I did when I was younger. It was full of interviews with people and we put it in this package with balloons and sweeties and free Argentinean soldiers to mutilate in the privacy of your own home. It was done at the same time of the Falklands War. I played in a German called Adwarts. It was quite a rock 'n' roll band, punk thing.

PP: Where did you get the nicknames Nainz and Ray Scaballero?

RW: Nainz I've had for years and years. It probably goes back to when I was a kid. It's one of those names as a kid your friends and family would call you, but then other people started using it. Ray Scaballero is just a name I came up with when Jim (Thirlwell) was doing artwork. I just came up with it and it somehow ended up on an album sleeve.

PP: Did Sow take their name from Pig?

RW: Yeah, we used to live together in Berlin for years and years, and back in London before that. She had offered to help me out a little bit. My first programming scenario was in the corner of the apartment in Berlin. I used to put things together there and she was around. There were a lot of people who did music and she wanted to write and express things through the written word. It seemed kinda like a good marriage to put her words and the music together. I did all the music off Sow's first album, except for one track, which was co-written. Then the second one came around, and I was doing all this other shit to do all the music for it. So I called up a few people to write various tracks, like Martin from Test Dept. who works in a studio next door to Ranch Apocalypse and various people around. I called up Sascha (Konietzko) and Gunter (Schulz), and they were more than willing to do some backing tracks for it and it worked out really well. We sort of just put it together over the year.

PP: Have you talked with Trent since leaving Nothing?

RW: Nope, I don't think so.

PP: Did you and Trent ever talk about working together?

RW: No, never.

PP: Do you have any pets?

RW: I have a cat.