Interview with Cevin Key from Skin Trade #6, 1993.
Skinny Puppy has been at the forefront of the industrial music scene since the mid-eighties. Their mixture of layered atmospheric synths, demented mechanized vocals, and twisted reverberating beats have seduced a legion of black garbed, doom and gloom-loving fans. Band member cEvin Key was on hand for a teleconference/interview session over the air from Vancouver. It was only open to college radio stations so I called one of my radio contacts, Mark DeBonis to see if he could get the low down on the new album and some other stuff.
MD: How do you feel about industrial music (for lack of a better term) and what about the future of it?
cK: Umm....that's a good question. Industrial music...like the term in itself isn't a proper term and you covered that base by saying 'for lack of a better term.' I think that the term means that we're not ready to deal with the future. What my vision of the whole industrial thing that's happening is that there is a lot of the same things going on and I don't think that people are letting loose enough. I think that bands are too concerned where they fit in and how they are going to be interpreted. There is a lot of experimental music going on right now that needs more exposure. Art as a whole is being stifled a lot, especially up here in Canada.
MD: Do you think that Skinny Puppy's music reflects the disinterest of society?
cK: Well...I mean everything is fucked up, government, the media, and the environment. I think the people of the world should just turn around and admit that we screwed up and stop trying to cover everything up. We should all get together and have a big huddle and try to get out of this mess.
MD: What influences you?
cK: A lot of people believe that we are influenced by horror but I think Skinny Puppy is really a barometer or thermometer of the world. We're influenced by all movement and activity, sounds, lights, everything. I know that sounds a little off the deep end but to say we're directly influenced by one thing would be wrong.
MD: Skinny Puppy is known for it's total sensory overload when playing live, how do prepare for your shows?
cK: In the beginning, we used to just go out and do it. We'd just wing it every night. I tend to think that we're more spontaneous than most people think. Every show that we do is different in the sense that there are degrees of the show that are completely different, but we cover the same sort of bases and hit the same planets and in between we run into this weird cosmic duststorm.
MD: Is "Last Rights" some kind of pissed-off expression of how Skinny Puppy feels at this point?
cK: Well, we were definitely pissed-off about the state of the band. Dwayne and I were both frustrated, and so was Ogre. Ogre went through a lot of personal problems during the recording of this album and it shows. I was definitely in a position where I just didn't want to write anything other than the things that really made me go nuts. Things that made me feel like my insides were twisting apart. You know, in an interesting sort of way we get this really sort of weird energy from some songs that really work for us, and I think that's how we sort of determine if it's Skinny Puppy, or whether it's for one of our side projects. It's got to have an angst-ridden sort of feeling to it. On "Last Rights," Skinny Puppy was definitely full of angst and full of anger and I think it all came out. I'm just still pissed-off about how we couldn't put the tenth song on the album. It's called, "Lefthandshake." It really rounded off the album. It really explained why we were so angst-ridden at that point. It was sort of a last argument.
MD: Why is the tenth track missing?
cK: We were afraid of being sued by Henry J. Saperstein, who is the holder of the rights of the voice of Timothy Leary, from his album, "Tune In, Turn On." We received permission from Timothy Leary personally over the phone. We then used the track and put music to it and Ogre did a commentary along back to Leary and we finished the song. Then, Henry J. Saperstein contacted us and said that if we use it, legal action would ensue. We tried to convince him, but he said, "it doesn't matter what Leary said, he doesn't own his own work." Pretty weird, huh? Sorta like Michael Jackson owning the copyrights to all the Beatles' songs. They need his permission to re-release any of those songs or to sell them. It's a strange world.