Today at Last Day Deaf, we have the delight of traveling into the deliciously tempting and morbid world of PIG. PIG music features dark humor, eclectic mashing of genres, and remarkable versatility no matter who contributes to them that holds no punches lyrically. We had the humbling opportunity to chew on the fat with the masters of thier craft while stomping the world on the PIG “Prey & Obey” tour.
Thank you for the humbling opportunity. I’d like to get right to what’s current in the world of PIG- the ‘Swine & Punishment’ release, which saw the light of day on May 5th of 2017. This work is by no means just a “remix” album, but a repainting of an already seasoned work with even more depth and finer detail. It has several solid contributing artists. May I ask what was the motivation behind this work? In other words, how did it come to be?
Remix albums can be quite tricky territory, a kind of high risk – high reward strategy if they come off. This body of work that you have been pretty controlling and obsessive when you make an album and then you then just give up and hand over to others… There’s a kind of risk, then release… Then hopefully a reward when you get the remix back!
Sending them off to remixers is like bringing your children up and then having them leave home. With the songs from ‘The Gospel’ I was able to arrange the marriages of the songs with their remixes (I’m very old fashioned like that) and am lucky enough to know some very talented people who brought their own special alchemy to the songs and turned them from lumps of old coal into shiny jewels…
How did it feel listening to those songs re-imagined by a plethora of artists?
It’s fascinating to hear where people take your songs, and sometimes the further out the better. I must say I was pretty bowled over with where the remixes ended up. The mixers have taken the essence and distilled it, or taken a thread and woven a whole new coat. It takes balls to take a song and a sound and give it a new vision.
PIG compositions as a whole thematically work all together on each album- however, the songs showcase their individuality well. The work is not just the same song over and over again. There are different elements to each piece. Is this something that you all strive for during the composition process, or does this happen more at the end with additions and layering? Does it seem to also depend on who’s working alongside you?
There is no conscious decision to ‘make each song different’. I’ve been working with a raft of different people in the last eighteen months, co-writing with the equally talented and terrific Mark Thwaite (Peter Murphy/The Mission) on much of ‘The Gospel’, Z. Marr co-writing and co-producing much material with me alongside old colleagues En Esch and Guenter Schulz from my KMFDM days.
The process is much more open in terms of collaboration than it was with PIG in the past. I used to cling onto the reigns very tightly … (control, control.) And it’s still very much my baby, but the whole thing is far more flexible, fun and somewhat fearsome with all my partners in swine in the PIG camp.
Lyrically, PIG has no boundaries and is very blunt, showcasing word-play and dark humour. Is this just an extension of yourselves branched out into your work?
It’s written by myself, but it’s not ‘me’. If I hold a mirror up and you see a monster what does that mean? The creature under the bed is only empowered when you’re too frightened, scared or boring to have a damn good look at it. And maybe we can see a little of ourselves in it.
In the ‘Compound Eye Sessions’, which was released in 2015, you worked alongside the MC Lord of the Flies himself, Marc Heal. How was the creative energy between you on that work? Were there things that you immediately took over in the process, or vice versa, or did you both just feed ideas back and forth? How was that experience?
I had pretty much been done with PIG for ages when Marc and myself hooked up, and he really helped reignite my relationship with PIG and the idea of working and collaborating together with other people. The old ‘the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts’ thing. I’d known Marc since the early nineties but we’d never worked together before. I had been writing for all sorts of things, fashion shows, museums, installations, films and such but Marc was a real breath of fresh air. We immediately started firing off each other. He had some fabulous ideas and it was as easy as falling off a log creating those songs. In fact one his and Phil Barry’s ideas from those sessions has turned into the song ‘Prey & Obey’ which is the lead off track on the new PIG ep of the same name.
PIG is about to hit the road for the 2017 “Prey & Obey” tour. Are you excited to work alongside Julien-K and Ghostfeeder this go around?
Of course I am! I wouldn’t otherwise do it. There is an enormous amount of the unknown before a long tour like this, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have a fantastic band and Julien-K and Ghostfeeder really compliment the whole thing.
Let’s go back to the beginning. How did it start working with Wax Trax!, and releasing ‘A Poke In The Eye… With A Sharp Stick’? Is there anything specificially you commemorate from that time?
I was living in West Berlin having just moved from Hamburg, and it was a very fertile time. My publisher sent my stuff over to Wax Trax! and that was it. They seemed to ‘get’ PIG, but I was also working with lots of other projects in Europe , the U.S. and then in Japan. If I had made PIG my one main focus and not been in other bands it would probably be a very different animal today, but I really needed to do other things as well. Short attention span, low boredom threshold… Sounds like recipe for trouble, no?
For Raymond specifically, you were also working putting things together with KMFDM, and did lots of work with music in general at the time, engineering, playing instruments in bands. Was there just a big motivation or passion to do all things musical for you at the time? Would you say that fire ensues to this day?
I think when I engage with anything; music, drugs (though no longer I am happy to say), food, making albums, writing or ironing shirts it gets pretty intense and I go to max. So since I gave PIG the kiss of life again after a long lay off it’s just as full on and all consuming as before. Probably more so without some of my more toxic pastimes.
Is there anything from the Hamburg underground days you commemorate specifically that stick with you all these years?
I vaguely remember plenty of incredibly long and debauched drinking sessions down around the red light district where I lived, and some really weird recording sessions with various bands in my old bunker of a studio which inevitably involved large rusty metallic objects and of course no heating during couple of brutal winters.
After returning to London, and work began on ‘Praise The Lard’, did the focus of PIG change at all?
PIG ‘became’ the focus more when I returned to London. ‘Praise The Lard’ was an album that I wrote, recorded and performed pretty much entirely locked away on my own with absolutely minimal equipment over quite a few months. I did kind of obsess over it and got totally wrapped up in it. I was out of West Berlin after five years of working on a million different things and ‘Praise The Lard’ was a kind of calm in the middle of a storm. I didn’t know it at the time but it was like lancing boil or taking my finger out of the damn because after that the next thirteen years or so was an absolute blizzard of creation and car wrecks in equal measure.
Do you approach your projects all the same? Would you say you are a little more indulgent so to speak with PIG?
Whichever band I have been writing for, my words are always PIG. The music I write is always PIG some of it has been released under the banner of KMFDM , Schwein or Schaft but it’s all the same to me. I just do what I do.
Thanks again for taking the time. If I may ask, what’s next from PIG for the eager congregation?
I’ve been working on a few things including a new album for early next year, but a list below of the stuff that’s available now.
‘Prey & Obey’ ep is released on Metropolis Records 6/16/17,
“Prey & Obey” tour starts 6/28/17 thru 8/13/17.
‘Wrecked’ is re-released with all tracks from the U.S. and Japanese versions with additional unreleased track from the sessions and extremely rare version of ‘Fuck Me I’m Sick (As Fuck)’, signed lyric sheet, all on heavyweight double vinyl with download card, only available on “Prey & Obey” tour.
‘Swine & Punishment’ remix cd currently available through Metropolis Records
“The Word Of The Lard: The Scripture Of Raymond Watts”: A book of the complete works of Raymond Watts’ words, running to 240 pages in a beautifully bound hardback book with metallic silver embossed cover, limited to 100 copies only available on “Prey & Obey” tour.
‘Second Coming’: a four track ep with two new songs, a remix and unreleased recording with personalised artwork by The Lord Of Lard only available to VIPs at meet and greet on the “Prey & Obey” tour.
Tour dates, tickets and VIPs at: pigindustries.com