Never Any Rules: A Conversation With Filter
    • TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2016

    • Posted by: Don Saas

    "I didn't think I was gonna live past 30. So, every day is a gift...This last record, Crazy Eyes, was such a treat to do, and every time I turn on a microphone I get a chance to express myself, and I don't take that for granted. I get to spout off about anything I want to, and say anything I want to say, and I love what I do."

    It's been twenty one years since Filter released their debut record, Short Bus, in 1995 and catapulted to public recognition with their smash single, "Hey Man Nice Shot," (which would be followed up four years later with the equally iconic "Take A Picture" from Title of Record). And while so many bands of the post-grunge/industrial scene of the mid-to-late 90s have folded in the last twenty years, Filter are still standing tall with the release of their seventh studio record, Crazy Eyes. And Crazy Eyes is very much a return to frontman Richard Patrick's industrial roots.

    "It's fun, when you're technically working with a lot of really heavy grabs so much of the frequencies that you really can't explore too much with songwriting. With this record, when we get done with chords and go into the breakdown of just cellos and stuff, it was really freeing to do whatever we wanted. It wasn't like we were just making a single. Everything came together really naturally. It was just a freeing record. I love being a producer and having that final say on everything. I work with some great people like Oumi Kapila, who co-produced stuff with me, wrote with me. We've had a blast."

    Crazy Eyes was released on Friday, 4/8, and in addition to its focus on industrial rock tones, it's very much an album of pure guitar shreddage that should satisfy anyone who misses the days when rock albums displayed actual guitar mastery.

    "There were two different approaches to guitar solos. Like the one at the end of 'Take Me to Heaven' was a straight up Eddie Van Halen kind of solo, and Oumi Kapila is just an amazing player, and he did that. I thought it was kinda funny because it was cynical and ironic. It was like a good joke, a good gag. It was never like that on any of my records, and I liked it because musically it was a perfect little solo, but to me it was a really cool sarcastic thing to do as well.

    But the guitar solo at the end of 'Nothing in My Hands' is just complete noise, but that's what I do. That's my guitar thing. I'm so avant garde and crazy it doesn't even sound like a guitar by the time we're done with it. There's really just never any rules. Filter's never had a set of rules. One year it's like 'Hey Man, Nice Shot,' then a couple years later it's 'Take a Picture,' or 'Welcome to the Fold,' or 'Can't You Trip Like I Do' with Crystal Method. We just took that same approach and I just enjoyed keeping it industrial but at the same time trying to be as original as possible as well."

    The sort of noisy, dissonant rock that acts like Nine Inch Nails (Richard Patrick's big break came as Nine Inch Nails' touring guitarist) , Ministry, Skinny Puppy, and Filter helped to popularize in the 90s is a sadly disappearing field for contemporary acts but something young listeners still find and attach themselves to time and time again, and Patrick had a lot to say about the enduring appeal of the genre.

    "I think that industrial music, like Skinny Puppy, to the average person is unlistenable. There's no songwriting. It's all growling and screaming; it's super intense. That's why I liked it back in the day because people like Bon Jovi weren't doing that. It was so completely against a cheesy, sloppy rock and roll sound, so that's what appealed to me. It kind of broke open when Trent surfaced to the masses. I was really happy because I remember seeing the charts at the time and it was like Pantera, Soundgarden, and Nine Inch Nails were all in the top three of all music. Those three records were at the top, and I just remember thinking to myself that this was the greatest time in music. And I was right."

    Filter's seventh studio album, Crazy Eyes, is out now on Wind-Up Records.

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