Hello Tyler and Roland! Thanx for responding to the interview call from the Russian side. By the way, how is your finger Tyler? Is it still under speedy recovery or you are already able to give the finger easily over again? :> Seriously though, how come the incident happened that a guitar, your best friend ever, injured you so heavily?
Tyler Newman: Well, to be honest, the fingers always come naturally to me. So to be without it for so long was really hard, but I'm back on the guitars and synths and so far it's working out ok. The incident itself was kind of a bloodbath, one I'd personally prefer to forget. One learns from one's injuries, at least in theory...
Sorry, forgot to congratulate you upon re-issue of modernized "Product". It's a nice surprise though, but what actually moved you to re-produce the original version? Was that an overwhelmingly huge amount of fan's petitions in your mail box to do so or just a mercenary needs pushed it back to the silver press?
Tyler Newman: Obviously, we're one of the hugest bands on the scene, so naturally it was a reflection of our fans desires. I'm kidding... no, really we did the record to handle some of the many requests we'd received but mostly so that we could release something to keep us in peoples memories while we're working on our next record. I think it was a lot of fun to release the record, and hopefully people will be able to get into it while waiting for the next one.
Alright, let's resurrect the memories of your latest album "World Wide Wasteland", which stirred a lot of rants and dithyrambs here and there, so to speak, that even Dave Heckman budged his ass to give it a shot. Do you think it's similar to wine case, the longer it is aged the better it is? And what new Battery Cage members specifically enriched it with?
Roland Adams: It aged so well, we thought we'd get it out in time for the first cycle of industrial "retro."
Tyler Newman: Only Dave Heckman can speak with authority as to whether it's a good wine or not, that's for sure! As an avid collector of champagne, I'm sure he could go into great length about the comparison between a vintage year and Battery Cage's last album, haha!!! But in all honesty, the band really helped take it over the top, and I'm very happy with what we released in the end. I can assure you that the next one will be much much better overall...
Ok, good! According to Kevin Spacey's personage from David Fincher's flick "Se7en" wanting people to listen, you can't just tap them on the shoulder anymore, you have to hit them with a sledge hammer. Do you feel Battery Cage possesses its very unique instrument that makes heads turn and keep the ears out?
Roland Adams: One word: ASS.
Tyler Newman: Hahaha!! Well, all I can say is that I hope people will get into the next record, since it's going to be so much better than the current record...
Roland Adams: If someone wants us to hit them with a sledge hammer, we could do that too.
Obviously, "World Wide Wasteland" if abbreviated refers to WWW (World Wide Web). Is it a prophetic metaphor dealing with your visions of the future and how do we suppose to interpret its figurative parallels? Any chance that a real world wide wasteland is only click away, and the only thing to survive is the Internet?
Tyler Newman: Well look, the obvious evolution of the species will be when wo/man becomes a silicon based life form rather than a simple carbon life form. While I'm not sure that the internet (*as we know it) will be the answer, there will eventually be a single data stream that we'll all be part of...so this is the natural evolution of wo/man...
Roland Adams: Honestly I don't think the interweb is going to help us survive, at least from what I've seen since I plugged this in. If anything it made me realize that humanity is festering boil on the face of the universe. Collectively, I don't see what human kind is adding to the big picture, besides a trail of scar tissue on the surface of the earth. That's fairly well established in the web sites I frequent (www.coprophilia.com, www.raptureready.com, www.side-line.com, www.livejournal.com, www.ready.gov, www.nytimes.com). Otherwise, people really seem to not like things that aren't specifically marketed to them, and they're probably not willing to connect the dots on their own, and so the internets are not going to help them get much farther along. That sounds nihilistic I guess, but what keeps me going is my "Protestant Work Ethic." It will help me survive when society breaks down into colonies of no more than 2 or 3 dozen, living in caves and growing their own vegetables. Tyler tells me that if I move out to California I might feel better about things, but it gets really cloudy and overcast where he lives, too. I'm actually very nostalgic for when the internet was new, and when h4x0r language was fresh. This has nothing to do with the record, though.
Well, professionally you are not "a new kid in town", having been thru fire and water of musical industry. What a peculiar stoicism do you harbor inside to be a motor of Battery Cage, to keep novelty flushing not trying to be just another wagon of the scene locomotion and not letting things fall under "too much formulaic macho bullshit"category?
Roland Adams: For me its really simple, I just want to make music that sounds good when you're high.
Tyler Newman: Yes, making music for people that are incredibly fucked up is always very present on the radar. But really, that's not the complete target audience, believe it or not. It's important to us to completely evolve on every release, otherwise why bother making another record? So, each record is a voyage of discovery for us all while it's in progress. We pretty much talk shit about the last record, just because to us it sounds old and out of place.
New Battery Cage full-length is tentatively scheduled for August 2005. Would you elaborate on how it is imagined to be sonically?
Roland Adams: We're actually learning to play our instruments! It will be like Depeche Mode's "Songs of Faith and Devotion."
Tyler Newman: Don't expect anything like what you've heard from us so far. Seriously, everything that's been generated for this new record is incredibly different from what we've done before, so it's hard to judge how it will end up. It sounds nothing like either the "WWW" or "Product" albums...it's a lot more bizarre and unique sounding...
Please tell us about so-called "self loathing industrialists" alliance that was founded recently by yourself, Ned Kirby of Stromkern and some other non autophiliac artists?
Tyler Newman: ...um...It's like this...see..we don't really listen to this kind of music. I mean, we're aware of what is considered "industrial music" these days, but we're kind of not really operating within that scope. We exist outside of what people are commonly calling "industrial/EBM" these days. And that's great, really, I just don't think we really fit that type of sound, which is very slanted towards f00tarp00p. But if I wanted to make that type of music I would make another Informatik album. Right now, I'm much more into making visceral rock music...
By the way, speaking on Stromkern's fame of being one of the most prominent US band to date. Since you used to tour with them quite a lot, did it help to promote Battery Cage somehow any further? A double barreled gun has a double chance to kill two birds with one shot you know :>
Tyler Newman: Ned's one of my best friends, we're twins, don't you know? So it makes sense that eventually we would team up. I play guitars on his records and at his shows, and he does the same for us...It works out great as far as I can tell, and let me assure you the next Stromkern and Battery Cage records are going to take the world by storm...
Every school boy knows that you are the inveterate vegans. Did it ever dawn at you that you're missing out on some things while giving all your attention to something else? So concerns the musical matters?
Roland Adams: As a group, we're not vegans. For starters, vegans can't drink Guinness, so what we're probably talking about being vegetarian. Personally I'm not big on meat but I'd be lying if I said I never eat meat. There's a word for people like me, its called "flexitarian" or perhaps, "hypocrite." Where we start getting judgmental is with a food industry that guarantees the miserable existence of a little food pod, and a culture that doesn't question where their food comes from. Just look into the meaning of the term "battery cage," if you haven't yet, to understand what I mean. Most people would have a problem enjoying their Chicken McFeces if they were familiar with the process. Otherwise, personally I'm not really dogmatic about not eating animal flesh or products, I just would hope people are aware of the things they pay for and ingest. But I know this isn't always easy for everyone to do, especially if you're not able to eat well in the first place, so I don't think I have a place pointing my finger in scorn at others.
Tyler Newman: With very limited exception, I'm fully vegan. Occasionally we're given Guinness at the shows we do, so that might be considered "non-vegan", but the important thing is the insane party after the show, so...I guess we are all sacrificing what we can to make it happen...
Isn't it funny, that meanwhile battling for animal rights, you are going to slaughterhouse for press photo session (circa 2003)?
Tyler Newman: Well, this was entirely the idea of our photographer (Scott Lanes - lanes.com), not up to us. We just went along with his concept. But the next round of photos will be much more under our control...
Roland Adams: It would have been funnier if we slaughtered each other for the photo session. But the point definitely wasn't to pose in Animal Auschwitz, it was just an interesting abandoned location with good light. We thought it was ironic when the photographer told us what it was, so we just referred to them as the slaughterhouse pictures after that. I don't think it occurred to us that it might seem like we're promoting the cause (I mean, duh) but maybe its worth being made into a scandal, followed by some kind of lame cover up.
Tyler, except for Battery Cage you have other projects, namely Informatik and AEC. Where do you inhale the inspiration from to get them all different?
Roland Adams: Don't get Tyler going about inhaling inspiration, he already puts enough shit up his nose.
Tyler Newman: HAHA, well, what can I say...Informatik is me and Da5id, and AEC is me and Stacey P. So there are some other players in the projects...that's what makes them so individual. Informatik is, of course, the big project and is a lot more influenced by trance and weibelectro, and AEC is more of a female energy type of band, so it's a lot more influenced by pop music (electroclash etc). Both are pretty unique from the others...
Roland, thus far you're the sole person who went to Russia about a decade ago. Could you retrospect the most vivid afterglow of what happened to you there back then? Do you have any plans to head to Russia altogether sometime in the future?
Roland Adams: I think it would be good time if we were to play there, but I'd really want someone to look after us if we went there for any reason. I had both good times and strange experiences when I went to Moscow, though its been over 10 years since. People were just starting to deal with the changes then.
One time, someone took me to see the rock group "Alisa" somewhere North of Moscow. I had never seen a big show by a Russian band and this one was funny for two reasons: they were filming a video during part of it, and it was so seemless that it came off like part of the show, with movie cameras on cranes and tracks on the stage, and big fans blowing snow into their many feathered layers of hair. The other thing that was funny was the brutal "pit." Alisa was playing a love ballad but still I was not drunk enough to participate in this large scale human bullfight, so I sat at the side and watched these people try to kill each other.
The show went well, but then there was more violence awaiting us after the show, when the Alisa fans were leaving the concert and what I will call the "Depeche Mode" fans were waiting to jump us. It was sort of like if the kids from "A Clockwork Orange" looked like Martin Gore. They had chains and other blunt instruments of pain, but so did the Alisa fans and a big fight broke out. Since we were far away from the city, the only way back was the bus, and so we and the fighters got on the first set of buses that came. The Alisa fans were in the front bus, and the "Depeche Mode" fans got on the rear bus. Each time the bus stopped to let people off, both crowds jumped off and fought for 20 seconds, then jumped back on their respective buses. There were some old people at the front of the bus, and they seemed cranky and annoyed, and so did the bus driver, scowling like "oh those kids are SO out of control."
After a few stops, someone tossed a can of tear gas on our bus, so we choked for a minute until someone kicked a bus window out so we could get some air. The cars behind the bus swerved to avoid the shattering glass, and the bus driver continued to look annoyed. Unfortunately it was February and probably ?20 C so the air wasn't less of a shock to the system.
But the two groups all got out and stayed on after the next stop to settle their differences, so the rest of us old people could get back to the city peacefully.
My date Yelena told me that this is nothing too strange so I shouldn't worry.
Well that's one of my Russia stories, I guess I'm just saying I wouldn't go there without someone to translate for us or it could get really confusing.
Alright, thank you both for this interview. Just to sum it up, you got it all what a muso can dream about, from perfect records and Metropolis distribution to live show orgies, groupies and stuff. What else luxuries do you expect out of your lives and careers and what would you wish to your fans and readers?
Roland Adams: WTF is a muso? I would to like play a show at a nuclear power plant north of Moscow. I wish the fans and readers to keep their dignity while doing things they hate, and to realize that its not all their fault.
Tyler Newman: Look, we are 733t h4x0r5, and that's the way that it is. We expect certain things from our female fans, and they seem to understand that, since they seem to be into our whole female groupie orgy thing after shows.
Ladies, don't be frightened. It doesn't hurt as much as you might think...