Filter burst onto the industrial rock scene back in 1993 creating an intense and atmospheric sound gaining worldwide commercial success. We caught up with Filter singer and songwriter Richard Patrick to chat about their 7th studio album Crazy Eyes.
We’ve been lucky enough to hear your new album Crazy Eyes before it’s released. Are you stoked with how it turned out?
Can you describe the feeling of anticipation you have before the world gets to hear Crazy Eyes?
This is the craziest time for an artist. I don’t know how to explain it to people. I am not an egocentric person or anything. But when you fucking make something from nothing, just your imagination and your working on it being sent an mp3 and thinking of lyrics. Then you work on it and next thing the song is pretty much done then I send it to my friend Brian Virtue to mix it.
Then Howie Weinberg starts to master it and it starts sounding like a real record. Literally creating something from zero out of your syncretise, your imagination, your perspective, your intellect. It’s literally sound that comes into your ears, you can’t even see it. It’s invisible. It’s this thing that comes out of speakers.
For me the whole process is so incredibly fun. It’s so much fun to hear and listen to. When we made “mother E” it was the heaviest most intense fucking thing I’d ever done in my entire life.I can’t believe here I am at 47 making the meanest fucking shit. The heaviest coolest shit of my life. It’s an amazing thing.So when you see people making comments on facebook you realise whether or not they are real music fans. You think to yourself I don’t think they really get music. It’s wild.
Continued from above….
Come hell or high water this record was going to be the record that I wanted to make. From the perspective of I don’t give a shit about getting on the radio. I mean sure it’s great to be on the radio but I never used to think like that when I was doing short bus. I was like heck yes I hope “hey man nice shot” is a hit. It’s about a guy blowing his head off at a press conference.The record company put a million dollars behind it I hope it worked for them.
Now the internet has equalised everything so I am a socialist whether or not I want to be. Pledge music is a amazing invention where you can be working on something then video the speaker at your studio. People then start pre ordering the vinyl all because they heard a 10 second snippet from my cell phone. People literally put their money where their mouths are because they can’t wait to get the album.
Now all of a sudden there’s an instant art and commerce melting into each other. Next thing you know we have more money and add some drums and introduce people to Chris Reeve from Perth. Then people are like I’m going to buy the jacket you wore on a record cover from 1998.
People would comment online saying take my money please. It was so fun making this record. All these people joining up with Pledge Music and facebook has made it a completely different world. It’s awesome dude, fucking awesome. I love it. Making music is the shit.
One of our favourite songs from the album is “pride flag”. Can you tell us about that song?
Pride flag was written the day that marriage equality was passed through the supreme court in America. Saying that if your gay and you want to get married then go get married.
The white house was lit up in rainbow colours. Harvey Milk was killed because he was a gay rights activist. Sadly I live in a country where the conservative right wing religious fucking people don’t think that you should be married if your gay. I completely disagree with people stepping on other peoples civil rights. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of systematic racism that still exists in America. We’ve seen corruption in the government and I am extremely active I am an activist and when I saw the white house lit up I wrote the lyrics out really quick.
People want to love each other so let them love each other. Filter is my filter. It’s my brain, you have your brain and I respect your brain. I respect your filter but we are all filters.
I’m lucky enough that I was born and raised in a country where if you truly want to be anything you want you can do it. I think that freedom is being able to say whatever you want in music. I have to do that because my great, great, great, great grandfather Jacob Patrick fought the revolution. He was fighting for me for my right to stand up for people that are gay or black. Or that are illegal immigrants that just want to make their lives better by living in America and are prepared to do whatever it takes. They deserve our respect and tolerance.
I think that money corrupts and power and money are one and the same. I think it’s bullshit. Whether or not I like it or not I became a socialist when people started getting music for free online. My service to the world became free 15 years ago.
I’ve learned a lot and I have to speak my mind. The great thing about music is that it’s lyrics and poetry. So the only people who are going to know that “pride flag” is literally about the gay pride flag are the people that will think about it or read this article. That’s the beauty of music you can say whatever you want if it works great and if it doesn’t then whatever go buy Britney Spears.
The song “take me to heaven” sounds deeply personal. Is it hard deciding to put a song like that on the album?
No because being authentic is what I am supposed to do. Adele was 21 lovesick and wanting a relationship that’s who she is. She didn’t care that she was famous and plays arenas she just cared about love. I on the other hand care about a great many things. I am trying to figure out what happens to the soul or the brain when you die and why do people think you go to heaven.
Clearly if you go unconscious you black out and don’t know what’s happening. I had back surgery and they cut me open in the front and back then they slid me over and blasted me with lasers. They cut my discs out and I had no idea I was unconscious. I don’t remember a fucking thing. Unfortunately that is what I think happens I don’t believe in mystical creatures that live in the sky and are invisible and watch you when you jack off then your a sinner. I don’t believe that a guy is mad at you because you don’t believe in him and he’s so petty that he’s going to burn you up in hell for the rest of eternity.
All because you were a free thinker and didn’t believe him because he hasn’t been around in 3000 years and you need proof. With “take me to heaven” my dad died as a Christian and I looked into his eyes and saw the gratitude. I would love to believe that there’s a special place we go to but I am not convinced and I need proof. I’m a non believer. I wish I could go to heaven but it just doesn’t exist to me.
Can you tell us how you decided on the cover art for the album?
It was just an image that my friend Maggie Green came up with honestly for Halloween. I said wait a minute the record is called crazy eyes. Then I showed the image to my band mates and a few friends and they agreed that it was a startling image. I thought maybe it’s time for us to have a dark image on a record. We’ve always been about graphics and a very simple approach to our album artwork. I decided this time lets make it a dark looking industrial record cover. The record to me is very industrial.
Going way back in time “take my picture” was such a huge song worldwide. Did you have an idea of how big it would become while writing the track?
It was a prank. It was a punk rock prank. What the song is about is the horrendous battle I was having with alcoholism. I couldn’t remember anything. I was so drunk all of the time I was like take more pictures because I can’t remember any of this shit. I called my dad from jail saying hey dad what do you think of me now man. I was so fucking lost and drunk. I wanted people to understand what that feeling sounded like. So I made the music not mean or sad but beautiful and gorgeous because that’s what being high feels like.
For people who are like you are just an alcoholic and drunk it’s like no you don’t get it. Alcohol and drugs make me feel like this song sounds. That’s where addiction is, it lives in ecstasy with the sound of luscious, gorgeous music that’s what being high sounds like. When I explained it to my label boss Howie Klein I said this is an evil twisted song. The song is about the lie of what drugs are to your brain. He was like holy fuck your going Andy Warhol on me. I’m like yeah I am making a song that sounds beautiful but it has the application of what drugs feel like and it’s sad.
Then he was like fuck yeah but you are going to lose all of your heavy metal fans. I was like it doesn’t matter I’m a musician and artist. I am a genre bending person who does what he wants. I am forever grateful to Howie Klein for letting me do what I want.
Our favourite Filter song is “welcome to the fold” do you still enjoy playing that song live?
It never gets old. It is the greatest fucking song to sing and I love it so much. You just got to sit yourself down cause you feel alright to contemplate never gets old. I love that song.
I love singing it. My road crew is always pissed because they are like we have to lug all of these guitars around for 1 song. I’m like you’re god damn right. A day without “welcome to the fold” is like a day without sunshine pal (laughs)
Lastly is there any chance you will be touring the new album in Australia?
If the Australian’s want it and demand it we will be there in 15 seconds. I love Australia. I miss Australia it’s been far too long. We did Soundwave it only got us 30 or 40 minutes on stage but we had a huge crowd. Everybody’s got to pull their shit together and support the band. It’s all based on record sales and attention. If the fans show up for us we will absolutely be there for you and play because that’s what it comes down to.
Thanks so much for your time. Hope your able to get back down to Australia soon.
You got it. I love Australia and miss it. Two of my band mates are Australian and they would love to come home and visit their moms. Chris Reeve is our drummer and Oumi Kapila is a genius guitar player. Support your own they made a great record.
(interview by Christian Ross)