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cEvin backstage.jpg

Max - How have you been?


Cevin - "Crazy, it’s been a productive year. A busy, productive year."


What’s been taking up your time?


"Mostly of course we’re working on the Skinny Puppy tour right now, that’s the focus of everything. We haven’t toured in a few years so we’ve restructured pretty much everything in putting the whole thing together. New management, new agent, new tour manager, a new system of how we do everything. So it’s been good because it’s helped us to get to a better position I think to run the band. I think the band was kind of being … I won’t say being misrun, but it wasn’t being run properly throughout the last few years. I think that’s what helped the many delays and those sorts of things along the way. So the only way to deal with those type of things is to get in and start putting yourself in charge and putting yourself in a position of not relying on other people to help you get to that place. So that’s a really good thing that’s brought Ogre and I together to a better place as a working partnership."


Good for you guys. Is the set list for the tour going to focus more on the new material? Curious if it will be more to promote the new stuff of will there be plenty of classic Puppy for the old school fans?


"Yeah, I hope so. I kind of had to put together a set that I thought was something that’s both new and old, and not boring! It pretty much has to be everything. That was the difficult thing. Making sure we covered all the bases."


So a whole new tour set up as well? New stage show?


"Oh yeah. From the ground up, everything new on this one. I expect it to be something fully unique."


What else has been keeping you busy?


"Well as I said, its been a busy year, we started off with WEAPON and that was a great album for us because we made it in a quicker time period than we are known to make one, more reminiscent of the old days. Then its been a full year for me with a new Download album, and then a Dubcon album with Ryan Moore, and also an album ‘31 Spirits ‘ coming out with Ken Marshall, a producer that I’ve been working with since ‘Rabies’, and Traz Damji as Scaremeister on Metropolis."


Which is a collection of soundtrack or score geared tracks, yes?


"It’s a collaborative album between the three of us. It kind of an interesting thing, because its kind of indicator of how we work, even with Skinny Puppy as well. Typically we’ll start with ideas like this and then we’ll flush them out, in this case we kept them more in their original form, they’re more like pieces than songs which is why we could fit 31 of them on the album. There were for the film industry only and they did really well with licensing within the industry, so now we’re able to release them commercially."


You and Ogre have always been into film in some respect it seems. Back in the ‘90s the first time I met you there were talks of you guys appearing in some film and the first time I met Ogre he was reading the script to audition for the original Crow movie. Seems apt you’d be really good at producing score music.


"We started off that way doing stuff in the Hitchhiker and the Friday the 13th TV series stuff like that. Mostly in the 80’s when we had our big hair and looked good enough to be on TV. But of course Ogre is still doing it, he’s got the friends in the industry."


So no acting aspirations for you any longer?


"I tend to not want to focus so much on that angle as much now. I’ve been focusing on the synthesizer world and I’ve started making my own modules. Kind of like a modular synthesizer system. I’m on my third module now, the ‘Vampire.’"


Is this hardware or software?


"Its hardware actually. Synthesizers all along the way have been very popular with people and if you go back and look at the history of synthesizers you’ll see that they began with these big sort of modular synthesizers because they need patch cords to plug one into the next and so on. So, you commonly see these pictures of old synthesizers with lots of wires hanging out. Over the last few years there have been a lot of independent manufacturers that have decided they’re going to make a module or two. A module would consist of being a voice, or filter, or effect, or mixer or something to that effect. A couple of years ago I got involved with one of the guys that was one of the founding companies of that genre, a company called Plan B, and basically I was interested in reinventing and licensing a couple of their products, and did that. I went through a huge learning curve and a huge learning experience on how to transition into making synthesizers. Then with that experience I was able to speak and collaborate with a designer and formulate my own thoughts and design into a module, which is just coming our this month on our web site Basically it is a unique design, the closest thing to a Skinny Puppy synthesizer, because its what I like, or what I would like to do, or what I want to do with the synth. So I find it a unique module in that it does exactly what I want it to do instead of what somebody else would. It’s endorsed by me!"


So they are for sale now?


"They’re limited edition, and the pre-orders have started and they’re already selling pretty good. The first run is 200 limited edition ones, and we’ll see how it goes from there. (Since the date of this interview the first series modules M15 and M37 have sold out.)"


Seems thing are going well at the Subconscious camp then. Anything else new? You’ve got so much going on already its amazing the amount of stuff you’re keeping up with. Is Subconscious something you are still directly involved in?


"Right now we’ve just made a new site and we’ve got the intention of flushing out this whole Subconscious world. We started with a radio station, an internet radio station, where we have 24 hour streaming music. Most of it, I’d say 85% of it, is rare stuff we’ve made, unreleased stuff, demos, etc., mixed in with people coming in and doing guest sets, DJ sets, like Otto Von Schirach and all sorts of friends like that. We’ve had a bit of a teamwork plan on how all that’s come together with some help from some guys at Skylab Technologies. They have helped us to put the radio station together as well as the site. So it’s coming along. It’s just in its infancy and growing right now. And yes, theoretically it is all run by me."


You are a busy man for sure. I’m going to backtrack a bit because I realized you said there was a new Download album out. Somehow I missed that. Tell me about that!


"Yep. I think its one of my favorite Download albums ever, its called ‘LingAM’. I definitely think it’s my favorite album that we’ve made. I think because it’s a place where the relationship between Phil Western and I as Download has become the most cohesive and consistent stage yet, as where I think the band has always been fragmented in various forms and styles along the way. But I think now it’s kind of drifted into itself with the new album."


Any extra players on this one?


"It’s just Phil and me as usual."


Are you going to do any touring for that or any more DJ gigs?


"For Download we’re going to be playing the Kinetik Festival in May. In April, right after the tour I’m going back to Japan on my own to do a few shows with some Japanese bands UTEROZZZAAA and DEMONOID 13, basically just tour DJ set style, so its much easier in that sense."


When you spin, what sort of stuff do you spin, is it all original stuff or mixing others works you like?


"It’s all stuff that I’ve created, or been a part of creating. Typically like stuff I’ve done with Phil Western, like Download, PlatEAU, then some Skinny Puppy, and some other unique stuff that intermingles into the set, some collaborative stuff. Like a collaboration I did with some friends from Japan in a band called BAAL, who just got signed to Metropolis Records and will be opening for a few shows on the Skinny Puppy tour. I just did that collaborative with them, together we have a band called NEKO INOCHI, which in Japanese basically means ‘no life without cat.’"


That is adorable. What about HILT or maybe … dare I dream … new Tear Garden?


"Well, certainly Tear Garden. Edward and those guys were just here and we’ve been theorizing on when we’re going to do the next album. What we want to do with that is we want to be able to make an album and be able to tour it, so that’s something in our bucket list. That’s going to be something we’re definitely going to work on in the future. Now HILT, there is still some material that’s probably still undiscovered and put away on cassettes that I could go through and find, which is something I may do one day, but … put it this way, I think I’ve tackled most of the accessible stuff. The material I would find for another HILT album would be just completely insulting and completely abrasive so … hmm … I’m looking forward to making that record actually! LOL.."


Yes! Do it! And I’d love to see Tear Garden live. That’s in my bucket list for sure. It’s been forever since I’ve seen a Download show.


"Right. Probably ’96?"


Good god. You’re right.


"I know. Seventeen years ago. That’s crazy."


I just had Gen on the cover for the 20th anniversary of 120 Days of Genitorture album.


"I worked on that record! To think that that’s 20 yeas ago. That’s crazy. I remember that when I was hanging with you down in Orlando. I haven’t been down there in quite a few years now. But soon come we’re going to be there in quite a few towns!"


True! And I can’t wait to see the new show! Its always a fun time with you guys.


"I think its turned into something that’s become just as fun for me to do because there’s quite a body of work to choose from and its become quite a nifty little set to tour around. And be prepared for the Skinny Puppy merch heaven! This tour has got the best merch I think I’ve seen, ever. All new stuff. The way they’ve made it, for the first time, they finally decided we’re not just going to make merch and put it out there. We’re going to make merch then we’re going to show it to Ogre, then we’re going to show it to Cevin, and have them either approve it or reject it, or change what they don’t like about it. So we’ve had that opportunity once or twice on each item so in the end they’ve become super Skinny Puppy stuff."


I’m surprised you didn’t already have your hands in that. I guess this is one of those things you meant by restructuring and reinventing the way you do things with the band.


"Yeah, that’s why. We need to get our hands dirty on everything that we do instead of letting someone else do it. It was time and it feels so much better right now. I mean everything, from how the whole band is run to the way the set flows, I think you’ll dig. The cool thing about the show, it’s the same band, we’ve got Justin coming back on drums, and we’ve got Tim Hill coming back doing the crazy visuals. So you can expect something of the same sort of caliber but still a very different show."


I eagerly await to experience it! See you soon my friend.


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