Filter – Across The Ocean


American industrial rock band Filter from Cleveland make a bold statement with album number seven Crazy Eyes.


The album was supported and financed through Pledge Music with live streams giving pledgers an opportunity to provide feedback on the new material which front man Richard Patrick says was gold. The process led to an entire line up change featuring new members including guitarist Oumi Kapila, bassist Ashley Dzerigian, drummer Chris Reeve and keyboardist Bobby Miller. Richard Patrick was great, totally open and candid about what was going on with the band and how he wanted to take a total authoritarian approach with this album with his interview with Across The Ocean.

How are you?

I love it, Adelaide I love it, been there, love it, can’t wait to come back… I’ve got a big day full of interviews. Let’s do it…

When are you likely to come back to Australia?

Obviously we want to come back some time this year. We’re going to make sure we get out there in the next six months.

Congratulations on album number seven, is it relief when it gets to this point knowing that the album is done?

Yeah, obviously I made the record I wanted to make. You’re put in to a studio for a certain amount of time and you’ve got to get it out and you’ve got to make it. For me it was staying true to my heart because at the end of the day the stuff people want is the thing that is closest to me. Not that I haven’t loved all the other records, this is the first record in a while where I just had complete authority to say whatever I wanted and say look this is it, I’m pulling out all the stops, I don’t want to get on the radio, I don’t give a crap, I’m not here to make to make a tonne of money. I do this to make my head move in my car to make my heart feel like I did what I wanted to do. Oddly enough this is the record that many people have been waiting for me to do. Sticking to your guns could have been the name of this record in the sense that I just wanted to make myself happy. It’s darker, meaner, it has more bombast and I think that was the key.

When you say darker and meaner is that some sort of cleansing process for the soul?

I generally love making music that is really intense and dramatic and when I get excited about music it’s like when I listen to Pantera. I always enjoy making loud and abrasive music at the same time when the emotion is right I can make something like Take A Picture or Surprise or It’s My Time and also use that side of my voice. I can do a lot of stuff with my voice and I wanted explore all the emotional places you could go as a musician and because I’m open to that I’m not afraid of what people think.

I’m all about doing where I am at the moment, being who I am in the moment and I see what is going in the United States and I see what is going on all over the world , it is pretty fucking crazy. There is a craziness and hysteria going in America and the rest of the world that I don’t like or appreciate. So I’ve seen a lot of riots in my country, we have Donald Trump running for president… the guy is a fucking, he’s a nut bag and I made a record that sets the time emotionally.

A lot of people are saying if he gets in it will be the end of the world as we know it…

He’s Hitler! He’s Hitler 2.0… a lot of my countrymen feel the same way. I like Bernie and I like Hilary, I’m a democrat so I’m good with either one. I know her values are right there with mine for the most part. Hilary has bigger stomping power when it comes to Trump. She is an incredibly smart woman, it is essentially what the conservative right wing has brought. They haven’t liked a black president for the last eight years, they obstructed every single thing he could do and now they are obstructing Supreme Court justice nomination.

They are not even having a hearing and that’s just what they do, they obstruct everything and destroy the American Government and they can’t understand when Donald Trump takes the lead that they have created this monster. They have created this Frankenstein. The right wing is Dr Frankenstein and the monster is Donald Trump. I can say this is my peace that Donald Trump is Hitler 2.0 and I know history has taught us this a thousand times that he is dividing us, he is making the immigrants and anyone who is brown look like the enemy and that is absolutely wrong. We learnt that from what Hitler did in Germany in 1932.

Did it take a long time for you to be able to get to the point where you could do what you want and say what you want?

Actually no! When I was drunk in 1996, I prepared a fucking fist fight every day when I’d go to the studio. The mood was that this is my fucking thing and I got here and not you. I got the record contract and not you. Brian understood that, he was like with you, fuck it! Then the same thing with Title Of Record and The Amalgamut then when I got sober and record sales slumped, record sales slumped for everybody, you see this tendency to play ball and go with the flow. I never not released a record that I’m not super proud of. I’m proud of everything that I have done but there was this friendly person that was at the helm. Instead of getting in to long drawn out fist fights I would just go with the flow. On this record I didn’t care who I would piss off, I don’t care if I make enemies on this record, I’m doing what I want to do.

Everyone who stood in my way got ploughed over and you have to maintain a sense of self when you do this. The quirkiness of this record and the mistakes of this record is exactly what Filter is. When you go from the chorus of Mother E, you’re screaming and yelling and then you want to break it down in to Chellos people don’t get it. Other producers, other people don’t get it, thankfully when I worked with Oumi on that song, it was like trust me we’re going to Chellos, break it down to like fake Chellos, let me sing for a little bit and we’ll go back to a huge heavy chorus or I’ll repeat the same phrase over and over.

That is where the instinct took me and you just can’t do that when you’re sitting with a producer that just wants to get on the radio every fucking time. It’s not about how are going to promote it, it has to be just the music and that’s it. That’s why this record definitively, that is why I listen to this record in my car over and over because this is the shit. I’d rather make myself happy and blow my own mind than anyone else. That is why people are reacting to this record. This is the old school sound even though it is completely not even, barely a guitar on this record. They’re saying this is the old school sound, what do they mean by that? They mean the song writing, they mean my approach.

Was it interesting having fans watch live stream of you recording the album as well, getting feedback on the go?

I will never ever do a record without Pledge Music because the real fan who is willing to put their money where their mouth is, that is hard for people to do, when they know they can go on any fucking website and download it for free. For them to literally put their money where their mouth is then to get updates and check out what we’re doing then comment… that was gold. The old school fans that had been sitting there for a long time, they had a mouth piece. They didn’t tell me specifically how to write, they just said yes, good, no, bad.

They were very much a part of it and the stuff I was hoping that they would like is the stuff they freaked out to. Every time I did something I was emboldened to be more of myself, they wanted crazy Rich, they wanted drunk crazy, drunk with power crazy Rich from Shortbus. They didn’t want super sweet play ball Richard, let’s get on the radio Richard.

When I released Take A Picture I was the one yelling at the record company saying this is who I am, I’m trying to convey the happiness of being drunk in this song and telling you how fucking bad my life is as an alcoholic in the lyrics. It’s a prank! It’s like a fucking trick, I’m giving you this luscious bed of music, Take A Picture is the most punk rock song I have ever done because the gag is that I’m telling you how horrible my life is falling apart. “Hey dad, I’m calling you from jail”, that kind of thing, did you take a picture because I’m obliterating my brain and I can’t remember what I do because I’m so fucking drunk but here’s this luscious bed of music. The record company was like hey be heavy metal Richard but don’t do Take A Picture. When I explained to them the record company president said this was fucking genius. He got the artistic prank behind it, he understood, that is why I was allowed to do whatever I want.

I threatened to kill people when I was making Title Of Record. I threatened to kill my A&R guy and that’s what the fans get. Dude, you’re just yourself, that is where the originality lies in being yourself. For me it was bucking the system and telling everybody that I’m not going to make another heavy metal record, I’m doing whatever I want and they got it.

Is this the most satisfied you have been making music?

Yeah, this record is like I had the ok from Wind Up Records to go out there and find myself and rediscover who I am and I did that. Believe me, I went everywhere! I went to a studio with Ben Gross, Geno Lenardo and Brian Liesegang, all my old guys I used to work with and love I ended up with new people and this authoritarian approach that this is my thing and I don’t give a fuck. I’m going to collaborate with whoever I want to.

Oumi Kapila was amazing, Blumpy was amazing and I hadn’t worked with him in a long time, not since The Amalgamut. He’s worked with Nine Inch Nails for the past ten years and they ended that relationship which wasn’t so great. Blumpy was down trodden so it was yes this is where we go. Let’s be down trodden together and make music that would be like thorns rather something kids are convinced to buy because it looks cool. The last thing I want to do is get old and lost and lose my balls. For me, what happened to angry music. All this Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift sugary sweet crap… I have to go the complete opposite way.

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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