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  • Interview: Static-X

    Tue, 14 Oct 2008 11:16:01

    Interview: Static-X - Engage complete sensory destruction...

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    Obliterating a crowd isn't easy. Not just any band can do it. To effectively massacre a stage, it requires a fine-tuned metallic machine with raw aggression pumping through its coarse veins. It takes a band like Static-X.

    Over a decade into their career, the Los Angeles industrial metal quartet remains one of heavy music's most consistently devastating live acts, and their brand new DVD/CD, Cannibal Killers Live, is cinematic proof. Out on October 14th, the DVD chronicles one of the band's most incendiary sold-out shows on their 2007 headline trek in support of Cannibal. It also features a plethora of extras, including all of the band's music videos and some must-see surprises. In between working on Static-X's forthcoming, dark epic and finishing up the DVD, frontman Wayne Static sat down with ARTISTdirect to discuss the finer points of proper live destruction, Static-X's new material and much more.

    The DVD definitely captures how visceral and fun you are in concert. It's a great small-screen translation of a Static-X show.

    I think it's about as good as it can be on a DVD. There's really no way to completely capture the experience of actually being at a show with the volume level and the energy, but we tried as hard as we could to make it look great. Nathan Cox did an awesome job editing it. I can't speak enough great words about his editing. The show was from The Big Easy in Spokane, Washington. Oddly enough, Spokane is our biggest market in the world. There are two radio stations there that play the hell out of us. Every time we book a show at the biggest venue they have, it sells out in like three days, weeks before we even arrive. It's crazy! So we decided to go ahead and just record the Spokane show because we knew it'd be absolutely crazy. Six of my four wheelin' buddies came out with their video cameras and filmed the show. We also had a separate live recording rig for the audio, but there were no time codes on any of the video [Laughs]. We just handed Nathan this fuckin' box full of tapes with no time codes on them, and he made it work. It was awesome [Laughs].

    It doesn't feel like it was shot guerilla-style. It looks completely pro.

    Well, it was totally shot guerilla-style! [Laughs] Only one of the cameras was actually HD. The rest were little mini-DV handheld cameras—like the shit that anybody uses. It was filmed by a bunch of guys that said, "Oh yeah, we'll shoot it for free, whatever." [Laughs] They're all big fans and we're friends. They did a great job of covering everything.

    When you're playing a show that's filmed, do you feel like it's any better?

    In the back of your mind, you're obviously thinking, "This is being recorded." You want to give the best performance that you can possibly give, but I feel that way every night. I pretty much do what I do and maybe just push a little bit extra harder on that night we're filming. I always try to give the best show I can, regardless of whether it's recorded or not.

    The DVD fits in with the vibe of Cannibal too because everything is simple and slammin'.

    That was definitely the idea. It was the Cannibal Killers tour—the first tour when the album came out. We wanted to keep it in line with that vibe. [Producer] John Travis and myself produced all of the audio on it. We did Cannibal together as well, so it preserves that feeling.

    Was there anything about that night that stood out?

    It's always a great time in Spokane. Every time we play there, my buddies show up in a big RV and take us out partying after the show. It's pretty interesting there.

    Are there any songs that you feel really stand out on the DVD?

    In particular, a couple of the songs off Cannibal, "Cannibal" and "Behemoth" are two of my favorites on the DVD just because they're two of my favorite songs that we've ever recorded. Koichi [Fuduka, Guitar] does such a great job on the solos too. He adds so much to the band. He really carries a lot of the weight. Now that he's back, you'll notice on the DVD, there are certain parts of the show where I'm not even playing guitar. I'm just focused on the vocals, and he's so tight that he really holds the guitar section together.

    How do you feel the Static-X live experience has evolved? It seems like you guys have gotten fiercer since your last home video in 1999, Where the Hell are We and What Day is It?.

    I think so. Back then, we were very green and very innocent. Our stage personae really hadn't developed yet. We were tight, rocking, crushing and all that, but now there's more confidence when we go out. It's like we own the stage, and all the crowd knows all of our material, so we don't have to sell ourselves. It's more of a give and take with the audience. We go out, have a great time and fuckin' rock. These days, I feel like a god when I'm on stage.

    Each member of the band has always had his own personality on stage. You really see that on the DVD.

    I think it's important. For a band to have a long career, everyone in the band has to be interesting, have his own persona and be fun to watch. Otherwise, what's the point of having somebody up there?

    Static-X has a cult of fans that absolutely love the band. That's got to be a great feeling after all these years.

    Absolutely, that's why we're still around [Laughs]. I'll attribute that to a couple of reasons. Number one: we always go out and crush every time—every fuckin' night because I won't have anything less. I take it very seriously. Number two: we're not the kind of band that goes out and only plays their new album. We play everything. So no matter what Static-X record you have, we're going to play something from it. We always do.

    Songs like "Shit In A Bag" have become fan favorites. You have to play them.

    Yeah, I love to throw in stuff like that. That song wasn't even a hit. That was on the second half of Machine. There are certain songs that we like to throw in every once in awhile like that.

    You came out with a big explosion of L.A. bands like Coal Chamber, System of a Down, Fear Factory and Snot. You've weathered the trends though, and you're still here.

    Yeah, and we're still "underground" pretty much [Laughs]. All of those bands from that era either went mega-huge or they're gone. We're like one of the biggest underground bands in the world probably. We just like to have a good time. Whatever happens will happen. The most important things are putting on a show and having fun every night.

    You've probably got a cross-section of fans now that had Wisconsin Death Trip when they were 20, and now they come back with their own kids.

    Yeah, that's actually very true [Laughs]. It makes me feel old sometimes. There are 30-year-old dudes telling me that they were listening to me while they were in high school [Laughs]. That helps establish our longevity, and it means we're going to be around and be strong forever. I think we could go on forever. We've got generations of fans now.

    The last record had a very "live" feel. Do you feel like the DVD is good segue between Cannibal and the next record?

    Definitely, it's a great snapshot of what we did over the last year. The next record, which we start mixing in two days, is going to be out early next year. The new album also follows the same vibe as Cannibal. It's switched up in some ways, but it's definitely the next step.

    Does it have that same raw feeling?

    Yeah, it's definitely the same vibe in that respect. We recorded it in my backyard's guesthouse. Similar to Cannibal, it's really raw and really heavy. We're bringing back more of the ambient programming that was on the first couple of records. Cannibal was very "metal" for Static-X in its approach, and this one has got some more loops and things like that—similar to the stuff that was onMachine.

    Do you feel like you're trying anything new that you've never done before?

    Yeah, absolutely. We tried a lot of different things. For this upcoming record, I actually moved the studio to my house. It was the first time I've ever written a record at home. Whenever I felt like writing, I could just walk into the next room and start working on something. Even if it was four or five o'clock in the morning, I could work on music. That allowed me to really flesh ideas out and work on the programming in depth. I could focus on the vocals a lot more than in the past.

    We have a great time and fuckin' rock. These days, I feel like a god when I'm on stage.

    You really capture the moment that way.

    Absolutely, before I would have to get in my truck and drive for a half an hour downtown to our studio and try not to forget my idea by the time I got there [Laughs].

    The records Pantera did at home, Reinventing the Steel and The Great Southern Trendkill, were so raw and natural. It's cool you have the opportunity to record at home too now.

    I think recording at home has a lot to do with how personal the new material feels. You'll hear it on the new record. This album is by far the most personal for me. It's all about sex, drugs, heavy metal and fast cars—which is everything I love in life.

    Will the imagery be similar to Cannibal, lyrically?

    Lyrically, it's all pretty much about having sex with my porn star wife, doing drugs and driving fast cars [Laughs]. I'm serious when I say that. It's very literal [Laughs].

    So it's your most "rock n' roll" record in that aspect?

    Yeah, the lyrics aren't traditional. As any Static-X fan would know, my lyrics aren't traditional in general. We've got some ripping guitar solos on this album too. I think all of the solos will definitely rival anything that's on Cannibal. It's got everything that Cannibal had and more.

    Your music has held up despite changing tides in heavy metal.

    I agree. It's because we don't follow any trends. We've got our own thing. We were never a nu metal band. People just put us in that category because of when we came out. I always thought that we were closer to Pantera or Ministry—more timeless.

    You're the perfect middle ground between Pantera and Ministry. You've played with everyone from Stone Temple Pilots to Slayer. You can tour with anyone because you put on such a consistently killer show.

    That's true. On the Machine album cycle, we started touring with Pantera and Slayer on Extreme Steel, and we ended it playing with Stone Temple Pilots, Staind and Linkin Park on Family Values—all in the same year. There aren't a lot of bands that could pull off both of those tours. I can't name one actually, other than us [Laughs].

    —Rick Florino

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