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Interview with Battery, The Fenix, Seattle, WA - 6/13/96

Jester: Has anyone in the band had any formal musical training whatsoever?

Shawn: Maria, none officially. She had some professional training but none as a child.

Maria: I didn't take any lessons until I realized that I could not get on stage without crying for like a half hour beforehand. I took some to learn how to perform, but I didn't have any before then.

Evan: Shawn and I really have just been messing around with music since like 5th or 6th grade on. He played piano and trumpet. We both majored in electronic music in college, so a lot of it came from there.

Shawn: Most of it came directly out of a single class we took.

Jester: Which college?

Evan: Bennington College in Vermont.

Jester: What is it like touring with Deathline Intl and in effect touring with the owner of your label?

Everyone: You get paid!

Maria: Christian is an incredible influence on us. We all love him dearly. We think it is great to tour around with him.

Christian: COP has that family atmosphere. Everything that goes on in a family goes on within COP.

Shawn: I've definitely learned how to become better with makeup.

Maria: Next thing you know we'll be having Christmas and Thanksgiving together.

Jester: Your going to finally be touring the midwest later this summer?

Maria: Yes. I've heard so much about the midwest. Everyone is always complaining that they never get anyone touring out there. I am very overwhelmed and invigorated by the whole idea.

Evan: It is going to be ten shows in eleven days. We just did a tour which was five shows in 3 weeks, so it is going to be interesting.

Jester: Any city in particular you are excited about playing in?

Shawn: Detroit.

Maria: Shawn has no idea what he is talking about.

Shawn: I can skip like Kalamazoo maybe.

Jester: I resent that, I was born there.

Shawn: (mockingly) I can definitely skip the show then!

Evan: The big cities like Detroit, Chicago, Madison are the one's we probably are most excited about.

Kevin: Did you ever get around to do that European tour?

Maria: Yes, that was the last tour, five shows in three weeks.

Kevin: How did things go over there?

Maria: The people there are really loud!

Evan: There was a guy who took a train 200 kilometers just to see us.

Shawn: Our first show was like fifteen people but they were so loud that they sounded like forty. It was really amazing to have fifteen people bring you back for an encore.

Evan: The last show there were maybe 700 people, so it turned out to be a good tour.

Shawn: It also helped that it was Depeche Mode night.

Maria: The club was sponsoring a Depeche Mode night so we thought we would just win them over with 'Shame'.

Jester: Did you play any new material off the new album on that tour?

Maria: Yes, it was the first part of the "Distance" tour. Have you had any chance to get any fan feedback from the new album?

Maria: No, none at all. We all feel really strong about it and are really pleased with it. It is of course not perfect, and the best album is the next one, but I think that we are all really psyched. We all really enjoy performing songs from it and it really shows through when we play live. If we get people saying they like the show, then it is more icing on the cake.

Jester: I know in the past you have said that "nv" was the breaking point at which you became finally satisfied with the results of your music.

Maria: I think this album follows through with that concept. If anything it is the continuation of our last album. We really clicked on "nv" and it think it followed through on "Distance".

Kevin: Whose idea was it to cover 'Gangsta's Paradise'?

Evan: The Chipster!

Maria: Chase!

Shawn: That song was originally recorded for Operation Beatbox on Re-Constriction Records. We chose that particular song because it had just come out like the day Chase called us. Maria and I heard it an decided to use it.

Maria: It was because it was melodic, otherwise it was going to be some cheesy Beastie Boys song because none of us listen to rap.

Shawn: We recorded it in less than a day and then the song became really popular on the charts for the next few months.

Maria: We had no idea that was going to happen. So Christian came back from Germany and was telling us to put it on the album because the original single was Top Ten. We performed it in Germany and people took their lighters out. It was great. We did it all for fun anyway.

Jester: I broke out laughing when I first heard you singing, "You are your homies might be lined in chalk."

Maria: You should be grateful. We took out "Foo", and all the negative lines. We edited on purpose.

Jester: The last track on "Distance" is the album track, 'Distance'. It is labeled as being derived from an unknown source. What is the real story behind this track?

Evan: When we were looking for songs to use as bonus tracks on the album, we came across a song than we don't remember recording.

Shawn: Actually, I think it was recorded after our first northwest tour. It was our first real piece that never happened.

Evan: Who knows what it really was. All the sounds were our sounds, but none of us have a real recollection of writing it. It really isn't a title track, it was just that no other song was named 'Distance' and the track didn't have a name. So we just chose to name it that.

Kevin: Why do you keep having problems with the tracking of your albums? First the sequencing mix-up on "nv" and now this?

Maria: We did that on purpose. It was to put a partition between the new songs and the old songs.

Shawn: I think of it more as an artistic presentation. Up to 'This Hideous Strength' is basically the album. It was designed to mark the end of the album, then this sudden catharsis and a remix appears.

Jester: I've heard a lot about this 'studio' that all COP bands record in, and I was wondering where that was located?

Maria: Oakland, CA. It is like a central place where we all converge. Evan and I come from San Francisco, and Shawn comes from butt fucked nowhere.

Shawn: The studio is a culmination of all Battery's equipment, the labels equipment, and Deathline Intl's equipment. The name of the studio is "The Fringe". It is also the COP sitting room, television room, and office.

Jester: Is there any particular reason why you want to keep your identity as Spawn in Deathline Intl a secret?

Shawn: I don't know, it seems like everyone knows it now. I find it easier to change tasks with a different name.

Maria: I think it is all about the cool name association.

Shawn: It was just a cute name. I just changed the 'p' and 'h' in my name. It was something that throughout childhood people would always do.

Kevin: Why do you feel the need to differentiate?

Maria: O, good question.

Shawn: I just have to do it.

Kevin: Does it help you come across more aggressively with Deathline Intl?

Shawn: I don't really know how to answer that. It is just something I have to do. I really can't explain it any other way. I have to do it to write music.

Maria: Any kind of music, even producing Vampire Rodents tracks.

Kevin: Which tracks did you produce?

Maria: Two tracks on the new Vampire Rodents album, "Gravity's Rim" which I haven't even heard yet. It was supposed to be sent to me this week before we went on tour but I didn't get it. There was someone on the AOL chatline taunting me about having the album and me not having it.

Kevin: That was me.

Maria: You evil person! Shawn helped me with the vocals on those two tracks because I have never met Daniel. We just receive a DAT of the music and I write vocals over it. Daniel was apparently very happy with these two tracks so much so that he discussed us doing a project together. I think that if that ever happened that Shawn would produce the album since he and I have such a good relationship with me singing and him working the board.

Jester: Well, we've exhausted my list of questions.

Maria: Good because I told Karen that we would watch Razor Skyline perform tonight, so lets go

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