Interview with Jared of Chemlab, Reptile House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 4/21/94

Photos by Jester

Jared meet with me briefly before the show extending his gratitude as finally meeting me (no this isn't an obvious ego trip), he said my name had been making the rounds in the community as someone who was doing good things. I was more than a bit surprised. We proceeded to set up the interview to take place sometime after the show, so that Jared could have a clean train of thought and focus his mind totally on the interview. The interview commenced some six hours later after the show during the stage breakdown. Noise was the most noticeable problem during the transcription of the tape to text format, so several undecipherable questions were left out to save the sanity of the target audience from reading a piecemeal interview. Great pains were made to keep the interview as true to actual format. The interview starts with my girlfriend hand cuffing herself to Jared and Jared apologizing profusely to me that it's not his fault. =8)

Jester: So how do you feel the net has influenced your work?

Jared: well, it's interesting it influences our work to a certain extent. It influences our daily life on the tour more than our work. During the Skrew tour, we talked with a number of different people at different points and realized that the things that we were saying were suddenly appearing as fact. Of course, we spend half our lives lying, so we had all this character defamation floating around on the net. So, it makes us a bit of more aware how we all really are, and that's really important. It will affect the next album as a subliminal aspect. I mean, I will certainly make reference to this bonding/unifying community.

(interruption as the crew is still breaking down the set)

Jared: When Neubauten recorded their first album, they miked up a bunch of rotting meat in the studio because they wanted to get all these sounds out of playing off rotten meat, well it didn't work very well. So, instead what they did was , they just left the meat around the studio to rot, and it created atmosphere. And what was important for them was the fact that there was rotting meat in the studio. So for me the effect appeared to be much more subliminal.

(Jared gets uncuffed for 5 minutes to quickly run an errand, and the interview resumes, only after Jared offers his wrist to be recuffed.)

Jester: How much feedback do you get from the net, how much do you reply to yourself? I notice I see Craig (from Fifth Column) posting a lot and occasionally Brian McNellis (Chemlab's manager) posting. How often do YOU reply at all to the net?

Jared: I reply a fair amount. My modem goes up and down. As a tech geek, I'm primitive at best, and not really computer literate, which is most unfortunate, but I know how to get all over the net. And that's what mean the most to me, in a lot of ways, when I really what the people to know that it's me, I sign it Jagged, that way you can be sure it's me, but we have a half-dozen people who post. Craig from D.C. does periodically, Dylan does periodically, and then we have guest speakers, who stick their nose in occasionally. I'd do it more, but right now I'm really busy. Hopefully I'll be able to do it more in the future, because I'm going to be delegating a lot of the record label responsibility to other people. Because I'd like to be able to spend a lot of my time just talking to people on the net. It's a lot of fun, and that's why I started Chemlink. I started it after the Skrew tour after I realized that people were really aware of what was going on with us. That there was a very close, elite crowd of people.

Jester: What do you feel MTV's main objection to your video was, besides the format crap that they pull on every band that tries to get anything new onto 120 Minutes and the like. It kind of makes you wonder why they steal all the background music to every single self-promoting commercial they've ever done, but they absolutely refuse to play more than one video a week in the "Industrial" genre.

Jared: Officially they have rejected our video, but we have re-submitted it because I'm a persistent mother-fucker. They rejected it because A: There was nothing that looked like it at the time, so they didn't know where to put it. And B; right after the White Zombie tour when it was submitted, "there was nothing really going on with the band right now" Wait a second, we just got off the tour with Beavis and fucking Butthead's, favorite buttlicks. I shouldn't say it like that because I really love White Zombie, those guys were really cool to us, I didn't mean it like that. What I mean is, would-be press darlings, Mtv's favorite of the moment, flavor of the week. It was really unfortunate for White Zombie that they got used as the first Beavis and Butthead experiment, because i think they're material is much better than that, and they deserve a better fate than to have it be said and bandied about in the industry that Beavis & Butthead BROKE White Zombie. Give me a fucking break. Two years on tour endlessly, and we get no fucking respect.

Jester: This is from a television production company who makes a big deal about the Buzz Clip, the new innovative bands.

Jared: Yes indeed, and they really want to have videos push the parameter, push the envelope, fucking push off. So, we resubmitted it, and we'll see what happens. I don't know, maybe they'll take it. All the odds are against us, but I feel like, if they don't take it, fuck them. I'm perfect, I'm ancient, I'm old, I've earned it. I played music before the days of MTV god dammit. Anyways, they'll take care of me one of these days, because they basically won't have any choice.

Jester: Is Chemlab a "cyber" band in the concept sense, not in the label sense, in the ideals about why it's out there, what it's doing?

Jared: Yes. You know its sort of funny, because words become so anathema quickly. "Industrial", evil bad, get away! "Cyber" is becoming that way too.

Jester: It's becoming so commonplace, everyone and their best friend, whereas naming used to be such a violent process, now its naming because, it sounds like it. We're just making broad base comparisons.

Jared: Yep, so that's frustrating, and I really loathe to put us into a category, but Cyber, if we must use it, in intent, yes. Lyrically, I make reference to ceratin things. I don't make my lyrics completely/literally message oriented, because if you give someone a brick, it's always going to be a brick, but if you give them something that's got a certain ethereal quality to i, they are going to be able to translate it, and reference it to their own life experiences. And that makes it more alive, it makes it more vital, more interesting. So, we're definitely out there. Talking about the up and coming re-definition of society, but our live show is more of a rock'n'roll show.

Jester: Is that the strength of the guitars over the strength of the percussion? I mean, you can pick it out, but as with an "Industrial" band that uses guitars, the guitars always seem to over power everything live.

Jared: It's frustrating, and that's not something that I want. I want it to be a real balance. I want it to be a struggle between the patrician of the computer and chaos of the guitar. I want that balance there. I don't want the guitar to just override everything and shoot noise at you everywhere. Not a "look out its guitars!" That's not the point. The point is to pit these two major forces against each other, and make them do battle, and then make them come together. It takes all the lick balanced from toe to toe to toe, and ending up with the devils lick. And I would really like to have the ADAT more present in the mix. I'd like to have the samples more present in the mix. I would like to have the keyboards more present in the mix, it's hard. We're getting there, it takes time. I don't want it to be just be a straight guitar rock fest. As much as I love that sort of energy, there is an equally powerful energy that we have that will shove you all around stage.

(I make a vain attempt to end the interview, and end up asking one more question about Premonition magazines attempt to put on a CD compilation with covers of REALLy bad TV show tunes. Chemlab was selected to work with the Dukes of Hazzard theme, and her is what Jared had to say about it.)

Jared: I don't know. We bantered around doing it as sort of a joke. It may come to fruition, it may not, we'll see. It sort of repulsed me to do the Dukes of Hazzard, but subsequently in that repulsion, maybe there is a reason to do it. I'm probably blowing hot air, but that would be the first of the last time for that. There is a certain pleasure in things you really dislike in that you feel like your totally diametrically opposed to it. I remembering reading an interview with Genesis in 1979, about the way he wanted the quintessentially perfect Throbbing Gristle song to be. He said, "You know how sometimes you hear a song and it really hooks you right in, and your humming the melody. You really don't have any idea what the words are, but you don't really care because it's in your head. You buy the album, you listen to the damn thing, you whip out the lyrics sheet and your reading through it and suddenly you realize that these lyrics are completely against all my moral and spiritual beliefs, but you can't put them down.

(more question seem to take root, and I find myself asking Jared a few questions about the 15 minute jam session that had at the end of the show.)

Jared: Yeah, its a lot of fun. We've just been doing that, because we've been doing these weird jams that we were doing in rehearsal, and doing live, like the jazz type pieces. That sort of stuff is really good because it forces us to take the technology a little further. Instead of just following along with the tape, I want to make the shows more organic. I really want to push the computer, and push the tape really to the extreme of its envelope and make it live and breathe. People are so afraid of the computer. They think it's a cold hearted creature that is going to take over our lives. The artificial intelligence that is going to figure out how to destroy human kind. Look at 1940's and 50's science fiction, very disturbing. Its the sort of thing I find frustrating because as I was talking about, the versatility of the computer, that really important, and its really important that people wake up and realize that just because you see a fucking keyboard up on the stage that doesn't mean that the band is lame.

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