Interview with Crocodile Shop - conducted by e-mail 10/96

Jester: How did you get involved with Chris Randall to have him produce your first album?

RA Werner: We knew Chris from going out to clubs & shows in NYC. He had just released "Sins of the Flesh" and was getting into trying out his production techniques. I had mentioned to him that we were recording some new material, so he offered to work on it with us.

V. Markus: The scene in NY was really happening then. We were playing out a lot at places like The Bank & the Limelight,where Chris was working then. We'd got to talking & after his big break in Chicago, he'd booked some time for us at in a small NYC studio.

Jester: Where did this sudden fascination with guitars come from when you used to be so adamant about being electro-purists?

Mick Hale: Actually we didn't realize it was a "sudden fascination!" There were guitars on the 1st two Tinman cds as well! I guess as it turns out, most of our biggest influences are actually "guitar bands," like Joy Division, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, Gang Of Four, Wire... Also the way we tend to use guitars is in direct opposition to the way that most (so called) Industrial bands are using them these days (to live out their childhood fantasies of being in Iron Maiden or something!). Our guitar parts are (& have been,) used more like 'textures,' with feedback & played with E-bows; almost like another synth part - it's definitely not your standard metal -riffs & power chords, y'know?

Jester: How did the D!v!s!on #9 side project get signed to Fifth Column Records?

Mick Hale: I was talking with Jared of Chemlab/FCR (about Croc Shop, actually) & I happened to mention that I'd been working on some more instrumental dub-techno styled trax, & he said he'd like to hear a tape. As it turns out it was good timing because Fifth Colvmn was setting up an off-shoot label to do stuff that was electro, but not necessarily Industrial. So after Jared got the tape he asked for an albums worth of similar material & I just couldn't let him down! I couldn't! And D!v!s!ion #9 was borne.

Jester: Can we expect a tour from Crocodile Shop or D!v!s!on #9 anytime soon?

RA Werner: Well, so far we have been limited to the East coast, but there are a number of Major Cities here, so it really isn't that limiting. We have in fact planned to go on tour a couple of times this year but it's been hard to schedule it.

Mick Hale: Even though - were making little jaunts around the area- like we did Vermont, Philadelphia, NYC & we're on the brink of DC & Boston gigs. We'd opened for Pop Will Eat Itself in Minneapolis a while ago & we really do want to get out to the West Coast, it's just a matter of "tour support," at this point! We might do a week up & down the East Coast with Mentallo. Check local listings (around the New Year.)

Jester: Do any other members of the band have any musical side projects currently in production?

V. Markus: It seems we come up with new project ideas all the time. Subliminal Gravity is a hard euro-Trance project that I'm shopping around to labels right now.

Mick Hale: And we're talking with Athan (of Spahn Ranch,) about doing a Bizzar-o Beat heavy project for early next year.

Jester: What is your strongest musical motivation and how do you come up with new music ideas?

V. Markus: All of our lives revolve around music. especially during leisure time, with stereos always on we're always introducing each other to new music and such. So we are constantly thinking up new ideas & doing quick eight bar loops on a sequencer or sampling stuff & then eventually we work these ideas into songs.

RA Werner: We usually pick a day out of the week where we sit down with all these ideas & try to put them together.

Mick Hale: For me, the never-ending trauma of just living inspires me to having some release within the lyrics.

Jester: Did you use any new equipment on the new album, because it sounds like you did or just increased your sound library?

V. Markus: I used my Mac much more to mix some of the trax, adding loops & samples or even constructing whole songs like "Beneath (The Valley)"

Mick Hale: Yeah, we're always try to get our hands on new stuff, although on the previous album "Celebrate The Enemy" there really was a conscious decision to limit what we used. We were going for a more minimal approach with the earlier stuff. Like how "That Total Age" by Nitzer Ebb, or early Die Krupps found a limited bank of really cool sounds (mostly bass-synths) and they reconstructed their sound around these limitations. It keeps it minimal, in that way. But on "Beneath" we definitely want to Blow the Lid off it, so to speak & incorporate all kinds of layered walls of sound you could drift in & out of.... To keep on hearing something new on each listen. Mind Candy! Industrial Psychedelia, even!

Jester: How do you find time to still release DAMn! magazine with all the time you spend on music?

V. Markus: It inevitably becomes a mad dash at the end of the month, trying to get all the CDs reviewed. It's actually surprising how fast it all comes together once it's all in the computer, & we put it to rest.

Mick Hale: Yeah that SHRED guy just stays late at work (he's in Graphics) & doesn't have a social life for a week to get the magazine moving.

Jester: Do any members of the band have any formal musical training of any kind?

RA Werner: I studied guitar/bass for a long time, but I was never really interested in the technical aspects. I understand it, and apply it to what I write, but I don't really like to consider myself a "musician."

V. Markus: I studied Piano for 12 years and finished the Toronto Conservatory Of Music's Theory course.

Mick Hale: Well, I think what I do with music these days has more to do with going to my Grandparents house & banging on their BabyGrand than all the years of Guitar & Trumpet lessons I took throughout school. As I remember it, when a young kid I'd see my father, (on weekends) & he'd be practicing with modern-jazz bands & taking me to freaky-jazz concerts like Maynard Fergesun & such. My first (rock) concert was KISS at Madison Sq Garden.

Jester: Is your music influenced by any type of social or political phenomena?

V. Markus: I'm mostly influenced by the romantic composers like Wagner & DeBussy, as well as the Russian Constructivists, The Italian Futurists & of course the wonderful Dadaists.

Mick Hale: Yeah, DaDa is a big influence on me, I love the way they are anti-art all the while making art! We've actually written parts into our songs to mock ourselves.

Jester: Where will Crocodile Shop go from here?

V. Markus: Wherever we go it will be with hearts pure & strong!

Mick Hale: We're headed on a crash course with the future. Try tho we might, we're at the point now, that the songs just seem to write themselves... we've got about 3/4 of the next C/S album written already, I've got four tracks for D!v!s!on #9 written & we just had those previous CDs released now! So we're a little ahead of ourselves, already. We're set to be on a few tribute complationss & we've been remixing some other bands, so we're definitely keeping busy!

Jester: Where did such a bizarre band name originate from?

V. Markus: I heard once it was a ride at Disneyworld.

Mick Hale: As is the sound of the Zebra, becoming bitten by the Croc, It came to us in a vision...

Jester: Whose child is on the cover of the new album?

V. Markus: That's a child? I could've sworn it was a foetus!

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