Interview with Download, Fenix Underground, Seattla, WA 8/31/96

Photos by prote

Jester: What exactly happened when you got stuck at the border in Vancouver at the end of July?

Cevin: The board of trade forgot to give us one form so when we came through we didn't have that form. So we had to courier back from Vancouver the form that we needed to cross the border and it took all day to get to us. It finally arrived at 6pm. We need we had a six drive ahead of us, but we made it in close to four hours and arrived in Portland around 10pm. We attempted to negotiate to still be able to play but the venue said it was much too late.

Jester: I had heard some vague rumors about a forthcoming Download vs Coil remix EP. Is there any truth to this?

Cevin: It is not done yet. There is some talk about it. We've been approached to do it. I personally would love to do it. So you will probably see something in the works sometime soon.

Jester: And you also filmed a video for 'Suni C'?

Cevin: No, 'Glassblower'.

Jester: My mistake. A portion of it was show just last night on Much Music along with an interview with you and Mark. Where was the video filmed?

Cevin: Vancouver. Just before we started the North American tour.

Jester: How have you been able to make your music seem so chaotic and yet still maintain a strong sense of cohesive structure?

Cevin: It is just how we approach music. If we tried to think about what we were doing too much I think we would screw it up. We sort of just do what we do and it happens. All of us come from a percussive drumming background. So drummer tend to tap a lot and discover unique noises.

Jester: When you actually sit down and compose a track, is there any type of formal method of concept you use?

Cevin: To say everything is created in the same manner would be wrong. It is actually all composed very differently. We don't have one method. You are constantly arriving and mountains and canyons where you are making music like this. You have to find separate ways of getting from point A to point B without falling into a pit. I think that probably is evident in our music. A lot of out listeners are just as equally interested in the outcome of the song as we are. They wonder where the song will lead them just as we are when we write it. It is almost a bit of a roller coster ride when we sit down and write a new track.

Jester: Have you had any type of formal musical training?

Cevin: No, I am all self taught. The music just comes from settling down and doing something on your own and then reaching out and working with other people as well.

Jester: What originally got you interested in composing music? Was it because you felt that someone would be interested in hearing what you had to say?

Cevin: Phil could probably lend you some insight into that since he is just as equal a member of Download as I am.

Phil: The main reason I got into writing music was to try and recreate a mood or feeling for someone else that you have had yourself. It is a strong motivator to think that you might be able to give someone else that same experience. It is something that I really like to do.

Jester: How exactly did you get involved with Download?

Phil: It began with a friendship with Dwayne. When Cevin and Dwayne finally established a central location where all the musical gear was located. That paved the way for collaborations to occur.

Jester: And you still are involved with solo material as well? Such as Coordinate 01?

Phil: That is one that everyone knows about but it is the oldest piece I released. There are a few albums that are long out of print as well. More of my music is more in the ambient techno arena. It isn't something that you would ever hear on the radio or see a video for unfortunately.

Jester: How did Download get involved with scoring the soundtrack to Charlie's Family?

Cevin: Because Jim VanBebber directed the Spasmolytic video. As well as being involved with Chunkblower and a bunch of other cool films. He has been working on Charlie's Family for about five years and he had asked us back when he started if we would write music for it. I finally ended up putting together a collection of this freaky music and released it as the soundtrack.

Jester: Has the movie been releases yet?

Cevin: No, the movie is not out yet. We released the soundtrack to help aid in the funding of the final mix of the movie. That is why the album is a limited edition sort of thing.

Jester: What does the term, "Download" mean to you personally?

Cevin: For me it just follows through on a concept rather than standing for any type of name. It was obviously derived from the last track on Last Rights. Conceptually there was talk about using fragments of sound and collages. We wanted to reach out into that space that we had never really ventured before. One night Dwayne and Anthony just stood up and began composing out of bits of sound and the music simply grew from there. It sort of put the whole concept into perspective. It seem to lay out the next logical musical direction for us that we are just now entering into.

Jester: When you were writing that track, did you sense any type of warning signs that what you were involved with would soon crumble and disintegrate?

Cevin: Yes, all along. I still can't believe that I worked with Ogre for that long. Generally we were unhappy with our arrangement and with each other personally. Yet we could still make music together. Now it has become a lot better to not have that tension.

Jester: Do you find that this new group of individuals perform really well together and that you finally enjoy making music with other people?

Cevin: Yes. There are many more interactions between the musicians. The entire project is more concerned about the music than before. It is all about music now. There is no blood and gore left. That has totally been totally exorcised and the music has become the main focal point.

Jester: How much of the live performance is live and improvised rather than being on tape?

Cevin: We do our best but there are certain things that could never be recreated without the aid of digital media. For that we fully and openly have to admit that we could not do without it. At the same time there is a great deal of improvisation that happens every night which can spill over the edges. You are going to get a different level of intensity every night depending on the venue and the audience. There is a huge amount of possibility live for us to be able to go in any direction.

Jester: Is that why you don't feel constrained to play just pure Download material live? That you will play music from other projects to play what you feel is right?

Cevin: Well, we do play what we feel is right. Playing music from other projects just happens to be more of a crowd pleasing maneuver.

Phil: We do realize that there are some people that are only present at a show to hear that material.

Cevin: Yet we do play Download versions of Skinny Puppy tracks. We don't sing Ogre's lyrics. We do instrumental versions of key segments of some of the older material. We really enjoy presenting the music in that manner. We also do a Doubting Thomas track that follows along the same line with what we do as Download anyways. We don't do Tear Garden, or Hilt, or any of that sort of stuff. We try and keep the music all similar.

Jester: What other Subconscious Communications projects can we expect to see released soon?

Cevin: The new Tear Garden is coming out next month. Doubting Thomas is something like more off in the distance if I ever manage to find the time at some point in my life. The full time thing right now is Download, the studio, the record label.

Jester: Are you pleased to be at the last show on your tour now?

Cevin: Not really. Actually I really enjoy touring and playing. I think it gives me a good sense of purpose and immediate response. When you hide yourself away and record for long periods of time you begin to fell that you are not in directly in touch with what the audience might enjoy.

Jester: What is next in store for Download?

Phil: We never know what is next. We don't have any specific plans right now but we are probably going to go home and take a short rest.

Jester: Has the entire tour, including Europe, turned out really well for you?

Cevin: Yes, I have had a joyous time. It has been a very liberating experience to go out on tour without the whole Skinny Puppy type of issue. It has allowed music to really be the main focus. It has been a chance for the music to shine through.

Jester: Do either of you practice any formal religion or follow any type of daily ritual?

Phil: None of us practice any type of religion, but we all do follow our own unique type of daily ritual.

Cevin: I do believe in some form of alternate energy that somehow got labeled as God. Whatever was the cause of the Big Bang could be referred to as God.

Jester: What have you been doing to keep yourself busy in your free time on the bus? I noticed some odd periodicals lying around.

Cevin: Oh these? We picked these up because we have had some really long drives. You name it we've done it. You can actually live a normal life on one of these buses.

Jester: Any final comments you would like to make?

Cevin: No, just go and see the show.

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