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Interview with Tony Srock of The Final Cut - conducted by telephone - 10/16/96

Jester: Where has Final Cut been the past four years since the release of "Consumed" on Nettwerk Records and the small tour with Chris Connelly?

Tony: After that tour we had a falling out with Nettwerk. Fellow bands like Consolidated, M.C. 900 Foot Jesus & Skinny Puppy all left Nettwerk as well. The label was moving more into the Sarah McLachlan sound than the style of music we were into when we signed with them. It soured me because it was such an ordeal. I have never made music to get rich. I have never had any aspirations of being a well reknowned superstar. So until the right situation with Fifth Column Records occurred, I had no interest in doing music. I did write music constantly and work on other peoples music, but I just didn't really do anything of my own.

Jester: Are you looking to get back the rights to "Consumed" to rerelease it on Fifth Column Records?

Tony: We are trying. Unfortunately lawsuits these days are extremely expensive. Like I said, we are not a band that goes for the kill shot, so it's basically being financed through the band. I am sure that at some point we will get the rights back, but we are just trying to do it without it becoming an ugly situation.

Jester: Which musical projects and artists have you been working with in your time away from your own music?

Tony: Van Christie opened Warzone Studios in Chicago and I had worked with him in the past. Chris Randall and I also bummed around a little bit. Just a bunch of real normal projects with no real earth shattering collaborations to speak of. So, I was continually writing my own stuff during the process at home. I wasn't actually whoring myself to find something to do. I was doing it because I enjoy to make music regardless of who it is with.

After the whole Nettwerk Records fall out we did shop a demo to several different labels but they fell through because most of the interested labels wanted us to compromise our integrity. Final Cut has never been a band that has appeased anyone other than the band itself. We ended up going back to the basics as a result of the experience.

Jester: You kind of surprised me when you opened up the Independent Label Festival in Chicago in 1995 for Die Warzau and Sister Machine Gun.

Tony: You have no idea how much coercing that took for us to play. It was more just to be able to play with my buddies than to play an actual show. It has always been that way, but back when we started doing Techno music in 1989 we always prided ourselves on being on the cutting edge. If nothing motivates me I am not going to release a record for the sake of releasing something. I want people to pick up a Final Cut record and know that it is something that I stand behind 100%. There were a great deal of sacrifices that went into "Consumed" and that is why the new album is called "Atonement".

Jester: I noticed that on each of the three albums you have released there has been a significant change of style. Was that intentional or was it more based upon the musical influences you were experiencing at the time of each release?

Tony: It was more of the latter. From an overview perspective listening to our band is like watching a television sitcom family grow up. I am definitely not the same person that I was in 1989 by any stretch of the imagination. I don't drink as much or do as many drugs. I simply could not facilitate that kind of lifestyle now because if I did, I would probably drop dead. We simply got more polished as time went on.

Jester: It seemed to me that you had received less outside help on this album than perhaps on other albums.

Tony: Not to take away from anyones contributions but most of the stuff was written prior to most of the people helping on the album. I do think that Chris Connelly is a better {WHAT?} than I am so I think there were certain songs on the last record than he was better suited for. I am probably his biggest fan and I won't turn away friends who ask to perform on my record. We have always been very careful to not sticker our records and pimp them based upon the help of our friends. I don't use my friends to sell records. I will always continue to do that.

Jester: What kind of fan response have you received from the new album?

Tony: Not a great deal. We haven't been on the road yet so it is really hard to gauge. We also almost have another album finished and we are not sure if we want to use this new release to reintroduce people to the band and use the next album to tour or not.

A label like Fifth Column Records doesn't have the cash to give us for a tour so without the ability to self support a tour we really cannot do one. It is frustrating because our label has the best intentions. They are moving in the right direction and are pretty much one of the better labels offering alternative music to the people.

Touring to us would mean to round up an entire band and hit the road leaving paying jobs behind. It is something we want to do right and not wrong. Right now we are looking to tour with Birmingham 6 in January but it is not definite yet. {Not going to happen} By then we will have finished the new album, although it might not be released to the public at that time. The tour will definitely be used to heighten the awareness of the band before releasing the next album.

I know this is going to sound stupid, but I do this all for people. I do it because I make the music that I like to hear. I don't do it for cash. I only do it to keep in touch with the people. We have our website coming online and we follow all the newsgroups and you can reach us by e-mail. We always try and make it so you can reach us any time from anywhere.

Jester: You mentioned that you have been involved with making music for quite some time, but have you had any type of formal training at all?

Tony: Not at all. I've been a DJ since I was seventeen. I was a white DJ in basically an all black culture in Detroit in the eighties. That is where I think you get a lot of the funk in our music. I never knew what a middle C was until maybe four years ago.

Jester: So you spent a great deal of time in the early Detroit House scene?

Tony: Yes, right about the time it blew up. That was a good play to be with Kevin Saunderson and Derek May and other Techno guys. Our biggest record was a techno song called 'Take Me Away'. It went Top Ten in nine countries and sold about 187,000 copies, of which I have never seen a dime.

It is just so frustrating because we want to do more music and expand but we can't because unfortunately we need money to do that. Then we got dropped from Nettwerk Records. Then the deal with London Records and Consolidated fell through. Then we went to Wax Trax with Die Warzau and Jim Nash and Dwayne Goettel died. So many things happened over that two and a half years that it decimated us as a band.

Jester: When you sit down and write music where do you draw most of your influences from?

Tony: I really cannot answer that question because it comes from so many different sources. For example on the track "It Comes Too", Louie Svitek came around and we got really high. He plugged into a processor and starts playing around with it, and we ended up sampling it for that track. On "Wallow", this awesome bongo player from Detroit named Ty Ree played. He is an old Motown percussionist who just came into the studio and started playing. "Dim" was a track that Van Christie wrote which spawned "Terminate" which I wrote totally on my own.

There has never been a specific process of any kind for when we write our music. That has always been the beauty of the whole thing because we have no limitations or constrictions.

Jester: Do you think that not having had musical training you were never constrained to work within the confinements of traditional western music?

Tony: Definitely. I believe in ignorance is bliss when it comes to music. It has always allowed me to approach it with less prejudice. It allows us to always retain the youthful enthusiasm in making our music.

Jester: On the back of the CD, where are all those tiny little pornographic words from?

Tony: That is a computer program that just spews filth. I like that kind of thing because it allowed us to keep a passionate sexual tone to our music. I'm a generally angry person and have always been frustrated with society so you will also see that in my music. I never print my lyrics because they are always extremely personal and to do so would allow people to know me better than I want them to. I envy people who can spew forth entertainment because I am not like that.

Jester: Where can we expect Final Cut to go in the future now that you have a new album out and you might be touring soon?

Tony: It depends on how much resistance this records meets. It depends on if there is a market for a band like us anymore. I'd hate to think that I am a dinosaur, but I'm definitely not as young as I used to be. Actually, I'm probably too jaded to give a totally honest answer. Ultimately in an utopian world you would see Final Cut on the road in January and February with a new album in May. An album that would take "Atonement" to a new level. However if pieces of the puzzle don't fall into place and there isn't a demand for our type of music then who knows, it might turn up on a Karoake machine.

Rest assured that if we do something new it will be with taste and tact. I am not going to compromise my principles. I refuse to insult people that like the band and the music. I could not sell you a piece of shit and tell you it was a great record.

Chronologically I think the sound of the band is getting better and we should hope for a new album next year. Wherever we can go, we will go. I think you can also expect more keyboards on the next record based upon most of the songs that I am writing now. I'm almost ready to jump back into the "Join In The Chant" days at this point. To me that was the heyday of this type of music.

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