Interview with Scip of Gracious Shades conducted by phone 7/5/96

Jester: I've read that you taught yourself several classical instruments and I wondered how that evolve into your interest in electronic music?

Scip: Those were instruments that I learned as a child before most electronic music was around. As I grew up my musical tastes changed as popular styles of music changed.

Jester: When you sit down and write a new song, do you have an formal method that you use?

Scip: Now we go into the garage with Eric on drums and Rick on guitar with me on vocals and jam live. Then we go back an add keyboards and bass lines after all the live instrumentation has been completed.

Jester: So it is more of a group thing than in the past?

Scip: It used to be all just me but now it is a group thing.

Jester: What types of personal motivations are behind why you compose music?

Scip: We want to expose people to different views outside the mainstream. We want to give them a real alternative to the stereotypical music that is around us every day. Alternative music is all mainstream now anyways and we are trying to create something different for people to listen to.

Jester: Do you feel that lumps you into the industrial genre?

Scip: Not really because we don't really consider ourselves industrial. Not anymore anyways.

Jester: If you had to place a label on yourself, what label would you choose?

Scip: I guess with the heavy use of guitar and live drums, we are more of a White Zombie type of band. It is more guitar oriented than before but we still use most of the weird electronic samples and percussion that we used in the past.

Jester: What motivated you to add more live instruments?

Scip: We really wanted to play live a great deal more. Before it was just Eric and I behind a keyboard and that became kind of boring. We probably will have some stuff on tape when we actually perform but just having live drums and guitars on stage will add a great deal more to the live show.

Jester: How much do you play live now?

Scip: Right now we are in the middle of recording the new album but when we are finished we will trying really hard to get out and play live shows.

Jester: What kind of stage setup are you going to have with the new instruments?

Scip: That depends on how much money we will begetting to tour. The last time we toured all we had to haul the equipment was a Geo Metro. So it was kind of hard to bring any props on tour due to lack of space. If we had a large vehicle to haul around all of the props we want to use the shows would probably be amazing compared to older shows. Right now we are building a three level drum set with acoustic on the bottom, electronic in the middle and a tribal setup at the top.

Jester: What type of ideas are you trying to invoke when you perform live?

Scip: We are a band without any type of political agenda. It might describe our shows as a live/death juxtaposition. They are very spiritual and organic. Politics are just lame to us. I often enjoy getting out on the front of the stage and wake people up a bit as well.

Jester: How did your experience of the week in jail affect your music?

Scip: That was a good life experience. I think that everyone should spend some time in jail at least once, just so they know what it is all about. I only did a week but I cannot see that affecting my music at all. It did give me a wider view on types of people that are normally in jail though. However, it wasn't a negative experience in any way. I actually spent some time writing because it was so boring in jail. The whole affair felt really weird because of how easy it is to remove someone's freedom by having them locked up. At the time I didn't know when I was getting out so in the beginning I felt like I was stuck in jail.

Jester: Why did you choose to use the term 'Gracious Shades' when you named you band?

Scip: To me, 'Gracious Shades' means socially acceptable behavior yet with darker overtones. We are definitely a much darker band than most.

Jester: What exactly do you mean by 'dark'?

Scip: The overall tone and sound of the music.

Jester: A number of your songs deal with extreme social phenomena, why did you choose to focus on the negative aspects of society rather than the positive?

Scip: Those aspects were things that I have been exposed to within my lifetime. When I write music I don't have any preconceived set of rules or methods. It just sit down and write about things that I have been exposed to or that have directly happened to me.

Jester: So most of the lyrical content is extremely personal?

Scip: Exactly.

Jester: What does the title of your debut album, 'Aberkash' mean?

Scip: We are in the middle of writing a book on that topic so you will have to wait until then for an answer. It is not something I can easily define in a few sentences or words.

Jester: Do you any favorite song or lyric that means more to you than any other?

Scip: If I was to pick favorite songs they would be, "Tragic", "This Blackness", and "I Hate People". Those songs are examples of how I wanted the overall album to sound like. Those are very unique Gracious Shades type of songs.

Jester: Why are you in the music industry?

Scip: You need to keep things in perspective. We are only the band, not the president of congress. We want people to come to our shows and have a good time. That is what a band is, we are entertainers. The reason why we want all sorts of weird props on stage is because we feel that an audience will be more fulfilled by a more entertaining show. Instead of just the boring five guys on stage playing instruments.

Jester: Are you concerned that someone might take your music seriously?

Scip: Not at all. I really like it when I present any idea to an audience and they can grasp it instantly.

Jester: Do you have any type of musical influence in your music that is significant?

Scip: Actually not at all. I don't listen to any particular style of music. Sometimes we start a song with a bass guitar riff, a freaky sample, a phone conversation. It is different every time. There is not a set of rules that we use. It would be crazy to do that sort of thing. Entire songs just seem to be spawned naturally when all three of us just sit down and jam.

Jester: How much of your music is sampled versus presets?

Scip: We rarely use presets of any kind. When we use a sampler we really try to make something unique and unlike most of the other bands we happen to sound like.

Jester: How far along are you in writing your new album?

Scip: We have around eight songs finished which is about 75% of the album. However it still will be a little while before the album is released because we want to tour a bit with the new material.

Jester: Is there anything else you'd like to add in conclusion?

Scip: Please come to the live shows in the near future. Hopefully, they will be totally different than anything else you have ever seen. They will be drastically different than anything else we have ever done.

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