Interview with THD - conducted via e-mail - 10/30/96

Jester:What is the primary motivator for you to make music?

Shawn: For me, it's my life. What else is there really? It all comes down to the thoughts/ideas/experiences we feel or try to comprehend and understand. Sometimes the understanding comes from working the ideas out in music. There are really a lot of factors involved in my motivation, but I think my life is the most comprehensive answer.

Jester:Do you have any social or political influences in your music?

Shawn: I get very disgusted with our social system and where it's evolved to. We've commoditized and franchised anything and everything. Except for a disgust of the whole system there's not specific thing at least for me. Politics and politicians are as bad as lawyers - just toys in the system's game really.

Ed: I think society has lost the fundamentals with a lot of things. People either expect things to be handed to them or can't grasp basic concepts. I mean go to any fast food place and see how badly someone struggles with filling a simple 3 piece order and after the order is filled see how long it takes them to give you your change from a $5.00 bill. In order to move ahead a lot of things are glossed over, you baby-sit people, they become accustomed to that 'hand-holding' and lose any thought process. It really segregates people and it will only become worse. People tend to focus on the trivial or extreme too much and not the issues at hand. As for politics, he with the most money wins, it's pointless.

Jester:How did you meet with Brian Perrara to get signed to Cleopatra Records?

Ed: First of all we are/were never signed to Cleopatra. They purely licensed the product. Our now ex-label Hard Records contacted Cleopatra with our release. They were looking for a US license and we got Hard in the door so to speak. We were asked to do some legwork in the States for Hard for licensees while Hard searched as well. Now Hard has dropped all their bands except for Birmingham 6/ Godheads/ Lights Of Euphoria.

Jester:How has Cleopatra Records treated you since you have been signed to them?

Ed: We would like to thank Cleopatra for the distribution (whether we'll see any royalties from the Hard/Cleopatra union is another story), we would also like to thank them for the exposure with compilations and remixes, however Cleopatra is a business and only ever communicated with us when they wanted something. It was very one-sided. Personally I think Brian had a problem with us, because we weren't willing to sacrifice everything to make it. I have a decent paying career as a programmer/analyst, so it would take a good deal of CDs to be sold to make me want to pack it all up. I really think Brian resented the fact we didn't play out at our own expenses and the fact we did what we wanted, we never played that Rock N Roll game. It's too risky and I am not a financial risk taker. Now that Hard has almost dissolved their entire Electro division, I doubt any more dealings will happen between THD and Hard/Cleopatra. In fact they gave us the cold shoulder knowing about the Hard dissolvement. Oh well. So to sum it all up, we got some good exposure, but got fucked anyway.

Jester:Can we expect another release any time in the near future?

Shawn: That's a good question. We have a lot of material, but we are unsure where it will be released now that we don't have a label. it really sucks. Actually we have never seen a penny of royalties from THD at all. Fun huh? We're not in this for the money, but there comes a point when things aren't even close to fair.

Ed: If we have to we'll release stuff on our own. We are pretty much a self contained center. We record (always have) on a professional Digital Audio Workstation and have always done our own artwork (except for the Cleopatra cover of Mechanical Advantage). We've learned a good deal with each release and it wouldn't be difficult to release even better sounding stuff. I can put a CDR on my system and burn an audio CD with PQ points and all. Who knows maybe we'll get real 'arty' and make custom CDs with one of a kind artwork? But don't get me started on how much of a low overhead THD has always been, it's upsetting.

Jester:Where can we expect to see THD go in the future?

Shawn: THD is always evolving. We're not stagnant like some or most of the bands we're lumped with. We're definitely not 'industrial' anymore. That's quite outdated and hasn't advanced anywhere since like 1993 or so. We're more focused on experimentation and expression than attitude and 4/4 kick aggression for 14 trax. It's OK to make a beautiful song. We're also getting a lot funkier and groovier. I guess almost a retro sound, but still futuristic as we see it.

Ed: Like Shawn said, more experimentation. The industrial sound gave us a lot of ideas and opened up doors to different techniques in both creation and production. We'll still hold onto those, but they will not be as concrete. It's a shame that people are so blinded in this genre anymore, it used to be so fresh. We'll continue to do electronic music, it allows you to be more creative I think. It might not always work, but still you can try...

Jester:Will THD ever tour or play live?

Shawn: (My answer was before the recent news) when we get actual backing from our so-called labels.

Ed: Exactly. We spent the money we made from working day jobs on the studio (again the low overhead comes to mind), why should we spend our money giving the label free advertising? Yes it might sell some more records, but only mega-stars make any money off touring and to lose money is really stupid...if we wanted to do that, we would have started our own label to release our stuff. But on a promising note a live date in February 1997 is tentative and I will say no more.

Jester:You mentioned at one point in time that you corresponded with Uwe Schmidt about your most recent release "Outside In", can you go into some details about it?

Shawn: I asked Uwe Schmidt his opinions and such of it and if a remix was possible. He gave us some good comments and points to explore. A remix deal was just about finalized when our contact at Hard Records supposedly left the company. So now we're fucked really. Uwe seems like a very nice guy. He's got talent and ideas/concepts and that's rare today. Anyone can learn to operate machines with time, but to actually create strong ideas and entire concepts with sound is a whole other story.

Jester:How did you first get involved with creating your own music?

Shawn: We got involved out of disgust and fun. We were inexperienced and kind of arrogant, I guess? We thought we could do this ourselves just as good as anyone else. It's good to start that way, but over time you realize it's not true really. We would just fool around at my uncle's house every Monday or so. It was fun and stuff. For me it's pretty much how I get off. It's more stable and safer than sex!

Ed: Music has always been a big part of my life and it was time to try it. As for the sex, thing Shawn, I dunno nothing compares to sex. :)

Jester:Why did you choose a 'technological' motif for your music?

Shawn: The technological thing is very plain to us. We live in a technological age that is growing at a frightening rate. We are products of our time. Simple. It allows us to advance with our culture and time (or try to get ahead or behind it too). I guess it's just the most flexible and open option available right now. There's no real standards or conventions.

Ed: It's very flexible because it's both good and bad. For example it can be used to save lives with advanced research, but it can also take away from your private life as well...look at how anyone can get a hold of you at any point on this globe. You have to learn to use it for your advantage and discard anything you don't need. If you want it all, you will become a vegetable.

Jester:Why was Total Harmonic Distortion shortened to THD? and is THD the same band that had a track on the first RMI Mind/Body Compilation?

Shawn: Beats me, I think Cleopatra wanted it or something like that. It wasn't us on the RMI compilation. We've heard of a techno band called THD and a metal band called Total Harmonic Distortion so who the fuck knows. We've also heard of a vinyl 12" of one of our songs that we had NOTHING to do with. Sounds fishy to me. I guess someone is making money from us?

Ed: Actually Brian at Cleopatra said it was too confusing to use both the full Total Harmonic Distortion and THD at the same time. He said record stores wouldn't know how to arrange it. Sad isn't it? I mean our original logo was T.H.D with Total Harmonic Distortion printed directly below. Who knows/cares? Maybe it's time to change the name altogether?

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