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Interview: Musical Gazeta - Fall 1999

Musical Gazeta: What were the most important events in the life of THINE EYES since release of album «Christian Sex Loops» in 1998?

Tanner: I quit working at a coffee shop.

Rian: The release of the new Star Wars movie. The simultaneous purchase of the Korg Electribe by each of us.

Musical Gazeta: Recently you had the first in your band?s life live-show... Was it pleasant experience? How people reacted on your music? Did you do some perfomance in support to your music?

Tanner: It was great. We'll definitely do it again. Response was very positive. We didn't perform at all. We just stood on stage in front of three drum machines.

Laird: We turned a bunch of knobs!

Rian: I think all of us had a really fun time doing the live show. It went a lot better than we expected, in terms of technical difficulties, and people seemed to enjoy it, which is nice. Preparing for the show was a great experience, too - it forced us to write the music in a different way and sounds different as a result.

Musical Gazeta: On the cover of new THINE EYES CD «My Knobs Taste Funny» I read the next: «Thine Eyes is ml»... Well, who actually are hidden behind of these two letters and what is the current line-up of THINE EYES?

Tanner: ml.

Rian: We don't exactly hide behind ml. ml is a container with room for three people, currently holding Tanner Volz, Laird Sheldahl, and Rian Callahan. Once inside ml, each of us goes about our respective tasks and begins creating music product. We will soon be changing names from Thine Eyes to ml and this is what we've tried to elude to on the cover art.

Laird: The name "Thine Eyes" is kinda silly and perhaps too pretentious for us. Of course, we've been "Thine Eyes" now for 8 or 9 years so it's kinda hard to switch.

Musical Gazeta: CD «My Knobs Taste Funny» is wild combo of original tracks and remixes... How did you get such bands as SCAR TISSUE, PAIN STATION and NOT BREATHING on the role of remixers of THINE EYES songs? Did you discussed the remixes with these bands or you said them that they?re totally free in re-doing your songs and started to wait for hearing final results?

Laird: Jester lined up most of those remixers. We just sent out some samples and sequences and that was the end of our input... well, except for deciding who's remix would or wouldn't wind up on the album. We had many other good remixes which didn't quite fit the overall feel of "My Knobs Taste Funny"... we had no preconceived notion of what that 'feel' would be, but in the end I think we have a very good album, not an album of our music plus 5 remixes tacked on to the end of it.

Musical Gazeta: What did you want to say by track «ml theme»? It?s really so pretty but sadly so short... Does it really reflect the character of ml or it reflects only one of the thousands of states of ml?

Tanner: Pretty? Wow, I'd thought idiotic was a better description! We generally intend to say basically nothing with our songs; "ml theme" says less than nothing. You are correct: it reflects only one of the thousands of states of ml.

Rian: The ml theme needs to be that short, otherwise you begin to hate it.

Laird: We added that song at the last second. We just dumped a cassette recording Tanner had made onto the computer. We were afraid Jester, our record label honcho, would be annoyed with such a goofy song opening the album, but he didn't seem to mind. In fact, it's most everybody's favorite track.

Musical Gazeta: After listening to originals tracks on new CD I must say that the innovative sound of «Christian Sex Loops» developed in something even more interesting, experimental and entertaining! Your music obviously changed... it probably lost the most hard and harsh moments of previous release but became more intelligent and a sort of «industrial easy listening», he-he... Okay, I would like to know the following: a) which aspects of your music you consider as the most important? b) which bands or artists were the main influences for you during last 8 months? c) what things you wanted to reflect or express via your new songs? ...I don?t wanna believe that NOTHING!

Laird: Even with the harsher moments of "Christian Sex Loops" we were never very industrial, and I think "My Knobs Taste Funny" is pretty much a stright-up electronica album. We've been influenced a lot by Warp and Warpish bands recently-- Autechre, Mouse on Mars and their ilk, and "My Knobs Taste Funny" is in a very similar vein. What does the album reflect? It's fun and weird and noodly.

Tanner: And, I think, occasionally very intense and lovely.

Rian: I think the new songs on the album are fairly un-industrial, although some of the remixes lean that way. To answer your other question, I think that the sounds themselves are really important in all of the stuff that we do. We've always enjoyed creating new sounds - either by sampling, processing, or programming. In the last year or so, I think that Panasonic, Autechre, Mouse on Mars, Turner, and Funkstorung have all been important influences. Actually, seeing Panasonic perform live was what finally convinced us to do a live show.

Musical Gazeta: The vocals are almost absent on new CD (the great exception is the title track) ... They don?t suit to your music anymore?

Tanner: We all burnt out on vocals; we've never really been about traditional song-writing. I got tired of pretending to be a singer-songwriter type. It's just not in my blood.

Musical Gazeta: Do you consider new THENE EYES sound as Industrial or no?

Laird: Nope.

Rian: I don't think it's industrial. I think of it as electronic, and usually don't try to get more specific than that.

Musical Gazeta: What is the feedback you receive from your music right now?

Tanner: So far, totally positive--even more so than with previous material.

Rian: That it sounds like porn music.

Musical Gazeta: How often smile appears on your face when you listen to music and probably there are some artists who?s music makes you even laughing?

Laird: Plone makes me giggle. I often like goofy, fun music. I just saw Tito infectious rhythms. These are things I like.

Tanner: Plone. U-ziq. There are some crazy people out there. Goofy is good, but there's a limit to its appeal to me; I do like a balance, and frankly the stuff I like best is pretty difficult.

Rian: Plone makes me laugh, too. Sometimes Mouse on Mars causes me to giggle, because their sounds are so cute and amazing. Muziq is crazy and also puts a smile on my face.

Musical Gazeta: Which hopes and plans do you pin on CD «My Knobs Taste Funny»?

Tanner: I think we generally aim low. I just hope it sells alright and helps build momentum for our next releases.

Rian: We hope that people like it. Maybe it will even make a few people smile.

Laird: We have pretty low aspirations... in fact, Jester is nagging us to go get signed by some bigger record label.

Musical Gazeta: I?m curious, are you familiar with Power Rhythmic Noise Movement and such bands as HUPNOSKULL, NOISEX, IMMINENT STARVATION, CONVERTER? Is such music interesting for you?

Laird: Ha, well Scott from Converter (and Pain Station) did a remix for us. I have been veru impressed with his work and many other Power Noise acts, I think it's just the thing "industrial" music needed, something other than the same old EBM/Electro stuff. I think that Panasonic influenced Tanner and Rian a ton regarding the live material, too.

Tanner: Yep, real into some hardcore digital minimal noise stuff these days, too--Panasonic, Ryoji Ikeda and so forth.

Rian: Yeah Panasonic and Ikeda are both of interest right now. I like some of the ideas behind the Power Noise stuff, but sometimes I really miss the pretty melodics. Once it starts combining with other types of music, I think interesting things will result. I'd personally like to hear a power noise cross-breed with the melodic sense of Plaid.

Musical Gazeta: What things outside of music attract your attention and hold your time at the moment?

Laird: Grad school. Soccer. Movies.

Tanner: Movies. Work. Grad School. Relationship.

Rian: Movies, definitely. Also, drawing little pictures of squiggly lines.

Musical Gazeta: Do you have any personal (or divided with other people) manias or phobias?

Tanner: I'm very afraid of the ocean.

Rian: The normal fears - clowns, deep water, unzipped pants.

Laird: Haha! In our last radio interview, the DJ turned on the mic right as Rian was saying "I can't button my pants!" I won't say why he was saying it, but it has apparently left deep emotional scars. I don't like spiders.

Musical Gazeta: Do you see dreams when you are sleeping? ...or only endless black holes?

Tanner: Many dreams. Mostly work-related. I have the most boring dreams. Although I once dreamed that Madonna was trying to murder me with scissors. That's another story, though.

Rian: Yes, I dream, but they haven't been too exciting recently. I wish I could remember them better.

Laird: Ugh, after working on finishing "My Knobs Taste Funny" while also mastering a friend's CD (Triple Point), I began to dream about moving faders and knobs on my computer.

Musical Gazeta: How often you meet people without sense of humor and without imagination?

Laird: being a scientist, I see them every day. Most of the people I work with, though, are pretty humorous and creative. I feel pretty lucky about that.

Tanner: Being a software-developer, I see them every day. Most of the people I work with, though, are pretty humorous and creative. They make up for my terribly boring bandmates.

Rian: Being an engineer, I see them every day. I often see people on the bus without a sense of humor, but the fact that they are humorless is in itself very funny. Almost all of my friends have both an imagination and a sense of humor, fortunately.

Musical Gazeta: What qualities you prize (appreciate) in women most of all?

Laird: I like strong-willed, fun-loving little brunettes. Someone who is confortable with themselves and comfortable with me being me. And I appreciate nice breasts.

Tanner: I like people who will happily kick your ass if you give them shit.

Rian: I'm into cute librarian women with glasses, but not exclusively. It's also very good if they have a nice laugh (and use it) - I like that. If she can kick my ass, that's OK.

Musical Gazeta: Could you name three things which really ease the life of members of THINE EYES?

Laird: My dog Sophie.

Tanner: My cat Chockie.

Rian: My soft winter coat. It's soft on the inside _and_ the outside.

Musical Gazeta: Do you have experience of dangerous meeting mafia or gangsta people face to face?

Laird: Nope, I live a pretty safe life. I meet angry Microsoft employees sometimes. Maybe a mad scientist or two.

Tanner: I meet angry engineers, sometimes. They're scary. In fact, I have had some run-ins with gangsters, I guess, but not in a long while.

Rian: Sometimes the bus driver isn't very friendly, but that's about as bad as it gets.

Musical Gazeta: What other funny things you?ve got instead of your knobs?

Laird: What can be better than knobs? Just think of all the wonderful things you can do with knobs.

Rian: I have a blue plastic sheep and pink plastic pig that nest inside of eachother. There's also a cow and a chicken, but I don't have those.

Laird: Oh, and a hat frog. It's both a hat AND a frog. Not like a transformer, which would be a hat THEN a frog, this one is both at once.

Musical Gazeta: Do you know already where and with whom you'll meet the New Year 2000?

Tanner: Hopefully I'll be with my fiance, sleeping in my apartment.

Laird: Me too. I mean, with my fiancee. Maybe some friends, too, just hanging out.

Rian: No, but I've still got some time to make plans.

[Thine Eyes]
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