Mudvayne Interview
This interview was made in Paris the 8th of June 2005.
Ben has met McDonough (Drums).

You are back in Europe for a few dates, you will play in this hugh festival « Download Festival », what do you expect from this tour ?
For a small band like us, from America, it’s a big oportunity to be able to play big festivals in Europe. This year we’re doing Rock Am Ring, Rock Im Park, Download, Gods of Metal, and an Austrian festival too. So it’s a good oportunity for us to get to play in front of as many people as possible and get good exposure. Hopefully we’ll turn out some new fans.

“Lost and found” is now out for a month and a half, what was the response from the fans ?
When the album came out, kids were happy to hear the songs on the radio in America. So, it seems to me that our fans seem to enjoy the record. During the shows, when you see kids sing along, be curious and interested, that’s all we ask.

Can you tell me what was your state of mind during the composition and recording process ?
We didn’t had a lot of time when we wrote this album, and especially when we recorded it. So it’s a pretty stressfull experience working on the kind of schegule that we had. On of the most positive thing that we can do is try to keep focus on what you have to do. We’ve been lucky enough in the past to have really reliable people that engeneered all of our records. So together we are working around the clock and trying to reach all of our goals.

Did you get more pressure during these processes compare to the last album ?
Well, I mean, the creative process is pressre. That’s what writing is, that’s what being creative is. That is this pressure that you experience in some psychological or emotional level and you have to see your way through it. That’s part of the actual work.

I consider that you found the voice and how Mudvayne should sound on “Lost and found”, are you satisifed to have found this particular sound after 3 records, and does that mean that this album is better than the previous 2 ?
I don’t think that’s an attitude that I go into, regarding my work. I don’t compare one record to another record. When you’re working, and creating, the whole point is finding the moment that you are in at that time, and exposing that. That doesn’t have anything to do with what happened in the past and if you relate to that process of exploration based on some expectation from the past. You’re deviding from the work you should actually be doing. I think that this record was the most honest attempt that we could make, to show ourselves, and our audience, where we are right now, and what is valuable to us. I don’t look at that in terms of what we’ve done in the past. And I don’t certainly think of it in terms of what effect it would have on the futur.

The lyrics on this album are very personels. Aren’t you afraid sometimes to sing too much things about the feelings of life ?
I wouldn’t say that the lyrics are personel at all. The lyrics have personel quality, but to assume that blind honesty and revealing personel stuff from our lifes is a mistake. The idea with the record was to paint a picture that was more intimate on a human day to day level as opposed to big pictures ideas that we had in the past. But saying that those lyrics are specifically connected with my life, that would be a betrayed from the fans to be able to take away that oportunity for a fan to draw their own connections, and have their own experiences, and build their own relation to the work. And I think that’s the most important thing when you put a record out. When you put a piece of work out, the important is to allow the fans to build a relation to what’s going on. I would rather stay out of the way, and take my personel life out of the way. We’ve always done that, and I think we’ve done that with this record too.

At the end of a song we recognize the Martin Lutherking voice, but can you tell me about this voice and this song ?
The idea was to paint a picture that gave us different angles to contemplate what it’s like to have to make choices, to be bombarded with the situation where you can’t escape the fact you have to make a choice. And at a certain point in your life, you have to come to this responsibility, as an individual, you have to make a choice. You have to decide where your faith lies, where your beliefs lie, where your directions in your life are, where your attitude towards people around you and the world that you live onto are. The idea was to paint a picture of all thee different angles.

You toured in the US with American Headcharge and Blood Simple, what did you felt when Ryan died on the tour a few month ago, and was it hard to continue for you ?
Out of respect for American Headcharge, I hadn’t made any comments about the past of the band members. I think that certain things must be left private, and personel. Obiously the lost of a life and a friend is always gonna dramatic. Those are the things that make an impact in people’s life. That definaltly throughs a fuck on the road. So out of respect to them , I would say you know, leave comments about that, and whatever information is put
out in the world, leave to them.

How did you work your drums parts on this album ? Have you worked differently compare to the previous one ?
It was important on this record to focus on what not to do instead of on what to do. I felt challenge to look at the space, look at what would be most important, look at the deepest essence of where the song is trying to go. And so, doing this, you have to decide what it I that you are gonna give away. So if you’re looking at 10 different ideas, or parts, or whatever, for a song, you start cutting away saying “not this, not this…” and walk your way down to the essence of it. I don’t think that was an attitude that we would have had in some of the past records probably. I think that in the past we have been blind charging into our song writing and let the songs just grow and grow, and let the songs go into these places maybe we wouldn’t have expected. So for me it was exciting to really be challenged with saying I’m gonna let this go. I’m not gonna be attached to any of this and just let this be what the song is.

Can you tell me how you came to drums and how you developped this personnel and easely recognizable way of playing ?
Well, I’ve never been really attached to drumming. I don’t really like calling myself a drummer. I’ve never really felt that attached to the instrument. For it has always been important to see myself involved with the creating process, and find a way to work a medium. And drumming just happened to be something that physically clicked with me. I was better better at drumming than making sculptures out of trees, for instance. Physically I gravitated towards this so I started thinking in terms of an artist how can I work through this medium, how can I work through this instrument instead of saying I wanna be a drummer and then working backwards. In that sence my approch has been kind of unorthodox and kind of strange or whatever. For me it’s natural, finding that space in myself that needs to be expressed. And it’s interesting exploring and challenging myself, so I took it done, and so work it through the instrument. So I think maybe that gives some sort of signature and character to the way I play, which might be a little unusual.

What were your main influences when you were younger ?
Jean Paul Sartre, Dostoyefsi, I don’t know. Henry Miller, Star Wars, Salvador Daly… I would say a whole atitude towards feeling out of sorts, not having a strong peer group to indetify with, or any sence of social class that make any sence to me. Those are the things that turned me on when I was a kid.

Questionnary of PIVOT :

What is your favorite word ? Done.
The word you hate ? Expectation.
What turns you on creatively ? Life.
What turns you on spiritualy ? Life.
What turns you on emotionaly ? Life.
What turns you off ? Life.
What is your favorite bad word ? Christianity
What sound or noise do you love / hate ? You know, there is all kinds of conotations about attachement here, and I don’t feel that. I don’t hate, I’m not really concerned about things like that, it’s a really weird question.
What is the last book you red ?
I’m usually reading 2 or 3 books at the same time. I’ve just finished “The Invisible” by Grant Morrisson.
What is the last movie you saw ? The talented Mr Ripley.
Which person influenced you the most ? Myself.
Who were your heroes when you were a kid ?
Probably Batman or The Scare Crow from Wizzard of Oz.
What profession other than yours would you have liked to attempt ?
Working in an art museum.
What profession would you not like to attempt ?
Professional musician ! (big lough)
If Heaven exist what you like God to say to you when you arrive at the Pearly Gates ?

The whole things are lying, I don’t exist.

Interview Ben
Translation Pierre

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999