Filter are back this year with arguably their strongest album since the mighty ‘welcome to the fold’. With dates in Iraq for the armed forces, the powerfully political and intelligent ‘Anthems for the damned’ released a couple of years back and a renewed vigour thanks to signing with the ever-green Nuclear Blast label (whose boss just happens to be a massive Filter fan), it seems that the stage is set for Filter to step up and rightfully claim the place that they deserve at the head of the alt-rock/industrial pack.
With a hectic schedule at the moment thanks to the endless promotional cycle for an album of this stature, Richard Patrick was kind enough to look at some questions for us and, as we at SonicAbuse are all big fans of the band and the new album, we are proud to present this brief interview to you. All we can hope for now are some live dates here in the UK so that we can witness the might of songs such as ‘drug boy’ in the flesh.
1. Many of your songs have dealt with difficult personal issues, is it difficult for you to write about matters that effect you so deeply and balance that with the entertainment side of music?
RMP: I just feel that honesty is the best way to get good music. I like screaming about stuff that hurts, it’s easier.
2. The trouble with angels seems to be a much more personal album than Anthems… but your lyrics are still quite oblique in places – is that your way of keeping some element of privacy?
RMP: Yeah I still have some secrets. The world doesn’t need to know everything. It would freak me out I think.
3. It seems that Filter returned at a time when America was struggling the most with its demons – the post 9-11 world, Iraq, The Bush presidency… Do you feel that by confronting these issues (as you did on Anthems…) you can encourage people to be more aware of the world around them?
RMP: Yes. I sure hope so. People need to pay attention to what is going on around them.
4. How was it to play to the armed forces in Iraq?
RMP: It’s always a great privilege to entertain the troops. They’re doing a very difficult job out there, and if I can take them away for 2 hours a night, I believe I’ve done my job. They deserve it.
5. How did you come to be signed to Nuclear Blast – a label normally aligned with more ‘traditional metal’?
RMP: They heard the album and they just had to have it. It’s an honor to be with that Blast. I love those guys.
6. The new album struck me as being rather heavier than the last couple of outings – were you consciously venting more aggression this time or was that just an organic part of the writing process?
RMP: I’m dealing with some serious shit in my life as is everybody else in the world and I didn’t want to sound like some happy little bitch. We dig heavy music.
7. The artwork on the new album very much echoes that of ‘the short bus’ – was that a deliberate effort to tie this new record in with your beginnings?
RMP: HELL YEAH!! I love Deborah, our designer. She is back baby. She designed the first Filter albums, so I really wanted her to do this record as well. I love the look of the first filter records. So I asked her to come back. She did the best of album as well.
8. When Filter started there were quite a few bands mixing electronic aspects and rock/metal – Stabbing westward, gravity kills etc… It seems like you’re the only band now to really be writing music in this way – to what do you ascribe your success?
RMP: I just write from the heart and I write about what I know and the songs I like.
9. Your output has always been very eclectic – although there’s a core Filter sound, you introduce many different elements into the mix from acoustic guitars to pianos – what artists inspired you?
RMP: Neil Diamond, David Gilmour and Al Jourgensen
10. As a multi-instrumentalist – how much do you practice and what instrument do you enjoy playing the most?
RMP: I never practice anymore and the electric guitar is my favorite. There is so much going on, I don’t have time to sit and practice.
11. Given that Filter is very much seen as your baby, what do you feel the other members of the band bring to Filter?
RMP: They all have special qualities all their own. I love them all. We’ve had so many players over the years and they all have contributed. I consider most of theme to still be part of the Filter family.
12. You bought out a remix counterpart to the last album – will you be doing the same with ‘the trouble with angels’?
RMP: Maybe… But I wouldn’t count on it.
13. When can we expect live dates in the UK and will it be a proper tour or just a couple of London dates?
RMP we’re coming to Europe in 2011!!
Filter’s amazing album ‘the trouble with angels’ is out now on Nuclear Blast