Publication: Space Junkies Magazine
t.o.t.s. Interview w/Space Junkies Magazine (Oct. 2005)
by; Hare Mengele
[Hare]: How would you describe Things Outside The Skin?
Chvad SB [Chvad]: Like Godzilla a load of simplified messages in the guise of over the top, overly loud, and ultimately cheesy monster movie. At least that’s my take on the whole thing.
Blight Productions [Blight]: One part insane, one part funky, one part synthetic, and three parts rock!
The 1-2-3-4 [Tim]: The Charlie Brown of industrial rock.
Hare: What are some of your influences?
Chvad: The major catalyst to make me get up off of my ass, and start making music was, without a doubt, the single for Ministry’s “Jesus Built My Hotrod.” Prior to that, I grew up listening to DEVO (In particular, their “New Traditionalists” album, which shielded me from a religious upbringing. Thanks DEVO!), Men Without Hats, Camouflage, Alphaville, Peter Schilling, Falco, TSOL, The Dickies, The Damned, The Ramones, and stuff like that – mostly a combination of punk, and early synth-pop. What I had exposure to was somewhat limited as we (Blight and myself) grew up in a swamp. Later influences include artists like Frank Black, Michael Patton, Godflesh and The Residents.
Blight: One would assume growing up together, Chvad and I would have the same influences. Well, that’s just not true. While we do have some crossovers like the Residents, DEVO, Ministry, and the Ramones, I tend to drift more towards the likes of Primus, Bootsy Collins, P-Funk, Tom Waits, and Faith No More. Other artists such as Edward Gory, The Brothers Quay, Bill Plimpton, and Tony Oursler also inspire me.
Chvad: It’s funny, even though I do a lot of visual arts related stuff, I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired by a visual artist – wacky.
Tim: Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Hare: Tell me about your new album, “You knew It All Along.”
Chvad: Originally, the title was a bit of a consent from me to everyone that’s, more or less, ridiculed the idea of us making music. Something along the lines of, “OK fine. We’re still broke. We’re still making music that most people have no interest in. We still have no future, and have already lost track of our forgotten past. Fine. You’re right. You knew it all along. Now leave me the fuck alone.” The CD itself was recorded in makeshift studios in Chicago, and then Brooklyn, over the course of roughly four to five years. The life spans of some of the song’s beginnings are a lot longer. That’s more time than I wanted it to take, but that’s how it goes, and ultimately the songs ended up a hell of a lot better as a result of the wait. Many of them were recorded, then re-recorded, then re-recorded again. Someone new would enter the band, and leave, a new idea would pop up, and not work, etc. A large part of it also just comes down to how I like to work on things. I don’t believe in forcing things. If I have an idea for a great track, and my inspiration for it runs out half way through the writing process, I’ll just let it sit – sometimes for years. Usually something hits me out of the blue sometime later and I’ll get excited about the song again, and finish it. Unfortunately, as a result of this, we have a low output of material when compared to a lot of other bands. On the other hand, I really like our songs. I’ve been with them for a long time, and I never get tired of performing them.
Blight: Well, seeing how I have known Chvad all of my life, I have also lived with his songs since their conception. I haven’t always played bass in the band. It took me years to convince Chvad the importance of this magical instrument. Over the years, his song writing has become stronger, and part of that is realizing that a collaboration is a powerful thing. This is the first Things Outside The Skin [T.O.T.S.] album that I have had any creative input on, so therefore it must be the best one yet!
Chvad: Die Blight! Die! I always WANTED to collaborate you bastard! I just didn’t like bass guitars all that much. [Laughs]
Tim: Chvad told me I’d get lots of chicks if I appeared on his record. Well, Chvad, I’m waiting…
Chvad: Chicks are on the way Tim. Be patient or you’ll scare them off, dammit!
Hare: I hear you’re going on tour, in November. Are there any details you can share?
Chvad: Well, we’ll be on the road once again with the awesome Lucky Devil Circus Sideshow. We toured with them back in 2003, along with Chicago’s Sealed in Silence. The mastermind behind the Lucky Devil crew is Tyler Fyre, and aside from him being one of the coolest people on the planet, we’re great friends, and it’ll be fun just getting the chance to hang out for a few weeks, having a great time. We’re still working out the details of a third act at the moment. Hopefully all of that will be cleared up, sooner than later. We intend on hitting most of the East Coast, and Mid-West. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to pop into Canada again.
Blight: I can’t wait to diddle my bass for the rest of the country!
Tim: It’s gonna be just like Limp Bizkit at Woodstock in 1999! Turn your baseball caps backwards, and get your lighters out dudes!
Hare: Some of your members have some side projects. What can you tell the Space Junkies Magazine [SJM] readers about these projects?
Chvad: Well, currently I’m playing guitar for Tim’s project The 1-2-3-4’s, when he does shows with the project. I’ve got a super secret alter ego and if you look hard enough on the site, you’ll find the happy little fellow. I fancy the idea, I’ll finish a feature length screenplay one-day but until then, I help friends and family with their film endeavors. Blight and I also have another side-project that periodically rears its ugly head called Mutant Yamulkas.
Blight: In addition to playing bass in T.O.T.S., I also play bass in The 1-2-3-4’s, I write music for my own artistic ventures, I illustrate, and paint. I am currently writing, and illustrating a children’s book for adults. I am a video artist, and I am producing a television show about artists – for public television – called “Art or Something Like It!” Go to http://www.blightproductions.com/, and http://www.artorsomethinglikeit.com/ for more information about any of my projects.
Tim: The 1-2-3-4 = closet goth-boy slumming in the world of pop music. Check out the http://www.the1-2-3-4.com/ for more info. And hit me up on MySpace!
Hare: Mutant Yamulkas? Can you tell me more about this?
Chvad: Mutant Yamulkas is a side-project of Blight and myself. It’s a project with very defined rules. Each song is one minute in length. Nothing is ever pre-conceived. All lyrics and music are created as the songs are recorded. If there were ever time, we’d like to take Mutant Yamulkas to the stage.
Hare: While checking out your website, I noticed a link to PETA. How involved are you with the animal rights movement?
Chvad: I love animals, but I’m not a vegetarian. I was for many years, but without going into too many juicy details for your readers, my body couldn’t deal with it. I developed some serious health dilemmas, and had to go on a pretty regimented diet, for awhile, to get things back together. It’s not something I’m a happy about, and I’m pretty strict about what I will, and won’t eat, and stick to limited amounts of poultry, and fish. I do, however, believe strongly in appreciating, and respecting the animals we eat, and supplying them with proper living conditions. It’s hypocritical I know, but not everyone is built the same, and for those that sustain themselves healthfully on a vegan or vegetarian diet that’s great. For those that can’t or won’t, you should be aware of where your food comes from, and appreciate it.
Blight: I love animals.
Tim: Ideally, we should all be required to kill, with our own hands any animals we eat – as it was in olden times. Alas, progress marches on… Anyone want to go to Mickey D’s?
Hare: How would you describe your philosophy on life?
Chvad: Live it – all the time. We have a limited supply of life, and when we’re done, we’re done. Don’t let fear prevent you from experiencing new people, places, and things. If you have goals, then see them through. Don’t wait for some theoretical theology inspired nonsense to bring you happiness. Make what you can of this life ’cause when it’s done, we’re food for the worms.
Blight: Do what makes you happy.
Tim: Hand me another PBR.
Hare: Where do you see yourselves twenty years from now?
Chvad: Twenty? For fuck sake, what happened to the five or ten year question? Twenty? That’ll make me Fifty-two. I hope to have a few businesses established by then that will support me enough to indulge myself more with music, and film or whatever else I’ll feel inclined to create at the time. I intend on opening a haunted attraction/venue, at some point in the next few years, as a starting point. I plan on looking for locations after the tour actually.
Blight: Still making art, and music. Maybe by then, I will have made some money from my work, and I might become a dirty old man, but it still might be too early for that.
Tim: Sailing in the America’s Cup yacht race in the state-of-the-art boat I had custom-built, using the vast fortune I acquired from 10 Platinum-selling records; and my crowd-pleasing performance as The Little Drummer Boy in “T.O.T.S.: the Musical.” Either that or passed out on Chvad’s futon in a pile of beer cans.
Hare: Is there any advice you would give to aspiring musicians?
Chvad: Don’t let anything stop you. You might be a genius or you might be a talentless asshole that brings nothing but misery to everyone who hears you whine. But, it’s your misery, and it’s your genius, and anyone that attempts to keep your ideas, and mouth shut needs to be told to fuck the hell off. Your friends, your family, the government, whatever… Let nothing stand in your way of expression. As each day passes, it gets more, and more difficult to speak your mind. If people are in fact lemmings, then have them follow you, rather than the bloated corrupt-government ruling corporations. Be heard.
Blight: Don’t give up. The only people I know who have failed themselves are the ones that have given up. Keep on truckin’ little campers!
Tim: Abandon all hope ye who enter here.
Hare: Are there any last words, for this interview?
Chvad: Never make wishes for yourself. Help people – sometimes they lose their way. Love animals – we’re in THEIR way; and for fuck sake, use less toilet paper – it’s killing the environment, along with all of your stupid fucking SUV’s. Oh, buy the new CD. Support your local bands, and all that crap. Hare Mengele fucking rocks for interviewing us! Watch TRON again – it’s STILL awesome.