Page 4

On the other hand, how's Geffen treating you?

J.S.: I hate to dispel the major label myth, but Geffen have been really helpful. I'd just like to set the record straight--a lot of people think we bought out of the Earache deal to go on Geffen, and subsequently had to change our music because we're on a major label. What actually happened is we got dropped from Earache, wrote ten songs in our garage studio on our own with our own money and no label in mind. Then we gave out three track cassettes to twenty labels, nineteen of which wrote back and said, "Fuck off. This music is insane drivel--it'll never sell." Record labels you'd think would take Pitchshifter. Obviously I can't mention any names, but record labels you think would go, "Yeah, cool, Pitchshifter!" wrote back and said, "This music is insane. I don't see how it can work. I can't see how anyone could like this, you should just quit." We kinda laughed and said, "Okay, fuck you!"

And then Geffen came to see us. A guy called Brian Long flew over to see us play one of the shows in England where we played to a thousand people--one of our London shows. I was back flippin' off the PA and doin' madness, and he said, "Your band's really good!" And they've been really helpful, and they haven't changed anything.

We wrote this album without having any pressure from Geffen whatsoever. But to their credit, even though their people came to the studio while we were recording, they didn't change one note on any song on the album. They didn't change the running order or say, "I don't want this song on the album." I still design the artwork, and do the T-shirts and all that stuff. So nothing's changed, except now I can get to concentrating on writing music instead of wonderin' how the fuck we're gonna get anyone to hear our album, 'cause when you're on Earache they don't even advertise that it's out. I meet people that don't even know there's an album before this one. They think Desensitized is the last album, and go, "Infowhat?" The hours of work we all put into that album and nobody even knows it fucking exists, you know?!

[ psi playing for a few (thousand) friends ]

On both this album and Infotainment?, the last track--or with Infotainment? the last two tracks--consist of the samples you used in the songs; sort of a gift to fans. I think you were quoted as saying, "A gift to all the pirates out there who are going to sample us anyway." Have you heard back from anyone who has used them?

J.S.: Yeah! I've got two CDR's that have been given to me on this tour from people who have used them. There's a band in Switzerland and they gave me their album and said, "Just pick any song." So I put it in the cd player on random and said, "Yeah, that's the one I like." Which is cool, that's what they are there for. There's a guy who does Chemical Brothers kinda stuff, and he got his first deal for his first twelve inch using one of our samples. He just wrote to me and said, "Thanks!" Just think if everyone did it? If every band that uses samples put fifty samples at the end of their records, there'd be fucking thousands of fucking cool, juicy samples out there!

I have no fear. People argue, "Aren't you worried about people sounding like you?" What, are you worried that someone's gonna paint like Picasso if you give them a brush and the same colors he used? It doesn't work like that. Everyone's got their own creative individuality.

[ in the studio with producer 'machine' ]

So this past spring I happened to catch MTV's Spring Break In Jamaica, and watched Pitchshifter being broadcast across the globe and into the homes of millions of pubescent and impressionable gen-nexters. It was pretty surreal watching PSI play those two songs.

J.S.: You think it was surreal?! You shoulda been up there!! We were like, "What the fuck are we doing?!"

Watching the band play in front of teeming hordes of frat boys and all those bikini babes walking around on the boards. How did that come about?

J.S.: be brutally honest, we just wanted a holiday. MTV rang up and said they wanted us to play this show in Jamaica. "You play for seven minutes and we film it. You get three days off and everything's paid for." And we went, "Okay." We'd been writing the album solidly. I'd been fucking ill, had a bad operation, broke my fucking toe and just wanted to get away. It kinda came at the right time and I went, "Yes!!!" So we went to Jamaica.

I thought it was going to be more of a fashion thing. I didn't realize it was going to be quite so beachy, 'cause I've a personal hatred of people that play beach volleyball. I think that for anyone who plays beach volleyball we should be allowed to have snipers. So you know the risk: if you want to play beach volleyball you know the sniper risk. Take you own chances--blam blam blam!!!

Pitchshifter have always been equal parts music and message. Do you think--especially now with the new album being more available and accessible commercially--that the people who are buying it, and those who are coming to watch you play, understand some of the statements you are making beyond just the music?

[ conform or do time ]

J.S.: Well I would hope so, you know, 'cause that's why I include all the lyrics. Not because I'm some brilliant lyricist, but so people can understand it--the ideas in the music. When we play live I try and explain it all a little. Obviously when we're on a tour supporting I don't have time to rant my PC rubbish for hours in-between songs, but we try to. But it's cool... it's acceptable if people just want to listen to the music.

We're not like preachers runnin' around. We're all vegetarian and have been for twelve years. We advocate vegetarianism, but that doesn't mean we fuckin' enforce it or look down upon anyone. But if anyone wants to talk to me and ask how or why I got into it, then I'll freely explain it to them.

Have you gotten that kind of positive feedback from people?

J.S.: Yeah!! In the past ten years I've probably met about twenty people who said they've turned vegetarian because of the band, which I think is a positive thing. Definitely a positive thing.

In the liner notes you dedicate the new album to the memory of Jim Walder. Who was he?

J.S.: Jim Walder is, was, a friend of mine. We worked together fitting carpets for money when I was broke prior to this LP. He got a pain in his knee one day and they told him he had leukemia. He died three weeks later while I was recording the album. He was a good guy. He left behind a twenty-five year old wife that he had only been married to for six months, and his friends from Nottingham. I took him to a show just before he died at our local club in Nottingham--it was Gravity Kills [band PSI are currently on tour with]. Mad world, eh?

I'm really sorry to hear that.

[ go on - sample us! ]

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