Page 5

You said as much last time we talked. If/when the time comes to put Pitchshifter to bed, what do you see yourself doing?

Jon: I'm thinking about a glorious suicide. Ha ha ha! The only way to commit suicide would be the first Internet suicide. Slow motion cameras grabbing it all as it was simultaneously broadcast to a million websites over the world. You could never be stopped.

You got a lot of music production and experience under your belt. Do you see yourself pursuing any kind of producing work?

Jon: I don't think I'm good enough to produce. I don't have a producer's ear. I've got the creative energy to do remixes and make it sound different with different ideas, but I don't have a producer's ear to go, "3.5 milliseconds of reverb on this channel!"

I don't know... I want to finish the book--this "Albatross" book--that's been going on for some time now. So many people say to me, "Your Tour Diary is really funny." I've written longer stories that I've sent to friends and stuff. I'm told I have a writing style that's easy to read. So I'm trying to do that. I'd also like to do some dance music--I'm good at making dance music. Matt is the programmer and bass player in a live drum 'n' bass band called Catfish, and he and I have talked about doing the odd drum 'n' bass tune...fuckin' rude style! Jim and I got taken to this rock club and asked to DJ as part of some promotion deal. I don't particularly own many "rock" records, so I turned up with a whole lot of drum 'n' bass records! Jim and I just spun all this really heavy drum 'n' bass for an hour and a half...totally drunk...and at the end of the night the resident DJ came up and said, "I've been working here for fucking eight years and I've never had that many people on the dance floor!" Ha ha ha! We were standing up on top of the turntables at the end of the night yelling "yeah!" It was great. I could see myself getting into a drum 'n' bass thing and DJ'ing.

[ click here to watch jon stage dive - photo and video footage courtesy pitchshifter ]
photo and video footage courtesy pitchshifter

Stage Dive MPEG

Yeah, well, if this album doesn't do pretty well I'm pretty sure MCA--like all majors--will go, "Well, it wasn't our fault. Bye!" And I can't be bothered to go through being on an indie label again. But it might not end up like that, things might go really well.

But labels like MCA should be held accountable for how well a band does or does not do--even though that will never fucking happen. Things like DJs not being able to pronounce "condescension." Christ! Back in the spring when I received the press package for Deviant, I found myself going over the bio with a red pen, correcting all the grammar and spelling errors the people at MCA had made. Stupid things like not spelling "Dostoevsky" correctly. I ended up sending you a corrected version back. In this case, it was MCA's fault. It reflects badly on the band to send out something like that to press outlets, and can certainly have negative press effects which, in turn, does determine how people view the band and whether or not they buy the album or see the band live. "What kind of band is this that can't even spell properly?!"

It's interesting...frustrating, really. We were talking recently about the article Steve Albini wrote ["The Problem With Music"] on how much a label makes off an album and how much an artist makes. It's really eye-opening to see just how messed up the industry is and how screwed an artist gets.

Jon: Oh, yeah. You have to sell a million records--or look like you're going to--to be of any interest to them. It's the nature of music these days. But I'm continually getting money from major labels to make new albums and keep the band rolling by the skin of its teeth. And I never make good on my side of the deal, I never sell millions of albums. didn't sell millions of albums, but we were given money from that to make this one.

I think that's a problem inherent in the system: You're signing a contract to sell albums instead of signing a contract to create a product that has lasting value. And the latter is something Pitchshifter have done without fail every time.

Jon: I feel like you'll be able to listen to and Deviant in five years' time and the songs will still rock. Who's going to buy Kittie's third album? Know what I'm saying? No detriment to Kittie, but who's going to buy these albums three or four years from now? Like I said, I don't want to diss any band because they just do what they fucking do, and they're pressing their fucking high press bullshit machine to do what it will around them...they're doing their thing. On Deviant we just tried to write really good songs. Jim and I sat down and asked ourselves what did we want to hear.

It would be nice to see some kind of education campaign happen, where the average buyer is shown a pie chart of what the artist makes off your spending dollar and what everyone else makes.

Jon: But it's catch-22. How do people hear about Pitchshifter to begin with...even if you're on Napster? No one is going to sit there and go "P-I-T-C-H...," you know? They have to know about the band and they have to see you or hear you on the radio. On the other hand, there is no band that has been around as long as us from our scene from the U.K.

I think there's been few bands around as long as Pitchshifter who have remained viable and interesting in a creative sense.

[ mark @ ozzfest 2000 - photo by craig young ]
photo by craig young

Jon: The only other band that I know of from England that is still around from our time is Paradise Lost. Do you remember that band? I think they're the only ones around. I think even Napalm Death split up. There are no fucking other bands. I look out the window and it's like a wasteland, a graveyard.

It's like...we shouldn't be here. This band should have split up ages ago, because all the other bands have. All the bands I dug never got anywhere, never got a break. They all fucking split up. We're the anomalous band that goes "fuck you!"

I think guitarist Matt Grundy summed up perfectly how people feel about Pitchshifter: "You know what, it doesn't matter what I do after this. Even if I never do anything cool. If I sit on my arse in an office and get fat. If it all turns to shit. Because I can say to people, 'Fuck you! I was in Pitchshifter.'"

Jon: And that is a great thing. I've never stood onstage, sung a song and cringed thinking, "Fucking hell, this is cheesy bollocks. I'm glad I'm in it for the cash." It's always been stuff we've been interested in, and that affords us a certain attitude. We can walk onstage and if someone's flipping us shit, we can say, "Fuck you, get the fuck out of the gig. Here's your fucking $10. Bye!" I've given people their money back at shows.

That is a good thing, but you can look at it two ways. There's the depressing, "Oh we should've been bigger and I demand vindication," which is all shit, or you can also look at it like, "Fucking hell, man! We've had such a long run when everyone else has bit the fucking dirt!" And that is a great thing.

Anything else?

Jon: Go and look at the website!

Anything else?

Jon: Or else!

On the web:
Pitchshifter (Official Site)

Inside Earpollution:
Pitchshifter Interview (July '98)
Pitchshifter Interview (December '99) album review
Deviant album review
Live review (15 April 2000, Portland, OR)

[ will jon trade in his punk-techno leanings for clubs, checkered pants and a decent tee time?  we hope not--but we do hope he works on his golf swing! - photo by craig young ]
photo by craig young

"Forget the Facts" MP3

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