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Pail - interview (2007)
2007-01-16 | Katarzyna NINa Górnisiewicz and Brian Backlash | e-mail interview
NINa: What do you think about such internet services like MySpace, YouTube and Vampirefreaks? Do you think they'll continue to evolve, or eventually stagnate and become useless?

I think all these promotional avenues are super groovy! It reminds me of the cassette tape trading days (early 80s) except that the postage doesn't drain your bank account and the gratification is almost immediate. It's the best way to share your art with people all over the world and it is a great way to discover fresh sounds. I must admit though, I find most of the music on MySpace to be crap and one thing really concerns me about these internet services... People are always complaining about "big brother" and their privacy being invaded by "the man," yet everyone seems so willing to disclose the most intimate things about their lives to complete strangers. To me, that is weird.

NINa: Where does the success of Myspace lay?

For MySpace... making money and profiling people for the greedy gains of MySpace's advertisers. For PAIL... someone in Poland downloaded one of our tunes for their iPod! I think I'll keep my day job.

NINa: As far as I know you had an important event scheduled for the Day of the Dead last year. Could you please tell our readers about this development?

The main event was the sacrifice of a small mammal. I kid. :) Rachel and I are had our first child, a little girl with the last name of Titsworth, how cruel is that? Rachel and she are both doing wonderfully.

Brian Backlash: Are you or any of the other members involved in other art or musical projects?

Members of PAIL will always help out our friends with their recording needs or an occasional pick-up gig, but we are all very focused on this project. Being in PAIL is a time-consuming labor of insanity... a life sentence basically. A few people get paroled for good behavior... very few.

Brian Backlash: One of the most attention-grabbing aspects of PAIL is your really well-produced music videos, which you yourselves create. How did you first decide to make your own videos, and why do you think they're such an invaluable tool to promote the band?

I studied video production in school and loved every minute of it. PAIL was initially formed to be an entity that would have no reliance on corporate money or influence. This has required us to do everything ourselves. To make the best videos possible, I try to surround myself with geniuses. PAIL has worked with SpaceMonkey video director Ricardo Acevedo for almost a decade. Check his site at intherastudios.com. (If you look around enough, you'll probably find naked pictures of yours truly.) Buck Wall, our animator, is the most talented nut that has fallen from the tree. As for videos promoting the band, for the longest time there was no avenue for videos to be enjoyed by the masses. We kept making them anyway. Now with YouTube and MySpace, thousands of people can enjoy the fruits of our nuts. ha.

NINa: Rachel plays keyboard but because of her being pregnant she's temporarily left the band until her baby is weened. How did you find her replacement, Christina Jackson? Was there a press announcement?

Ah, the beauty of MySpace. We posted a bulletin saying,"Keyboardist Needed" and within an hour Christina was on board. It should always be that easy. When Rachel returns to the performance part of the band, Christina will remain in the project and we will be a 50% chick band. How cool is that?

NINa: Mike was a member of Angkor Wat in the 80's. The band released 2 albums on Metal Blade Records. This Corpus Christi, Texas band also featured Adam Grossman, who later was the guitarist and frontman of Skrew and Danny Lohner of NIN/Underworld fame. Was it your first experience as a musician?

Oh hell no. I started my musical training on piano at age 5. At age 12, I tried out for choir... The choir teacher said," Oh hell no!" In my defense, my voice was changing. I spent the next 5 years working at being a professional BMX freestlyer. That ended when I smashed out all my front teeth doing a no-footer, one-hander off a quarter pipe at a trick show in Longview, Texas. At that point I said to myself, "Playing bass would be safer and get me more action from the ladies." I formed a goth-cover band with my friends that played junior high proms, doing covers of Bauhaus, Adam and the Ants, Killing Joke, Scratch Acid and the like. Angkor Wat was perfect for me at the time because it involved playing way too many notes... way too fast. Angkor Wat was what it was.

NINa: What was the interest level in Angkor Wat when you disbanded in the early 90's? Was it not enough to keep the band afloat?

I completely lost interest in Angkor Wat by the time I quit or got kicked out (depends who you talk to). From my view point, Angkor Wat was a learning experience and that's about it. I still think the music was cool, but the kind of insanity that we fueled our audience with was not positive and I don't miss being in that band at all. So, as far as reunions go, count me out.

NINa: You are Austin, Texas residents. What's so cool about the city? I heard about a terrible heat you have there for most part of a year...

Austin is cool because it is "hotter than hell" most of the year. Right now, we're in the middle of one of the worst ice storms in decades. It really is great because everyone is pretty laid back, and there are a lot of talented artists and musicians here.

Brian Backlash: At this point in time, Anti-Bush sentiment is reaching a new level. As Texans, you're caught in the middle. While you don't seem to be Bush supporters, you aren't slagging the President with your music the way Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Nocturne do. What are your personal feelings on music and politics?

Politics, as well as organized religion, bore me to death. As a Texan, I could give a shit. Bush is really from the East Coast of the US. His family just positioned themselves here for political leverage. I've got bigger fish to fry in being the band's lyricist. Lyrically, I prefer to write little musical novellas that address the human condition. What I think is interesting about bands that are fueled by politics is this... sad but true, they thrive on the government being conservative. Conservative governments fuel the oil industry, the war industry and punk rock. The best art is created in an environment that is perceived to be stifiled. I vote and then I go home to write songs about "micro-zombies" and "pirates of the cell" I find it much more interesting. But trust me, I get my shots in, they are just very subtle and metaphorical.

Brian Backlash: With so many industrial metal and hard rock bands all across Texas, how do you get PAIL to stand out?

Our live shows are where we really bring it. PAIL is tighter than a gnat's ass and we throw a great party for our friends. We celebrate every time we get on stage and our fans dig that about us.

NINa: "Story of a SpaceMonkey", your latest release, gathered a lot of good press reviews. Will PAIL's next effort be similar to "Story of a SpaceMonkey"?

Our newest release, "The Burning Question", will be released in February for the 15th anniversary of the PAIL project. It continues the story line where SoaSM left off. This album is all over the place, while still holding the PAIL sound. Pretty and then... disturbingly heavy. Ben has written some of the most engaging tunes I've ever heard and I've never been happier with anything I've been a part of musically. I love the band I'm in.

Brian Backlash: I've noticed with your videos, especially 'SpaceMonkey,' that you use a tremendous amount of colour. It's almost like reading 'The Great Gatsby'. Do you use the colour in a particular way for particular effects like Fitzgerald did?

My favorite thing to do, is go to a goth/industrial club wearing white clothing. I kid! Rachel's the literature major in the band, I'm still learning how to read. But we did enjoy contrasting the bright colors in the video with the stark black & white portions, which could be interpreted as a metaphor for life - or just a visually interesting technique. Either way, we like it...

NINa: Some critics have described the music as creepy and gothic with some aggressive and industrial influences. How would you describe the tunes included in the latest record?

I've always said we were a "new-wave, disco, death-rock (metal) band," I'll stick with that description, although the feel of the new album has a wider spectrum of emotion than SoaSM.

Brian Backlash: A lot of people say 'industrial is dead.' Agree or disagree? I think if we all agree that it is in fact dead we can ressurrect it.

I agree, in fact, all genres of music are dead. By labeling music, you kill it. Industrial was only "industrial" when Throbbing Gristle or Zev was doing it. To me, Industrial music is that kid on the street corner beating on a paint bucket for change. Industrial music is not made by a band that is in the tax bracket of the rich. Industrial music is created by people that work a day job, come home to kiss the family or feed the dog, then go to the studio to create until they go to sleep dead tired, waking up ready to do it all over again. Good songs are the only thing that matters in music. Labeling music is like labeling god - pointless. Although, I must reiterate that PAIL is a "new-wave, disco, death-rock (metal) band." ha again.

NINa: What gear does PAIL use in the studio?

Apple, Windows XP, ProTools, Reason, Roland, Shure 58, C1000, Warwick/Carvin/Conklin/Grassroots/ESP/Gibson Gits, Line6 and my skin flute.

Brian Backlash: You've been playing some damn heavy music for 20 years now. Do you ever feel like sometimes you could just bring a harp in, and take it easy?

I was playing my skin flute before I started typing... does that count? You never know, Shannon and Brad could show up to rehearsal and say, "We've got a country album in the can." Then I'd have to start singing about my love of cattle, whiskey and women that done me wrong. You'd be surprised at some of the mellow stuff we are capable of producing. There are tracks on this new album that sound like nothing we've done before, we've been using cellos, piano, and other more subdued instrumentation for drama.

NINa: Mike mentioned in one of the interviews he'd like to work with Tommy Victor. Has he done something already that leads in that direction? Perhaps Myspace would be useful as Tommy has a profile too? ;)

Tommy digs us it seems. A few of our CD sales were a direct result of his telling people that PAIL doesn't suck. We had the opportunity to play with PRONG in San Antonio last year and it was awesome. We also played with GODFLESH when Ted Parsons (the original PRONG drummer) was in the band. If we can find out what band the original bassist for PRONG plays in, and open for them, a mission would be complete. That probably makes no sense. :)

NINa: Even though people have come to prefer mp3s, do record labels still provide any kind of promotional support?

I don't know and I don't care unless they give us a boatload of dirty corporate money and leave us alone to do our thing.

Brian Backlash: As PAIL is an indie band with a predominately regional fanbase, what's your eventual goal with the project?

To make our regional fanbase the WORLD!

NINa: Could you name some bands that you wish hadn't called it quits but have?

Mike - Cocteau Twins, Failure, Faith No More, Swans, Dead Can Dance, Carcass
Brad - Spice Girls, Bananarama, Air Supply, Winger
Shannon - Black Flag, Richard Hell and the VoiVods, Sex Pistols, Ramones
Ben - Faith No More, Filter, The Police, White Zombie, Soundgarden
Christina - The original Guns and Roses, The Toadies, Sublime
Rachel - Jeff Buckley (wish he wasn't dead), Joy Division (wish Ian wasn't dead), Curve, the real INXS (wish Michael wasn't dead)

Pail at Myspace | official website

Pictures come from Pail's archive, all copyrights reserved by © Rachel Titsworth, John Carrico, Mike Titsworth, Ricardo Acevedo.
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