This interview was conducted via email January 15, 2002 with Paul Lemos. I am working on part 2 that will focus more on the current release and the future.
1) Now that you have an
email address, and presumably World Wide Web access, what has been the impact on
you and has it been a change for the better?
Paul: Finally getting online has
brought me a lot closer to musical friends, some of whom I hadn't spoken to in
years out of sheer laziness...So it has brought about some rekindled friendships
and some musical collaborations that might never have otherwise developed. It's
also a great means of wasting a lot of $$$ on mail-order CDs... But we won't get
into all that.
2) In another interview, you
indicated that you might stop making music for public consumption. Have you considered making music available via the World Wide
Web to fans directly, without using a label and distribution?
I did stop all musical activity for about 5 years...At the time, I had just lost
interest, feeling I had nothing worthwhile to create, no new ideas...But that
changed about a year and a half ago when I found tremendous inspiration again.
The recordings I've been working on with Joe Papa and Yoshida (from the Japanese
band Ruins [ http://www.geocities.com/1-0/REVIEWS/Ruins.html
] ) will surface this year under two
different group names...They will be out on the LA based label BIRDMAN (
)... No I have never been interested in doing
any kind of music on the web...In fact, we have completely put aside all
electronics on these new recordings...going back to something much more
primal...The idea of dispensing with record labels and making music available
directly to those who want it is really nice in concept, but I depend on the
record label to do all the stuff that I hate doing!
3) Please explain Arthur
Potter’s relationship with Controlled Bleeding.
Do you work together on album designs and how did you get together?
Has he created any music lately?
We haven't had a relationship with Potter for nearly 10 years...Our friendship
ended and so did our artistic collaborations.
4) Do the labels releasing
your music have input or decide on album designs (or designers)?
Do the labels decide on what format your music gets released? Will there
be any more 7” singles? I saw the
Skin Chamber album ‘Wound’ on vinyl -- was that the last dual format
Paul: The labels basically do the layout and lettering...I usually supply the visuals, or we work together on the image. The only time we left artwork up to the label was on PHLEGM BAG SPATTERED, and the cover was a disaster. Yes, the labels decide on format...I'm not fond of vinyl, so I never push for it. You're right the last vinyl was the first Skin Chamber...
5) When you and Joe released
Music For Stolen Icon on Sub Rosa, it was as part of their ‘Myths’ series
(an InterMyth release). Did you
create the music to fit in with the Myth’s theme?
When Artware released Music For Stolen Icons II, there was talk of a
special edition of the CD with some sort of ‘extreme’ packaging - did that
Paul: The days of working with
Sub Rosa seem like a lifetime ago. At the time we had started exploring more
textural music which seemed right for the label. The A&R guy heard the
tracks and wanted to use them as they were for that series...With Vol 2, Donna
Klemm at Artware asked us if we would create a follow up, which we did...She
wasn't too crazy about the CD we gave her, since it had a slight progressive
feel to it, and her customers were more into harder noise at the time. Actually,
her concept of a special edition was, in fact, the booklet that ended up
accompanying the CD...Those prints, using gold ink were very expensive for her
at the time...She did a really nice job with it...
6) How much effort is placed
on titling your songs? They always
seem to fit the music very well. Did
you know right away that you would use ‘In Blind Embrace’ as more than a
song title on ‘Scourging Ground’? Why
is the new release credited to ‘The’ Controlled Bleeding?
Paul: Song titles are very difficult to come up with...I often have to spend more time than I want to, considering the title that captures the feel of a particular piece of music...No, at the time, I had no idea that IN BLIND EMBRACE would become the name of another project. The use of THE preceding the band name on the new album brings it a bit closer to a more psychedelic, free feel that has taken over the music these days...It sort of closes the door on the past and opens a new one.
7) You have participated in
a few ‘tribute’ albums for well-known music acts like Pink Floyd, Brian Eno,
etc. can you go into a little detail of your involvement with those?
Anything we should be on the lookout for?
Paul: The tribute tracks were just done for fun, and a little cash...Before doing them I had ever played anyone else’s music before...I never had even attempted doing a cover, so it was a challenge that I really enjoyed. I particularly liked doing the Crimson cover, since I loved the 70's formation of that band so much. The AC/DC cover was great fun, since I never really have an opportunity to play this sort of guitar, and it gave me a new respect for a band that I had never appreciated. Sadly, Cleopatra decided to destroy our version of The Doors, "When The Music's Over" cutting the guitar solos that I had worked so hard on...reducing our seven minute version to a truly shitty three minute take. So, that experience marked the end of our "tribute band” days...The Eno cover was the poorest of the covers we recorded.
8) I have not heard much
about your live performances. Do
you have any sort of gig history list you can provide?
When was the last time you played live?
Paul: I never thought we were any good as a live band...We had played NY a number of times when we were doing the Wax Trax/Road Runner crap...But it always felt like an absurd charade of some sort... I always enjoyed playing in Europe, we've been over five times and it's always like a vacation. Last time we toured Europe was three years ago, and it was a lot of fun... I enjoyed playing live for the first time in many years... For those shows we just sat, like a bunch of old farts and played our songs, whereas, in the past there was a lot of goofy rock and roll posturing.
9) Of the readily available
recordings of Controlled Bleeding or the other projects you have worked on,
which one has done the best and worst commercially?
Paul: Well, I suppose the best sellers were the prostitution projects for Road Runner and Wax Trax...And sadly, our name will forever be related to "dance/industrial music", even though that stuffed marked a very short period of our work. The project that failed commercially was ICONS II, because the music was just not right for her small, specialized audience.
10) Without revealing any
secrets, can you describe some of the specific equipment / devices / samples /
software you use to create your music?
Paul: These days I'm using a lot of horns...guitars, string and electric bass, organ, piano, vacuum cleaner hoses, rocks, all manner of cans, percussives, scat singing (Joey has the single fastest mouth on the planet), sitar (courtesy of Hakan Almquvist of Ensemble Nimbus) and just about anything else I can get my hands on...But no samplers, no electronics at all...
11) How did you get involved
with Trang? Does she help develop
the songs that feature her?
Paul: Trang was a friend of Chris's who just started experimenting on a few tracks...She then for about a year became an integral part of what we were doing. At points she would sing a Vietnamese poem or folk song and then we would create the music around it...I really love the vocals she contributed to "Gilded Shadows"
12) Do you do any writing
for any publications besides Under The Volcano? Is there a Website for Under
Paul: I don't do any other serious writing except for my regular column in Under the Volcano...There's just no time. The magazine used to have a site, but I'm not sure if they maintained it...Somehow I doubt it.