PW: Firstly I was interested about how Project: Failing Flesh was conceived. I like the way your biog adds to the mystery of it all being a lab experiment gone perhaps awry. I get the feeling that you and Kevin 131 pretty much formed the band and later found Eric Forrest and brought him onboard. How did everything basically come together?
Tim: Haha... yeah, the bio is pretty tongue in cheek. Basically Kevin and I started out just screwing around with riffs in the studio and coming up with a bunch of really quick songs for fun. At some point the stuff started turning out cool to us so we decided to get a bit more serious and see if we could find a vocalist and possibly get the stuff released. We went through a few local guys but they didn’t work out for various reasons and we gave up on trying finding a local and came up with the idea to contact some guys out there whose vocals we already liked and felt would fit our sound. So we contacted Eric cause we thought he killed in Voivod and he was up for hearing what we had. So we sent him the tunes and communicated a bit and he decided he’d do it and we moved on from there. He came down and we worked on stuff and there seemed to be a good chemistry both musically and personally so here we are today.
PW: Your name Project: Failing Flesh is quite unique and immediately poses loads of questions. It immediately made me think of the body horror movies of David Cronenberg. I see you have information about body harvesting on your website and the themes and lyrics of your music certainly delve to puncture the skin. Tell us a bit about your overall concept?
Tim: Now that you mention it, yes, I can certainly see a parallel with the Cronenberg stuff. He’s made some cool ass movies. We aren’t so much a concept band but the band name does represent the failing of man- be it physically, mentally, or socially. So a lot of the subject matter and art represents that kind of stuff. Some of it is more literal while some is symbolic. That’s sort of where all the medical stuff ties in… of course, as physical failings or whatever. Plus the probable social failings that could go along with being so different physically.
PW: I am hazarding a guess that the 3 band members are not all based in the same location? How do you work together, rehearse and as I have no knowledge of the band ever having played live, is this a possibility or are you just solely a studio project?
Tim: Right, Kevin and I basically live in the same area in Virginia about 45 minutes away but Eric lived in Canada when we started and now has moved to France. So even if we did want to play or rehearse frequently the distance would make it tough. Recording is not so hard cause we can trade ideas on CD or tape and then Eric flies over for a week and we hammer stuff out and he does his parts right then. It would be cool to play at some point, like some fests or a short run of dates but it’s not realistic right now. Anyway, the most fun is just in writing and recording. We all have different opinions of the live thing. Well… I think everyone likes the actual show playing but Kev and I really aren’t hugely into some the annoying stuff that goes along with it like club owners, massive drives, expenses, bad sound at some venues, playing same songs over and over, etc. So we don’t stress over playing too much. If it happens great… it would be nice to please the people who support us and would want to check it out… and do some fun shows.
PW: It doesn’t look like you have had the easiest of times as far as labels are concerned. A Beautiful Sickness (debut album) found me via Karmaggedon Media and was on Candlelight for USA territories. The Conjoined is out on Burning Star. They are a relatively small (although dedicated and passionate) Greek label compared to say Century Media or Nuclear Blast, the sort of labels I would honestly expect you to have been snapped up by. How did this collaboration come about and how is it all going for you?
Tim: The Karmageddon thing certainly didn’t go well in our opinion. It should be said that we have no problem with Candlelight though. They were fine to work with. Anyway I guess it’s nothing new… band ripped off by label haha. So anyway, we left Karmageddon and sent the new one around to see if anyone was interested. We did get a few offers and were actually talking to a better known label. They sent the contract and everything but as things went on the communication on their end was way slow and unreliable. So we decided to feel out the other few labels. Burning Star seemed to be on top of things and most importantly (after our past experiences with labels) were very reliable communication wise. So we went with them. Regardless of size, exposure, funding, etc. We just want to have fun and work with those we feel are cool and honest. Hell, this is underground metal anyway and this kind/size of label is just as important to the scene. Plus they seem like smart guys, so who knows down the line they could be in the position of one of those other labels.
PW: Most of the information I read about you simply states that both yourself and Kevin 131 are responsible for ‘instruments’ can you elaborate on that please, who does what exactly?
Tim: We sort of list it like that just cause it’s so mixed up what we play and what parts for what instrument we write. We both play a bit of everything. It’s not so clear cut like one guy plays just guitar or bass or drums or keys or whatever. Saying that… outside of P:FF I guess I would consider myself a guitarist while Kev is sort of more a drummer/programmer. Though he’s good on many things!!
PW: Moving on to latest album ‘The Conjoined,’ Siamese Twins are a pretty interesting subject and again I note you have a feature on your website talking about the different types of abnormalities that are part of this condition. What made you decide to conceptually focus on this for the new album and are there any other aberrations of the flesh that you are thinking of going into on future CD’s?
Tim: The title came from one of the songs (pre-lyrics) and was basically just supposed to be a metaphor for anything that someone is connected to and can’t seem to get away from. Like a thought, disease, habit, person (but not conjoined), place, etc. Then of course the abnormality thing with the conjoined twins played into the medical/physical side of our band name and the imagery we are kind of drawn to. Not sure of any aberrations for the future but we’ll see!! Haha… for some reason we seem to gravitate toward that stuff. But I want to put hot naked chicks on the next one ha!!
PW: There are one hell of a lot of musical influences prevalent on your work. Many bands I love from the industrial side of things; Ministry, Killing Joke, Pigface, right through to more thrash enhanced bands and even hints of Gothic, black, death and prog metal. It’s all there but wrapped up in its own inimitable style. I take it you all listen to a hell of a lot of varied music. Are you all into everything or do you all contribute certain styles into the sound of P:FF?
Tim: Yeah, cool you can pick up on all that stuff cause it’s certainly all in there. We all have super varied tastes so it comes from all of us. Sure there are certain areas where we don’t overlap so some aspects here and there can lend themselves more to one guy than the rest but for the most part we like so much stuff that we all pull from (and are open to) influences from everywhere.
PW: There are quite often somewhat crazed and unsettling time structures in your music like the genre defying keyboard lurch on ‘Final Act Of Treachery.’ It’s a bit like a thrashy Blut Aus Nord. I guess you are trying to break the mould and challenge the listener musically as well as thematically by going off on non-linear tangents?
Tim: Somehow over years and years of playing and listening, the odd time stuff and tangents just naturally worked their way into the way we play. It’s not really too deliberate. Though a ton of our favourite music is much the same way so I guess it’s not too surprising. But yeah, I guess we deliberately try to keep it interesting to us… and probably subconsciously to the listener as well. We just try to write what we would like to listen to and also try to be aware not to have all the songs stylistically the same. Cool to see you mention Blut Aus Nord… they rule!!
PW: There is a rampant mania running through ‘Regenerate’ it reminded me of Pitchshifter meeting Foetus in a dark alley. It pretty much sums up themes of flesh mutating and regenerating itself in a mad experiment gone wrong, it makes me think of the film Tetsuo. Anything more in depth you can add to this one?
Tim: That’s a real cool description! Let’s go with that.
PW: Then there is the fact that you have added a saxophone to some songs such as the title track, really bringing an extra dimension to the music. Who is playing here and what made you realise this was going to fit in so well when you utilised it?
Tim: The original idea was to have sax but that stuff actually ended up as trumpet. That was mostly just an experiment. We had the idea but never knew how good it would work until actually heard it within the song. The parts were played by a guy named Fletch Wiley here in our area. An awesome player!! He knocked that stuff out no problem. He’s more of a jazz guy but was having fun with it and was joking how crazy the tune was but was happy to be on a metal album finally!
PW: I was intrigued by the sample that is ‘Unsight Unseen’ a bit of research (otherwise known as googling) provides that this is a quote from Jack London speaking about boxing in the Dallas Times Herald 1910. Tell us the relevance of this sample?
Tim: Damn Pete… you’re on the ball with the research!! Haha. Yeah, it’s Jack London. We heard it in a boxing documentary about the legendary boxer Jack Johnson. I guess I’m the boxing fan in the band but the quote out of context also played like a cool statement on man and primal actions.
PW: How have things been going in relation to album reviews? Had anyone completely missing the boat on what you are doing?
Tim: Well for ‘The Conjoined’ the press is just getting started but the early ones have been really good so far. We wondered what the response was gonna be since ‘A Beautiful Sickness’ was so well received as far as reviews, etc. There were only a slight few negatives for ‘ABS.’ Which is surprising since the songs are so varied. But a handful of reviewers who maybe aren’t that open to different stuff have given it lower than our average scores. But I guess even that minority is almost understandable if they just like pure death, black, or whatever genre of metal.
PW: Eric is obviously still very much active with E-Force are the rest of you involved in any other projects apart from Failing Flesh?
Tim: I think Kevin does some more techno influenced stuff with a friend of his. I’ve just started working with a local friend on some stuff he has written. It’s still way early at this point but hopefully something will come of it. It’s fun. More sort of along the lines of Neurosis, Mouth of the Architect, or Cult of Luna kinda thing. But P:FF will remain my priority.
PW: You like the odd cover having tackled Warhead (Venom) and The Usurper (Celtic Frost) anything else of that ilk in the offing and have you ever discussed doing a Voivod cover?
Tim: Nah, not really. If we ever play live it would rule to do a version or two of the Eric era Voivod if he wanted though. I did a show filling in on guitar with E-Force at the 2004 BW&BK fest and he and his guys broke out Insect and Project X and that was a lot of fun. Though figuring out what the hell Piggy played was tough haha! Those genius crazy dissonant chords and tunings!
PW: I have to ask this one and although it has been a very difficult time for Voivod with the death of Piggy, what do you and particularly Eric make of the change of direction on the last couple of albums.
Tim: I’m not sure Eric’s take on the last couple. I know his tastes lean toward the heavier side but we haven’t spoken much about Voivod post his involvement, other than of course Piggy’s passing and him losing a friend and guy he lived with and toured with for those however many years. It was icing on the cake that they were able to get Katorz out at all!! I’m personally a bigger fan of the heavier and weirder Voivod but I did enjoy the last two for what they were too. Hell… the weakest Voivod is still better than most bands! I’m sure they did as they pleased and gotta respect that. They always marched their own path anyway. Great band!
PW: I take it the group is a stable line-up and one that is going to continue for the foreseeable, what are your plans for the future?
Tim: Yeah… we all seem too way into it right now so no reason to stop. We’ve already tracked some basic stuff for a third album and have plenty more ideas. It’s still a long ways off to think about release of the third album but once we have the majority worked up we’ll think about how to get Eric over here again so we can crank a new one out!
PW: So there you go and really all I need to add to this is go and check the band out, you won’t be disappointed.
|The Conjoined is out now on Burning Star Records.|
Interviewed by Pete Woods