Raymond Watts is a living legend. He is. Whether he’s taking it all on with <PIG> or collaborating with KMFDM or Alexander McQueen, Watts is genuinely a prolific creator. Like fellow Industrial Metal luminaries Paul Barker and Chris Connelly, he is also a man not bound by the rules of the genre. Quite frankly, the man likes to branch out! The proof is in the pudding and, in this case, flows across a plethora of sonic excursions released within a year of the first <PIG> full-length in over a decade.
And the Lord of Lard himself explained how exactly that comeback happened recently via phone:
“I was invited to do something with a band called Primitive Race about 3 years ago and through them I met the wonderful Mark Thwaite who was covering tons of stuff on the new album and Z. Marr who was then with Combichrist and we started doing stuff together, sending files from away in the countryside in England and sending files to L.A. and to Atlanta and it just didn’t sit well with me. Sending files is great if you’re doing remixes but the information doesn’t carry across when you’re writing [an album] by email. I’ve always worked with people in the studio when I’m collaborating”
“Z. Marr sort of reached out and said ‘Hey, I’ve left Combichrist’ and [along with] En Esch, my old partner in crime, got the ball rolling and got on the plane from Atlanta and 10 days later: Bang! The album was finished. So after ten years it literally took ten days. Nothing had changed but everything had changed. It was just like being back in the studio again. It was great.”
<PIG> of 2017 is a decidedly different Swine than the one that reared its’ pretty little snout on albums like Sinsation and Wrecked and Mr. Watts has the answers for that change as well:
“Collaborating more! I collaborated a lot in the past with Steve White but it was much more me with my head down looking at the bottom of the furrow ploughing on relentlessly going ‘Oh! I’ve got a vision! I’ve got a vision!’ whereas this one I’m much more head’s up, eyes open listening to what Mark has brought to the table, listening to what En Esch has brought to the table, listening to Z. Marr, y’know, being much more head’s up and collaborative.”
“It’s kind of <PIG> but it’s not me trying to do the old shit, it’s me trying to do something completely different. It’s just kind of rock music with a bit of electronica. I don’t care what people call it. It’s just what it is.”
“Music, to me, hasn’t really changed that much at all. I just re-engaged with music again recently. I sort of got turned off it for a long time but I still go back to my stalwart favorites. Whether it’s Mahler or fucking Mountain or Ministry or Tom Waits or Sibelius, I still re-engage with that. I still like Pop music. Whatever it is. I think Pop music is just the same as it ever was. (laughs) I was going to say it’s probably slightly more cynically manufactured but it’s not! It’s just as cynically manufactured as it ever was! And I still like it. Warts and all.”
And as for the resurrection of <PIG>, well that actually came from a fellow electronic/industrial luminary:
“Marc Heal was absolutely instrumental in me sort of re-engaging in doing things because I did an EP that came out with him under the MC Lord Of The Flies Flag and <PIG> (Released in 2015, click here to listen). Marc’s always been really super supportive and really encouraging. I’m really sort of indebted to him as well for him thinking that maybe there was a little bit more to come and more shit that was maybe interesting and fun to do. Likewise with Mark (Thwaite). He’s a really generous spirit with collaborations and when stuff didn’t work out that we were doing he did a solo album and he gave them to other people to work on which is quite interesting. You’ve got some songs that appear on the <PIG> album (The Gospel) which also appear on his solo album with other people singing with different melodies which is kind of cool.”
But if you’re looking for Watts to praise the scene he’s often associated with then you might want to avoid the next section:
“I don’t mean to sound up my own arse but there isn’t much of the ‘scene’ that I really listen to. Honestly, I just do my own thing. No disrespect to anybody in that ‘scene’, bless their cotton socks and stuff, but I’ve never listened to a Skinny Puppy record in my fucking life!”
If you were fortunate to check out last year’s run of dates or preparing to see <PIG> on their current tour then know that whatever songs you get to see live were a carefully selected batch of goodies from a large and storied catalog:
“It is quite difficult when there’s a vast back catalog. It’s not just <PIG> but also my shared history with En Esch (And with Guenter Schulz). We were writing shit together in 1985! Again, we’d just sit in the studio doing what we wanted to do with no idea. Look, we’re not a fucking heritage act. We’ve got a new album which is the stuff I most enjoy. The thing I’m most happy with is the last thing I’ve done.”
Beyond the live tunes, <PIG> has proven that there’s no shortage of new recordings either with a remix album AND a new EP released since The Gospel dropped in September of 2016. And just as he did during last year’s run of shows, Watts will be providing fans with some more ‘tour-only’ goodies including a <PIG> lyric book and an anniversary vinyl edition of Wrecked so bring your checkbooks, kiddies!
The Gospel is out now. Swine & Punishment is out now. Prey & Obey is out now! All through Metropolis Records. Get yours here, here, and here. For more <PIG> goodness, click here. <PIG> hit our very own Brighton Music Hall on Sunday, August 6th, with Julien-K and Ghostfeeder. For tickets and more, click here.