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Interview

Deutsche VersionInterview mit Watchmaker (19.09.2005)

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Logo Watchmaker

HH: Kill.Fucking.Everyone is your second album so far but I don't think you're that well known here in Europe. So could you please give us a short introduction to Watchmaker and its members?

Brian: Not to be a dick, but seriously, what does it matter? Our names are on listed on the CD, and I cannot really tell you more than that about us that anyone who has never heard of us might find interesting. It is not like we have members of Converge in our band or anything. We are just five old thrashers trying to deal with our ever-growing and burdensome, adult responsibilities in the only way we know how - thrashing.

HH: Can you please explain why the band is called "Watchmaker"?

Brian: I stole the name Watchmaker from a famous Einstein quote used in Alan Moore's The Watchmen. The actual quote was: "The release of atompower has changed everything except our way of thinking... The solution to the problem lies in the heart of mankind. If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker." This was aptly used to end a chapter which focused on a character who, not happy with his scripted existence, destroys himself in a self-created accident, only to recreate himself as the being he had always envisioned - becoming a god on earth. When I formed Watchmaker, I completely hated the person that I had allowed myself to become. I simply just destroyed that hated self and started from scratch, in some type of vain attempt to find happiness. So the name symbolizes creation through destruction, which I think is very fitting for what we sound like. And up until recently, I thought my efforts were successful and was very happy with the new life that I had created. But, my life has once again become plagued with self doubt and self loathing that I just can't seem to shake. So the name doesn't really mean as much to me as it once did, because I now think the theory behind it is total bullshit.

HH: The music on Kill.Fucking.Everyone is full of anger and aggression. What makes you so angry that you write such aggressive songs?

Brian: Adulthood. Plain and simple. I am 32, and up until our second guitarist joined the band, I was the youngest. Mark is in his early twenties still, so he is out of his fucking mind still living the life, you know? Lots of booze and drugs with zero ties and no repercussions. But the rest of us have all got massive adult responsibilities that are always becoming more and more intense on a daily basis. Our drummer is a firefighter who works so much that we do not see him for months on end. He sometimes shows up to shows in full fire gear like a member of the fucking village people, just because he couldn't get the time off but really wanted to play with Leng Tche or something. You young fucks who think being in a band is so tough, should try keeping one together at our level while balancing a full time career, mortgage and a family. I am like your dad, except that while he is napping underneath his newspaper after work, I am thrashing my fucking brains out. But whatever. I am not saying that I don't enjoy being an adult. Far from it. It is just that I know it can be better than it is, and I am always feeling like some unseen power is preventing me getting there. Kill.Fucking.Everyone was written and recorded two years ago, and at that time I was trapped in a career that I hated. A lot of the anger on that album was directed at rather mundane things, but mundane things that I had to deal with on a daily basis. Hence song titles like "Multitask Suicide" and "Conference Call Immolation". Most of my anger now comes from the stress of providing for my family - the only other people that I love and care about more than myself - in this crazed, capitalist nightmare which America has become, and the fear that I somehow won't be able to. The pressures just to pay my bills so that my daughter has a home is outrageous. You have to constantly sacrifice more and more of yourself to the machine every day, just so that maybe your child can escape it, succeeding where you failed. And nothing I am doing, even though I am a college graduate and make a decent wage, is making a fucking dent. I am more broke now than I was as a teenager. And metal doesn't pay any fucking bills at all. It is too late for me. I am already mired. So now, all of my efforts are to provide a better future for my little girl, in which hopefully she can be truly happy. Shit, I tend to go off on tangents, so I do not even know if that answered you question. But typing it was oddly cathartic, so thanks.

HH: How would you describe your music to someone who does not know Watchmaker?

Brian: A feedback drenched wall of cathartic rage.

HH: The promo sheet says your playing "High-Energy-Hate-Noise-Grind"? Where does this description come from? Can you tell us a few words about it?

Brian: I didn't write that or even give a nod of approval to that. In fact, this is the first time I have heard it. So your question should be addressed to somebody in the Earache office who has never even met us or seen us live, and who probably heard the album for the first time that day. I have nothing to do with promo sheets or self promotion of any kind. I'm just not into that side of things at all. We are an underground band, and are very pure in our motives. I don't give a fuck about moving product, or about how many units we sell, or even if anyone reads this or not. So marketing catch phrases designed to sell my album to consumers are completely meaningless to me. Watchmaker exists entirely for our own emotional release, and I would be just as happy playing in a garage to nobody as I would be playing fucking Dynamo. We do not tour, we do not pimp our merchandise anywhere - especially on stage... fuck, we don't even have any merchandise to sell. We are in this to thrash, and that is all. We just happened to luck out with some really good labels dropping offers right in our laps. And if being on Earache - a label with such an incredible musical history - means having to suffer some cogs daft description of my band, then fuck it. That is a very small price to pay. I am honestly very excited and proud to have their logo on something I created. Just do not expect me to ever write something like that.

HH: The reactions on Watchmaker here in Germany are very ambivalent. Some like your music very much, some hate every song on the album. How do people react in America to your music?

Brian: That sounds about right here as well, and it has always been that way for us. It is actually pretty funny to see the separate camps form with each new batch of reviews. By most "metal expert" standards, we are a musical disaster. But we never claimed to be anything other than what we are, so I don't understand why people hate us so much. If you don't like us, don't listen. What did these people expect going into this with a title like Kill.Fucking.Everyone? Dream Theater? The people who hate us seem to think we tricked them into listening to our CD or something. As I said before, we rely purely on emotion to write our songs, and care nothing for selling albums, so whatever comes out, comes out. We wrote that last album that fucking day in the studio, just thrashing until we exhausted ourselves while the tape was rolling. We just show up, plug in, and destroy. It doesn't matter if we are out of tune, off time, or do not have enough melody for somebody to sing along to. That takes a lot of guts and balls that most bands or critics do not have, and therefore do not understand and totally hate. Would any of the bands that these people love have the confidence to blow their entire recording budget on an improv thrash fest, with no prewritten material at all? No, they wouldn't. We succeeded in an area where they wouldn't even have the courage to venture and we are to be hated for it until the day we become "cult" or something. Fuck you "metal community"!

HH: How important are those reviews to you?

Brian: Good or bad, I hate reviews. And even though I read all the ones that are sent to me, they never effect what we do or how we do it. There is no way that a bad review in any publication, let alone some French teenager's webzine, is going to make me rethink my writing process or change. If a review has this kind of effect on your music, then you are a fucking whore and need to join a bar band or something.

HH: There are 19 songs on Kill.Fucking.Everyone. It seems you like it fast and short. Why do you only write such short songs?

Brian: There is not conscious thought to it at all. That is what we were feeling when we wrote the songs, so that is where they ended. Our first album has longer songs, because that is what we were feeling at the time when we recorded that one. Nothing is ever planned or discussed with us, so I cannot really answer the question. That is simply the way it happened.

HH: What can we expect on the next record? Can we expect longer songs or will you continue the way of writing short songs?

Brian: We just finished the next album today actually. They ended up being slightly longer this time around, but none of them clock over two minutes. It is our best material to date, mostly due to the addition of Mark. It is just as abrasive, angry and noisy as the last album, but this time there is a slight Discharge undertone that wasn't there last time.

HH: Wouldn't it be easier to write more songs with a greater playtime because then you don't have to think about so many titles for the songs?

Brian: No. There is nothing stressful about anything we do in this band. I don't need anymore stress. This band is all about relieving stress. The minute it becomes more of a burden than a relief is the day I quit. So coming up with a few extra song titles versus going utterly insane through bottled anger should be an easy decision to make.

HH: Can you please say some words about the lyrics? Do they deal with "traditional" grind topic like shredding corpses or spilling blood and gore or do you have a message?

Brian: Since I am old, traditional grind to me is political. Stuff like Seige, old Napalm, Concrete Sox, Doom, Hellbastard, etc. I loved Carcass, and appreciate goregrind when it is well done, but it all seems so fucking fake to me, and that is not what we are into at all. If these people even witnessed one of the unspeakable acts they sing about, they would be turned into a quivering, sniveling wreck. You are not serial killers. You are bored, suburban kids singing about events which you never experienced, and nor would you want to. All of my lyrics come from real life angst, daily problems and the personal fears that I face. Read the titles carefully. They may seem gory, but there is always a hint of reality that anchors them firmly in the personal realm. Nothing we do in this band is fantasy.

HH: Where do your influences for the music?

Brian: Musically, from everything that the five of us have been listening to since we were 13. I personally enjoy Helloween as much as I do Bold, as mush as I do Prophecy of Doom, if that helps you out at all. The other guys in my band are just as, if not more diverse, in their musical tastes as well. I love old thrash! I cannot get enough 80s Combat/Noise/Megaforce type of shit. Even the sub-par bands like Sacrifice and Powermad are totally fucking rad! We have a huge ghetto blaster we take with us everywhere, along with an ever growing box of cassettes. In America right now, cassettes are worthless, so we buy peoples whole collections for nothing and just headbang and sing along to them until it is time to take the stage. So the eighties in general have been driving us from the start.

HH: How long did it take to write the songs for Kill.Fucking.Everyone?

Brian: About 2-3 hours of a merciless thrash session.

HH: Are you still pleased with the final result?

Brian: Extremely pleased. It is an accurate photograph of my darkest emotions at that period in my life. I am very pleased with all aspects of the release, especially my cover art.

HH: Imagine Kill.Fucking.Everyone is a weapon. What weapon would it be and why?

Brian: A bare fist. Because it is just an unplanned explosion of frustration. It is the office employee who snaps and assaults his boss. So a bare, human fist.

HH: What was the best thing in 2005 for you so far?

Brian: Getting enough solid freelance work under my belt for me to quit my job and stay home with my daughter all day. Seeing a person develop before your eyes is an amazing thing, and I am always incredibly excited to see her learn and accomplish new things. On the other hand, we'll be playing with Sabbat in September, so that is going to be right up there as well!

HH: Is there any chance of seeing you live over here in Europe in the next time?

Brian: HA! Nope. Not unless somebody foots the bill. You know how much we made on this whole Willotip/Earache deal? $0.00! We never make more than $100 on the rare nights we play out, if we even get paid, and we don't sell merchandise either. Plus, I doubt we could even get the vacation time off of work to do it anyways. Although my wife's band just did a ten day tour of Switzerland, so I do kind of have it coming to me. Who knows what the future will bring. I'm not even asking for profit, but it just has to pay for itself or we can't do it.

HH: What can we expect from a Watchmaker show? Do you have any special decor on stage or something?

Brian: After our last show, a guy from Ohio who was just visiting Boston said that he had not seen anything that intense since he saw Sadus. We take the stage and start thrashing until the plug is pulled from our set or until we have completely exhausted ourselves. We do not speak to the crowd or even say what song we are playing, and half the time we are making songs up on the spot. I made a mic stand out of an old tree saw. It is pretty fucking nuts! The saw and my gauntlets are the only constants in our stage decor, as you call it. Other than that, it is just what we happened to be wearing that day. That actually puts a lot of metalheads off, as Paul, one of the founders and chief songwriters is a big, fat guy who doesn't care what he looks like at all. It really gets people upset. He wore rain goulashes on stage when we played NY with Mortician simply because he was shoveling his driveway when we picked him up. Most bands spend so much time picking out just the right band shirt to wear, and he honestly doesn't give a fuck. Again, something we are either totally loved for or completely hated for. But regardless, we are a merciless killing machine live. We don't care about the audience or ourselves. As long as we get our thrash fix we are happy.

HH: If you could choose any band to go on tour with Watchmaker, what band(s) would it be?

Brian: Rammer from Toronto.

HH: Thank you for the insightful interview! Any last words?

Brian: No.

Lord Obirah

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