Interview with Craig Pillard of Methadrone
By Bradley Smith
The musical visions you create really fill me with a sense of despair and loneliness but they are also tinged with some feeling of urban decay. What moods do you feel you are inducing with your artistic expressions?
When writing I look directly inside myself and let it flow completely with no restrictions. The sense people get when listening to Methadrone according to the listener usually is an utter sense of worthlessness, the feeling of being dragged down with the lower frequency delivery, and at the same time an uplifting sensation with the higher frequency delivery. The basis I express thematically is a self abuse to which most people would never recover from, to sink to the lowest of all lows chemically, mentally and physically. This is what I am expressing sonically through my own personal experiences.
I feel your music bears some similarities to certain passages from Godfleshís Streetcleaner album but of course processed and twisted by your own unique interpretations. Was there any influence there?
Godflesh is probably one of the best industrial bands out there today, but for me the Swans where more of an influence on me than Godflesh.
I am sure you have heard this before but to me Methadrone is such an appropriate name for your artistic expressions. How did you come up with this name and what kind of personal experiences is this a reflection of?
The name Methadrone derives from the fact that to be chemically dependent on full body endorphine release with an opiate delivered vehicle is to be a slave, a drone if you will, hence the name Methadrone (methadone). The effects to long term usage of this synthetic opiate can be highly debilitating both mentally and physically. I believe that is what I am portraying here sonically with the sound of Methadrone. I see, but there is also the parallel of your music being based on a droning sound. I am sure that played some part in your use of drone didnít it?
The drone in Methadrone can also be interpreted as such yes, but that was not a conscious decision. There are some drone elements within our sound, but to say the reason for this is from a style I play isn't true. You can't put a certain style or label on Methadrone, that would be a mistake.
So there are no vocals on your retrogression release. Did you avoid them because of the distraction they might cause from the overall mood? Will you stay away from vocals on your future releases?For "Retrogression" I did not want to corrupt the atmospheric delivery with the use of vocals. I felt it would have compromised the overall sense of depth and mood created on this release. I will experiment more with the vocals on future releases for sure. Thereís no telling when though. When writing I always put the music first. For I believe pure sonic mood speaks for itself.
Do you have any sense as to what style of vocals you might use? Will it strictly be death metal or clean vocals or what?I have experimented with low spoken word vocals before with D.O.M., Womb, and a cover of "Sex,God,Sex" that Methadrone recently recorded for a Swans tribute CD. The use of my own type of "death style" vocals will still be utilized yes!
Do you consider Methadrone a live experience or do you really feel like it is a journey a person should make by themselves in solitude? I feel it is personal experience that I wouldnít want to share with someone else. But thatís just my opinion.
I definitely think Methadrone is better listened to with ones undivided attention, it yields best results this way, be it live or by yourself in the comforts of your own solitude. When playing live I try my best to deliver the same moods that are expressed on disc by going the extra mile with purchasing state of the art equipment for pure sonic delivery. For me that is paramount!
And speaking of live experiences, recently you went on tour as a session member of black metallers Abazagorath. How did that go and how did you get involved with them?
Abazagorath have been friends of mine for the past years. At the time they had just recorded a new album and where booked to tour Europe, but they needed a 2nd guitar player to play live, so they asked me and I obliged just for the tour since I was doing Methadrone also at the time. The tour was a great success and we had an excellent time. That had been my 2nd tour in Europe, the first being with Incantation in '94.
Where did you come up with the concept of dual Bass guitars? I know Peaceville Records used to have a band that experimented with that as well. I think they were called Sonic Violence or something like that.
This 2-bass concept was actually utilized with my previous band Womb from '95. Womb dealt with the 2-basses more on a rhythmatic sense with a lot less leads, where as Methadrone has strictly a rhythm bass and a lead bass to cover the full frequency spectrum. I have never heard of Sonic Violence, but I did hear of a band years ago that had 2-bass players called Damage (NY) from the pre-Prong 80's era. But ultimately the idea of using 2-basses, to play them more or less like regular guitars with chords and leads was my own idea. I feel, especially rhythmatically that a 6-string guitar doesn't have the balls as a bass does when playing chords. I almost think that 6-string guitars where made for midgets.
I feel that a personís life experiences can be directly reflected in their art. Were there any specific events in your life that lead up to where you see your art heading? Was there something that caused the Darkness to be born within you?
With a childhood that was more or less a bit traumatizing in combination with the fact that for about a decade I abused myself through chemical dependency, these may have a factor in how I feel and express myself today. Not to mention that without this outlet I most certainly wouldn't be doing this interview with you right now, I'd probably be dead or locked up in a mental ward.
With those life experiences in mind do you think that an artist must suffer for his expressions and that art that is based on some sort of struggle has more relevance and emotional strength than other art?
I think most art is expressed as a direct result of some sort of self experienced pain yes. I find good music to be more interesting and personally enjoyable if the artist expresses extreme anguish, misfortune or strife through their art, but thatís what I'm attracted to naturally, thatís what turns me on.Why did you leave Incantation and how were the days you spent in that legendary band? Do you feel any association anymore with their legacy?
I left Incantation as a direct result of poor communication. And I know for a fact that was the case for the other 2-members also at that time. Incantation was and will always be a big part of my life, it has been creatively and emotionally. I wish John the best of luck and hope he is getting as much out of it as I did. I still keep in contact with John from time to time and hope the best for him and Incantation.
It seems that your art would appeal to certain parts of the metal and industrial scene. Have you received any sort of contacts for real label work? I know you have contacted Vendlus. What is your impression of them?
At the moment I am very happy working with Mig from Nothingness Rec. (Belgium). I have contacted Joe from Vendlus Rec. about some US distro. for Methadrone and he seems he is interested. I like the fact that Vendlus does not deal in 1 type of genre, and deals only with "art". Right now I am not eager to line the pockets of a big corporate label, and am perfectly happy with self releasing and distroing my music to smaller labels.
You also recently have done a video clip for the song Transient Release. Can you tell us a little about what you meant to achieve with it and the concept surrounding it?
I recently finished producing 2 videos for "Retrogression". One being "Transient Release" and the other "Impurify". These are intended for a DVD slimcase re-release of "Retrogression" which will also include a bonus audio track. This will be pressed within the next month and is intended for further promotion of "Retrogression" and an extra piece of merchandise that will be available on our European tour this September. It is also intended for further distro on any label interested and will be offered through the Methadrone website this summer. The concept behind "Transient Release" is the temporary journey within oneself, then ending up where you started, a constant continuum of a natural decline. And the theme for the "Impurify" video is a feeling of absolute mental and structural decay within an abandoned mental hospital, there are no signs of life, just total ruin.
What does the future hold for you guys? I know you have a European tour set up for September. Can you expound on those events a little more?
We will be playing shows this summer on the upper US east coast, then touring Europe from September 16th to October 1st this year with Stereochrist (Hungary) to further promote the 2 Methadrone releases that are out on Nothingness Rec. All shows with venues and dates will be posted on our website upon confirmation. There will be a 3rd Methadrone CD recorded this fall entitled "Better Living Through Chemistry" that will be available in winter 2005-2006.
Any lasting impressions you would wish to impart on the readers?
They say, that which does not kill you will make you stronger. That is simply not true. If you are afflicted with unnatural chemical endorphine release, it will destroy you emotionally and physically in time and you will never be the same again. Once the natural chemical makeup of your body is compromised there is no turning back, you will be plagued the rest of your life with "Better Living Through Chemistry". Anyone interested in purchasing Methadrone merchandise visit- keep checking back for new merchandise and show updates.