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Interview: Tim Gutierrez(Project: Failing Flesh)

Pure metal...interviews

I am always in favour of the face to face interviews, but unfortunately thatís not always possible. I couldnít afford to pass the opportunity to interview Tim Gutierrez from project: failing flesh though, so I prepared a "couple"of questions which were kindly answered by this multi-instrumentalist. It seems like Iím not the only one whoís obsessed with Voivod after all!

Well, I believe that Project: Failing Flesh is quite an unusual name for a band, but then again, the music thatís presented in your recent release "A Beautiful Sickness" is anything but ordinary. Which was the original idea behind the name of the band, and how did you manage to get together with Kevin?

Tim: The idea behind the band name is kind of an overview of the vibe of the lyrics, music, and visual direction of the band. It describes the failing of man - physically, mentally, or socially. Sort of a de-evolution thing. Kev and I got together because we are brothers, ha. So from the time we learned to play weíve been doing stuff together off and on.

I would like to congratulate you for the creation of "A Beautiful Sickness" - a very interesting album indeed. When did you first start working on it?

Tim: Oh man, thanks a lot! Cool to hear you dug it. We started it a few years back. At first it was just us screwing around but after awhile it seemed like things were turning out real cool to us so we got more serious and decided to make it a proper band.

I can see from the press release and the booklet of the album that the two people who performed all the instruments are you and Kevin. Can you be a little more specific as to which were the specific instruments that you used, and why you chose to be the only two people to handle those duties?

Tim: We chose to do all the playing out of convenience. Itís always hard to find players that want to go the same direction with music. Also, for us anyway, it makes writing smoother and more focused since we know what we are after and have played together so much in the past. We did bring in a few friends to do stuff that we just donít do so well but between us we played or did guitars, bass, live drums, programmed drums, a small amount of the keys, and weird percussion such as cookie sheets, human chest, metal chair, foil pans, the outside of a washing machine, etc.

Project Failing Flesh

Even though you and Kevin are the only composers in the band, you used Eric Forrest (ex-Voivod) as the vocalist for the album. Why did you choose to use this specific artist? Did the fact that he is the former Voivod singer play a significant role in your decision to hire him?

Tim: We had worked with a few local guys but they didnít work out. It looked like our options around here were running out so we had the idea to contact a guy we already totally dug and thought would fit well. Being massive Voivod fans, Eric was contacted early on and we started to communicate and he got involved. So yeah, I guess the fact he was is Voivod played a big roleÖ otherwise we would have never known of him haha. I really enjoy his new band E-Force too.

One could spend a whole week trying to detect the influences that are presented on this album, but nothing is more secure and accurate than the words from the composerís mouth. Which were those influences in your opinion, and how would you describe the sound and the style of the band to someone that has never before listened to any of your songs?

Tim: Yeah, I think I could spend a week list all the influences too ha! Some of our main stuff though is early thrash Ė Venom, Slayer, Destruction, Celtic Frost, Hirax, Death, etc. Other extreme bands like Arcturus, Godflesh, Entombed, Fear Factory, etc. Some stuff from other genres like Swans, Curve, a little goth, industrial, Cranes, Radiohead, Birthday Party, Foetus, a little techno. Also, of course, classic metal like Priest, Sabbath, Motorhead, and Maiden. All that stuff gets wrapped together for our sound. I guess a loose description could be Thrash/ Death influenced done in a modern way with some experimentation and cool heavy or dark influences from those other genres.

How long did it take you to create those ten compositions for the album? It seems and sounds like you have put a lot of effort into them. Are you satisfied with the final result?

Tim: We are very happy with the result. Itís tough to put an exact time frame on how long it took. The core of the songs get written pretty quickly actually but it takes awhile to get them recorded and build them up to a place we are satisfied with because we work in broken spurts in the studio. Also, the singer search took quite awhile so that added to the time span.

The album was recorded, engineered and mixed by Kevin 131 at Assembly Line studios. How come you chose not to use a professional sound engineer, and why did you use those specific studios? Do you believe that youíve managed to create the most representative sound for "A Beautiful Sickness" after all?

Tim: We record there because Kevin owns and runs the studio for his living. So when he has time off (which is not that often sometimes) we get together and put down the songs we have been working on. There was no reason to get another sound guy as Kev is a pro and awesome at what he does in my opinion. That also gives us the advantage of producing ourselves with him engineering, etc. so we can get stuff just the way we want it.

There are many Metal bands that use keyboards nowadays to add an extra feeling to their sound, but allow me to say that in your case, the keyboards are one of the most important components of the bandís unique style. Knowing that they were performed by Loston Harris, my question is: will you consider using them in your following releases?

Tim: Yeah, keyboards add a cool vibe to portions of the songs. We will be using Loston on our next one too. He is an insane keyboard player and certainly more skilled than us! He takes the few keyboard parts or ideas we come up to another level and also adds plenty of his own style as well. The job he did was very important to our stuff.

Project Failing Flesh

One more important and interesting addition to the bandís sound was the use of the Viola on the song 9mm Movie, for which you required the service of Clayton Ingerson from Dysrhythmia. How did you come up with that idea, and how convinced were you that this great idea would eventually work?

Tim: I had the idea for a dissonant, crazed, and disturbing violin or string part in that section. When I was describing it to Kev he mentioned Clayton (who he produced in Dysrhythmia) was also a viola player. So he got Clayton to come in and he did an amazing, unsettling, "solo." Captured the original idea perfectly in fact!

Letís talk about the lyrics of the album. The subject that you chose to use is the situation with the Market of human organs. I am really pleased to see that there are still some Metal bands that choose to refer to every day problems, instead of either talking about their lost love, or their plans on how to serve the devil in the most appropriate manner. You seem to have in-depth knowledge as far as the issue is concerned Ė please tell me that itís not because of some personal experience.

Tim: Haha,.. I know what you mean about the subjects. Personal experience? Thankfully no, it isnít haha! I had been reading a ton of articles about harvesting, trading, and comas, etc. around the time we were putting together lyrics. Also, that old book, ĎComa,í came to mind while reading this stuff so I re-read that. So those are the reasons that stuff came about. Weirdly enough, right after the disc was done a news story broke here in the States about a university medical centre out in California illegally selling organs from cadavers that we supposed to be used for study.

Knowing that Eric is not a permanent member of the band, I assume that he was not the person that wrote the lyrics of the album. Who is the main lyricist in the band, and how happy are you with the way they were presented by Eric?

Tim: Actually we all three wrote lyrics together when Eric was here. We all had stuff and ideas we had noted down on our own and then combined it to fit with Ericís vocal lines and also with what each of us had as the subject of the song.

One more thing that I found very interesting was the bandís layout: a human head in the centre of a chaos star. I realise that there is a specific meaning behind everything thatís related to the band. What is the meaning of the album cover?

Tim: It kind of represents human chaos. Also like how one action can affect tons of actions around itÖ in both the present and future. So human thoughts or ideas or physical actions can not only affect inner things but also can have far reaching impacts as a whole. To us it really related to the name and idea of the band. Plus, on a simpler level, it was just a cool looking image visually too.

You have a contract with the Dutch label Karmageddon Media. What are their plans for the promotion of the album?

Tim: Pat, the Karmageddon promo guy, and the guys at KM are getting the album out to a lot of mags, sites, and stuff. Plus they are helping us line up interviews and get word out. The disc is just recently out so stuff is still taking shape. We totally appreciate their work so far though. No complaints!

How easy will it be for you guys to recreate the same atmosphere that you have in your album live? I assume that you will have to hire some extra musicians to handle all the extra instruments. Are you going to tour Europe anytime soon, and if yes, are you going to visit the U.K?

Tim: Hopefully it wouldnít be that hard. It would be a lot of work but I think we certainly have the ability to play these songs out since the riffs and drums form the core of the songs. Granted some stuff is harder to translate but is made up for in volume and energy of a live show. Yeah, like you say, we would definitely need more guys to fill in the line up. Sorry to say right now no plans to tour. We are kind of operating as a studio band at this point. Would love to hit the UK in the future though. Maybe down a future road we will do a few festivals or something, who knows. The only time we saw Eric play in Voivod was in the UK!! They played with Neurosis at the Garage and it worked out we were on vacation over there that week! This was long before we knew him or did P:FF of course.

What was the first reaction of the press and the metal album regarding the album, and how confident are you about its potential success?

Tim: Reaction has been really great so far. Canít please everyone but Iím surprised most have been super positive. Especially since itís not a straight up traditional metal album that you can throw exactly under one of the descriptive labels like pure Thrash, Death, Black, Doom, Industrial, etc. Hopefully the good word will get others interested too. To us itís already a success though as we are 100% satisfied with it!

How would you describe the typical Project: Failing Flesh fan? Are you targeting a specific audience?

Tim: Uhh - letís see. Anyone who may dig heavy, aggressive stuff that is a little outside the box. Plus appreciates good production.., no necro feel here sorry.. haha! It works for some bands but not for us. No specific target audience other than underground metal fans as a whole I guess.

Project Failing Flesh

Now that your first studio album is complete, do you have any idea or indication as to how the following album will be? Do you have any new compositions ready?

Tim: The next one is already completely written and we have a good bit tracked too. So it will be ready to go once "A Beautiful Sickness" gets itís fair run. Itís gonna be titled "The Conjoined." There are some new weird twists thrown in but we are also staying heavy and itís not too far off the path. Still a good variety of songs with different feels.

Is the band your main occupation? How important is Project: Failing Flesh to you, and what are you willing to do in order to continue with the band?

Tim: Unfortunately no, this isnít our full time job. Most know there is very little money in extreme metal and we have to pay our bills by having real jobs. We donít care though, as long as we get to write songs we are cool. P:FF is very important to us and will continue until itís no longer enjoyable.

What are we to expect from Project: Failing Flesh in the near future?

Tim: Weíre just trying to get word out about "A Beautiful Sickness." Our second disc will be a little further off but like in the earlier question is getting done right now. We also kicked around the idea of maybe doing another cover song and just putting it up as an internet only track. We donít want to be the band that throws a cover at the end of every disc but we enjoy doing them and paying tribute to influences so that may be an option.

A message to the subscribers of Get Ready to Rock!

Tim: Thanks for the very cool interview. Hope I didnít ramble too much. Hails to Get Ready to Rock!!! Anyone interested should check out "A Beautiful Sickness" out now on Karmaggeddon. More info at our site: Thanks for reading!

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Interview © 2004 John Stefanis

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