Richard Patrick left his post as Nine Inch Nails touring guitarist to form Filter during the Nails' recording of the Downward Spiral album. His gamble paid off with hits like "Hey Man Nice Shot," global tours, a 20-plus year recording career, and an industrial rock sound that's still fresh today thanks to crushing guitars, electronic programming, and resonantly angry lyrics.
Filter's sixth album, The Sun Comes Out Tonight, explores the minds behind our violent society in an explosive blast of distortion. We caught up with founder Richard Patrick before the band's show at Culture Room. Here's what he had to say about volleyball, spree killers, and going to war.
New Times: What's your history with South Florida?
Richard Patrick: Oh man, we been all over Florida. We love it, we've played every major city, and we look forward to playing Fort Lauderdale again. I've been playing there since I was in NIN back in 1989.
Any specific memory of the place?
Y'know, I think we were there on the Forth of July touring with a band that was English. We were playing volleyball on the beach, and I was like I cant believe we're losing. I said "Hey guys, remember what day it is. I don't mean to bring up old subjects, but it's July 4th." Everybody laughed, and then we won the volleyball thing.
Your song "Happy Together" is on the Great Gatsby soundtrack, but it's originally from around 2009 and was cut for a movie called The Stepfather right? How did that come about?
The director called me up, and I said "I'm gonna start real creepy and soft, and then fire into this thing and scream." And I did it, and we released it as a single off the soundtrack. It didn't do a thing, but now it's in the trailer of a big huge movie and there's this whole discovery of it. It now has millions of view on youtube and and they keep tearing down the uploads to get kids to buy the soundtrack.
What was the engineering for that song? That shit sounds really raw, how'd you do it?
It's just me. I take a mic and a pre amp and a very normal setting and I growl and start yelling. I start screaming my ass off.
The new album is called The Sun Comes Out Tonight. I saw an interview where you said it's about love, loss, and betrayal. How so?
You just can't trust people. They live by lying and do just absolutely anything with no scruples, and they go through their lives and justify in their own heads all the crazy things they do.
One of the social issues is school shootings. The guys that grab a gun and wanna shoot up a theater then say that "it's your fault, that this is self inflicted, this fucking society making me do this. Ima fucking go back to the school that did this to me." What is the thinking? And then they kill themselves. I like to look at the crazy shit and focus on the weirder things in life, like the guy who held a press conference and blew his head off. In Eastern philosophy the kamikaze was the biggest hero. We would never ask our soldiers to fucking knowingly crash a plane into a building, but for a terrorist that's noble somehow. I look at those phenomena, and check that stuff out, and see the worms underneath the rock.
And, also in many parts of the record, a few parts, there's some moments of "gosh it's great to be alive. And I love my wife and kids. And somehow we're gonna make it." People are facing horrendous things these days, but somehow they remain hopeful.
Then there's the story of a soldier who goes off to war and becomes a great killer, a machine of destruction, and then he comes back to our society and there's nothing here for him. You have to look at that situation and find the hope. That's the song I wrote called "Surprise."
One of the songs, "It's My Time," is about the lynch mob from the perspective of the person being affected, the person being hung, the victim, the guy that swore he never raped anybody. And the guy that literally is on death row and convicted by the government, but guess what, there's flaws. Remember when there was no DNA testing, all those people killed before DNA testing? And there are hundreds that have been let off death row because of it. The human mind doesn't have perfect recollection. People have been picked out in lineup and sentenced to death. Memories are not digital. They're finding fault in the judicial system. Think of the innocent man in the gas chamber and what that felt like. That's what's in the music. Heavy shit.
Filter with Dharmata and Falseta at 7:30 p.m., on Sunday, May 26, at Culture Room 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $18. Visit culturerooom.net.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!