It seems that the only filter people seem to care about these days are the ones they use on their Instagram pictures of food and their selfies just to gain popularity and likes in order to feed their egos. Back in the nineties, before this post-Facebook world, there was only one Filter that everyone became aware of and needed in their lives. And with the Ohio-based industrial rock group returning to Australia for the first time since their festival appearance at Soundwave in 2014, Filter will be joining the legend himself Al Jourgensen and the great industrial entity known as Ministry on the latter’s upcoming tour in September.
Speaking to the man responsible for the incarnation of Filter, the friendly and very enthusiastic Richard Patrick had plenty to speak about, with the Australian tour approaching and how honored he is to be able to share the same stage as one of the most important figures in industrial and metal music.
“Ministry is one of those dream bands to tour with,” he begins. “The reality is, in 1986, I was standing next to Trent Reznor at a Revolting Cocks sound check. It was a 26 year old Trent and a 20 year old me, and Trent goes: ‘You see that guy right there? That’s Al Jourgensen. That guy’s my idol. He started industrial music’, and I was like: “Wow, that’s amazing!” and that’s how I was introduced to the amazing world of Al Jourgensen’s music. From Revolting Cocks to Pailhead and Ministry and a lot of other bands. The reality is he’s got such an amazing bed of work that we also gotta bring our A-game and make sure we prime up the audience. We’re bringing seven records ourselves, and we got a lot of great material and some of our music is a tribute to Al. I think it’s an amazing tour and I have the most respect anyone could have for Al. I don’t know how to make a good analogy, but if I got U2 and Ministry, it would pretty much be the same amount of exhilaration!”
“We could play for two hours, but we can also just play for an hour filled with highlights of our career. I think that’s the most important thing – to make this hour our hour. If the audience loves us, we can definitely play longer for them. If they show us the support that we hoped we could acquire, it would definitely help us so much more.”
In 2015, Richard employed Australian guitarist Oumi Kapila as one of his members for Filter, along with a number of extraordinary musicians to take under his wing. However, due to commitments with other projects, it turns out Oumi won’t be joining Filter to play in his home country. With this downside, also comes the return of another member of Filter to join the band onstage once again!
“Oumi is gonna be back in the studio, because he’s quickly becoming a famous, trailer guy out here. So, he’s staying in the US because of other commitments and he tours with us only once in a while. But, my buddy Johnny Radtke is working with me on the next Filter album and he’ll be joining us on the tour, and Chris Reeve is coming with us, as well. Johnny and I wrote the record “The Sun Comes Out Tonight” with me, and that record’s been really well received, as well.”
While Filter have had the chance to tour Australia three times in its lifespan and aren’t as known as they are in their home country and in Europe, Richard still keeps his hopes high and eagerly to be able to achieve the opportunity to play a headlining Australian arena show.
“Our whole thing is to tour Australia in an arena, bring a huge light show and play for ninety minutes, but you gotta have the ticket sales for that. That’s the bottom line with everything, because you gotta have that support. So we’re building it up again, and touring with Ministry is a great way for us to tribute Al and be behind him and give everybody in the room a taste of what we’re about. And once everyone has seen us, we will then want to come back and play some shows in arenas, theatres or clubs because there’s a lot of music to play!”
With Filter joining alongside Ministry for the upcoming Australian tour, this also gives them a chance to perform some fresh songs off their latest record “Crazy Eyes”. Speaking to him about his feelings on the album’s success, Richard brings up about how radio music these days is played in a manner that’s considered to be too safe. Instead of the usual mainstream compositions that are heard on a regular basis, Richard talks about how he’d rather separate his honest feelings from the typical tracks played by the likes of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.
“I want “Mother E” to come out and just be loud and abrasive to everyone. It wouldn’t be as insane if people played that kind of super heavy music on the radio. But it’s gotten so sugar, bubble-gum, sweetie pie – it’s like people don’t want a social message in their music anymore, and it’s such a shame. Everybody is just getting watered down with lyrics like, “I’m gonna go to the club and get wasted, we’re gonna smoke some chronic, and that girl’s got a fine ass”, and it’s just like, “Yeah, I get it”. It’s fun to go to the club, and I even remember writing a song about going to the club when I used to drink. And here I’m talking about how Vladimir Putin’s money launderer is the President of the United States, so instead, LET’S SCREAM! LET’S START SCREAMING!”
As Richard looks back at how music has become this powerful barrier from all the negativity in our daily lives, he feels extremely grateful for all of the support he’s received and has given to everyone that listens to Filter.
“Music is supposed to be a safe space for all of us. I was reminded about that by a fan the other day and said he was hurt by his family and doesn’t have anywhere to go, except for when he puts on his headphones, and says that Filter is his favourite band. I read every email and it’s hard for me to respond to everyone. But it’s an amazing life that I’ve been given by the fans. It’s an honour and a privilege to be part of people’s lives.”
As Richard continues, he then brings up the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, his time being in rehab with Cornell and how shocking it’s been since his passing; especially because of the fact that Richard himself, grew up on a lot of Cornell’s discography.
“People wonder a lot about Chris Cornell passing away, too. I met and spent time with Chris in rehab. He was like, ‘Hey, dude, this is just our little spot’, and I was just amazed by how someone who was so chill was the soundtrack to my early twenties. And even to this day, I still play this music for my kids. But, you know, with Chris, something happened to him and it’s wild. I understand it’s hard to believe someone so beautiful in reality and musically had something that wasn’t working, and that’s the thing. So, it really means a lot when people say ‘your music helps me’, and you know what? You’re helping me get through life by saying that. Because platinum records don’t talk to you, they just kinda say: ‘you just sold this amount of albums.'”
As he closes it off, Richard then gives the meaning of what “Crazy Eyes” and true artistry has always been about. He also mentions how it’s better to take your anger out on creativity than it is on an act of violence.
“The idea is to stay genuine,” Richard explains. “Genuine is trying to connect with people and trying to make the planet better. It’s not about selling shit, it’s about making shit. “Crazy Eyes” is an album for people that are frustrated and wanna take it out on their speakers on their way to work or doing their homework. Instead of giving someone a machine gun, someone should be given a guitar and let them take it out on that. More guitars; more microphones; less machine guns! That’s essentially the “Crazy Eyes” message – it’s okay to be yourself, to be loud, and have dramatic art.”
MINISTRY ARE TOURING AUSTRALIA WITH FILTER THIS SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER VIA METROPOLIS TOURING
Monday 25th September – Perth – Astor Theatre
Tuesday 26th September – Adelaide – The Gov
Wednesday 27th – Sydney – Metro Theatre
Saturday 30th September – Melbourne – Forum Theatre
Sunday 1st October – Brisbane – The Tivoli