Filter’s Richard Patrick talks “Crazy Eyes”, addiction, and Nine Inch Nails

Richard Patrick of Filter. (Photo: David Rubene)

Richard Patrick of Filter. (Photo: David Rubene)

Filter frontman Richard Patrick took charge on Filter’s upcoming album, Crazy Eyes, which is set to be released April 8th via Wind-Up Records.

Patrick produced the album with co-production help from friends, and while he’s been through the turbulent nature of the music industry, he told us in our new interview how amazing it is to be your own boss at the end of the day. He also shares more about the new album, some of his feelings towards the tragic death of Scott Weiland and battling with addiction.

Can you tell us a bit about Crazy Eyes?

It’s pretty heavy. Most of it is pretty heavy, but it’s also got that melody that I like so much, it’s old school Filter for sure.

Were there any specific reasons for that?

I produced it, but I had my friends co-produce it with me and it’s just basically [that] the inmate is running the asylum. It doesn’t sound like I’m trying to make some perfect Hollywood production, it sounds like I’m doing what I want to do, which is why everybody liked Filter in the first place. Short Bus [we were] like whatever, we don’t know any drummers, I don’t know, let’s just program using the drum machine, no one will care. It was a lot of that, a lot of “yeah who cares, it sounds good to us, that’s all that matters. We’ll deal with that when we come to it. Shit, we need to go on the road, let’s take this kid Matt Walker, now that we’ve met some people.”

That’s always interesting I’m sure, putting it together at the end like that.

The sad thing is that people think there’s an original band, but there’s not really an original band. There’s original people that went out and played it live, a live band, but it wasn’t like John Bonham and John Paul Jones, Jimmy page and Robert Plant sitting in a studio and practice space writing everything together [and] coming up with everything together. It wasn’t like that, it was two morons and a computer, just beating on a fuckin’ keyboard until it sounded right to them.

Were there any specific reasons other than the amount of previous emphasis on guitar in your last couple albums that you chose to let the electronic side take prevalence?

When I was on tour after The Sun Comes out Tonight, I would just go “what do you guys want to hear next?” and everything they wanted to hear was something really heavy. So I was like great and I started noticing [that] you listen to “Octane” and it’s just tonnes and tonnes of guitar bands that are heavy and it’s different. It doesn’t sound like the drop d world that I came from. It sounds like stuff I’m not familiar with and I was just like “you know what, I’m tired of the guitar.” It’s been done to death. I did so many records where it sucks up all the frequencies. You spend all this time getting this big guitar sound and it’s like every fucking kid and their little brother are out there doing this. There’s nothing original about it, so you start [thinking] let’s take the guitar out, put up a wall of cello’s, but distort them [and] run them through a distortion pedal. All of the sudden it immediately becomes an original thing, as opposed to “okay, we’re going through the Bogner, here we go, we’ve got our Les Paul and our heavy guitar sound once again.” It’s just boring.

What do you think producing yourself and co-producing with friends brought to the album?

It’s all the risk. If a record didn’t do well or something happens, you can always go “well, the producer fucked it up.” Not that I’ve ever really said that, but you can always go “that’s what they wanted me to do.” There’s risk [when you do it yourself] and you automatically make yourself really hungry, because you’re like this is my responsibility. I didn’t fully sit there with a computer by myself and do the record, I still collaborated with people. It’s just that at the end of the day, all the decisions were on my head and if I got into a disagreement I’d be like “look, this is my thing, this is my record and I’m the producer, so you have to listen to me.”

At the same time, recording drums, my buddy Brian Virtue was like “hey I’ve got some really cool drum sounds, can I help?” You’re like “fuck yeah, set it up, do it, take over.” So you’re delegating a lot of responsibilities to other people, but they’re people you love and you hired. They’re friends you’ve known for years and you work together as a team.

You said it was heavier, can people anticipating the release of this album expect a general vibe coinciding with that?

The first song “Mother E”, is the heaviest thing I’ve ever written. Sonically, lyrically and emotionally. The subject matter of the song is so over the top [that] I don’t even want to mention it. Because it’s similar to when I had written “Hey Man, Nice Shot” and it was discovered that it was about Robert Dwyer’s press conference where he shot himself, then it got out and I felt like the magic was taken. “Mother E” is from a demented, horrible person’s viewpoint and what he was doing to convince himself to commit these atrocities. I don’t want to draw attention to him or the events, so I just left it there. I don’t talk about it.

But that’s the heaviest thing we’ve ever written and it’s the first song on the LP.

Were there any other themes that you focused on in the writing and recording process?

Every single day I would turn on the news, or in the studio I would go to CNN and there were riots, or a bill passed in congress that I really agreed with, or the Supreme Court ruled on something that was important to our society. There you go, there’s a song. I would just grab things from the headlines and talk about it from my perspective. There’s something going on out here [and] I want to talk about it. My old friend who’s an alcoholic is drunk texting me all the time, I’m going to write about him and how much he frustrates me. Because I love him and he’s driving me crazy with these texts at 4a.m. that are just mean as shit. That’s the Kid Blue song.

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