Mike Patton was again in loquacious and entertaining form as he spoke to French magazine Rock Hard in a revealing interview in their May issue which is now on sale.
Mike spoke about songs left over from the Sol Invictus sessions and the length of the album:
“There are a lot of leftover songs to be reused but I do not find the album short on my part. 40 minutes is great. Three of our albums are almost an hour and that was a mistake on our part as we did not want to re-edit them at the end. I love short albums. I remember being completely blown away by Reign in Blood by Slayer which I could put on the side of one C60 cassette. That was cool. I copied it onto two sides and my Walkman turned the loop: when the album finished there was barely one minute blank and then with the autoreverse function the album restarted on the other side…Going back to our album, we made sure to offer a coherent collection of songs and I don’t think that if it had been longer, it would have been better.”
And about his approach to lyrics:
Q: Despite my requests to your French press attaché I could not obtain the lyrics of the album because apparently you do not like to circulate them.
That’s exactly right. All because I don’t like talking about my lyrics because I like people to appropriate them and interpret them in their own way. It is this mystery which is amusing. A lot of groups dissect their lyrics in interviews; I find that a pity. Because if you say too much there is less thinking on the part of the listener. A record, for me, must remain an adventure. You put it in your player and you go and discover it like you walked for the first time in in a forest or visited a new adventure park. That is why am very protective of my lyrics. It is not that important that some of our fans are not Anglophones and and don’t understand anything that I sing; I prefer that they imagine them. When you buy a paintintg to put on your wall, I does not come with a note explaining what signifies this or that colour. It’s exactly the same which whatever piece of art.
Q: I was not looking to have an explanation of the lyrics: I am asking just if the lyrics are autobiographical or it they are rather considered little fictions?
The second option! I like creating fictional characters and trying to appropriate their psychology. None of the songs have a relation between them: for me a record is more a succession of scenes in which I will use this or that trick to achieve the desired outcome. They are little films. To be totally frank, I do not know exactly myself what some of my lyrics say because I try before anything else to follow the music. When I discover a new song, I imagine the sounds and the notes on top. Only then do I try to find the words which come the closest as possible to what I have heard in my head. It is almost a serial approach to writing. It’s bizarre (laughs)
There is a lot more from Mike and a great interview with Roddy as well in the six-page feature. Roddy also had this to say about extra material:
“For Sol Invictus we worked really hard; I don’t know if it was the excitement of working together again but we wrote 25 or 30 songs. We took our time. Then once this material was raked in, Mike chose which tracks he wanted to sing and thus was born the definite track-listing of the album.”
There is also a 9/10 review which we’ll add with two other French reviews later.
Both Rock Hard and New Noise also feature a full-page back-page ad for Sol Invictus.