Mondo Sex Head: Rob Zombie sits down with the Huffington Post
Entitled Mondo Sex Head: A Conversation with Rob Zombie, KRUU-FM’s Mike Ragogna interviews Rob Zombie in an interview which appeared on The Huffington Post.
Mike Ragogna: Rob, how involved were you in overseeing your latest remix project, Mondo Sex Head? And how did you go about finding the right remixers?
Rob Zombie: Well, I do have a heavy hand in the albums that I’ve done. Luckily, when we’re making the remix albums-this is the third that I’ve done-I can have a much lighter hand. The way that I do things is to compile a master list of who does the best remixes of the moment. Then we farm out the songs and let the artists pick the songs that they could do the best job with-I obviously try to sway some of them in certain directions, then I give them some slight parameters about what I want, though, I don’t want to stifle what they do. After that, I basically pick the ones that I like the best and that I think will come together in sequence as the best album. Remix records are actually the easiest projects that I get to do. That’s why I love them. (laughs)
MR: This album seems to have blurred the line between rock and electronic/dance.
RZ: Yeah. I mean, I’ve always thought that music is music. People like to put categories on everything, but I never cared-I still don’t. Growing up when I did, the music that came on the radio was sometimes so eclectic that I grew up listening to all kind of things. The radio could easily go from a children’s song to a Barry Manilow song-you just kind of get used to hearing all different kinds of music all the time. And for all of the music that I’ve done over the years, there’s always been a strong groove to it. I really like songs with grooves, even if it has some pretty heavy guitar and vocals laid on top of it. I always wanted the groove to be very prevalent. So, to turn any of these songs into remixes is a very natural thing to me. The record that I did before in 2001 was probably a little bit more industrial, because that was the sound that was happening at the time. This one has more of a dubstep and rave feel happening in it. But it’s funny to me how you can sort of mutate these songs and take them in different directions. To me, it still works.
MR: You mentioned that this album has a more dubstep and rave vibe. Does that type of music inspire you when you listen to it? Are there any particular groups in that genre that you feel inspire you?
RZ: Well, there are no groups in particular that inspire me in that genre. But when I hear different tracks and listen to those genres, I am inspired by certain grooves. Many times, it’s more about the way that they create it. That’s more what it’s about. When you hear the song in the club or at a rave, it’s more about how the crowd interacts with the groove. You have to move the crowd, which is not unlike playing for a rock crowd in many ways. That’s usually what I take away from that type of music when I listen to it. I think that a lot of times in rock music, there’s a need to unnecessarily overcomplicate things. You have a simple groove pounding away, but it seems too simplistic so you build it up and add another bridge or something. Sometimes that can kill the groove. I’m working on a new album right now, and that’s one of the many things that we’re learning on this album. If the groove isn’t broken during the song, why change anything? If it doesn’t vary for three minutes, so what? I mean, there are some great Led Zeppelin songs where the groove doesn’t change.
MR: Do you think you’ll be using some of the ingredients and grooves from this remix album in your new project?
RZ: Possibly. Right now, the record is really going well and we haven’t done that. But if early on some of the songs feel like they need to go to the next level, I may have some of these remixers come on and work on some of the new songs. I’ve done that in the past. Charlie Clauser from Nine Inch Nails worked a lot on my first solo record. He brought that extra level to a lot of the songs. My feeling is that I wanna do whatever it takes to make a great record.
MR: Right. It seems that all of your remixers — especially Jonathan Davis of Korn — fit perfectly with your music. Do you think you’ll work with some of them on more than just remixes?
RZ: Well, Jonathan is actually coming with us as the opening act on the Zombie/Manson Tour as the DJ. That’s pretty cool. I’ve also spoken to Jonathan about potentially coming out and doing some production work on the new album. What I like about Jonathan is the fact that he’s also in a band, and he understands the structure of a rock song and how it needs to work with a rock crowd. Someone who’s just a pure DJ may not get that. He was kind of an obvious choice for me.
MR: Nice. Were you at all shocked by any of the remixes and maybe by who did them?
RZ: No, none of them really shocked me. I also wasn’t familiar with everyone who was working on the remixes because that isn’t really my world. Oftentimes, I was going on the advice of other people who told me the certain people they liked. I didn’t really have any preconceived notions about what anybody would do. One of the ones that I really enjoyed was the “Living Dead Girl” remix, because it’s seven minutes long. When I first listened to it, I was afraid that it might be boring, but one night as I was driving through LA and the lights were zooming by, I realized that it might be my favorite track. (laughs) Music is weird because it’s affected by the headspace you’re in and maybe even where you are when you hear a song sometimes. Sometimes your atmosphere is what makes the music make sense. For instance, a lot of people who like rock say that they don’t like rap music. If you’re just listening to it like you would be listening to any other song, you may think it’s kind of lame. But sometimes you’re in a club and you hear that same song, but the bass is driving and people are dancing and the song takes on an entirely different life. It can be the same with bands — sometimes, people don’t understand the appeal of a band until they see them live. Then all of a sudden, it makes sense, you know? Sometimes it’s just the time and place.
MR: Rob, you’ve got a tour coming up with Marilyn Manson.
RZ: Yes, I start touring with Manson at the end of September. It’s a co-headlining tour that will go all over the US and Europe ending around Christmas. It’s a pretty long tour. It’s great though. As I said, Jonathan Davis will be opening the show, then Manson will play and I am the last to play in every show.
MR: Great. Do you still enjoy going out on tour?
RZ: Oh, I love it. I wouldn’t do it anymore if I didn’t like it. Personally, I don’t know how anyone couldn’t like it. I mean, I can’t think of anything in the world that would be more fun than what we get to do.
MR: What about making movies?
RZ: Well, I do love-making movies, but the problem with making movies sometimes is that it’s very, very stressful. Shooting the movie can be a lot of fun, but sometimes, the actual shooting can be as short as thirty days. It’s the other seven to twelve months that can make you crazy. I mean, I do love it, I wouldn’t continue to make movies if I didn’t love everything about it. But there’s just nothing like walking out on stage in front of a crowd and playing music. The only thing I can equate it to is being a professional athlete — walking out in front of a crowd and having thousands of people go crazy.
MR: Speaking of movies, are you working on any new projects?
RZ: Well, I am wrapping up my latest film called The Lords of Salem, which will be done at the end of August. We don’t have a release date yet, but I’m gonna finish mixing that in August before I start rehearsing for the tour. I’m also in the very early stages of working on another film called The Broad Street Bullies, which is the true story of the Philadelphia Flyers during the seventies when they were the most feared team in sports. Right now, though, that’s just in the early stages of research and writing. I don’t even know when that one would start filming. That project is a little further down the road.
MR: Rob, do you have any advice that you’d like to offer to new artists?
RZ: My advice for new artists is never do this. (laughs) No, the main thing that I would tell anyone is that you have to do what you love. Don’t take the advice of your manager, your label, or your booking agent…do what you love. I’ve heard quite a few people say that they followed the advice of their manager or their label and changed their image or their music in some way, and now they say they’re f**ked. But you have no one to blame but yourself. I hate when I hear grown men complain that they were somehow the puppets of their label. You don’t have to do anything. Do what you want to fucking do. It won’t always work, but at least if you fail, then you failed doing what you wanted to do and vice versa. That’s my advice. I see a lot of bands that get manipulated because they’re trying so hard to have a hit song, make a lot of money, or become famous. Once you focus on any of those things, you’re going to screw yourself. Be the artist that you want to be and the rest will fall into place.
MR: Bob, it’s been really great talking to you, thanks for your time, and best of luck with Mondo Sex Headand the upcoming tour. Please come back and chat with us when you’re new album comes out.
RZ: Thanks so much, Mike. It was a pleasure being here.
Transcribed by Evan Martin