Scott Reeder Interview
by Travis Becker
Recently, I had the chance to ask rock
pioneer, Scott Reeder, a few questions about himself, his new solo record,
TunnelVision Brilliance, and music in general. Reeder has left his
mark across the landscape of heavy music, as a musician in bands like the
Obsessed and Kyuss, as a producer for the likes of Orange Goblin, Sixty
Watt Shaman and Goatsnake, and as now as a solo artist. TunnelVision
Brilliance is the culmination of years of work and is truly a success
both as an artistic statement and as an utterly listenable album (see my
review on antimusic.com).
Here's what he had to say.
antiMusic: This music has been in the
works for years now. What finally gave you that extra motivational push
over the edge to get it all put together and released for mass consumption?
Scott: After my Dad died, I got
pretty serious about it - it's like having a baby, I guess. Easy for me
to say, without having my vagina ripped apart, huh? But there was just
a lot of stuff I wanted to get off my chest - it's been like therapy. And
it was personal - hardly any of this stuff would've made any sense in the
bands that I was in.
antiMusic: Do you have any plans to
tour for TunnelVision Brilliance?
Scott: Very possible - I've almost
got the group completed, actually. Gonna see how it works out soon.
antiMusic: The title seems carefully
chosen-what's the significance of it?
Scott: It can mean a few things
- I thought of it a long time ago when I was stoned, trying to figure out
why playing music is so great when you're in that zone. It kind of limits
your perception, so you're focused on one thing instead of having random
chatter running through your mind, diluting your thoughts and f***ing up
what you're trying to do…
antiMusic: Even though the songs were
composed and recorded over a long period of time the record feels very
cohesive and whole. Does that sense of cohesion and consistency develop
in the writing process or do you have to bring it together in production?
Scott: I did everything myself,
so I guess there's just a natural continuity with how I heard things in
my head - it never had to filter through an outside engineer or producer.
And then the mastering guy, John Golden, concentrated on keeping the vocal
level consistent while the music flowed around the vocals at whatever level
they were, relatively speaking, if that makes any sense. He really helped
smooth things out.
antiMusic: Can you explain a little
bit about each track on the album's significance? Where they came from
and what they mean to you?
Scott: I don't wanna give away too
When I Was: Rough start.
Thanks: You can't help someone that doesn't
The Silver Tree: Armageddon.
Away: Bad ticker.
Diamond: A nightmare at age four.
For Renee: Being gone taking it's toll.
The Day of Neverending: Self-righteousness.
Queen of Greed: Yep.
f*** You All: Most, but not all.
To An End: Saying goodbye for a long time.
The Fourth: Shame.
As I'm Dreamin': Gonna be OK.
antiMusic: The song "f*** You All" in
particular definitely feels like it's in that elite class of "kiss-off"
songs like "Positively 4th Street". Is any of that angst directed at the
music industry in general or is it more personal? How do you feel about
bigger labels after some of the experiences you've had with them?
Scott: It's more about a few people
that really pissed me off in the last few years - people I thought were
friends that betrayed me and made it even harder for me to trust people.
It makes you stronger, though. And it makes you appreciate your core friends
all the more. I could definitely see how it could be perceived as being
aimed at some of the labels in the past. Hmmmm…. Yeah, there were some
rough times because of some of those f***ers, but you learn from it. I've
seen so many friend's bands get lured in too early and they get chewed
up and spit out. You try to warn 'em, but they never listen!
antiMusic: As an artist, who have you
learned from, or been influenced by to get you to where you are today personally
Scott: My Grandpa is an insanely
great jazz guitarist - he was always jamming with his pals at their Christmas
parties every year when I was real young. Got my first Beatles record,
Revolver when I was probably four, and I was hooked. Later, Pink Floyd
was a big one - I'd gone through some similar stuff so it really hit home.
And then, seeing Black Flag play changed everything - they were totally
possessed - I wanted to know what that felt like.
antiMusic: At this point, which do you
prefer-the writing, performing, or the production aspect of the music?
And how satisfying was it on TunnelVision Brilliance to complete all of
Scott: It all happens at the same
time, here. I've got my studio just a few steps from my house, so it's
ready to go at any time. So there's really no separation between the usual
steps of the process - you just go. By the time you get the last part down,
it's virtually mixed - I didn't veer very far from my first impressions
of how things should sound.
antiMusic: You've worked with some pretty
unique vocalists in your career (i.e. John Garcia, Wino) How did it feel
laying down your own vocals this time around and was it something you always
wanted to do?
Scott: It's something that I've
been doing since my teens - I've sung some stuff in other bands, but never
had the sole responsibility the whole time - so yeah, it feels good. There
were times where I wrote lyrics that someone else was singing, and it just
didn't feel right, cuz the stuff was really personal. Now it feels right.
antiMusic: How did you approach creating
the overall sound and feel of the album?
Scott: I don't think about it -
it was easy this time, because I didn't really have any expectations for
actually getting this thing out to real people - it was more for my own
amusement, I guess. On the next batch, I'll know that people are gonna
hear stuff, but I think I can maintain the not-censoring-myself vibe just
antiMusic: Any projects upcoming that
we should know about on the performing or producing sides?
Scott: Butcher is my main focus
right now, although I'm probably gonna slip some shows in with my solo
antiMusic: How has it been working with
Butcher? What can we expect from that band in the future?
Scott: Right now, we're writing
and demoing stuff, and Camella's working on shooting and editing video
footage for the new songs that make it to the live set. She never stops,
man! She was Tool's video director for their live show for years, and I
feel so lucky to be in a band with someone with so many amazing talents.
I knew her for probably eight years before I knew she could sing. When
they handed me a demo and asked me to record them, I was floored! And after
the recording was done, they asked me to join, and I didn't hesitate. Camella
and Sasha have been my best friends for many years, and it feels more natural
making music together than it's ever been for me - I foresee being carried
away by this thing for a long, long time. Anyway… yeah, just more writing
and gigging for now - we'll be looking for the right label for this stuff
very shortly - it's weird stuff - we're just trying to forge our own path
at our own pace.
antiMusic: Will the Unida material recorded
a few years ago ever see the light of day?
Scott: I wouldn't bet on it! It's
already been out there on the web for anyone who cares to listen - it'd
be a dumb investment for any label at this point. Wasn't meant to be.
antiMusic: Thanks again for taking
the time to tell us about the new record and what's going on with you now
and in the near future. Travis Becker
Travis' review of TunnelVision Brilliance
and Purchase Scott's new CD Online
the official homepage
articles for this artist
a friend about this review