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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 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 much, but…

When I Was: Rough start.

Thanks: You can't help someone that doesn't want it.

The Silver Tree: Armageddon.

Away: Bad ticker.

Diamond: A nightmare at age four.

When?: Exactly.

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 and musically?

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 that yourself?

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 fine.

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 stuff.

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


Read Travis' review of TunnelVision Brilliance

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