Mike Patton interview – Eye Daily (4.12.07)

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There’s no such thing as a brief introduction to Mike Patton. For the record, let’s just say that he became famous singing with Faith No More and then spent the next 15 years making every kind of music imaginable and working on a catalogue to rival his mentor John Zorn. The most recent installment being his foray back into the pop world, an A-list guest-fest called Peeping Tom, who play The Phoenix tonight. I recently spoke with the man of a thousand bands on the phone before his soundcheck in Boston.

BILTON: Has it been a relief just singing with Peeping Tom as opposed to conducting and playing other instruments?
PATTION: Absolutely. It’s like vacation. This band has much more of a Vegas vibe. It’s very entertaining and it’s quite the party vibe so it’s kind of exotic for me.

You’ve mentioned that this project has a lot more potential in terms of people that you want to work with in the pop world. Do you have certain people in mind?
I’m probably not going to squirt any names out there as of yet, but there’s some people — old friends who didn’t make it on the first record but who did some tracks with us already. And then there’s a wish list of people that come into my mind every time I look up into the clouds. I’ll see what I can pull out of the hat for the next one.

Do you still get the occasional strange collaboration request, or have people figured out that you’re not interested in fronting INXS?
I don’t get those offers very often. But every now and then something cool comes through the pipeline. Like the Bjork thing, and I’m on the next Massive Attack record. I still really enjoy collaborating and helping other people realize their vision.

Speaking of collaboration, can you tell me a bit about working with John Zorn on the Moonchild and Astronome projects?
That is unlike most other things I do. Working with Zorn is an event; he knows exactly what he wants. Those projects in particular are very demanding in the studio. They’re almost all cut live, or at least the takes are all very long. And it can be very painful and migraine-inducing because my role in that project is basically, I’m the foghorn — I’m screaming the entire time at the absolute top of my register. It’s an incredible challenge, and I’m happy to be doing it. We have a new one coming out: Six Litanies for Heliogabalus. This one again, he’s raised the bar even higher and I think it’s one of the best things he’s ever done. I’m really proud of it and proud of him.

Going back and forth between singing actual lyrics and singing in vocalese with Fantomas and Zorn, which one is more challenging?
I wouldn’t say the one is harder than the other really. Basically the only difference that I hear is I’m using a different language. It may be a language that no one can understand and sometimes I think that’s really effective.

Do you see your label (Ipecac) as more of an artist’s collective than a label proper?
Sort of. It’s become a nice family thing. We’re not really signing anybody, we’re just putting a stamp on [the records] and putting them out there and then paying them royalties on it. More importantly, the artist has complete control over his music from start to finish. That’s what I want as an artist, so if I’m in a position to be able to provide that for other people, then all the better.

Originally posted on EYE WEEKLY’s Eye Daily site (4.12.07)

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