Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

Godhead – Jason Miller in interview

Formed in the 1990s in Washington D.C Godhead have always had a following in Europe. Their first two releases were in Europe, where they toured extensively, before releasing subsequent albums in the States. In 2001 with the release of 2000 Years of Human Error they started breaking into the big time, with tours supporting the likes of Marilyn Manson and Rammstein, as well as a privileged slot on the Ozzfest tour of that year. Their follow up album Evolver consolidated their appeal, and expectations are high both in the States and Europe for their next album, which they're currently recording.

In a forum posting on the band's site Miller wrote that though they have been the band's most succesful recordings to date commercially, that artistically there was a certain amount of compromise with record companies for both 2000 years of Human Error and Evolver. He looks back to 1998'sPower Tool Stigmata album as their best album due to creative freedom. It's a creative freedom that the band have rebuilt for themselves, having wisely invested their earnings in a recording studio. “The album's coming along quite well. –Miller explains – Now that I have my own studio, writing and recording has never been easier. We don’t feel the pressure of being in a high priced studio where the clock is always ticking”. Strangely, for a band with such a high profile and fan base, they are without a label, following the folding of Marilyn Manson's Priority Records. Rather than look immediately for a new label, the band are enjoying some much needed artistic freedom.

Miller who is quietly confident about the work and the evolution of the band's sound for this next release gives some tight lipped hints as to the work in progress. How does a band approach a new album, trying to evolve? Is it a question of changing the way you write? “No, I don’t think you need to change the way you write, but I think the more one writes the better one gets at it – he continues – Collaborating with other writers is always a big help as well”. Collaboration is something that Miller is becoming an old hand at, with guest appearances on Evolver from both Wayne Static (Static-X) and Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie – Tin Machine), and ongoing collaborations with Ben Moody, formerly guitarist and songwriter with Evanescense. There will be one track co-written with Moody on the new album.

Another clue to the sound of the new album may lie with its co-producer, Julian Beestone, one time member of English industrial pioneers Nitzer Ebb. Beestone's production credits are impressive and hugely eclectic. He's done remixes for everyone from The Commodores to Die Krupps.

As to the lyrical slant of the album, Miller gives little away. When asked if the state of the world, in particular post 9/11 and with the ongoing 'war on terror' has affected his own songwriting, he responds coyly “I’ve been deeply effected by both events, so they could only naturally seep into my songwriting”. The band in the aftermath of 9/11 posted a dark and sinister version of Amazing Grace free for download. When asked about the involvment of the likes of R.E.M and Springsteen in the recent election, Miller admits that perhaps bands from the heavier side of the spectrum have been less vocal when confronted with politics: “I think that heavier music by and large isn’t as political as maybe say folk, but there are plenty of political voices in our genre”. Miller is perhaps less in your face about politics, stressing that artists have “a social responsibility not to be assholes”, but apolitical he is not. Urging Godhead fans to go out and vote in the recent American Election he said, “I’m not telling you WHO to vote for, I’m just saying VOTE. Just so you know though, I’m voting for CHANGE if you follow me….”, and keen observers will note that he posted an article from campaigning journalist Greg Palast (also featured in this month's Three Monkeys Online) on the band's website forum.

Much of Evolver revolved around very personal lyrics. To what extent do real life and relationships influence his lyrics? Is there always a part of you that is thinking, at the back of your mind, about turning situations into songs? He's quick to dismiss the notion of the troubled artist, incapable of living a normal life “Of course a songwriter can have a normal relationship. For me anyway, I don’t turn situations into songs into much later. It would be too crazy to think 'this might be a song' in the heat of the moment”. Indeed much of his inspiration comes from films, books and other bands. It's interesting to see the list of people, alive or dead, who he would love to work with: in the realm of film, Guy Richie (Miller acts, and also has increasingly been involved in soundtrack production), in music The Cure, and in books J.R.R. Tolkien.

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