Rene Botello of Rock All Photography conducted an interview with mainman Tommy Victor of American industrial metal power trio PRONG prior to the band’s May 7 concert at House Of Rock in Corpus Christi, Texas, alongside HELMET. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On PRONG‘s longevity:
Tommy: “I have to show some gratitude toward that occasionally. I mean, it’s a tough business and for a weird little kid from Queens to be still doing this is kind of an amazing feat, I guess. But I’m a greedy bastard and I always want more, so I’m never satisfied.”
On PRONG‘s development from their early albums:
Tommy: “I don’t even know what I really wanted to accomplish. With PRONG, we wanted to be different, we didn’t want to be part of any particular movement or genre. We just wanted to stand apart. I think it still exists to this day where we stand apart. It’s its own entity. I guess there’s some internal feelings against a group mentality or whatever. Maybe I should be more world-conscious these days or something. [Laughs] I still have my lessons to be learned, I don’t know. I’m a tough one to crack when it comes to learning new stuff. But, back to hardcore versus metal versus alternative, once we started getting to metal, we were like ‘We can’t do this anymore.’ Then once we got too alternative, we were like ‘Let’s get back into metal!’ Then we got into that area, like the recent years, I’ve been like ‘Let’s combine it all.’ Like ‘Zero Days’, our recent record. I tell people to get it, I say: ‘If you’re into ‘Cleansing’, ‘Beg To Differ’, the older PRONG records, you should get this one because we wanted to combine it all.’ The whole thing is a fusion anyhow. Then, to put it into the meat grinder again is how these records come about.”
On “Zero Days”:
Tommy: “It’s not like we went back and looked and picked out pieces, but in designing new riffs and new songs, we wanted to make it where it wasn’t like we were going off on another tangent. It had to have a reflection on those older records.”
On PRONG and HELMET sharing some of the same characteristics:
Tommy: “We do, but in a lot of ways, we were different. PRONG was the kind of band that was playing a lot of the hardcore matinees at CBGB’s. We weren’t completely a crossover band, then we played with the CRUMBSUCKERS and more of the crossover bands, then we’d play with WHIPLASH, which was a thrash metal band, then we played with SHEER TERROR, then we could play with the MENTORS. Then we’d play with the really alternative groups like MY BLOODY VALENTINE. We did as much as we could. I think we were more associated with New York hardcore. HELMET was innovative and more in the alternative scene than we were. I’m not saying we weren’t as innovative, but they seemed to be more with the college rock crowd or something. We definitely went in different paths, but we started essentially on that Lower East Side sound. Musically, there’s a lot of similarities, but as far as the marketing paths that we went, we were considerably different. We were signed to Epic, they branded us as a metal band. Like, ‘This is the new metal.’ They wanted to throw that down everyone’s throats, so we had to go along with that. There’s no way arguing with people who were spending money on your band.”
On his current songwriting process:
Tommy: “I don’t like to question myself, like, ‘This is it. If you guys don’t like it, then we won’t do it.’ I don’t keep re-working and try to wrench something out of it. For instance, with ‘Zero Days’, there was a lot of songs prepared and written and finished and a lot of the stuff just got thrown into the garbage can, even before I presented some of the stuff to Chris Collier, the producer, there was like 15 ideas, he was just like ‘Nah, nah.’ We were listening, and I was like ‘All right. I spent four days on that, but who cares?'”
PRONG‘s co-headlining tour with HELMET kicked May 3 and concludes May 26 at Baltimore’s Maryland Deathfest.
“Zero Days” was released last September via Steamhammer/SPV. The disc was once again produced by Victor, with trusted collaborator Collier as co-producer and engineer.