MONSTER MAGNET frontman Dave Wyndorf was recently interviewed by PureGrainAudio. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On managing to remain relevant:
Dave: “I wish I had a plan. I never did have a plan — I never expected to be around that long. It’s just me writing the songs and trying to attack the music from a different angle, really — trying to get a different vibe off of the kind of music and the kind of chords that I like to hear. I’ve never really chased after new music because I love a certain type of music that I think I’m good at. That’s all it really is — I’m just trying to pose almost like the same figures in a different light each time out. I also look around and see what’s out there, and if there’s anybody else doing what I’m doing, I’ll avoid that. The whole time I’ve been around, I’ve never seen anybody exactly do what MONSTER MAGNET does, so [I say], ‘All right, I’ll do another take on this. I’ll do another take on that.'”
On keeping things simple:
Dave: “Rock’s rock — it’s certainly not brain surgery. I’m pretty easy to please in that respect. I never was impressed by prog rock when I was a kid. Everything that’s happened now, already happened. I hate to sound like an old guy, but all this shit [already] went down. Once people come out with math rock and stuff, they’re like, ‘Wow, those guys are so fuckin’ much better than me.’ I’m like, ‘It doesn’t matter. I just like to rock.’ Very simply put, if I can’t pull it off technically, I’ll make it happen in another way. I usually like to keep riffs pretty simple. I don’t need to go searching around for brand new styles. There’s at least two schools on how people look at music. A lot of guys in rock bands will go, ‘You’ve got to be faster and better and constantly innovate.’ It almost goes into jazz. I never looked at myself as much a musician as I was just a rock guy, a songwriter. For me, my rules for being a songwriter [don’t] involve crazy chords. It just really involves chord changes and melody. However I do that is my business.”
On the visual element of MONSTER MAGNET:
Dave: “When I first did MAGNET, I just kept thinking how it would look — how would it look from an album cover, from what I was singing about and what was the best way to get that message across without being too simple. All I really wanted to do was try to incorporate all my favorite stuff from when I was a kid. [When] I started MAGNET, I wasn’t a kid — I was, like, 26 or 27, and I already said to myself, ‘I’ve seen it all. All the best shit’s gone.’ I already was kind of a punk rock snob at that point. I kept trying to think, ‘What would be my favorite band? What would all that stuff be?’ It wouldn’t just be the music; it would be the lyrics, and the lyrics would reference stuff that I thought was cool that maybe nobody else knew about — movies, comic books, books, obscure references to religion, any kind of cool-ass shit I could fit together and try to write lyrics that both make sense, but also be visually evocative and fit the music. I was like, ‘What’s the weirdest word I can pick here that means what I want to say, but in the most meta-context?’ I would throw in stuff that eventually became a weird kind of writing style, like poetry. If people are just going to catch a couple of words, they’re going to have to catch ‘volcano’ or ‘exploding planet’ or ‘tits’ or whatever the cool reference would be, and that’s how I started with the visual [element].”
On favoring abstract songwriting:
Dave: “I was scared of writing a direct song. Writing a great direct song is such a gamble, because unless you hit the mood of everybody that’s going to listen to it and they all agree that this is, like, ‘talking about my generation’ or something… I was kind of afraid to do that. One, I wouldn’t be able to do it right, and number two, I was too cynical — I was like, ‘This has to mean more. It has to mean a couple things.’ I’d rather people walk away from a MAGNET song going, ‘I don’t quite get what he said, but I think I know what that is,’ or ‘It hits me in some way.’ I can sing those songs year in and year out and never get tired of it.”
On how he feels the band has changed over the years:
Dave: “The playing got better, as far as I’m concerned. The guys who are in the band [now] can play stuff the way I imagine it. Things got a little bit more muscular riff-wise, and I started adding on the top a lot more garage-y, fucked-up sounds to give it a little gnarlier [feel], a little bit more off-time shit. We got into a pattern there, and I didn’t want to be in a certain playing style. That’s where doing somewhat of the same music over and over, it becomes important to get the right person to play it, because there [are] differences. It’s good to change it up every once in a while, especially if you’re going to be around for as long as we have.”
On the group’s longevity:
Dave: “It’s weird being in a band for this long. I thought I would do what everybody else does, which is hang around for three or four years, and then the world kicks you out. I just kept ducking and weaving and going one place to the other. I didn’t want to stop, because it’s just too much fun. It’s too cool.”
MONSTER MAGNET‘s 11th album, “Mindfucker”, was released March 23 via Napalm Records.