Phil Anselmo and the Illegals are:
Philip H. Anselmo – voice and handmade special FX
Marzi Montazeri – axes and landscapes
Jose Manual Gonzalez – drumbeats
Bennett Bartley - GWB bassdose
Phil Anselmo and the Illegals "Bedridden" video
MUSICFRENZY.NET - Otep, it's a pleasure to be able to ask you questions about your career and your incredible new album "Hydra". I've seen you perform live before and you and the band always tear it up with every show. Such an intense live band. How important to you is the live show and touring in general?
OTEP - Thank you. I started the band to play live music, to give the internal universes that existed within me an external life. The electric ritual of live performance is the only religion we have left. It is a time when we connect on a spiritual and creative level that seems to exist only in those moments of deep, emotional ceremonies of existential joy.
MF - You've said that "Hydra" is going to be the band's last studio album. Although I'm sure tons of fans are bummed about that at least you're leaving us with one killer album! As you were writing "Hydra" did you already decide that this was going to be the last album? Was your approach to this album any different than other albums?
OTEP - I entered the studio the way I do every album with my arms full of lyric books & bags of reference material. It is a rather scholarly event for me. If I may crib Poe, it is a fantastic process of creative insanity followed by long intervals of quiet sanity. I just wrote and recorded HYDRA four months ago. It was just released one month ago. The world premiere of the first video, APEX PREDATOR, was just unleashed today. So, for me this is actually all just a beginning. I am going to enjoy every moment of this album and devote all of my energy and emotion to HYDRA.
MF - As I listened to the album, and I've listened to it probably 30 times so far, there are so many highlights for me and I want to go through some of them with you. "Rising" sets the tone for the album; ethereal moments mixed with intense vocals and crushing guitars. The whole album fits so well together. When you're recording vocals like the power lines in "Blowtorch Nightlight" can you do them in one take or does it take a few to get the intensity just right? Is "Blowtorch Nightlight" one that's in the current tour setlist? It seems like one of those songs that would immediately get the crowd moshing.
OTEP - Well, I think I can always do better but the producer, Ulrich Wild, stops me after about 300 takes or so and says, "I think you got it on the first one." He allows me the opportunity to explore the possibilities but possesses such a great ear and instinct and knows when it's right. As the artist, I must trust the one I collaborate with. I believe we are adding APEX PREDATOR and HAG to the set. Blowtorch Nightlight could be an encore……maaaaybe.
MF - The upcoming tour, which kicks off on March 8th, is called the "Seduce and Destroy" tour. "Seduce and Destroy" is the third track on "Hydra" and your vocals are very sensual before turning almost demonic. How are you able to vocalize such changes in emotion? It's incredible and is evident throughout much of this album. The recording sessions must have been intense.
OTEP - Ask a bird how it flies. I am a creature of emotion.
MF - The band is spot on as well on this album and the track "Crush" really highlights their skills. I mean, the guitars are sick and the drumming is superb. Do you get a charge out of watching the band as they lay down the music during recording? What's it been like recording and performing with the musicians you've been with during your career?
OTEP - I have been very fortunate to work with some of the most amazing musicians in the business. My own musicians are insanely talented. Aristotle on guitar and Erik on bass both bring an added element of skill and power to our sound. But also the producer Ulrich Wild who is an amazing songwriter and musician as well as producer, we wrote many of the songs together on this album. But also working with beasts like Slipknot's drummer Joey Jordison and Static X's Tony Campos, to Stolen Babies Gil & Rani Sharone, to insane artists Tristan Wallace (who composed Livestock with me) and Collyn McCoy who played bass on Atavist & Hydra has challenged and nourished my own creativity and abilities. This album was written by me, Ulrich, Aristotle, and contributions from Tristan and Collyn. It was one of the most rewarding recording experiences of my life.
MF - Have you ever considered making a mini-movie out of the track "Voyeur"? The way you describe the character in this song I can picture this dude and the torture that he's put through. Teaching this guy a lesson. It's a freakin' creepy tune but the lyrics are genius. Really gives great imagery.
OTEP - Yes, indeed I have. It's in the planning stages.
MF - The video for "Apex Predator" premieres on VEVO this Monday Feb 25. The teaser video released for the song is pretty sexy. Was the idea for the video yours or do you have someone who works on creating the video ideas? Some artists I've spoken to have had fun experiences shooting videos and others have had experiences where it seemed like the video was more insane then recording the album! What was your experience in shooting the video for "Apex Predator"? The song itself has some funk to it and I'm interested to see the full video.
OTEP - The concept was my idea but the incredibly talented director PR Brown brought in his own creativity and mastery and was able to bring this video to an entirely new level. We wanted to challenge cultural phobias and social hypocrisies, our vices & virtues, while making it spooky and sexy and provocative. Making the video was a lot of fun. Have you seen it? I spent most of the day with a beautiful woman between my legs, haha.
MF - I have to say Otep, if this truly is the last bit of music we hear from you "Hydra" is definitely the album to go out on. It's such a great album from beginning to end and will please die hard fans and new fans alike. I hope we see you pass through the Philadelphia area.
OTEP - Thank you. We are playing Pittsburgh on this tour! We hope to get back to Philly later in the year once we return from Australia! We love PHILLY!!!