It was more than a bummer for Philly, or Philthy (a city with a history of subculture enthusiasts, with a special fondness for the electronically abrasive), to miss out on Skinny Puppy’s most recently scheduled area appearance, when the Industrial legends had to cancel their February show due to a snow storm. However, the band are already back with the Eye Vs. Spy tour, a sure-to-be Debord-ian anti-spectacle that also includes Industrial revolutionaries Front Line Assembly; electronic radicals (who have embraced seemingly every brand of electronic radicalism) Haujobb; and Youth Code, a male/female duo out of LA that I’m hoping will turn out to be this generation’s Alec Empire/Hanin Elias. The Eye Vs. Spy Tour will make a stop at the Trocadero Theatre next Wednesday, December 3rd.
In a recent chat with Skinny Puppy’s Ogre, the band’s frontman seems especially excited for the package tour, both to once again be alongside the likes of Front Line Assembly and Haujobb and also to see promising newcomers Youth Code. On his band’s current show, he tells me it is inspired by Pandora’s Box and implies that it will be just as theatrically dynamic as any of their previous, heavily-multi-media-based, live setups. And although he is very happy with the company Skinny Puppy are sharing on their current tour, Ogre tells me that he doesn’t find a ton of inspiration in contemporary music.
“I’m a bit of a Negative Nelly. Musically, I’m not really vibing with today’s music as much. Everyone seems to be writing music to feed the machine and not their own artistic intent. When I’m creating, my goal is to be as present as I can with what’s happening in the world right now. I mean, when you’re making music, it’s about, ‘What are you gonna say?’ and ‘How do you have to say it?’”
However, Ogre does tell me that there are certain outsiders in the realm of artists that he continues to find inspiring: “My biggest influences are whatever alternative voices are talking about things that are unreported at the time.” And when I ask him what have been the highlights of Skinny Puppy’s 32 years as a band, he laughs and reconfirms what his partner in SP, cEvin Key, told me a year ago (“We were never really serious about it and we never really expected it to get popular, which always allowed us to have a lot of freedom.”): “After making our first album, being able to make seven more would be the highlight. We thought it would be as quickly discarded as it was conceived – in the time of hair metal.”