Hollow Doors of Perception
CoC chats with Craig Pillard of Methadrone
by: T. DePalma
Methadrone. It's one of the more perfectly suited names I've heard in some time. It's also atypical and possible to imagine what such a band might sound like just from repeating the word aloud. To their credit, the two members of Methadrone deliver the promise of their un-concealing namesake without becoming predictable. In fact, Methadrone's music belies the prominent career of one of death metal's more memorable voices: former Incantation front man Craig Pillard. Structured around two bass guitars and a drum machine, their music presents an ambient sojourn from reality. With song titles like "Ebullient Drift", "Dextropropoxyphene" and "Dozer", the objective seems clear, entwining the pure spirit of sound with cellular consequences. Explains Pillard:

"Methadrone began as a direct result of total self destruction on a level most people would never recover from. The musical concept started with the two bass guitar theory, one lead and one rhythm, which metamorphosed into sonically deeper and moodier layered bass patterns with multi-effected guitar highlights and unconventional drum patterns."

CoC: How has the response to the new CD been?

Craig Pillard: The response has been excellent. You can check out the feedback on _Retrogression_ through our website.

CoC: How did you hook up with Randi Stokes [rhythm bass]?

CP: Randi has been a good friend through the years and I felt he would fit perfectly within the rhythm section of Methadrone's sound.

CoC: Your demo CD _Erroneous Enlightenment_ has a really distorted, up-front sound, almost like listening directly into a Tascam or something. Were you happy with the way the sound turned out?

CP: In fact it was recorded on a 4-track (idiot proof) Tascam MF-P01 in my living room. At the time I was happy with the way it came out, but now I absolutely think I could have done it better through the methods I'm using now.

CoC: When were the songs for _Erroneous Enlightenment_ written?

CP: _EE_ was written and recorded towards the end of 2003.

CoC: Where was the new disc, _Retrogression_, recorded?

CP: _Retrogression_ was also done with the same 4-track along with a BBE Sonic maximizer, ART multi effects processor, Sansui stereo equalizer, with a Samson C-com 16 compressor in the comforts of my living room again.

CoC: What was behind the decision to not record any vocals for the album?

CP: When completing the music for _Retrogression_ I felt that vocals would have taken away from the overall depth and mood of this release. That does not mean I won't record vocals anymore on newer material. I believe that the minimal multi-effected guitar makes up for the non use of vocals on this release also.

CoC: You've added a guitar line to the mix on _Retrogression_ that's gone a long way in improving the music's depth without sacrificing the atmosphere created by the double bass effect. You're also still using a drum machine and continue to use it when playing live sets. Do you plan on making a change there (live or on record), or is that kind of stoic pulse integral to the music in your mind?

CP: The types of unconventional pulse drone that the drum machine adds are foundational to the mood and structure of Methadrone's sound. So no, I don't think that I would do away with the drum machine for recording and live purposes. I will be recording some new material with no drums, but that does not mean I will get rid of them.

CoC: Is it accurate to place Methadrone in the context of your own experience with drugs? Heroin use left you subsequently homeless for a time, correct? Obviously you survived the ordeal and have wound up being more active since. Do you still think there is some benefit in taking the chance with different substances?

CP: There are depths that I have explored, and depths that have explored me. To go deeper than no man has gone before and to come back alive, some people say makes you stronger; that, my friend is simply NOT TRUE. If you end up surviving an ordeal like this, you will never be the same again. You will be a Drone amongst Drones! The chemistry in my body is now forever tainted and non-reversible. For me, now it's better living through chemistry!

CoC: Do you think certain types of music are better suited to different concepts? A large section of ambient music contains themes of militarism and has political overtones, while death metal is, for the most part, absent of politics and exerts a more anti-spiritual metaphysics of gore and nihilism. Conversely, speed and thrash metal are preoccupied with war and social issues. Black metal is about Satan and sometimes politics, etc.

CP: That is the stigma certain genres of music have left upon people. Bands that revolve around one certain style and concept will be labeled and placed away somewhere on a shelf. Re-invention is the key to true ART. A perfect example is Laibach's versions of the Beatles on their "Let it Be", the Stones "Sympathy for the Devil" on their multi covered album _Nato_.

CoC: What albums did you draw on when you went ahead with Methadrone?

CP: I listen to many forms of great music, that I consider true art: Swans, Laibach, Death in June, Lycia, Strauss, David Bowie, Boyd Rice and Non, Paradise Lost, Wagner, Beatles, Zarah Leander, Sophia, Pink Floyd, etc., etc.

CoC: Have you heard the last Incantation album with John McEntee on vocals?

CP: Yes, I give John a lot of credit. If you're asking me if it's like the early Incantation, I think you know the answer to that.

CoC: What bands influenced you when you first began listening to metal, and what were you into before you were introduced to it?

CP: Back in the beginning was a lot of great classic rock, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Beatles, etc., etc. Then in the '80s, when I started playing metal, I listened to Slayer, Venom, Possessed, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Death, Carnivore, etc., etc.

CoC: Again, talking about the various genres listed above, the one thing they seem to have in common is a desire to overhaul the current system in some way, if not politically than by derailing the course of its religious pathway. Does exploring such options through art appeal to you personally?

CP: Sure, like I said before, if you re-invent an idea that has been done before and put your own twist on it, that can be something special. The problem I find in most bands today is the repetitious carbon copy that so many bands in so many genres of music are doing. Be yourself, and just let it flow like any work of true amazing art.

CoC: What do you think it is about the East Coast that produces such potent death/doom metal bands throughout the years? (Evoken, Sorrow, Hierophant, Winter... Of course Disciples of Mockery and Incantation have had a touch of doom as well.)

CP: It must be in the water!

CoC: Do you think metal is something that you've now left behind as a creative outlet?

CP: Metal has been a big creative part in my life and it will always be with me in some form or another. A lot of people think metal is the be-all to end all in extreme music, and that simply is not true. There are different forms of extreme art and I find also that is the case with music. So don't limit yourself to one style of music! That's like looking at the same painting over and over again.

CoC: I mentioned that you had become prolific, and while you've been involved with several bands over the last few years, you also put them to bed rather quickly -- Disciples of Mockery being the most promising example. Do you see Methadrone as having a long term future?

CP: DoM was a goal that had been achieved in our eyes. Some people say it should have been the third Incantation album. I felt we completed a trilogy with DoM's _Prelude to Apocalypse_ , and to keep it going would be pointless. As for Methadrone, I plan to do many new releases and ventures with this new original deep sound. I don't see an end soon for Methadrone at all!

CoC: Are there any future live shows you plan on doing that you'd like to mention?

CP: Methadrone is booked for a two and a half week European tour in September 2005 with Hungarian band Stereochrist. The dates and venues will be posted on the Methadrone website. All Methadrone performances in the future will be posted on the site, so keep checking back, we may be playing in your area.

CoC: I want to thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. The final word is all yours...

CP: Thanks Todd, I appreciate the interview. Methadrone now has limited T-shirts available through the website along with other merchandise. I have plans to re-release _Retrogression_ in a DVD slimcase with a bonus track and video included. I will be writing and recording new material for another release later this year, _Better Living Through Chemistry_. Visit our website.

(article submitted 19/4/2005)


ALBUMS
4/19/2005 T DePalma 7.5 Methadrone - Retrogression
DEMOS
4/19/2005 T DePalma 3.5 Methadrone - Erroneous Enlightenment
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