A Communique from Anonymous via The Village Voice Films Crew Band Interview Series
Films Crew + Peyrony Track mentioned can be downloaded HERE
Someone just accused us of making Propaganda! OMG! The entire plan is foiled, delete everything! Everything You Know About #Anonymous is Wrong. We will let you sleep when you let us dream
Films Crew Band, Peyrony Band, and Films Crew Collective Interview
Skip Walker, Kurt Vogl, Logan Harris speak to Village Voice. Network contributions from Levi Wall and Aaron James. Films Crew Band, Films Crew Collective, or the other bands/artists of the collective were impossible to assemble into a many to one sit down interview. They don’t do interviews as a rule or policy, it was more of an experience than an interview. This interview was conducted in a networked compilation of emails, Skyping, and one or two on one sit down sessions. BV is providing Films Crew Collective with a shortened transcript for their network, BV had an agreement with Village Voice for distribution through their premium services, which we agreed to give the unedited content in full after a grace period.
EBV: The obvious questions are how has been proceeding without Shawn? The music community is still quite shocked over what we have learned seems to be a premeditated act of abuse against him.
Skip: No comments as to condition. It literally takes three people to do the work at a momentum that most were unable to keep pace with, I’ve met some opposition from unlikely places for landing in his position for the time. not from anyone inside Films Crew Collective. It is a situation I was eager to think I could easily handle, I have to take a moment and delegate or share some responsibilities. I haven’t begun to process it personally.
Kurt: This hasn’t been easy, it’s all unkind. Shawn never wanted to leave Manhattan, again his husband wasn’t having it, his returning, which happened under very unfortunate circumstances, his husband isolated him it was a cause for concern. There have been a series of violent threat from his husband’s family, I don’t think they appreciate the irony in their own behavior, or enabling Shawn’s husband’s behavior, It’s incomprehensible it has been encouraged.
EBV: Films Crew Collective’s support for Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement in general is unusual and bold for bands in your genres, how did this become a focal point?
Skip: Mike Hill and Tombs have come out in support, The majority of people in the music community who are in solidarity with OWS seems unbalanced. It seems like any artist or musician who is missing the point or is dismissive of Occupy is missing a much larger point. Wall Street has imminent domain over any possible distribution or creative process, your gear, your tech comes from companies that Wall Street has the ability to break. From the early days with Abandoned Halos to early Films Crew Band it was very obvious in online services even, when you read an end user license agreement, that ultimate control over your content, down to the way it could be perceived, to onerous censorship provisions, the point was, you no longer owned even the right to call your content your own, These are Wall Street companies, this needs to be regulated but hardly the only reason to be in actual solidarity with OWS.
Kurt: OWS is a global movement I’d been back in Germany to visit my parents, Occupy had a very strong presence there. Protests are not as easily broken up or ignored in the EU, people are unafraid to take the square or the streets in massive numbers. It’s not as much of a fearful or puritanical culture. In New York I was hopeful when I saw and was among tens of thousands of people in the streets. The influence Wall Street has over the EU is too much. When I came here for school I found it upsetting how much of a consumerist culture it is here, and people unaware of it, they have an illusion that there is advertising at specific times, the people, the places, their lives had become the advertisements, it was overwhelming, it is unfortunate that Germany and the EU are becoming like this. The religious right in this country have no real counterpart in the EU outside of a few fanatics in neo-facist clubs, but the odd Calvinist religious right in the US has been co-opted by politicians and the corporations that control them, the religious right have no idea what is in their Bibles or the Constitution. It is a spot of congealed bigotry who votes against their own interests. Occupy is a movement this country needs.
EBV: So you don’t see a lack of clear message in Occupy as an issue?
Skip: There are many issues that need addressing, that’s a profound message.
Kurt: Politicians being a consumer product of Wall Street banks in a consumerist culture is a clear message.
Skip: I don’t understand how it isn’t a clear message, The television propagandists have a problem with this with questions like ‘What are their demands’?, no one can say, no one should say, it’s very clear Occupy is not leaving.
Levi: It’s a thing, a thing that doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. A thing where we’ve been brought up in. sold and lied to by the people elected to protect us. Accountability is a message.
EBV: Peyrony’s next release, as I understand was partially recorded during the Zuccotti Park phase of OWS, but all of you have gone back in to change up the final release? Was OWS a factor? I understand the track Lost Our Way has been downloaded over a million times, how does that register with all of you?
Skip: Spending time at Liberty formerly Zuccotti, definitely had an impact on shaping what is Peyrony’s next release. We were dealing with conflicting schedules as well. There is a situation where Chris has asked Logan to re-track Chris’ drum tracks. Chris has been focusing on engineering. By mistake I took it upon myself to re-titled it not having realized that Z (Shawn) had written so much material and there was a series over over-arching themes between Peyrony and Films Crew to unfold as a unifying thread. If I hadn’t caught my own mistake, we’d be lost by next the next recording. I think Peyrony was a very important project for Z (Shawn), it has none of the constraints the other projects have had which held him back. As a band or collective we are interpreting what has already been written, most of the time we have completed guitar tracks. I am curious about Lost Our Way being downloaded over a million times given the genre of music, also it’s edited down from nine minutes, incomplete, and not a final mix.
Kurt: I got a great amount of energy and urgency on my treks to Liberty, still do. I think it reflects in what we are doing. It helped the situation fall into place for me musically. For me the integrity to Z (Shawn) was my priority, I’ve yet to feel as much empathy from or to another individual. Thinking about the number of downloads is something I don’t want to get caught up in because you will think the same formula will work every time, or that it’s personally about yourself, I’m sure it would be worse if money was involved, and there wasn’t. We had some wonderful production guidance.
EBV: Your website seems like it has been taken over by Anonymous, which has had the effect of making it far more informative, was this planned?, or is there a something I’m missing?
Skip: I don’t do any web coding, our webmaster Jay needed to take some time off, it was his decision about Anon. I support Anonymous as a movement, and it’s a great relief to be working with these Anons as opposed to some marketing firm who don’t do it ‘for the lulz’. Later I discovered Jay had been fired by the majority holder in our productions company.
Levi: Jay, our webmaster had some downtime after getting himself ill with pneumonia. He is fine now, the thing is he had never taken any time off. Jay had emailed me confused Z (Shawn’s) husband Nate Nevitt had fired him, for interfering in their marriage, a thing that never happened. Jay had a thing, he wanted to take a year off occasionally checking in. Jay had written about taking a year away from the web on some tech site, this was a thing that got a lot of response, and a thing he wanted done right, and reached out. Jay had been treated like an employee by Nate Nevitt, a thing he was not. With Nate Nevitt came all of this chaos to our website, there were all of these art galleries. I don’t know what Jay arranged with the Anons, I hope they get lulz. Nate Nevitt banned me from the site, from Z(Shawn), he fired me from Films Crew and Annonxn.
Kurt: There was a lull in any kind of web presence after I started doing some vocals for Films Crew, the Original Aaron (Housos) put us in a very strange situation with a blogger, we still aren’t sure why, or how he could have possibly known someone of that hyperbolic nature, we couldn’t respond to it, it became more of this audio visual maze with Jay occasionally giving an update. When Z’s (Shawn’s) husband decided what things were going to change, it really got away from the point of it all. It would be high irony if Anonymous had not been aware of the our precarious situation starting with Original Aaron. I am grateful to Anonymous for putting things where they need to be.
EBV: The website has been an important platform where Films Crew Collective has stretched some boundaries, was it meant to have a cinematic feel?
Skip: Conceptually it is what Z (Shawn) and Aaron (Housos) decided it would be. I’m not clear on Aaron’s contribution. Jay pulled it all together, Levi had a great deal of involvement. Clearly a web 2.0 foundation was not enough. Levi could give a better account of this than I could.
Levi: It was a thing that was never meant to be a marketing platform, it was more a by-product of we are interested in these things in this way, art as a whole as a thing of process so cinematic as a thing might fit but we wanted these ideas down to the build, Z (Shawn)was fascinated by and welcomed Wikileaks so transparency was a thing that became very important, both personally and definitely not for a monstrous website, which meant no tracking and having feeds available even through the Tor network. We are artists first, it didn’t men the things underlying that wouldn’t matter. I think it was an important thing when I consider Aaron throwing us under the bus for whatever happened with these things he may have had a part in, or whatever that blog woman was trying to rant about, we had no association with her.
EBV to Levi: The blogger is a woman that comes up in a whole lot of search results related to the band, correct? Has this been damaging? I’ve read some of it, there are some interesting allegations in that word salad, is something that you have taken personally?
Levi: I haven’t read any of it, I’ve been told things. Tying me to be related to Aaron is a thing I took personally, that’s offensive, I am very distantly related to Z (Shawn) and Skip, not by blood. You can’t respond to a thing like that, you have to keep working and making a presentation out of that. She never had contact with us, only Aaron, and I’m sure she has gotten bored and is long gone.
EBV to Levi: No Levi, the Fox News blogger and her blogs aren’t gone.
Levi: It’s a thing I don’t know about, so when confronted pose for artistic nudes.
EBV: Films Crew Collective has had different people write on your website, it doesn’t seem like a casual decision, it seems like there is something more to it, is there?
Skip: For all intents and purposes there is something more to it. Amanda is someone who has been important to Z (Shawn), and I am getting to know. She’s quite remarkable. Tom Morris, we haven’t heard from in a bit. Z (Shawn) loves him very much, those of us who have had contact with him do. The people who have been part of the site very much have a home there. It’s always been our idea that if someone had something they wanted to say through our platform, we would provide them with that means.
Levi: Nate Nevitt who forced Shawn into marrying him, told me to leave the site, fired me from Films Crew and Annonxn, I did announce my new band Predator. I was fired because I stayed at Z’s (Shawn’s) place, while Nate Nevitt was engaging in adultery with Nate Riot Cytanovic and a Nic Candito and probably that Kurt Bogle, who Z (Shawn) cared a great deal for, the thing is, where is he now>m was is it all empty words? I keep hearing these people are all famous, that’s fine, but I don’t know what is that they do to be so famous. The thing is I’d rather toil away in obscurity on stage for 10,000 people, or directing video . I love Amanda, she’s like our mom, and Tom Morris, love him.
EBV: There has been some talk of a Films Crew and Peyrony series of songs, I didn’t quite understand how that would work, and how would that work considering there are what, 10 or 11 people at the core of Films Crew Collective?
Skip: I don’t think we are at a point where we would do a series of tracks in that manner, we did do a one-off track which all of us are on, it’s a bit of a complex track, the initial problem with it was the length. Some 43 minutes, unsure of how we could edit it down. Chris eventually decided on a 21 minute version, though I am sure he will changed his mind and we will have multiple versions. Logistically it was interesting, we have been experimenting with two drummers live, in the studio it seemed almost hazardous/ At time there were three drummers. Levi had reservations about being a part of it, so he limited his involvement. Original Aaron (Housos) has drums tracked in it. Nik hasn’t finalized it yet, so there will be stages that are varying before the finished product. Those stages will disappear so we came to a decision of welcoming downloads of it during the process.
Kurt: I was a bit nervous about it, I’m not sure if it is something we will do live. We were immediately offered spots where it would be sliced up in soundtracks, that may still happen. Chris and Logan were also interested in putting it to film.
Skip: I think the misconception that will arise from it is that Peyrony and Films Crew are two separate bands, they aren’t, they are two separate sounds on the verge of merging. That was part of unifying point when we approached it.
EBV to Levi: Can you tell me something about what your band Predator is doing?
Levi: Aaron James, Kurt, and Logan have been playing with Films Crew and Peyrony. I’ve been working on a documentary. Predator band is a thing that came out of a reaction. I haven’t gone beyond one song released on line. Predator Band recorded a lot material in a short period of time. It was like this new musical vocabulary for me, We did a stint of live shows, the thing is I didn’t like being lumped in a category of atmospheric black metal, Predator Band may be this thing, but I would like to be on the atmospheric side of things. It took a year to settle on some thing about it, it is a thing I can pull myself inside out through, I’m giving it some time to settle before we release, and everyone’s schedule’s to make it possible..
Aaron James: Schedules are definitely a problem, the people who work with Predator Band come out of Films Crew and Peyrony, back to Abandoned Halos. I think the material is there and very different than any of the other output from Films Crew Collective. It’s a musical place Levi has been arriving at on his own.
EBV: All of Films Crew Collective is ‘Out’, there have been absurd assumptions about being a metal boy band. Is it better to be out as gay, having that on the table, than not?
Skip: I don’t know what a ‘boy band’ is. There are quite a few musicians for whom it would be career suicide to be out as gay, that’s not an enviable position. Being out from the beginning eliminates problems. It’s not a situation of being uncompromising, it’s just matter of fact, to some extent it may be part of my identity, not the determining aspect. It has nothing to do with being authentic, authenticity is perceived. Music is much different than visual arts in this regard, attitudes are narrower, it’s nothing that we’ve had a problem with. Kurt has a much different perspective of it, he came to The States as a kid, went to naval academy, he’s a pilot.
Kurt: No, it hasn’t been an issue for us. At Naval Academy it could have been an issue. Compartmentalizing a duality like that probably leads to personality disorders. All of my time away from that atmosphere was with Z (Shawn) and the band. At a Naval Academy many lurid and sordid actions take place, I wasn’t part of that, I wasn’t pretending either, that would have been ridiculous. I was out, my logic was based on, really what could a Naval Academy do about it?, they were complicit by taking tuition. To think of it becoming a commercial pilot would even more ridiculous.
Kurt Vogl, Peyrony + Films Crew = Pearl Enthusiast, not at all gay. LULZ
Skip: We aren’t branded as such, we aren’t selling an image. People will perceive what they will. As far as metal is concerned, I had considered what we do as particularly metal.
EBV: I was surprised when material from Aaron Housos’ Synopsis Misfire showed up, it’s very interesting, what can you tell me about it?
Skip: Truthfully, absolutely nothing. Actually we aren’t sure of his name. Chris thought enough of it to ask the Anons to mention uploading the raw data so he could re-engineer and mix it. Aaron has logins and passes, but we can’t be sure that Synopsis Misfire is Aaron, although some photos that were uploaded beg the question. Our hesitation to get involved is understandable, Aaron owns a sliver of the productions company, we can’t exactly veto it, as it is we still don’t know, only that he has access.
Kurt: I’m not as skeptical about it, there’s every possibility that Aaron could be working on his band again. Aaron certainly has the talent.
Levi: It’s an interesting thing, but I can’t say for sure that it is Aaron. Z’s (Shawn’s) husband Nate Nevitt said that Aaron was to be banned, it’s a thing that can’t be technically done because Aaron does own a share of the productions company. Aaron does have logins all over the site, things like unauthorized accesses haven’t happened, I don’t think he would be propping up some friends project with pictures of himself, I’ve never understood him at all. Aaron is a talent. What the worry is are the things that come with him, things like Grizzly Mom blog ladies, I wonder if she looks like Sarah Palin. Nate Nevitt had this kill him with fire thing about Aaron having access to the site or Z (Shawn) because Aaron was his ex and gay, never mind the thing of the damage that Sarah Palin blogger did. Thing is Aaron doesn’t look so bad when you look at a thing like Nate Nevitt who put his husband in a coma
Artist Production Company Owner Nathan Nevitt Peyronies Films Crew Band
Mystery Aaron Housos Synopsis Misfire New Track HERE
EBV: Does anyone in Films Crew Collective think the social networking movement has been positive for music?
Skip: Not be any traditional channels, they are invasive. I do think they’ve made musicians lazier. In many ways it can be a mistake. We had an up down vote over @FilmsCrewBand the Twitter account, to delete and start it over before Sept 17th’s Occupy Wall Street, Justin Wedes had done his Tweets from the streets, It seemed the best way to aggregate our news, that account never recovered, it was inconceivable to take an action like that, people assume that the account is not Films Crew Band any longer. The advantage of that has been that we can have the news aggregated to us. We have experimented quite a bit with Diaspora from its pre-alpha period. We aren’t marketing or attempting to brand personalities. There is always a tendency for wanton narcissism with non-artists, who have egos that are as fragile as artists, it’s not a conducive atmosphere for anything constructive.That landscape changes as rapidly as the privacy policies. I don’t know many people involved in that virtual world, it’s what their parents do.
Kurt: From my perspective, it refer to Skip’s conclusion about having a monolithic corporate entity having ownership over something you create. In the end you are the product, their customers and clients pay them. Diaspora and the networks that follow that model will be about discovery, it’s a distributed network, that’s something that could be more beneficial to artists. Social networking as it is probably peaked a year ago. In a music art collective like ours, we are amorphous, not a constant, our audience will vary and cross demographics, I’m reasonably confident that the parents of my friends don’t fit in that demographic.
EBV: Films Crew, Peyrony, and Annonxn have established themselves all outside of normal channels, all of you don’t seem to fit into a category that is associated with other recording artists, do you have much in common with other recording artists?
Skip: I think so, it also has to be realized that the definition of a recording artist is changing. Most of my attitudes or philosophies have been due to Z’s (Shawn’s) influence, everything and nothing is about the music and technique. Everything will reflect in it, our explanations of it will not. It seems very meta. Of course we talk to other recording artists, at times there is not a lot of common ground, I don’t see that as issue. Films Crew has always been networked, we are decentralized, we are always working. We all have our own plans.
Kurt: I find a problem with any need to be categorized, there is too much diversity within us, and much ground we’d like to cover. I have another recording project and don’t spend time with other recording artists, I think we have all rejected whatever the lifestyle associated with that, whatever it is. This is a collective where I have come, gone, and done as I have pleased, we place a great emphasis on ethics, we want to be the change we wish to see.
Mystery Aaron Housos Synopsis Misfire New Track HERE
Aaron Housos Wall James Nevitt Uploaded