Pound of Flesh talks Ghosts, Refills, and the Music Industry

As you all have probably figured out by now, my musical tastes are everywhere. You have a genre? I probably have a band I genuinely enjoy. This time around I’ve delved a bit into the pop-industrial realm with Pound of Flesh. What I love about industrial sounding music is the need for the background sounds to be so artfully melded together as to compliment the lead instruments. It’s so easy for guitars and vocals to be swallowed up in the sea of sounds they’ve put together. Pound of Flesh have refined their craft and bring something so chaotic but so organized all at once. While some put on white noise to calm themselves, I whole heartedly would put on “Believe” and let my ears continue to dissect each and every sound. I spoke with Vocalist/Drum Programmer Darrell James of Pound of Flesh (you might also know him from Ministry) about the new direction Pound of Flesh is going, jobs, and ghost hunting!

 

First I wanted to talk about the release of Refills, the remixed compliment of Pills, what made you choose this route instead of putting out new music?

Well we’ve been changing and developing our sound recently, Steve had come up with these remixed versions of the songs. We started playing them live and we were getting really good response from them, so we decided that since the new stuff was going in that direction we would put this out. We weren’t originally going to put this out, we’re in the process of putting out a new record but we thought putting this out would be great for the fans to check out because it is sort of a bridge between what we’ve done and this new sound we’re working towards right now.

There were a lot of technical issues in this release, is there anything different that you or your team would want to do moving forward with your next release?  

Well it was kind of confusing what had happened, the worldwide release had no problems, itunes, amazon, all the streaming sites except for the US. It was a glitch in our system that they did fix, the rest of the sites didn’t come online until much later than we wanted to. What happened wasn’t really something that could be planned for or against.

Let’s talk about the lead single, “Believe” can you tell me about what you were thinking about when writing that one?

Sometimes when I write a song the lyrics come first, other times it’s the music and then I’ll work on it together. Find what music matches with which lyrics, but Believe was one of those songs that everything came together all at once. The first time around I wasn’t totally settled with it, I didn’t feel like the lyrics were fresh enough so I did a little rewriting and recorded it, showed it to Steve our keyboard player and he was like, “I love the music but man what are up with these lyrics?” I had told him I was having trouble writing them and I showed him the original lyrics, the original version I recorded and he thought it was perfect. It was a little personal, frustrated with trying to find a job, a lot of things were just going wrong in my life at the time. It was a song for the longest time I did not like. It wasn’t until Steve came in and helped me, the keyboard part in the single isn’t the original work, Steve rewrote the entire keyboard part. I love the song now.

I can relate, the job market is crap right now..

When you find something it’s awesome but it seems like when you find something they aren’t even really excited to have you on board. It’s more like there are so many people filling in the applications, and we’re going to pay you less than you need or less than you deserve or merit to fill the spot. It’s a drag.

I love the video for Believe as well, as you spook some ghost hunters. How did the video have to be shot to make you guys look like ghosts? Where the takes layered on top of each other?

Some were done at the same time, we set up a green screen in the living room of the house so we could shoot some of the ghost scenes at the same time as the rest of the shoot. We ended up setting our dining room here at the house as a green screen at a later date and finishing up, so no they weren’t shot in the same frame. Especially the cats, we’ve got some people that we started working with in the UK that were trying to get us “more clicks” and more traffic to the video so they were like “include cute cats!” and were weren’t sold on it, we didn’t really want to lie about it. But while we were shooting the video we had the cats out so they did make the video, a few ran across the green screen and we kind of just went with it!

I saw the Keyboard Cat cake on your Facebook, would you say the band is more cat people than dog people?

Yes, definitely! Myself, Steve and our Guitarist Al all have cats, Michael is allergic to cats…I don’t know if you caught the Squirrel in the video? That’s spuds, squirrels are Michael’s thing. He loves squirrels, and rabbits. He wants a rabbit, his girlfriend wants a dog they haven’t decided quite yet.

Do you guys believe in Ghosts and ghost hunting?

Yes! Some of the shows are a little ridiculous, they cut stuff up and make it seem a lot more suspenseful for the hype. I get it, it’s for television. But I know I am and a couple of the other guys certainly do believe.

You guys as a band have been around a while, you’ve seen not only the scene you’re involved in change but the industry as a whole. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the music industry and what do you see as the biggest change coming in the future?

The big deal is all the downloads and everyone taking the music for free. A lot of people don’t understand, they think its okay because they think they’re taking away money from big companies but it really trickles down to taking money from the artists. They work with them but unfortunately they fail because the rest of the system is set up to take advantage and they don’t get their fair share. Eventually they’ll figure out what’s going on, once they change formats from mp3s to whatever comes next, they just need to get a handle on the digital realm. People making money are the ones with the corporate sponsorships. They’re not making money off their music but they’re making money off of sponsorships and product placements.

I know streaming subscriptions are looking to be the future

That makes sense, you have more variety but they don’t make it clear on streaming sites how little people make on these services. That’s something people need to fix. It’s one of the good reasons to be DIY right now, you don’t really need the major labels behind you to get all the exposure and support you need. We’ve been very fortunate, besides the release glitch this last time, we’ve had nothing but good experiences as a DIY group.

Your fans refer to themselves as “Fleshlings” how did that come about for your fanbase?

It came about with a woman in Germany while I was touring with Ministry so it had to have been like 2004, we were talking about the band and stuff. When I was in Ministry I was working and coming up with Pound of Flesh as an idea. I was doing an interview with her and she coined the term herself. She was quite the character, she looked like a stereotypical witch, she was a sweetheart though! We played a show in Hamburg, she was like 2nd row in the front, the whole time she was really into it. Some Ministry fans aren’t POF, we aren’t as heavy as Ministry. We didn’t use it for a long time though! One of our PR people were asking about having like a fan club and the term came back.

What can Pound of Flesh fans be looking for on the horizon?

We’re nearly done with the new record, we’ve started testing out some tracks on tour and getting fans opinions. We have some POF fans that have been here since day 1, before when I was in Ministry POF was more industrial sounding, I never thought we sounded that way, we’re more along the lines of pop industrial like Nine Inch Nails. The new stuff has more keyboard, more dancey rhythms to it that we didn’t really do on the last couple records. That’s why we put out refills because we wanted to get fans ready for the new stuff!

 

Thank you so much to Darrell for speaking with me and if you have yet to check out Refills, what are you waiting for?? Stay up to date with all things Pound of Flesh as well with their socials below:

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