Interview with Soilent Green lead guitarist Brian Patton

- Apr 08, 2008 at 01:54AM
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Some bands like to claim that they’ve been through it all but they might reconsider that feeling if they knew what the band Soilent Green has been through. Originally from a suburb of New Orleans, this band has had their van roll over several times in a horrific car accident in 2001, had their bass player die in a murder-suicide by his roommate in 2004 and had their former lead singer killed in of all things Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Somehow, Soilent Green has survived and persevered and are just releasing their debut album on Metal Blade Records called Inevitable Collapse In The Presence of Conviction. The group currently has a bunch of U.S. tour dates lined up for the early spring opening up for Hate Eternal. Recently we spoke to lead guitarist Brian Patton about all things currently Soilent Green. Here’s what he had to say:

You guys just signed with Metal Blade Records relatively recently. How did you first get approached to sign with Metal Blade and what made you decide to sign with this label?
Brian: We were first introduced to Metal Blade through Ben and his relationship with them. To put it simply, they seemed to be real fans of the band, and into what we could possibly do. We were finished up with our contract with Relapse and it seemed we had a
mutual feeling of not wanting to work with each other at that point. So when Metal Blade approached us, it was great. We have been fans of those guys since childhood and it is an honor to be part of their roster. And they are standing strong behind us so far and that's a good feeling that we haven't had in some time.

Your new record is called Inevitable Collapse In The Presence of Conviction. How do you feel about this record and how do you think it compares with the rest of the Soilent Green catalogue?
Brian: I am very proud of this record. We have been through a lot as a band and it feels real good to be able to still do what we do. We had some time to just let all the troubles go away and used our music as an escape. We feel this is our purest release we have done in years, and we think it stands very strong against our past stuff. The music is just plain fun to play and I hope that comes threw in the recording.

The title of this album is original and pretty heavy to say the least. How did this title come about? What’s the story behind it?
Brian: Yeah it's pretty heavy, but that is where our minds were at the time. It is no secret that we have had a rough past, and we started to develop a slightly disgruntled attitude. A basic concept of life is the inevitable downfall. It is unfortunate but most people are set up for failure. We have fought many of life's situations, and one thing I can say is that we play music for the love of it, if not we would have just threw in the towel some time ago.

What was the writing and recording like for this new album? When did you start work on it and how would you describe the experience?
Brian: Despite the depressing theme, it was a real positive writing and recording process. Like I said, we like to use music as an escape and so, when we were in the room writing and in the studio, we had a real good feeling of creativity. We actually started the writing just a couple of months out of the studio from Confrontation. We love to write so when we have the time we do. We’re already tossing parts around for our next one.

Even though it isn’t going to be released until April 15th, Inevitable Collapse In The Presence of Conviction is being referred to as the band’s most instrumentally accomplished album to date. What can we expect instrumentally from this disc and what do you attribute this progression to?
Brian: Well we have never really claimed that. We never have tried to be the fastest band with the most notes or the slowest. And this time is no different. But it is I think our smartest and most tasteful. We like to concentrate on whether the riff sticks in the brain instead of how hard it is to play. Now we do like to stretch our musical arms, so to speak, but we try and put the parts together in a way that doesn't sound cut and paste. We just do what we do and this time it all fell into place we think.

You worked with producer/engineer Erik Rutan at Mana Studios in Tampa, Florida again on this album. What was it like working with him again and why did you decide to stick with him rather than work with someone new?
Brian: It was great! We love Erik! We met him years ago when we toured with Morbid Angel. We knew after doing Confrontation with him that we were going to try and go back to him. He knows our sound well and knows how to help with the organic tones we like. He, for us, is really easy to work with, and a true professional. And will try to go back to him next time around also.

Now although it’s not necessarily a concept record, Inevitable Collapse In The Presence of Conviction is apparently loosely based on the band’s history of struggle and hardship. Do you think that this is a record that the average listener will really be able to relate with?
Brian: We sure hope so. It is a pretty universal theme. But we can't dwell on that when writing. We try to write music for ourselves. I have a very short attention span, and I try to write something that would keep my interest, not only listening but playing as well. And we hope that others will just catch on.

Speaking of the band’s past struggles, you’ve certainly had your share including suicide, car accidents and lineup changes. Was there ever a point where you wanted to pack it in on the band? What has given you the resolve and helped you to soldier on with the band?
Brian: I can't say it hasn't crossed our minds at one point. But like I said, we just love to play music, it is that simple. I know nothing else, and I’m not happy doing anything else. So that is what keeps us going. I can tell you this, I know this might sound a little egotistical but, I will play probably play until the day I die. Just so happens we are one of the lucky ones that get to do it for people every now and then. I can't say it isn't hard when driving at night and it is snowing and you flash back to the other incidents. I can be a little scary. But we can't go through life thinking something is going to come along and fuck everything up. It might just happen, but we can't let that stop us from doing something we love.

Now even though Inevitable Collapse In The Presence of Conviction is an album with a sort of theme of lost or no hope, do you think the listener will be able to take away any positive or hopeful message from the record?
Brian: The theme is pretty negative, but we hope the music adds the positive side. We had a real good time, once again, writing and recording it and we hope that comes through a bit. We never really had a big message we wanted to try to convey. We just concentrate on the tonal aspects and try to do stuff that is effective on that level.

This year, Soilent Green is celebrating its twentieth year as a band, certainly an amazing accomplishment for any group. Do you have anything special planned this year to commemorate this anniversary?
Brian: Ha! Yeah! Ain't that some shit. Twenty Years! Yeah it is nice to make it to that point, but all that does is make us feel like a bunch of old farts. Ha! We will more than likely be on tour at the time and for us that, with the new release, is all the celebration we need.

What does the rest of the year hold in store for Soilent Green? What can we expect from the band?
Brian: We have a bunch of touring lined up and just hope to get out and play as much as possible. We just finished the video with the mighty Mr. David Brodsky. It has been a while since we were able to do some real consistent touring. So we just look forward to staying busy on the road for the most part.
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