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Pineal Ventana interview conducted by cassette & mail june 1998
Pineal Ventana is a six piece orchestrated noise rock band, though such a simple classification is of course vague & rediculous.  their motto is "stagnancy is revolting."  they have a small label called Scuss that released a comp recently called our heat your moisture.  they have an EP called Expel coming out on Shoestring.  they recently signed to Unit Circle & unfortunately a lot of their earlier material will probably be going out of print.
QRD – would you like your music to stay underground?

John – what does he mean by that?

Mitch – I think he means the fact that we're a little bit obscure & not mainstream.

Jason – well, I think we're always going to, by the nature of the band, remain away from the mainstream.  because it seems that the mainstream is very stagnant & the motto itself stands against that.  I think we are by our very nature not mainstream.

Kim --  I don't think people are ready for it.

Mitch – the question is "would we like it to stay underground?"

Kim – yes.

Mitch – but then again I wouldn't mind doing what we do & selling hundreds of thousands of albums.

Clara – I just want the music to take itself to wherever it's supposed to be.  it's not like or dislike.  I just want it to grow to where it's supposed to go.

Jason – granted, it would be nice to have more money to do more stuff....

Mitch – really, regardless of if people buy it or don't buy it we're gonna keep doing it.  I think a lot of stuff would be a lot easier if we had at least a little bit of money.  if we were selling more than just over a thousand per release it would be nice.

QRD – do you think anything content wise will keep you underground?

Kim – yes.  I think lyrics are a big part of that.

Mitch – why? because we mention poo-poo?

Kim – no, just in general.  it's lyrics that you have to sit & read & think about.  I mean it's not catchy or pop lyrics & I think that has a lot to do with the underground aspect of it.

QRD – why did you feel you should put together a compilation over releasing more of your own material?

Clara – because I think that other people's music should be heard, too.  I would like to have a label that would put out a lot of people's stuff including our own, not just be our own.

Mitch – the idea when we made Scuss was not to just release our own music.

Clara – it's a vehicle for underground music.

Mitch – hopefully one day we can put out whole cd's of other bands & stuff which goes back to the first  question.  if we had more money, there'd be more money for Scuss.  it will always be underground.  there's no doubt about that.

QRD – what instrument do you think is the essential part that keeps your songs from becoming noise?

Mitch – I guess this is assuming there's something that's keeping us from devolving into noise.  I think it's the ukelele.

Jason – I was thinking bongos.

Kim – it depends on the song.

Jason – we're not a noise band.  at times our improvs can maybe seem like they're a bit noisy & even the stuff we just come up with at times is noisy, but it all is very structured.  it's definitely not just a random noise type situation.

Mitch – to me this question only really applies to one song & that's "City in Linger," where the drums are the only thing really with structure in the song.  the rest of it is a blatant attempt at making noise.  everybody just makes noise.

Jason – the drums & vocals hold it together.

Mitch – but that's an exception.

QRD – do you play live to promote your recordings or record to promote playing live?

Kim – neither.  we play live to play & we record to record the songs.

Clara – if one's more than the other, we play live to promote the recordings, like on tour.  you play live so people can hear you so they'll buy the cd.

Kim – but half the time we go on tour we hardly even play stuff that's off the stuff we have for sale.  usually by the time we record a cd we're not even playing half that stuff anymore.

Mitch – I think that's true with a lot of bands now.  it's how it goes.

QRD – some of your recordings are out of print, do you plan to re-release them?

Mitch – The Philosopher's Stone seven inch & the Living Soil cd are out of print & hopefully one day there will be enough interest to re-release Living Soil.  & then maybe if we gather enough various materials from the seven inches & twelve inches & stuff it would be cool to re-release it.  but at least from my point of view, I've thought about it before, we would keep certain things about each release unique to that release & not re-release everything, not compile every single thing onto a cd because that makes those releases not as special.  that's my idea.

Clara – the only way I would re-release anything would be to totally re-mix them.  I don't believe in bands re-releasing things.

Jason – you wouldn't want Living Soil re-issued so more people can hear it?

Clara – I love that record, but no.

Jason – what about someone who'd right now really love to have Living Soil?

Clara – I'd make a tape.

Mitch – if it ever comes to the point where it seems like a worthy investment for someone to re-release it....

Clara --  I wouldn't put my foot down if everybody else wanted it & say, "no."

Jason – if it was my call I'd say, "god-damn, put that thing out, I love that disc."

Kim – I'd put different artwork on it to differentiate it from the original thing.

Mitch – I'd like to put it out with "Acrylic Grimace" which got mixed down & recorded then but was never released.  that would be great as an added track.

Clara – see, what I would like to do is find really weird recordings of some songs & put them in place of the ones that were originally on the cd.

Jason – maybe re-master it.  it's an awesome record, it's one of my all time favorite records.

Mitch – this is coming from Jason & that was long before he was in the band.

QRD – do you currently have any label obligations?

Mitch – hopefully, we're going to release an ep on Shoestring locally.  it's not an obligation, we haven't signed anything for it, & we don't have to do anything after it.  & then hopefully we'll be signed up to Unit Circle for two it looks like.

QRD – where do you think or hope underground music is headed?

Kim – I hope it's a surprise.

Jason – that's good.  I hope it's a surprise, too, because right now there's nothing too surprising in music that I hear on the radio.

Clara --  I hope underground music stops following just the same trends as mainstream music does.  it's not very eclectic anymore.

Jason – what did the paper say?  six percent of the population are now in the mainstream.  it's taken over.

Kim – so surprise us.

QRD – how influential do you think the image of the artist is to the works' aesthetics?

Jason – well, I look like shit & I don't think we sound like shit, so I don't think it's all that important.

Mitch – I think the image we project is that of a group of people without a pre-fabricated image, but just being themselves.  we do try to do visual stuff, but we don't try to pose or whatever.

QRD – what's Cemetery Man all about?

Clara – one of the greatest movies ever.

Jason – go rent it.  you can rent it.  maybe in raleigh you can rent it.

Clara – it's about a man....

Mitch – I think the question is about our interest in it....

Clara – oh, well... it's like a Dawn of the Dead zombie movie.  it's a nineties zombie movie that... you can't write a better song about anything except zombies.

Mitch – the short answer is it's a zombie film & it's italian.  what more do you need?  the guy studied under Argento.  it's got this existential bent to it underneathe that makes it particularly amazing.

Clara – I didn't just sit down & write the lyrics.  I wrote out something because I was so possessed by the movie & read it later & it was totally Cemetery Man & it just fit with the music.  we didn't write a song about Cemetary Man on purpose.

QRD – what's your favorite Swans' song?

Clara – that new Body Lovers' one.

Mitch – I would have to split it up between early & late period because I think they're equally as good, but so different from each other.  the song on Filth "Stay Here."  that song definitely....

Clara – "My Body Disgusts Me."  I like that song.

Kim – I'll just have to stick with anything off of Children of God.

Jason – for the late period, the Swans Are Dead Jarboe version of "I Crawled."  that's a good song.

Mitch – I'd say maybe "The Sound" or "Power & Sacrifice" or "Beautiful Child."