Good whatever time of day it is that you’re reading this! Ken said I could interview anybody in the whole wide inner circle of industrial music so I thought long and hard and chose homeboy Bill Weedmark. If you’re on facebook at all you’ve definitely seen him at the forefront of many of the scene pages. I took a deep dive skinny dipping session with our lovable friend here and asked him the hard pressing questions that’s on everyone’s minds.
EL: You seem to have your finger on the pulse of the scene, you mod several band groups (OMF for 3teeth, Dreadfully Possessed for GosT, Nuclear Family for Nuclear*Sun and others, and the Anti-Hearts for Night Club). How THE FUCK have you made these connections and how do you have the mental strength to handle all of these groups?
BW: Kind of random chance really, but it all ties back to 3teeth and OMF. I got to know those guys online a little bit after they opened for Tool…I loved their stuff, got hooked, and created a subreddit for them. That ended up leading to modding OMF when it got big enough to need a cat herder, which is where I got to know some of the other artists from chatting with them in there. Then I met up with some of them on tour and became friends and it just kind of happened organically after that.
It’s surprisingly not as much work as you’d think. There are so many cool, progressive, amazing people in this music scene, so for the most part these groups are awesome communities that lift each other up and share art and support each other. I don’t have the patience for the bickering and drama in groups so I don’t get involved with groups that have a lot of that.
EL: What do you look for in a group that you’re hearing and interacting with for the first time? How should aspiring bands interact with their fans to ensure they hang onto them for life?
BW: Passion is key. I don’t personally care if an artist has the best production values or the biggest budget, I just want to hear in their work that it matters to them. That’s kind of intangible and subjective, but it’s a gut feeling of “Oh yeah, they love doing this.” That will show through in everything they do. I’m also much more likely to check an artist out based on good word of mouth from other people in music groups, too.
As far as fan interaction, I think authenticity is the most important thing. All of the newer artists which have become big favorites of mine are themselves online. They’re somewhat active in groups or on their own pages, they answer questions, stay moderately accessible. It’s a tough balance I think and it takes time, and not everyone has the free time for it and not everyone wants to be open or accessible. But just engaging like a human being rather than spamming links to your stuff once a day at noon and never TALKING to people will always get me to pay attention, and it seems to build a more genuine connection with the fans. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing, but just popping around and being a person and even chatting about a movie or something is more engaging than people realize.
EL: Now with the industrial scene (and any scene for that matter) aesthetic seems to play a big role in terms of fitting in. Whether it be robot beep boop looks or just a heavy goth appearance. Are there any tropes and clichés in this scene that makes you role your eyes? And do you think looks are just as important as the product being released by a band?
BW: I’m very much over the edgy “let’s be offensive for attention” trend that seemed to be big in the 90s/00s, like adopting pseudo-fascist clothes and logos, but thankfully that’s dying off. But as long as it’s not an offensive appearance, I don’t think looks alone are hugely important. It’s cool to have a unique look but I’d rather have a unique sound or voice to listen to. Tristan Shone of Author & Punisher is usually just wearing jeans and a t-shirt on stage but no one would deny that he’s got a unique aesthetic and sound. I think the logos, art, and iconography around an artist are more important than an on-stage aesthetic, especially right now with touring being dead and global audiences…people will find an artist online way before they’ll find them at a show. But you can’t go wrong with black and leather and rivets, can you?
EL: What got you into industrial music?
BW: The Mortal Kombat soundtrack! I grew up in the sticks and didn’t even know what industrial music was back in 1995 but that soundtrack set the stage for my musical taste. Gravity Kills, KMFDM, Fear Factory…that soundtrack is still awesome. Then a few years later The Fragile came out and I fell down a huge rabbit hole of everything NIN, everyone who ever worked with or toured with NIN, Trent’s infuences, and that was that. Led me to Ministry and Skinny Puppy and PIG and on and on.
EL: Do you have any experience playing an instrument? If so, how many sublime songs can you play?
BW: I do! I play bass, and I think I’m actually pretty good at it. My problem is I can’t WRITE music for shit, but I can learn new songs fast. I’d probably be a good session bassist because I’m good at picking things up and playing them right but suck at being creative and have no ego. I was also a pretty bad-ass trombone player back in the day and rocked a trombone solo in a polka song in high school band. I think that was my musical peak. And I currently know zero Sublime songs but I’m pretty sure I still remember the Meow Mix theme, does that count? ‘Cuz it’s what I got.
EL: Fuck Combos
BW: Combo brand stuffed-pretzels by the Mars Corporation are a tasty snack, available in multiple flavor varieties. Pepperoni Pizza is my personal favorite but there’s a wide selection to choose from, and I hear that guy from Decent News LOVES them.
EL: Alright, desert island scenario. So you’re stranded on a desert island, you have 3 albums, 2 movies, 1 complete TV series on DVD and an unlimited supply of 1 breakfast cereal. What do you pick?
BW: Three albums…definitely The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails. Then I guess Shutdown.exe by 3teeth and Is There Anybody Out There? The Wall Live by Pink Floyd. Cheat a bit and take two double albums. Movie picks would be The Terminator and Heat, I’m a sucker for great shoot-out scenes. TV series, maybe recency-bias but I’m going with The Expanse. And Honey Comb. Honey Comb is delicious, and their mascot is a cracked-out ball of fur that somehow made it past the concept stage, which is incredible.
EL: Let’s say you have Charles Barkley money and you’re putting together a festival. Pick 3 headliners and 7 supporting acts. Also what energy drink is sponsoring this event?
BW: Headliners are Nine Inch Nails, Rammstein, and Duran Duran. Support is Gary Numan, 3teeth, PIG, Stabbing Westward, Curse Mackey, HEALTH and GosT. Sponsored by Powerthirst, they have GRATUITOUS AMOUNTS OF ENERGY. Just like this festival.