Wounds That Will Never Heal
From XYZ August 18th 1998
by El Bastardo
Jason Shepherd, the creator and driving force behind the Slugwrench music hails from smalltown, Ohio, where his interest in the art of music was fueled by his experiments with his lunatic father's drum kit. His earliest musical ventures centered on turntables and keyboards in the basement studio of his parent's home, and later progressed to an affection for the distorted wailings of his new B.C. Rich Warlock guitar.
Mr. Shepherd formed the short-lived, but influential metal band Decimation, flirting with the dark side of human emotions,and introducing the Ohio music scene to a musician who is developing into one of the most interesting and influential artists of the approaching new millenium. From there he started tinkering with hallucinogenic rhythm-less musical textures and sounds, voices, schizophrenia. These are rare, but a chance encounter with a recording amazed me, and I hear they are easier to get now through Intolerance Records.
After dropping out of high school Shepherd focused his talents and ambitions into his dream of becoming a prolific musician. A relocation to Tulsa, Oklahoma reunited Shepherd with his old accomplice, journalist David Basteri. With Shepherd's blossoming ability as inspiration, the two joined forces to create and promote the new sounds Shepherd was birthing on his new high-tech arsenal of electronic and digital instuments. The formation of Intolerance Records, and ultimately Intolerance Communications was a direct result in the rising popularity of Shepherd's new vision, Slugwrench.
With Basteri on board as producer, and the partial teaming with such "quality" individuals as Gagball, Tampon, Ashtray, and Aeiron...Shepherd has molded his company into a groundbreaking creative entity that a lot of talent-starved fans have taken notice of. The groups constant indulgence in the surreal world of LSD and psyilocbin surely contributed to the care that is taken in producing music that the psychedelic community demands...smart textured music.
The debut Slugwrench album, "Prole", was released last summer, and talk has been made of future projects and collaborations coming very soon for your listening pleasure. While countless references have been made regarding Jason Shepherd's height, age, colors and whatnots, it should be duly noted I've read about five different descriptions on the Internet alone...so trust who you like. I do know this...Jason Shepherd is a single male with a knack for the bizzare.
And now without further adieu; I present to you, the phone interview, with Jason Shepherd.
XYZ: Mr Shepherd, Do you use any computers in your studio to build your sound with?
JS: "Yes. Although when I started SW, I was making everything on the internal sequencer of a Korg, X3. I felt like I was missing something on the sound creation process though. My Tascam 4-track wasn't up to snuff when it came to crystal clear recordings."
XYZ: About your studio situation, do you have a studio that you live in? Or do you have to go somewhere else? And what type of equipment, now do you generally use?
JS: "I still use the old 4-track for some things. Right now I'm sitting in my studio, surrounded by equipment. I also sleep in here when I choose to sleep."
XYZ: So what exact kinds of equipment?
JS: "I use three high end computers, two samplers, three external sequencers, eight rack mount effects modules amd various home made devices."
XYZ: Mucking about with computers in your bedroom is strictly for nerds, surely?
JS: "Yeah, I'm a nerd. I am totally withdrawn from humans. I can't relate, I hate talking to people. I hate leaving my studio and I hate having visitors."
XYZ: When you start a song, do you sit down at the keyboard or the computer first?
JS: "It depends how I'm feeling. Sometimes I go into the bathroom and cry for hours on end and then I come out, drink some 151 Rum and start the creation."
XYZ: All that stuff about you never going to sleep is just bollocks, isn't it?
JS: "Well, I go through phases. Sometimes I sleep, sometimes I don't. For a while I only got about three hours of sleep a week. Then that went down to about two hours a night and now I'm pretty normal, I think."
XYZ: As normal as any sociopath with a 190 IQ, I suppose...? (Laughs)
JS: "Ha! What kind of response could I possibly have to that?"
XYZ: Your music has changed alot from your earlier works such as Demo Tape One in comparison to Prole for example. What do you attribute that change to?
JS: "Sort of a logical progression I guess. I played around with the industrial thing when I was younger. I still liked the driving raw feel of a crunchy guitar through a Marshall half stack left over from my death metal days."
XYZ: When was the last time you picked up your Warlock?
JS: "When I put it up me bunghole."
XYZ: Have you noticed your fans changed much from the earlier days?
JS: "Yes. Definately. The people that listen to and like me now, are the same people that would have made my life hell in high school. I guess that's how it goes with pop music though."
XYZ: Yeah, but you're never going to mean as much to the kids as Hanson or Menudo, are you?
JS: "I know people put Slugwrench posters on their wall. It's embarrassing, but they do it. I prefer things to be abstract. A song with lyrics always seems to be saying something specific so you can't interpret it in many diffent ways. That's why I like electronic music, because people get different reactions from it. The same track can make different people melancholy, aggressive or euphoric."
XYZ: Let's talk remix work.
JS: "Yes, let's."
XYZ: You've been involved with many remix projects with several different artists ranging from the infamous D.J. Gagball to the highly rare Pink Floyd remix CD's available in the underground.
JS: "Yes. In regards to the latter, officialy, I don't know what you're talking about, but, the doorbell rang (it was the courier) and I realized I'd forgotten, so I just told him '15 minutes', went upstairs, found an old track, taped it off and gave it to him."
XYZ: I bet the guys at the record company liked that.
JS: "They are oblivious to that fact."
XYZ: The quality is still there so that's what's important right?.
XYZ: So what are Slugwrench's plans for the future?
JS: "I have to go now."
XYZ: Is that it? Did he hang up? (muffled voices in background.)
Well, now the public knows a little bit more about the one called Jason Shepherd and his creation called Slugwrench. We hope this interview has proven insightful and has helped you gain some knowledge on this individual who is quickly growing to legend status. Why did he abruptly end the interview? Will anybody ever really know? Probably just him, his cat and his machines. Mr Shepherd truly has wounds that will never heal.
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