BE MY ENEMY INTERVIEW
You have been embracing modern media by releasing digital only singles like Party Monster. Why did you do that and not release a physical copy?
What happened with the Party Monster single was that I decided to promote the new album with a video, even back in Cubanate we only ever did one video which was for Body Burn. I chose Party Monster because it was the fastest and most maddest track on the new album, 200bpm of in your face noise, absolutely no commercial appeal what so ever, so I thought it must be the perfect choice for a single. The guys at Malakwa did a fantastic job with the video. Then it snowballed from there, I couldn’t just release a track before the album with no remixes, so some friends did some remixes, I put some exclusive tracks on as well to make it value for money. I didn’t do a physical copy because I really didn’t think there was demand, smaller runs of CD’s cost more per CD to produce.
Do you feel the art of owning a physical copy of music like CD or vinyl is dying, what are your thoughts on the digital revolution?
I hope not. I buy CD’s constantly and will occasionally buy the odd bit of vinyl if it’s a album I love, I have tonnes of albums and CD’s . I like the actual physical act of putting on a album, I guess its what I have always done since a kid and besides anything that gets me away from looking a computer screen has to be good? The digital revolution is happening whether I like it or not so any artist has to act accordingly and make any physical product special and value for money, hopefully I did that with anyone who brought ‘The Enemy Within’
With the form of music being more available and less restricting now albums are not restricted to a certain time for length. What do you feel is the ideal length of a release in your mind and why should it be that length?
Interesting, this is something that goes through my mind every time I make a new album. I do think that if an album is really intense then perhaps it should be shorter, for example Slayers ‘Reign In Blood’ is only 29 minutes long, but it’s perfect Also to put aside say an hour just to listen to an album is a big undertaking for most people with busy lives. I think around the 45-50 minute mark is about right, even though it was a product of the technology of the time, which was vinyl.
Phil, when you were in Cubanate and now in Be My Enemy you have always been on the forefront of music revolutionising what we listen to and combining styles to produce music that you just cannot get out of your head. Many bands have tried to emulate what you have done but non can compare to your mastery of music. Of current styles do you feel any two blend perfectly are any combinations you have heard that you feel do not work?
That’s a loaded question, I think you know I hate these new Dubstep and Metal bands. Two bland titans of mediocrity smashed together to bore the living tits of everyone. ‘Here comes the drop, here comes the drop!’ Please No More. Just stop it. Its so contrived, hate it.
Do you ever wish that some bands would go back to that good industrial style and what bands would you consider the pioneers of the industrial sound?
I think that is already happening. The last year has seen the older sound come back.. It’s been inspirational. The young bands have taken that old sound and given it new life .Before that I had been very disillusioned with Industrial and electronic music, especially the dance stuff, it’s become paint by numbers nothing dangerous or interesting. It didn’t used to be like that, listen to a Dj Slipmatt set from 1992 the tunes are absolute fucking madness, loads of different styles. What is also cool is that Industrial seems to be influencing loads of artists that are outside of the Industrial scene at the moment, Industrial should give you the absolute freedom to experiment and never end up being a paint by numbers exercise.There is some great techno out at the moment that is very Industrial influenced, Perc from the UK is worth checking out. The pioneers I think are known to everyone but my favourites, Coil, Front 242, Ministry, DAF.
Some people worship gods and others worship idols, consumerism has bred celebrities that people see like gods. What do you feel is the religion of the modern world?
Personally I think old religions had it right, different Gods that where connected with different human emotions and frailties. A religion for the modern world, difficult I can‘t say there is just one, I would probably say a mixture of Consumerism, Materialism washed down with a dose of Patriotism fed into the minds of the Proles via the TV is God . Politicians have 2 I think, Power(holding on to it) and War.
Of all that is currently going on in our world is there anything in particular that you could use as influence for a new song and if so how would it be an influence?
I’m always using current news stories for inspiration for lyrics. For example, on the last record all the Edward Snowden released the details of the mass surveillance grid that the NSA runs called PRISM , the similarity between the words Prism and Prison was too much to ignore so I wrote ’No Escape From The Prism’ Same thing with ’To Protect and Serve’ which was written when the Occupy camps where being smashed up by the police.
The Enemy Within you released under your own steam, what have been the advantages and disadvantages of releasing it without the aid of a record label?
I’m still finding out what I did right and wrong with the ‘The Enemy Within’ The advantages of a label are the network , respect and trust that labels have built up over time. I know I have got a lot to learn but I am up for the challenge and I am certainly going to release the next album on my own again.
There are some amazing festivals here in the UK like Resistanz in Sheffield and Infest in Bradford, you had your live debut at Resistanz in 2012. How have festivals effected the life of Be My Enemy and what do you feel is the importance of music festivals?
Resistanz and Infest are both fantastic festivals. They are the life blood of the live scene in the UK . Some of the bands that play at these festivals would never be able to play here under their own steam, it gives us a chance to check out bands that we would never normally see. I’m lucky enough to have played both now and the atmosphere and vibe at both is really warm and friendly , if you haven’t been to either and are considering going then I can’t recommend them enough.
There was quite a large gap between Cubanate ending and Be My Enemy starting, what did you do in between to keep yourself occupied musically?
A part of me says I lost my way and wasted a lot of time on rubbish boring dance tracks, another part of me says I had to go on that particular journey to end up where I am now which is a very focused and happy place. So I explored loads of avenues, which then ended up as dead ends and then ended up basically back where I started. Isn’t life like that though sometimes?
What does 2015 hold for you so far?
Just announced a small but perfectly formed tour around the UK at the beginning of June with our good friends AlterRed which I’m really excited about. Also I’m working with Keef, Steve and Debs on starting a new Be My Enemy album. The previous 2 BME albums where just me working on my own this will be more of a band effort and although it is early days I am already very happy with the results.
Is there anything that has happened to you or Be My Enemy as a whole that has truly surprised you?
Not surprised as such but I have really enjoyed the live experience more than what I thought I would. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I’m learning a new skill, performing and singing live. I’ve not ever considered being a front man before BME, I‘m really not a extrovert or really the kind of person who likes a lot of attention so it doesn‘t come easily to me.
To me one of the most iconic clubs in the UK is Slimelight’s, do you have any good and slightly dodgy memories from there?
Thank fuck for Slimes! Any memories? Not really its all a blur. Isn’t that the point? Trying to keep up with Marc in those days was hard work you know, I sure it didn’t look pretty.
One thing that lacks in a lot of modern pubs or clubs is the pinball machine, do you think there should be more pinball tables in drinking establishments and how do you feel a pinball machine enhances having a few beers?
You really have done your research! I love pinball. Pub, Pinball and a couple of Beers, perfect fun. I used to murder Marc at pinball all the time back in the day you know, he is still grumpy about it now. It’s a shame you just can’t find pinball machines anywhere anymore they seem to of been replaced by quiz machines , another TV screen to stare at and get hypnotised by. Give me a tactile real game any day.
What is the worst thing about growing up and ageing?
Easy. Grey Pubes.
Thank you so much for giving Vampire Freaks this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
Yes dates for our up and coming UK tour with Alter Red are….
4th June - Cardiff (Fuel Rock Club)
5th June - Brighton (tbc)
6th June - London (Reptile)
12th June - Glasgow (Classic Grand)
13th June - Newcastle (The Cluny 2)
Currently trying to add a couple more, see you there.
Also Marc Heal is doing a book launch for his book ‘The Sussex Devil’s’ on the 11th April at Fortress Studios in London which I am spinning tunes along with Marc, Raymond Watts and Jarod Louche all the ingredients for a mad night I think.
Check Be My Enemy out on
[Be My Enemy Main Website]