Shane "The Pain" MacLachlan Interview
By Nicki Stapleton
Originally published on The Blacktooth
Originally published on The Blacktooth
After 22 years on the Grindcore scene, Phobia is still pushing forward. With a new album released and a tour on the horizon, they are as ruthless as ever. Front man and founding member Shane “The Pain” MacLachlan took time to speak to me about the album, the industry, and life in the band.
Nicki Stapleton: Tell me about the new album Remnants of Filth. What do you think sets it apart from Phobia’s other albums?
Shane MacLachlan: Everyone is going to have their favorites, just like I have my favorites. With this record, the lineup I’m working with is great. The music is faster and has more brutality than other records. 22 Random Acts of Violence was calmer and the lyrical content, passion and integrity is different than what we’ve done before.
NS: After being around for more than 20 years, how do you keep the music fresh and different?
SM: When I write, I love what I’m doing. You need to have the passion to want it and its in my blood. I am the same person I was when I started. Well, I have grown I would hope because I’m not 19 year old anymore. The fan base will be picky, but you just have to keep going and enjoy the new stuff. I mean, we aren’t going to fix what isn’t broken and we’re just going to keep doing what we love.
NS: I have seen Phobia described under many different genres and subgenres – punk, metal, grindcore, etc. What do YOU consider Phobia to be and why?
SM: We are a punk band, punk rock. Grindcore is often thrown around as slang being used loosely. Punk rock is more of a movement and grindcore was often played by punk rockers who wanted to make something more obnoxious.
NS: What do you hope for people to take away from your music?
SM: I want them to know that you can do what you want to do and to learn something. And if someone reads the lyrics and takes away from that, it’s great. I’m a lyricist so, I believe the lyrics are the most important part. I believe in being open-minded and realizing everyone thinks differently, whether it’s politically or personally or whatever. Music is emotions. I guess I want people to feel that and I want to make people happy.
NS: I’m sure you get asked about this a lot, but Phobia has a big turnover of members. How is it working out with the current lineup and do you expect it to stay this way for awhile?
SM: It is the best I’ve ever had. It’s a great mix of talent. Brian has been with me for almost 10 years, doing more touring and not as much recording stuff. It’s just a different vibe, not as much business with more fun. It’s more of a friendship, more family. Some people who are no longer with us are still involved in the band. Any band that has been around for so long will have a large turnover and it is often just the singer with a different lineup. They are really just “hired guns” in some bands, but not with us.
NS: Is there anything you do to get ready for a show? Any rituals or superstitions?
SM: Well, there’s not really anything specific. We just try to to drink so much, but I do like a few shots of whiskey. A couple of Jim Beam on the rocks. Some of us have a few beers. Cece is very disciplined and we try to just be professional. We know we’ll fuck up if we aren’t good. There have been disasters in the past, especially while touring.
NS: I know your lyrics and many other bands’ lyrics often focus on social and political issues and commentary. What would you say to people who believe heavy bands are just about violence and anger?
SM: Its kind of ignorant. I mean, no one knows what is going on in someone else’s mind. Everyone expresses their views and emotions in different ways. Anger is an emotion too, but in a song it may represent something else, something deeper. Music is emotion. Music is entertainment. All songs represent emotions and sometimes if I just want to relax I might put on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. It’s all in how it makes you feel.
NS: If Phobia could tour with any band (current or past), who would it be and why?
SM: This is a hard one. It probably wouldn’t necessarily be a grindcore band or a death metal band. It might be someone like Willie Nelson. I’m a big fan and he’s brilliant and a great lyricist. I’ve seen him many times before. I don’t know if that would work out very well though. It may even be someone like Discharge. They are a huge influence. Or The Exploited.
NS: What do you do in your spare time.
SM: Well, I like to make t-shirts, like for other bands. I enjoy writing and playing music outside of the band. I do it all the time. I guess music is a hobby of mine. Calum likes to garden, Cece is a vegan cook and about to open her own business and Brian does a lot of construction things. We all just try to keep busy. I also like reading and I love to cook.
NS: With current events surrounding an incident with a member of another band, how do you feel about fans jumping on stage.
SM: It’s no problem for me if fans jump on stage. If they just want to sing or whatever, its fine. But, there is a limit to everything and limits can be surpassed. I mean, they don’t know if I’m drunk or something and sometimes they start throwing fists. The stage people just need to be on top of it and use their discretion.
NS: Anything you’d like to add?
SM: Check out the new record. It has cool artwork and cool music. We are expecting to start touring around October. The tour dates should be announced soon.
NS: Where can we expect the tour? U.S., North America, World?
SM: Right now we’ll be touring the Midwest. I love touring in the Midwest, it’s a lot of fun there.
Check out Phobia on Facebook and their new punishing grindcore album that is their heaviest yet.
Originally posted on The Blacktooth