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Scorn interview with Mick Harris: From the Vault


Scorn has been getting a lot of spins at the D.U. desk lately, so itís a good time to clean up an old Scorn interview, and add some detail, from archive zine issue #11 from 1994, below. In the middle of our original published interview, the subject switched to a related band, Painkiller, and thatís broken out and posted on the blog separately.

Scorn is a band from England that has some famous members from the grindcore scene [Mick Harris and Nick Bullen of Napalm Death]. Of course, Scorn is about the farthest thing from that sort of sound one can think of these days. The new album, Evanescence, is a lot different from the bandís previous material [the first two albums are Vae Solis and Colossus], but so are all the other records different. Here the man behind the madness, Mick Harris, has a few things to say.

D.U.: How is everyone taking to the new album?

Harris: Oh, fine. Earache seems to be working a lot hardówell, God, Iíll be honest. They did nothing with Vae Solis; they did nothing with Colossus. Which is a shame, because weíre as happy with those recordings as with the new one. Obviously our new one is gonna be our favorite because itís the last thing we fucking recorded, but they seem to be behind this one. I canít say itís a major successóIím not lookiní for that with Scorn, I donít expect it to beóbut people have finally discovered Scorn and a lot of people think that Evanescence is our first record, yíknow what I mean; they donít know anything about the background of Scorn. But, yeah, things are goiní quite well.

How are you guys gonna pull of the songs live these days?

Itís not a problem, yíknow what I mean. We play to a backing DAT tape, for starters, which is the backbone of Scorn songs. Itís just the backbeats and sequences put down to a backing tape. On top of that, the bass is 100% live, the vocals are 100% live, the guitar is 100% live, and on top of that the loops are live: a lot of extra samples are thrown in on top. Now, on stage, thereís just two people: Nickís on stage and Jimmyís on stageóJimmy Plotkin, who plays guitar for the band. Heís American. Nick shows Super 8 films as visuals, which work really well. Because, basically, where we say ďlive,Ē itís live as much as we can make the music live, but itís not like people runniní around on stage, sort of thing. Itís very still. And Iím behind the board controlling the whole thing and also manipulating the whole sound in general, and then adding a lot of loops and live samples on top of it. So itís a decision we came to, obviously.

See, I used to play drums in Scorn. We just had a meeting between me and Nick, and I said, ďLook, I just wanta be in control of the sound. I canít trust sound engineers anymore with our sound, and as far as Iím concerned, itís as important as what the playing is for us to feed off each other.Ē So we put it to the test and it works perfect. Itís just a perfect show for us, I mean, the sound and the visuals.



Whatever happened with [former live guitarist] Pat McCahan, anyway?

Yeah, we tried Pat, a friend of mine, and it just didnít work. Patís style was just too rigid, it was too straightforward. Pat likes to play straightforward chords in a more rock orientated style, and we just wanted a more loose, psychedelic-sounding guitar. So thatís why Nick ended up playing guitar on Colossus. I was sort of half-happy with what we were getting guitar-wise on that LP, so I approached Jimmy for this record. We just let Jimmy improvise in the studio. We just ran the tapes, and it fuckiní turned out perfect.

So what do you want people to get out of Scorn? Is it just for them to enjoy it, or is there something more than that?

Just enjoy it, yíknow what I mean. Scorn is just something, for me, that people can listen to and get a lot out of. Itís something people can move their bodies to if they want to. You can dance to it because the grooves are there. I dunno; for me, I get 100% pure pleasure from it, whether itís listening or dancing.

Thereís no messages within anything Scorn has got to say. Itís purely music from our hearts and what we feel for, and I think thatís essential. Itís probíly why thereís so much shit music around nowadays, because people donít think of it that way. Theyíre just straight out there to make a dollar, and thatís what most people are concerned about. I think music over the years has gotten worse. I donít know whether itís because Iíve got old or ... I dunno. I just analyze music a lot more. I donít think weíre doiní anything fuckiní more special than anybody else; I just feel and I know that weíre doiní it because we believe in it. Thereís no other reason before that. I think thatís positive.
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