There’s a growing trend in the music industry: To placate fans between full-length studio albums, artists are allowing previously released tracks to be remixed by master mixers and packaged for release.
That’s fine and dandy maybe for hard-core collectors, but Genitorturers lead singer Gen doesn’t believe in recycling for the sake of recycling.
“I was never a big fan of remix records,” Gen said recently. “A lot of times, you get these records with four versions of the same song, and it’s like, ‘What’s the point here?’ even though some of the White Zombie and Nine Inch Nails remix records were amazing.”
Still, Gen proceeded with caution when approached by Cleopatra Records to do a remix LP, a bone to throw at fans between 1998’s “Sin City” and the Tampa-based theatrical-rock group’s next studio album. She and her band mates – guitarist Chains, bassist Evil D and drummer Racci Shay – agreed to it, on one condition: that it would include new material.
The album, “Machine Love,” featuring remixes of “Sin City” (by KMFDM), “One Who Feeds,” “4 Walls Black” and “Asphyxiate,” was released Jan. 25. It also contains four new tracks, including a crunchy remake of the 1991 Divinyls hit “I Touch Myself.”
“One thing I said to the label was, ‘I’m interested in doing it, but I do not want to put nothing but duplicates of songs on, and there has to be new material on there,’ ” Gen said. “I always want to give our fans something new. We were evolving from our ‘Sin City’ record to ‘Machine Love,’ and we were working on a new concept for the show as well, interactive electronic sexuality, so this displays it all.
“The feedback I’m getting from fans is that they love the record. They’re really excited to have another product, and I think it’s a real cool interim product before the full-length album comes along shortly. It’s different, and there’s more of a chance for club airplay there.”
“I Touch Myself,” built around the techno-rave mix of producers Dave Ogilvie and Scott Humphrey, is perfectly suited for Gen’s raw, sultry voice.
“It was actually Dave Ogilvie’s idea,” Gen said. “He said, ‘I really want you to try this song. It’s a song I grew up listening to. I just think your version could be great.’ It makes sense with the band, and I totally agreed. I’m very pleased with the result.
“I trusted Dave a lot. He’s one of the founding people of Skinny Puppy; he was responsible for their live sound and all their engineering and mixing and producing their records. He’s also worked extensively with Trent (Reznor), with (David) Bowie and Marilyn Manson’s ‘Anti-Christ Superstar’ record. He’s someone we’ve had a longstanding relationship with. He did the mixing on our first record, ‘120 Days of Genitorture’ (in 1993), then he introduced me to Scott Humphrey, who worked on the new Rob Zombie record. The two of them did a phenomenal job.”
“Machine Love” is another example of how far Genitorturers has come from its 1993 debut. The group, formed while Gen was attending Rollins College in Winter Park outside Orlando, was created to send shock waves throughout the Disney-dominated city.
“That place was like living in a plastic bubble,” Gen said. “The band was really a release from the frustration I felt in the confines of Orlando. We wanted to shake things up. It desperately needed to happen, if anything to balance the scales a little bit.”
“120 Days” established a cult following that extended well into Europe, but the group stumbled commercially after its label, I.R.S. Records, went under.
“We did a lot of touring,” Gen said. “We’re a live phenomenon, so to speak. We go out and play live constantly. We’re on the road a good six to eight months a year. We did a tremendous amount of touring for the first record, went out with Danzig and KMFDM, went to Europe.
“As we would come back from these subsequent tours, we were in contact with I.R.S. about doing our next record. We were working on it between tours and I would call over there (to I.R.S.) and people would be missing all the time. It was odd. I’d call and they’d say, ‘He’s gone.’ That’s your first indication that something is amiss, and so what went on from there is that we got a call at one point when we were gearing up to do the record, they said, ‘Well, I think you should know that the label’s not going to be around.’
“Our A&R fellow was kind enough to take the time to get us out of our deal. We were in limbo for a good solid year, waiting for that to happen. I know a lot of artists who’ve had similar situations, but it just meant we obviously couldn’t record or put anything out in that time because we wouldn’t want them to have ownership of something, it becomes their property.”
They kept busy by producing a full-length home video, “Society of Genitorture” (released in 1997), and building their own recording studio in Tampa.
“You learn from some of the people you tour with, someone like Danzig, who’s self-managed, and he makes a lot of his own decisions,” Gen said. “He doesn’t have a whole line of people making decisions for him. He started his own comic book company. He’s a very self-starting, motivated guy. KMFDM is the same way. You learn that you’re better off in the long run if you have control over your product and your art.
“Now we’re concentrating these days much more on songwriting and on the music and really utilizing the show more as a means to bring the music to life and writing with that as the basis.”
The next album will take them to the next level, Gen says, maintaining that heavy, dark edge while drawing from a variety of genres.
“We have the next record about 60 or 70 percent written,” she said. “Being that we have our own studio, we’re going to begin tracking when we return from this tour. We’ll take it in smaller steps. Because we have our own studio, we have that luxury of doing it at our own pace. You’re not under the gun.”
THE FIRST RECORD I EVER BOUGHT: “The DeFranco Family’s ‘Heartbeat – It’s a Lovebeat,’ when I was about 6. I had a crush on Tony DeFranco; I was completely in love with him. I remember very clearly there was a PBS after-school show called ‘Electric Company’ and they were on it once, so I had to have it.”
THE FIRST CONCERT I EVER WENT TO: “A British punk group called 999. I saw them at a theater in New Mexico with my next-door neighbor’s older sister and got snuck in. It was the first time I ever saw people pogo-ing. It looked so fun.”
THE LAST CD I BOUGHT: “PJ Harvey’s last record. I think she has an outrageous amount of passion. She’s amazingly talented. There’s a lot of realness that comes through in her music. She feels what she’s doing, and till probably the last three years that’s something I really couldn’t recognize. I think now, as a performer and as a singer, something I’m really starting to tune into is passion and performance and believability. When someone sings something, do they really feel it or are they just singing words? She’s a very good example of someone who lives it and performs it passionately.”
BWF (before we forget): For more pain and pleasure, visit www.genitorturers.com. … The Genitorturers album discography – “120 Days of Genitorture” (I.R.S., 1993); “Sin City” (Cleopatra, 1998); “Machine Love” (2000).