The following interview is with the well renowned producer Danny Hyde who has worked with Nine Inch Nails as well as Psychic TV and Coil. In this interview Danny speaks about working with Trent Reznor, his current work, his influences and his plans for the future.
Let's start with the current projects. Aural Rage: who assists you on this project?
DH > Well at the moment Aural Rage is just me. I tend to invite friends in to do things, and then I see if I can manipulate them into the kind of vision I'm looking for. I wish there was more around, but there aren't.
Can we take a look back at the past work you've done? Could you tell us about your collaborative work with Trent Reznor?
DH > Well, it wasn't really collaborative. I mean, the Coil-boys got commissioned to do a Nine Inch Nails-remix. “gave up". I got hold of all the files of the original recordings, all the multi-tracks. I transferred them to .dat with timecodes, I went to my place, I worked out the things I wanted to do. Then we met in the main studio. We synq’d up to the multi-track and we used the things I had created already and we created a remix with a bit extra here, there and everywhere.
Then we got invited to do "Closer" and we did the same thing: we met in the studio and got hold of the multi-tracks and transferred everything to .dat. We then took those .dats to our houses and Peter (Christopherson, of Coil) manipulated stuff on his side, I manipulated stuff at my house. We then met in the studio and mixed it together to see what would happen. With "The Downward Spiral" and "Eraser" we almost just turned up the studio and saw what would happen. That's why, in my view, they're not as good as the other two.
Do you study magick and the occult? How does it influence your music?
DH > I don't study magick or the occult, I kind of view them as the same as all religions. I believe there's a lot more out there than we know, but I think putting "labels" to it, like "this is the dark side" or "this is god" or whatever, I find it all in the same place. To me it doesn't really make sense. I think there's a great big grey area out there. It's not black, it's not white, it's a huge gray area. That's how I see it.
Are you interested in the writings of Aleister Crowley?
DH > Um, I think he was a great forward-thinker. I think some of his ideas were fantastic, but no more so than Nietzsche or Hermann Hesse, or even Oscar Wilde. I'm more affected by a film like "Death in Venice." "Life's not to be regretted," to me that's such a more powerful message.
On the parting of John Balance: how did you meet and come to work with him on projects?
DH > I first met John with Pete in about 1985 in a studio called Paradise in Chiswick, London. As far as I can tell, it was the first fully computerized studio in the world, or definitely in Europe anyway - and it just happened to be in the neighbourhood. I was a freelancer there and one day these strange guys came in for a session which had been allocated to me. It was the cool lads and we just sort of clicked. I remember telling Pete that the time I had just came back from Amsterdam with someone that laced me with acid for the first time and it had just been over the top, completely over the top, and he really seemed to understand. We just got on and we seemed to work from 1985 'til Pete's death in 2010.
Could you tell us something about recording with the members of Coil?
DH > Yes. In the beginning it was bloody hilarious, because it was freeform to the extreme. Slowly we developed a methodology and by the time we did the "Love's Secret Domain"-album we seemed all know our roles - and then it morphed again as we took on slightly different roles during the period up to "Black Light District." Jeff went on the blink a little bit and it would tend to be me and Pete would be doing everything, and I'm pleased to say that after "Black Light District" Jeff came back into the fold.
Then Jeff, in New Orleans, was singing like I had never heard him sing before. I mean, he seemed to have mastered his voice, he knew his limitations and he'd push it to the maximum, and it was beautiful. So, the sessions in New Orleans, "The New Backwards"-sessions, I think is some of my fondest memories because everybody knew exactly what they're doing. They knew their strengths; they knew how far they could go. And the sessions, the Backwards-sessions, were just magical.
Can we expect an another Coil-project anytime soon?
DH > Humh. Interesting question. I know you gave me this question, John, probably before Pete died. Obviously, Pete's now dead, Coil are effectively dead, except in our memories - except for one small nugget. I always said I would never put out into the public anything that Pete didn't okay, didn't sign off on. Well, I still have some files that Pete signed off on, and I'm hoping very soon to put them out there, because they deserve to be out there.
Who has influenced you in film, art and music?
DH > Hm. Everybody. Everybody that has ever tried their best to put something down has influenced me, from classical to (Robert) Marlow to (laughs) someone playing a tambourine with passion. In terms of film, well, god I love everything from Roman Polanski-films like "Repulsion" to "Requiem for a Dream" to "Jean de Florette." I mean, god... So it's hard to say, everybody always seems to influence me. The only thing that doesn't influence me, I hope, is this crazy celebrity-culture where people seem to wanna get credit for just looking good. I mean, fuck that.
What projects lie in the future for you?
DH > Personal projects, as you probably know, the "Svay Pak"-EP I've just done is very melodic, and I try to get back to oldschool to a degree. But, I'm really, really wanting to go back to some of the experiments that I did on "Black Light District," with the rate-changing and time-stretching of different sample rates and stuff to create strange harmonics. I really fancy trying to work in some strange new keys and I also really fancy trying to experiment with different time signatures. I just really fancy doing some instrumental, interesting music again - a complete contrast to what I've been doing lately with Aural Rage. I think Aural Rage will now go back to "druggy music," just for a short period of time.
Could you tell us about your early work with Savage Progress? Did this early work foretell what you would create in later years?
DH > In a way I guess it did, as Savage Progress came about because a good friend of mine was sitting around King's Road with a bunch of guys and they wanted to be a band. Now I work in a studio and I was so excited with the nature of sound, that I said "Look, I'll try to get you in." So I spoke to the boss, and on christmas-period, my first year I was there, he said "Well okay no-one's booked for christmas, you can have the time if you're willing to do it." So I worked all through christmas with the Savage-guys and we created some very strange things (laughs), I mean we experimented with tape loops and all kinds of stuff, which was not really the kind of sessions I had been doing up to then.
Come the new year of 1983 the publisher who was based at the same building as the studio - Rupert Merton, who was a Thompson Twins-publisher - heard it and wanted a piece of it, and took a piece of it, and thanks to him I guess, he took it to Virgin, and Virgin signed 'em up for a nice big deal. So, we actually got a proper budget to do a proper album. We continued from where we'd left off at those christmas-sessions but with a little bit more structure because, obviously, with a big record company there's money and there's people looking over your shoulder. It was good fun. I mean, unfortunately, as they were a band formed sitting around and smoking dope in King's Road, they completely exploded once they got on tour and success started coming their way. It's a shame, as I reckon by the second or the third album it would've been very, very interesting.
What was your vision for the music of Depeche Mode? How did you come to work with them?
DH > Hahah, it's funny! There was no vision for Depeche Mode. I actually always loved the lot of the stuff they did, especially since Vince Clarke left, in 1990 the "Violator"-album, I really enjoyed it. Anyway, I happened to be in Pamplona trying to run with the bulls, and I phoned home to my girlfriend to see if anything had gone on, and she said that Peter Christopherson from Coil was desperate to get in touch. So I called Peter, and there I was in Pamplona on a coach trip, and Peter said "Look, we've been offered a Depeche Mode-remix, we need you back immediately, I'll pay for a flight, just get to Bilbao, fly back to London, we'll hit the studio."
So, we literally hit the studio with no pre-preparation, with no preproduction as we normally did with Nine Inch Nails. We just sort of wandered into the studio. So I heard that song "Rush" for the first time in the studio. I went in with my samplers and my files and everything, and we dug out some we'd kind of created before for something else, and away we went. So unfortunately there was no real vision, it was just the nature of the beast, but I think it was quite good what we came up with.
Could you tell us about your collaboration with the filmmaker Derek Jarman?
DH > Again, came from Pete, I never met Derek Jarman, a real shame. Pete said we need something that's like melted disco for a film which he's putting together called "Blue." Funny enough, I went to the pub, I got completely smashed and I wrote down everything that came into my head. When I sobered up the next day I got out the samplers, I got out the files, and I started creating something from some old riffs from when I was bit of a soul-boy in the 80s. I took it to studio. We ended up in this crummy little studio in Brixton. I pulled 'em out and away we went. Again, there was no real vision, you just gotta go with the flow.
But I'll tell you something, and I'll just add this to the end of this questionnaire. Pete taught me, and he was the one person that taught me this the most: do not be scared of the experiments that happen when you're jamming. I mean, when I used to mix stuff, for instance "Gave Up" with Nine Inch Nails, the boys went home and when they'd come back eight hours later and I'd been mixing constantly all night. But, to this day, I kinda agree with Pete. The early mixes were the best. You know it's the "white coats and microscopes"-syndrome, you sit down, you sit down, you try and over analyze something. What Pete taught me, and now I try to follow this through, that sometimes your first idea is the best. Don't smooth it out, just go with the flow. I think that's my passing message on this.
DH > Cheers, John.