Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently conducted an interview with BLACK LIGHT BURNS mainman and LIMP BIZKIT guitarist Wes Borland. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Icon Vs. Icon: The latest chapter in your life musically is “The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall” from BLACK LIGHT BURNS. When you were first starting out to make this record, what were your expectations?
Wes: The last song to make it on to “Cruel Melody”, which was the first BLACK LIGHT BURNS record, was the first song on the album, “Mesopotamia”. At that point, in my mind, that was the jumping off point of the band steering away from the industrial sound. There were still elements of that goth, industrial era of music but I really liked that sort of surfy, stroked, punk rock, more danceable rock element. I continued to write for this record immediately after “Cruel Melody”. When I was writing the first record, I just cut the songs off, even though I was still writing. I just thought, “OK! That’s the last one on the record. Everything from here on will be on the next one.” As the first record was being mixed, I was still writing constantly and coming up with ideas. I was even to the point where I knew that the first song of … Are you familiar with “Cruel Melody”?
Icon Vs. Icon: Yes, I am.
Wes: The very last song on the record, after it fades out, there is a whispered, barely audible, couple of lines of poetry. Those lines are the beginning of “How To Look Naked”. It is the first half of the verse of that song on the end of “Cruel Melody”. I knew that was going to happen at the end of that record and I was continuing to write the new record. Everyone that worked on the first record had been involved with NINE INCH NAILS at some point. We received a ton of criticism for sounding too much like NAILS on the first record. That was a definite goal on this one was to steer away from that happening again. I am not really sure how it happened, it just kinda did. It’s not the worst thing in the world. So, there was that and I also wanted less of a metal sound. I wanted it to be heavy but not sound metal. Whenever things started to get heavy, I put a lot more emphasis in the bass being distorted, having the guitars be more overdriven or more twangy or bitey — a sort of JESUS LIZARD-y sounding guitar attack. I think that was successful as far as being pulled off in that way and steering away from a muted metal sound. The other thing was to make a dynamic record that sounded less clean and more live. I wanted to keep some of the mistakes in and have everything be a little more crazed-sounding and not as polished. This was because the songs on “Cruel Melody”, when we took them into a venue environment and we were actually playing them live, they got wilder and more gritty. I didn’t want that change from record to live to happen as drastically as it did on the first record. Right away, I wanted to have things sound unhinged, right off the bat.
Icon Vs. Icon: What is the significance of the title of the record?
Wes: “The Moment You Realize You’re Going To Fall” was the title of an instrumental idea, the last song on the record, which was written a few years ago. it kinda became the theme for writing the lyrics for the rest of the record. I had an experience where I was rock climbing, I was free climbing, and I got into a situation out in Joshua Tree national park where they have these huge rock formations. I got stuck on top of this big rock formation. I had gone up a certain way and reached the top but I was exhausted and couldn’t get down. My friends that I was with didn’t know where I was. The sun started to go down and I could see coyotes running by and I realized I was in this “oh shit” situation. It took me a long time to find a way down. There were all of these moments on the rock where I thought I was literally going to fall off the rock and die or be severely injured. It never actually reached that tipping point of the moment I realized I was about to fall but it was very close many times. That theme of being on the edge and in constant fear, there is a beauty to that, where all of your senses are heightened. I also liked that the title could be taken so many different ways. It could be the moment that you realize you are going to fall in love or the moment you realize you are going to make a terrible decision that is going to affect the rest of your life. If you are a drug addict, it could mean the moment that you are going to give up your sobriety and fall back into drug use and being an addict and there is nothing you can do about it. It could mean if you are going to cheat on somebody or gamble your savings away. There are just so many different ways both positively and negatively that it could be taken that I thought it covered and fed a lot of the themes on the album lyrically.
Icon Vs. Icon: It’s been nearly six months since [LIMP BIZKIT] signed with Cash Money Records. How has that situation been treating you?
Wes: It’s really cool! It is interesting to be involved with that whole Miami scene — to go down there and check out what they are doing. They are so smart, what they are doing and with the way they do things. There are so many levels of, “Why didn’t I think of that?” as far as how they take their lesser known artists and pair them with their more well known artists on a track and, before you know it, everybody is listening to it and they keep building up their roster that way. It is genius but so simple at the same time. It is also cool to be working with hip-hop producers and people who have a different perspective on music than I do. For instance, there is a producer that we have been working with down there named Detail, who is super on fire and is so cool and into all of this different stuff. Working with him is super inspiring in the way he works and just how fast he works. They are crazy! They stay up all night! I love it! It’s so weird! [laughs] The whole studio is completely dead during the day and around 10 p.m., all of this activity begins and Lil’ Wayne is showing up. We had Flo Rida show up one night. There are so many different heavyweight artists in that world who are just around and hanging out with each other to work on music, so that is really cool. So, we have been working on songs like that but we have also been making band-type songs, heavy songs, in the studio. We kinda have two different directions going on right now and they are starting to blend into each other but I think the beginnings of a record are starting to happen and we are starting to see where it is going.
Icon Vs. Icon: I am paraphrasing from the last time we spoke, but last time out, you said the band created “a LIMP BIZKIT record for LIMP BIZKIT fans.” As things start to materialize, do you find you are doing more exploration on this record?
Wes: Ya know, I think so. Fred [Durst] has been really open lately to trying new things. He wants to do something that sounds like us but is different and covers some new territory. So, yeah. I think there will hopefully be some great new ideas on this album. He was talking about how the BLACK LIGHT BURNS album, every track kinda flows into the next one at some point. He really likes that idea and experimenting more with that kinda stuff and more interludes and stuff like that happening.
Icon Vs. Icon: Any time LIMP BIZKIT is in the news or there is a new development, people respond to it, either positively or negatively depending on the venue. What do you think it is about the band that still polarizes the people?
Wes: I don’t know. I don’t know why some people still hold onto it. I know some people have always hated it and are shocked that it is still around in some ways but we have really amazing fans, who are really dedicated to the band. They understand that even if you can’t stand the band, the songs are not terribly written songs. There is something there that keeps it from disappearing into that refrigerator buzz metal of the world, the stuff that all sorta sounds the same and is incestuous. I would much rather be polarizing than boring and have people say, “Oh, that’s boring. No thanks.” LIMP BIZKIT isn’t really easy to ignore and I think that bothers people a lot. The other thing is that we are still excited about doing this. We had a long break from each other and sorta got our shit together as far as realizing what our priorities are and how much we like doing what we do, especially the live shows. Even if you hate the band, if you come to a live show, I talk to people all of the time at festivals who say, “I really didn’t like you before but now I have seen you live and I get it!” That is a big part of why we do, what we do.
Read the entire interview from Icon Vs. Icon.