Prong - Carving Their Legacy
By: Matt Coe
Blistering.com: How do you feel about the latest recording technology with punch-inís and computer trigger mechanisms in comparison to the older, more realistic analog recordings?
Victor: Iíve been spoiled because I worked on the last four Ministry records and they are all computer records. You play your parts, get them right, then they play cut and paste with the material. Maybe double one part and then they cut and paste that a million times. With Danzig Glenn [it] was like, "Oh - weíll fix things later." This one, this was brutal. It was harder than any other record Iíve ever had to do. Steve told us he wasnít going to edit anything - we had to play things precise. We werenít going to move any parts, and I said fine. He was adamantly against it. We didnít use any vocal enhancement. He demands that you get your stuff done in key all the time. We would double things, then do harmonies. If you have your little home studios, electronic things are okay for recording. For a rock and roll band, you shouldnít need this. We didnít see the wav forms in the old days - now you can see it all there, all the parts. I went to audio school, learned how to chop tape, now itís done all digitally.
Blistering.com: Did you always want to be the singer/ guitarist in a band or have you ever put any thought into developing something where you are strictly the musician with another vocalist in another style of heavy music, such as your time with Danzig and Ministry?
Victor: I just wanted to be in a band and get the hell out of town. I liked to travel, I hated the people around me in my neighborhood. Music was the only way to do that...I didnít fit in. As far as calculating what I played - I started playing bass when I was a kid. I wasnít a developed guitar play when I started Prong - I developed as things went along. I was borrowing gear when we first started, and I had very little singing experience. Eventually what happened is I went through so many failed bands before Prong - it was always some guy in the band that screwed things up, usually the guitar player or the singer. In the back of my mind I knew if I was going to play in the band again, I was going to have to be in control of singing and playing guitar. Bass players always have to rely on everyone else - itís a weird role to be in. Iím happy I got to that point rather than just being a bass player. Itís why I got frustrated being in Ministry - learning songs, rehearsing - the leader of the band [Al Jourgensen] then decides to retire. I donít want to go through that anymore. Iíd rather put the work in and get the rewards myself.
Blistering.com: What song or album do you think best represents Prong and would be worthy of being placed in a time capsule for generations 100 years down the line to savor?
Victor: ďSnap Your Fingers, Snap Your NeckĒ would be the song in a time capsule. As for album - this is the best record to put in.
Blistering.com: Many artists in different genres like Jonathan Davis of Korn, Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter, and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails cite Prong as a direct influence on their sound. How does this make you feel that youíve been able to cross so many sub-genres with your efforts?
Victor: I donít know where that came from. I can see Jonathan saying that, but Trent Reznor really influenced everybody else, not the other way around. I know nothing about Demon Hunter at all, other than they did a cover of ďSnap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck." I get that all the time, but it doesnít mean anything to me. Thereís a million metal fans out there who still donít know who Prong is, soÖ Iím concerned more about them over whether Jonathan Davis cites me as an influence.
Blistering.com: What are your thoughts on the current digital music market versus sales of physical product? Do you find your marketing efforts are a little different in 2012 compared to the 80ís and 90ís?
Victor: Of course. I did all the marketing and promotion for Prong when we were just an indie band. I would send stuff out and be at the post office every day, mailing out tapes - spending money on postage, and getting in touch with the thousands of fanzines out there. It was cooler, there was underground but it was cool. We didnít have the interaction all across the country like the worldwide web is today. We didnít know what people were doing in Nebraska. Nowadays, I think itís more difficult to promote bands - peopleís attention level are so short to get them to notice something. Itís hard enough to get people to notice a portion of a song- let alone a whole record. Who sits down to listen to complete records anymore? I donít pay attention to banner ads on the computer.
Blistering.com: Whatís left on your bucket list either personally or professionally that youíd like to accomplish?
Victor: Right now, I focus on one day at a time - it sounds like a clichť. I want to get through touring this year. I donít like to set idealistic goals. You are supposed to do that - the life coaches tell you to set your goals high. You just have to put the work in. Iím just trying to survive, I donít have any lofty goals. I might not be able to survive financially with music, so I have to take things day-by-day.
Blistering.com: Do you enjoy life on the West Coast as much as your upbringing in New York City?
Victor: Yeah, I like it. There was nothing like living in NYC- I grew up in Queens. LA is good, you get used to it - itís not as vibrant as NYC, but you canít afford to live there. I have to live a humble means - Gardenia California is going to have to do.
Blistering.com: Tell us whatís on the Prong agenda for the next 12 to 18 months as far as touring or future recordings?
Victor: Yeah, we have a lot of touring lined up. In two weeks we play the complete Beg To Differ record in the UK - six shows over there, one in Belgium, one in Germany. I have a run with Glenn for a couple of weeks, then we have a tour with Clutch in July. After that, we go out with Testament and Anthrax, and then thereís talk of another American tour after that. I think itís important to do that. We are going to be writing songs - we hope to put out another album soon. We only have four or five years between records, so we need to put out one right away.