Good, old fashioned goth musick. It never goes out of style. Well, actually, it has, and it will continue to do so further, but I was just being idealistic. Nevertheless, I love it, and I will probably tell my future children that everything they listen to “sounds like the Sisters of Mercy” the way my parents tell me that every band I listen to is “ripping off the Beatles.” On their latest release, Choir Invisible, Arizona band Second Skin have mastered the techniques that have made this genre great: sour, flat, discordant notes, disharmonious, atonal singing, and basically unmelodious musick that nevertheless makes a song, a dissonant song which gives one the feeling of descent into the underworld, full of fallen angels mourning the loss of Heaven, where every sound you hear sounds slightly off, tinged with a hint of death. This is what Rabelais would have described as “above the pitch, out of tune, and off the hinges.” (He was also the first to say “Do what thou wouldst.”) In the folowing interview, we peek behind the facade and reveal the soft black underbelly of Second Skin.
DR: How long has this band been around and how did it get started?
Arron: The band has been around since 1992. We first surfaced on the tribute to the Sisters Of Mercy, First Last and Forever, under the name Flesh of My Flesh. The band started in Seattle, I put an ad in the Rocket - it's the weekly in Washington.
DR: Did you choose the name "Second Skin" because you like the initials "S. S."?
Arron: Well after the band marched on Europe in world war two, and killed and ate many babies we felt this was the logical name...or it's because we thought the name was catchy.
DR: What is the meaning of that symbol you guys employ with the two squares intertwined an the little man inside with his face buried in his knees? Is that a homunculus?
Arron: Well he's not a dwarf if that's what you mean by homunculus. I tried to make the person unisex, and the squares are the symbol of chaos in the Wiccan religion, though we are not about religion the symbol seemed to sum up the band.
DR: How long did it take you to make this record?
Arron: I recorded this album in-between line-ups. I taught myself to play guitar and piano. I also ended up programming the drums and singing (my normal duty). >From start to finish it took a year and a half, but yet I still found time for world war two?
DR: What is the "Choir Invisible"? A host of supernatural beings?
Arron: That is exactly what the "Choir Invisible" is. I tried to give the feeling of Ascension. Life, Death, sex, and after-life, ending with the hidden track 13 "Trance" soft pretty and just out of reach.
DR: One of my favorite tracks on this CD is "Sera." Is this about an actual person in your life?
Arron: Actually I was watching, leaving Las Vegas and how Nicholas Cage kept calling this whore his angel. Her body may have been unpure to earn her living on earth but somehow her pure heart and soul saved her a place of more inportance in heaven perhaps. Her name was Sera and I had'nt heard it spelled like that before. Sortly there after I met a girl on tour named Sara. She joked that I had written it for her. A time later I found out Sara had been in a horrible accident and suffered brain damage, she is now living as a child... she was 23. I now think of her when I hear it.
DR: What's the meaning of "Brother's Keeper"? Is that about someone related to you? Are you a member of some kind of fraternal order or underground brotherhood? I ask particularly because that song reminded me of a Black Mass. Also the lyrics about "...what a friend you've been...Put your hand in mine, I'll help you stand up" remind me of the Masonic ritual of Hiram Abiff. In this rite, the initiate plays the part of Hiram, the architect of Solomon's Temple, who gets murdered by his apprentices. After you die, you get resurrected by your lodge "brother", who uses a special grip called "The Lion's Paw" to pull you up from the floor. Is there any connection between this and "Brother's Keeper"? Or is it just about brotherly love of a more conventional kind?
Arron: The opening line sets up the song. "Rain slick pin prick the cold is gone." It's about a friend of mine that was a junkie, and he was down and out, drowning in Phoenix. I was one of the few people that would still love him like a brother...even though he stole, lied and cheated me. It's about being there because one day you'll be down.
DR: "Club Sexxx" seems to be about committing a sexual assault at a raunchy nightclub. Similarly, in "Sweet Nothing" you say "There's no way of stopping me when skin and flesh combine... Once I start you can't turn me off."
Arron: "Club Sexxx" is just about finding that one person at club you can't take your eyes off of. And the fantasy of giving into a stranger with out the getting to know you bullshit. If you remove what’s proper from the equation, it's about lust. Both songs have a fetish overtone, it makes sense to people that have explored B&D; or role playing. It's not about rape. It's about submission to pleasure.
DR: Have you ever received counseling for these impulses? Have you ever tried rufenol? That way they don't fight back. It worked for Roman Polanski.
Arron: I like a little fight....
DR: In the song "Omega Man" you liken yourself to "Omega Man" from the film "Omega Man." In what way are you like "Omega Man"?
Arron: At the start of the movie, Heston walks around alone because we ruined the world, and killed each other off. I was trying to give a sense of that isolation. I don't think it takes the end of mankind for people to feel that way. I can walk around the city all day and feel disconnected.
DR: Why do you sample so many movies in your songs? Are you an ex-film student or something?
Arron: Roman Polanski slipped me rufenol and mixed the album. It's out of my hands.
DR: Do you believe that ours is the Last Generation? If so, who's the Anti-Christ, and when will he make his appearance?
Arron: Sad to say, there will be many generations to come. I believe we are in the beginning of De-evolution as Devo predicted. We are slowly turning into apes. That would make Tarzan the Anti-Christ. He will most likely appear in a Disney movie.
DR: How long have you been writing songs? Were they always so morose?
Arron: I started writing songs when I was 14. I was in a punk band. All of it was yelling screaming crap.
DR: Were you ever accused of being "melodramatic" as a teenager?
Arron: Do you know any teenagers that aren't "melodramatic?"
DR: Where did you get your nasty attitude from?
Arron: From Janet Jackson "who's that eating that nasty food?"
DR: Are you as riddled with guilt as some of your songs seem to indicate?
Arron: Only when I masturbate.
DR: Tell me, has all the success gone to your head?
Arron: Yes, the other day I had to cut the roof off my house just so me and my big ego could get in.
Buy Choir Invisible at amazon.com