Interview and article by Chris Lockett
Over the past decade or so, the Internet has proven itself to be the ultimate gateway to discovering new music, and in helping artists from all over the world at getting their voices heard. However, every coin has a flipside, which is to say that over the past few years, the Internet has become overcrowded with some absolutely horrendous “artists” who end up with every bit as good of a chance at getting their voices heard, as the artists that have actual, discernable, talent do. It’s unfortunate. And the fact that the world seems to enjoy these dime a dozen Rock, or Pop acts, only serves to tilt the playing field away from the REAL artists/innovators, and toward these groups that have absolutely nothing new to bring to the table.
And so this brings me to the subject at hand. 8MM is an excellent band that has gone under the radar since their formation in 2004. The group, founded by Producer/Mixer extraordinaire Sean Beavan, (who has worked with Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, God Lives Underwater, Guns N’ Roses, and Slayer, as well as many others), and his wife, the stunning Juliette Beavan, have released three EPs, as well as a full-length album in 2006. And now, after a successful Kickstarter campaign, Sean and Juliette have released their latest album Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts. The album sees them completely reinventing themselves, by going from an Industrial Trip-Hop sound, to a Southern Industrial sound, and the results are nothing short of breathtaking, ensuring that the album will undoubtedly be the band’s breakthrough.
Bloody-Disgusting was able to catch up with BOTH Sean and Juliette, (we thought that we were only going to be chatting with Juliette, but were pleasantly surprised to find Sean on the other line as well), to talk about their new album and sound, as well as their views on Top 40 music, and of course, Horror flicks. Hit the jump to check out this exclusive interview.
Bloody-Disgusting: Hi Juliette!
Juliette Beavan: Hey! Sean is here with me.
BD: Oh cool. Okay, so I heard that you guys just got back from a photo shoot in the desert. How’d that go?
Sean Beavan: Probably like the hottest day of the year.
Juliette: [Laughs] it was like 108 the whole time, but it was fun, just… Sweaty.
BD: So congrats on your Kickstarter campaign. I know you guys got some celebrity backers, such as Marilyn Manson and Danny Lohner, but Margaret Atwood was one of them?
Sean: [Laughs] It was funny, I had just finished reading her book “The Year of The Flood”, and then like the next day we got kind of hooked up with her [laughs].
Juliette: We’re huge fans.
Sean: Yeah, we’re big fans.
Juliette: We kind of hired her, because she’s also doing this sort of interactive fan connection product called “Fanado”, which we’ll actually use after the Roxy show on the 15th here. It’s pretty cool… But yeah, it was a little surreal getting emails from Margaret Atwood [laughs].
BD: Yeah, I bet. So the new album, which is incredible by the way, has kind of strayed away from your older sound and into more of a Southern Industrial sound, is that about right?
Juliette: [Laughs] Yeah, the sound of our relationship really.
BD: [Laughs] So what inspired you guys to do that five albums into your career? What made you decide to change it up so drastically?
Sean: It was a conscious decision because our live shows tend to go from our kind of Trip-Hop theme, to, as the show goes on, more tough and kind of bluesy, and more harder edged. And it kind of explodes in this really cool way, and we were just loving the energy that happens and it just seemed like we should write a record that’s kind of ALL of that kind of vibe. And it’s a love for things that are kind of dark and stomping and sexy, and that’s kind of what we went for.
Juliette: Yeah, and it was a pretty easy, natural progression from playing live.
BD: Right, and who were some of your guys’ influences for the record?
Sean: Definitely P.J. Harvey, Led Zeppelin…
Juliette: Johnny Cash.
Sean: Yeah, that’s a huge one actually, Johnny Cash.
Juliette: Especially P.J. Harvey’s To Bring You My Love. I think she sort of hit more of a southwestern, dark vibe for that record.
Sean: It’s got a Southern, Western kind of vibe, and-
Juliette: Actually, Hank Williams was a big influence at the beginning. If you go back and listen to him, he just has an intensity and a sort of world weariness, that’s just gorgeous. Quintessential Americana.
Sean: Yeah, Juliette was listening to A LOT of Hank Williams early on, and it really kind of started moving the lyrics a certain way. And I was listening to a lot of Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin kind of stuff guitar wise, and kind of picking up licks. And we started to combine that stuff together with what was kind of influencing us at the moment, and it was really fun to do. And we loved the idea of it, because we live in California and we’re surrounded by this dessert. It was kind of like bringing in the influence of that environment, along with the lyrics that we were doing, and the idea that we really just wanted to go into some rooms and kick some ass [laughs].
BD: Nice. And I’ve also read a couple of other interviews with you guys, and you said that David Lynch is-
Sean: ALWAYS, yeah. It’s funny, because everything that we do has this kind of “Lynchian”, cinematic quality to it. So the idea is like, and I described it like this to Juliette once, P.J. Harvey and Led Zeppelin go to a rave out in the desert and end up in a David Lynch movie.
BD: Yeah, that’s about right. Also, the album utilizes your voice a lot too Sean. A lot more than some of your other albums. So was that just something that went along with the whole Johnny and June Carter Cash type deal?
Sean: Yeah, for a long time, Juliette and I have done a lot of acoustic shows around town and stuff. We always kind of do some Johnny and June stuff. And people always tend to like it when we sing together. And we do a lot of covers like that, and we just decided that since people were really digging it, and one of the first songs that we wrote for the record is called “The Weight of You”, it just kind of made sense. I wrote it pretty fast just on the guitar, and I was singing it and it made sense for me to kind of sing it. And then we came up with this kind of brilliant middle where she comes in as this almost like spirit you know, like a-
Juliette: And then he had to listen to the Bluegrass, and that influenced the lyrics on that [laughs].
Sean: Yeah, that definitely has a Bluegrass vibe. And we kind of dug that. And then at the end of it, it kicks in and you just feel like a Fleetwood Mac kind of vibe. And we just loved the idea of the two voices kind of screaming into the abyss, you know? And that’s where we kind of decided that we were going to do the whole record like that, where the choruses were sung together, and then I would sing parts and she would sing parts, and the two voices would go together. And for a long time I didn’t sing, because I wanted the identity of the band to kind of be wrapped up in HER voice, the quality of HER voice, but with this, people have tended to really like what we do. And we had so much fun doing it, and I love singing in harmony, so it worked out. So when we were in the studio working on the songs, we would have this harmony, and we’d be batting things back and forth, and it was so fun. I think we had the most fun we’ve ever had making a record, while we were doing this record, because we got to sing together a lot, and it was just really fun. It’s the funnest part of making records really.
BD: Definitely. And it worked very well. Now, are you guys planning on releasing a single or a music video, or anything like that for the album?
Juliette: We were just discussing that [laughs]. Yeah, I think that there’s a very good plan, and it’s a toss-up between two songs.
Sean: We’ll probably either do “The Weight of You”, or “Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts”. And
Juliette has a couple of video treatments, and we have some friends who are really interested in doing it. So hopefully we can get that together.
But yeah, there will be a video coming out, that we’ll be shooting VERY soon. It’s just a matter of once we decide of the two, which is the single, that’ll dictate which video gets shot first.
BD: Right. Now something else that I’ve read in a couple of interviews, is, that you guys aren’t big fans of Top 40 music. So I was just wondering if you could share some of your guys’ thoughts on Top 40 music, and why you think that some of the crap that’s popular, is popular.
Sean: Uhhh… [Laughs] I mean, ya know, the world is kind of a wacky place right now, and I think that when it gets kind of scary, people tend to kind of look for music to make them feel better.
Juliette: To be pretty light.
Sean: To be pretty light. And we’re kind of in that position now, it’s like, you know, not unlike the end of the 80s. You know, C+C Music Factory was the big band, and the economy was in the dumpster, you know what I mean? So it seems kind of similar as well. And we look at it like, you know, we could do shiny, happy pop music, but it just doesn’t really fit us, you know? And as song writers we look more for the poignant moment, and more for the kind of music that people listen to on Saturday night, when things don’t go their way [laughs]. But I think it’s kind of who we are that we just tend to write more in the um… non-Pop genre [laughs].
BD: Okay. And finally, are you guys Horror fans at all? Because I read on your Facebook page that one of you, whoever updates it, was watching the original “Piranha” the other night?
Sean: We were both watching that. And one of our friends, Neville, did the creature design on it so…
Juliette: But yeah, I’m a big fan in particular of any movies that have water in it. “Jaws” is my all time favorite movie. But I grew up on B-Horror movies, and I still have an addiction.
BD: So you like all of the 80’s stuff, like “Friday the 13th” and-
Juliette: Yeah, you know, Freddy, Jason, all of it. It’s just a big part of my childhood. And you know, growing up with it on Cable so… [Laughs].
Sean: We’re both zombie fanatics. We have a plan actually, we have a plan. Remember, you don’t have to reload a machete. That’s your tip for the day [Laughs].
BD: [Laughs] True that. Well thank you guys very much. I hope to catch you on the road.
Sean: Alright Chris, thank you!
BD: Best of luck to you!
Juliette: Thanks so much!