Rabbit Junk

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Most people who could claim part of a celebrated band that toured with Alec Empire and experienced a nice bit of success with would probably welcome the reference when it comes to drumming up interest in a new project. However, for JP Anderson, the fact that he was a member of The Shizit is really beside the point. For JP, that was then and Rabbit Junk is now -- a beast all its own, melding an array of influences into one big melting pot of aural destruction.

The current focus of JP's musical aspirations, Rabbit Junk has just found a home with Glitch Mode Recordings and is ready to take on the masses, releasing a new album and preparing to hit the road.

Rock Star Journalism: You don't seem to want Rabbit Junk associated with your previous band, The Shizit.

JP Anderson: Yeah, there's some baggage there. A few things are going on with that. One, I guess when I started Rabbit Junk I just wanted a fresh start, to create freely without feeling obligated to anybody's expectations. And also, I had changed, musically, personally -- I didn't feel like the same person who fronted The Shizit, and I knew that whatever music I was going to create was going to have a very different feel. It probably comes down to not wanting to disappoint all the old Shizit fans who wanted more Shizit. But it's fucking silly because everybody knows me from my old band, and the majority of Rabbit Junk fans are fans of The Shizit too. So, it's just me being neurotic.

RSJ: What do you think is the biggest difference between the two?

JP: It's probably just me. I wrote most of the music for The Shizit six years ago, and I've grown up a bit, healed from all that childhood shit, come to know myself a bit more. And after The Shizit broke up, which was a bitter affair despite the best intentions of everybody involved, I had to do some serious soul searching. The conclusions I came to had a profound affect on the music I write. God, do I sound like a pompous twat? Sorry, next...

RSJ: Rabbit Junk is essentially a one-man project, excepting, of course, the female vocals. How does your musical composition process work?

JP: I usually come up with a riff or keyboard line and build from there. All the electronics are recorded before the drums and guitars. Vocals go last, and then Sum Grrl does her thing at the very end. I write lyrics when the song is instrumentally finished. But I have no rules, and I like to challenge myself when I get too comfortable with one way of doing things. I use a Roland Fantom S for all the electronics and record via a simple Pro Tools setup.

RSJ: Do you prefer working by yourself as opposed to in a band environment?

JP: I think I've gotten used to working by myself now. It can be lonely and boring sometimes, but it can also be pretty liberating. Depends on the task at hand. Doing Rabbit Junk by myself is part habit, part desire and part necessity. I am wary of being dependant on anybody to make music. I like to be self sufficient. But I do often feel pretty isolated as a result. So, it might be something that changes in the future, depends on who I meet really. The jury is out to lunch on that one.

RSJ: When asked about the political elements of The Shizit's lyrics, you said that your aim was to make people think. Is that still a goal with Rabbit Junk?

JP: My views have changed on the role of politics in music. The Shizit was a very political band, and we took on a lot of good topics, but I think I have to admit that I was transmuting personal pain into political outrage. I'm not trying to invalidate the views I held, and if The Shizit did make anybody examine American politics any closer, then I think it's a job well done.

But I really feel that sitting in a basement writing political songs does jack fuck all to change anything. When politics becomes part of your band's image as well, you have really lost the point. And I was unintentionally insulating my lyrical content from my own emotions by always focusing on things outside myself. I've tried to replace political lyric writing with direct involvement in the political arena, but its been very difficult. My views don't fit with any one party or ideology, so I'm still searching for how best to fill my obligation as a citizen of a democracy -- it's a bitch. But my goal with Rabbit Junk's lyrics is just to deliver something honest.

RSJ: Reviewers are usually quick to discuss the variety of genres present in your music. But if you had to choose, what scene do you feel closest to?

JP: I don't really quite fit anywhere, not with the metal guys, the punk kids, the digital hardcore scene -- if there is one anymore. I'm just a bit of an oddball, a musical polygamist. I think it comes down to having felt like an outsider my whole life. I've never felt comfortable in any one scene, never really felt accepted anywhere. So I just do my own thing.

RSJ: You've mentioned enjoying many bands in the European metal scene. In what ways do you think this interest presents itself in your work?

JP: Yeah, I've really gotten back into metal in the past few years. I was a huge metal head in high school -- you know, that one long-haired freaky kid in the corner of the classroom using his pencils as drum sticks. Well, when Korn and Deftones came out in '96 I was all over it. But then it got so played out. Nu-metal went top 40, and it was all over. Fucking puke. I went through a few years there without finding any heavy bands I liked. Then I heard Arch Enemy off of a compilation and was hooked. This was like the old shit I used to love. Then I found out there was all these other bands and a vigorous scene. The result is I've been spending a lot more money on CDs lately and churning out good ol' metal riffs like I used to back in the day.

RSJ: When you mention industrial influences, you tend to discuss older bands like 16 Volt. How do you feel about the current EBM-oriented scene?

JP: I just don't fucking get EBM. No dis to the producers in that scene; it's just not my feel at all. There is a local EBM/Industrial show here in Seattle called "The Edge" on 89.5 that plays on Sunday nights, which is my only exposure besides some internet shows I listen to. It just sounds like the same stuff people were doing 15 years ago. Of course, I just praised metal for its current devolution, and I love old school punk -- so that's hypocritical. But is the EBM scene current? Or just a holdout from a previous decade? It's very possible that there is some EBM out there that I would love, and I just haven't heard it yet. But as it stands now, I couldn't say that I'm a fan. (Laughs) I'm prepared to receive some hate mail for this answer.

RSJ: You've also discussed having influences in the Japanese music scene. There's so much happening in that scene; what bands are you interested in?

JP: I'm a big fan of Mad Capsule Markets and Polysics. MCM completely changed my perspective on heavy music and are probably the biggest single musical influence I have. And Polysics are just fucking rad, oh my god. I recently missed them when they came up to Seattle on tour, very sad about that. I don't know what it is about the Japanese -- are they purposefully innovating or is it just the result of them not understanding western genre segregation? Either way, they are willing to go places western bands are not. And it commands my respect.

RSJ: Speaking of J-rock -- did you take the name of the band from Hide's song "Run Rabbit Junk?"

JP: Here is what I heard: "Run Rabbit Junk" is a line from an anonymous beat poem. I had inquired about that title because I was like, "That's fucking weird, what does that mean?" Anyway, I figure if it can be borrowed once, why not twice, eh?

RSJ: I noticed that you worked with Kandycore for the "In Your Head No One Can Hear You Scream" video. How did you get involved with them?

JP: I'm friends with Jason who runs Dtrash records; he had a video done by Kandycore for his track "Generation Fuck You." I thought the video was great and simply asked him who did it. He got me in touch with Kandycore.

RSJ: Who developed the concept for the video?

JP: It's all Kandycore. I was busy trying to get "REframe" done, and I just told him to do whatever he wanted. So he had total creative freedom.

RSJ: "REframe" is available through Glitch Mode records. How did you get hooked up with [Glitch Mode founder] Sean Payne?

JP: I think Sean e-mailed me asking if I was the ex-singer for the Shizit one day. We just kept up with each other after that via e-mail. He's a good guy; we have a lot in common.

RSJ: After The Shizit had success with Internet outlets, such as, why did you choose to go with a record label for this release, instead of self-distributing it through the Internet?

JP: Well, was really a golden era for indie bands that has since expired. I remember getting paid 100 bucks a day in royalties and nobody was paying for the downloads. It was all just advertising. I'm just happy it lasted as long as it did. took a harsh nosedive around '03 I think, and things are pretty different now. I wanted to have some backup in the form of a label. Plus, it shows that others are willing to risk on behalf of your music, which tells people that it might be worth checking out.

RSJ: What can you tell me about the possibility for a Glitch Mode tour in the future?

JP: There will be a Glitch Mode tour this year, and it will leave a trail of devastation on this continent not seen since the last tour of the Jackson 5 in 1984. Fear.

RSJ: In the past, you've toured the UK with Alec Empire. What was that experience like?

JP: Alec is really nice. Very humble, soft-spoken, which is kind of surprising considering his potent live show. He's a very real person. The tour itself, besides Alec, was, um...well, let's call it a learning experience. The first thing that went wrong was that we had been told by some girl over in the UK that she arranged work visas for us. We arrived at Heathrow airport to find no such visas waiting and were given 48 hours to either get a visa or be deported. Luckily, Digital Hardcore Recordings kindly came through with a visa for us.

Next, instead of renting a tour bus, we got an RV camper thing that was way too small for five people -- Brian and I brought our wives along. We shipped 300 CDs over to the UK for the tour, and British customs hit us with a 300 pound import duty. Youch! And at our first show our gear caught on fire 10 minutes before we were meant to go on stage! Then the band started falling apart...yadda yadda. Anyway, I laugh now -- at the time it was pretty overwhelming.

RSJ: Where would you most like to tour in the future?

JP: Back to the UK! Europe too and of course the US. Would love to do a few shows in Japan and Australia. Actually, I just want to tour everywhere!

RSJ: What is your current overall goal for Rabbit Junk?

JP: I like short-term goals, one step at a time. Right now it's just getting the live show going and getting on tour ASAP. Looking forward to seeing you all!

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