the Danny Lohner interview

Give me a little bit of your history and how you got started. Were you first in a band and then you went into production and producing?
I put my first record out when I was in high school for Metal Blade under a bullshit name I don't even want to fucking bring up. I put three records out, one of which we did with Al Jourgensen which got me living in Chicago dialed in with the industrial scene. And then became friends with Chris Vrenna who was the drummer from Nine Inch Nails and uh when Richard Patrick left to start Filter they moved me in to work with Trent in Nine Inch Nails, and then I've been with them since then which is like ten or eleven years.
And then through that process, and then through the years I've worked on Rob Zombie solo albums, and lots of behind the scenes. I've worked with Everlast, Rob Zombie, Marylin Manson, Perfect Circle, lots of different bands, various remixes with different artists from David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Perfect
Circle, Eminem, different people.

So how did you get hooked up with the Underworld soundtrack then, did they just come to you? It seems like your hand is almost everywhere on there.
Yeah, cause like behind the scenes people know that I work on other people's records and shit and um they'd heard a bunch of the stuff that I've done for various projects like a project called Tapeworm that we still haven't put out with Trent and Maynard and uh, just different things. And I've come to music that I've done that has not been released like me and Maynard have had a side project called Pucifer for a long time we've just not put anything out but we've got a bunch of songs. And uh, he came over to my house and he's like, 'Dude, you've got tons of cool shit. Do you want to be the music supervisor on this film?' And I said yeah, so I did it. And at the time I was working on Perfect Circle's new record Thirteenth Step, and doing a little bit of uncredited behind the scenes work on score to Charlie's Angels 2 and I just kind of slid into doing the Underworld thing.

Right on. Yeah, I saw a thing that Pucifer did a guest spot on an HBO show back in like '95 or something.
Oh Mr. Show!

Mr. Show that's right. I was watching the DVD at someone's house, I was like oh my god!
Yeah, it was like Adam and Tool, it was like a little joke band that they created, it wasn't a real band at all. And then I think initially we were going to do it with Adam, prior to me having any knowledge to what Pucifer was. And then me and Maynard were always doing these tracks and he was like, 'Let's just use this silly name that I got for this joke that we did.' Cause we got all this music that we did that we were going to release eventually on soundtracks and stuff like that, and we didn't have a name and he really wanted to use that one because of the nostalgic joke that he did. And so that's what that is, yeah.

That's great. Are you guys going to do a Damning Well album or anything? That group or was that just for…?
Um. We've written like fourteen songs now over the course of like a month and a half or something. We actually have four songs for the Underworld soundtrack just because they were coming really quick, and three of which fit kind of a new
sound and a new direction for both Wes and Rich. One of which was like a pretty obvious that sounds like Wes playing, and that sounds like Rich playing, and we needed a pretty obvious tune for the soundtrack and for the first scene in the movie. So we kept the three songs that kind of like had the identity of an actual new band just in case we ever wanted to do anything, and just because it's been coming so quick we've been fucking around with it in between Rich working on Filter and Wes working on Eat The Day, his new band.

Yeah, he's from our home town.
What, Wes is?

Yeah, we're in Jacksonville.
Yeah, he's a cool guy. The exception to the rule if you know what I mean.

Yeah definitely.
::laughs:: I think we all know what that means. And so yeah, we may put something out. We have a lot of material and I'm pretty excited about it. I don't think we would do an album if it was going to be like what we did on the soundtrack because we did that specifically for the movie and with kind of a framework for what it needed to be. Small verses, big chorus, a standard kind of not reinventing the wheel by any means. And then once we kind of started hitting on this other stuff, because we're all pretty, me and Wes are very inspired by people like Tool and Radiohead and the outside the box kind of artist you know? Not your typical Limp Bizkit,  P.O.D., scenarios by any means. Or NIN for that matter. More conceptual and more… outside the box is the only way I can think of it. So long story short, yeah, I was just at Wes's house last night working on a new song. We're fucking around with it, I just don't know politically whether we'll be able to put out a record and tour and everything, but it's kind of leaning in that direction.

Right, right. It sounded good from what I've heard so far I'm looking forward to hearing more.
Oh yeah. I'm not embarrassed of that song but that song is just like, whatever.  The other shit we've done is much cooler than that.

Cool. Next time you see Wes tell him Max from Jacksonville said hello.
Oh you know him?

Oh yeah, I've known him for a few years. We've had him on the cover of the magazine. He used to come over to my house when Limp Bizkit was first starting up, and we made logos for the band and everything.
Mmm, yeah definitely. I see him everyday.

Wes is a really good guy man, he's one of the best.
Yeah, like literally all my girlfriends, like just girls that are friends of mine are like, 'Oh he's the sweetest, too bad he's married.' And that just makes it even more because he's with Heather who was his high-school sweetheart. He's literally the most genuine and sweet guy I know.

Yeah, he's awesome. I always wish him well on everything he does.
Yeah, he's still the same dude he probably was back then. A million albums later and he's still the coolest guy in the world.

Everytime I've seen him he's always pretty much the same guy I've always known.
No doubt.

Yeah, we knew all those guys back before they were famous.
Yeah well, god bless you. :::laughs::: He's the only one I care about.They're all good though, except you know whatever Fred. The drummer is like amazing and the bass player's great, but I dunno. I don't know what's happening with the rest of the band since Wes left. I dunno, you know the media, I hear bad shit about Fred all the time but he's always been supercool to me.

Yeah, he's always been a nice guy to me but he has his way of doing things that pisses people off I guess.
Oh he's got plenty of enemies out here, I promise you that. But he's cool to me so whatever. I mean I just come from a different asthetic musically than what do.

Right, I can understand that.
I mean I love rap music and everything but…Well I don't love it on a blanket basis but there's some stuff that I can
appreciate. I'm super into like the Death Metal of rap like DMX and all the super hard shit, you know what I mean? It's like the black man's punk rock to me. So I love it but, whatever. Let's put it this way, if Eminem was the frontman of Limp Bizkit I would be super into Limp Bizkit. I think he's amazing.

He is fun. We listen to some of his stuff sometimes.
Yeah, you can't deny just like, his lyrical wit. It's so fun. And rhythmically just insane. I don't know how he does it to be honest.

Does he write his music?
He writes his newer stuff he produces himself. The music isn't really the strong point, just his voice and his lyrics are amazing. And the Dre tracks are pretty great. Dre is amazing, though I'm not super into Eminem's production though it's adequate, but he's far beyond. I mean he's up there with Ice Cube and all the greats of all time in my opinion.

Well you've worked with a lot of the greats of our time as far as I'm concerned. Is there anybody that you haven't worked with that you would like to?
Tom Waits. Yeah, he was going to sing on the Pucifer track on this record but we just couldn't get it together on time. And so that's definitely got an ace in the back pocket that I'm waiting to break out. Get him and Maynard on the same track at some point.

That will be amazing. Yeah, Maynard is smacked all over that Underworld soundtrack.
Yeah. ::laughs:: He's throwing me a few bones there. It helps to have friends in high places sometimes. I had very little money to work with. So a lot of stuff on there…you know
John Frucante, he played on the Bowie track for free, and Maynard sang on the Bowie track for free. We didn't have a lot of money so it required favors and everybody was up for it. Cause the movie is actually cool, and they watched it and they liked it so they were like, 'Yeah, I'll help you out.'
But I'm also doing the soundtrack for a movie called Hellboy which is also coming out.

Oh, yeah yeah, it's going to be good. Ron Pearlman. What a perfect Hellboy.
Oh god, not a better dude. It's going to be rad. The story is amazing. I haven't seen the footage yet. I was over at this place called Revolution Studios that's making the film yesterday and I was hoping to catch some of the footage
but I haven't yet.

I've only seen some still shots from the makeup.
Yeah, I've seen the still shots and it looks rad. And the storyline is awesome, I don't know if you know anything about the storyline about the devil having provided the Nazis with this superbeast guy and he went to America and was raised here. He went to the good side basically. Cut his horns off.
But uh yeah so, I'm already, I don't know what my involvement is with Hellboy quite yet because it's in the preliminary stages but I've got a list of shit that I've prepared that I plan to attack. And that has a budget too so I can like do a really even better record with a budget. Where I might be able to get an actually cool song as opposed to just Maynard, you know?

Well, yeah. He is so much of it to a lot of people though.
Oh yeah, no but, Tool is like one of my favorite bands in the world and I would so love to be able to commission them to write a song for a movie which I've never done before. And that's a pretty difficult task because Adam's a real
perfectionist, he's very much like a Trent Reznor type. As far as his interest in keeping things artistic. And he won't just do something if you just throw money at him and are like, 'Oh, make a Tool song for the movie.' But you know, you don't get to see the movie and you don't get to have anything to do with
what scene it goes into and making it appropriate. He's like, 'If I do it I want it to be perfect for the picture.' And so, that's my dream is to try to convince Adam. So if I do end up doing the entire soundtrack that's my goal, try to get Tool on there.

Right on, yeah. I think they're one of the best bands I've ever seen live.
Yeah. They're by far the best metal band we've had in my generation. Metallica, Pantera, Tool.

Ah, Slayer. Can't forget Slayer.

So what's up with the Renholder project?
That's not even a project that's literally like I had some score pieces that I did for the film that they wanted to include on the soundtrack, and so they're just like little 30 second like things that go good with the picture for particular scenes. And we just threw them on there. And Renholder is like a name of a Perfect Circle song which I did not know was about me, and I found out.

It's about you?
Well, it's a little more of a segway than anythings else, but they're like singing 'Daaaannnnyyy' and you can't really tell because it's all Indian and esoteric but I think they did it as a joke. Like if you spell it backwards it's Re D Lohner, Regarding Danny Lohner which is a nickname the Perfect Circle guys call me. So I was like, 'Shit, what am I going to call this stuff?' Because I had like an hour to get my artwork together and I was like, 'Uhhhh, Shit. Renholder. I'll just call it Renholder.' But I've been like trying to explain to people that it's not some kind of project.  I just like cut off the questions that are like, 'Well it doesn't seem very focused and it's kind of Nine Inch Nailsy.' And I'm like no, they're just little clips, I've done them a bunch for movies but I've never actually put them on soundtracks, and that's just...what it is.
By no means is it a band or anything like that. Or a project I'm persuing or anything. If I ever got the chance to do a couple of scenes in Hellboy I'd call it Renholder, you know?

Right on. Right. So what's next on your list besides Hellboy?
Well, working, uh been working with Wes in an unofficial kind of way, and Richard Patrick just making music. And that's kind of like the most interesting and fun thing I've been doing. And I've been approached to create tracks for Keith Flint from Prodigy.

Yeah, I've heard he's got some stuff out aside from Prodigy, right?
Yeah. So I've been working on some stuff for him. I've not worked with him directly. He's in England he's flying in so I'm just like creating tracks for him to do his thing on top of and just seeing what happens.

Rumor has it it was going to be a bit 'punk rock.'
Yeah, but I think his initial, he did a whole album and the record company was like wants to send him back in with some different people because it was more like straight punk rock. And what I've been doing is like some punk rock elements fused with a slightly more electronic but by no means like Prodigy. I
would not dare step on Liam who is a genius. It's like dirty,lo-fi. Like an expensive punk band. Lo-fi and dirty and rythyms that are indicative of where he comes from but they're not performed with super clean and pristine production. It's like, pretend like, you know how I was saying black man's punk rock, the attitude and everything behind like DMX and people like that I was trying to go like Keith Flint's punk rock. My interpretation of that and seeing what he thinks of it, where it's got a little more that guitar bass and drums. Pumping rythyms but the spirit and the non-slickness of an imeadiate an passionate punk rock scenario.

So how did you like the movie Underworld?
I think it's a really good movie. I mean, I wouldn't have been able to get these people to work on it if it was a complete piece of shit. I mean, it's not like Blade or anything like that. It's more of like a Crow meets Interview With the Vampire, meets Matrix. It's not like kitschy and like Kate Beckensal never looks at the camera and goes, 'I'll be back,' or anything stupid like that.
It's serious. Cause like you read about it and it's like werewolves versus vampires and it sounds kind of like, 'Oh god….' But then you see it and it's a little more sophisticated than that. You know, it is an action movie and it's fun and there's a lot of eye candy, but it's done in a tasteful way.