DH: As a begin could you please tell me a little bit about you and your artistically development.
How did Mob Research start out? Which musicians are involved?
MGT: I was born and raised in Birmingham UK and had known Paul Raven for nearly 20 years.. we first got together back in 1989 when Killing Joke were on hiatus and jammed in London with a drummer we both knew.. I had moved to London from Birmingham back in 1989 and joined a band called The Children, formed by Dave Roberts of Sex Gang Children… the drummer in that line up was also jamming with Raven and Kirk Brandon. He invited me down to a rehearsal studio with Raven in London to jam on some new ideas… it was cool to play with Paul, and we hit it off straight away.. However Killing Joke reformed shortly after with Paul and recorded the “Extremies, Dirt & various Repressed Emotions” album, I later joined The Mission in 1992 and commenced recording of ‘Neverland’ and I didn’t see Raven again til many years later, but we would cross paths over the years..
It wasn’t until early 2007 that we got finally back together after a meeting in Los Angeles and formed Mob Research after I played Raven some of my new demos.. Paul gave the demo recordings to Kory (Warrior Soul vocalist) who was based up in New York at the time, and Kory came up with some great lyrics and melodies. I later drafted in Nick Lucero (ex Queens of The Stone Age and current Peter Murphy drummer) in on the recordings as many of the original demos had programmed drums.
DH: In the past you all played in different bands. Is there another kind of feeling for you now to be members of Mob Research?
MGT: The mix of influences between the members of Mob was a kind of melting pot between myself, Paul and Kory which resulted in the songs you hear on the album… Paul brought his unmistakeable Killing Joke/Ministry style and attitude to the album, my influences range from the Beatles to Prince to NIN to Bowie and also my guitar style developed while I was in The Mission and Tricky’s band, so there’s a range of musicality on the guitar front, and then there is Kory’s unique vocals and controversial lyrics which bond it all together…
DH: Can you describe your music style in your own words? Do you think there is something new in the sound of Mob Research?
MGT: One thing with Mob Research, there are no rules musically – if we want to write an industrial vibe song like ‘Holy City Zoo’, we will.. if we want to go electro and ambient like on ‘Atmosphere’, we will.. if we want to throw down a rock and roll tune like ‘New Religion’, we will.. and if we want to hit you over the head, we give you ‘Tribe’! I think theres a even a hint at rock radio in there – ‘Wambulance’ is very catchy, but has some controversial thought provoking lyrics.. Killing Joke were a big influence on my guitar style and to collaborate with Paul was a great experience. I’m also impressed by his work with Ministry who have always been a cool band that straddled the metal/industrial/alternative fence… my influences are also diverse, ranging from intelligent metal to dub to industrial to post punk so I felt a kinship with Paul… we both grew up in the Midlands UK and identified with each other..
DH: Your album is called "Holy City Zoo". Can you tell us something about the release. Where did you record the album and how long did it take to record it?
MGT: We started recording the parts for the album in the summer of 2007… by the time that Paul passed away on 20 October 2007, we had over 10 songs recorded musically, with vocals completed and recorded by Kory on 4 songs.
Raven already had ‚Mob Research‘ as a working band name and suggested it back when we formed the band in spring 2007, I had no objections and never really gave the meaning of the band name much thought.. I guess its the contradiction and juxtaposition of ‚Mob‘ (ie. Base mentality) and ‚Research‘ (implying intelligence)... Paul had suggested “Holy City Zoo” as an album title early on - it was an alternative club in Birmingham that we went to in the early 1980’s - and gave it to Kory for a song idea and asked he could write words and melody into one of the songs. The song “Holy City Zoo” is about the violence that the 3 main religion's in the holy city end up breeding world wide though fundamentalism whether intentional or not. Ultimately the decision to finish and release the Holy City Zoo album is to pay homage to Paul, he was very proud of the Mob Research material and we think it’s a fitting final addition to his musical legacy.
DH: Your member Paul Raven died when recording Holy City Zoo. How did you managed this tragic experience as a band?
MGT: When we heard that Raven had passed away we were obviously in shock - we had recorded over 10 songs musically and Kory had completed 4 songs with vocals at that point… there was a period of several months after Paul died where it felt weird to continue with the album – it was Pauls brainchild, he was the motivator and protagonist in the band, he named the band, he came up with the album title etc. I was the primary musical force in the band, Kory was the frontman, but Paul was the guy pulling the strings, if you know what I mean.
Before Paul had died, he had told us that Al Jourgensen of Ministry was offering to release HCZ on his new Thirteenth Planet label – Paul was playing with Ministry at the time - so when Paul died I kind of expected to hear from those guys, but neither Kory nor I heard back from them so after 6 months or so and we decided to finish the record ourselves, and decided to look around for another record label to release it on. During 2008 I was busy with promoting new albums by The Mission and Kory was busy with the reformed Warrior Soul and Trouble, so it took a while for us to get all the vocals and guitar overdubs written and recorded. I also drafted in Peter Murphy drummer Nick Lucero to record some live drums on certain tracks.
DH: On the album there is a song called "New Paradigm". What is the song about?
MGT: Kory is probably better equipped to answer this one than me, as he writes all the lyrics.. but its basically about setting a new standard, a new model for life.. a life without religious or government control, everyone free… in a way lyrically its Mob’s homage to Lennon’s ‘Imagine’! But musically it couldn’t be further apart..
DH: Tell us something about the process of writing a song. Do you write all the songs together as a band?
MGT: Mob Research definitely began life as a musical project… I had recorded musical demos for many of the songs featured on the album, Paul and I sorted through my demos and decided which ones to shortlist for Kory to write lyrics to, then Paul would make some arrangement suggestions here and there, and record his bass parts, then Kory would be given the musical demo and write and record his vocals. So I guess the model is – Music first – vocals/lyrics second.
DH: How important is your work as musicans for yourselfs? Would you be able to exist without music?
MGT: I think most successful musicians are driven.. that is, they cant help but play and write and create, its something that is in them and it has to be allowed out. I think I would always be strumming a guitar and coming up with riffs and musical ideas… its in our DNA..
DH: There are a lot of remixes in part two of Holy City Zoo. Why did you decide to release this different versions of your songs? Do you like to experiment with sounds and music?
MGT: When Paul died we had 10 songs completed musically, and it seemed logical when our label Echozone suggested the idea of adding some remixes to add value to the album, and to ask our friends and supporters to work on remixes to expand the album.. Both Paul and I were big fans of dance remixes, there’s a history of excellent crossover remixes with both Killing Joke and Ministry. Many of the mixes explore the electronic side of the band, while still maintaining a hard edge… with Akanoid’s ‘Do Not Feed’ remix of Holy City Zoo, the song is turned into a punk rock assault, while SinDADDY’s 322 remix of Skull and Bones is an intense 186bpm Gabba metal session… and we couldn’t resist including actor Christian Bale’s rant on the set of Terminator in the ‘Wambulance ‘Terminator Meltdown’ remix.. I think they all add something special to the album.
DH: Are you looking forward to perform Holy City Zoo on stage? Do you play concerts in Germany this summer and are there further projects for the future planned? Will there be anytime a second album of Mob Research?
MGT: Initially we were reluctant to entertain the idea of touring and replacing Paul, but now the record is complete, we think Paul would have expected us to promote it, as he was fiercely proud of our material.. Paul’s brother Daniel Raven also plays bass - currently for UK rockers Gundogs - and Dan has kindly offered to step into his brothers shoes should the opportunity arise… we are currently considering the possibility of a European tour to promote the album later in the year.. this will definitely include some German dates, as our label is based in Germany.. We’ll see how the album is received... Kory and I certainly have a great songwriting combination, and we both look forward to finally performing live together!
We haven’t really discussed writing and recording a second album yet, I guess we just want the focus of Holy City Zoo to be Paul’s final swansong album, but I dare say if the album is well received and if we feel motivated, then the remaining members of Mob Research will no doubt regroup and write some more material… at the core of the bands sound is my guitars and writing style and Korys vocals and lyrics..
DH: Thank you very much for this interview. Some last words to our readers, please:
MGT: We just want to thank all of our fans for sticking with us over the last 2 years! The album is out now, and was definitely worth the wait.. If things go well, then hopefully you will see Mob Research coming to a venue near you sometime soon..
For more info and tour dates visit the bands website at www.mobresearchinc.com
Mark Gemini Thwaite (for Mob Research)
Andreas Ohle (for Dark Heart Magazin)