How Was 2022 For The Merciless PIG Of Darkness?

19 December 2022


(photography by E Gabriel Edvy)

Raymond Watts aka PIG is a centipede artist, a  pioneering member of the mid-1980s industrial/darkwave/Goth rock scene who recorded/released multiple longplayers since then, wrote/writes music for fashion, film artists, and exhibitions and still found/finds
time to collaborate with other like-minded artists.

As a vivid fan it’s an utterly cool pleasure to talk to the merciless PIG of darkness
about the past, about 2022 and the future, about his imposing 2022 album – a mix
of brawny industrial Rammstein bombast, nightmares in slow-motion, wham-bam-glam drones and gospel chants – about Berlin and Japan, about his dog Wally and much more.

But as usual Turn Up The Volume starts an interview with a slice of music.
Open your ears and eyes for one of the highlights of this year’s new LP
The Merciless Light.

You started your career back in the late 80s when living in Berlin.
What and or who triggered you to go on a musical journey, Raymond?

“Ever since I was about 8 or 9 I found music was the artwork that resonated most
strongly with me. We had a little band in my neighbourhood (I was the drummer, then
bass player) and of course I was inspired by the great glam rock bands of the early 70s.

By 1976 I was already a little suburban punk rocker and I could really run
my colours up the mast of punk as the ethos was ‘anyone can do this’.”

Did Berlin, the city itself, inspired your musical muse?
Were you there when the Wall came down?

“I moved to Berlin in 1985 after a year in Hamburg and it was the place I felt most comfortable because of the absolute duality and division of the city. West and
East Berlin
were two contrasting and opposite systems.

What inspired me was the anarchic nature and the greyness combined with DIY bars that never closed, the wall, the fantastic and fantastically weird bands that you wouldn’t find the like of in any other city … and the bullet holes. So the answer is yes … the city, the drugs, the nightlife, the sleaze, the fear, frenzy and delight all fed my musical muse.”

“In answer to the second part of your question; where was I when the wall came down?
I was at Checkpoint Charlie on Nov 9th 1989. I had been in the studio that day producing a band and I got a call from some friends who said they were coming to get me as it was about to open. We got there just as the barrier lifted and a tide of East Germans flooded through to much cheering and celebration.

I lived close to the wall and for the next few weeks there was a constant sound of hammers and chisels on the wall as people (myself included) chipped bits away as keepsakes. It was a wonderful and wild time but for me it signified that the party
was over in West Berlin and it was time to leave.”

You choose to operate under a moniker to present yourself
and your work to the world. Why did you go for PIG?

“It’s a short word that I like.”

What or who attracted you to the world of industrial/darkwave rock, Raymond?

“You will think this is incredibly arrogant and self-important but I wasn’t attracted to it…
it was attracted to me! At the moment I feel more attracted to the world of opera – but that’s just today, tomorrow I may feel more attracted to the world of cooking or designing clothes or writing poetry.

I don’t spend a lot of time seeing or listening to industrial or darkwave (whatever that is) bands. When I was younger I felt the burning intensity of seeing that kind of stuff as it was totally and utterly mesmerising. To work with a band like Neubauten at their peak and be doing sound for them was to be a part of it, and maybe having been a part of it I’ve been looking for and experiencing other things since then.”

When looking back at your extensive catalogue, which one of your tracks/albums would you pick to introduce PIG to people who never heard his music?

“I suggest ‘Symphony for the Devil’ from ‘The Swining’.

Last September your new excellent LP ‘THE MERCILESS LIGHT came out. Is there a big picture behind it or do the songs all stand on their own.

“I would hope that the songs stand up on their own and there’s a bigger picture to it. Each PIG album is a Gesamtkunstwerk. An entire artistic body of work; artwork, music, words, videos, production and performance. I don’t know what your interpretation of that album is and I’m never too sure but I think there’s something about the excoriating nature of truth in there amongst the madness and the machines.”

One of the standout tracks, to my ears, is massive banger THE DARK ROOM, accompanied by a dazzling video. What’s the track about and what is it that you wanted to visualize with the clip?

“It seems that possibly the song is using the analogy of a literal dark room where rolls
of film are developed. You need a dark room to see what the image is. Maybe we only develop in the quiet and dark space inside ourselves. Change happens in the dark.”

Another big one is TARANTULA. An (earlier) hammer blow remixed by Jim Davies. Why is it that in the ‘dance’ genre remixes are like a second nature and far more common than in ‘rock’?

“I actually have no idea how to answer that. Maybe the dance genre has more
elements in common and they can be transplanted more easily from song to song.”

Throughout your career the artwork of your albums/EP/singles always was something to look out for. In what way were you involved in the choice, development and final touch of the images?

“I’m lucky enough to work with Vlad McNeally who does PIG artwork and Gabriel Edvy who does the cover photography and videos. I generally have an idea which I discuss with them then I usually stand well back and both of them come up with something vastly more interesting!”

You seem to have a strong attraction for all things Japanese. You had your label there, toured there, lived there. What is it that fascinates you so much about Japan, Raymond?

“I used to spend a lot of time in Japan. It was my second home. I don’t know what it is about being there that resonates but the whole aesthetic makes me feel comfortable.

When I first went there for 5 months in 1981, with a band I was with, I just wanted to stay.
I felt like I’d landed on the set of Blade Runner but with the best catering imaginable. It was heaven and hell but turbocharged with fantastic manners and technology.”

Industrial/darkwave/Goth music seems to be around for ages. It’s imperishable.
Any idea why the genre still appeals to so many people around the globe?

“I wish I knew… Maybe we all need to move on and find something new!”

You toured regularly with greats (NIN, Neubaten, your former band KMFDM, and many more). Which acts/artists are still on your wish list to tour with in the future?

“Having been locked into a relentless cycle with PIG in the last few years I need to take some time out to refresh my creative juices and one of the things I’ll be doing is listening to more new and interesting artists and maybe think about who to tour with next time we go out.”

We’re nearing the end of 2022. What’s the best track
and album you heard all year, Raymond?

Freddie de Tomasso’s album II Tenore has a lovely recording of ‘Mario’ on it from
‘Tosca’ but maybe it’s because I saw him perform it last night at The Royal Opera
House
in Covent Garden.

If you were asked to cover a Xmas song, which
one would it be and how would it sound like?

“It would sound like this; here’s a link to the PIG Christmas ep Black Mass that
I released a few years ago as a fundraiser for International Rescue Committee.”

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Which song (s) will you play at New Year’s Eve and why?

‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!, ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer.
And ‘Im Abendrot’ by Richard Strauss (with Jessye Norman).”

Name three things you really want to happen in 2023 for PIG.

“It would be great if touring in the US was a bit more viable and I’d
like to re-release my back catalogue … though this is happening slowly!

The Swining / Red Raw & Sore have been remastered and will be out on Cleopatra
next summer … and thirdly and more importantly I’d love my dog Wally to stop
howling and barking like a hungry little wolf every time I stop for a coffee when I walk him.”

https://www.last.fm/music/Pig/The+Swining+%2F+Red+Raw+&+Sore

Thank you very much for this interview, Raymond.
May the road rise with PIG in 2023.

You can stream/buy
THE MERCILESS LIGHT here via
Bandcamp</a


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PIG: Bandcamp – Spotify – Instagram – Facebook

20 BEST TRACKS OCTOBER 2022

A stream of rattling rippers, jagged jams, and magnific musings

All 20 on Spotify

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Track by Track

Blood-tingling Scottish dance-funk-punk trio YOUNG FATHERS
have their new, 5th LP, called Heavy Heavy out on 3 February 2023.

Sickly sticking stunner I SAW. is the first taster.
I added this spicy scream-along earworm to
my best-tracks-of-2022 list.

Touchdown!

YOUNG FATHERS: Facebook – Instagram

Finally back on track. James Murphy and his musical vehicle LCD SOUNDSYSTEM
are part of the soundtrack of the movie White Noise based on the 1985 novel by
American author Don DeLillo.

LCD Soundsytem still sounds like LC Soundsystem. New track NEW BODY RHUMBA
has that familiar hypnotic and groovy speed-up rhythm propelled by a steady bass riff, guitars popping up now and then and Murphy singing with his characteristic, nervous voice.

Catch the catchy vibes.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM: Facebook – Instagram

Band: DECIUS (UK)
Who: Members of Trashmouth Records, Fat White Family (frontman Lias Saoudi)
& Paranoid London finding themselves climbing out of a hole together at a disco
after hours.

Single: SHOW ME NO TEARS

Put up your make-up and shake
your booty to the techno beat.

DECIUS: Facebook
________________________________________________________________________________________________

Last month dark-Goth-wave artist Raymond Watts aka PIG
unleashed his gloom and doom album The Merciless Light
.

Hammering brainbreaker THE DARK ROOM is one
of the many highlights on Turn Up The Volume‘s album
of the month.

Let’s roll…

PIG: Facebook – Instagram – Spotify
_________________________________________________________________________________________________

Band: GLYTSH
Who: 2 seasoned female musicians from the London music scene.
They mix their love for metal music with their passion for dark and
haunting sonic soundscapes and visuals.

Single: SAV@GE

Want some references: Ho99o9, Skunk Anansie, Nova Twins. Fucking cool, right?
You betcha. Sav@ge is a badass piece, a metal beast. Hell bloody hell yeah!

GLYTSH: Facebook – Instagram
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Band: THE BYKER GROVE FAN CLUB
Who: Ponderous post-punk three-piece from the UK.

I heard and watched this British post-hardcore bulldozer play
in Antwerp, Belgium recently. They blew my mind and turned
me into an instant fan. What a find.

Here’s why…


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T.B.G.F.C: Facebook – Instagram – Spotify
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(photo by Niklas Hawkesworth)

Band: RED LAMA
Who: Formed by five friends from Svendborg, Denmark in 2011. Since then, the sextet has been refining their unique take on psych rock, music for the inner journey, carried forward by melody, groove and soundscapes exploding in grand crescendos.

Single: CHAOS IS THE PLAN
Third shared track from the upcoming new
album – their 3rd – Memory Terrain, landing
on 4 November.

Expect a hypnotic and magnetic psych jam moving
hauntingly, propelled by a groovy bass riff, sinister
synth layers, weeping guitars and emotive vocals.

Grand score!


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RED LAMA: Facebook – Instagram
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(Credit: Luci Lux, Chiara-Meattelli & Dominic Lee)

Band: THE PULL OF AUTUMN
Who: The art-rock collective of Rhode Island musician Daniel Darrow,
from 80s post-punk group Johanna’s House Of Glamour. working
constantly with other notable artists

New album – the 4th – Beautiful Broken World is a 15-track
undertaking that involves a number of experienced musicians.
It arrives on 18 November. Pre-order info here

The first single, named OUTLAW EMPIRE grooves and moves with Massive Attack‘s
trip-hop swagger, spacey reverberance, and a mesmeric, ongoing dub rotation. If you were/are a Pop Group fan you’ll recognize Maffia Godfather Mark Stewart‘s voice from
the first note.

It’s a beautiful swing-and-sway activator
for a broken world, as we know it.

Stream/buy here.


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THE PULL OF AUTUMN/RBM Records: Facebook
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(Press photo via C & The R)

Scottish post-hardcore punk and tattoo artist FRANK CARTER
and his RATTLESNAKES had their 4th longplayer Sticky out last year
(Carter also released 3 albums with his first band Gallows and 1 under
the moniker of Pure Love)

For new single THE DRUGS Carter invited his friend Jamie T to the studio.

An anti-drugs slam.
A nasty rant. Holy cow.

FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES: Facebook – Instagram
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Artist: HANG LINTON

Who: British musician, visual artist, filmmaker
and avant-funk enchanter based in Berlin.

Debut single: SALE feat. LeBron Aggressive

TUTV: This funky hip-hop uplift does what great hip-hop vibes do. Having
a prompt impact on your hips’ movements that in turn activate your whole
body’s spryness. Think of rap hero Roots Manuva‘s flamboyant flow.

SALE is for sale, go get it.


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HANG LINTON: Facebook – Instagram
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Band: BUGEYE
Who: Female pop quartet from London blending cherry-liqueur lyrics, bubblegum-kneecap bass electrics, goth-heavy drum compactions & hi-rise guitar sculptures.

Single: SUMMER IN THE CITY
“A song that explores the highs and lows and stories of life in the city. From feeling like you’re winning in life, to turning a corner to tensions and violence, to dating app cringeworthy dating experiences and the death of David Bowie. It is a playful song that highlights our fickle nature and our scrolling boredom obsession.”

Time flies. It’s already 2 years since these 4 colorful Amazons had their swinging
dance-punk debut LP Ready Steady Bang out. But the wait is over with this new
firecracker. It’s sexy bugglegum pop, it’s groovy electro-funk, it’s effervescent fun.

Helloooo!


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BUGEYE: Facebook – Instagram
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Band: PAISLEY PARC
Who: Robust rockers from
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales

Single: COMPLICATED

“The song captures the frustrations of people across the globe as we all try to make
sense of our new emerging world following the pandemic and the economic mayhem
it has created.”

This Welsh turbo bring their celebrated countrymen Stereophonics to mind here, but
with three guitarists, a John Bonham drummer and a red-hot-blooded vocalist who’s alarming voice fits the confusing times we live in. Wowzers!

“Don’t call the doctor he won’t save you tonight”

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PAISLEY PARC: Facebook – Instagram
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(Press photo via YYYs)

Band: YEAH YEAH YEAHS
Who: Pop/rock trio from New York
fronted by the gorgeous Karen O
Active: Since 20000 / 6th LP (new one incl.)

Their new album Cool It Down – first in 9 years – is out now.
The title is taken from the Velvet Underground song of the same name
from their 1970 LP Loaded.

YYYs burn again…

YYYs: Facebook
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(Photo by Rose Dekker)

Band: BLACK NITE CRASH
Who: A psych collective started by Jim Biggs (vocals, guitar) twenty years ago
in Seattle Washington. The band had more than 30 members over the years.

They just released a new full length, baptized Washed In The Sound
Of Black Nite Crash
, the band’s fifth. A must hear psychedelic journey.

Opener THE TAKE sets the tone for the full remarkable longplayer.
Influences by masters of the genre such as jangly hero Anton Newcombe
and his Brianjones Town Massacre gang, The Black Angels, and Heart
are all around.

Top stuff!

BLACK NITE CRASH: Facebook
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KAT KOAN is a Berlin-based artist with a passion for expressing intense emotions through music and visuals. With her Belgian musical partner Raymond Rose she canned her second album Coccoon and released it on 7 October.

A sonically versatile and compelling record with Koan speaking and singing
her mind and her heart out. Think Garbage‘s charismatic lady Shirly Manson.

One of my fav tracks is this moody pearl titled STAY
featuring Freddie Dickson and her band The Lost Souls.

KAT KOAN: Website – Instagram – Linktree
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Band: CMON CMON
Who: Indie rock trio from Belgium, signed by renowned manager
Stephen Budd (Gang Of Four, Heaven 17, The Magic Numbers)

Single: SAY WHAT IT MEANS
From their new self-titled debut EP.

The jangly guitars and the glossy resonance of R.E.M. and Teenage Fanclub are obvious,
but my ears also detect the slacker rock mood of Dinosaur Jr. ‘Say What It Means’ is an
ideal post-summer musing for grey Autumn days for confused and vulnerable souls.

Listen/watch

CMON CMON: Facebook
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(Photo by Jeremy McGuire)

Band: MIKE & THE NERVE
Who: A Florida-based folk punk band.

Debut single: CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER

Mike Llerena (vocalist/songwriter) “This song is our love letter to The Fest, a punk rock festival held in Gainesville every year during Halloween weekend. I’ve attended, volunteered, and/or played at Fest almost every year for the past decade and I’ve made a lot of great friendships and memories because of it.”

Melancholia on Halloween? Why not? When it sounds moony, warm
and romantic as Christmas In October does I’m all ears. So should you.

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MIKE & THE NERVE: Facebook – Instagram
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No retirement for 80-year-old JOHN CALE.

The Welsh icon will release his 17th solo longplayer, titled Mercy
on 20 January 2023 via Double Six/Domino.

Single NIGHT CRAWLING was written with David Bowie in mind when
both had fun in New York City in the 70s. It’s a synth-trippy and chilling
reflection.

Watch/listen here.

JOHN CALE: Facebook
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Band: MODERN STARS
Who: Spacey shoegazers from Italy. Their work is loaded with stringed
and electronic sounds laid down through a multilayering approach that
has more in common with Indian traditional music and Techno,

Single: DROWNING
New piece from the trio’s upcoming third album,
named Space Trips For The Masses.

If I tell you that my ears here echoes of The Brian Jonestown Massacre
and The Black Angels on Drowning you know that you’ll enter a dark space
with enigmatic, psychedelic encounters.

Roll the tape and get puzzled…

MODERN STARS: Facebook
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Band: USE KNIFE
Who: Started as a Belgian duo – Stef Heeren and Kwinten Mordijck – born out of the mutual love for analog and modular electronic machinery. They explore and express hallucinatory freethinking visions to contemporary living. Iraqi artist Saif Al-Qaissy recently joined the duo, making a trio now.

Track: TO FEED THE GENTRY

A spectacular ambient jam from their spectacular debut album The Shedding Of Skin.
An intriguing and fascinating piece featuring Iraqi, Brussels-based artist Saif Al-Qaissy
adding Eastern vibes.

Press play here…

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USE KNIFE: Facebook

Album Of October 2022 – Dark Goth-Wave Hero PIG With ‘THE MERCILESS LIGHT’

28 October 2022

Artist: PIG (London, UK)

Who: Raymond Watts aka PIG has enjoyed a varied career since starting out
as a pioneer member of the mid-1980s industrial rock scene. He toured with
big names such as NIN and Einstürzende Neubauten. He wrote music for
fashion and film artists, exhibitions and so many more artistic collaborations.

New album: THE MERCILESS LIGHT

Info: “What does worldwide quarantine do to our favourite porcine libertine?
Raymond Watts holed up in his sty and created ‘The Merciless Light’, the new album
by PIG. Ably aided and abetted by long time accomplices En Esch and Steve White, Watts also welcomes a new swine to the trough as Jim Davies (Pitchshifter/The Prodigy) adds another new level of impeccable (in)credibility and talent. ‘The Merciless Light’ seethes, swings, seduces and snarls. Extraordinary electronics and a glut of glitz, glam, guitars and grooves create a masterful mélange of mirth from our very own venerable Vicar of Vice.”

Turn Up The Volume wrote: The PIG of darkwaveness hits hard again following his
ace 2020 longplayer Pain Is God. With the new record, he reveals his lockdown blues experiences with 12 doom-and-gloom sledgehammers to crush concrete with.

Prepare your ears for brawny industrial bombast (No Yes More less / Veni Vidi Vici / Feed
The Wound / Taranatula
), nightmares in slow-motion (Limbo / Sugar My Pill / The Judas Chair), wham-bam-glam drones (Glitz Krieg / The Dark Room) and the fantastic slow-burning gospel chant of the title track. It’s all there to have yourself a merciless head-banging pig trip. File next to Rammstein’s new opus Zeit.

Singles/clips: The Dark Room / Tarantula

– TARANTULA –

– THE DARK ROOM –

Buy/stream
THE MERCILESS LIGHT
here via Bandcamp


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PIG: Facebook – Instagram – Spotify

Photography by E Gabriel Edvy