FILTER's RICHARD PATRICK: 'Rock Is Not That Big Anymore'

June 3, 2024

In a new interview with David Morrell of the RUN GPG podcast, FILTER leader Richard Patrick was asked about the current state of the music industry. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The music industry is really crazy right now. Back in the day, if you were lucky enough to get a record contract, which was hard, they took care of you. From my perspective, not necessarily in the early days with [Patrick's former band] NINE INCH NAILS, but from my perspective, my record company, Warner Brothers, was a godsend. They were absolutely amazing. I asked for the moon and they were, like, 'Sure. You can do whatever you want. We're here. It's an artist-oriented label. We do what you want us to do.' And I'm, like, 'Okay. So I wanna grab 30,000 dollars' worth of equipment, go back to a little house in Cleveland, Ohio, and make my record, and then have someone else mix it later on.' And they're, like, 'Done.' And like I remember going through my equipment and getting all this fancy stuff, just amazing stuff, and they bought all of it and put it together in road cases and I went across the country out to Cleveland, Ohio and sat there with Brian Liesegang and worked on these records, or the first record, 'Short Bus', and I just remember being taken care of. And then money — I had money. They gave me pretty much an allowance to sit there and work, and they gave me an advance, which I used to live. And then it was, like, 'Hey, let's do a video. Here's 300,000 dollars for that. Who do you want to work with?' 'I wanna work with Kevin Kerslake. He did the SMASHING PUMPKINS video that I like.' And they were, like, 'Great. Here's his treatment.' I get in touch with this guy. He gives me his treatment. I'm, like, 'I love it. Let's do that.' That's the video for 'Hey Man Nice Shot'. And then they put someone on the road with us who was a liaison between all the people that we were supposed to meet, all the press we were supposed to do. And so she lived on the bus with us, which was crazy because we were pretty wild back then. But it was amazing. And now you just don't have that anymore. So the way they're doing it now is if you have a TikTok following of, like, 100,000 people and you have your own built-in following already, you can get a record deal, but I don't know how much they take care of anybody anymore. I think they just kind of take their money. They put the records out. I don't know if they have A&R people. It's bizarre."

Richard continued: "It's wild because Billie Eilish is truly one of the most talented — her and Finneas are some of the most talented people ever. And they made it by going viral off of their own SoundCloud and stuff. And I remember my daughter told me about Billie Eilish when Billie Eilish was 16 back in 2018, or whatever it was, '17 or '18 or '16. So, the cream is rising to the top, but it's wild how different it is.

"Rock is not that big anymore. That's the sad thing, is rock music isn't really that big anymore," Patrick added. "And it's expensive to be in a rock band. It's very expensive to be in a rock band. You make noise, so you have to find a place that'll allow you to make noise in. Basically, what I've done was I started off using a little studio in my house to make the beginnings of the record. Then I would go to a studio and flesh it out and add guitar overdubs and stuff like that and do drums in a studio. Then I would go to a mixer and spend six weeks with a mixer, Ben Grosse. And we had a place to stay every time we did anything. And now, because budgets are gone, I have my own little studio that I have. And then all of my bandmates have their own private home studios. And so I'll come up with the main piece of music and then I'll sing it and then I'll send it out to my guitar player Bobby and he'll play bass on it and sing overdubs or sing background harmonies or something like that. So we send it through Dropbox, and that's how we work on it. Eventually it'll come time to do drums, and we'll just spend two days with a great drummer who will flesh it out on drums for two days. And that's the most expensive part about doing a record these days. But my monthly rent for my little studio… Luckily, I'm moving into movie scores as well, so that supplements my studio time as well. But it's wild."

Richard went on to say: "[FILTER's latest album, 2023's] 'The Algorithm' [cost] probably 15 grand [to make], and [FILTER's third album, 2002's] 'The Amalgamut' cost 600,000. [1999's] 'Title Of Record'… People are, like, 'Oh boy, those first three records, man, they were amazing.' Yeah, each one of 'em cost, like, 400,000 dollars to make."

In a November 2023 interview with ADK Metal News, Reviews, Reactions & Interviews, FILTER mainman Richard Patrick spoke about how his band has been able to adapt to the access-over-ownership business model of streaming music. He said: "I've kind of gotten to the point where I just am, like, I make records because that's what I do. I make records [and] I hope people listen to them. I'm gonna play them at my concerts. But I don't expect anything. I don't expect, like, 'Oh, you're gonna go fucking platinum again.' Those days are just gone."

Asked how the record labels are able to make money from Spotify nowadays and whether they can withhold their releases from streaming platforms, Patrick said: "Well, they sold it out years ago. The record companies were, like, 'Here's our catalog. Pay us a big, huge amount of money first, and then we'll get it to the bands when they ask for it.' So all the music heads made tons of money when they made these deals with Spotify to have the catalogs originally. So, Spotify paid 17 million to Warner Brothers for its catalog and they took it and paid themselves. I'm not saying that's what Warner Brothers did. I'm just using it as a hypothetical. But yeah, it's fuckin gone. It's over."

Pressed about how difficult it is for someone to be a professional musician in this day and age, Patrick said: "I made the last record ['The Algorithm'] for 20,000 bucks. I made 'The Amalgamut' for 350,000 dollars. People bought houses because they worked so hard on a record, and they bought houses. And we'd sell a million records. So you'd pay it back; you'd make it back. So 'The Algorithm' cost me, like, 20 grand. And I don't even know if I've been reimbursed from the label or whatever. I don't even know if I've been reimbursed. I don't even know."

Asked if there is still a benefit for artists to go down the record label route anymore or if they are better off doing things independently, Richard said: "I don't know. The jury's out on where I'm at with my label. The jury's kind of out right now. I've been signed to 10 labels or something — a handful of labels — and I know what it's like when a label wants you to be big and wants to make your life amazing and work your record. And Golden Robot's fighting with everybody else on how to make a living on this. And it's tough. And you don't have sure things. If you get on radio, you'll sell a million records. That's not happening anymore. Radio is not as effective as it used to be. So it's, like, well, what are we? A TikTok account? Do I literally have to like hire a TikTok person and invest 10 grand in doing TikTok videos and starting this whole thing. And I have a TikTok account, and I just don't get it. I don't see what the point is. I release stuff on it, but it's the same as Reels on Instagram or Stories or whatever on Facebook]. But it's all about posting shit; it's all about posting content."

"The Algorithm" arrived in August 2023 via Golden Robot Records.

Originally conceived in 2018 as a collaboration between Patrick and fellow FILTER founding member Brian Liesegang, the band's new album was given a tentative title, "ReBus", as a nod to FILTER's 1995 debut, "Short Bus", before being changed to "They Got Us Right Where They Want Us, At Each Other's Throats" and later to "Murica" and then back to "They Got Us Right Where They Want Us, At Each Other's Throats". In the end, Patrick went with "The Algorithm".

"The other title was way too long," Richard previously explained. "And I don't wanna be as divisive as I've been in the past. So I decided to just call it 'The Algorithm' 'cause if makes total sense to me."

A new FILTER single, "For The Beaten", arrived in October 2022 and was followed by "Face Down".

Last year, FILTER completed the "Freaks On Parade" tour with ROB ZOMBIE, ALICE COOPER and MINISTRY.

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