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Interview

Shane Mclachlan Of Phobia On Punks And Gutterpunks

Phobia has put the fear into grindcore since the early 80s. Phobia gained a reputation for having no problem discussing their views on politics and economics through their music; often having a controversial opinion. And although there is just one original member left, the band is still going strong and just about to release their latest album; almost a retrospective of the band's history. I caught up with founding member Shane Mclachlan to talk about why this album is so important to Phobia, the writing process, and why he just doesn't like gutterpunks.

Buick McKane: How are you today?

Shane Mclachlan: Doing good.

Buick: Well your new album with Phobia called “Remnants of Filth” is going to come out on June 5th. Are your fans getting excited?

Shane: Yeah. We’re really excited because the whole writing process went really well, and it was the first time our new guitar player Cece played on it. It was a really, really comfortable feeling doing this record where before it seemed that there was more stress involved in producing the record. So it was a very stimulating process and we’re very really excited about the release to come out, although it’s been hacked already and it’s all over the place which kind of sucks. But it hits the streets June 5th.

Buick: Well maybe you could do something special on the album that they can’t get to unless they buy it.

Shane: We have to figure that out. That seems to be what people do these days. It’s amazing; it’s up on, like, fifty sites already. The band was calling me going, “It’s everywhere!” And the label called me, “It’s everywhere!” And I was like, “What am I supposed to do about it?” I don’t know. It got all over Youtube and everything, so we emailed Youtube and said, “Hey, you have to take this down.” So we’re trying to do what we can. There’s only so much you can do.

Buick: You’ve released so many albums, EPs, and splits that I was wondering, how long does it take you to write the music?

Shane: Well, the thing about the writing process for Phobia is I write a lot of the stuff, I come in the studio pretty much prepared, and we actually write a lot in the studio. I really like the pressure. To me, there’s a good pressure of writing stuff on the spot; really put my feeling, and the environment and vibe that’s going on in the studio. We have about eighteen songs [an album]; we have about six done and the rest we do in the studio. And I usually come up with the lyrics, I start putting things together, and pretty much everything falls into place.

Buick: Good, and in your lyrical content there’s a lot of political and social stuff. There’s a lot of political and social turmoil right now, so what are your lyrics based on for this album?

Shane: We do have some sort of political agenda and our opinions about certain things, and living in America, there’s always an economical crisis, there’s always something going on. And I feel that on this record. There is a little bit of that. And the times we’re living in, it kind of feels like a very therapeutic album because a lot of the songs are personal, and I would say that even though you have a political opinion, it’s still based on your own opinion. So I think this album is very therapeutic; it makes it a lot more personal.

Buick: I was really interested in your song title “Filthy Fucking Punks.” Is that in regards to your dislike of people who call themselves punks or people saying that about you?

Shane: It’s people saying that about punks. You know, the thing is, people always want to discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are, I think people discriminate naturally…I can’t use the word normal because what constitutes as normal? What I’m saying is I’m a 40-year old man. I work, I have a job, I still believe in punk ideals and I still try to contribute as much as I can as being a father. It’s like my kids, they’re going to tell me who they’re going to be; they have to make their own decisions. I try to guide them in a positive direction and try to influence to what I think is right, but I can’t force them into anything.

Buick: What is your opinion on gutterpunks? I don’t know what you call them out there, but the kids who run away from home to live on the streets because they think it’s cool?

Shane: I would have to say once again that I can’t discriminate against certain people, but I’m not really a big gutterpunk fan. I think those kids have self-imposed poverty; poor me, poor this, poor that. I think it’s all bullshit. It’s definitely not punk rock. They’re just like…they do it to themselves; most kids have homes to go to, most of those kids have parents that miss them, most of those kids from good families. I don’t know every kid. I never really wanted to live that lifestyle, I was, more or less, wanting to contribute because it’s something that I believe in and push forward to. I didn’t want to live on spare change. I didn’t want to live on the spare change of people who were working hard for they do. Sit there and bitch about everything. Most of those kids, they’re just fucking miserable. They’re miserable, they go on to the streets, they think it’s cool, and they think it’s punk. I don’t think it’s punk at all. “Hey, I want to live in an anarchist society. Fuck the government. Hey, can I have my food stamps? Hey, can I have this? Hey, can I have this?” I think it’s bullshit, I think it’s hypocrisy. The phrase is, man, “You don’t have be drunk to be a punk.” It has nothing to do with being a punk, and that’s the best part. You can look at that kid as an idiot and hope he doesn’t destroy his whole life. Most kids have the wrong idea about what punk rock is. We don’t have too many in Austin; Austin is not very gutterpunk-friendly. Don’t see a lot of them here.

Buick: You’re lucky. You also said that this album really represents the band. How does it do that?

Shane: I think it really represents the band through a lot of elements like “Filty Fucking Punks.” It goes back to our roots where the band did come from and it represents where we’re headed today, if you read the lyrics. And the album…it’s too premature to really know until the album releases and you can read all the lyrics, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But I think it represents the band today and where we’re going, and it represents a lot of the past. It’s like biography, but not in the literal sense. It covers the whole basis of a career, I guess you would say.

Buick: Cool, and do you have any tour plans yet?

Shane: We’re doing a couple of festivals and then we’re going to tour in June. I haven’t seen the whole tour schedule yet, but it’s going to be the south and east coast.

Buick: Great. Is there anything else you would like to say?

Shane: Look out for the new record. It means a lot to us. Support the scene. There are hackers out there, and the label put a lot of time and money into the band. A lot of people just steal it, put it online for people to download. And tell the gutterpunks to go home. Your parents miss you.
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Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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