ohGr Interview (part 2 of 3)
Conducted May 18th, 2011
Interview by Andrea Niceswander
Nivek Ogre just put out a new album UnDeveloped this month with his latest project ohGr, is working on a film project, and has a Skinny Puppy release later this year. We caught up with him earlier this week for some questions.
This is Part 2 of our interview.Â If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.
COMA - Speaking of Skinny Puppy, will there be a Skinny Puppy release this year?
OGRE - Yes there will be actually the fourth quarter of 2011 is what I predict. My final prediction from the swami head is in fourth quarter of 2011 there will appear a Skinny Puppy disc, itâ€™s titled HanDover. And itâ€™s been turned over to them, so they have all the masters, they have the artwork, they have everything, so itâ€™s just a matter of bringing to the system.
COMA -Is there anything else youâ€™re working on right now?
OGRE - I have a little film thing Iâ€™m doing at the end of this month, but I canâ€™t really say what it is. I told one person, but the actual contract hasnâ€™t come through, itâ€™s coming through this week. So I canâ€™t really say anything about it, I donâ€™t want to jinx it, but Iâ€™m pretty sure thatâ€™s happening. Itâ€™s for a kind of a cool anthology horror film. Like a joint, I think itâ€™s a joint US and European production. Are you familiar with many horror films? Are you a big horror fan?
COMA - Yes, I am.
OGRE - Okay, do you remember that movie Hardware in the eighties?
COMA - Yeah.
OGRE - So yeahâ€”itâ€™s [Richard] Stanley doing one of the segments and either Savini or Merrillâ€™s doing one of them. And then a number of other film makers are. So, itâ€™s six segments, itâ€™s all based on the Grand Guignol, I donâ€™t know if youâ€™re familiar with that but itâ€™s a period of French theatre. It started in a theatre called Guignol, and itâ€™s basically loosely based stories and plot lines that were revolved around gore effects. And people got really into it in the late eighteenth century, or nineteenth century, I think it was. The late ninetieth century and it became quite a thing like the Italian horror, the gorier the better, so these stories are based on loosely the directorâ€™s interpretations of the Grand Guignol. And Iâ€™m kind of doing a part thatâ€™s a wrap around story, between all the parts, like the crypt keeper in Tales From the Crypt, Iâ€™m that sort of a character, that kind of wraps all the stories together. So Iâ€™m excited about doing that. Those kind of things are the one perk that Iâ€™ve gotten out of this, I guess from living down here and being available, and doing Repo kind of opened me up to a few of these things. And theyâ€™re a lot of fun to do. I canâ€™t tell you how much fun Repo was to do. Itâ€™s probably one of the top five experiences of my life. You know, just doing something, what an amazing experience. And I love working on film and I love working under makeup so any chance I can go Iâ€™ll do that. And it pays good too.
COMA - Yeah. Itâ€™s good to fill in, in between music and stuff too.
OGRE - It is. So thatâ€™s getting tougher and tougher and it is a good thing to just kind of, you know acquiesce all of the other forms of income together and it just creates things a little more stable because there were a few years where it was tight and lean, where things really changed with downloading. But then itâ€™s like wow, how do you make this work?
COMA - Yeah. I think in a way you kind of have to embrace what is changing and then try to change how youâ€™re doing it.
OGRE - Absolutely, we started that. I always started when I was younger; I mean I was an introvert when I was younger and shy. I always wanted to be a musician whoâ€™s in the background, whoâ€™s a mysterious character, you donâ€™t really know much about me. And I spent most of my career in Skinny Puppy covered in mud, blood, and no one really knew who I was and I think that was a great strength, I mean I thought it was a great strength but it had more to do with my own insecurities, but I think since then Iâ€™ve got, I mean Iâ€™ve stepped through that paper wall. And you know, with all of these things. I never wanted to embrace social media and all this stuff, but I found a way of doing it, it was through creating characters that sort of take over for me. So I donâ€™t have to personally do it, but I can monitor over it all, because I never really wanted to, I donâ€™t want that much known about me personally, necessarily. You know what I mean? I think that great art or art itself stands alone from the art itself and it should. Some of my favorite artists, I know very little about. Thereâ€™s this book Maldoror [Les Chants de Maldoror] written by a guy named Isidore Ducasse that was written in the sixteenth century, and he chose the pen name LautrÃ©amont who wrote this book thatâ€™s considered the bible of surrealists. It was embraced as a surrealist bible by the early surrealists. And thereâ€™s still little known about the guy who wrote the book that just adds to the mystery of the book itself. Iâ€™ve always embraced that, but you have to embrace these, everybody wants to know everything about you now, with the social media, but thereâ€™s a way of getting around it. And Iâ€™ve kind of found a way by creating characters, like Mr. Brownstone and things like that. [laughs] But, heâ€™s real, I swear. Heâ€™s real.
COMA - Do you get a different sort of enjoyment out of the acting compared to the music?
OGRE - Yeah, [there are] two different disciplines involved in acting. Youâ€™re servicing a production. So it takes a huge amount of weight off of your own responsibilities in creating the production, and then servicing the production. Within acting thereâ€™s a lot tighter parameters in a way over what youâ€™re doing. Youâ€™re blocking, you have a certain place you have to be and go, and thatâ€™s what you do, and within that, thatâ€™s your creative space. You make the most of it. I find that trying to fill that space and connect it in different scenes. Thatâ€™s fascinating to me. Because doing that is a lot harder than it looks. And then the other thing is just that youâ€™re working in a place where youâ€™re staying, youâ€™re not traveling. And you know, I traveled for twenty-six years on tour, and I love doing that too, but itâ€™s really hard, itâ€™s hard on you. So those are the three differences. The advantage to music obviously is that youâ€™re performing in front of a live audience so youâ€™re getting that immediate feedback. And youâ€™re getting an incredible feedback that a lot of actors on movie sets never get, and that is the reason a lot of actors on movie sets want to go and do theatre or do music even, is because youâ€™re getting that immediate charge and the immediate kickback. And thatâ€™s the only downside about film you donâ€™t really experience that. Itâ€™s your internal kind of love for what youâ€™re doing you get out of that. So I like both mediums. And I think in a way Iâ€™ve been lucky now to experience both sides of it. And I see what the differences are and I see what the similarities are. The other difference is obviously is onstage you act big and the hardest thing for me is when I started working on a set, and lucky it was behind the mask of Pavi, so it gave me the right to emote big, but you have to emote big through a mask, but it was definitely having to bring it down to what the camera picks up, which is everything, all the little subtleties. You can really overmug, you can overdo things quite easily. I found out when I did 2001 Maniacs, I found myself mugging a lot. And I saw the takes, and thought, oh god, pull it back a bit. Like itâ€™s just wow, hopping over everything else, so and I donâ€™t want to overshadow anybody. Iâ€™m not that kind of, I see that a lot in acting, with people that are insecure and want to get their face out there, theyâ€™ll try and, itâ€™s a weird business, itâ€™s a strange business, you know, on set theyâ€™ll try and you know in some ways try to steal the scene from the actor that the camera is supposed to be focused on through some little movement. Thereâ€™s all sorts of little tricks, but thatâ€™s not really what Iâ€™m into with it at all. You know, Iâ€™m into servicing the part, servicing the production and servicing the actors that are the lead actors. I really enjoy that part of it; you know being a supporting cast member.