Interview: Filter

By Lais


Last week we had a chat with Richard Patrick of Filter, who was previously guitarist in Nine Inch Nails. Filter are back with their sixth album, ‘The Sun Comes Out Tonight’, which came out earlier this month. We talked about the importance of music and how excited the band are to play Reading and Leeds for the first time this summer. Check it out!


It’s kinda grungy and electronic and anthemic and heavy and aggressive and somewhat elegant and gorgeous at times.


Well, someone had betrayed me. Someone had hurt me really badly, someone I really loved and trusted, and they really hurt me and my family. The first song, ‘I Hate It When You Get What You Want’, was about this person who was jealous and saw me as the enemy because I was doing well. It’s a complicated song about greed, and then the next song is ‘What Do You Say’ and it’s about how everyone’s screaming at each other and not listening.

Then this other song, ‘Surprise’, comes in and it’s got more of a mellow vibe to it. I was writing the lyrics for it and my kids came up on either side of me and slowly took the headphones off my head and the computer off my lap and started wrestling me. It was like slow motion. We were just laughing and giggling and even in my darkest times, in anybody’s darkest times, there’s gotta be some levity, there’s gotta be some hope, there’s gotta be some love. Hopefully there’s a tiny bit of hope in everyone’s lives.

I just try to keep fighting and sometimes I make mistakes and sometimes I do the wrong thing but I always try and do the right thing, I always try and apologise but I’ve got every right to be angry. I’ve had a really shitty last few years and all of that has to be poured into music and you know, people want real, they don’t want “Yeah, everything’s great”. You can’t just go up there and be like “Oh I’m bummed out”, you gotta fucking mean it, and if I were Phil Anselmo in Pantera I’d be pissed too. He’s a very upset guy. So I gotta mean that for me. I gotta make sure I’m connected to my soul when I’m singing the stuff. I can’t just goof around, I gotta dig deep and be honest and I honestly thank the universe for allowing me to have this line of work as a way to vent. If I didn’t have rock ‘n’ roll I would’ve blown up someone’s house by now. If I didn’t have rock ‘n’ roll my revenge would’ve been a whole lot different.


Yeah, absolutely. And that really is the thing. I got a letter that blew my mind: these two soldiers were in Afghanistan and they loved Filter. This guy said, “We love Filter and we listen to it before battle, the heavy stuff, and it feels like summer and we remember all the good times about our girlfriends.” He told me that his friend was in Camp Buehring in Kuwait when I was playing a concert for the troops and he called him and said, “Guess what? Filter are playing right now, I can’t believe it.” He said his friend sounded the happiest he’s ever been in his life, and then he said, “Richard, that was the last time I talked to him.” He ended up getting killed. Yeah, that blew my mind.

People tell me that my music helps them, and I really appreciate that and I hope it does help people. I mean, there’s been many a band that have helped me, like Pantera and Ministry when I was a kid. Me and Trent (Reznor) were so pissed off living in Cleveland, Ohio, and there was nothing going on and so we were like, “Fuck it man, industrial music man”. Trent had written some stuff and I was like “We’ve gotta make it fucking heavy dude. You can’t just get up there and dance around, you gotta fucking mean it”. It was just a lot of fun. I love music. Music is the thing that makes everything great.


Yeah, we love playing the new record live. It’s awesome. We love it. It goes over really well: the audience loves it, which is great because we showed up at our first show and most of the kids were singing it immediately. This new record is the best thing we’ve done. I think it’s better than ‘Title Of Record’. I think as a record, as an album, every song has got that release, that moment where everything makes sense.

I worked really hard on it and I’ve been through a lot and I want our music to make a difference, even if it’s just letting everybody know that life can be fucking shitty. But let me tell you something, if it’s worth it, it’s worth thinking about the future and it’s worth trying and we’re on this huge massive planet and this planet is so amazing and special and cool we gotta step back and look at that and remember that we’re an incredible species that has learnt to think and be conscious. It’s bigger than religion and it’s bigger than war.

We gotta learn to hope and how to cope and maybe music is one way to cope and one way to release that anger. I used to get drunk and go crazy and I almost killed myself doing that and I had to find out the real deal. When I was a kid, before I had drink and drugs, I used to listen to music all the time and then I came back to that. I get in the car and crank a fucking record and listen to some Pantera or Deftones or my Filter record that I’ve worked so hard on. I make records for me too. I wanna make music that I think is awesome and it’s a very special thing for me to be able to run around the world playing music. It’s a very special thing for me that I’m allowed to go off and play Reading. I’ve never played Reading or Leeds. I’ve been in this band 20 years and I’ve never done that shit.

I love the UK and Europe and I’ve had a tough go of it with my own shit. We were starting to play 5000-seaters in Europe at one point before I had to go away and get myself healthy and I wanna come back and earn that back again and maybe this record will turn some heads and maybe we’ll do some stuff at Reading and maybe this can happen. Maybe we can rock out and take over the world like we wanted to. We wanna bring you the goods. This isn’t just another gig or performance, this is special. We go to the UK and Europe, it’s a big deal for us. It’s a huge commitment and we’re honoured and proud that you’re having us. We’re so grateful.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]