SOCIETY 1 Hi, Matt! So how's life been treating you lately?

Matt Zane: Well, things seem to make on rather well, lots of interviews, a lot of practice, a lot of touring. We are just getting ready to get back on our tour again here in the States for like a couple of months. At last "Exit Through Fear" reached the Russian borders and we can enjoy your music. But to be honest you are more popular here as an adult video director than a rock musician. Why you decided to make a band? Is it possible that adult industry didn't put all your fantasies into life?

Matt Zane: Believe it or not, but I've been making music since I was thirteen. It was my first and foremost love as far as artistic statements go. I happen to make it better in Europe as an adult-video director only because my first record I don't think it ever made it to Russia. So it's not as if I suddenly decided to put a band together - I've always had a band - it's just that it's now when people start to see that I do have a band. My first record came out in States in 1999, and it was when I moved to Hollywood, because I was growing up and playing in a band in a small town in the state of New York. So that's basically how it all came about. Did this first record come out under the title of Society 1 or was it some different band?

Matt Zane: Yeah, it was under Society 1 and it was out on my own label in the States called "InZane Records" and we actually had some other bands coming out on that label, my first two records were released through "In Vein" and then Earache decided to take upon "Exit Through Fear". Well, the most boring question you could ever ask a musician, but why did you decide to name the band "Society 1"?

Matt Zane: "Society 1" - its meaning and the basis of its definition for me is that I have always been about creating a counter-culture or an alternative society to presently replace or live in addition to the current form. But it's about a separation of an alternate society that is created or exists, because the present one is not acceptable or really desirable to the one who lives in it. That's kind of what it means by saying "Society 1" it's the #1 Society amongst all the other societies that exist. Is that escapism then?

Matt Zane: I wouldn't really think so, because if it was truly within our minds you know a kind of a fantasy type game within our brains then I guess it probably would have been escapism but since we actually try to go forth and live our lifestyle that we are preaching wherever we may be at the present point of time I would think of it more as a non-violent revolution of sorts or a creation of a counter-culture. You know these things can exist, it's just as long as you manifest them within the objective world I don't really think it's a point of escapism. But then again Ozzy said: "I don't wanna change the world and I don't want the world to change me" which basically means don't do it, don't change anything, leave yourself in peace and leave everybody else in peace?

Matt Zane: Well I think that's kind of ridiculous because I mean nobody will ever leave anybody else in peace - I mean every decision that we make every day, you know, ultimately affects other people, and you know some people who are in the hierarchy of the government or some people who actually have the power to make decisions on what other people do, I basically think that you have one choice within society - and that's to submit to the pre-existing propaganda or you can mind of be a master and decide to create and control your own destiny and ideas and influences upon you. Turning back to the album, of course "Nothing" is a total masterpiece on the album. And even though several months passed since the time the video was shot I would like to know how's your back? I mean it looked so damaged at the very end of the video. You were suspended several meters high on six meathooks through your back and then you had to lift that girl

Matt Zane: (laughs) Well my back is healed, it only took a month to heal after I did that - I do have about twelve scars on the top of my back where the hooks were actually placed - but it's healed, and I am ready to do it again and hopefully within a live context this time as well, we are just waiting for the moment to do so. And we will do it again for people to witness in an actual setting of a live show. Alright, so you actually plan to do that on a regular basis?

Matt Zane: It's not gonna be on a regular basis, but what we wanna do - we wanna actually bring it to a live show, I wanna sing a set while I'm actually suspended and then after that I think we gonna down it for some time. Only because we did it as far as the statement that we are supposed to be making in the video and nobody's ever done that before. And now we wanna bring it to the live setting, because nobody has ever done that as well. So we are going to do both aspects and then we gonna let it rest for a while and let the people absorb what we've done, what we have accomplished by doing so. What do you plan to accomplish by doing that?

Matt Zane: Well, we were trying to bring the video to an artistic format or an artistic statement. You know some of these videos today are nothing more than gore-inspired commercials. And we wanted to inspire something a little more than just a commercial with a band in it, we wanted to do something that would kinda make people react or sit up from their otherwise mundane and unconscious lives and perhaps take notice. And I think it did that, I think it really made people's spines work in a way that they do not necessarily do. By bringing that to a live show, we are going to be doing that in a live context and putting it out there for the people to absorb and simultaneously while the action is actually occurring - you know, from that we can really disrupt people's mindsets and bring forth that unique energy that we harness when we are playing. So that it really becomes a practicing ritual, I guess, to a certain extent. I assume though that the process itself must be pretty painful?

Matt Zane: It's very painful actually. Right, so what is pain for you in its physical and mental aspects?

Matt Zane: Pain to me is just another sensation and you're talking to somebody who went through some nine years of extensive yoga training. And I've done advanced yoga, and fasting, and so on and so forth for the last ten years, I still practice yoga to this day not as heavily as I used to but nevertheless I can resist pain better than the average individual. So to me it's probably more than another sensation, its something that you get inside and explore just as you would certain kinds of pleasure. But nonetheless it's the extreme in me that is worth my time and energy in pursuing. So for you it's like pretty much the same as some people would go say parachute jumping just for the sake of adrenaline, cuz they'd never done it before so for you it was something like that, wasn't it?

Matt Zane: Yes, to a certain extent - I am always looking forward to push my body's physical limits, because I feel that pushing the body physically is very efficient for creativity because it can ignite the certain centers of the brain that you cannot get to any other way. So for me it had to do with pushing myself and open the new centers of consciousness to explore, and it also works as thrill-seeking adventure as well. But I guess yes you could indeed associate this with people who are kind of addicted to adrenaline. I just pursue pain in much more disciplined and in-lined activity. Since you already mentioned yoga and discipline - and indeed that kind of activity - because I cannot really relate to it as a sport or prob'ly philosophy indeed requires a lot of discipline - so would you call yourself an ultra-disciplinarist or you simply like to push yourself beyond certain boundaries?

Matt Zane: I have a tremendous amount of discipline. But I am one of those people who believe that you acquire a true power through simply doing things that you do not want to. And by disciplining yourself in certain areas of life that other people might tend to think as somewhat - er I don't know difficult or.. or I don't know - just something unenjoyable I guess. So I do consider myself to be tremendously disciplined. And I think that my actions within my life would have to prove that statement. I mean I've fasted for 10 days at a time, I can stand on my head for a half-hour, I can stick six meat-hooks through my back and hang on them from the ceiling. So yeah, I would definitely say that I am a big fan of discipline. Also if we return to live aspects of Society 1 another part of the show is you taking your clothes off - some people say that nudity returns us to our roots - you know - sort of gives you this primeval feeling - why do you do that and what do you feel during these moments?

Matt Zane: While I mean I'm telling you there's nothing like having you pants down around your ankles in front of 1,000-3,000 people. I mean its really rather exuberating, I mean its about kind of exalting yourself from the social taboos to create friction between you and the individuals that are perceiving you at that moment. So I mean there really is at least two ways or perhaps three ways that I think about it. As I said there is nothing like the thrill of being naked in front of so many people, secondly that friction between you and the audience as dissident by presenting yourself in a socially unacceptable fashion, especially with the public, really can help develop an alternative consciousness that a lot of people are going to partake. And I am constantly trying to make myself, individualize myself outside of the norm, and become somber being that can still work with the entity of mass consciousness but is completely separate from it. How does the audience usually react to that?

Matt Zane: Well it really depends, it depends on the kind of people that come to see us, it depends on what the mood is of the evening - I mean people have reacted really violently to some of the things that we do on stage. For example?

Matt Zane: Sometimes full riots break out, it happened in a couple of shows, in every show, sometimes people would jump onstage to fight me, to have a physical fight with me on stage, it really depends on how the crowd is prepared to receive you and your overall general mood and their ability to be able to accept thing that are so outside of their normal experience. So I guess this is like - don't try this in place like Utah?

Matt Zane: No, we've done it in Utah. How was the reaction?

Matt Zane: Well, in Utah it wasn't so good, he-he - but I think it's even better. Where was the best reaction?

Matt Zane: Believe it or not, but we get a lot of good reactions in Montana, they tend to really be starved for entertainment out there, and to really break out of their somewhat mundane, very restrictive lifestyle, because of the overall aspect of the Christian coalition out there. A lot of bands in the United States don't tour there, so they're really pretty much willing to accept anything that comes to there, and enjoy it, and have a good time. But we had problems in cities that you wouldn't think that we would - for instance we've done New York City a bunch of times and the last time we went to NYC - there was a lot of problems. Going back to your career in adult entertainment industry - do you think that it helps you gain the success that you are gaining now in music industry or did it on the contrary become sort of an obstacle because people were primarily taking you as a porn-director, not as a musician.

Matt Zane: Basically it helps to gain awareness of who I was in the beginning, and then ultimately became an obstacle. Due to the fact that people would rather be just somewhat transfixed upon the fact that I used to record adult video and they didn't feel that there could be any way that I could do anything of any substance beyond that. So originally it helped - ultimately - it hurts. But I assume that at a certain point of time you are hoping to get rid of that tag that got stuck onto you or it doesn't really bother you?

Matt Zane: It doesn't bother me to a certain extent because I understand where people are coming from. There really hasn't anybody in porno over the last 30 years who would really do anything of substance. So I think that in time it's going to be eradicated, if I continue to put out the type of artistic statements that I do. And as long as they keep making the impact that they have it's just gotta come with time for people to not be able to deny that things that I am doing, and what I have done - accept me whether they like it or not as something more than strictly a pornographer. Back on the album - besides "Nothing" the probably one of my favorite tracks is "Everyone Dies (Rockstars Don't Count)" - and of course it's not only because of the song itself, which is totally brilliant, but it's also because of the title of the song which is like probably one of the best snap-off phrases that I heard since Machine Head's "Let Freedom Ring with a Shotgun Blast" - but yours beats that any day of the weekend. So is there any story behind the song?

Matt Zane: Yeah, there really is. It's kind of a common little story but I will explain it to you if you'd like to know. Long story short, the easiest way I can explain this is when I was touring with our very first record I happened to meet a groupie at the time. I had sex with her and while having sex with her I was looking around her room there were many-many pictures of Marilyn Manson hanging all over the walls. So after having sex with her I asked her "So do you normally bring rock-stars to your house and have sex with them, who was the most famous that you fucked?" - she said: "Well, I fucked Marilyn Manson" - I said: "Well, that's very interesting", so anyways a couple of months went by and we actually stayed in touch and talked on the phone every now and then. And she eventually told me the story about her and Marilyn Manson, and basically the story goes is that she was dating a guy and living with him and she went to go and see Marilyn Manson in concert. And after the show she went to meet Marilyn Manson back in the hotel and had sex with him. And then you know she went home to her boyfriend. So she cheated on him. And went home and told him: "You know, I cheated on you with Marilyn Manson". And I said: "That wasn't very nice of you, you know. You're living with this guy and he is really a nice guy. And you go out to a rock'n'roll concert and you cheat on your boyfriend with this rockstar. You know, that doesn't really seem very nice." And then she told me; "Well the way that I think about life is, that you really shouldn't cheat on your boyfriend, or your fiancee, or your husband but if you cheat on them with a rockstar it doesn't count." (breaking out in laughter) Nice!

Matt Zane: So what this song is about it' about the mentality of that girl, who, you know, goes out and sleeps with a rockstar and says that it's ok, it solves her guilt, and it solves her having to take responsibility for her actions by saying that rockstars don't count - and you can fuck 'em all you want, and if you go back and read the lyrics it's basically what it says, I think we have a good example in the bridge: It makes me feel so fucking sick / To think of his filthy dick / But it starts to hurt me more / When I think you are a whore // Little girl so loose and wrecked / How many did that man infect? / Could you give him anymore? / Than what you gave you little whore / You're all the same that's what you're for / Kill everyone of them It's not a secret that about 70 percent of bands on this planet were started just because these guys wanted to get more pussy, the situation with your band probably goes quite the opposite way, because you could get all the pussy you wanted while you were still in the adult entertainment industry, and now you are doing a totally different thing, but still the "groupies" section on you official site is overfilled with proposals.

Matt Zane: Yes So, how much of a gimmick is it, or do you really bang all these groupies and if so how many approximately you did already?

Matt Zane: Eerm (pauses) Well, numbers are kind of tough, I don't know maybe maybe It's a little over thousand now. I don't have sex with as many groupies as I used to and it doesn't because I have lack of energy or lack of interest. Because I've reached the point of my sexuality where there's really not much more that I could experience at this point of time. But I will tell you that the remaining members of my band have a tremendous amount of groupies, they still get one, or two, or three a night still, 'cause they're younger and they're still having a lot of fun, within the whole groupie scene. You know as far as getting in the music kind of backwards 'cause I've already had all the chicks I think that statement can only speak for my actions that is that I probably wanna be one of the most honest musicians, rock musicians. Because everybody, as you said previously, made an interview for the pussy, whereas I've already had all the pussy and I still went to try to go make it in music. So that just shows you my dedication and that's sincerity when it comes to my art in term of music. Can you recall any major funny or weird tour stories... Well you've already told one about that girl - rockstars don't count - any other ones you can remember?

Matt Zane: Well, it really depends on what you consider weird or funny I mean there's lots of extremes to speak of as they happen every night. I remember I met this girl and she wanted me to beat her up while I fucked her (laughs) so I did. Bad?

Matt Zane: Well, I slapped her around and choked, and insisted to fuck her in the ass and it was an interesting evening. Weren't you afraid that she might report on you the next morning just for the kick of it or just because she's a psycho or something?

Matt Zane: Yeah, I always think about that kind of things when I'm doing you know heavy fuck, a heavy sadomasochistic stuff, but I don't know it just seemed like a fun thing to do at the moment. Interesting things may happen, you know what I mean, with things you do to people, or you do to girls who want things done to them, it can vary from sadomasochism, as I said before, to just complete humiliation. I don't know it depends on what mood you are in, or what you wanna do at the moment. Going back to your image, if we compare some of your early pictures and your modern looks, here's some really drastic differences with you turning into a black-haired red-eyed, you know, goth type of image. Is there something that you have in common with that so-called vampire culture or is it just because you like the way it looks, and what's your attitude to gothic subculture and music in general?

Matt Zane: I think as far as our looks go it is constant progression and experimentation. If there's one thing we don't want to happen to our music and our image is not wanting to be completely stagnant. I mean if you look over our career in the way that I've looked at it over the course of the last five or six years you'd notice no drastic shocks there's just a constant evolution and evolving of style and ideas. Almost as if we are self-creating constantly and improving. And I think what we are ultimately doing is really trying to just not stop our creativity and our perceptions of what we can be. As far as my current way that I look it's just something I can't define, you know, I enjoy gothic culture to a certain extent, I enjoy gothic music to a certain extent, although I wouldn't consider myself a hardcore goth, but I like the aesthetics of it. But don't think that just because I look like this now I'm gonna look like this on our next record or the record after. It will be constant developing and going on, and the constant changes that we undergo in the band - and we will continue with those. And you'll see that as time goes on. We're meant for evolution everything can be improved upon and further developed from the state that it is at the current point of time. Can you give a brief description of each member of your band?

Matt Zane: Sin - the guitar player is a complete sex-addict and he has a huge dick. He punishes women with his tool - a very interesting guy. Dagon is a complete freak - the drummer - probably one of the weirdest guys you'll ever meet, he's just got the most bizarre kind of outlooks as far as Universe is concerned. A very-very bizarre individual makes you feel very creepy, when you're hanging out with the guy. And Aleister is a resident rock'n'roll star, he's all about partying, and drinking, and having a good time, and so on and so forth. Can you tell us a few words about "Words As Carriers" and the movie "Contrasting Views of People Living Within an Artistic Lifestyle"?

Matt Zane: Well, "Words as Carriers" is actually a spoken-word CD. But it's a spoken word poetry record and basically deals with the loss of innocence and the kind of perceptions that come from it. It's a very interesting piece of work only because it was written over the course of nine years, when I was actually losing my innocence from 16 to 24. It's a very interesting piece of work and one of my favorite things I've ever done. As far "Contrasting Views of People Living an Artistic Lifestyle" it's a movie that kind of puts forth the question and contemplations of the loss of morality or where the supposed morality comes from. So it asks the question basically: "Does the behavior of the youth of the American society come from a lock of moral being presented by parents or by teachers or whatever because the actual moral is enforced upon them?" So it kind of puts that question out there and let's you decided by watching these real people and their ideas, and their outlooks on life, and their plans, and their experiences from the past that they've taken to the present time. So what's your answer to this? Where does it come from?

Matt Zane: I definitely think that it comes from the restrictive aspects of morality or supposed morality. And the last question - since you've already took up music, film industry, would you also consider at some point of you life to take up, say, painting or something like that?

Matt Zane: Well, you know, painting has never really interested me. I've never had any interest in it whatsoever. I don't know why. I enjoy designing certain kind of abstract designs, but as far as actual painting goes it's just nothing that has ever-ever really moved me. I have to be honest about it - I went to our museums, we have some great ones here in the States, and I went to see these displays and painting displays and so on and so forth. But painting probably is just not on my list of things that I'd like to explore at the present point of time. Well that's it for now, I guess, thanks very much for the interview and your final words?

Matt Zane: Yeah, you know, basically I don't have any words of wisdom to say right now, but I'd like everyone to visit our website and, you know, just look around the site and possibly join our special division, called the Inner Circle which is the street-team, and get involved in spreading the word and the message of Society 1.

(July, 2003)

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