Jerel Johnson of Target Audience magazine recently conducted an interview with PRONG mainman Tommy Victor. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Target Audience: In terms of the response of "Power of the Damager" as well as "Power of the Damn Mixxxer", and, of course, the recent tours that you guys have done over the past couple of years, would you say that you've had a greater response over here Stateside or over in Europe?
Tommy Victor: It's hard to say, man. I really don't know; it depends what time of year you go. I'm really not up on what's written online. All I can tell you is that there is room for improvement in the whole of people and awareness in the group. There is room for improvement when records are released. The whole thing needs to be sort of revamped, in a way. In other words, there are certain things I can't do and certain things I can so… I occasionally go on MySpace; I give feedback to some people, but for the most part I'm too concerned with other things in my life.
Target Audience: I know that PRONG was one of those bands in the early '90s that was really kind of ahead of their time in terms of the groove metal and, in some cases, industrial metal, and you guys had a peak of popularity in 1994, but due to certain circumstances and factors your group had the split. Do you feel, now, 15 years later with how the music industry has changed that PRONG may have an ability or chance to reach the success that they achieved in the mid-'90s?
Tommy Victor: No. There is no way. There would have to be a miracle, and I don't believe in miracles anymore. So it's completely different. We were on a major label back then, there was the ability to do more things… that's a good question because based on what I was just saying, maybe I'm just in that frame of mind where you can't do it. When you're on a major label you're spending their money or eventual money and fly in to do shows or this, that or the other thing. It was a widespread campaign in order to support you or promote you and then now it's fighting all those other baby bands now… record sales are completely miniscule.
Target Audience: So for, I guess, a metal band now you would say it would be harder to achieve a wider audience as opposed to 15, 20, 25 years ago due really to the major label support?
Tommy Victor: It depends, it all depends. There are bands that can get on the radio easier and that definitely helps once you get that exposure and everyone knows who you are because of one song. And the fans, ya know… what PRONG had to do initially for four years… just constantly touring in a van even though we were on Epic and it didn't seem like there was anything at the end of the tunnel, we just kept trudging along. Even back then on a major label we were playing in front of 40 or 50 people and then suddenly you get a song on "Headbangers Ball" or "Beavis and Butthead" and everyone knows who you are. Ya know, you never know, but if weren't on Epic Records, I don't think that would've happened. At that time, they had a lot of power to manipulate or get people to play your stuff; they had a very big augment of people working a record. But in order for them to do that back in the day, you had to show that you were willing to suffer a bit, and whether they could take to you and where you're spending your future royalty money and then tour support which inevitably the band has to recoup that, ya know?
Target Audience: I heard that you guys are finishing up on the next album that should be released in early 2010. Is there a tentative release date for the new PRONG record?
Tommy Victor: No. It's been pushed back for a numerous amount of reasons. So I can't really dial that in yet one time we were scheduled the record was supposed to be out now and due to scheduling it's impossible. Due to limitations and boundaries that I discussed earlier in the interview based on that.
Target Audience: Are the songs completed or there are still some tracks that still…
Tommy Victor: No (laughs) At one time I thought we were really close and it's typical of the way I wind up working. It's like, "Yeah, we got the songs" and then a couple of months go by and I'm like, "No, we do not have the songs." So it's...it seems to be different pockets of material that songs are chosen from and finally somewhere down the line we have all the material together.
Target Audience: How are the songs coming out so far? Are they pretty much in the same vein as "Power" or are you expanding musically? How are they sounding so far?
Tommy Victor: Like I said, it's different batches. The earlier batch was not like "Power of the Damager" material. Just to be more general, it was more of a reach towards the "Rude Awakening" or KILLING JOKE-type material. Then I came up with a couple of, like, you know, brutal thrash ideas and then some other ideas for, uh, total riff rock — like not like modern. I think they sort of go back into the "Cleansing" era where it was based on GODFLESH or something and then I'll have too see…I've started attacking the riffs again and seem to be in that vein of BLACK SABBATH-oriented or more than we've done. I think it's gonna be cool eventually. It's just like getting the right ideas finding out where we're out going and like throwin' 'em all together and taking a look at it. It's all about songs. I mean, PRONG is a songwriting band, ya know? That's why it takes so long, because we just don't go in and have this formula of patterns and, ya know, or just record some really heavy stuff and scream all over it; I have to figure out a lyrical concept and a lyrical line and the lyrics. And I gotta do all that and then, of course, solos and there's a lot on me on the whole thing, unfortunately.
Read the entire interview from Target Audience magazine.