Q&A PUBLISHED IN SIDE-LINE MAGAZINE
Portion Control-Purely Portion Control
Portion Control was formed in the early 1980s by culinary combatants Dean Piavanni, Ian Sharp, and John Whybrew. Combining hard, rhythmic electronics with intense, raw, punk-inspired vocals, this London-based trio has been responsible for creating an electro punk legacy. Their influence is cited by many of today's electro-industrial artists, including Skinny Puppy, Bill Leeb, and VNV Nation. While retaining a cult following for the most part during the 80s, Portion Control had become briefly known in the U.S. for the 1985 release "Purge," which featured the club classic "The Great Divide." Begining in 1982, with their first official release, "Surface And Be Seen," Portion Control produced some of the most highly coveted 12" singles and LPs, such as "I Staggered Mentally," "Raise The Pulse," "Hit The Pulse," and "Step Foward," as well as the 1994 best of CD titled "The Man Who Did Backwards Somersaults," all of which are now out-of -print. We now 'step forward' to 2004, Portion Control has resurfaced with a new, self-released double cd titled, "WELLCOME." Time to 'get to the heart of the matter' with John Whybrew about the new cd, technology, a medicine man, meat parts, and everything else that is purely PC. (By Christopher Hoppe)
SL. It's been almost two decades since your last official release, "Psycho Bod Saves the World," what prompted the recent resurgence of Portion Control?
PC. We felt compelled to create more ouput- music creation, technology has aided the process. Portion Control had unfinished business....
SL. What can old fans as well as newcomers expect to hear on "Wellcome "?
PC. Hard to describe your own material. "Wellcome" is a dense and complicated release incorporating elements from all our experiences- it's a kinda snapshot of our work brought up-to-date. A journey through our musical space-pure PC. After work started all sound elements were aligned to fit "Wellcome." If you don't know PC I don't know what you would make of it!!
SL. The artwork contained on "Wellcome" appears to be influenced by a butcher shop floor, complete with sections of "beef, mutton, veal, and viscose" what's the story behind this?
PC. Interpretation is up to the listener. We can offer these keywords: Pixel surgeons- sterile- meat bag- body under attack - polyprop Blood sponge.
SL. In addition to the latest release "Wellcome," it has been rumoured that PC is also re-releasing their OOP back catalogue as well. What will be included in these re-releases?
PC. We are still undecided as to release our back catalogue. If we did we would include the major LP's and 12" singles.
SL. How has the access to the latest technologies changed or improved your music-making process?
PC. Nowadays it's all software which suits us fine. We use every sequencer package: Cubase SX, Reason, Orion, Acid, Fruity Loops loads of soft synths and FX plug-ins. Most important to us are Wavelab & Sound Forge to manipulate samples and found sounds. We use Pro Tools to final edit and master. It's certainly an easier process than when we used to hook up Roland MC-202's to trigger analogue synths that used to drift out of tune and never retain their patches! On the internet side we use Fireworks, Flash , Swish & Premiere for any video work. We see our presence on the internet as just as important as the audio.
SL. What are your thoughts on the latest ways to bring your music to the public such as eBay auctions/other online sales? What are the pros and cons of self-distribution?
PC. Good question- "Wellcome" was quietly released and only available from our website. This has meant we can offer the product at a good price and sell fewer units to cover the costs. The downside is that it is a bit exclusive and we may consider distribution to get it into the specialist shops. It's also hard to promote online only, although using e-zines is good! ...and we have been impressed by a number of sites including Side-Line.