By AKANTRO Collaborator
How did you come to become part of Static-X? What kind of background did you have before as a listener and/or fan?
I’ve considered Wayne, Tony, Koichi, & Ken my friends for the better part of 20 years. We came up in the scene together and we toured together a great deal in the past. I’ve always loved the band and their sound.. The music that those 4 guys made together is undeniable and I have personally missed seeing and hearing them play together, just as much as the next person.
What has being part of the band and singing these songs been like for you?
It’s been an incredible experience. My heart has been very heavy throughout this process because there is so much love for this band and so many people miss Wayne. This is very personal for me and I have taken on a tremendous amount of responsibility, which also comes with allot of pressure. It’s all good though, I haven’t interpreted any of the pressure in a negative way. I have just followed my heart and have given my best efforts to the cause.. Again, I love the band, the songs and the energy, so performing with Static-X has been allot of fun for me. At the same time, it has also been very challenging, because I had to learn how to do certain things with my voice that I had never done before. Wayne has a very unique vocal style and in order for me to represent Static-X properly, I had to really deep dive into those nuances and get out of my own comfort zone.
How have you found fan/crowd reaction to be to having a new guy out front?
Honestly, it has been remarkably smooth. I believe that the fans really appreciated the fact that our intention was to represent Wayne on this 20th Anniversary tour, rather than attempting to replace him. I felt nothing but love from the fans each and every night. It is difficult for me to put into words, because technically, I am front and center, but somehow we were able to make it so that the focus wasn’t really on me. The focus remains on Static-X and on Wayne, Tony, Ken, and Koichi.
You ever hear that old joke about being a janitor? Do your job well and nobody notices, but screw up and shit gets everywhere.. Well, that kind of defines my role performing in Static-X.
What kind of plans/hopes do you have for making new music with Static-X?
I’ve been deeply involved in the recording and production of the new Static-X album. I feel a great deal of responsibility to Wayne and to his family, along with the members of Static-X and the fans to help complete Waynes final works. The entire time that I’m in the studio, I have the sense that Wayne is looking over my shoulder and I have no plans of letting him down. I am a bit of a perfectionist at heart and I am giving my best efforts to ensure that Waynes last works are properly realized. In addition, Waynes family have been incredibly supportive and expressed so much appreciation to me for all of my efforts. That has only added to my level of love, appreciation, and accountability to this project, which I embrace daily. There is a ton of new music in the works and It’s a very exciting time for Static-X and for the fans who have missed the band over the last several years.
Why the anonymity at the outset of this? When do you plan to reveal your true identity?
For the 20th Anniversary tour, the last thing that I wanted to do was put my own face out there to represent something that I had absolutely nothing to do with creating.
That just wasn’t something I felt comfortable with.
I have my own identity and my own sound, so it was important for me to check all of that at the door when working with Static-X.
The mask was an easy way for me to get lost in the vibe and in the spirit of Static-X and to act as a vessel for delivering the material and to best serve the fans, Wayne, and the band.
I also felt that wearing a mask would allow me to keep the focus on the 4 guys that created the music of Wisconsin Death Trip.
We originally came up with a really simple design that had X’s carved into the eyes, which combined to create a larger X on the forehead. It felt like a cool way to have some Static-X branding built into this new faceless character that I was going to be..
It was really that simple..
Once the mask was complete, I tried spiking up my hair to further capture the Wisconsin Death Trip vibe and that is essentially what broke the internet.. The mask was never intended to be a Wayne Static mask. I’m still not entirely comfortable with people using that terminology, because it isn’t at all what the mask was intended to be. Without my hair spiked up, the mask obviously doesn’t resemble Wayne in the least.. In the end, I totally understand why it is easy for people to draw that conclusion or to identify the mask in that way and truthfully, none of that really even matters. The important thing is that because of this tour, and in large part due to my anonymity, Wayne is currently on the mind and in the hearts of the fans and our community more now than he has ever been. I’m very proud of that. Wayne was my friend and I believe that he would be blown away by the amount of love and respect that has been bestowed upon him through this experience.
There's been a lot of speculation about who you are. What's been the one that's been the most interesting?
There were so many.. Some of them made sense and others were just asinine. Respectfully, If you look and listen, I personally don’t think that it’s all that difficult to determine who is behind the mask, but again, that’s not the point of any of this. The purpose of the mask was to give me the ability to check my own identify at the door, so I could serve the cause to the best of my ability. I wanted it to be very clear that this isn’t about me, this is about Static-X. It’s been a year since we introduced my character to the world and this is the first interview that I have done. At the end of the day, we will decide if and when we are ready to bring more attention to who is actually behind the mask, but for the time being, it remains my desire to keep the focus where I feel that it belongs.
The future of Static-X has yet to be defined, but I’m looking forward to whatever role I may play going forward. Right now, I am just focused on doing my part to complete all of this new Static-X music for my old friend Wayne, his family, and for the fans, while we gear up to play these remaining handful of shows that were booked into 2020.
Quote from Tony Campos about the release of Hollow;
“Today is a very exciting day, as we are finely releasing the first STATIC-X single and video in more than 10 years.” Says Tony Campos. “The band, our producers, and most importantly Wayne's family are incredibly happy with the way that the album is turning out and we know that Wayne is looking down on us all with a big smile."
Original interview appeared on Billboard.com