Over the last few years, Static-X have worked vigorously on their overall reunion celebrating 20 years of Wisconsin Death Trip and releasing their first album since 2009’s Cult of Static with Project Regeneration Vol. 1. The record featured previously unreleased recordings of the late Wayne Static and new recordings from the band’s current vocalist Xer0. We caught up with Xer0 to discuss the recording process, combining Wayne’s and Xer0’s vocals, learning more about the Static-X reunion, and more.
What was the process like mixing both Wayne’s and Xer0’s vocals on Project Regeneration Vol 1?
It was very painstaking… Kind of like performing audio surgery. The end result came out really great, but, truthfully, it took a bit of creative magic for it to all come together. The record took a long time and there were so many twists and turns because we kept stumbling across more salvageable content; we were half way done when we found a bunch more of Wayne’s vocals. That was such a blessing, but it also forced us to change course once again. There were so many raw, unfinished ideas and there is still a lot of unfinished work to be done..
Looking back, how did this reunion and record come together?
It was pretty organic. It started with Tony speaking with Wayne’s sister, Aimee, while investigating the depth of the unfinished works that Wayne and the band had left behind. I was digging through the ideas with Tony and sort of helping to lead him in a few different directions for where certain songs could go, based on what already existed. A lot of experimenting. Once Tony began to hear the potential, our imaginations started going wild and one thing just led to another. The idea of a true memorial for Wayne was something Tony was committed to from the start; I really commend him for sticking to that goal because the production got really expensive. In the end, we didn’t care. We just kept pushing. It didn’t matter how much it cost or how much work it took, we wanted to take the full production around the world and give all the fans an opportunity to pay their proper respects with us. The timing for the 20th Anniversary of Wisconsin Death Trip was just luck, it became the perfect storm for Static-X fans to come together and the album was really like the cherry on top.
Can you talk more about the songs “Terminator Oscillator” and “Otsego Placebo?”
“Terminator” is one of my favorites, the riffs and some of the programming ideas were from some of Wayne’s last demos that he was working on right before he passed. Wayne’s demo was called “Turn It On” and it didn’t have any vocals or lyrics on it, it was just a raw musical demo, but the main riff was so good and it sounded like old school Static-X. I was so excited to work on that one, but I was also super intimidated because I knew fans were gonna gravitate to the music, so my vocals and my lyric patterns had to really be on point. In a lot of ways, that song was the big vocal test for me. If the fans feel that it sounds like Static-X, then I accomplished the ultimate goal.
“Otsego Placebo” is a little different. Truthfully, that is really like a brand new Static-X song. We’ve been writing and working on so much music over the last 3 years, and we have taken so many turns along the way. When it came time to mix the first batch of songs for Volume 1, “Otsego Placebo” was closer to the finish line than many of the other songs, so it just sort of slid onto Vol 1. Writing it came together really fast; I think it was the last song we actually wrote for the album. This song was also a good test for the fans to judge our potential going forward.
Now that Vol.1 is out, what should fans expect on Volume 2?
It’s a lot more of the same. Some very cool stuff left over with Wayne’s voice and some without. We will share more as we get a little further into it.
What was the process like making the video for “All These Years?”
That was really awesome. We really wanted to represent Wayne in the videos for songs where he was singing, that’s a very challenging task. For “All These Years,” I had a vision for a rewind back in time. We tricked out my guest bedroom to look like it came right out of the 70’s; we bought old wood paneling from home depot and we made a fake 1970’s bedroom, and I went on Ebay and ordered lots of old magazines and posters. It was a really authentic set. The idea was that future Wayne would come through the TV and possess young Wayne, while planting the seeds for all that became Static-X…ala Poltergeist. It was a lot of work to make it look like Wayne was actually singing on the TV screen, but I think it turned out really good.
2019 felt like the year of a real-life Scooby Doo series trying to uncover “the man behind the mask,” what has the feedback been like now that the album is out?
It’s been fine, I’m not an attention whore; I’m not doing many interviews. I’m not on social media, I just do my thing and it works well for me. We live in a crazy time and everyone gets to be a critic and a comedian online. At the end of the day, I just let the work speak for itself. Everything we have done has been at the top of our game. We don’t have a big record label or a big management firm. We are DIY and we’ve done all of this side by side with the fans, the tour, the production, the videos, the album. We have given the fans all that we have to give. As a Static-X fan, I am stoked and I’m fine with the glory going to Ken, Tony, Koichi, and Wayne. It’s their band. The tour was a smashing success. Sold out almost every night and the fans absolutely loved and appreciated the experience. Even the ones who were the most skeptical in the beginning were won over after they actually experienced it live and loud. Wayne is more in the hearts and on the minds of our community today, than ever before. That’s what is most important to me. The album has been the same way. It has been met with such incredible support. A lot of people are listening to and loving the new Static-X album in 2020. That’s pretty crazy when you think about it. I’m very proud of that.
The record maintains the spirit of Static-X and fully honors the late Wayne Static. You can see the tribute to him pouring out in the album booklet itself from the CD. To continue with the honor, is there a certain memory or moment you have of Wayne that you’d like to share? Could be from a tour, to an earlier recording, etc.
I really would love to just repeat what you just said. I ask the fans to dig into all of it: the music, the artwork, the videos, the live shows. It was all done from the same point of passion and with so much love and respect, to celebrate Static-X and the memory of Wayne Static. To give fans a chance to experience the band live and loud 20 years later and to hear these never-before heard songs. It’s a really special thing.