DISCUSSING HUMANITORIUM WITH ANDREW WEINS

"Now I'm cleansed into a new life,
As I exterminate the excess human sludge,
My reason for being is fulfilled,
For I am the psychotic gardener."
                                                                  - "Psychotic Gardening"
                                                                         from Humanitorium
 
Many bands have come and gone in  the Canadian Metal Scene but few last the test of time, especially when met with adversity. Winnipeg Doom Metal veterans Psychotic Gardening have been going strong for fifteen years, and with the release of their brand new album "Humanitorium" they are stronger and more determined then ever. 
1. What is the concept of "Humanitorium?"
 
The Humanitorium in many ways symbolizes many aspects of the human condition. It is a temple where only the chosen are permitted entry. Inside, members of an ancient spiritual brotherhood congregate to ascend to into higher dimensional planes. In the great chambers of this place, there are frequency-altering electro-magnetic generator pods used for genetic repair and physical re-construction. The full scope of what the Humanitorium is could be a long discussion over many drinks, besides, we like to create words for our album titles. 
 
2. How does this album differ from "Hurdur?"
 
I think "Humanitorium" is a step up for is us in a big way. There are songs that are faster and more intense than anything we've done previously but there are also lots of dark, sombre doom moments that we've always been known for. We have a lot of dynamics, peaks and valleys to draw you in as the listener. Both the fast and slow, the crushingly heavy and the mellow melodic stuff - it creates a contrast to the musical pallet. 
The production values are better mainly because we took a lot of what we learned from the previous album and invested, both time and money to take things further with this one. 
And I think the performances are awesome. I'm really proud of what everybody did on this album. The singers - Chuck & Gill - did some amazing work and we really did a better job on this album of capturing what those guys do. And make no mistake, they are some of the best in the world at what they do. We also had Rob Doherty do a guest lead on "Phantasm" which is pretty awesome as far as I'm concerned. 
We've overcome some enormous challenges to get this disc where it is, to make it sound the way it does. Overall, I think "Humanitorium" is heavier than "Hurdur" and does a better job of realizing the full power of Psychotic Gardening.
 
3. Describe the writing process of this album
 
The writing process was a little strange...some songs are old, old ones that we've re-interpreted. And some of those we've been playing live for quite some time, others were brand new. It's almost like the songs came out in pairs. The process was really spread out over a few years. But writing in Psychotic has always been organic and fluid. It's never forced and we all have a lot of respect for one another and listen to each other's ideas. 
 
4. After such a span of time between album releases, how would you describe Psychotic's growth musically and as a whole?
 
Psychotic Gardening is uninhibited creatively. If we want to do something, we will. Some people think you can't play a faster song like, "Black Fever" and then play a slow doom song like "Burning Angels." Bullshit. We can and we do. To me, metal shouldn't be concerned with breaking so-called rules. We follow our hearts and do what we want and take that wherever it leads, pushing ourselves as much as we can. 
PG started with Chuck and Gill singing to pre-produced tracks that they concocted. I mean, really, that's some bold shit to do. I think sometimes these guys were so ahead of their time that some people didn't understand what they were doing. And I think that's still true for us to some degree. But we understand that we're not for everybody. Hell, if we were supposed to be, we would be lame.
 
In terms of growth, Chuck has always been such a strong creative visionary and anything he's ever done has a unique "Chuck-ness" to it and both Chuck and Gill have such an intuitive grasp of each other's styles that what comes out is always uniquely them. I think on this one - not to blow my own horn, but you start to see a true melding of my personality in with the two founders of Psychotic Gardening. And really, to have three personalities as strong as the three of us in the same room, working congruently, I think that's a special thing. So we do what we do, and really, for us it's that simple.
 
5. How do the two albums differ?
 
I like the "Humanitorium" album cover art even better!!! 
I really think the two albums are an entirely different musical trip while both maintaining the character of PG.  On the whole, "Humanitorium" is more robust and powerful. It's more muscular and has a snarl to it. At the same time, it's more polished...I think. At the end of the day, I think certain people will like different things on each album, they might like something special that happened on a specific song on one album or the other. And that's awesome. People gravitate to music for a variety of reasons and it's cool to hear what resonates with them.
 
6. What was the recording process for this album?
 
Oh, the recording process...it was long and arduous. We recorded everything ourselves and demanded a lot from everyone. We really didn't want to settle on anything and experimented on several things to get to what we really were looking for. Chuck was the main producer and mixed the album and we both did the engineering for the most part. 
Our earliest demos for the first songs of this album started at about the time we released "Hurdur" in 2007 with the drummer of the day, then after writing and playing live for some time, we started demos with a temporary drummer and that didn't work out, so we ended up getting a friend of mine from Pittsburgh, George Parfitt to lay down the drums - this was now the fall of '09. 
Now, recording an album with a drummer that's in a different country and can't even jam with you is challenging, no doubt. But after some back and forth, he was able to do some phenomenal work for us. Around the same time, we located Matt Penner - who is a great guy and a great drummer - so he jumped on board as our full-time drummer and was able to contribute a couple of tracks on the album too. All of this...and we've just recorded the drums!!! So, little by little, we pushed forward to get things done and along the way, we did a few things that took a little more time - like double-tracking the rhythm guitars, layering certain parts, getting Doherty to jump on and do some lead work and all that kind of stuff. It was a long process and certainly not the smoothest one, but in the end, I really feel it's the best recording I've ever been a part of.
 
7. What are Psychotic's current plans now that it has been released?
 
Psychotic Gardening will release several music videos over the next while. We shot a video for "Phantasm" during the recording process and also shot several music videos on green screen. The video for Black Fever is just around the corner and there are more to incrementally follow. This has also been an awesome but very time-consuming endeavor for us. I work in video production, so I oversaw the whole green screen production and have been slaving away in post for the last few months to get things done. We're also planning several tours over the next year or so, in fall we'll head out to Eastern Canada and we're looking at going to the U.S. early next year in support of "Humanitorium." We also like to do shorter stints across Western Canada and have a few things we're working on in that regard too. The other thing I want to say is that the whole music industry landscape has really changed a lot, even since our last album, so we're trying to get on the pulse of different Web sites and internet radio stations across the world and we're in discussions with having our music being used in soundtracks in television and film, so we'll see how that goes. "Humanitorium" is available through HMVs across Canada and will be on iTunes soon. Not to mention, we always have some really cool merch at our shows. All in all, we're excited about "Humanitorium" and looking forward to connecting with our fans around the world.
 
For more information about this album and everything Psychotic Gardening check out: