Aug 2023 25

After a tumultuous seven years, Filter returns with an album that celebrates the past while looking to the future, with Richard Patrick speaking with ReGen about The Algorithm.


An InterView with Richard Patrick of Filter

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Emerging from the angst and turmoil of the ’90s, Filter has been clamoring away at the peripheries of industrial and alternative rock music for nearly three decades. The band’s seventh album in 2016, Crazy Eyes showed Richard Patrick and his cohorts delving further into the distorted metallic grit that drove the band’s early material; since then, fans have been anxiously awaiting an even deeper dive into the venomous and distorted sound of Short Bus, with Patrick reuniting with original co-founder and former bandmate Brian Liesegang to produce an album that would serve as a direct follow-up to that 1995 debut. Sadly, due to the collapse of the PledgeMusic crowdfunding platform, compounded by a series of other unforeseen circumstances that led to Patrick and Liesegang once again parting ways, reBus was not to be… or wasn’t it?
Never one to pass on the opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive artistic construct, Patrick turned his attentions once again toward the sociopolitical zeitgeist, releasing the “Thoughts and Prayers” and “Murica” singles as a direct response to the waves of violence, denial of science, and other right-wing attitudes while hinting at what a new album would have in store. Driven by singles like “For the Beaten,” “Face Down,” and “Obliteration,” The Algorithm was released on Friday, August 25 via Golden Robot Records, presenting some of Filter’s most vicious material of industrialized alternative rock and metal. Prior to the album’s release and on the eve of embarking on the Freaks on Parade Tour as a support act for Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper alongside industrial/metal legends MINISTRY, Richard Patrick took the time to speak with ReGen Magazine about The Algorithm, addressing the album’s bleak themes, varied writing and production, live performance, and offering some insights into his artistic process.


How are you? How’s your health?

Patrick: Really good. I had a colonoscopy last year that came out perfect. I had fusion about six years, and now my back is completely rocking. I got a little neck pain, so I’m about to go back to the same spinal surgeon, so he can do something.

Too much headbanging.

Patrick: Oh, back in the day especially, when I was a little whippersnapper. And I am 20 years sober… it’s coming up on 21 years since on September 28, 2002 is when I got sober.

Let’s talk about the new album title, The Algorithm. The album’s gone through a long odyssey, and for a while, it was called They’ve Got Us Right Where They Want Us, at Each Other’s Throats. Obviously too cumbersome a title, but how did you come upon The Algorithm? How does that title signify the album’s themes, what does it mean to you?

Patrick: Everybody’s got an algorithm that they’re dealing with. Everybody’s got a problem that they need to solve, and that’s pretty much it. We are on this tiny little planet for 70 years, and we’re here to help each other. We’re here to be good to each other. That’s what 95% of us want. Don’t let the social media algorithms come and get you, don’t let the A.I. come and get you, don’t let pollution come and get you. Figure out the problem and solve it… it’s solvable, whether it’s climate change or American politics, we have to get to a place where we can handle and fix it.

I was going to ask this at the end, but since you mentioned it, you’ve never minced words in your discourse on social and political issues. Especially in the modern era when everybody is able to communicate and share (or reinforce) their views and opinions, what are your thoughts on the role of politics in art (or vice versa)?

Patrick: I think it’s very important. My heroes include Joe Strummer, John Lennon, Bono, Nivek Ogre, Al Jourgensen, and they all had something to say. Even Mick Jagger had something to say. And Sinéad O’Connor had something to say. I’ve always been talking about social issues or things that I find important. I wrote the song ‘Cancer’ back in 1997 about climate change. I wrote ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot’ about a politician who held a press conference and killed himself because he was going to jail for embezzlement. I’ve written about my own personal battles with being an alcoholic. I think it’s important to say what you mean. I take the band seriously, and I take my music seriously… except when I don’t, like on ‘Command Z.’ I’m not taking it too seriously. The Algorithm is basically about an astronaut who returns to Earth to find it completely destroyed, and at the end of the record, he’s basically like, ‘Fuck it, I’m just going to get high as a motherfucker.’ It takes the whole record for him to finally realize that that’s just the way that it’s going to have to be. He comes to a place of acceptance. I’m proud of this record.



Some songs like ‘The Drowning’ and ‘Obliteration’ have that distinctly classic Filter sound, but the chorus to ‘Summer Child’ almost reminds me of a ’60s-by-way-of-the-’90s grunge rocker.

Patrick: Well, that’s an Army of Anyone song. I wrote it with the idea that maybe Army of Anyone could do one more song and then release the record, but I just couldn’t stand waiting. So, I had Ray Luzier – he actually plays drums on it, and I was like, ‘Screw it, I’ll just play guitar on it,’ and Johnny Radtke plays guitar on it, and I just couldn’t wait for the DeLeo’s, so I just put it out.

On the other hand, ‘Up Against the Wall’ and ‘For the Beaten’ get into an almost metalcore sound with the distorted scrapes and severely down-tuned guitar growls, while ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ has some really militant drumming, yet it’s all still very melodic. How to you balance all these disparate sounds and influences out?

Patrick: That’s the thing with Filter – you never know what you’re going to get. That’s kind of my motto, and of course I’m going to have the classic Filter sound for at least one or two songs. But I’m also going to explore some avant-garde sounds and try to be creative. This guitar player I met, Zach Munowitz… he’s the guy who wrote the music for ‘For the Beaten,’ ‘Up Against the Wall,’ and ‘Say It Again.’ I included his young vitality and got him to play on the record, and he did a fantastic job. I met him on Instagram; I saw him playing on Instagram, messaged him, and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to work together.’ And he was like, ‘Okay,’ so he sent me these songs that he’d done on Instagram, and the rest is history. I took four different parts of the song and just arranged them in a way that made sense to me as a singer. Then, I just sang over it, and then had Elias Malin come in and play drums over it. Done!

‘For the Beaten’ is still winning out as my favorite on the record, although ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ is a close second so far.

Patrick: Cool! ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’ was my song entirely; I wrote that one by myself, so I always get a little happy when people say they like ‘The Drowning’ and ‘Face Down’ and ‘Be Careful What You Wish For,’ because those are all the songs that I wrote by myself. The lyrics to ‘Summer Child’ came from Brian Liesegang, and he’s an amazing lyricist, but I did all the music for that one. It was awesome and a lot of fun. I poured a lot of my own self deeply into the record, and I think that’s what makes the difference. I feel like that’s what ties every Filter record together – not just the vocals, but my input.



Your songwriting is definitely very palpable across all of Filter’s albums, and what’s funny to me is that as I was formulating these questions while listening to the album, I was going to note how Crazy Eyes didn’t seem to have any ballads, but on The Algorithm, we get ‘Burn Out the Sun’ and ‘Command Z’ as the last two songs on the album. Was that part of the concept to have the album end with these softer moments?

Patrick: Yeah… well, with ‘Burn Out the Sun,’ if I could look at my lyrics here.


    Oh no, what time is it?
    I just got fine with it
    Everything we talked about, it’s all gotta change, it needs a rearrange
    I like talking to you, but I lost track of the time
    My heart is still cold from the other line
    My soul is provoked for a different crime
    I know you’ll find a way, I know you’ll get away
    But will you take me with you?
    I hope you take me with you


That is just straight up poetry… that is just me being a poet and writing from a stream of consciousness, letting the words just fly out of you and you don’t even know what it means, essentially. Once again, it’s about trying to fix your life, trying to fix something.


    I feel so tired, but time keeps marching on
    I can’t sleep ’til all these clouds are gone


And the clouds represent all the problems of our world that we’re dealing with.


    Oh no, we’re blind again
    We just lost sight of it
    Everything and all that we have ever done
    We need to see again
    We stopped listening, and that’s on all of us this time
    Our hearts are still sold from a simple time
    And our wants are still old, and we do or die
    I hope we find a way
    I hope we get away
    Just a rescue from a lost, lonely time


Yeah! It’s about overcoming adversity and doing it quickly before the sun burns out, which is going to happen… it will happen one day, billions of years from now. We have to work together. The Algorithm is basically me saying to the world that we need to work together, we have to try to find hope and happiness with each other, and stop being such bitches!

I saw your comment on the Blabbermouth article about Sevendust’s singer and his voice getting stronger as he’s aged, and you’re still hitting those high notes pretty effortlessly (or so it seems). How do you keep your voice strong, especially for live performances?

Patrick: Don’t drink. Don’t smoke. Warm up. Don’t have a lot of acidy foods before you sing, because you’ll burp; I don’t eat for four or five hours before I play. Do a lot of warmups. And see a doctor. Make sure you have a good doctor – ear, nose, and throat doctor. Just take care of yourself and try to maintain.

You’ve been working with Brian Virtue for quite some time – Army of Anyone, and then Crazy Eyes, and I understand he’s co-produced this album with you?

Patrick: Yeah, he co-produced the record in the sense that he was a voice that I could turn to and he could say something honestly to me, even though sometimes I would disagree and just blow it off… in a good way. Some of the critiques, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, but you know what? Fuck it!’ I did some guitar solos that were laughable, that were so funny. He loved the one in ‘Command Z,’ and I literally didn’t have a guitar player that day, so I just mouthed it. But it was a lot of fun. I was the artist/producer, and he just made sure everything was working, and he’d make sure all the songs were complete. He’d make sure that the drums sounded great. He picked out the studio where we recorded the drums, and he was really proud of our drummer Elias Malin and worked with him. It was really cool. It was a good experience, and I can’t wait to do more, to be honest. I hope the next record doesn’t take eight years, because I’ll be 60 by then.



Filter has roots as much in the industrial scene as in the alternative scene at large, and I feel that Crazy Eyes and The Algorithm are your most distinctly ‘industrial’ or ‘machine rock’ albums since Short Bus. What does industrial music mean to you?

Patrick: When I quit Nine Inch Nails, I kind of left industrial too, and I had more in common with grunge at the time because I had to make Filter sound completely different from Nine Inch Nails. Even though I used a drum machine, Short Bus is certainly very industrial with songs like ‘Under’ and ‘Dose’ and even ‘Hey Man, Nice Shot.’ But then, I kind of kept exploring more guitar-oriented sounds and got a little bit lighter with my musical approach on songs like ‘Take a Picture.’
But industrial is badass! I was fully industrial when I was in Nine Inch Nails. I was the guy that was constantly telling Trent, ‘Keep it heavy! Keep it fucking heavy! Keep it mean! Do fucking heavy shit! Make it tough. Don’t make it too commercial.’ Not that he would listen to me or take me seriously, but he did list me as an influence on the Broken EP, so I’m guessing that’s why he listed me by saying he was influenced by the live band. I was constantly trying to be the instigator then, but when it came to Filter, I didn’t totally grow out of industrial, but a lot of it turned into more like epic rock songs.
I don’t know. I love industrial music; I think industrial music is the shit, and I love MINISTRY and can’t wait to go on tour with Al.

I’ve only ever seen Filter live on festivals, like HFStival and most recently ColdWaves a few years ago. I’m hoping to catch Filter live on a proper tour.

Patrick: Well, festivals are great. This tour with MINISTRY is the two of us opening for Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper – we only have 30 minutes, so it’s kind of like a festival show. But hopefully, we’ll come back and do a big headlining tour of our own.

You recently did the California Screamin’ performance on HITKOR.

Patrick: If you haven’t seen it, it’s $20, and it’ll be the best $20 you ever spent, I swear. We played for two hours, and we had a lot of fun, and we goofed off. Danny Lohner joined the fray, he comes out and plays a few songs. But he forgot his headset, so we had to stop the show. It’s really funny, we had to stop the show for Danny. It’s great! Livestreaming was cool. I liked it. I was a little nervous for the first couple of songs, but then I got used to it. But playing live is fun as hell! We have a great band and a great crew, and it’s really a great time to see Filter play, because we do deliver. We’ve had nothing but great reviews on our last 20 or 30 shows that we’ve played.



What do you think are the biggest difficulties with live performances right now? What do you feel artists, labels, venues, the industry as a whole should take away from the pandemic and use or think about going forward?

Patrick: Just bring the goods! Bring the goods and be awesome. Don’t just go through the motions and put on a show. Be amazing, put forth your talent, and exploit it! I prepare for my shows, and I have an iPad onstage just to make sure that my lyrics are perfect. You tend to rewrite things when you don’t have your lyrics in front of you, which is fine, but a lot of the fans want me to sing it perfectly like the record. But I care and the attention to detail is really important. Just make sure that you play with as much intensity as possible and bring it! Don’t just go through the motions. The pandemic… I mean, everybody get vaccinated, and the goddamn thing will go away!

You’ve signed with Golden Robot Records for The Algorithm. What are your thoughts on the traditional models of releasing music and how it applies to you? Moving forward, do you think we will still be bound to record labels?

Patrick: I think it’s a little ‘all of the above.’ I released two songs completely on my own that probably should’ve been on The Algorithm – ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ and ‘Murica.’ Nobody talks about those songs. I gave two songs away just to kind of tide my fans over. I mean, you reported on them, which was cool. But it seems like everybody takes a record way more seriously, but the question is will people literally listen to the whole thing? Because when they get the whole thing, they usually just listen to the songs they want to hear, and then they got Spotified and suggested to listen to other shit, or they listen to the one song that goes on the radio, and it turns into a different algorithm that starts playing other people’s music. So, I want people to hear the whole record in its entirety before they start picking out their favorite songs. I want people to listen to it the way you did, from start to finish. I can’t wait for the record to be out because that’s where it’s at for me.



Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Patrick: I love my band. Please come and see us live, because it’s going to be a great year; we’re going to be touring extensively over the next year or so. Check out The Algorithm. I’m super proud of it, and I hope everyone gives it a shot.


Website, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram
Golden Robot Records
Website, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram


Photography by Chapman Baehler – courtesy of Chapman Baehler Photography
Website, Instagram
Live photography by HITKOR
Website, Facebook, Instagram


Leave a Comment

ReGen Magazine