Born Dead
For 20 years now, JG Thirlwell has been warping minds as the man behind FOETUS.  Blame his therapist.
Foetus was making industrial music before industrial music was invented: discuss.
JG Thirlwell: "The one identifying factor in my music is that it's hard to put a label on it.  I came up around the time the term 'industrial' was coined and I got lumped into that category.  But there's nu-metal people who are totally into Foetus, then people in the electronic/drum 'n' bass world, then the noise crowd.  We even get eight-year-olds at our shows."
You've remixed everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Megadeth to Marc Almond.  Is there anyone you've refused to work with?
JG: "There's things I've turned down because I felt that by the time I put them through the Foetus mangler, there'd be nothing left of them.  There's a certain amount of production work I've turned down too, because who wants to spend two months in a room with sweaty boys interested in smelling their own bodily secretions."
Sony released your 1995 album, 'Gash'.  Did the label think they were getting NIN?
JG: "No, they thought they were getting Foetus.  You're dealing with this corporate monolith, and the people that you're dealing with on a day to day level don't necessarily have the final say in what goes down.  Some number-cruncher in Japan might come down and say, 'We're not going to do Foetus', which is exactly what happened.  I just didn't expect it to be a week after the album came out."
Although you're Australian, you've lived in New York for nearly 20 years.  What's the attraction?
JG: "It's a 24-hour city.  It's got this energy and excitement and scuzziness and griminess all in one package.  It's changed a lot since I've been here.  A lot of what made it attractive to me - the urban decay - has been wiped out now."
You've made over 30 recordings in 14 years under 19 different identities.  Will the real Jim Thirlwell please stand up?
JG: "That's what my therapist keeps telling me.  I do talk about myself in the third person a lot, and sometimes I wonder if in a few years time, I'll be walking down the street having an argument with myself.  But I wear a lot of different masks and I'm not always sure where Foetus stops and JG Thirlwell begins."
FOETUS' new album, Flow, is out now.

Original source: Kerrang!, July 2001, by Catherine Yates, accompanying photo by Lisa Johnson..
© 2001 Kerrang!
ps: Foetus' Thaw is one of Kerrang!'s essential CD's in the "noise" genre...

28 Jul '01.