Sin Quirin has been with Ministry for over a decade playing guitar and helping write songs. He has been nominated for a Grammy twice for his work with Ministry. In addition to playing and touring with Ministry, he plays and writes for Revolting Cocks, spins as a DJ, and gives guitar clinics. In the interview below he talks about the new Ministry album AmeriKKKant, the current tour, and some of the best and worst advice he’s ever received.
Tell us about the new album "AmeriKKKant".
Sin: We started working on it in 2016, I believe. That’s when we wrote the first song ideas for the record. It was a long process. It was originally supposed to be out last October but then we signed to Nuclear Blast and they pushed it to March of this year, so it’s been done and in the can for quite a while.
Tell us about the meaning of the title of the album "AmeriKKKant".
Sin: That would be more of an Al question. He’s the one that came up with the title as he does with all the lyrics and song titles. All that stuff is primarily Al. I contribute musical ideas to the band.
How did Arabian Prince from N.W.A. get involved?
Sin: I believe that was through Nuclear Blast. Somebody knew him and I passed his info along to Al when he was working on Surgical Meth Machine. He used him on that as well, I believe. He wanted to bring in some scratching and stuff like that, so that’s how he came into the picture.
How much of the songwriting and guitar work are you responsible for on "AmeriKKKant"?
Sin: I played guitar on the entire album and I contributed song ideas pretty much on every track as well. There’s no writing credits on this album, unfortunately. I do a lot of the writing with Al. He was more involved with the writing of this album. It was definitely more of a group effort. Cesar contributed some stuff. Jason did as well. JB. Everyone contributed, but usually I’m the guy that will show up with initial song ideas for Al.
What’s your favorite song from "AmeriKKKant" and why?
Sin: My favorite song right now would probably be 'Twilight Zone' or 'Victims of a Clown'. 'Twilight Zone' because it was the first idea I brought to the table for this album. That’s probably why, but I’m just really happy with the way it turned out.
Yeah, 'Victims of a Clown' has a great groove on it.
Sin: It does. If I’m not mistaken, Jason Christopher wrote that initial bassline and—talking about the music here—I think I did the bridge and the chorus on that and then the fast ending part on that song was my riff.
How does "AmeriKKKant" compare to previous Ministry records?
Sin: I think this one sounds a little bit more Filth Pig era. It’s a lot slower. It’s a lot groovier. We brought that low end back, which I thought the last few records were kind of missing.
Do you see another studio album in Ministry’s future?
Sin: I do. I hope so. I don’t know exactly when that will happen, but I’m hoping that it does. Realistically if it does happen, it won’t happen for another year at least.
How would things be different if Al Jourgensen were in the White House and the members of Ministry were his cabinet?
Sin: (laughs) Well, the White House would be a lot smokier. We’d probably all be arrested.
Would you foresee a possible impeachment and scandal?
Sin: Oh definitely, and the White House would look like the set of Caligula.
Last night, March 22, was the start of Ministry’s North American tour. How did it go and what does Ministry have planned for the tour?
Sin: Last night was the first night. It went very well. I thought it was a great opening night. I think it’s going to go well. I think the tour is going to do well. The band sounds amazing. The band is super tight. There’s a really good chemistry, and vibe, and energy onstage, so I think it’s going to do really well.
Joey Jordison was supposed to drum for the tour and it was recently announced Derek Abrams will drum instead. What can you tell us about the change?
Sin: Joey came out for rehearsals and it was just decided by both parties that it was best that he do his own thing and that he concentrate on himself and his projects right now. And that’s it. We wish him well. There’s no ill will towards him at all. We’re very good friends with him. We want him to do well and we wish him nothing but the best.
How many songs from AmeriKKKant will Ministry play on the tour?
Sin: Last night we did, let’s see, five, I believe.
How do you get your guitar sound?
Sin: It’s all in my fingers.
I was researching one of your other projects 3 Headed Snake. Is there going to be an album at some point maybe?
Sin: Yes. We’re going to release an EP for that project. I actually just got a first mix of one of the songs a couple of days ago. We’re already in the initial mixing stages on that. But with me being out on the road it’s probably not going to happen right now; I’m not going to finish it until I get back from the tour, but we will have a three song EP that I hope to have out in May or June.
Johnny Ray is on vocals. He has that really powerful Geoff Tate, Bruce Dicksinson, Rob Halford, Warrel Dane kind of old school power metal voice. Where did you find him at?
Sin: I found Johnny Ray through a mutual friend who passed along this video of him singing. I think he was singing a Dream Theater song or something like that. I was just really impressed with his vocals. I reached out to him. I told him I had a couple of power metal songs and asked if he was interested in working with me. That’s how that started and that was like a year and a half ago now, I think.
Worst advice you’ve even gotten.
Sin: Worst advice? To try to make it in music.
(laughs) Best advice you’ve ever gotten.
Sin: Best advice? Probably to try to learn the actual music business.
Please complete this sentence. “If I weren’t playing in Ministry, I’d be . . .”
Sin: Jesus. That’s a tough one. If I wasn’t playing in Ministry, I’d be playing with myself.
I would say that the most important thing in life and probably our biggest freedom is for people to be themselves. And if a person has the opportunity to express themselves, they shall not hesitate to do that for one second. And it's not a question of doing that in a creative or artistic form of art. So I think that would be my last words. If you can express yourself, DO IT!
Front 242, Jan 01 2003
I still buy compact discs.
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