OGRE and the THIEF of WELT
by Phellon Bayle
Once upon a time towards the end of the last millennium, the electronic music scene took a devastating blow. A band that set themselves apart within a genre that was known by some as Industrial music, suffered a great misfortune.
In the early summer of 1995, Ogre would leave Skinny Puppy after twelve historic and influential years. "I was in a bad place. Skinny Puppy was killing me."
Ogre's long time relationship with drugs had finally taking it's toll. Leaving Skinny Puppy would be the first step of his personal process on the rocky road to cleanliness.
Although Ogre was leaving Skinny Puppy behind, he was venturing forth into a new endeavor that would become a struggle of it's own and finally see the light of day in the next millennium. W.E.L.T., a collaboration between Ogre and Ruby programmer/producer Mark Walk would be a long and winding road to the other side of the rainbow.
When asked the significance behind the name W.E.L.T. Ogre replied, "It stood for many things. One of them being Will E. Lunch Today, but I prefer to think of it as marks left behind from strong blows to the body."
In the years that followed, strong blows to the body would be the accurate description of the plight the W.E.L.T. project suffered during the last six years. The trouble began when American Records decided it was in their best interest to drop the project. The masters were shelved and the long legal battle began. Ogre was finally released from his contract obligation with American, but they still held the masters. He did everything humanly possible to get back what was rightfully his to no avail.
In the years to pass Ogre would occupy his time by collaborating with Martin Atkins on the ill-fated Ritalin Project. When asked if another Ritalin album would be somewhere in the future, he replied that it was highly unlikely. Reason being that the album didn't sell that well. He feels that some may think that he's to blame for the albums failure, because he didn't push it. As a result of being dumped on as much as he was by the music industry, he wasn't sure if a career in music was what he wanted at that point in time.
He then went on to record and tour with KMFDM in support of the symbols album. An experience that he found most enjoyable. "It was cool. Everyone on the tour was well taken care of. The accommodations were first rate, they definitely know how to do things right."
Getting a second breath, Ogre decided it was time to find the W.E.L.T. project a new home. He finally landed a deal at Spitfire Records based on a licensing agreement for the original masters. Spitfire did what they could to obtain the masters; however someone at the now Sony owned American was saying "Fuck you!"
Ogre can't believe to this day they're still giving him shit over there. "I'm taking it personally. It's like some one there hates me."
So here was a new obstacle. Ogre got a record deal based on a licensing agreement of the original masters and the original masters were still unattainable. Spitfires Lawyers found that the rerecord clause in the original contract expired in 1999. So that was the angle they went with. They had to rerecord the entire album from scratch. "We worked our asses off to get the record done in enough time. With the original masters we would have been done in a month. We would have only had to do some minor rerecording and tweaking. Since we had to start form the bottom up, it took us about three to four months working on it both exclusively and sporadically."
The end result is a masterpiece in modern music that was well worth the wait. Eleven songs that are not only memorable, but are filled with so much ear candy, you'll never grasp it all in one listen. When asked if Ogre was happier with the rerecord than the original, he replied, "Yeah, for one thing a lot of time had passed since we originally did the first master. The first recording would have suited for the time, but music has progressed so much in the last five years."
Ogre and Mark Walk finally got their baby back. However, the project needed a new name. Over the years a band surfaced with the moniker "Welt" and a name change for Ogre and Mark's W.E.L.T. was inevitable. Although Welt wouldn't be discarded entirely, it would become the name of the album. The project would now be dubbed OhGr. "It's a representation of myself. It's based on apathy and rage which are the main ingredients of my music."
Apathy and rage also best describes the album artwork, which was done by Lenore creator Roman Dirge. "Roman and I have become very good friends. He's a great guy to have a beer with. He's really funny. He's got a lot of things happening. There is a Lenore feature film in the works and he's also developing a show for Nickelodeon called Spooky Land."
The first video off the album is for the song "Cracker". The song is about evil with in the entertainment industry. It also embellishes on the feelings Ogre has for the industry as well. The video was filmed and directed by long time Puppy cohort and friend William Morrison. The video is a testament to the digital age. Filmed entirely by stop motion photography with some computer animation and tons of cool effects. You would think that the video cost millions of dollars to make. "Bill brought over his Cool Pix 990 Digital Camera, took thousands of still photos in succession. He edited it together and added effects using Premiere and After Effects. The whole thing cost about $15,000."
Ogre has taken charge of organizing and managing the OhGr tour. "I'm overseeing everything. It's very stressful. I do have people helping me, but it still is a lot of work. I've never done this before. It's strange being on this side of the fence. I just want to make sure everything goes right."
"The live show will consist of multi-media with reoccurring themes throughout. There will be some theatrics with whatever props at my immediate disposal. Such as hand motions, what ever it takes to get my point across. It's mostly about the band"
Ogre has assembled a killer band. The line up consists of Skinny Puppy vets and friends William Morrison on guitar, Loki on keyboards, Tim Skold on bass and yes, Cevin Key on Drums. One would think with Cevin Key on board there might be a couple of Skinny Puppy tunes added to the set list. However, Ogre had this to say. "No. We will not be playing any Skinny Puppy. Those songs require a entire different set up and must be presented in a different fashion than that of OhGr."
The album has been released and the tour is underway. The second OhGr album is already in the can awaiting postproduction at the tours end. "Welt" has already reached #3 on the German Alternative charts. The future looks bright for Ogre, whose hard work throughout the years deserves nothing less. It's great to have him back and making music where he belongs.