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Q&A: Why Wes Borland's turned to the prog side

You may know him as the guitarist of nu metallers Limp Bizkit, but don’t let that put you off. As it turns out, Wes Borland is plenty prog too, especially with his brand new solo album.

“Best known for his work as the guitarist with Limp Bizkit (“It allows me to play this science fiction stuntman character”), Wes Borland has not only moved from LA to Detroit, but he’s also on a new musical journey. Outside of Limp Bizkit, he fronted and recorded with the industrial band Black Light Burns. He also writes and plays with Queen Kwong – with his wife Carré Callaway – though it’s his latest venture with the Crystal Machete album that is the first project, he says, in which he’s truly found his own voice. Not that you’ll hear him singing any time soon: “I just don’t like my voice very much!”

Crystal Machete is an experimental electronica album written as a soundtrack for an 80s sci-fi movie that never got made. By Borland’s own admission, it’s a calling card to Hollywood, but also a snapshot of where he is now musically. Recorded at his new home, it’s an ambitious record made almost entirely in isolation and eschewing any hint of electric guitar or conventional vocals. Fans of John Zorn, Hawkind and even Radiohead will find something to like here; Limp Bizkit fans, less so. Though as Borland says, with something of a shrug, “That’s fine with me. I usually like people who don’t like Bizkit.”

Crystal Machete sounds like the name of a heavy metal band you might form when you’re 15.

“There were elements of it that were kind of inspired by the 80s, with synthesiser soundtracks, and I was looking at different 80s movies and how they had the chrome logos – Predator, Blade Runner, Legend – and I was thinking of some kind of object like in Krull, the weapon in that, and it had to be silly but serious. I was thinking something Crystal, it couldn’t be the Crystal Sword, so it became the Crystal Machete. That’s what the album was sounding like to me.”

You’ve said that this album is a calling card to where you’d like to be in the future. Does that mean film soundtrack work?

“Absolutely. I’ve done some indie movies in the past, a few really terrible horror movies – Saw movies and a few Resident Evil films. I’m 41 and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become less and less interested in the concept of the band. I don’t really enjoy working with other people. I don’t find other people’s ideas inspiring. I’ve gone into my own bubble.”

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