Music Interview

Project Eleven

by Jett Black

Project 11Project Eleven, now hailing out of Dallas, Texas, delivers dark, industrial, cerebral rock music to cross-cultural communities in the South. Recent changes in the band’s line-up have fostered opportunities for new growth and development within an exploding Texas Gothic-Industrial-Rock scene this year. William Lorentz, front man for PROJECT ELEVEN, elaborates upon these new developments.

Who currently makes up the membership of Project 11? Will this line-up be changing before your next tour?

William Lorentz, vocals
Brent Richison, guitar
Robert Burghalden, drums, electronics, & FX

Project Eleven recently lost Hans Weinfurter as bassist to a terrible accident. We are beginning auditions Jan 1999 for a musician who can fill those shoes. We will have a new bassist, be it studio musician, session players, or full-time member, when we tour this spring on the new CD.

When will you be touring next? Where is your next tour set to begin?

We will begin to play out shortly after the new CD's release, sometime around March. A full tour of the album will be done in May and will continue through August. It will begin in Texas and Oklahoma, but we hope to have it grow to include cities in more surrounding states.

When will you be recording next? What concepts will be woven into the next recording?

Project Eleven is recording its first album during January and into February of 1999. The album's main unifying quality is the promotion of creative thought. We're all about giving people inspiration. Helping them draw their own conclusions about important matters. Often spiritual matters.

What is the title of the debut release?

Project Eleven's first album is planned to be self-titled.

What changes in style & membership has Project 11 undergone since its inception?

What started out as a very dark-sounding, slow, drama-rock trio has now evolved to include some more serious subject matter, faster grooves and electronic sampling and sequencing. We've been trying to get the trip-hop techno flavor mixed with the already dark, heavy sound we already had. Our first full-time bassist, Robert Garza, played with us in our early gigs in Dallas a year ago. He was with the band for 3 months and was fired for creative differences. The band then took on Hans Weinfurter as full time bassist and he quickly began adding to the writing process. After the band lost Hans, Dallas bassist/guitarist Ackbar has been covering while we audition.

What has been most effective in holding Project 11 together?

Communication, honesty and patience to let things evolve. Every time a crisis of any kind comes up in the group we address it and deal with it immediately. Very important.

What changes are planned for Project 11 in 1999?

I've been getting more into the music of India and the Middle East, especially spiritual stuff. Some of the modes and tonics in my new melodies really reflect that. Robert has a new electronic drum kit and wants to experiment more with industrial rhythms and African tribal sounds. Brent has been interested in getting more of the low heavy grooves integrated into our sound. Just add Korn, I guess.

How would you describe music that Project 11 ultimately performs and records?

The music is heavy, dark, cerebral rock. The band has a very serious, comfortable, Doors-like quality on stage, but sounds more like Tool.

Since the late '80's, differentiations in "underground" music have resulted in distinctions such as "gothic," "industrial," "electronica," "darkwave" and others not as trend-setting. Where do you believe these distinctions in darker music are headed?

All people really use those labels for is to describe the sort of sound the band has...maybe the way it makes them feel. Eventually we'll be able to communicate our feelings about the band and that will be enough, I hope. As people become more eclectic they discover more music and analyze it more closely. There will be further distinctions made though, and why not? How many words do Eskimos have for snow? I don't know, but I remember it being a lot.

How would you describe their evolutions from the late '80's to today?

I've always been into honest music. The 80s were all about image and the realness of the act was often lost. I know Poison has a bitchin' guitar player who can play damn fast, but I have no idea what he thinks or feels about his music. I'm committed to offering a band that writes relevant music that isn't hidden by an image. That is the future.

What is the general idea behind your band?

The idea was to build a band from the ground up with people that were as committed to the goal as we were. William is heavy into spiritual issues with his writing, thought relationships, control and storytelling exists in his writing as well. It is to be heavy, dark-industrial and cerebral.

What messages infuse the music you create?

First [the audience is] impressed by the show's beauty. The message is very clear though: Think your own thoughts.

What other bands have you worked with in the past that have influenced your style(s) since then?

Dissonance; Kat reminded me that melody and elegance still does rock.

Would you be interested in working on a side-project band with members of other bands?

We would. Guest appearances are a big goal for Project Eleven. We really enjoy the opportunity to bounce ideas off other musicians. We're attempting to get some vocalists from local Dallas bands to do guest spots or duets on the new album.

Looking back upon the progression of your music how have your messages evolved throughout the evolution of the musical styles?

The messages are more up to the audience now than ever. Before the lyrics were like proclamations that were being shouted out. Now it has a very classy sort of preacher-like attitude. It speaks directly TO the audience.

What experiences have been most influential in the development of your music?

For this album a lot of loss and hardship. It's about independence versus control and thought versus reaction. A lot of this came about after the suicide of a friend and the loss of my longtime girlfriend to religion. Things like these spawned the majority of the songs on the album.

What do you believe is lacking in the industry that if added would stimulate evolutionary growth and creativity?

Cooperation. We are all about creating and maintaining scenes in cities. Only by bands working together to design shows and share information can it work. We have a number of Dallas area bands we're friends with and we set up shows together and promote each other. It's great; we swap audiences, find more success and best of all we create great shows for the fans.

What barriers do you perceive exist in the industry that prevent evolutionary growth and suppresses creativity?

The industry needs to cater equally to artist and the buying public. When the industry caters more to one than the other, balance is lost and it actually hurts music.

What impressions do you have of the new music festivals? (Some examples include Convergence, CopFest, and ProjektFest.)

Convergence is a great idea. We're not aware of the others listed, but the Austin (Texas) music festivals are something we're interested in.

How do you believe these festivals impact the growth of the scene that supports your musical talents?

Any time people contribute to the scene, even if it's just by their presence, it's a good thing. Festivals attract people that wouldn't normally attend single shows or bar gigs. That's fantastic for artists.

How do computers and the Internet impact how Project 11 presents itself?

Nowadays any business is expected to have a web page. It also puts some control of the band's image into the artists' hands. It allows them to more directly communicate with their audience.

Do you utilize computer technology to develop the music itself?

We record digitally and use midi equipment and music software which is all computer driven. Hell, I even write my lyrics on the computer.

Who would you say characterizes the personality types of people most likely to identify with your music and its messages?

People who enjoy powerful, dramatic stuff that has great lyrics when you stop rocking long enough to think about them. :o) Everyone from Nine Inch Nails fans to Zeppelin fans to Tool Fans to Sneaker Pimps fans.

Where have you found the largest positive support for your music?

Club Clearview, Dallas Texas to a half-goth half-jock crowd. We knocked all their socks off.

What activities occupy your time outside of recordings and performances?

Work. Music is the only other thing we do. Our drummer is learning how to raise his new baby.

What might you describe as the worst thing to happen in the music industry in the past five years?

Better than Ezra.

What might be the most positive thing to have happened or be happening in the music industry?

The explosion of the Internet. Project Eleven's website has been fundamental in communicating with our fans and making new ones. We can announce our gigs, get people on our mailing list and give them information about the band’s developments.

Do fans compare Project 11 to any other band frequently? If yes, please explain the comparison.

I've heard Tool a few times, but that is understandable. We too have a very cerebral sounding rock though a bit more electronic. I'd love to play with Tool.

What influences, besides other music, the development of Project 11?

Usually personal events that develop in our lives. Life changing experiences have abounded lately so material has been easy to come by.

What problems have you experienced with audio during your live performances in the past?

Bar bouncers that pretend to be sound men.

What really adds to your personal satisfaction of your own live performances?

People keep asking us where they can get an album and I have to explain that it's not recorded yet. It still feels good to know they see the show and want to invest in the music right then. It's good to know there are great music lovers in Dallas.

What insight into the name, Project 11, might you offer to your fans?

In some psychology circles the number ten represents all that you are in the material world and all you have accomplished and made of yourself. It is said that when you dream of things involving the number ten it relates to those things. The number eleven represents the unknown, the spiritual. Those things that are beyond your imagination. Hence, Project Eleven.

What do like most about performing live?

Interacting with the audience. It's such a rush starting the show and watching all the ears in the bar perk up.

How do your recordings generally evolve?

We work free-form and record things on 4 track that strike us. We then assemble songs around lyrics and emotion.

Who usually guides Project 11 through these evolutions?

Any of us. We're very into the idea of being a collective writing force. We all will drive certain songs more than others from time to time. But everyone pitches in.

Which writers/artists have had influence upon the development of your music?

Nine Inch Nails to Gwar. White Zombie to Led Zepplin to G Love & Special Sauce.

How might fans reading this be most likely to contact your band for more information?

The Project Eleven website: