Neitzel, Andre (Timothy Pure) (April 2002)

The Essence Of Being (Timothy) Pure

Timothy Pure (l to r: Matthew Still, Andre Neitzel and Zod; © Timothy Pure)Metaphors, when used appropriately, are one of the strongest elements of both spoken and written expression ever to grace the development of language. That is something that one would of course expect Timothy Pure's bassist and lyricist André Neitzel to understand and agree with wholeheartedly, as his conceptual lyrics are rich in allegory and allusion, impregnated with meaning and poignancy, and marked by creativity and purpose. Meanwhile, the music surrounding such expressive power is an apt reflection of the emotions and character turns that each of Timothy Pure's albums gives shelter to. With the band soon to release a new album and about to embark on a brief German tour, things seem to be gaining momentum right now, and it seemed like a good idea to get a hold of Neitzel before the impending activity keeps him too busy to be able to answer anyone's questions ... oh yeah, same goes for Zod!

Marcelo Silveyra: The Fabric of Betrayal, your first release, was intended as a sampler of sorts for Timothy Pure's upcoming albums, and four of the songs contained therein have already been used when looking at the combined material of Blood Of The Berry and Island Of The Misfit Toys. Could this be interpreted as the band already having a rough sketch of each one of its new albums? Furthermore, the record is now out of print. Do you feel as if it is no longer fit to represent your sound and what you want to achieve with it in the future (adding to that the fact that the band's lineup after it was already different)?

Timothy Pure - The Fabric Of Betrayal (1995 oop)André Neitzel: Yes, I had rough ideas with regards to storylines. Actually, the only ones from The Fabric of Betrayal that made it into an actual album were the songs that became part of Blood Of The Berry. Island Of The Misfit Toys developed from the same place the songs "Festival" and "Legoland" came from. The observation of human interaction viewed through a larger lens ... moving from one character to the next. I wanted to go back to our initial development (as children). The series of events that shape us into what we eventually become. The song "Festival" may be introduced on a later album as perhaps a part two of Island Of The Misfit Toys ... we'll see...

I suppose the main reason we don't want to re-release Fabric Of Betrayal is that we don't feel it represents us (sound/future/lineup). I know there are a few tracks on the CD no one has heard, but I don't think they are missing much. Imagine showing people some of your early schoolwork papers. Perhaps some good ideas, but not developed. We'll keep them in a box somewhere.

MS: You once mentioned in an interview that Blood Of The Berry came out a concept album due to the songs' characters needing more development, which would be akin to the relationship between a short story and a novel. Do you find that you get fascinated with the story and characters' development as you write it, as well as with the metaphorical manner in which you describe things? How spontaneous or planned is the creative process for your albums' lyrics?

AN: Yes, I typically get inspired and write a song, and if the inspiration is strong enough, it develops into a full album with a central theme. Often what happens next is that the original idea expands or changes direction ... or, for lack of a better word, "evolves," and what was once an inspiring idea turns more into a vehicle for a deeper story. Timothy Pure - Blood Of The Berry (1997)Blood Of The Berry was born out of "The Aberration," which was a rather simple story about a monster or vampire-type of character. The more I wrote, the more the character developed multiple layers. One common thread you will see in all the stories is an erasure of the silly concepts of good and bad. Most characters will have seemingly contradictory elements pulling them. Just as it is in real life, they/we are trying to balance chaos and order. Many destroy what they have to stir life back into themselves. Others sacrifice the constant flux for peaceful order only to destroy it again.back and forth. Human nature and learning have always fascinated me. I like to expose those basic elements in us that conflict us. The beautiful ugliness of evolved animals not quite comfortable in their new skin.

Creativity needs to be inspired; however, the creation requires absolute discipline and rules in order to be effective. Here are those words again ... chaos and order equal creativity. Chaos is the inspiration - stream of consciousness lyrical expressions. But it goes nowhere unless I edit and re-edit. Ninety percent of the process is editing.

MS: The concept of Island of the Misfit Toys, in which children develop their social relationships and reactions, is curiously reminiscent of William Golding's Lord Of The Flies. Was this book an influence on the development of the album's theme? Was it interesting to develop a psychological perspective of sorts when preparing the album's storyline?

AN: No, I never have read the book. Psychology is another field of interest for me. I combine my interests to define my writing style.

MS: You also mentioned at one point that the storyline of Blood Of The Berry is a combination of both imagination and experience. Does this stand true for Island Of The Misfit Toys as well? Which of both elements is the strongest in Timothy Pure's lyrics and is there no fear of ever exposing anything that is too personal?

Timothy Pure - Island Of The Misfit Toys (1999)AN: Well, there is some personal experience that helped the creative for a part of Isle as well. I think the personal experience provides the emotional steam necessary to drive the ideas. Some personal experience is simply knowledge acquired through observation ... I mean it doesn't have to be occurring to me. That said, due to the fact that experience is still limited, you have to use imagination, or else you end up repeating yourself.

I've never been concerned with exposing too much. You can't be very creative if you're censoring yourself. It's a wonderful feeling to connect with people on a deeper level. I have nothing to lose in exploring and then exposing a personal situation. I'm not concerned with what people think in a prejudicial sense.

MS: Sexuality seems to be a main theme in the lyrical arsenal of Timothy Pure, regarding both interpersonal relationships and personal exploration, with subjects such as abuse, virginity, and discovery being inherent parts of the concepts in both of your albums. Is this recurrence due to the strength, intimacy, and universality of these topics or has it somehow just fitted into your albums?

AN: The latter. I would say there are universal themes that can be threaded in creative ways. Love, hate, sexuality, shame, etc. are all powerfully evocative themes that are being repeated by many artists. The trick is to do it in a seemingly fresh way. Using metaphor and avoiding cliché is part of my style.

MS: Although Blood Of The Berry and Island Of The Misfit Toys are rather similar musically, the former seems to change a bit style-wise near the end and break the continuity of the record, while the latter is a lot more homogeneous and flowing. Was this a result of wanting to change the approach of Blood Of The Berry regarding that stylistic break? What defines the musical ideas and approaches that are used on your albums?

AN: I don't think there was a conscious attempt to change the flow of the record. Blood Of The Berry is just a ride through the emotions of the main character; what reflects as a stylistic break is a shift in emotions. What defines our musical ideas ... subtleties, emotions, tension and release, nuances ... you have to listen close to pick up on the details beneath the surface.

MS: Looking at some live pictures, one can notice that Zod has worn face paint at one point or another in your gigs. What's the deal behind this?

Zod: I try to adapt to the environment - I believe you are referring to Quebec City - that particular gig seemed to say "blue paint," and I answered the call.

MS: Short question: The band's name was based on a song called "Timothy Pure," the title of which was perhaps to be changed due to the character not being so pure. Has that song seen the light of day in a different form yet?

AN: Well, I haven't actually changed the title ... we just haven't done anything with the song.

MS: Both Blood Of The Berry and Island Of The Misfit Toys deal with human relationships, many of them torn or twisted due to different problems, inhibitions, or defense mechanisms. Is this an element that will remain in your upcoming new album? What is it about human relationships that interests you so much?

AN: I think the next CD will focus on the war within. Some of the titles are "A Desert Prayer," "Bliss," "Bones Of Ghosts," "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet," "Love Me Knots," and "Buy A Wish."

Human relationships are all we have we.

MS: What is the meaning of life?

AN: Whew ... finally an easy one! I'm not sure there is one in an ultimate sense. "Meaning" is a human creation. To me, life is absurd. You are born, you experience emotions, develop social habits, pretend you know what's going on, act in different character roles, and re-experience the same emotions over and over, all the while trying to believe there's a point to all of this. The only purpose I can see is continuation of species/life through reproduction (that being the end to the means).

We have this need to believe in a sense of justice or fairness to life ... but as we all see, nature isn't fair. Good things happen to undeserving people, and harmful things happen to people with good intentions, but rather than discuss "life," we spend our time escaping through consumption and distractions. Entertainment helps us escape. I've often thought of the many reasons why people prefer superficial entertaining escapism over something deeper and more artistic. There are many reasons (which I won't go into ... too much time!), but I feel entertainment (in this case meaning light escapism) takes you out of yourself - away from the inner turmoil - whereas great art pulls you inside and forces you to feel and experience raw emotions ... many people don't like to dive inside for fear of what they might find...

The Fabric Of Betrayal (1995) (out of print)
Blood Of The Berry (1997)
Island Of The Misfit Toys (1999)
Bones Of Ghosts (2006)

Added: April 20th 2002
Interviewer: Marcelo Silveyra

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Language: english

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