Nivek Ogre talks about Skinny Puppy and “The Devil’s Carnival”

Nivek Orgre is the lead singer in the band Skinny Puppy.  He is also known for working with Darren Lynn Bousman in his film, “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and “The Devil’s Carnival”.  Ogre took out sometime to chat with Media Mikes to chat about “The Devil’s Carnival” and also touring with Skinny Puppy.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you start working with Darren Bousman?
Nivek Ogre: I first met Darren through Joe Bishara. Joe was the musical producer for both “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and “The Devils Carnival”. He has been a friend of mine and fellow musician since back in the day. He went on to make a much better choice than I did by moving from playing in bands to doing sound tracks. After our last tour in 2007 we were talking and he asked me what I was going to do. At that time I pondered some of my fantasies. I was thinking about doing everything from being a pastry chef to being put into prosthetics. Being put into prosthetics has been one of my favorite dreams ever since I was a little kid reading Famous Monsters magazine. He told me about the work he was doing on “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and there was a character that is a face stealing rapist. I thought it was delicious. They had originally wanted someone else as Darren wanted Actors who could sing not Singer who could act. It was sort of an uphill battle for me but Terrance Zdunich and the whole crew were pulling for me. Terrance had heard of Skinny Puppy and I got to know Darren more over the course of production as I was wearing his wife’s face. One of the masks they had cast for me was of his wife Laura’s face. Whenever I had to ask him a question with that mask on he would look at me and run away. (Laughs) It was a bit of an odd friendship at first. I didn’t know what he really thought of me and was sort of out in left field. I was told to be very polite and not to pull any diva moves by the producers. I’m not sure what they thought I was. They were all very nice to work with. Over the time since Repo Darren had tried to get me in to some of his other projects however things never seemed to work out. We always kept in touch and on the side we started to realize we both had an interest in paranormal and other extremesort of perceptive qualities. We went back and forth over email and Darren told me he had this character called “The Twin”. They plugged me into that role and that’s how things all sort of happened.

MG: What can you tell us about your role as “The Twin”?
NO: The Twin is sort of an interesting character to me as I think he could have been played a lot of different ways. I myself tend to have too much empathy so I wanted to make him very sympathetic. I kind of saw him as one of the original shells that were shucked down to hell. He probably made a bargain with the man below and is now living in fear trying to escape his fate by taking on the appearance of another. However while doing this he tends to see the best parts of him which gave him a slight bit of humanity. He also would see their nastiest thoughts which ultimately would do them in. It is both an empathetic and vicious character. I see myself as the bait for Lucifer.

MG: What do you enjoy most about working in the horror genre?
NO: Everything I have worked on has been somewhat of an ensemble cast. The best part for me is I am playing a supporting role for a whole group of people. Sometimes it’s even for the main character. In the case of Repo I was supporting Paul Sorvino. We each had our own things but we all were Paul’s kids. It’s a huge kick because it allows me to dig into a character. I get to really be in the moment and react to everything around me. With Skinny Puppy I make it. I conceptualize the stage show, I perform it and I am there every night by myself. I have musicians on the stage but everything else is imaginary. It is a huge amount of fun to play up against people. I really enjoy the process and I love makeup effects. I am one of those guys who likes to be immersed in character. I don’t have to have my face showing as I love trying to push myself through a mask.

MG: How do you think your music on the soundtracks differ from your work with Skinny Puppy?
NO: It’s incredible. If you ever have any trepidation or fear about changing your style or jumping into something new do it whole heartedly. I tell people this all the time. For 26 years I have stayed in the character of Ogre and never stepped too far out from that. I didn’t want to piss fans off or have them think that I wasn’t bloody or weird enough. When I actually stepped out and pushed myself it gave me a whole new presence and character within my voice. It was a great thing.

MG: Can you give us some background on the upcoming Skinny Puppy live album?
NO: In May of last year I released an Ogre record and I have continued to tour that as my solo project. Skinny Puppy is recording a new studio album as we speak that is going to be titled “Weapon”. The live album I believe is coming out in July. That album kind of follows our ill-fated European tour. It was a great tour performance wise but we were pirated out of a large sum of money. The tour just went upside down on us. Everything that could go wrong did. I did get to take my girlfriend to Europe for the first time as she had never been so I guess there are two sides to the coin.

MG: Are there any other upcoming projects in the works?
NO: I am doing a movie at the end of April in Philadelphia that is going to be a throwback to the 80’s slasher films. The movie is titled “Scream Park” and we are filming it in an amusement park in Northern Pennsylvania. I am pretty excited about my role in that film.


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