I had the opportunity to speak with Ministry guitarist, Sin Quirin, who has been a part of Ministry since 2006. Ministry’s newest album, AmeriKKKant, was released on March 9 via Nuclear Blast Records. We spoke about how the recording of the album took place and how some songs allude to what is going on right now in America. “Twilight Zone” deals with the world with Donald Trump becoming president. We discussed the emergence of Antifa as well as its effects on modern musical groups, such as black metal musicians. We chatted about working with Burton C. Bell, The Arabian Prince, DJ Swamp and the Arabian Prince. Sin mentioned what the setlist will be like this time around, as well as a classic Ministry song he is looking forward to playing someday. Apart from Ministry, Sin has found time to contribute songwriting efforts to KMFDM’s Hell Yeah record, Seattle’s VAST, and Aborym. Sin also gave some advice on what it’s like to run your own guitar clinic and things that are valuable to include.
For this album, which song did you enjoy the most composing and recording it?
I would have to say “Twilight Zone” was the first song idea I brought to the table. The writing process and the way it turned out I was extremely pleased with. If I had to pick one, I would say “Twilight Zone.”
I know “Twilight Zone” is where Donald Trump becomes president. Imagine if the time comes and Trump leaves office and Mike Pence were to become president; What kind of things do you think America would see under that kind of world?
Oh Jesus, I don’t know man. We go from the Twilight Zone to the Outer Limits. [Laughs] I really don’t want to think about that to be honest.
What do you think Antifa needs to do to become a lasting entity inside America and worldwide?
That is a tough one to answer to truly get the real meaning across. As Al had stated before, we are in support of the organization, we are not in support of terrorist actions or tactics by anyone. In order to be accepted worldwide and to be able to last, I would think it would have to scale certain things down to make it a more viable organization.
What do you have to say to people who have negative feelings on Antifa because of a number of black metal concerts like Watain that have been cancelled recently?
I just heard about this recently. It’s a shame that those shows had to be cancelled. That doesn’t do anything or solve any problems doing that.
With Wargasm — I studied abroad in Japan once and took this North Korean Politics course — and I feel like the way things are going, if there is going to be another war it will be with North Korea. I feel like it would be an attempt to acquire the coal and fossil fuel rights to that country.
I think if anything that would be the reasons if a war were to happen.
For this release there are a number of names new to a Ministry album, such as Burton C. Bell, DJ Swamp, The Arabian Prince; What was it like recording with these guys?
I didn’t really learn anything new from recording with them. I have known Burton throughout the years. Arabian Prince and DJ Swamp do their DJ thing. It was interesting watching Lord of the Cello record and hear some tracks and riffing ideas over it — which is what you do when you are in a studio — and you just improvise and whatever comes to mind. I did get to hang out with some of these guys, and have known some of them for many years. The guys I didn’t know were Lord of the Cello and Arabian Prince, while DJ Swamp has been with us for the last few tours. There was a lot of work that happened in the studio, and the crazy thing might be that nothing crazy happened this time around.
How did you pick out the setlist for this tour?
Al usually comes up with the setlist. He will ask some input from time to time. Sometimes we try to negotiate things with him. Ultimately, it is Al that decides what we play.
I remember hearing a recent interview of yours, and you were asked what was your ultimate classic Ministry song that you have been wanting to play for awhile but haven’t, and you got to play “The Missing” from 1988’s The Land of Rape and Honey. What is another song on your list that you have to get Al to play it.
It might be “The Land of Rape and Honey.”
Can you tell me about your favorite songs recording for the Aborym album, Shifting.Negative?
That’s a good question. I don’t remember what the titles of the songs were, and I think I am on two of those songs. When they were sent to me, they were working titles — I don’t know what they ended up being. I had a blast working on both of those songs. They are a very talented band.
Do you have any advice for the guitarists out there getting ready to put together their first guitar clinics?
You need to be as prepared with your material as you possibly can be. I always like it when guys take questions and they take it a step further than just a simple class. A lot of times, people that show up to those guitar clinics aren’t necessarily guitar players yet. Sometimes they can get a bit intimidated if they are looking at you and they think, “Oh wow, I have to be at this level.”
I always try to have friendly greetings for everyone who attend these things. I try to make everyone feel welcome and encourage people that haven’t even started yet, to begin.
For you, when you run your own clinics, what is it like?
I often like to ask a lot of questions to see what people are trying to learn or figure out. I take a lot of questions when I do those clinics. A lot of it is about the music business and how I started songwriting. It is not always technical or guitar-related stuff. A lot of it is about preparation and finding out what your crowd is wanting from you.
Besides Ministry what other musical projects have you been involved with as of late?
I did a track on KMFDM’s Hell Yeah record which was called, “Glam Glitz Guts & Gore,” Sascha (Konietzko) and Lucia reached out to me and asked if I was interested in writing some of the guitar riffs on one of their songs on their latest record. In the past month or so, I started working with Jon Crosby from a band called VAST. I had a couple of songs that I added some guitar on with him.
For this upcoming Ministry tour, what are you looking forward to?
The new songs really, I am really happy with how they are going over live. I am very much looking forward to performing those in front of people. I love playing the classics like we always do. I am really excited to do these new songs this time around. My top three songs are “Twilight Zone,” “Victims of a Clown,” and “We’re Tired of It.”
For “Victims of Clown,” we wrote the music first, and then the lyrics come later. That is all Al. I think you can tell what the song is about. I can’t answer how he went about doing that. That was probably the second or third song we wrote for the record. At that point we didn’t know what the lyrical content was going to be.
Thanks to everyone that has been buying the record. I hope people are open to it and come out and see us on this tour so they can hear these songs live.
Make sure to catch Ministry play Montclair, NJ at The Wellmont Theater on Saturday, April 21.