Could you please introduce yourselves to our readers? Who are you? Where do you live? Who plays what in the band? How did you get started in music? How did you form?
The band grew quite organically. It started small and went through a few early line-up changes before evolving into what it is today. We are an international band, comprising of 3 English, 1 French and 1 American, we also have a Spanish VJ who does live projections at most of our gigs. All of us are based in London and have been studying/playing music for many years in various bands and ensembles.
Six is Better Than Eight is a fantastic piece of work. Can you give us any indication of what your writing process was like on that disc? How did you approach recording and has any of this changed for the upcoming album?
The music on the EP was written mainly by Ben (guitarist) and the other members of the band developed their parts around the existing framework. The process of the album was slightly different, Ben is always brimming with musical ideas so this time he provided the initial concept and some of the structure and then the band worked together creating what can be heard on the album.
The recording of the band’s first EP was quite experimental and we weren’t really sure what the finished product would sound like. We recorded everything live and with virtually no overdubs. The result, we were very pleased with and feel it really captured the energy and fluidness of our live performances.
The album recording was much better prepared for using the knowledge we’d achieved from the EP recording. Again, everything is recorded live with the minimum of overdubs and processing and we used analogue equipment as much as possible to create a warm but ‘dirty’ sound. Live recordings can be difficult with fifteen minute songs, of which there are two on the album, but we really felt it was worth it to capture the feel, in fact we rejected some of possibly the more technically correct takes in favour of the right feel and energy.
I am very pleased to have heard some samples from would you rather be followed by forty ducks for the rest of your life. Thanks for that opportunity. How is the album coming and are you happy with it? Why has it taken this long to put out a full-length? Will there be distro in the US?
The album is finished and we have seen the final product and are all really pleased with the results. It will be in the shops and available online early April.
We had no real feeling of urgency for the album, we were keen to have it finished as soon as possible but wanted to make sure the songs were developed to their full potential and that we were really happy with them – this is not a fast process! It was also important that we secured a good home for the album, which we have done in both Gizeh and Vacuous Pop records.
The mastering process was also very important and we were very lucky to have experience and skill of the legendary Tony Faulkner to do it as he normally only works with high-end classical recordings.
The best place to buy our CDs in the US right now is through Tonevendor in Sacramento, an amazing independent shop and mail-order service who also distribute through the US and Japan. For more information on distribution please contact Gizeh Records. www.gizehrecords.com
What lead all of you to play instrumental music instead of something more typical of indie-music? What is it that attracts you to music without lyrics?
We’ve all played in vocal bands in the past, the voice is a nice instrument, but it requires a lot of attention and takes up a lot of space within the music. A lot of rock music builds catchy riffs to support catchy vocal snippets and it works well, but the music tends to be simplified to give the voice the space it requires. The whole commercial aspect of finding ‘sing-along’ songs of a certain length really does not appeal to any of us. You have exceptions, such as Sigur Ros, for instance that use the voice as another instrument, going as far as singing in a made-up language, therefore the lyrics do not distract the attention of the listener to the music. This is why our music is instrumental.
For the gear heads out there, what gear do you use both live and recording?
That could be a separate interview altogether!
Basically we use a lot of analogue tape delays, especially when recording but also live which give a great sound and a certain unpredictability that you simply can’t replicate – you never know when the tape might break and create a cool sound. We also like valve distortions pedals, they give a certain hugeness of sound which digital overdrive can’t achieve. We’re not against digital effects and processing though and we tend to use it for its amazing control over tempo delays, and equalization.
Recording we have a process all of our own which evolved in the recording of the EP, and was replicated again for the album. We record all live through valve preamps and an analogue console directly to digital, which allows for phase alignment and any necessary digital edits. The songs are then mixed from digital through the desk and 24 separate outputs taken off the finished mix which is recorded to 2″ tape. This gives a certain amount of tape compression and completely removes the clinical digital feeling, especially when we seriously overdrive all 24 tracks on the tape. The mixed 24-track is then recorded onto quarter inch 2 track stereo at 30ips before being finalised back as a digital stereo finished mix. This is quite a long process and requires a certain amount of time and effort but the results are truly astounding the final quality achieved just has a life of its own that simply does not exist in the original digital files.
Do you think you may make it over the pond to the states to go on tour any time soon?
It is very likely; we have plans in the pipeline so keep checking our website.
For you, what makes a great song? What elements go into a song that makes it worthy to be recorded and heard?
Simply it’s just something you enjoy listening to or that you enjoy creating.
Any song that comes from the soul and that has attitude, innovation and evolution between rhythms and melodies is going to work for us.
What artists would you say have most influenced your work? Do any writers or painters influence you in your music?
It’s so hard to say because each individual band member has such a contrasting musical background from classical right through to metal.
What artists are you listening to now?
Tortoise, GYBE, Mogwai, Bablicon, Lali Puna, FourTet, Boards Of Canada, DeathCabForCutie, FlyPanAm, M83, Pinback, John Zorn, BlondeRedhead, Nick Cave, Grandaddy, Drums & Tuba, Karate, Do Make Say Think …..the list is too long !!!!!