Archives

All posts by Prog Sphere

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/korzo-interview/
KORZO Announce Sophomore Album "Supremacy"; First Single Out Now

Ukrainian progressive / post-rock act Korzo are about to launch their second studio album ‘Supremacy‘ through Massive Sound Recordings on November 20th. In a new interview for Prog Sphere the band discusses the message they deliver with the new album, creative process behind it, influences, and more.

Define the mission of Korzo.

Korzo is a friendly and intuitive mindscape with a lot of atmosphere and progression in the music which takes it far beyond the realms of anything you might hear from bands. We are on a mission to make an atmospheric music that is not bounded by a specific genre. Each song telling a story about things that happen around.

What is the message you are trying to give with Supremacy

The message is about inner peace: “what really means is here, inside, your inner dimension.”

Korzo - Supremacy

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I used to write down everything that came to my mind, but now I leave only those ideas that spinning in my head for several days. Usually, I write down riffs and melodies on a recorder after which they pass selection and arrangement with musicians.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Back in 2013, we’ve recorded our first album, which was composed basically on jams and and we didn’t think about carefully crafting every moment of the track. But when it came to recording the second album with the new line-up I took a totally different approach to carefully craft each piece of the song.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It was a quite fast process, despite the fact that were forced to put Korzo on hold back in late 2014 due to the problems with previous label and the founder members were no interest in this project anymore, so there was no line-up at the beginning of the album recording. But in the 2016 keyboard player Johaness gave an idea to revive Korzo. So I needed to find new members in few days. Then I started to write riffs and bring all the ideas to session drummer and other musicians over the internet. So, that was a little bit different process, unlike the first album which was composed on jams. A big amount of time we spent for mixing, mastering and release stuff, so that’s why the album coming just now.

How long Supremacy was in the making?

The writing and recording of the album took us about 6 months. Then for several months, we’ve solved the issues with the album release.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I have to mention some names like Sigur Ros, Devin Townsend, Flower Kings.

Korzo

What is your view on technology in music?

Technology is good for promotion, the social media and all the stuff, you know. But nowadays everyone who thinks that he can sing or play recording an album. There are tons of artists around, it’s like a flood and you don’t know what listen to.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Well, sometimes music can help to go through the hard times. So I hope that our music makes people happy.

What are your plans for the future?

There are some ideas, which was not used in the new album, so we’re planning to record an EP and release it after the Christmas. Also, we plan to make a tour for Supremacy, but I can’t say anything more at the moment.

Hear a single “Beauty” from the upcoming album below. For more information about the band check their Facebook page.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/korzo-interview/
KORZO Announce Sophomore Album "Supremacy"; First Single Out Now

Ukrainian progressive / post-rock act Korzo are about to launch their second studio album ‘Supremacy‘ through Massive Sound Recordings on November 20th. In a new interview for Prog Sphere the band discusses the message they deliver with the new album, creative process behind it, influences, and more.

Define the mission of Korzo.

Korzo is a friendly and intuitive mindscape with a lot of atmosphere and progression in the music which takes it far beyond the realms of anything you might hear from bands. We are on a mission to make an atmospheric music that is not bounded by a specific genre. Each song telling a story about things that happen around.

What is the message you are trying to give with Supremacy

The message is about inner peace: “what really means is here, inside, your inner dimension.”

Korzo - Supremacy

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I used to write down everything that came to my mind, but now I leave only those ideas that spinning in my head for several days. Usually, I write down riffs and melodies on a recorder after which they pass selection and arrangement with musicians.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Back in 2013, we’ve recorded our first album, which was composed basically on jams and and we didn’t think about carefully crafting every moment of the track. But when it came to recording the second album with the new line-up I took a totally different approach to carefully craft each piece of the song.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

It was a quite fast process, despite the fact that were forced to put Korzo on hold back in late 2014 due to the problems with previous label and the founder members were no interest in this project anymore, so there was no line-up at the beginning of the album recording. But in the 2016 keyboard player Johaness gave an idea to revive Korzo. So I needed to find new members in few days. Then I started to write riffs and bring all the ideas to session drummer and other musicians over the internet. So, that was a little bit different process, unlike the first album which was composed on jams. A big amount of time we spent for mixing, mastering and release stuff, so that’s why the album coming just now.

How long Supremacy was in the making?

The writing and recording of the album took us about 6 months. Then for several months, we’ve solved the issues with the album release.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I have to mention some names like Sigur Ros, Devin Townsend, Flower Kings.

Korzo

What is your view on technology in music?

Technology is good for promotion, the social media and all the stuff, you know. But nowadays everyone who thinks that he can sing or play recording an album. There are tons of artists around, it’s like a flood and you don’t know what listen to.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Well, sometimes music can help to go through the hard times. So I hope that our music makes people happy.

What are your plans for the future?

There are some ideas, which was not used in the new album, so we’re planning to record an EP and release it after the Christmas. Also, we plan to make a tour for Supremacy, but I can’t say anything more at the moment.

Hear a single “Beauty” from the upcoming album below. For more information about the band check their Facebook page.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/derek-sherinian-about-sons-of-apollo/
DEREK SHERINIAN on SONS OF APOLLO: "We're a Rock Band with Sick-Ass Chops"

Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian – former members of Dream Theater and current members of Sons of Apollo supergroup alongside Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto – talked about what makes their new band different from the rest, with Derek telling Big Bang:

Mike and I were very instrumental in the vocals as far as the lyrics and the melody lines.

We wanted to make sure that there was none of the cheesy elements that are in most progressive rock bands.

The high vocals [mimics vocals] or the low [vocals], or the fake anger, like acting like you’re upset but you’re not.

There’s none of that shit. It’s fucking straight-up rock and roll vocals. That’s what separates Sons of Apollo from the rest of the pack. We’re a rock band with sick-ass chops with octopus pedigree.

Portnoy said:

Basically, this was my dream lineup. My dream lineup instrumentally was PSMS [the instrumental band featuring Portnoy, Sherinian, Sheehan and Tony MacAlpine], I was the one who chose that lineup as well.

I knew that was for progressive metal, kind of jazz fusion instrumental. I thought that was the best lineup for that.

Once we had that PSMS experience, Derek was, like, ‘Hey, we should turn this into a full-time band.’ The timing just wasn’t right.

Now that the timing was right, we took PSMS as a kind of a blueprint, but we knew we needed a more hard rock, heavy metal guitar god and a singer.

Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto were to me, the guys. I pictured in my head, what is the dream lineup for a progressive metal, hard rock, supergroup? This was it.

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/derek-sherinian-about-sons-of-apollo/
DEREK SHERINIAN on SONS OF APOLLO: "We're a Rock Band with Sick-Ass Chops"

Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian – former members of Dream Theater and current members of Sons of Apollo supergroup alongside Billy Sheehan, Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto – talked about what makes their new band different from the rest, with Derek telling Big Bang:

Mike and I were very instrumental in the vocals as far as the lyrics and the melody lines.

We wanted to make sure that there was none of the cheesy elements that are in most progressive rock bands.

The high vocals [mimics vocals] or the low [vocals], or the fake anger, like acting like you’re upset but you’re not.

There’s none of that shit. It’s fucking straight-up rock and roll vocals. That’s what separates Sons of Apollo from the rest of the pack. We’re a rock band with sick-ass chops with octopus pedigree.

Portnoy said:

Basically, this was my dream lineup. My dream lineup instrumentally was PSMS [the instrumental band featuring Portnoy, Sherinian, Sheehan and Tony MacAlpine], I was the one who chose that lineup as well.

I knew that was for progressive metal, kind of jazz fusion instrumental. I thought that was the best lineup for that.

Once we had that PSMS experience, Derek was, like, ‘Hey, we should turn this into a full-time band.’ The timing just wasn’t right.

Now that the timing was right, we took PSMS as a kind of a blueprint, but we knew we needed a more hard rock, heavy metal guitar god and a singer.

Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto were to me, the guys. I pictured in my head, what is the dream lineup for a progressive metal, hard rock, supergroup? This was it.

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-earth-and-i-interview/
The Earth And I

New York-based progressive metal / djent five-piece The Earth and I released their debut album ‘The Candleman‘ earlier this month, a seven-track album that is soon to receive a successor. The band plans to release their sophomore effort titled ‘The Curtain‘ in early 2018.

About this all, The Earth and I tell us in the interview below. 

Define the mission of The Earth and I.

We like to think of ourselves as a small, regional non-profit organization focused on the relationship between individuals and the natural environment. Though music may not be the most economically sound medium, it’s the most universal—one that we hope will help us spread our message. The Candleman is a high-concept, low-fidelity adventure about the most profoundly environmentally-friendly behavior of all: eating other human beings.

Tell me about the creative process that informed The Candleman and the themes it captures.

We realized that we wanted to jump on the djent bandwagon right around the time that Periphery‘s second full-length came out, but we were never that well-funded, and that’s really, we think, what people are referring to when they suggest that we have our own sound.

From the outset, we wanted to continue a story we’d started telling as early as the band we shared in high school, the naissance of which was as a cover band of Coheed and Cambria, perhaps best known for their sequence of rich plots, dense like mid-19th century Russian literature. The lessons they (and other progressive post-hardcore artists of their ilk) taught us were hugely informative nearly a decade ago when Dan, Nick, and Suss first started sharing the stage.

For this album, we wanted to strip away some of the plot and focus a bit more on the characters. In the context of a story that might be considered horrific, we wanted to evoke an emotional response other than fear.

The Earth and I - The Candleman

What is the message you are trying to give with The Candleman?

We’ve got some sweet bangers and some sad tunes written by cuddly men with beards. So bring the whole family, ya hear?

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Guitar Pro 6 and a shared Dropbox folder was a great boon to us. There exists sheet music for every instrument on every song on this record.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

It’s funny that you use the term “architected”, as the story’s protagonist, or perhaps antihero, is called the Architect. In a song like “Little Frames,” for instance, we dive into the Architect’s psyche and inner conflict, and the instrumentation very purposefully reflects that.

That wasn’t the case for every song though. Once, our guitarist, Liam, was tasked with chewing a full printed sheet of lyrics down to a wet wad and spitting the ball into a homemade roulette containing a random assortment of key and time signatures. After somehow accruing a sizable gambling debt, we scrapped that idea.

Whereas songs like “Little Frames” contain music and lyrics that ebb and flow in emotional tandem, others have an intentional contrast. Look at the most upbeat song on the record, “And Now for a Slight Departure.” The lyrics are depressing as hell.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Shane Stanton at Architekt Music in Butler, NJ did an incredible job tracking our drums and vocals. That man has nice preamps. So many pre’s. Pre-pre’s. He can turn a mic-level signal into gamma radiation.

Daniel Siew, our guitarist, handled all of the stringed instruments at home, spending most of his time focusing on the one-stringed phonofiddle we used for backing tracks on almost every song.

How long was The Candleman in the making?

Four and a half years is really our best estimate. The chorus to “Little Frames” was written as early as May of 2013. We spent many years writing the music, but I think there were two key components that caused the process to be artificially long and arduous. The first is that we spent a good amount of time keeping our ears to the ground for the right vocalist and, as it turns out, this is a terrible way to find a singer, unless they’re super fat and like to jog or jump rope. Or maybe if they sing via sonar through their heels. Anyway, Kendyle Wolven was the right choice.

Secondly, we jointly recorded an entire additional LP at the same time. It’s called The Curtain, and it is very much a direct companion to The Candleman. The Curtain will be out in early 2018.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Without reaching too far back, we’d sincerely like to thank Periphery, TesseracT, Monuments, Skyharbor, Exivious, David Maxim Micic, Coheed and Cambria, and Circa Survive for sharing their music with us and with everyone else. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and to that, we respond: our record is very flattering.

What is your view on technology in music?

I think we embraced the tech we could afford on this record. We’re making music in the now, and if we hadn’t adopted and adapted new technologies or new styles or new techniques to our music, then we would have merely pastiched yesterday’s art.

Tech doesn’t make music better. It certainly didn’t make our music better than, say, Steely Dan‘s music, but hopefully the technological and stylistic space we’re living in will be somehow apparent to anyone still kind enough to spin our record thirty or forty years from now. We want to participate in something relevant to us, and to the music lovers around us. We probably couldn’t have done that exactly the way we wanted with less. And, sure, there are many very evocative, emotive, resonant songs that are also relatively minimalist, or relatively old-school, but we’ll take some amp modelers, a cymbal stack, and some polymeters instead, because that’s what we have. Maybe that will make it beautiful to fans of those things right now, and maybe it will be beautiful decades from now for entirely different reasons having in large part to do with nostalgia.

Writing something genuinely timeless would be an incredible feat, and we continue to have our eyes set on that goal. For now, we’re humbled to finally share our music in 2017.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We’re big fans of David Maxim, and he has sort of a mantra of “Music for the Sake of Music,” which I think all of us try to embody. We just want to make music that’s meaningful and purposeful to us. If it loses that resonance, it stops being music. Anything else is icing on the cake… but we looove icing.

That, and we’re told it sets a great rhythm for cultist rituals.

What are your plans for the future?

The Candleman‘s sister LP The Curtain will be available in early 2018. We’re looking forward to sharing a selection of playthrough and music videos over the next six months. After that, we’re on to LP3, which, we were just informed by our lawyer, needs to be presented as a formal apology for the first two.

The Candleman is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow The Earth and I on Facebook and Instagram.

[embedded content]

This news story was originally published here: https://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/the-earth-and-i-interview/
The Earth And I

New York-based progressive metal / djent five-piece The Earth and I released their debut album ‘The Candleman‘ earlier this month, a seven-track album that is soon to receive a successor. The band plans to release their sophomore effort titled ‘The Curtain‘ in early 2018.

About this all, The Earth and I tell us in the interview below. 

Define the mission of The Earth and I.

We like to think of ourselves as a small, regional non-profit organization focused on the relationship between individuals and the natural environment. Though music may not be the most economically sound medium, it’s the most universal—one that we hope will help us spread our message. The Candleman is a high-concept, low-fidelity adventure about the most profoundly environmentally-friendly behavior of all: eating other human beings.

Tell me about the creative process that informed The Candleman and the themes it captures.

We realized that we wanted to jump on the djent bandwagon right around the time that Periphery‘s second full-length came out, but we were never that well-funded, and that’s really, we think, what people are referring to when they suggest that we have our own sound.

From the outset, we wanted to continue a story we’d started telling as early as the band we shared in high school, the naissance of which was as a cover band of Coheed and Cambria, perhaps best known for their sequence of rich plots, dense like mid-19th century Russian literature. The lessons they (and other progressive post-hardcore artists of their ilk) taught us were hugely informative nearly a decade ago when Dan, Nick, and Suss first started sharing the stage.

For this album, we wanted to strip away some of the plot and focus a bit more on the characters. In the context of a story that might be considered horrific, we wanted to evoke an emotional response other than fear.

The Earth and I - The Candleman

What is the message you are trying to give with The Candleman?

We’ve got some sweet bangers and some sad tunes written by cuddly men with beards. So bring the whole family, ya hear?

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

Guitar Pro 6 and a shared Dropbox folder was a great boon to us. There exists sheet music for every instrument on every song on this record.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

It’s funny that you use the term “architected”, as the story’s protagonist, or perhaps antihero, is called the Architect. In a song like “Little Frames,” for instance, we dive into the Architect’s psyche and inner conflict, and the instrumentation very purposefully reflects that.

That wasn’t the case for every song though. Once, our guitarist, Liam, was tasked with chewing a full printed sheet of lyrics down to a wet wad and spitting the ball into a homemade roulette containing a random assortment of key and time signatures. After somehow accruing a sizable gambling debt, we scrapped that idea.

Whereas songs like “Little Frames” contain music and lyrics that ebb and flow in emotional tandem, others have an intentional contrast. Look at the most upbeat song on the record, “And Now for a Slight Departure.” The lyrics are depressing as hell.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

Shane Stanton at Architekt Music in Butler, NJ did an incredible job tracking our drums and vocals. That man has nice preamps. So many pre’s. Pre-pre’s. He can turn a mic-level signal into gamma radiation.

Daniel Siew, our guitarist, handled all of the stringed instruments at home, spending most of his time focusing on the one-stringed phonofiddle we used for backing tracks on almost every song.

How long was The Candleman in the making?

Four and a half years is really our best estimate. The chorus to “Little Frames” was written as early as May of 2013. We spent many years writing the music, but I think there were two key components that caused the process to be artificially long and arduous. The first is that we spent a good amount of time keeping our ears to the ground for the right vocalist and, as it turns out, this is a terrible way to find a singer, unless they’re super fat and like to jog or jump rope. Or maybe if they sing via sonar through their heels. Anyway, Kendyle Wolven was the right choice.

Secondly, we jointly recorded an entire additional LP at the same time. It’s called The Curtain, and it is very much a direct companion to The Candleman. The Curtain will be out in early 2018.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

Without reaching too far back, we’d sincerely like to thank Periphery, TesseracT, Monuments, Skyharbor, Exivious, David Maxim Micic, Coheed and Cambria, and Circa Survive for sharing their music with us and with everyone else. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and to that, we respond: our record is very flattering.

What is your view on technology in music?

I think we embraced the tech we could afford on this record. We’re making music in the now, and if we hadn’t adopted and adapted new technologies or new styles or new techniques to our music, then we would have merely pastiched yesterday’s art.

Tech doesn’t make music better. It certainly didn’t make our music better than, say, Steely Dan‘s music, but hopefully the technological and stylistic space we’re living in will be somehow apparent to anyone still kind enough to spin our record thirty or forty years from now. We want to participate in something relevant to us, and to the music lovers around us. We probably couldn’t have done that exactly the way we wanted with less. And, sure, there are many very evocative, emotive, resonant songs that are also relatively minimalist, or relatively old-school, but we’ll take some amp modelers, a cymbal stack, and some polymeters instead, because that’s what we have. Maybe that will make it beautiful to fans of those things right now, and maybe it will be beautiful decades from now for entirely different reasons having in large part to do with nostalgia.

Writing something genuinely timeless would be an incredible feat, and we continue to have our eyes set on that goal. For now, we’re humbled to finally share our music in 2017.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We’re big fans of David Maxim, and he has sort of a mantra of “Music for the Sake of Music,” which I think all of us try to embody. We just want to make music that’s meaningful and purposeful to us. If it loses that resonance, it stops being music. Anything else is icing on the cake… but we looove icing.

That, and we’re told it sets a great rhythm for cultist rituals.

What are your plans for the future?

The Candleman‘s sister LP The Curtain will be available in early 2018. We’re looking forward to sharing a selection of playthrough and music videos over the next six months. After that, we’re on to LP3, which, we were just informed by our lawyer, needs to be presented as a formal apology for the first two.

The Candleman is out now; order it from Bandcamp. Follow The Earth and I on Facebook and Instagram.

[embedded content]

This news story was originally published here: http://www.prog-sphere.com/interviews/spurge-interview/
Spurge

Atlanta, Georgia progressive post-rock act Spurge, managed by bassist Jen Hodges, is a band that has the full potential of being held dear by radical Frank Zappa. On the group’s most recent release, a 2017’s EP ‘Four More Songs,’ Hodges and the band certainly deviate from the form, making for the progress to be possible.

Sharing the same vision as Zappa decades earlier, Spurge are all about unconventional — in every musical aspect — on ‘Four More Songs.’

Formed in 2012, Spurge went on the release three EP records since then, including 2014’s ‘The Untitled,’ 2015’s ‘The Titled,’ and finally this year’s ‘Four More Songs,’ each being in a league of their own, but it is the 2017 release that goes the most far in exploring different vibes.

In a new interview for Prog SphereHodges tells us about the creative process that informed ‘Four More Songs,’ technology, and more.

Define the mission of Spurge.

Spurge started after I took a brief hiatus from music. I had been in bands all my life, and the last band I was in left a bad taste in my mouth from an industry and artist perspective. I got back to what I enjoyed about music and just started writing. It was a year later when I realized I had seven good songs I had written. I missed playing and recording, so I decided I’d try the dreaded solo project idea. I found 3 amazing musicians who were fun and easy to work with, and we went in the studio. That experience was so rad we tried our hand at live shows. So, in the beginning, Spurge was about going back to what I loved about music and the experience of playing music. It was creating something enjoyable for myself, the band, and the audience. It is still very much about spreading joy, only now it doesn’t feel like “my” band anymore.  It is our band and I’m lucky enough to have found a group of people who weened me off the fear of the dark side of music. I trust these guys musically and as people. That’s why we went from “JenHodges and Spurge” to just Spurge. So, I’d say our mission is to make the best music we possibly can and be a positive force for our listeners and the industry.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent EP Four More Songs and the themes it captures.

Writing albums is my favorite thing in the world. Some of these riffs (the verse in “Om,” for example) I wrote when I was in high school. I remember sitting there at band practice noodling around and coming up with it. It’s been with me ever since, some riffs are like that. They show up when you need them most. Other riffs I wrote in my twenties, it was just the right place and time for them to fit together like they did. The riffs I wrote that year (“David Bowie,” the fast part of “Om,” everything but the chorus on “Rain,” all of “Amphibian”) all came to me during different times of the day. I remember writing the middle of Rain while I was on break at work. The fun thing about creativity is you can’t turn it off or on. You never know when it’s going to hit you, you just have to be ready. Once the form for the songs were tracked (usually the skeleton is just a bassline or just a guitar line through the whole song) I start “coloring in the lines” I’ll write solos, invite other musicians in, just have fun with it. I remember during the verse in “Om” we held a box fan up to my vocalist and he sang through it. I give myself a very loose deadline, usually a couple months, to have everything ready for mixing. The theme for this EP as well my other EP’s are all beauty spiked with ugliness. I want the listener to feel good (for the most part) while hearing these songs.  But who doesn’t love a good breakdown and a little dissonance from time to time?

Spurge - Four More Songs

What is the message you are trying to give with the EP? 

I wouldn’t say there’s any real message.  At the end of “David Bowie,” D’Angelo reads a quote from Bowie that resonates with me. “I am not very articulate, but my music speaks for me.” I get that 100%. Often I’ll have trouble telling people how I feel or what is on my mind. But this music just flows out of me so easily. If you want to know how I’m feeling, I’d rather communicate to you in tonal grunts or with a bass guitar. The words will just get jumbled and you might extrapolate some meaning I’m not intending to get across. I often find myself apologizing to people when I meant no harm. It would be very frustrating, but I’ve learned how to avoid emotions linguistically for the most part and have them be represented in my music instead.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

I have a notebook full of notation paper where I madly scribble, in actual notation, what I come up with. It’s probably not 100% accurate but it’s close enough to where I can read it. Notation makes sense to me, because tabs can get confusing, and you don’t always have recording capabilities. I know you can record on the phone somehow, but I feel like even that would come out muddy and it wouldn’t be as thorough as notation.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes! Thank you for noticing! I spend a ridiculous amount of time figuring out the order of the songs and how the parts in each song should be sequenced. For the song order, it made sense to put “Om” first. I feel the intro parts suck the listener in, and then you get that wtf feeling during the fast part. “Rain” made sense at the end, because can’t you see confetti flying all over the place during the chorus? Like it’s the finally at a fireworks display. The transitions within the songs themselves for the most part presented themselves to me. I’m big in to build ups and draw inspiration from Brahams and EDM artists on how to approach a transition in terms of chord structure and texture. If I could go back in time I’d introduce classical composers to EDM to hear what they have to say about it.

Describe the approach to recording the EP.

I had my Nashville musicians over for a 3 hour rehearsal the day before we recorded to learn all the tunes. “Om” took a good hour to learn. Thomas even wrote the guitar part in that rehearsal. The rest were pretty cut and dry. We went in to the studio the next day and pounded them all out in a span of 8 hours.  We got “Om” on the 3rd try! We used a click until the fast part, then just kinda winged it. It came out well because at that point we had been playing together as a group for about a year. Once we laid the framework (drums, guitar, bass) I had my horn players and vocalists come in. I told my horn players “to be weird with it.” They dug it. I remember Elijah, who played trumpet, made some sort of horse neighing noise. We all went bonkers. It was the coolest sound and added a lot to the track. My vocalists all had a perfect take on what energy I wanted portrayed. I think the only direction I gave was to Miles at the end of “Amphibian.” I told him to “take it to church.” He has such an incredible voice, and I wanted him to flaunt it. After an 8 hour day, everyone left and I spent all night recording my solos. I was exhausted after that week, but ultimately pleased with the results. There’s no better feeling than hearing for dry stems and knowing you got to tape exactly what you had in your head.

How long Four More Songs was in the making?

Some parts had been in my head for well over a decade. The album was mostly written and recorded in 1 year though. That was the time span I gave myself for each EP. Originally, I wanted to release one single a month. I found that became increasingly difficult to do when work started picking up, so I decided on top quality EP’s once a year. Many of the parts had already been written. It was simply a matter of arrangement. Sort of like a puzzle. I have all these parts that make you feel some type of way, now how am I going to string them together and in what order will I string them together? That’s the bulk of the work. For the most part, it comes with trial and error. Sometimes the answer is obvious and intuitive, sometimes not so much.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

I’m trying to create something truly original, but, there are some obvious influences. On “David Bowie,” I didn’t try and write a song that sounded like something he’d write, but I tried to write a song that he would like. Like making a sacrifice to a god. I wrote it the day I found out he had passed. He was such a big influence on me musically and as a person. He wasn’t afraid to do anything it seemed, and I admired that. David Bowie was brave. I hope the song I wrote invokes themes of bravery. I’d say Converge and my exposure to late 90′s-early 2000′s metal and hardcore in North Carolina influenced the fast part in “Om.” Now that I think of it, I remember imagining Pearl Jam playing the first part to “Amphibian.” I thought it would make a great Pearl Jam song. I believe I even mentioned that to the vocalist, Lara. “Sing it like Eddie Vedder.

What is your view on technology in music?

Technology is great! It makes everything easier! I know there’s this whole debate about how drum machines suck the soul out of music and this and that. I’d say that’s true in some cases, but false in others. Look how many kids show up to raves. You think they aren’t feeling that music in their soul? I prefer no machines in a solo meant to sound like an organic instrument, however. If you want a bass solo, use an actual bass. I think a marriage between organic and synthetic instrumentation best suits my needs. We obviously use a lot of effects. That’s where technology comes in to play for us. It helps us create our unique sound. I think if musicians use technology as an instrument instead of a mask, it can be quite useful. I remember reading about how Pink Floyd embraced the Moog controller when it first came out when all other musicians were shunning it. Look what happened to them. Didn’t they have the longest number one record streak of all time? They learned how to align technology with their specific sound. Nothing had to be surrendered.

Spurge live

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

That’s an interesting question. What purpose does music serve, first off? I like to think my music takes the listener on an escape from whatever is happening in the world. I remember considering that when I wrote the lyrics to “Amphibian.” The beginning is a little political. It does tell a story though, and it doesn’t explicitly spell out my thoughts on the issue, so I decided to keep it. If my music can help people forget about their troubles for a half hour, that’s my ideal musical utility.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m writing again. I have the skeleton for two songs so far. I’m really trying to break from this “loop” mentality. I’m trying to make each chord change a transition in it’s own right. Sometimes I’ll argue with myself on this though. It’s not a loop! It’s an ostonoto! We’ll see what comes out. I think the simple fact I am making an effort to break free of loops is going to be reflected in some way. I can say it’s got a tasty breakdown and a really beautiful intro to the record so far. As far as the band, I’d love to play more shows. Maybe a few festivals. I’m also trying to get my music in to some films/TV/video games. People always tell me my music is very theatrical.

Four More Songs is out now and is available on Bandcamp. Follow Spurge on Facebook.