Spector Interview

“I’m on blue, Team Mystic, because I played Pokémon Blue. Tom, what team are you on Pokémon Go?” Popping his head around the corner, Spector bassist Tom Shickle acclaims “Yellow, because I played Pokémon Yellow. At first I didn’t realise but it’s all psychological.” It is 6 o’clock in the evening and Spector are backstage at The Deaf Institute preparing for their first of two albums shows at the venue. Tonight they were to play their 2012 debut record Enjoy It While It Lasts to a sold out crowd, followed by their sophomore album Moth Boys the day after.

Speaking with frontman Fred Macpherson, he recalls how these shows came to pass. “[The idea of the shows] came from when legendary bands did classic albums in full. At first it sort of started as a joke, but we did want to put on some shows that were a bit different. We weren’t necessarily going to do another headline tour of Moth Boys, so I wanted to see if we could put on some shows that would make it more interesting for us to play and more interesting for the audience. People seemed to get really excited by the idea straight away.” Macpherson carries on by explaining how he believes these shows will ingrain themselves into the band’s psyche. “I think it’s our way of understanding the albums more and working out how we go forward in making a new album, in context of really getting to grips with these albums and seeing them as single bodies of work.”

FH000021editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Despite being a band known for their brilliant live shows, there was apprehensions about tonight. “I’ll be happy when we’ve got one out the way because, even in rehearsal, we didn’t play either of the albums from beginning to end. We wanted to keep it magical.” And with these shows, comes songs the band haven’t played live for a while. “Songs like No Adventure and Grim Reefer, we haven’t played in over a year/year and a half. It’s definitely been an interesting experience. We put certain songs in the set because we can emotional engage with them at the time. So like we started having Upset Boulevard back in the set recently, having not played it for a long time. Then you come back and play certain songs and it can feel quite weird.” “We’re also a lot older now” says keyboardist Danny Blandy. Fred continues “But I also imagine it’ll be same for songs off the second album. It’s not always in terms how old they are, but sometimes you’ll play a song and it’ll really mean something. Then another night it’ll just feel like you’re playing someone else’s song.”

FH000003editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

After Enjoy It While It Lasts was released, fans had to wait three years to see its successor. However this time around, Spector have said that their next LP hopefully won’t take as long.  We’ve already heard a new track titled Tenner, which the band uploaded a live session version up on YouTube. “Tenner was one of the first songs we were happy with demo-wise for the new album. I was writing with Jed and he had this idea to make a song that sounded a bit like INXS. So he was referencing (imitates INXS’ I Need You Tonight).” Fred reveals that Tenner came together rather quickly in terms of writing, going on to say that quick songwriting can work for a track’s advantage.“I do tend to believe that the quicker a song comes, the more true the channelling of whatever the feeling is. This is because you can channel it directly. The songs that come quicker are more keen to exist, if that makes sense. Therefore it may have more of a place in the world. Whereas, not saying that a song that takes a long time isn’t good, it just doesn’t feel as natural when you really labour over writing a song. The plucking out of thin air is the really exciting thing when you’re writing it, it doesn’t really feel like you’re writing per se. It’s like waking up in the night needed to be sick.”

On Moth Boys, Spector worked with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange fame for a couple of tracks. Fred begins to talk about his relationship with Hynes. “He’s still the first person I send songs to, we still send each other unfinished things. I’m really glad we got the collaborations on Moth Boys, with Decade Of Decay and Cocktail Party, because they’re both really amazing songs.” He goes on to talk about what Dev is like to work with. “He’s quite weird to work with, maybe it feels like that because he’s a friend. Dev works on his own timeframe and his own way, so I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe one day we record a song that he’d written again. But in terms of our process in the studio, it’s quite laboured because we’re not natural players. As it stands with the albums we’ve made so far, we don’t just dive in and play it out and have it sounding really great. While he’s the sort of person that only really exists in the moment, so his ideas happen as they happen. It’ll be interesting though because I think our sound is developing in perhaps a really unexpected way, so we’ll see after our next album how we feel. We’re sort of in a different zone and I don’t want to ruin it.”

FH000015editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Chatter then turned back to Pokémon Go, but not in the way you might think. Fred thinks there is more to Pokémon Go than what you see at face value. “I think Pokémon Go is the single biggest step computer games have made since the Nintendo Wii. I always feel Nintendo, I know it might be an obvious thing to say, but they always try to innovate rather than trying to sell games. That’s kind of a rare thing. They’ve chosen innovation rather than just do what Sega do, who just farm out Sonic The Hedgehog games. They could easily have chosen to sell Mario games for other consoles and made a lot more money. They’re one of those weirdly pure companies and they have characters like Shigeki Morimoto who to seem to be the real artists in the world of video games.” However just like everyone, Spector feel the same pain we all do. “We were trying to work out if you could hatch eggs on the motorway, but I think it knows when you’re moving too fast. I was hoping to hatch a few 5km eggs today but it just doesn’t work.”

FH000005editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Leading up to the EU Referendum, Spector were vocal about the UK remaining in the EU. They even released an old demo called Born In The EU that never made it to the full recording process. We talk about what the impact of leaving may have on musicians. “I think it’ll be negative for both British bands touring Europe and European bands touring Britain, with all the extra amount of paper work there’s going to be. Then there is the amount it’s going to cost with having to get extra visas, which means there will be less chance for small bands to tour Europe. Obviously the bigger bands will be able to afford it, but I think it’ll be a shame that these small bands can’t just go and play a show in Paris or Barcelona easily.”

However Fred reckons that something positive could come from recent events. “The only good thing that I think will come from the negativity of the current political climate across music and the arts, is that people will have to respond to it a bit more like in the 70s or 80s. Back when things were a bit more difficult and music was more socially engaged. People turned to the music and the arts rather than entertainment, and it became a solace and a reaction to all the shit going on. So I only hope that out of this comes better music. There’s been good bands recently, but there just doesn’t seem like there’s been vital music that has been connected to recent times.”

FH000007editPhoto by Saesha Blue Ward, https://www.instagram.com/saeshablue/

Fans of Spector may have noticed recently that they’ve become infatuated with lyric ‘sick puppy’ from the song Bad Habits by The Last Shadow Puppets. It might come across that they are mocking the track, but in lieu of recent events, Spector’s frontman has a new outlook. “It’s caused quite an internal musical crisis inside me because, after the first time I heard it, I was so sure it was the worst song I’d ever heard. But with every subsequent listen, it’s made me have a different feeling. I went to Primavera [a festival in Barcelona] and I left Radiohead to go and watch The Last Shadow Puppets. And compared to Radiohead with all those bloody tunes, you know the long ones, the short ones, going to The Last Shadow Puppets and seeing them play [Bad Habits] kind of made make me think ‘Is this a purified, boiled down version of what songwriting is?’ In the same way a single boiled potato might be more enjoyable to eat than some gratin infused with truffle oil and oyster shavings.”

He continues and talks about what happened when he spoke to someone from The Last Shadow Puppets’ label. “I was also speaking to someone from Domino when those sick puppy t-shirts came out and I was like ‘what’s going on? Has the world gone mad.’ And he was just like ‘bad habits, sick puppy. Say what you want but that’s when you know a song has become a hit when it’s entered the vernacular and the lexicon.’ The phrase sick puppy wasn’t a phrase before and now it is and he was like ‘Rock The Casbah? Same thing and that’s a hit.’ I just think they should have maybe called the song Sick Puppy. But it’s definitely made me come round to that album, especially the track The Dream Synopsis. I think once again that Alex Turner has proved that he’s one step ahead of everyone, even with Miles Kane.”

Liam Egan

Best Albums of 2016 (So Far)

So it’s finally here! After much anticipation, here is Nothing Left Unsaid’s ‘Best Albums of 2016 (So Far)’ list. All entries had to be released before the 1st of July of this year, so sorry ScHoolBoy Q and The Avalanches but you’ll have to wait until the end of the year. Also, as much as we love Kendrick Lamar’s Untitled Unmastered, we’re not including it in this list because we’re classing it as a compilation of sorts. But before we begin, here’s a selection of honourable mentions.

Blood Orange – Freetown Sound
Death Grips – Bottomless Pit
Savages – Adore Life
Skepta – Konnichiwa
YAK – Alas Salvation

The 1975 – I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It

10. Ulrika Spacek – The Album Paranoia

Kicking off our list is the debut record from London based quintet Ulrika Spacek. Featuring members of Reading based shoegazers Tripwires, The Album Paranoia pulls heavy from Krautrock, shoegaze and neo-psychedelia. For fans of TOY, this LP is one of this year’s essential listens.

9. James Blake – The Colour In Anything

After his 2013 Mercury Prize Award winning album Overgrown, James Blake surprised fans back in May when he unexpectedly released The Colour In Anything overnight. Featuring a stunning collaboration with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, The Colour In Anything will more than likely gain the post-dubstep luminary another deserved Mercury Prize Award nomination.

8. Wild Nothing  – Life Of Pause

Following his incredible sophomore album Nocturne, Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing returned earlier in the year with latest effort Life Of Pause. Continuing his excellent form, Life Of Pause displays a musician who’s honing on his craft with positive results. Coated in lavish synths and shimming guitars, Life Of Pause is a record definitely worth checking out this summer.

7. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity

On their tenth release since 2011, King Gizzard set out on their most ambitious project to date. The premise of Nonagon Infinity is that it’s an album that never ends, meaning the final track leads directly into the album’s opener. This results in a non-stop psychedelic frenzy that drags you into a trippy black hole that can’t escape from. It’s fucking bonkers and we absolutely love it here at Nothing Left Unsaid.

6. FEWS – Means

At the start of the year, Nothing Left Unsaid wasn’t aware of FEWS. However after hearing their debut, we can’t get enough of them. This full throttle post-punk record is filled with tonnes of gorgeous melodies that have got us wanting more. For fans of DIIV, definitely check this out.

5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

It’s always an exciting time when rumours start to spread of a new Radiohead album. A Moon Shaped Pool is the ninth studio album from Radiohead and it’ll be memorialised as one of their best. AMSP is a heartwrenching, powerful and emotive experience, but my god it’s beautiful. Featuring some tracks that had been penned by the band for a while but never properly released, True Love Waits dates back to 1995, this album has technically been years in the making and it’s breathtaking.

4. Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo

Described as “a living breathing changing creative expression” by Yeezy, West has made multiple changes to The Life Of Pablo album after its release. With the album now finishing with the track Saint Pablo featuring Sampha, it seems we may have final version of TLOP. And what an album it is. With features from Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper, to name a few, TLOP was definitely worth the wait. Its fragmented nature and rush of various ideas gives us a glimpse into what it’s like inside West’s creative mind, while further showcasing how he will be remembered as one of the true musical greats.

3. DIIV – Is The Is Are

After months and months of uncertainty and doubt, DIIV finally released a follow up to their critically acclaimed debut Oshin. Returning with a double LP, DIIV recorded an album of two distinct halves. The first half being more akin to their debut, with tracks like Under The Sun and Out Of Mind jangling away like it’s 2012. Whilst the second half is much darker, with Mire (Grant’s Song) and Dust being a more twisted and pained affair. It’s a sonically stunning record and we absolutely love it.

2. Eagulls – Ullages

A sort of surprise at number 2 is Eagulls’ second album Ullages. Not that we doubted them or anything, we loved their self-titled debut, but we were totally blown away by this release. Developing their sound with beautiful melancholy landscapes, Eagulls have really made a wonderful record here. When the end of the year comes by, this LP will be regarded as one this year’s best. Plus, we absolutely adore their track Velvet (check it out below).

1. LUH – Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing

And the number one spot goes to LUH’s Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing. Project of Ellery James Roberts and Ebony Hoorn, the couple’s debut is the most inspiring and important record to be released this year. The world is dark and twisted place at the moment, but with LUH, we all might be able to find a sliver of solace and hope. Ellery’s calls to action, accompanied Ebony’s serene vocals, juxtapose each other brilliantly to create something that is truly powerful and unique. With incredible instrumentation and production, SSFLTS is the work of two people who strive for perfection. It just so happens that they achieved that and made our favourite record of this year (so far).

 

Are Liss The Future Of Pop Music?

Piece written by Nothing Left Unsaid’s Liam Egan for The Black Wax, check it out!

The Black Wax

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The phrase ‘the future of’ is an idea that gets thrown about a lot when it comes to new music nowadays. Be it indie music or hip-hop, there always seems to be a constant stream of acts that get labelled as the future of their respective genre. However most of the time these artists never reach their once promised heights and are forgotten about when the next ‘the future of’ brigade rolls around.

Well here at The Black Wax, we’re going to use said cliché term and say that Liss are the future of pop music. But before we start, we’re not referring to pop as in you’ll see them in the Top 40 in the next couple of weeks. We’re grouping them in the side of pop where artists like Grimes reside. It’s the music we should be hearing when Marvin Humes introduces the Top 40 on Heart Radio…

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‘Jagwar Ma – OB1’ Track Review

After a relatively busy year so far with their own UK tour and Tame Impala support slot, Jagwar Ma are in the process of ‘reintroducing’ themselves into the global music scene. It’s been three years since Howlin’ was released and, with the way the industry works nowadays, it can be easy for a relatively ‘small’ act like Jagwar Ma to slip through the cracks of the wider audience. However the Sydney psychedelic dance trio (yes they are officially a trio now) are back with their latest track OB1, which will feature on the band’s Autumn sophomore release Every Now & Then.

Still donning the Haçienda/Madchester aesthetic that the band have become so heavily associated with after their debut, OB1 is unmistakably a Jagwar Ma track. With the assistance of Warpaint’s Stella Mozgawa on the drums, OB1 bounces around like it’s wearing Shaun Ryder’s trousers. With layers upon layers of Acid House beats, the track progresses over the course of it’s run time with a substantial amount of groove. Gabriel Winterfield’s vocals are less dependent on reverb compared to previous work and it results in a really immediate and catchy chorus. Jagwar Ma have always been about capturing that baggy sound that gets your head bopping without you even realising it, and they have succeeded once again.

OB1 is Jagwar Ma refining their craft and they sound better than ever. Back in 2013, Jagwar Ma were cited by many as one of Australia’s finest musical exports. This is however no longer applicable in 2016, as they are the best act Australia has to offer right now.

 

Liam Egan

The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Shoegaze

“Hi we’re DIIV and we’re from New York City, this is a song called Human.” At Manchester’s Gorilla, Brooklyn based indie dream-pop outfit DIIV were performing to a sell-out crowd. Known for their jangly dreamy sound, DIIV are a band who aren’t afraid to display their musical influences. From Sonic Youth to Neu!, this is a band that know exactly who they are and what they want to be. All these factors result in DIIV essentially being a shoegaze band. Even though it might not be obvious at first when listening to their two albums, onstage they have copious amounts of pedals that are switched every ten seconds. However, when speaking to members of the audience, they seemed unaware of DIIV’s contribution to the genre. When asked, a girl in her mid-teens said “Isn’t that what them old bands like My Bloody Valentine used to do? The really noisy stuff?” Then a lad a couple years older said “I’ve never even heard of shoegaze.”

Even though some people may not be aware, there quite clearly is a revival. Bands such as Slowdive are back and are experiencing the height of their popularity. Ride’s reunion was so successful, that they had to extend their tour and announce even more dates to keep up with the demand. But what sparked this revival? To work this out, we must start from the beginning.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, shoegaze was on the rise. Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Lush and Slowdive were gaining massive attention from the music press. Music journalist, and then Melody Maker writer, David Stubbs recalls what he thought of shoegaze at the time. “One of the earliest groups I was into was A.R. Kane. What I liked about them was that they used a lot of feedback and dub elements. It felt like an offshoot of very early [The Jesus &] Mary Chain. I saw them as a real prototype of the whole shoegaze scene. When the term shoegazing was being coined in the early 90s, I did find it very interesting. What I found interesting about the whole thing was the neo-psychedelic aspect of it and how they all seemed to be immersed in their own sound.”

However as time went by and Britpop became more popular, shoegaze began to decline. Even though it is inevitable that a genre dies down, Stubbs thinks it may have been a bit too soon. “It may have been killed off a bit prematurely by Britpop. It’s nice to be reminded that, contrary to what Britpop documentaries say, there was lots of interesting things happening in the 90s.”

One of the biggest and most significant casualties at the time was Reading shoegazers Slowdive. Speaking to bassist Nick Chaplin, he remembers when things started to change for the worst. “We had a period of time where we could do no wrong, but that was very short lived. Once that disappeared, it was hard to get people engaged. We sort of became a band that was a figure of fun.” So with huge backlash against the genre in the 90s, Nick never thought there would be a revival of this scale. “We knew there was an interest out there because Neil [the band’s co-frontman] would get asked all the time about Slowdive when he was doing his solo career. Wherever he went in the world, he was always asked what were the chances of Slowdive getting back together. I think it eventually wore him down and, at the back end 2012, Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona asked Neil if he fancied getting the band back together. Everything just fell into place after that, yet none of us knew how it was going to go. However when we sold out the Village Underground in two minutes, we knew something weird was going on. I think bands like Ride and Lush saw what we did and seemed heartened by it.”

But it’s not just the older bands getting back together that are to thank for the rebirth of the genre, current bands have also played their part. “There are newer bands that are coming out that are name checking bands like us. So maybe their fans are going out and seeking our music. That’s one reason why I think shoegaze has got more popular. It has become a legacy in a way.”

Despite this clear interest in shoegaze, Nick still thinks there is a long way to go. “A big test is going to be when bands such as us, and the others that have come back, start to release new material. We’re kind of in the final stages of getting a new record together, which we’re hoping we will complete over the next few months.”

Someone else currently experiencing the surge of shoegaze reunions first hand is Ride guitarist and vocalist Andy Bell. Also spending time over the years as the bassist of Oasis and Beady Eye, Bell believes that the improvement in equipment is a reason that shoegaze has come back. “Technology has advanced to the stage where we are able to be much better as a live band and realise a lot of the things that we were trying for in the 90s. Quiet vocal harmonies alongside roaring guitars can work much better when you are wearing in-ear monitors for example. I think there is a long way left to run with leftfield guitar music and I hope it continues to develop and spread.”

Since the initial wave and fall of shoegaze, the internet has come along and changed the music industry. Websites such as Pitchfork have become the place to find your new music and, as a publication, they openly love shoegaze. They’ve given My Bloody Valentine two perfect 10s, whilst giving Slowdive and Ride albums both high 9s. This praise on the internet doesn’t stop there. Within music forums, and chat threads such as Reddit, shoegaze has almost acquired a mythical status. A place where people from all around the world can discuss and share these bands whose careers were seemingly cut too short. There is even a Facebook group called ‘Shoegaze, Dream Pop & Nugaze’ that currently has over 26,000 members. Former admin of the group and long-time shoegaze fan Greg Wilson speaks about when he first came across the genre. “As a regular record store rat back in the early 90s, I’d pick up Melody Maker out of England from time to time to learn what was new and noteworthy. They started buzzing about My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Tremolo EP’ as something like a perfect blend of Cocteau Twins and Jesus & Mary Chain. I finally tracked down a copy, and never looked back.” Since then, Wilson has been a fan of shoegaze and has promoted the genre in any way he can. “I launched DKFM Shoegaze Radio in 2011 and joined the ‘Shoegaze, Dream Pop & Nugaze’ group in 2013. I didn’t think there were large Facebook groups dedicated to the scene and the sound, outside of When The Sun Hits blog and The Shoegaze Collective Twitter feed. I joined because I wanted to stay one step ahead of the revival. It’s a great place to learn about up-and-coming artists, which we can play on the station.”

As for the genre itself, Wilson believes that it was only logical that shoegaze became popular once again. “I think there is a natural 25-year cycle for re-exploration of lost music. I also think the renewed embrace of shoegaze and dream pop is a direct rejection of bland, formulaic pop-by-numbers that are so prevalent today.” However as a genre, he thinks that it should start moving forward into unexplored areas of sound. “I think with some of the reunion tours by the founders, and progenitors of ‘the sound’, we may have reached peak shoegaze. I think what’s next is a natural evolution of the sound into new, uncharted territory. When punk bands and rock bands start swiping aspects of the sound, I expect we’ll start to see new and creative hybrids we might never have anticipated.”

A band who have benefited from Wilson’s DKFM Shoegaze Radio and the rise of shoegaze internet groups is Toronto based outfit Indoor Voices. Having recently released their EP Auratic, frontman Jonathan Relph contemplates the rise of shoegaze. “I think the only revival in shoegaze is the attention it’s receiving again, which might help to expose it to a new generation. Maybe it’s popular because the world seems like a really sad and alienating place to be in right now. Maybe the discord of ‘shoegaze’ is an auditory mirror of that. A confused reaction in sound.”

So it seems that a lot has had to happen for shoegaze to come back. However, there was one thing that Nick Chaplin said that may sum up the whole revival. “Back in the 90s, people listened to what the music press told them listen to. But with the decline of the press, people are now no longer dictated by anybody on what music they should listen to. With that freedom, we sort of became cool again”

Liam Egan

The Best Albums of New Age Shoegaze

Listening to a new music genre can be a daunting task. You have various people telling you where to start and, before you know it, you’re swamped in suggested albums and artists. This is no different for shoegaze. Luckily it has been narrowed down by many to the ‘Holy Trinity’; Slowdive’s Souvlaki, Ride’s Nowhere and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. But why should you have to start there? Why not live life on the edge? Here are the four (well five actually) albums from ‘new age’ shoegaze that you should start with.

 

The Horrors – Primary Colours (2009)

After ditching the goth-punk fashionista aesthetic that was plastered all over their debut album Strange House, The Horrors returned in 2009 with their career changing album Primary Colours. The Southend-on-Sea quintet were now creating vast multi-layered soundscapes that even Kevin Shields would be proud of. Tracks like Mirror’s Image channelled My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and elements of I Only Think Of You wouldn’t got amiss on Slowdive’s Just For A Day. The album went on to getting nominated for the Mercury Prize award and introduced a whole new generation to shoegaze. Primary Colours isn’t just one of the best new age shoegaze albums, it’s one of the best shoegaze albums of all time.

 

M83 – Dead Cities, Read Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003)

Before they became known as ‘that band who do the Made In Chelsea song’, M83 started off as a shoegazing electronica group. Much like their recent releases, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts boasts it’s orchestral prowess. However, DCRS&LG builds these electronic instrumentations into huge fuzzed filled goliaths that envelope the listener. The magnitude and intensity is ethereal and unlike anything you’ll ever hear on another shoegaze record.

 

DIIV – Oshin (2012)/Is The Is Are (2016)

Okay this may seem as a cop out, but there are cases for why both of DIIV’s albums should be considered as some of the best new age shoegaze. Starting as a solo project by Zachary Cole Smith, DIIV’s debut Oshin was the perfect execution of modern day shoegaze dream pop. Reverb drenched vocals buried beneath jangly guitars, DIIV saw mass critical acclaim with their first album. After four troubled years, DIIV came back with Is The Is Are. This double album follow up was an album of two halves. With the first half being more in the spirit of Oshin, the latter half is a much darker and twisted affair that really juxtaposes the side of shoegaze that DIIV are usually known for. This resulted in an album that really explores the multiple layers and sounds of shoegaze.

 

Deafheaven – Sunbather (2013)

The final album to reach your shoegaze enlightenment is the second album by the Californian black metal outfit Deafheaven. “But wait, did you say black metal?” Yes, but their album Sunbather is the definitive representation of post-shoegaze. Creating beautifully intricate walls of sound, mixed with disturbing black metal vocals, Sunbather is the most challenging and rewarding record on this list. With multiple tracks passing the ten minute mark, Deafheaven certainly know how to create a spectacle of epic proportions. If you can conquer this record, then the world of shoegaze is in the palm of your hand and is ready to be explored.

 

Liam Egan

Indoor Voices Interview

“I think the only revival in shoegaze is the attention it’s receiving again, which might help to expose it to a new generation. Maybe it’s popular because the world seems like a really sad and alienating place to be in right now. Maybe the discord of ‘shoegaze’ is an auditory mirror of that. A confused reaction in sound.” That was Jonathan Relph of Toronto’s Indoor Voices, one of leading bands in the apparent shoegaze revival. Having recently released their new EP Auratic, we discussed in length the process that Indoor Voices went through to complete their latest musical offering. “The songs on Auratic were pretty much complete before December 2013. [However] things got kind of sidelined after the birth of my daughter on November 24th of that year.”

The way Indoor Voices usually write, is that they revisit old sketches that didn’t make the cut on previous releases. But with Auratic, Jonathan recalls how this process is starting to change. “I think finishing S/T [the band’s last EP] was inspiring and I had developed a new approach to starting songs. There was a sort of spontaneous stream of new melodies coming to me. Auratic kind of came together really quickly and we only resorted to one old sketch ‘See Wish’, which was a recording of a loop from around 5 years ago. If you were to hear the original, you might only catch a glimpse of what it turned into.”

A key element of this new age shoegaze scene is that bands aren’t afraid to acknowledge the origins of the genre. With bands such as Lush, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive being regularly name checked as influences, even with Indoor Voices. “I’d say we borrow brushstrokes from their work. Once it’s all together I don’t think it sounds anything like them, but there’s probably a similar emotional response based on the melodic structures and layering.”

As a genre, there isn’t many constraints to what shoegaze can be. Bands such as Deafheaven make epic black metal infused shoegaze that pummels the listen to the ground with relenting force. Then there was A.R. Kane, a band from the late 80s, whose music was a precursor to the shoegaze scene and used elements of dub. There are multiple avenues a band can explore in terms of shoegaze. On Auratic, Indoor Voices explored the more ethereal and ambient route of shoegaze. However this isn’t just something that they wanted to explore creatively, Jonathan’s affinity towards ambient music is much more deep-rooted. “When I first started listening to ambient instrumental stuff, it kind of started and stopped with Eno. However, over the last few years I’ve been really captivated by the rosters of Kranky and Erased Tapes. Projects such as A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Christina Vantzou, Atlas Sound, Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds have all caught my attention. I’m not an expert on ambient music, far from it, but these artists get a lot of play in my home. So naturally they are going to make their way into my music in some shape or form.”

But what’s next for Indoor Voices? Usually a band would tour their new release to oblivion and then head back to the studio, but Indoor Voices are taking the more laid back approach. “We’ll probably make some new music at some point. Once we’re all done having babies”

You can stream and buy Indoor Voices latest EP Auratic over on their Bandcamp page below.

https://indoorvoices.bandcamp.com/album/auratic

Liam Egan