“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.