The Resonance Association’s rise seems nigh on unstoppable these days with friends and fans at Terrorizer (who included them on one of their evenings in recent weeks) and Classic Rock demonstrating their broad appeal to leather-clad metallers and pastoral prog fans alike. Their last full length record, the masterly ‘Clarity in darkness’ was a masterpiece of invention and the EP ‘Heliopause prelude’, which saw the duo hit the road for a new bout of touring, was a mouth-watering taste of the record to come – one which Daniel and Dominic are currently working on in a fever of activity and recording. However, the reason for this interview is the forthcoming gig (November 19th at the Miller in London) which the band have arranged with a bunch of friends and MrsVee artists (including our very own Final Coil) and so we caught up with the ever-eloquent Daniel Vincent for a chat about recording, writing, influences and rocking audiences across the country.
Since the last time I interviewed you you’ve had a new EP out, ‘Heliopause prelude’, and you’ve spent loads of time on the road. How do you feel your live experience has shaped your recorded output?
Well I think Heliopause prelude was a definite response to playing live in support of the last album. We found that playing a lot of short sets we were cherry picking a lot of the harder, louder songs from the previous albums that we’ve done so HP ended up becoming an extension of that really – the two new songs on it (“above beyond and forever” and “Heliopause prelude”) are fairly rough and ready and it also comes from spending a lot of time playing around with…err well I’ve got an old tape delay unit and I’ve been running all the bass through that and just experimenting with less polished sounds really. Certainly playing live has made us look a lot at that. Also setting up in a lot of different places you find that you’ve got to take the best sound there so without trying to make it sound rubbish… you’re almost going for the most direct sound rather than for something that may be far more layered but harder to reproduce live.
Certainly I’ve found that since I first heard you, which was the failure of the grand design album, you’ve got a heavier edge – would you say that your influences have changed at all during that period as well?
I would say that probably when we wrote the first EPS I was looking at things form a far more progressive and avant-garde aspect. You know, I like bands like Pink Floyd and coil and that sort of thing and Dominic came from an extreme metal end of things and I think in the intervening years our influences have rubbed off on each other so we’ve come to something that we’re both very hapy with. Yeah possibly it’s gone heavier but then I think that the more gigs that we do and going to concerts as well, and being asked to see people, and the other bands that we’ve taken on the MrsVee label, I think all in all we have gone a little bit heavier because of that but I think that aspect has always been part of our genetic makeup as it were. I also think that production choices from album to album has helped because obviously “we still have the stars” is not that heavy, aside from one or two tracks, and the last album was certainly informed by bands like Nadja and Jesu so you have much more of a vintage drone sound on some tracks.
With the desire to sound a bit more raw, shall we say, do you ever have the urge to get yourself a live band or do you prefer it as a duo?
Um (that’s funny, everyone always asks that!) Yes. And no! I think that what we’ve achieved in the last four and a half years would not have been possible with a band. It’s only been possible because there’s only two of us and it’s very easy to get ourselves here there and everywhere and work really hard it and in some bands the more people that get involved that often becomes diluted and it’s nice, also, to a certain extent to keep our artistic vision more focused because there’s only two of us. We can play every instrument that we have on the record anyway so as far as a studio band is concerned, unless we’re going to have some crazy, virtuoso drumming on there, it’s something that’s not a real problem for us. As far as the live sound, I think in some cases people have said negative things about us because we don’t have a drummer and keyboard player and whatever but as long as we can play as much of the stuff as possible live then it’s not really a concern of mine because we’re not A.N. other progressive band or A.N. other metal band so each to their own but I like to have certain things the way they are and it works for us and I think that’s the best way to do it. Although I wouldn’t ever say never but at least for the next album the line up won’t change and the way we make our music won’t change.
The EP itself is a prelude – a taste of things to come. Why did you decide to put an EP out rather than wait for the Heliopause album?
Heliopause as an album came very early on – almost, believe it or not, before we finished the last one. The style of the ending of clarity was hinting that there was something to come afterwards and that started me thinking straight away. With the tracks on Clarity – because most of them are quite long – we realised it was going to be difficult to edit or water something down to make an EP with – we decided whilst we still felt that we had some creative mileage left off the back of the previous sessions we thought we’d just go straight ahead and start recording material for Heliopause so as it stands now we have about 45-50 minutes of music written for the album, some of it very nearly complete, some of it less so. So we’ve either written most of the album or we’re going to have the best b-sides ever! So the EP was a reflection of the fact that we’d gone out and played a bunch of shows in support of the album and we were able to go straight back into the studio and we felt quite energised – we wanted to be able to go out again. Basically it’s just an excuse to play more gigs (laughter) just put that! But that’s it really – we came back from doing the first batch of shows feeling really positive and we wanted to put that into the music and without an obvious choice of single from the album we thought we’d just keep on going while we could. And without having to rely on a record company or label, we can dictate our own terms on the material we’re releasing which is nice.
When it comes to the actual recording process itself – how are you planning to record this one? Is it going to be home-made or are you going to be heading off into a studio?
It will be a mixture of everything I think. SO far everything has been done at home for the last three albums. We use Ableton live for most of the sequencing and the “wibbly-wobbly stuff”. And we’re planning to go down to Rocket studios – which is a friend of ours down in Croydon – and we’re planning to record some guitar stuff there and make some acoustic drums. We’ll also be heading up to a friend of mine up in Stoke Newington, which is North London to record some Piano and vocal parts probably in the New Year. But the idea at the moment is to get all the structure of the tracks down using Ableton Live and then we’ll embellish it as we require. I think nowadays, unless you’re recording very specific instruments that require the space and the acoustics, recording in a studio becomes a very expensive process that isn’t always required. We’re lucky because we’ve got all the technology – both Dominic and I are quite comfortable working in the studio so we’re able to muddle through.
It’s probably quite early to be considering this but have you considered the artwork at all? Are you going to be working with Carl Glover again?
Yes, Carl and I have already discussed the artwork. I think that the themes for the artwork will become clear in the New Year. We’re aiming for at least the website and that initial exposition for the next album will happen in the New Year although the album itself won’t be out until the middle of next year.
And my last question, you’ve put together an incredibly eclectic range of artists for the London gig, which this interview is in part promoting, how is that going to affect your set do you think?
I haven’t thought about it yet! We’ve come off the back of two of our biggest show recently. We played the Summers End progressive rock festival in Gloucestershire about six weeks ago and we played a Terrorizer sponsored show as well. We were able to reuse half of our live repertoire for each show but at the same time our sets vary quite considerably. There will be some kind of trade-off I think between the more spacey keyboard stuff and the heavier material but Dominic will be over at the weekend and I’m sure we’ll sit down and argue the toss over it the whole weekend.
I’m really looking forward to those shows – you mention it’s an eclectic line-up but it’s quite funny, listening to the EP that MrsVee have just released to promote the gig – it’s funny to listen to all of the bands altogether and you realise that although, if you’re a music magazine or some kind of glossy supplement you’d never put all five bands together, I think the more forward thinking music fans will appreciate all five bands because being a fan of music is not the same as being a fan of a genre or label which is great and that’s what MrsVee’s about really – it’s a shame we couldn’t get the Pet Shop Boys to open, but maybe we’ll do that next time!