Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview with Syrinx (by D)


1) When did your band start and why?

Dave - Syrinx was already in existence in one form or another when I joined so it’s best to ask Ed & John that question. I’ve never been too good with dates but I think it was around October 2009?!
Why did I join? ........Because I like making music.
Jon - I got involved in 2009. Syrinx already existed as a musical entity but I think Ed needed someone to help him get out a lot of music he had hiding inside him that he couldn't quite get to rise to the surface on his own. He'd tried a few different people but it never worked out because they weren't on the same wavelength musically. Once we got together it all fell into place without any effort at all really, we just got in a room and played for 3 or 4 hours and then kicked ourselves for not recording it.. We felt we needed an extra head to add to the mix and that's when Ed got in touch with Dave. I think he'd been scouring myspace for local bands and artists who were into music that was off the beaten track to see if he could make a connection with any of them. At the time I first met Ed I'd just made a conscious effort to stop making my solo music with software the year before (I think). I'd been with another band for about 18 months but we were all getting itchy feet with that and I was open to trying other things with other people so when Ed contacted me I thought it might be fun to give it a shot and just jam with someone different. It was, and it's stayed fun, and that's why I'm still here. I get a kick out of doing what we do that I really don't get in any other aspect of my life.

Ed - The band started long before we actually released anything i wanted originally for Syrinx. I was practicing for years with effects and I assumed there were others out there doing the same, for about 4 years i was stuck recruiting people that took the word Drone to mean 10 second sustained notes from indie tracks. I had many ups and downs and met people more involved with an acoustic folk sound and instead i picked up those elements from them, the influences the various members made was huge, but it never fell in to place till Jon aka Ghoul Detail came along. I had an idea of what i wanted since learning from others… and found quite quickly we needed a third member, we jammed as a 5 piece a few times, but it weren't right Dave could do the job of 3 men, Jon created sounds of a whole legion, and I just wanted to make it natural sounding and melody filled.

2)What does your band name mean and what is the main goal of Syrinx?

Jon - Syrinx already had a name when I got involved, so I had a similar question for Ed once I was assimilated into the band. I believe it's part of a bird's throat that allows it to sing... or the drone gland in a bird or something like that haha. For me personally the goal is to create something good. That might be the only actual goal we share in the band. Music's cathartic for me, Syrinx gives me a proactive way to reach that point of catharsis. Labels, releases and all that stuff is something I don't personally factor into why I do what I do. For me it's entirely about the music, and making music I believe is good is my only real goal. I'm sure the other guys have their own personal goals and ideas of what they want to achieve but that's just not me. I don't ever set my sights on anything, I just do what I do when I do it.

Dave - Syrinx is one of two things really: the part of a birds vocal system that produces the drone which is them modulated into it’s characteristic song or it can be the Greek Water Nymph of the same name. In the Myth she is chased by Pan and turned into water reeds in order to escape him, Pan subsequently makes his famed pipes out of her. Both meanings have an essence of drone to them and seem to fit the band appropriately.
Our main goal is to provide a soundtrack to the establishment of a new world order run by Badgers, Ferrets and Cockchafers. They’ll do a much better job than humans.
Ed - I have no idea about Dave's story of a Greek Water Nymph, so that's a novelty. But yeah they are both right, the origination of the name was me happening to like birds and learning about the Syrinx that holds the sustaining note in bird song, creating the drone to bounce other notes off. Like an oscillator of some description. My goal was just to highlight in musical form a part of me that hates the human version of the natural world.
(ED - Guitars)

3)How many albums have you guys done where can they found readily available for people to buy?

Dave - We currently have five stand alone albums and one waiting to be released on ‘Roil Noise’ and another on ‘Sombre Sonic Studios’. We’ve done a collaborative release with Jessica Baliff, and counting the splits with other artists it’s probably up to about 12 / 13 releases in total.
The best place to visit for material is It’s our home away from home.
Jon - Off the top of my head... 6 albums? We record a lot of material and it gets hard to keep track of what's been released or coming out and where. All the DMR released stuff's on the website. There's been other releases on other labels, stuff coming up... I wouldn't be surprised if it's around 10 albums including the things we've got in the pipeline that haven't come out yet.
Ed - I have no idea, i think its about 8. I second Dave, Dark Meadow Recordings can make available any one of our works…
(Jon guitars!)

4)Have you guys done any gigs in the past or recently?

Dave - Syrinx is a complicated beast, given the different rigs that we use, and has yet to be launched on a live audience. Watch this space though, it will happen at some point and I’m busy bottling my tears for the Soundmen who’ll have to mix us on the fly and deal with the Biscuit Tin Of Doom

Jon - As Syrinx, not yet.

Ed - Theres been some banter amongst us as we do everything live, its only very minimal editing afterwards to sort out peaks and clips to release it as an album. Live we play, we just feel the vibe and just play. we create different parts for the others to take over and its 100% natural… I have an idea that it will come and we'll nail it every time… i have a couple pieces of equipment to get first.

(Dave rocking out lol)

5)Any plans for Syrinx coming up?

Jon - Recording. We've got collaborations in the pipeline with Ultra Milkmaids, PAL, some others, an album or two coming out on other labels... Ed will probably give you a list of stuff. He's a force of nature, he's always getting things together and setting up collaborations and stuff like that

Dave - Keep on trucking and work towards the live scene. We’re continually recording new material and will be releasing this largely as splits for the present. There’ll be more albums soon though.

Ed - Collaborations, solo albums, more labels to work with, more offers coming our way… Its hard to strike the balance, so we've ditched our solo works and focusing on one thing and thats Syrinx, so loads will be coming.

6)Can you name some influences musically or out or the norm you like to mention?

Dave - I can only speak for myself here. I’m influenced largely by the sonic environments I find myself in. My music tastes are pretty broad and take in pretty much everything, there’s good stuff to be had in all genres. Lately my stereos been dosing me with ‘Virginia Astley’, Swansea Grimmers ‘Ghast’ and a fair bit of ‘Low’.

Jon - Jessica Bailiff was an early influence, Godflesh, Aphex Twin, DJ Spooky, Neotropic, Bolt Thrower... and a whole heap of bands and artists you wouldn't be able to tell from our music haha. With some of them it would be their attitude to music in general that's been an influence, there isn't really anyone that made me think "I want to be like that". Apart from Frank Sinatra. I quite fancied the idea of being a lounge singer at one point but I wouldn't mention it to anyone because I can't sing

Ed - Seefeel, Pierre Bastien, Ultra Milkmaids, Disjecta, Drexciya, Earth, Asva.

7)Where is the band from and how does the scene look at your band? has their been a good reception?

Jon - I'm kind of detached from a lot of that scene stuff but we've managed to get some attention, which is never easy when you start out and it's hard to keep hold of once you've been doing it a while too, you just have to try and keep the momentum going, keep giving people something new to keep their interest up. We haven't relied on anyone else to get us heard though, Ed's built a label around the band and that's helped other bands as well as our own. It's become a label people want to release on.
We're all currently living in Northampton.

Dave - The band is from Northampton and we’ve so far had mostly positive reviews from the scene if you’re talking about worldwide. Locally I don’t think anyone would recognise the name as we’ve not gone live yet. Northampton doesn’t seem to serve up much in the way of experimental music, it’s mostly indie, covers and metal bands round here, there’s some good stuff but thin on the ground.
I look forward to getting on a stage and seeing what people make of us.
Ed - Dave and I went out one evening to something that was called the Drone Orchestra, it was supposed to be an open mic, join in and jam night, we pretty much already decided this was our ticket to a nice opener to the northampton scene, it didn't happen it was an indie rock gig that didn't even know what i was talking about when i started talking about textures and layers. Dave ended up leaving a looped sample of rain for over an hour over their cheap range indie rock music.

8)What bands would you like to gig with if any?

Jon - Ed could probably name loads of people he'd love to gig with. If we play a show I'd like to do it with someone who cares as much about creating their music in the moment as we do, and doing it live not just dropping prerecorded loops on their laptop. Someone that does it organically and creates by developing, there and then, the ideas bounce off the other people involved. Nothing too rehearsed, if you know what I mean. There's a place for bands that can go out and play pitch perfect renditions of their songs or music every night, but I wouldn't want to be playing a gig with another band if they were that structured. Some people in an audience only want to hear a perfect replica of an album when they go out and that's fine, but I'd prefer to give them something new each time and that's the kind of band I'd want to share the bill with. A band that flies by the seat of their pants.

Dave - I’m up for playing with anybody really, esp if they want to join in. I think we could provide a good counterpoint to some of the more metal bands.

Ed - B. Lone Engines, Mists of Poveglia, Murmurists, Ian Holloway, Colossloth, Baalberith.

9)I heard you guys will have a future vinyl release possibly? would you care to talk about that please? :)

Dave - Yes there is talk of a Vinyl release. We’re working on some material that’ll hopefully be released through Drone Records sometime in the future. Ed and Jon have already laid a few tracks down together in a jam I couldn’t make and they made my jaw drop.

Jon - If it does happen I'll have to dust off my turntables.

Ed - Drone Records asked us to do a 15 minute track after hearing our works, it'll come out in the winter sometime. It was a massive load off my mind, because they were who i was aiming at along with Classwar Karoke and Roil Noise.

10) What s it like running Dark Meadow Recordings and how long has it been around for and how successful do you think its been so far?

Jon - What's it like Ed? :)

Dave - Darkmeadows was started as a home for Syrinx to release material and has turned into something of a monster due to Ed and Johns enthusiasm for the works of others. I think it’s far better to ask Ed and Jon about the running as they do the main Donkeywork in the meadow. For my part I mainly concentrate on solving artwork issues and helping out where I can. I do find it really valuable and rewarding to be contributing to an endeavour that’s concerned with art and not money though. The success of Darkmeadows so far is probably best measured in terms of the happiness and diversity of artists that have had releases and the collaborations it has brought together. It follows strong in a long tradition of underground labels providing what the ‘Industry’ can’t / won’t.

Ed - Recently i've had to upset a few people because i can't afford to keep everyone on, we ditched our solo projects as well sooo… we tried to soften the blow, on the positive side, i have now a range of artists i feel are mellow, nice individuals that vent for various ways through music. Its hard work trying to get your band heard and making sure you treat the bands you want to work with happy, i think i'm doing a good job, a couple of people wouldn't say i was but i'm a positive chap and tend to ignore them.

11)What is the scene like in your area musically and do you care much for it?

Ed - They are all hidden away, or want to travel to London, because its cool and networking happens there… i'd rather play in forests or a large field but nothing like that will happen round here till us locals bang our heads together…

Jon - Northampton's got a lot of talent but it's over a lot of different genres and types of music. There's some really good metal bands based here and a lot more experimental electronic artists than you might think, but there isn't really the audience for anything too far from the mainstream here, which is surprising given the size of the town and the number of students at the university. If you're in a band and you're good the chances are you're playing your gigs elsewhere. If you're a known band people will turn up to see you but anyone else they don't care about. It's more of a dance music/clubbing town unfortunately, but with pockets of people that do actually like something different to the norm.

Dave - The scene in Northampton is mostly pretty dry. The ‘Labour Club’ works hard at providing a diversity of music but other than that it’s the ‘Racehorse’, ‘King Billy’ and occasionally ‘The Fishmarket’ if you want anything other than clubbing / Covers bands.
There’s some good bands around here but you rarely get to see them play ‘Atrocity Exhibit’ and ‘Rotten Agenda’ are good, ‘Retro Spankees’ are usually good for a laugh too but it’s few and far between usually. I do my best to support all the nights that I see advertised around the place but it’s scant pickings for the most part.

12)What do you think of the underground scene of today? Is there some bands you can mention that you like from it???

Dave - The underground is going strong the same as it’s always been, if not stronger and better due to easier communication methods. People who want to make music just get on and do it and it’s a whole lot easier to find stuff outside of the mainstream. I just wish more people would have the cajones to forage in the wild and not eat the musical equivalent of fast food. ‘Ghast’ , ‘Smiler’, ‘Gore Police and the A.P.Bs’, ‘Disfortune’ are all bands I dig

Jon - I'm completely out of touch these days. Can I leave this one to you Ed?

Ed - Depends which version of the underground scene you want to think you're from, i think theres too many "depressive" emo types. No message other than about themselves. I think sometimes depending on who you work with the sound slightly changes to pick up a few more fans, luckily the group of people i'm working with in the underground scene show constraint in delving into bullshit and get on with what they would have regardless of opinion and internal message of death and ignorance. Viktoriya from Охотники за Головами, Akoustik Timbre Frekuency, Misantronics, B.Lone Engines, Murmurists, Grim Funeral Techno, Dark Isle/Mists of Poveglia, Baalberith are from a diverse area of the underground and i enjoy their music as much as their ideas on conversation.

13)If there was any band you like to reform or bring back from the dead, who would it be?

Jon - Death would be nice, although impossible now without Chuck Schuldiner.

Dave - Count Basie and his Orchestra. I’d love the privilege of seeing that shit live.

Ed - Nope. Sleep did it and i loved it, twice over… maybe bring Erik Satie back from the dead.

14)Is their any other merch available by Syrinx yet? shirts, patches,stickers,pins, etc etc

Jon - There's a Cafe Press webstore on the DMR website.

Ed - There's a Cafe Press webstore we make no money out of it, but they look nice enough.

Dave - There’s a few things available on the Darkmeadow website via Cafepress even the Darkmeadows Cuddly toy! Just follow the links.

15)How long have you guys in the band know each other for, and how does what in the band and how does the recording process work for you? I hear you have over 1 hour long songs! Thats tremendous.

Jon - I've known Ed for a couple of years and Dave since he came along to jam with us at the beginning of 2010. I play guitar mostly, Ed plays guitar, bass and keyboards sometimes. Dave plays bass and trumpet. We all have a go with other things as the mood takes us, so sometimes things like violin or cheesegraters or biscuit tins find their way into the mix. Other than the main instruments we have an open policy on what we do. It's kind of a free for all, if it makes a sound we'll give it a go.

Ed - We have 3 hour tracks too… Musically i feel like i've known Jon forever… we gel naturally and Dave creates the moods of whats missing… Dave has a keen ear for natural sounds and i can feed off that with my semi acoustic… we can have a 10 minute tuning / detuning, equipment check and then its 3 hours later, we don't do that much compared to what we used to, Jon and I when we first played would play non stop for 3 nearly 4 hours; we never know what each one is doing till their doing it, its all natural… completely unrehearsed, and very minimally edited afterwards. Its live but with a good engineer basically.

Dave - I responded to an email in 2009 from Ed who was sick of not hearing the music he wanted to in the local scene and the rest is history as they say. We’ve all known each other for about a year now and I suppose and our minds seem to gel. I’m the nob of the outfit though. Syrinx is a band comprised of however many artists happen to be there so we all do different things accordingly. In the main I provide Bass, Field Recordings, Trumpet and Strange percussion noises when we record, also any artwork that’s needed. The process itself is very organic. We all pile into a room, hit record and lay it down. Each meeting of Syrinx is like a massive conversation of textures and moods. It’s exciting to be a part of and a totally engrossing experience and sometimes material has been known to breach the 3hr mark! As such every Syrinx release is pretty much a live document of the band at that moment which is then carefully trimmed down so that we can fit onto conventional media.

16)If their was any bands or band you can compare yourself to, or had to put yourself in genre catergorization so the readers would get a idea of what you guys sound like, what or who would they be?

Jon - Comparing us to other bands is hard for me as I don't listen to much music other than what I'm involved with. I'm sure there's similar bands out there, there'd have to be, same as other lifeforms existing somewhere in the universe, it's just I personally haven't found them yet. Most of the music I Iisten to is metal and I know we don't play metal. So to try and categorize us... maybe a bit of slowcore mixed with ambient and post rock. I'm not really sure. Ed's better at that kind of thing, his musical travels go a lot further than mine, he knows bands whose names I'd never even hear if it wasn't for him. Music's his life. I don't know, it's kind of drone but it evolves a lot more than drone within the tracks, and at times it's surprisingly melodic. Other times it's a bottomend-heavy death hum with feedback weaving it's way in and out. It's ambient but quite harsh and dense within it... it's sound.

Ed - This is a problem for many of us, nearly all drone bands unfairly get labelled as this and that, there are many who go deeper than just a basic understanding of how an instrument works, more hear depth in textures and movements within the sounds… if i said i sounded like this band to make others like me, you would more than guarantee we don't actually sound like them, Earth for instance, doesn't have the depth of texture we do, but they are legends and we should say "hey we're like Earth" but we're not, Seefeel's beatless montages of gentleness is us, but its not because they are richer in fake sounds, SunnO)))'s stamina for length of track we're like, but soundscape wise we have more to us than that. It's hard man because that makes it sound arrogant, but honestly its not meant that way, we have something i don't hear in other drone bands, but that might not be a good thing to a mass audience. i don't really set out to make people gush over our layers and layers of ambient wash outs but what i can say is there is instruments used in our sounds with skill that volume and reverb alone can't add to. Too many bands (non i've worked with) just whack up the volume and nod at each other when its time to change to a lower octave… Syrinx hears gaps in the textures and fills them if necessary.

Dave - I can’t compare Syrinx to anything. It’s like nothing i’ve played in before and, not to diss any previous endeavours, I’m glad of it.

17) What do you think of the riots occurring in your country and I have been hearing quite alot about it on the news lately.

Ed - Don't care… Anarchy isn't good, violence isn't good, but i don't get it, so i'm not judging it… Save the trees not people's ideas on civilisation.
Luckily for me the chaps in Syrinx are very liberal, i have a different view on pretty much everything to everyone, unintentionally, and the ones i meet whose a lot like me i fall out with them, i have no idea why. Riots to me if worthwhile and done correctly are fine and i hope more would happen. i mean protests really, but if the animals rioted i'd agree with them even if they raped and burnt my guitar...

Dave - Ah the riots!.......the oppressed and persecuted underclass of Britain rising up and giving the man ‘what for’ or a load of materialistic opportunism . It’s fucked up either way you look at it. I can understand the riots based on their initial foundation in the shooting of Mark Duggan and a demonstration that reached a justifiable conclusion based on the inaction and inability of the police to admit culpability (even lying about it!) quick enough, but the subsequent days of violence appear to be mainly opportunistic in nature and paint a symptomatic picture of the greed and materialistic view of wealth that Britain has managed to engender in it’s citizens throughout successive governments that reaches throughout all levels of society. Apart from that first night there seems to be an inherent lack of an outraged community coming together under a shared banner to effect change and more of an ever growing rudderless malaise burning it’s own communities to the ground and operating a ‘dog eat dog’ mentality. We have become a culture where social standing / success has become predicated on material rather than positive social values.I’m all for people taking direct action but the only thing that will come of this is a move towards a police state and a tightening of communications. It’s played right into the hands of this government in terms of the ‘Broken Britain’ and the ‘Big Society’ ideas. You watch, the rhetoric will start soon & the police are already starting to review the role of social networking sites in all of this.
Doom. Doom I say.........I shouldn’t talk politics.

Jon - I don't think it's politically motivated. They may well have been caused by political things, but then there's a lot of factors involved in why they've happened, both social and political. But on the whole it's people out to get what they can for nothing. It's looting and arson. There's no excuse for people getting robbed of all their clothes on the street and if anyone wants to try and justify that to me they can fuck off.

18)How much longer do you guys plan to make music for and what does the future hold for Syrinx?

Jon - Right now I can't imagine there'd ever be a reason to stop getting together to play. Whether anyone will be able to hear what we come up with is another thing though. That would depend on whether anyone wants to release anything we record. The label can't go on indefinitely, that's something we do know.

Ed - Never… I want these guys to stay my pals, i do find i get mixed emotions about certain sounds or playing techniques, but when we're in the room and on a mission it always feels right… if more people join or lineups change to make way for more interest in soundscapes, then fine, but I can't do it with out Jon!!! and Dave adds a real drone flair that i've not seen in anyone… Plus he makes his own weird instruments that gives Jon and I a laugh… Humour and how we relate as people means the most to me, we cain each other with banter sometimes, outside our circle its considered rude and sometimes up ones arse… but its just us joking about, being typically British. Jon knows his a cunt, i know i'm an escaped jewish prisoner of war that pretends his not gay, and Dave sucks the juice from roots of plants while shagging sheep - together we're Syrinx.

Dave - Until Ed & Jon get pissed off with me, hahahahaha I think Syrinx will go for awhile yet especially with the ability to incorporate others in its structure. That’s the thing about a Syrinx you see, it provides a base tone that can be modulated.

19) Is their any projects outside or Syrinx?

Jon - I've been doing my own music under the Ghoul Detail and Opium Farmer names since 2004. I've released a few albums with Roil Noise, Smell The Stench, Dark Meadow Recordings and a few other labels

Ed - Nope, none worth mentioning…

Dave - The Syrinx core is comprised of three different artists and we all continue to do things outside of the group. For my part I think more ‘Unpaidwhores’ material is well overdue.

20) I really enjoyed interviewing you, and thanks a lot for speaking out for Syrinx, your music is really amazing and I wish you guys the best of luck with it! Its totally mind numbing and atmospheric. Any thing else you like to say before we bring this interview to a close? any friends, family, people out there you like to mention. Thank you very much. Peace -Danny

Dave - Cheers man. It’s good to know that someone appreciates it. The people reading this will know who they are. Thanks one and all.

Ed - I'd like to thank you Danny for hearing what we hear in our music… and the others that think it not too much trouble to work with us… and give us a piece of their mind when listening… All the artists on or thats left Dark Meadow Recordings, regardless of how relationships have got with some of them, musically they are the best of a huge group of artists, every single one of them.


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