Samstag, 14. Juli 2012

Interview by the Russian S&L community with Abject Of Decay

Abject Of Decay is an interesting German-Peruvian band which explores genres such as electronic, ambient, industrial and alternative rock.

The interview was held with Dave and Nicolo from the band.

S&L: How did you meet and how did AOD origin?

N: Dave and I met in Peru through our brothers who were schoolmates. We met on his mother’s birthday party and I remember being really amazed by his drumming skills. Soon after that we had our first jam session and the chemistry was great. A year later we had become great friends and were working on our first record.

D: Yeah, chemistry was the most important factor for creating AOD because without chemistry it’s really difficult to start a band. Without exaggerating, the first jam session we played as if we had been playing together for many years. It was the birth day of AOD although it took about a year and a half until Nicolo came up with the name.

: Were there any other musical projects you took part in before AOD? Maybe there are some now?

D: Before moving to Peru I played drums in a few local bands in my home town Cologne in Germany. But nothing really serious. Since we started AOD I had no side projects and I´m not sure if there will be any in the future. I tried to record some songs for a solo album but in the end they sounded like AOD songs so there is no need to start a solo project for me. Nicolo on the other hand had a lot of side projects and solo projects going on.

N: Yes, I am currently working with a female singer from the US. The project is called BIINDS. I make the music, sing and I am hoping to involve other artists as well, since I don’t want this to be a solo project.

: Is AOD your main occupation or is it kind of a hobby? What are your other occupations, hobbies, interests?

N: AOD for me is not just a hobby; it involves a lot more than just music. We create concepts, short stories and short films that evolve around this project that is AOD. We both love art, film and literature. In our free time we create designs and write short stories, as well as small scripts or poems.

D: That’s right. It´s more than a hobby for us. AOD is our creation. It´s part of our lives. It may sound a bit crazy but to describe how I feel about AOD I can tell you that when I stand in front of the mirror in the morning I see myself and think….. ‘’Oh yeah you are David Newman from AOD’’ …… then I go to my normal day to day job and live my life, but there is always this feeling that I am part of AOD no matter if I sit in my office or if I´m going shopping in the supermarket. AOD is just omnipresent in our lives. Now if you ask me about my hobbies I would say that I love to watch movies a lot! I´m probably kind of a film-nerd. Apart from life, movies are my inspiration. Watching a great film inspires me to make music.

: What do you think about a professional music career? Are there any plans for it?

N: It’s hard these days to make a living with music only. We haven’t been able to make a living with AOD, but that’s okay since AOD is a project that we both love and not a source of money.

D: AOD is what it is! We wouldn´t sound better or write better songs if we had a record deal. We consider ourselves artists and not just musicians. The best reward I can get for doing my music is if someone tells me that he liked this song. That’s a million times better than getting paid for it. By the way. hearing from you in Russia that you like our music is amazing! That is just what I´m talking about.

: Could you tell us about the process of writing songs, recording, arrangement, etc. ? How does it usually go? Is living on different continents a serious obstacle? How do you cope with it?

N: There is not one way to write a song. The approach and inspiration is always different, but usually we write about our own experiences, feelings, desires or whatever inspires us at the time. The choice of arrangements has evolved throughout the years; we have collected quite a few gadgets and used different instrumentation on different records. On the last album Teardrops in Zero Gravity Dave wrote a lot of the songs, which wasn’t the case on previous records. He also sang on ‘Down in the Mouth’ which was also a great change. It’s important to experiment and try new things; if there was only one way to create something it obviously would become boring and repetitive. To be on different continents is not an obstacle to create new music. We sent each other song ideas and demos regularly and gather them in order to later work on something new. In the past months we have been doing that quite a bit.

D: We don´t sit down in the studio and say 'okay lets write a song today'. It doesn’t work for us that way. For me it only makes sense to start recording something when I´m inspired. And then it feels like my synthesizers are calling me! For example the song ‘Celestial Clash’ was written and recorded in probably 8 hours. These are those magical moments when chemistry and inspiration work together and great things happen. Now that we´re living in different countries I kind of jam with myself and when I have a great idea or a melody part I make a demo and send it to Nicolo. Afterwards he sends it back with his ideas and so we make the songs grow into something interesting. Sometimes we have a good melody but we don’t find a way to make it work as a song. Then we just wait until another moment of inspiration appears and a new song is born. This happened with ‘Building A New Universe’; I wrote the melody for this song back in 2002, but it took us a few years to find a way to make it into a song.

: What is the hardest part of writing a song and what is the favorite?

N: It’s actually quite difficult in general to write good songs these days. There are so many great records coming out and you realize that it’s really difficult to make a difference. You have to challenge yourself to become better and give each song loads of time to evolve. It’s 10% inspiration and 90% hard work.

D: The most difficult part for me is the mixing part. I love to create sounds and to write the songs but the mixing and the mastering is a bit boring and for me it has nothing to do with inspiration. I respect the people that have the knowledge and the patience to do that job.

Nicolo does most of the mixing on our records. Once again this is part of the chemistry we have in AOD because Nicolo likes the mixing part and so we complement each other and the sum of our efforts makes it work.

: How are your concerts usually going? What do you feel playing live on the stage?

N: We don’t play live very often. The times we have played live we had to re-think our song arrangements, since most of the time on the records they are partially programmed. A third member usually joins the band to play bass and sometimes keyboards. Dave plays live drums and synths, manages the backing tracks and I play guitar and sing.

: Do you remember your first live concert? Were you nervous? Tell us about your most vivid impression of the live performance. Are there any funny stories ?

N: Our very first live performance was many years ago in Peru, at home in front of friends and family. We were quite nervous, but that always stays that way no matter how many times you have played live. A great gig we played was at the Oso Bar in Peru. It was almost flawless and I really enjoyed playing. The response from the crowd was great and many people were present. A funny anecdote was a gig that we played about a year after the Oso Bar gig at a smaller venue. Dave’s laptop kept crashing and there were many setbacks. In the end we decided to play some songs without any backing tracks.

D: Now that we live in different countries again it makes playing live very difficult but would love to play more gigs! We always talked about the idea to create visuals to our music. Since Nicolo and I like filming and art, it would make a great live show if we could combine our music and our visuals. Somewhere in the future this is definitely going to happen.

: What were the bands or artists you think influenced you and your music?

D: Wow.. that is a difficult question. When I was a little boy my father listened to a lot of 80’ s metal music. So I grew up listening to bands like Judas Priest, Wasp, Def Lepard, Accept, Manowar etc.

That’s mainly the reason why I wanted to become a drummer. I thought that Metal drummers where the coolest guys (laughs) Later I discovered bands like Pink Floyd and I was amazed from their live performances and the light shows. When I heard ‘’The Wall’’ I realized that there was more to music than just cool album covers and a groovy rhythm. I realized that there is art in the lyrics and that music can be more powerful when everything has a concept. I love music that moves you and makes you think. Music should be a soundtrack for your life so that your life can become the greatest movie ever made (laughs).

N: I don’t come from a musical family like Dave. In school I used to listen to what everyone else liked, at that time I guess it was techno. I remember discovering different styles of music through soundtracks, the first one being from Batman Forever. I heard bands like The Offspring, Green Day or PJ Harvey for the first time, so it made me want to pick up a guitar and sing.

: What are your creative plans for the near future? Will you rejoice us with the new singles or maybe even album?
D: Yeah, obviously we´re always working on new stuff and we´ll let you know the minute we have something ready to share. We´ll always be creating music no matter If we´re 50 years old and married with 4 kids. So don´t worry you will be hearing from us, not only in the near future.

: Do you have a dream? What is it (if it’s not a secret)?

D: We’re both interested in film work and would like to produce a movie and have it scored by AOD and then tour around the world to promote the film. It would just be great to be able to share our music with more people as well.

: Is there any message or maybe some words you’d like to tell your Russian fans?

N: Spasibo to you all for listening to our music. You can expect to hear and probably watch new stuff very soon.

D: Yeah it's really amazing to be in touch with you guys. Thanks for your support! 

You can visit Abject Of Decay's official page here, check out their Facebook for updates.

Interview by Marina Demich.

Donnerstag, 12. Juli 2012

Today's album review

'Light and Darkness'

A review for Jordi Kuragari's new album 'Traveller' 


 Kuragari  is Japanese for ’darkness’ and probably one of many ways to describe the soundscapes and spheric guitar-laden compositions of multi-instrumentalist and producer Jordi Kuragari.  

Having started to play guitar and compose music at the age of 13 and making music his full time job in the present day, Jordi knows a thing or two about the craft.  For years he played in several different bands, performed live all over Berlin and in other German cities.

Despite the overwhelming amount of time dedicated to performing and producing other bands, he still found a spot to write and record his own album entitled ’Traveller’.  Some of the song ideas on the record are several years old and as the title suggests, he in part found inspiration by travelling around Europe.

His many musical explorations and experience with other bands and musicians are clearly present on the album, which he himself performed and produced with the help of Mike Nuhn who mastered the tracks.

A haunting recurring theme can be heard in the first few seconds as an introduction for “Traveller’’.

The album begins with the epic ’’Anywhere But Here’’ which starts off with rather quiet, almost mystical guitar arpeggios and ends up in a climax of battling distorted guitars.

It is followed by ’’Just like a Puppet’’, the first single off the album which is Jordi’s outlet of a very personal experience through addictive rock riffs and licks.

Next up is the rock n’ roll hymn ’’I Don’t Mind’’ which is set out to be played loud and sung along by a huge crowd in large stadiums.

An acoustic folk song could not be missed on an album like this; ’’Under my Umbrella’’ is Jordi’s version of this folk song.

Not long after we are drawn back into the darkness with the instrumental spheres of ’’Bounced’’ where you can hear Jordi’s characteristic guitar techniques. It ends with a heavy-riff and is immediately followed by the stoner-rock anthem ’’What are you thinking?’’ which morphs into a more progressive area as the song develops.

We get to cool off and calm down with the sounds of ’’London Traveller’’, more or less the title-track of the album, which tells the story of the traveller himself, as he walks in the streets of London in deep thought.

Just when we thought we had found a bit of light, we slip right back into obscurity with ’’The Darkest Night’’ which starts off with field recordings and progresses with synth pads and Jordi’s atmospheric guitar playing, accompanied by a haunting beat. The track peaks with heavy guitars and bombshell drums.

’’On My Own’’ in which the traveller starts finding his way, is yet another rock riff aria in the style of Jordi Kuragari.

Ambient synths and a mellow programmed beat opens ’’Faith is a Journey’’, a track which seems to summarize the theme of the album.

The recurring theme makes yet another appearance at the beginning of the instrumental’’In these Woods’’ which is secretly a combination of ’’Just like a Puppet’’ and ’’Anywhere but Here’’... in a good and captivating way.

’’Let It Go’’ is the last song on the record telling us to ’let go, move on and to not worry anymore’. This concluding track leaves us with the feeling of having been on a true journey, a journey that Jordi himself experienced in the flesh.

Jordi’s hommage to another passion of his, which is Japanese culture are two instrumentals: The Soundtrack-like ’Kodama’ (Echo/Treespirit) and the classical guitar piece ’Hotaru’ (Firefly). These rich instrumentals don’t just give the album an interesting touch of actually being on an exotic journey to foreign lands, but they also define Jordi as being more than just a guitarist or a composer.


The album is now available through his website.

Previews can he heard here.