Com extremo orgulho o TBTCI tem a honra de poder dividir nestas páginas uma entrevista com uma das mais perfeitas e intensas bandas da atualidade, de Manchester o Dead Sea Apes desde 2009 vem nos bombardeando com intensos cataclismas sonoros, um mix de psicodelia escura e kraut esquizofrênico ao melhor estilo do grandioso Can.
Em outubro vem ao mundo o novíssimo High Evolutionary, que em audição antecipada com exclusividade para o TBTCI eu posso afirmar que é uma das obras mais perfeitas desse 2014.
Música visceral e altamente emocional, concebida para adentrar a mente e permanecer por lá durante a eternidade.
O Dead Sea Apes é algo a ser saboreado de forma alta e intensa, isso nos dois sentidos.
***** Interview with Dead Sea Apes *****
When did Dead Sea Apes start, tell us about the history.. .
Chris - I met Nick in early 2009 - I'd not long moved back to Manchester and was looking for musicians to play with, and I think he had recently left another band. We had a couple of jams and tried out one or two other guitarists, but when Brett came along it gelled instantly. From our first session together we had the basis of four songs, which we've gone on to play live and record. One of those was our first single Soy Dios, which came together really quickly flowing on from the guitar intro which Brett brought in to that first session. On the basis of that and some other demos on our website, a CDR label in the US called Deep Water Acres got in touch asking if we'd like to like to release something with them, but it would need to be album-length, not just an EP. So we did a weekend-long session to generate material for that, in which I played various electronics rather than drums so it had a more looping, hypnotic feel. With editing and overdubs this eventually became the album Lupus. Meanwhile we also recorded our other more rock-based tracks and released those on the Astral House EP, and both of these ended up coming out in March 2012. Then we did a collaboration album with Black Tempest - for one song he sent us a synth track which we played over, and then for the other two we sent him some unfinished tracks of ours which he fleshed out with some great synth and Mellotron parts. That came out in the middle of last year along with a vinyl reissue of Lupus, both on Cardinal Fuzz, and since then we've been working on the new album.
Who are your influences?
Chris - We each have quite a range of influences - there's a lot of common ground in the middle but also other areas which only one or two of us might be familiar with. We're all of a similar age but each took different routes through the various rock and alternative scenes of the 80s and 90s, so it's been great to share our music collections and catch up on things we might have passed by at the time, and also share older influences: Brett and Nick are big Neil Young fans for instance while I'm really in to a lot of Zappa and Captain Beefheart. One touchstone for me when we first started jamming was Miles Davis's electric albums, particularly Bitches Brew and On The Corner - it's very open-ended musically, the harmony is fairly static or has a constant root over which everything else shifts, but it has a real forward momentum and dynamics due to the rhythms and the evolving interactions between the musicians.
Brett – Neil Young is certainly a big influence on my guitar playing. He is a remarkable guitarist without the predictable ‘guitar whiz’ technical histrionics. One thing that clicked with me when we first started was the Neil Young’s Dead Man soundtrack. I really liked how the guitar could be used in an impressionistic way. In Dead Sea Apes, I don’t feel that I have to unnecessarily burden a song with a melody as such; it frees me up to make noises instead.
If music isn’t evocative or makes me feel something, it’s hard for me to get enthusiastic about it. I’ve always been attracted to drones, dubby echoes (I’m a huge fan of dub and roots reggae) and mantric repetition in music and I think this was the first time I really started to use those ideas in a band situation. Standout guitar tracks for me are Maggot Brain by Funkadelic and Planet Caravan by Sabbath. They evoke feelings of cosmic loneliness in me!
Nick - I'd like to think that some of my industrial influences come in sometimes, the music of my late teens and early 20s. Stuff like Coil, Einstürzende Neubauten, Cabaret Voltaire, Wax Trax stuff, Skinny Puppy and Scorn. In mid to late 90s, living in Sheffield, I pretty much stopped listening to guitar music and was heavily into all the Warp/Skam stuff. So there's that influence as well. Thankfully the guitar returned later!
Brett – Nick’s bass pretty much underpins it all, and he can be incredibly heavy with it. In fact, he is more likely to play a chord than I am, but I can see where his industrial roots make themselves apparent in his ability to create heavy, grinding grooves
Made a list of 5 albums of all time…
It’s hard as a band to come up with favourite 5 albums, but individually -
Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Herbie Hancock – Headhunters
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love
P J Harvey - Dry
Alice Donut - Revenge fantasies of the impotent
John Martyn - Solid Air
Autechre - LP5/Tri Repetae
Shellac - At Action Park
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers
Funkadelic – Funkadelic
CAN – Ege Bamyasi
Papa M - Live From A Shark’s Cage
How do you feel playing live?
Chris - I love playing live, it's great to connect directly with people through the music and get that instant reaction. It can depend on the particular logistics of the gig - sometimes it feels like a lot of hard work, spending hours lugging all the gear backwards and forwards just to play for 25 minutes to an almost empty room. Also for me behind the drums, I can't usually see the audience and I can't always hear Nick or Brett properly so it's hard to tell how it's really going until we get people's reactions afterwards and listen back to the recordings. But playing at Supernormal festival last year was a great experience, and our last few local gigs have been really good, at Golden Cabinet in Shipley and in Manchester with The Cosmic Dead and The Oscillation.
Brett – I enjoy playing live – but I can easily get nervous if my gear doesn’t behave or my guitar goes out of tune.
Nick - I really enjoyed playing at Supernormal last year and Golden Cabinet this, but generally I much prefer 'writing' and recording.
How do you describe Dead Sea Apes sounds?
Chris - Our style has evolved naturally as a product of the music we know and love, and our particular abilities and limitations as musicians, so it's hard to give any direct comparisons. We're not the kind of band to say 'We are going to sound like X' or 'a cross between X and Y', even less be able to actually do that accurately. Nick's bass playing is really solid but also often melodic, and as there's no rhythm guitar or conventional keyboards there's plenty of room for me to be inventive and expressive on the drums. Brett has a really full, saturated guitar sound and makes great use of effects & feedback to create a constantly evolving soundscape when not churning out great angular riffs. I think we do quite well in avoiding clichés, and we tend to structure the songs based on the ideas, rather than try to fit ideas into a conventional structure or follow a set of lyrics.
Brett – Again,I think our music is pretty evocative. That’s what does it for me. I think most instrumental music is always seen as being ‘cinematic’, but I think that’s quite a limited idea. I think instrumental music is a lot more versatile than being a soundtrack to some visuals. I’d like to think there’s a sense of space, circularity and mystery in everything we do. Both Chris and Nick connect together spookily well – so that gives me a lot of room to add texture.
Nick - I think the groove is quite important in our sound, in the same way as early Funkadelic and Damo era CAN.
Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
Chris - We've got everything mic'ed up in our practice room - I just plug in my laptop and we can record everything in multitrack. We always have it running during rehearsals to capture whatever ideas come up. The more riff-based ideas lend themselves to putting a song together in the traditional way to make a complete performance, which we can play live and record together as a band. For ideas based more on particular sounds or effects, we can lift those out of the original recording and build up new tracks through editing and overdubbing. We're very inspired by the way Can worked, taking essentially jam recordings, editing and then overdubbing extra parts, which is all the more remarkable since through their classic period up to the mid-70s they did it all with just 2-track tape recorders, not multitracks. But I'm very grateful that the technology is now so much cheaper, more portable and has new capabilities due to the random-access nature of hard disk recording. I can do things on my laptop which 20 years ago would have been impossible even with rooms full of very expensive equipment. That helps us both on a creative level and also allows us to compensate for the fact that due to our various day-jobs and family commitments we only get a few hours each week to play & record music together.
Brett – I think one of the great things about the ‘tape’ continually rolling is that you can catch those things that are unrepeatable and those always add that touch of magic to the recording. We do some stuff from scratch in the traditional sense, but I think working on top of jams gives a bit of ‘life’ that can’t always be replicated. I think all the recordings have ‘life’ and a lot of that is down to Chris’s artistry with recording.
Which new bands do you recommend?
Brett – I think the Kikagaku Moyo ‘Mammatus Clouds’ and the recent Anthroprophh EP have been my favourite things this year so far. I also rate The Lay Llamas, Robedoor and Master Musicians of Bukkake a hell of a lot, too. Mugstar, Lumerians, Six Organs Of Admittance, Cave and Gnod are always worth a listen in my book.. There seems to be a lot of great stuff knocking about. It’s hard to pin down to a handful of bands, as there is that much good stuff knocking about We are living through a great time for music.
Chris - The best thing I've heard recently is Kiran Leonard. He's only 18 but has been writing and recording his own music for several years. His debut album proper 'Bowler Hat Soup' was released earlier this year and he's just finished a new album with his touring band who are just incredible. There are moments of almost Beefheart-ian chaos with melodies and time signatures colliding, contrasting with more reflective parts.
Which bands you love to made a cover version?
Chris - We have done a few covers in our time - for the Fruits De Mer label we did Land Of The Sun by Skip Spence and an obscure early Kraftwerk track, and on both of those we wanted to give the songs the treatment they perhaps deserved but didn't really get at the time: the original Land Of The Sun was completely stripped down and remixed by the time it was released, and the Kraftwerk track Ruckstoss Gondoliere was only ever recorded on a German TV show.
What´s the plan for future?
Chris - We have an album coming out in October on Cardinal Fuzz records called High Evolutionary. It's kind of a summation of everything we've done so far: the tracks have taken shape gradually over the five years we've been together, one of them even dating back to that first session. We're also working on some new tracks based on new one-take jams to keep a more spontaneous, organic feel to them, and hopefully that will be out on the great Sunrise Ocean Bender label at the end of the year or early 2015. And we're about to release another free album of selections from the archives.
Brett – We have a great relationship with Cardinal Fuzz and we feel right at home there. Dave always goes above and beyond with all the artists he works with and has been fantastic with us, so hopefully you’ll see more Dead Sea Apes from them in the future. I’m really looking forward to doing this thing for Sunrise Ocean Bender as Kevin is a great guy and an indefatigable supporter of DSA!
Any parting words?
Chris - All our back catalogue is available on our Bandcamp site (http://deadseaapes.bandcamp.com/) and T-shirts here (http://deadseaapes.bigcartel.com/)
Brett – Thanks Renato.