quinta-feira, 8 de janeiro de 2015

Bless The Weather with Engineers - An Interview

Uma das grandes bandas que antecipou o ressurgimento do shoegazer sem dúvidas é o Engineers. Cultuada por 11 entre 10 gazers, o Engineers lançou em 2005 seu grandioso e genial debute, o homônimo fez a festa dos críticos na época e elegendo naquela ocasião como o mix perfeito entre o shoegazer e o dreampop, e não há exageros nestas afirmações pois naquela época havia uma enorme lacuna para os sonhadores,

E a banda seguiu mesmo de forma conturbada, com a saída de Daniel Land, lançando mais dois geniais álbuns Three Fact Fader de 2009 e In Praise of More de 2010 já com a presença do amigo e produtor Ulrich Schnauss, mergulhando um pouco mais profundamente na eletrônica mas sempre com a enfase no shoegazer, boas criticas e receptividade não conseguiram fazer com que o Engineers continuasse e a banda entrou em hibernação.

Mas eis que em 2014 Mark em conjunto com seu aliado Ulrich quebrou o hiato e voltou com belíssimo álbum Always Returning, e vem mais um ep agora no início de 2015.

Como o TBTCI antecipou, 2015 é o ano da vingança dos shoegazers e parece que não sera pouco.

***** Interview with Engineers *****

Q. When did Engineers start, tell us about the history…
Engineers started properly in 2003 when we where signed to The Echo Label, although the first songs for the first album where written in 2001. Andrew Sweeney, Dan Macbean and myself though had been working on music on and off though for maybe 6 years prior to that though in different bands. myself and Andrew wrote a few of the songs on the first album together then I then wrote with Dan after he left The Shining in 2002. After signing to Echo at the back end of 2003 and playing our first show supporting The High Llamas we worked on the 1st album throughout 2004 whilst touring with people like Keane, The Music and The Charlatans.

Q: Who are your influences?
I can’t really simply answer that question anymore as no one band or one group of bands or musicians influences what I do directly. I always seems to return to classic 60’s and 70’s acts like The Byrds, Big Star and The Beach Boys though, especially when I am thinking about songwriting but I don’t think you hear that in the records these days. For me we live in an age where guitar music seems to be constantly reviving a few eras with only moderately inventive updates whilst never really bettering the originals. Bring on the next revolution!

Q. Made a list of 5 albuns of all time…
Big Star - Sister Lovers
John Martyn -Bless The Weather
The Beach Boys - Surf’s Up
The Byrds - Notorious Byrd Brothers
David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My Name

Q. How do you feel playing live?
Fantastic! I play guitar primarily, so as soon as I was remotely good enough to play with others I was desperate to find people to jam with. I found a metal band who played Slayer covers first of all at the age of 16 before joining a band with some friends who where very influenced by shoegaze and particularly Ride. I really wish I had the demos from that band as I think some people would find them to be quite an interesting listen. I find it quite frustrating that Engineers is not playing live anymore but due to geographical and financial constraints we can’t make it work without losing out a bit, which is fine if you all live near each other and want to be primarily a live band, but when you lose a month where you could be creating new output in the studio only to find yourself -£, that means you can’t do it. Hopefully things will improve soon and we will be able to play for all the people we (very gratefully) get enquiries from.

Q. How do you describe Engineers´s sounds?
As Engineers sounds. That’s a job for everyone else, not me thanks

Q: Tell us about the process of recording the songs ?
This used to happen with a rough demo being made first by myself and then working out how to produce it for a while and recording many different versions of songs before arriving at the final one. While this is interesting and you create a lot of the detail that is associated with our records on the way it is a process that I have fallen out of love with a little bit recently. I recorded the main parts for the songs ‘Bless The Painter’, ‘Smiling Back’ and ‘Searched For Answers’ in a few days for each and Matthew and Ulrich each added their parts in a few hours. This is a much more exciting way to work for me now and how I intend to carry on working in the future.

Q. Which new bands do you recommend?
Spectres are good.

Q: Which bands would you love to make a cover version of?
That’s not so interesting for me to be honest. It can be great in some cases but I really hate this syndrome of covering songs in a radically different style and peopling talk about how much 'they made it their own’. In some cases this can be really beautiful and natural, where the cover outshines the original, but I think talent show culture is especially responsible for quite a bit of pretentious bullshit at the moment in alternative culture. We made a cover of ‘Song To the Siren’ by Tim Buckley that I wasn’t totally happy with and one of ‘Hey you’ by Pink Floyd. 'Song to the Siren’ had been done much better in the past but ‘Hey You’ was ok because we wanted to give it a more epic feel than the original recording. Almost as if it was from a Pink Floyd record from 5 years earlier but with some modern guitar textures. When you have an interesting idea and genuinely feel you can better the original (even if you don’t in the end) - then I think it can be worthwhile, not just if you like it and wished you’d made the record.

Q: What´s the plans for future….
I am currently working on a collaboration album at the moment with Elliot Ireland who runs the Pedigree Cuts label. He helped engineer the drums on ‘Always Returning’ and we subsequently began writing together. I’m really enjoying this project as it is a busman’s holiday from the Engineers style which is quite freeing, and I have been recording quite a lot in Elliot’s studio which is great as it’s the first time since ‘Three Fact Fader’ I have spent a considerable amount of time in a proper studio where the clock isn’t ticking and there’s an array of interesting gear to experiment with. I’m very excited to finish this project and for people to hear it.

Q: Any parting words?
The only thing I want to say is that I really would love to make Engineers a touring band again and if the right situation comes along I will seriously consider it. I really appreciate the support from people around the world for our music and hope to be in a situation again at some point where we can make some noise for them and have a drink and a chat afterwards.
Thanks Mark