sexta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2017

Sleep to Dream with Whimsical - An Interview

Era uma vez no distante ano de 1997 quando uma preciosidade chamada Whimsical dava seus primeiros passos.....bem, se você acompanha as páginas do TBTCI sabe muito bem de quem iremos falar agora, e se quiser saber da história deles em detalhes, leia aqui.

Resumidamente, uma pérola que havia ficado perdida e escondida, sendo admirada somente por poucos e que graças a intervenção dos deuses da música retornou depois de um longo hiato, sim, o Whimsical dos queridos Neil e Krissy retornam as páginas do TBTCI exatamente uma semana antes de ser lançado seu tão desejado novo álbum, que na realidade não é tão novo assim, "Sleep to Dream" já deveria ter sido lançado há anos, mas perdeu-se juntamente com o término do Whimsical, mas para a felicidade completa da nação shoegaze a espertíssima Saint Marie Records, assinou com eles e fez o favor de propiciar este mágico momento.

Quando ao disco, bem, muito já foi escrito antes mesmo dele ter sido lançado, eu, prefiro apenas dizer que trata-se de algo que transborda beleza, seja da linda e majestosa voz de Krissy, ou, do primoroso talento de Neil, o trabalho de guitarras do álbum é algo que pode ser descrito como soberbo.

Tenham calma, que faltam apenas 7 dias para que "Sleep to Dream" nasça mas, saibam, o disco já nasce clássico mesmo sem ter sido lançado, podem acreditar.

O Whimsical deve e precisa ser adorado, mesmo que tardiamente, Krissy e Neil merecem.

Bons sonhos.....

***** Interview with Whimsical *****

Q. Hello Neil / Krissy, first of all, congratulations on the wonderful new album!! I'd like to hear from you, what's the feeling of releasing a new album after more than 15 years since the release of "Settings Suns are Semi Circles"?
Neil - Thanks Renato, we are happy that you like the new album. This album was written from 2000-2004 and mostly recorded at the end of 2004. We never thought it would see a release and for 11 years, we thought it was lost. Once I found the missing hard drive, Krissy and I decided to finish the album and here we are. We are very excited to finally have people hear this album. It took a very long time, but this 2016 version of the album is much stronger than the version that would have been released in 2005. Life is funny sometimes, but the wait was for the best in a lot of ways.

Krissy – Renato, first of all, we love you ;) Thank you for always supporting us!

We couldn’t be more excited about this album. It is truly a dream come true. To echo what Neil has said, the fact that what we once thought was lost and would never be heard by anyone (including us), is now being released, is almost surreal. Then, you add the fact that it is being released by one of our favorite labels (Saint Marie Records) and that makes it more than we could have ever dreamed of. We are very humbled by all of this & so grateful for the incredible level of support that has been shown for us.

I feel like I personally owe so much to Neil, for getting the ball rolling again with this in the first place. I’ll never forget him sending me a message saying that he found the hard drive, after all these years of thinking it was lost forever. At that point it was like “ok, WOW. Awesome! So, now what? Do we print up a few cd’s and hang onto them as a keepsake, to say that this is something we once worked on and be able to show our kids?” We really thought that would be the extent of it. Never, EVER, did I think we’d have a chance to properly finish the album & I surely never imagined it would be picked up by a label. I get teary eyed when I think about it. It means so much to me to have this opportunity to share our music with others, and if it weren’t for Neil’s determination, it would have never happened.

Kev Cleary (of the legendary Shoegaze, Dreampop, & NuGaze board) heard our first album and went above and beyond to promote a few of our songs on his board, also making us his “band of the week”. That pointed a few new listeners in our direction & was really inspiring for us to receive such lovely feedback. Around that time, Neil had also sent him a few of the unfinished songs from the “Sleep To Dream” recordings & Kev suggested that we send it over to Wyatt @ Saint Marie Records, to see if he’d have any interest in putting it out for us. Pipe dream? For sure. We never imagined it would actually happen. Yet here we are today. What was once just a dream has now become our beautiful reality!

(PS - We love you Wyatt Parkins & we will never forget the fact that you believed in us, were willing to take a gamble on us & stand behind the music we make!!)

Q. Tell us how was the recording process of "Sleep to Dream"?
Neil  -It’s a little hard to remember since it was mostly recorded at the end of 2004. I had a home studio at the time and we recorded everything there. Once we got about 90% of the music and most of the main vocals recorded, we sort of got burnt out. It was winter and had just turned 2005. We had been going full time since the summer of 1999. I think we just needed a break and I was busy with other bands. The band didn’t break up as much as fade away. I know I was not happy with how the drum performance was recorded and I remember thinking there was no point in going on. Once I found the missing session files and I was able to load them into Pro Tools back in early 2015, it became obvious that Krissy and I should finish the album. I was able to fix most of the mistakes from earlier and Krissy was able to finish her vocals. We built a small recording set up in her house and she learned how to actually record herself there. I mixed and mastered the album over the next year and kept in touch with all of the old band members for their input.

Krissy – Yet another dream come true for me. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be set up to record my own vocals at home, I’d have thought you were crazy. I am not the most tech savvy girl in the world, especially when it comes to things like this. The thought of learning how to work with recording software, and set up all of this equipment, was very intimidating to me at first. (I am actually submitting a photo of Neil and I on FaceTime, while he walked me through this set up process). There were many laughs to be had, that’s for sure. He was so patient with me though, and got me up and running much faster than I would have thought possible.

This all has created a monster now! Music is such a huge part of my life, and something I am so passionate about. Now that I am able to actively work on new music, it’s something I never want to see come to an end. This recording set up gave us the opportunity to work on all of the songs we released for “Brought to Light” last year, which was so fun for both of us. It has also given me the chance to work on some wonderful collaborations, writing songs with a few other amazing bands, such as: The Churchhill Garden, Pipes Not Dead, Seasurfer, The City Gates and Xeresa.

Q. Most of the songs are old, right? How did you re-recorded them now that Whimsical is a duo?

Neil -All of the songs are old and 90% was recorded as a 5 piece band. Krissy finished her vocals and I was able to fix mistakes and record some new keyboard and guitar overdubs, but what you hear on the album is still the old 5 piece version of the band that played on Setting Suns are Semi-Circles and Sleep to Dream. The current version of the band, being Krissy and I, have since recorded songs for our “Brought to Light” album. Those songs are the first to just feature the two of us as Whimsical.

Krissy – I don’t have much to add here. I will say that I was glad to be able to go back in and add some vocals to these songs. It was the “icing on the cake” that a lot of the songs needed, to round them out. The lyrics and vocals for “Leap of Faith” were actually just written in the summer of 2016. As a result, that song took on a new life. Originally, before I was set up to record, we thought that it was going to be released as an instrumental, because it was one of the songs that I had never gotten around to writing vocals for. We all love it so much more, now that the vocals have been added to it & it’s become one of my favorite songs on the album.

Q. I know you already have plans for a new album, right? Tell more about what's ahead, will it be different from "Sleep to Dream"?

Neil -Well, the new version of Whimsical is just Krissy and I going forward. You can get an idea of what we are doing with the songs on the “Brought to Light” album, which is mostly cover songs and a few old Whimsical songs. We are using programmed drums this time and now that I do not have the limitations of a 5 piece band, I can do whatever I want musically. I have started writing songs for the next album, but it is still very early for me to have an opinion on how it sounds. It still sounds like us, but I would say it sounds like a mix of Disintegration era Cure meets Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins. I have a way that I write guitar and bass parts and that is never going to change.

Krissy – Yes, Wyatt signed us for “Sleep to Dream”, and another album to follow. Sigh…that Wyatt I tell ya! J As for the music being different from” Sleep To Dream”, I would love to think that we are evolving as artists and will go on to write even better songs than what we have previously released. I think that we have a very unique sound, and I feel that any songs we work on will always have that distinguishable “Whimsical” signature. Neil and I both draw from such a large musical pool of influence, and I love that, because I think it helps to keep us from taking a “cookie cutter” approach to songwriting. We appreciate both the warm & fuzzy, upbeat & happy, dreampop songs, but also love the more melancholic, heartbreakers. My hope is that all of the music we work on will be a balance of the two of those things. Ultimately, as long as it will resonate with the listener, and pull on their heart strings in some way, then I feel happy about the music we are making.

Q. Now a question I am immensely curious to know. When will Whimsical perform live again?

Neil -Well, I am sorry to say that it might never happen. All five band members that performed on Sleep to Dream live in five separate states across the country. We have talked about maybe playing a Shoegaze festival at the end of 2017, but it all depends on if there is a demand. It would take a lot of work to make a performance happen and I just do not know if we have that sort of time in our lives anymore. We will see.

Krissy – All I have to say about that is this: Did we ever think this album would be released on Saint Marie Records? No. Did we ever think that we’d be writing new music together. No. Did we ever think that we would have the amazing support that we do? No. So, in my humble opinion, no dream is too big & nothing is outside of the realm of possibility. Never say never, (glaring at Neil, haha). It would take some work, of course, but I believe it will happen & I’m gonna hold on to that dream until it’s a reality. Assuming we’re a battery…who’s the negative, and who’s the positive here? Haha. Love you, Neil.

Q. About what is currently happening in music, not only in this new interest in shoegaze / dreampop but in general, how do you evaluate all this?

Neil - I have mixed emotions about modern day music. I sound like an old man, but I rarely hear many bands that make me excited anymore. I listen to many genres and sub-genres of music and the list of current bands that I love keep getting smaller and smaller. I am excited about the new interest in Shoegaze and Dream Pop, but it seems that what many consider Shoegaze and Dream Pop is not what I consider to be those genres. I have never been influenced by the radio or what is making money in music. Anyone who looks into my history of bands can see that, but I have no idea who many of these performers are these days. I feel and sound like an 80 year old man. My own father, who introduced me to bands like Slowdive, Ride, Lush, and MBV in 1991, knows more about current music than I do. I do check out many newer bands that I see others post on Facebook, and while I do listen to many newer bands, I still seem to go back to the stuff I grew up on. Krissy is much more into the newer bands, so at least one of us has an idea of what is going on around us. Haha

Krissy – It is safe to say that I have a polar opposite view here. I haven’t been this excited about music in such a long time. On an almost daily basis, I am finding SO many incredible bands, and new music that I am so in love with! It’s honestly almost overwhelming to keep up with, and that’s a great “problem” to have. I will, of course, always have mad love for the classic, innovative bands that blazed the trails for all of us in the Shoegaze & Dreampop scene. However, it makes me so happy to see, and even happier to hear, all of the beautiful new music pouring out of these genres, like an overflowing fountain.

I credit sources like TBTCI, “DKFM Shoegaze Radio”, “Primal Radio”, and all of the Shoegaze/Dreampop groups on facebook, for keeping me in the loop & helping me stay current with what is happening in music today. It’s like this addiction for me & I need my daily fix. Never fail, there is always at LEAST one new find, every single day, that drops my jaw & keeps me inspired to stay on the hunt. Tuning into “New Tracks Weekend”, on DKFM every weekend, is something I’m always excited about. I have found out about some of my favorite new bands that way, and I love that it is a weekend dedicated specifically to NEW music.

Q. What have you been listening to these days?
Neil - I am all over the place musically. I listen to everything from Seasurfer and Manon Meurt, to Nasum and Pig Destroyer. I love anything Dreamy like Minipop and Anne, but also bands like Boards of Canada, Manual, and Tycho. I am a huge fan old Death Metal, Black Metal, Grindcore, Horror Punk, Darkwave, Industrial, New Wave, Chillwave, as well as old IDM and Ambient music.

Krissy – I have love for SO many different types of music, but Shoegaze and Dreampop will always hold my heart first. My most recent obsession has been the 3 tracks just released by “Visiting Diplomats”, but I’ve had these other bands on a pretty constant rotation, with no plans to stop anytime soon: The Churchhill Garden, NEWMOON, Cigarettes After Sex, Crescendo, New Canyons, Daywave, The Mary Onettes, The Emerald Down, Rolemodel, The Blessed Isles, Swimming Tapes, MOLLY, Lillet Blanc, Acid Ghost, Tiny Fireflies (I could go on and on, AND ON…but I’ll stop there). I do think that 2017 is going to be packed with stellar new releases as well & I’m really looking forward to hearing them. In particular, I am SO excited for the upcoming albums from Slowdive, Airiel, Seasurfer, Cigarettes After Sex and Miniatures!!

Q. What are the plans for the future?
Neil - Krissy and I are writing songs for our next full length album as well as songs for another edition of Brought to Light. Our plan is to write more songs than we need for the full length and use the rest of the songs as B-Sides on Brought to Light 2. We obviously hope that Sleep to Dream is well received and that we start to make some sort of name for ourselves, but we are just happy to be making music and being creative together again.

Krissy – Just this once, I will tell Neil that I couldn’t have said it better myself. J Just this once. Haha. If it isn’t already obvious, we have a great friendship and are constantly joking around with each other. Being best friends for over 20 years has been a real blessing, in and of itself, but I think it’s something very special to be able to channel that bond into our music and write songs together again. We trust each other, we are very comfortable with one another & we have roots that run deep. When it comes to songwriting, we aren’t afraid to try new things, and we can be brutally honest, giving critique to one another, without there being any hurt feelings involved. I am so grateful to be able to work on music with Neil, and I have no plans to ever stop. Hopefully the future for Whimsical is only just beginning & will have no end.

Q. And finally, first of all, thank you very much for the interview, you are wonderful !!

Neil - Thanks Renato, we have always appreciated your support for Whimsical and it has been a great help to us since we have reformed.

Krissy – Thank you so much Renato! You have been one of our biggest supporters in all of this, and we will never take that for granted. We are so honored to have you in our corner & appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. So much love for you & what you do! <3 br="">*

Buy Sleep To Dream here -