Locrian Interview

1. How did Locrian come to be?

André: I was in a band about four years ago that was offered a show and we couldn’t do it; I didn’t want to turn the show down; and I called up Terence to do something. The show was about one week after we were asked to play, so we practiced once, played the show, had fun, and we’ve been playing ever since. The show is documented on our first CDR “Setting Your Jetta On Fire.”

Terence: Around the same time André and I were playing with our wives in Unlucky Atlas and his other band, Hexacron, had broken up and they had a show to play that they couldn’t so we decided to work together on a louder and more noisey project. It was kind of an experiment that worked.

2. Your black occult noise drone sound is very much in spirit of artists like Mr Nordvargr (MZ412) , SunnO))) even Earth at times. Do you feel that drone doom and black noise sounds work well together?

André: All of those artists are great, and I’m definitely honored if you’re lumping us in with them to any extent, though I wouldn’t cite any of them as our direct influences. If you think we sound like we sound like drone doom mixed with black noise, then I think that’s a good description of a lot of our stuff. When we play, I don’t think that we think about particular styles much. Rather, we’ll talk about specific moods and emotions that we’re going for if we even talk about what we’re going to play before we do.

Terence: I think we don’t exactly sound like either of those people but thank you and our influences are much different. We think of things maybe more from a prog standpoint I guess, like Brian Eno and Robert Fripp’s work together was really important to both of us. Though we like things pretty dark and pessimistic so I guess the territory you mentioned is a fine bleak place to be.

3. Is there a running ideal of meaning behind the “Drenched Lands” release?

André: There are a lot of ideas packed into the release. The cultural critique present in a lot of our music is something that must be stated indirectly. Perhaps, I’m more interested in hearing what you think the meaning behind the release is?

There are certain contradictions that our music and artwork deals with. The cover photo of “Drenched Lands” (taken by Kelly Rix) is both beautiful and horrific at the same time. It’s an image of a dead highway, part of the old Route 66.

The same contradiction is present in the artwork on our “Greyfield Shrines” LP from Diophantine Discs, as well as our releases on Bloodlust! Greyfields are essentially outdated, failing, or failed real estate. Often, there’s no environmental rational for disuse of this land. Dead malls are great examples of this phenomenon. Brownfields, on the other hand, are contaminated cites and some of our themes deal with brownfields as well. The meaning of these images, our lyrics, and our music is something that’s best interpreted indirectly. Perhaps our message is something that can’t be stated directly, but must be evoked, or summoned, because there are so many imbrications to our work.

Our messages our more than environmental though, they are also a critique of the culture of “buying and selling stuff” that we live in, but it’s also more than that. It’s something that’s painful for us as well as joyful.

Terence: Drenched Lands comes from this William S. Burroughs novel The Soft Machine that was really influential to me. It is a line I really enjoyed from one of the cut up sections that I felt described best the dystopian dreamscape in the novel but also could apply to the decay I was envisioning with the record that I felt was like a projection to the future. Especially with the whole economic collapse in the US right now. To me the whole record, and its postscript “Greyfield Shrines”, was trying to evoke a distressed landscape that has purged most human life from it. Some post-ecological trauma and the protagonist or disembodied viewer is drifting across this wasteland transmitting this loss back to a distant station.

4. You’re working with two labels (Small-Doses & At War With False Noise) on your new CD. How did that come about?

Terence: We had met Joe from Small-Doses at a show we played in Minneapolis and really got along with him. Al was a pal from a message board; they were two guys we liked who around the same time had said they would like to work with us, we had this new record. Al and Joe are pals and they started talking about bands they would be working with and it just all came together and we could not be more happy.

André: It’s been great working with Joe at Small Doses and Al at At War With False Noise. We both really like the stuff that they put out and we really respect both of their labels.

5. Do you prefer performing live or recording your madness in the studio?

Terence: They’re both so different and unique. I really like both, but keep in mind we’ve only been in the studio three times and only two of those sessions have been released. The live experience is very freeform and loose, we try and let the ritual guide us around a certain set of parameters. However in the studio we definitely have the live conjuring in mind but tend to try and distill it even further and isolate certain movements to fit together in a more comprehensive way the engages the recorded object more.

André: I very much enjoy playing in both settings, but each should be taken on their own terms.

I saw Brutal Truth play the other day and they are putting out a new album, but it’s not out yet. They played the entire new album before playing any of their older stuff and it was funny for me to listen to their older fans during the first part of their set. These people were so mad that they had to wait for Brutal Truth to play their new stuff (which is awesome) before they played any of their old stuff. These fans essentially just wanted to hear the band regurgitate their old albums in a setting where they could bump into other people in the crowd. On top of this, Mark Solotroff from Bloodyminded and Bruce Lamont from Yakuza contributed synth and saxophone to many of their new songs. Everything sounded great over the sound system in the place. These different elements for a grind band were also too much for some of the fans. Anyway, it was an amazing show to be at and something exactly the same won’t happen ever again, and I expect that something similar won’t happen at another Brutal Truth show. I totally enjoyed it and I got a kick out of listening to these pissed off fans. I just kept thinking, “why would you even come to this show if you just want to listen to your records?”

This relates to us because if we were ever to play something from one of our studio recordings, then I would never come out the same twice. If someone shows up to our shows expecting to hear us regurgitate “Drenched Lands” then they’re going to be disappointed.

6. The Chicago scene is mixed with so many indie legends. What is the scene like today? I really think if you could get Steve Albini to produce you next title you could be legendary in you own right? Ever thought of working with the master of Big Black???

André: The Chicago noise and experimental scene is great. There are a ton of people doing interesting things: Jason Soliday; Mark Soltroff; Bruce Lamont; and great groups like The Golden Sores, Oakeater, White/Light and a bunch of others.

Terence: I think Chicago has so many great people in bands and those who are in bands who sit behind the boards or run mastering studios. The scene is all over the place, there is a ton of boring indie rock, bad hardcore, shitty punk with a ton of hype and a few bright lights. The metal and experimental scenes are really vibrant around a handful of bands, labels, record shops, etc. I think Chicago is a great music city, there are too many shows sometimes you can’t even go to all of them in the same night.

André: It’d be great to work with Albini at some point. I think that his rates are relatively cheap for him being such a superstar. We have a couple dates booked in Semaphore studios in June with Jeremy Lemos from White/Light. We worked with him for our “Plague Journal” 7” (our first studio recording) and he did a great job. We also recently worked with him with our other band, Unlucky Atlas, and he did an amazing job. We’re not sure if that will turn into a full-length, but we’re really excited about it.

Terence: Specifically the work he’s done with Whitehouse and iconic sounds he drew from The Jesus Lizard, Low, Om and Uzeda definitely put him in this interesting orbit. Though I would never want to slight the guys who have stepped up to the plate like Jeremy Lemos (from White/Light) to record us or Jason Ward or Jason Soliday to master our material. I think it is the unique experience these guys have with playing live that informs their engineering, and it is a good town as well for recording.

7. Not that you haven't been asked before but why the name Locrian?

André: As we said, we came up with the project on the spur-of-the-moment about four years ago. Soon after we were offered the show, my wife heard me talking about scales and she told me that Locrian sounded cool. Terence and I briefly discussed it and we ended up keeping it.

Terence: I liked it because no one would know what it meant and they would have to look it up. Then get confused if we wanted to talk about Greek history or obscure modes of music.

8. Will we see Locrian touring the U.S. any time soon?

André: We’re working on booking about a 10 day tour of mainly the east coast. Hopefully, that will go well. We’ll entertain show offers from other parts of the U.S., but we’re working on making this July tour solid before making any other plans.

Terence: Definitely our next show is June 6th as a part of the two-day Matichetehew Assembly here in Chicago and then a ten-day tour in July to the south and northeast.

9. “Drenched Lands” is all I’ve heard from the project. Are the other releases or material very different from this?

André: Each release is unique, and I think that every format (tape, CD, vinyl, or whatever) are unique in certain ways as well. This is our second studio recording. Our first recording resulted in the two tracks for our “Plague Journal” 7” on Bloodlust! and on track, Visible/Invisible, that we put on a split tape with Daleth. This stuff is a lot different from our new CD, but it’s some of my favorite stuff that we’ve recorded. We sold out of the tape a long time ago, but I think that Bloodlust! has a few copies of the 7” left.

Our recent CD “Rhetoric of Surfaces”, which is also on Bloodlust!, compiles some of our out-of-print CDRs, tracks that we’ve had on limited tapes, and some unreleased stuff. A few of the tracks we recorded for this were live tracks that we did for the “Something Else” experimental radio show on WLUW that’s coordinated by Phil Von Zweck. We really like this CD. We thought out every track that we put on it and got it mastered by Jason Soliday so that it sounds like a very coherent album.

Terence: However Drenched Lands is the fruition of a lot of ideas we had been exploring. I think it stands out but if you listen to our other material you can see that all of it lead to this point, though it has more defined vocals with actual lyrics. It took me four years to write any lyrics to what we’re doing.

10. Why is the vinyl release of “Drenched Lands” coming on a third label (Bloodlust!)?

André: Everything just turned out that way. We’ve worked with Bloodlust! in the past. It’s run by Mark Solotroff, and we know him well and we really trust him with our release. Since we feel that every format is unique, we’re going to make the vinyl version different than the CD version of “Drenched Lands” in some way. We still need to figure out what we’re going to do with this, but we’re planning to include some kind of bonus material. “Greyfield Shrines” is the bonus track on the “Drenched Lands” CD. This track will not be included on the vinyl version. I think that the vinyl edition will be completed later in the year.

Terence: Mark (Bloodlust!) is a very good friend and has supported practically since we started and released two of our other releases; the “Plague Journal” 7” and the CD “Rhetoric of Surfaces”. We are firm believers in having our material on multiple formats, we are big fans of vinyl and I know having it on vinyl will dredge certain frequencies that are lost on CD plus be an object more listeners can be engaged with. I think CDs are problematic, not many people listen to them. Sure they rip it on to the computer but the actual disc is such an afterthought. It is just a vessel to grab information from.

11. Are Locrian fans of the digital age (Myspace, Webzines, Digital Audio etc)? Do you miss the day of old print zines, tape trading and FM/college radio??

André: I’m not sure what the people that listen to us think. I definitely like print zines and they are still around, but perhaps they are different now. We just received the new Oaken Throne which looks awesome and everything about it is high quality. Perhaps a zine like that would have been more difficult for people to put together ten of fifteen years ago. I think that the digital age presents people with the possibility of making really nice looking stuff for cheaper.

People trade stuff with us all of the time, which is often something that we like a lot. And, we listen to the “Something Else” program on the radio frequently, so I don’t think that the days of interesting radio stations are over. I’d certainly like to get a website up for us so that we can delete our Myspace account. I get irritated whenever I have to be subjugated to all of the irrelevant adds in order to get to our account. Someday, Myspace will be a virtual greyfield.

Terence: Then MySpace will contain a certain nostalgia, like 8-bit or something. To continue from the last question, we’re not some luddites but we certainly appreciate print zines over web materials, and the sound of a cassette or vinyl over a super compressed mp3. I miss having radio I actually enjoy listening to, though I guess Chicago is better then most towns. The web is a wonderful way to find out about music and discover bands that were maybe looked over by the hegemony of history but it is not a good spot to find quality samples. That is fine and perhaps the internet is now what college radio once was. Though I would say that I am way more interested in zines and magazines now that deal with music and art and kind of put their money where their mouth is. I agree that a good example would be the great black metal zine Oaken Throne that is really well produced with good art, great articles, thoughtful reviews, it comes with a CD and is totally DIY and focuses on really underground groups. The quality is very high, or magazines like Rock-A-Rolla.

12. What can we expect from future releases as it looks like you have several unreleased pieces of material ready??

André: We just recorded some new stuff and most of it doesn’t have a home yet. We’ve been collaborating with Andrew from Velnias for a while. We recorded a track with him that will be on our upcoming split 7” with Harpoon on the HeWhoCorrupts Inc. label.

We also recorded a track with Mark Solotroff that’s apparently going to be on the new Bloodyminded album, “Within The Walls.” That track turned out really well and I can’t wait to hear a mastered version of it.

We also collaborated with Bruce Lamont and Blake Judd from Nachtmystium. We did an organ heavy piece with Bruce that we’ve already mixed which turned out great and we recorded two other tracks with those two that we still need to mix. Other than that stuff, which to my ears is still unfinished, we don’t have much unreleased material that is of high enough quality in order to be released.

We’d like to do a split LP with The Golden Sores, a great Chicago drone band. We’re not sure what material we’re going to use for that, but we’re looking for someone who wants to put that out.

Terence: We are also self-releasing a VHS + 3” CD called “Land of Decay” that will feature a few live sets on video and a previously unreleased live set on the 3” CD in a limited edition.

13. Thank you for your time any closing thoughts here?

André: Thanks for speaking with us!

Terence: Thank you for caring about what we’re doing.

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