Sunday, 2 October 2011

Trancient Dreams Interview

Trancient Dreams a collective who fuse dub with world grooves, electronica, dub-step, drum & bass etc. In my opinion although if you like a track it doesn't matter how it's made. It's always good to watch a band rather than a laptop set.

So bearing this in mind and the interesting grooves coming out before the album release. Martin Hall-Davis took some time out of his busy schedule to introduce us to the band and their ideology with this interview.

1) Could you tell us a little about how you guys met and the ideas behind Trancient Dreams?

Well Spira and I met through Myspace in 2005. We were into each other’s music and had communicated by email from England to Norway (71 degrees above the Arctic Circle!).

It was in March of 2006, when we actually met. At Tim Brans Launch Party for his new project Subsonar (after he had departed company from Dreadzone). It’s a small world as we had both befriended Tim separately through Myspace and at the same time (unknown to him) we had both been invited separately to his launch party. With this in mind we made a week of it and built up a great friendship in that short time.

We had already decided to try to incorporate Spira’s vocals into Trancient Dreams at that point. It was something I had wanted for the project since I had started it in 2000. Prior to this I was using lots of vocal samples to achieve the desired sound (mainly female Eastern material). After our first meeting in March I decided to go to her Suspira Studios in the Arctic Circle to record our first song together “Time to Unwind”. It was amazingly easy to work with each other, both of us bringing unique and crucial parts to the Trancient Dreams sound. It was like a dream. We spent a week locked away in her Arctic Studios where we created and polished 3 new songs out of the ether. This was the start of many coincidences to come.

Bob Field our bass player has been with us for 2 years, enforcing the bass lines that are a prominent feature of our sound. Bob is a long term friend of Spira from her time living and playing in bands in England in the 90s. David Unlimbo plays guitar and brings his psychedelic style to our sound. David has spent many years developing with bands (the most current is Akahum). I'd also met David through Myspace and we played a lot of gigs separately at the same festivals and events over the last 4 years. It was only natural that he should join us for our live shows. Mark 'Mindflux' Fletcher plays Synths and Percussion with us for live gigs, again we met through Myspace. Mark is also a busy man with music projects such as ZubZub, Dream Machine and Champignon.

We all have a love of the same music. Music that has inspired us all over the years. There are just a few differences between us to make our sound an interesting and exciting addition to that whole underground psychedelic scene that came out of the 90s in England.

2) Your new album is due out next year could you tell us a little about what we can expect?

Well it’s been a huge learning curve but a very natural transformation from the mainly programmed 1st Cd “Into The Ether”. With all the new influences in my life (genres and band members) it is going to be stunning.

The Dub genre always plays a big part in our sound. While the addition of Spira Saxe's silky smooth vocals has enabled us to create songs which I think have a commercial value (in a good way of course and it still has a very cool and underground vibe to it all). The feedback we've got has been great and across a whole spectrum of people and ages. So, all in all I'm pleased that we haven't pigeon holed ourselves too much in terms of genre. We like to blend a lot of genres new and old together in whatever way feels good.

Of course you could say Dub is in there. The interesting thing with that is I have discovered that so many genres fit around Dub and its 3rd beat emphasis. This is the only genre from what I can tell has that much affinity with other genres and yet is so unique. So a great starting place for us and I was always drawn to dub music when I was growing up. So with the new material you get Drum and Bass, Dubstep, Breaks, Jazz and Trance influences all with a smattering of Psychedelica.

The idea behind the album is based on sound therapy and sacred geometry. Information that exists in sound when it’s created. Spira and myself have found an obsession forming from these amazing facts and have been inspired by it. I feel it is the most interesting thing; the universe and all that its mass holds. That and the fact we as humans can play with that and understand it (even if we don’t understand it). A Universal Language we can all understand, it says so much.

3) The album is produced by Merv Pepler (Eat Static, Ozrics etc.) have you managed to learn anything from all his years of experience or is it more a case of sending the tracks over the net and waiting for the final result?

Well I got to say it is an absolute honour to have Merv On-board this project. For me he has been my inspiration for creating music in the electronic world and everyone in the band has been influenced by him in some shape or form. So it seemed natural to ask him to produce tracks from the new album (I never thought he would agree to it, but what you don’t ask for you don’t get).

I think with me and Spira's love of Eat Static there is a definite influence there in our tracks. That and of course Ozric Tentacles (who were another huge influence on us all). So when we sent the tracks in a raw state to Merv we were sure he would hit the nail on the head. However, what has been coming back to our ears has surpassed what we expected.

It seems Merv has got an edge to what we should sound like as a band. We don’t like it, we love it! “Wild Fire Revisited” was the first track we collaborated on and the finished product just goes to show his natural affinity with producing us as a band. He has been amazingly supportive and we can say to him "we are not sure about that bit". He is so interested in what we like about it and makes sure we really do like what he is doing. So yes, we send the tracks and wait for the result. But so far the results have been exciting and excellent. So we are really happy to have someone that cares and respects our sound producing us. It’s the best decision we have made as a band to get him involved.

4) Could you tell us about your set up and if you have any favourite hardware or software?

Yes, well I come from the old school so there is a lot of hardware floating around the studio. We have Korg X3 and Z1 Synths and I borrowed a JD800 for a year or two (I love that Synth). Guitars (Electric, Bass and Acoustic), loads of percussion, the new Korg Wave drum and most recently an Alesis ADAT for recording all our ideas down (and anything weird and unusual that makes a great sound). Analogue Mixers and outboard signal processing.

However, I do love my software. The development in computers and software over the years has been amazing. So I have incorporated the two, hardware and software into the studio set up. I use an Ableton Launchpad which is an amazing interface and have the novation SL Remote and various other usb midi controllers, Evolution UC33 and other keyboard controllers. We mainly use Ableton and Reason 5 for ideas these days. But Cubase 5 to record Spira’s vocals and overdubs from the other band members. We can rewire the other apps if needed to Cubase. My favourite soft synths (well there are at least ten which I think are unique and different). The Korg Legacy collection and most of Native Instruments Vsti’s are amazing. Absynth and Massive are right up my street and I love Tone 2’s Gladiator and Firebird and Uhe’s Zebra 2 and Ace. Novation’s V-Staition and Imp Oscar…And of course I built two Quad core computers for Spira and myself to run all this amazing stuff

5) Are there any plans for a Trancient Dreams live show?

Yes there are! We are intent on doing a whole bunch of gigs in 2011 to promote the new album. We have been away a long time buried in the studio trying to get the best of the new material we recorded since being a band recorded down and committed.

So Festivals and events are being worked on at present. I now have a little more time to be arranging bookings which I have been trying to concentrate on since we returned to Norway in September after playing Waveform Festival 2010.

So any promoter’s out there looking for interesting bands please contact me

6) If you could play a live set anywhere you wanted where would it be?

Ha! Now that is an interesting question. Hmmmm…I think Sunrise at Angkor Watt Temple in Cambodia (one of the most amazing places I have been too) or Stone Henge at Solstice. Let the stones amplify us to an audience of like-minded people. Yeah!

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