Your upcoming release is “The Crystal World”.
This is going to be your first double album and your first record for Utech Records.
What are your thoughts on working with Utech? How are they different from other labels that you worked with?
Steven: How are they different? Well I guess it just comes down to personality and communication – some are a breeze to work/deal with, and some… not so much. I can tell you that working with Keith is fucking great, in many ways. This is my fourth release with Utech and I can’t say enough nice things about him and what he is doing with Utech Records. He’s definitely very supportive, and open to a lot of ideas that we have tossed his way. He’s a hell of a designer as well as one might be able to tell from some of his releases, not to mention a good friend and one who knows, and enjoys a good beer.
André: It’s been great working with Utech. I’m a big fan of the Utech releases and Keith Utech’s design work specifically. “The Crystal World” will be the first time that our album cover has been illustrated so that’s exciting. The label dealt with the artist and the design work so that was really easy for Terence since he usually does the design work.
Terence: Keith is really supportive, and will often times have an idea that we as a band had already discussed so it is very nice to know it’s a good group-think mentality. And it is nice knowing I can trust a designer who is so consistent.
André: We’ve dealt with a lot of labels so it’s difficult for me to make any blanket generalizations about any of them. Utech has been really supportive of this release and really easy to deal with.
The album is named after J.G. Ballard novel of the same name, which was published in the 60s.
Would you say that he was/is an influence on your music?
Terence: I have been a big fan for a while now of Ballard’s work, and we wrote the title track and I was looking over my lyrics and the themes we hit upon and that book was so different for him and so original: this slow leprous apocalypse, it really was evocative and odd. But yeah from “Concrete Island” to “Crash”, he has always been this big figure for me. But we always pull a lot from authors, in the past we would evoke “Dhalgren” by Samuel Delaney or fringe writings against industrialization from the early 20th century. But this album features a lot of weird phrases I borrowed from Le Corbusier’s “Towards a New Architecture.” Once they get disembodied or unresolved the modernist future appears more nightmarish, more real.
Artwork for new CD is gorgeous.
Can you talk about the artist (Justin Bartlett) and why he was chosen for this project?
André: Thanks, I’m really happy about the album’s aesthetic. We’re fans of Justin’s stuff and we suggested using Justin to the label. Utech Records was supportive of this idea, which kind of surprised me since Justin is in pretty high demand.
Terence: I’ve admired Justin for a long time, his work just goes there. I would even say as a visual artist myself, he’s been inspiring just in how he goes for it. His confidence and trust in his ability and how warped it comes out. You know his work from across the room. He had done these weird like digital looking crystals on some shirt or something and I thought like he could do it and make it look dark.
Steven: Yeah, thanks. Justin’s work is beautifully disturbing (that’s a compliment Justin!) and I’m glad it all came together. Justin seemed really into the idea/concept and as you can tell, or will very soon (depends on when you read this), the finished illustration is pretty mind blowing.
Your music got an interesting angle to it, since it was influenced equally by heavy/black metal and ambient/experimental music.
In that sense, it reminds me of bands like Vinterriket (Germany) and Northaunt (Norway), since they also seem to have roots in heavy music and metal, but their main focus is on ambient/dark ambient/drone.
Are you familiar with those bands and their work?
André: Actually, I’m not familiar with those bands, but I’m definitely a fan of the more experimental black metal. Our music has a lot of influences, so what comes out definitely draws on those influences.
Terence: Our influences are all over the place, I am probably the bigger black metal fan in the group, but our shared points of interest are a lot of progressive rock and a lot of the German stuff in the 1970s, but I mean when you start combining Genesis and Klaus Schulze or King Crimson and Cluster, I think you get a nice amalgam. Of course our metal roots are way out there; Obituary, Celtic Frost, Slayer.
Steven: I’m familiar with Northaunt, and the material I’ve heard I really enjoy. I’m definitely a fan of certain black metal bands, but I’m coming from more of the ambient, experimental, and electro-acoustic world, if you’ve heard any of the other projects I’m involved with one would easily realize that. One might not know that some of my earliest and biggest influences were bands like Celtic Frost, Obituary, Voivod, Napalm Death. It’s not all AMM, Morton Feldman, Eliane Radigue. I’ve got to mix that shit up and Locrian is the perfect outlet for me to do just that.
You albums always featured plenty of collaborators – “The Crystal World” is no exception (it features Steven Hess from Haptic / On / Pan American).
Who else would you like to work with in the future?
André: Unlike, “Territories,” we don’t think of this album as a collaborative album. This is our first album as a trio. It’s been great playing with Steven since I’ve been a fan of his stuff for a while. Steven’s contributions to this album were another factor that pushed this album into an interesting place for me.
Terence: Yeah, Steven is th third member now. No more two-man outfit, phase two of Locrian has initiated.
Steven: Thanks guys.
André: We have some plans for Locrian collaborative projects in the near future, but our schedules are really busy so collaborations are tough to schedule and we’d like our future studio recording to be recorded well in descent studios so that stuff costs money.
Terence: Personally I am not that interested in collaborations and feel it happens so often in the experimental scene it starts to kill any surprise or much development. And there are tons of records out there that are pretty mediocre when put up against the artists other non-collaborative works. I am all for moments of quality control, like you don’t have to release EVERYTHING. So, in the five years of our existence, we’ve only really done two sessions of collaborative material and all of it in 2009, the album “Territories” and the sessions we did with Jeremy Lemos of White/Light, an LP is due out any day now on Tape-Drift. Having said that, we just did one recently.
André: We recently recorded a collaboration with Horseback, which turned out really nicely. It doesn’t really sound like either project. Utech Records will be releasing that sometime next year. There are musicians that I’m interested in working with, but I’m most interested in working on a new proper Locrian studio album. I think there’s a possibility that we’ll have collaborators on such a project, but that will depend on the direction that we want to take the album.
Steven: The Horseback/Locrian collaboration sounds great, and I’m pretty excited about that, hopefully folks will enjoy it. There’s another collaboration being discussed, but we’ll keep that on the DL for now. Should be a good one, most likely a 2012 release.
I’m all for collaborations but I agree that working on a proper Locrian studio album is higher priority.
Terence: Yeah the types of collaborators are more like how can the palettes of sound expand beyond what the three of us can do, what sounds can someone else bring that we cannot do ourselves. Plus, we just relatively recently became a trio so we’re still discovering that we can do a lot and the textures and tones can do so much more than when it was just two of us.