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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: March 07 2011 at 07:49

WyrDGeneS is the solo project of George Edgelander. George plays all guitar and bass parts, as well as creating all other sounds using an assortment of synthesisers, sequencers and other gadgets. Stylistically the music ranges from heavy rock/metal to gentle, melancholic passages, with more than a passing nod to prog rock, while staying firmly grounded in the melodic tradition of Georges native Northumbria (North East England).

...... but I managed to confuse Northumbria with Cumbria. I have been both places though. Both the road over Cumbria and Northumbria to Scotland has some excellent scenery. I once cycled from Newcastle to Glasgow (300 km/two days) through Northumbria and I loved that hilly scenery.  

But before this is turning into a tourism advert for this area, let me stop myself there and tell you that I got in touch with George and here is the Wyrdgenes story. 


You set up Wyrdgenes in Cumbria, or in the Lakes District as the tourist industry has renamed your area. Did you play in any other bands before starting Wyrdgenes ? Why did you choose that name ?

Actually Northumbria, just the other side of the Pennines. Other bands? Yes, though nothing of particular interest to the prog world. I must admit that I often chose which bands I worked with by how many gigs they had booked and whether there would be free food, beer and hotel rooms afterwards. I always told myself that one day I would have my own little studio, to do exactly the music I wanted. It's a bit hard to believe that my dream has finally come true and I am now truly free to give vent to my musical megalomania!
 The name combines WyrD - an Anglo-Saxon concept comparable to fate or destiny and GeneS - units of heredity. Genes map out our physical characteristics but what maps our fate and destiny, what are the genes of Wyrd? I don't know. Is the casting of a persons horoscope the karmic equivalent of mapping their DNA? I don't know! On a larger scale I imagine the destiny of a kingdom, unwinding through the ages with all the twists and turns of history, yet always with a recognisable identity held together by DNA like strands of language, customs and most importantly to me, traditional music. I don't know if that explains why I chose the name WyrDGeneS, it maybe suggests that I spend too much time staring, open mouthed and fish-eyed into space, instead of achieving stuff.

For those of us unknown with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?

I find it a little tricky trying to describe my own music but I think progressive folk rock/metal pretty much covers it. Probably more rock than metal on edgeLäNDER but on the next album the balance seems to be shifting the other way. I listen to a very wide selection of musical styles, though more often than not it will be some kind of rock, metal or prog, as well as Northumbrian pipe music. I particularly enjoy artists that resist limiting themselves to one style or another and I hope that will be reflected in my own music.
  My main instrument is the guitar, so the sound is inevitably fairly guitar based. Also,I make music on my own, with a studio that exists mainly inside my laptop. This way of working is in many ways very liberating but also comes with it's own set of limitations and goes a long way towards defining the sound of the end product. When I was a kiddie I watched a television program, with Mike Oldfield demonstrating what were, at the time, cutting edge multi-track recording techniques. I was fascinated with the way he was able to build layer after layer of guitar parts, keyboard parts and so on, until the one man became a whole orchestra of rock. Since then I always liked the idea of a totally self-sufficient solo project and with modern computer technology it's become achievable on a reasonable budget. 

Your one and only album so far; edgeLäNDER was released last year. Please tell us more about this album.

The album is a collection of very old tunes, mainly from the Northumbrian tradition, rocked up and reworked to bring them reeling into the 21st century, or at least as far as the 1970s. I think the oldest of the tunes is Mad Moll, which appears in an English country dancing manual of 1698 and was quite likely an old tune already at that time. Cobbler's Hornpipe appears in the 1701 edition of the same manual, Playford's Dancing Master. Not all of the tunes are that old but they've all been around since at least the mid 1800's. 
I played around with the tunes in various ways and padded them out with some original material. The arrangements are all instrumental and based around my band of imaginary friends comprising drums, bass, keyboards and guitar. The focus is generally on guitar but not in a 'Listen To The GUITAR... This Is A GUITAR Album', kind of way. The drums and most of the synth parts are programmed, something I felt fairly uncomfortable about to start with. It was clear though that with very little drumming ability, no drum kit, no drum mikes, no drum room and so on, it would take impractical amounts of time and money to even make a start on real drums. Reading an interview with mega-drummer Tomas Haake explaining how he used all programmed drums for Meshuggah's Catch 33 album helped me see the whole idea more positively. I decided that I quite liked the idea that two of my imaginary players would be robotic and the other two human. Before long I found myself thoroughly enjoying the challenge of tweaking a musical sounding performance out of an emotionless machine. 

Besides of this album; what have you been up to since the release of your album and what is your latest update ? What is your plans for this year and beyond ?

I'm working on a second album, probably to be titled 'Wheel of Life'. Like edgeLäNDER, it will be based around a selection of traditional tunes from Northern England but the sound will be generally heavier, proggier, and more folky. The first album was a serious learning experience for me, having only limited experience of engineering, producing, mastering and all the other skills that go into making an album apart from basic musicianship. While I am very aware that I still have a lot to learn in all these areas, I would like to think that making the next album will be a much less novicey experience.

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?  

Just to say thank you for this interview and to thank all the other kind people who have helped and supported me. The internet is a fantastic place for independent musicians like myself but there's just so much of it, without the help of people like yourself it's a daunting task trying to get noticed. So a big thank you to everyone who's taken the time to listen to my music.

Thank you to George Edgelander for this interview

His PA profile is here and homepage's here

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