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Jet Black Sea

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Category: Progressive Music Lounges
Forum Name: Interviews
Forum Description: Original interviews with Prog artists (which are exclusive to Prog Archives)
Printed Date: January 21 2022 at 02:26
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.01 -

Topic: Jet Black Sea
Posted By: marbles259
Subject: Jet Black Sea
Date Posted: September 08 2018 at 05:01
Here is my interview with Adrian Jones (Nine Stones Close) of Jet Black Sea about the new album The Overview Effect

Jet Black Sea: Men on a Mission
Interview and words by Stuart Ball

In September 2018, Jet Black Sea (the duo of Adrian Jones and Michel Simons) release their third album, The Overview Effect. It cannot be said that Adrian Jones is man who is content to rest on his laurels. Three years ago, whilst contemplating ideas for a future Jet Black Sea project, Jones was experimenting with some demoes originally based on ideas for his other project, Nine Stones Close. He wanted to see if they could be stretched and moulded to form the basis of a drone piece. This experimentation led to the basis of what was to become (unknown to Jones or his Jet Black Sea partner Michel Simons) the thirty-six minute epic title track of their third album.

SB: Can you explain how the drone piece evolved into the track we now hear on the album?

AJ: When Michel and I first listened to it [the drone piece] it had a kind of structure, a flow. So we both agreed that we should add a few things to it; electronics, guitars etc. and it just got out of hand [laughs]!

SB: Adding to such a long piece could be seen as a huge taskÖ

AJ: We just added what felt natural in the flow of the whole piece being careful not to overdo it, not to just add stuff for the sake of it. We wanted to keep it open, flowing, moody within the essence of the drone. Before we knew it, it had organically grown into a monster track.

SB: So at this point there was no concept for the piece?

AJ: The story of how that came about is funny. We had the two bookend pieces written. Musically, Home was demoed for Absorption Lines but was ultimately unused. Michel came up with the basic track for Escape Velocity which I loved right away and proceeded to heavy up with some crunching guitars. So we had the album set musically and I started writing some lyrics as we had decided that it should have vocals running through it all. We invited Aio [Nine Stones Close vocalist Adrian Oí Shaughnessy] to sing. He arrived in the Netherlands on a Friday evening and we started drinking and chatting as we normally do.

SB: The concept for The Overview Effect still wasnít set at this point?

AJ: No, the lyrics were darker, more of my usual style. We had the session set up for Saturday and Sunday to do the vocals with Michel at the controls and me directing and developing the melodies with Aio.

SB: So as you retired for the evening there was still no indication that Jet Black Sea were about to produce a concept album?

AJ: Ha ha Ė no! I had started to read an article about the overview effect on the Friday afternoon before Aio arrived. I woke up on the Saturday morning and carried on reading it while waiting for Aio to surface and Michel to arrive. Then it hit meÖ.the music was perfect for this theme. I could suddenly see it. Take off, journey, landing Ė the three tracks! So while drinking morning coffee, I started hurriedly making notes, writing sentences and phrases.

SB: I imagine the reaction of the others was interesting?

AJ: [laughing again] Yes they were. About ten minutes before we were due to start, I explained to them that I had binned my original lyrics and I had this big concept in mind which I tried to explainÖha ha haÖ their faces Ė especially Aio! Michel is used to my insanity and last minute changes.

SB: How did the sessions progress from there?
AJ: After the initial horror we started work and I basically wrote the lyrics and melodies on the fly, part by part, as we recorded.

SB: Considering how well the album has turned out, it must have been an exhilarating way to work?

AJ: It was a combination of me researching, looking for words, scribbling things down, trying to keep the phrases within the flow of the overall journey and with the mood of the pieces, and then explaining to Aio what I wanted and how to sing it. Itís incredible that it actually turned out the way it did. I read the lyrics again recently and was proud of how tightly they flow and fit with the music. I amazed myself!

SB: It was like the whole thing was just meant to be.

AJ: Yes, if I hadnít been reading the article the night before the vocal recordings this would never have happened. Itís been worth it. I personally feel itís one of the best things Iíve ever done.

SB: Presumably Michel is as happy with it as you are?

AJ: Yes, we were both excited about this one. We both think itís our best work. Michel is very modest, but he is bloody genius how he comes up with those soundscape layers and parts. Heís massively underrated.

SB: I think it is another example of your attitude to all your work. Youíre not prepared to produce something that is an easy listen that will be quickly forgotten. You produce work the listener is prepared to give time to, just as you have.

AJ: Thanks. Yes, I try to move on, change, do different things and push myself not to do the obvious and not to repeat myself.

SB: Lyrically itís probably your most optimistic, outward-looking album. For example ďI feel your arms around me as I bleed into the lightĒ brings to mind the Earth welcoming the astronaut home as well as person theyíve been longing to see.

AJ: Yes, thatís itís exactly. I always struggled to write lyrics that werenít personal to me or my feelings and life. Somehow on this album they seemed to flow naturally. Itís my hope for a better future for the Earth and for humanity.

SB: Aio has done a great job on the vocals Ė the power of some sections and the "balladic" approach on Home.

AJ: I agree. He has a fantastic range. I have to rein him in sometimes because his lower register is also so good. His vocal on Home is perfect. He loves to hit those big high sections, like belting it out on Escape Velocity, but he can also sing like on Home if you make him Ė ha ha!

SB: During the title track, you use a vocal clip of the astronaut Dr Mae Jemison talking about the overview effect after returning to Earth. How did that come about?

AJ: That was another one of my last minute ideas. It just felt right. I had been watching the clip over breakfast before the vocal recordings. How mad is that?

SB: The production on the album is astonishing. You worked with Paul Van Zeeland again.

AJ: Paul is a mixing genius. I am glad we didnít rush it and took the time with the mix to get it perfect. We wanted it to be extra special. I think it has an even better sound that the last one, which was bloody good.

SB: There are some outstanding guitar solos on the album. The one on Home must be one of the most heartfelt of your career.

AJ: Iím so happy with that solo. I used my Ibanez Destroyer on the rhythm pickup to get that rich sustained tone. I like the way the last note hangs Ė a nice ending. Itís about three years since I recorded that solo, it was nice to listen back to it when mixing and thinking Ďyeah, that was a pretty good oneí

SB: The concept and the impact of reading about the overview effect was obviously something you were extremely receptive to.

AJ: Yes. It certainly fit in with my own beliefs and experiences. I have experienced a little bit of it on long haul flights in the past. I thought I was just a bit odd until I read about the overview effect - ha ha!

SB: The album hangs together so well: the music, the concept and the lyrics. You must feel very pleased with the whole package.
AJ: The whole experience has been great - itís the most fun Iíve had making an album since One Eye on the Sunrise. Itís been hundreds of man hours, working on it over three years. However, itís not been constant work as Leaves and Absorption Lines were also being finished off but itís been incredibly rewarding. The few people that have heard it so far seem to think itís the best thing I have ever done, so we must be doing something rightÖ..

The Overview Effect is released in mid-September and can be ordered from

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