we move onto the main meal, let's start with a post mortem on Antique
Seeking Nuns. When, where and why did you start up http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=4816" rel="nofollow - ?
- Joff and me were school friends and always jammed together in
school holidays and stuff like that. But after I’d been to
university for a few years and Joff had been working in various bands
we started to realise that we probably should start putting something
together. So, the original plan was to do an EP of various strange
instrumentals and odd songs that we’d started working on. That
would be back in 2001 and all done out of our respective homes in
Oxfordshire in England.
- As Matt says we began working on ASN back in 2001. I think at the
time Matt and I were trying to earn a bit of cash playing jazz in
bars and restaurants in and around Oxford. It was during the
rehearsals for said jazz gigs that we would jam out ideas or just
improvise music directly to cassette or 4 track. Some of these early
improvisations wound up on Mild Profundities and others are floating
about in the ether somewhere.
Seeking Nuns released three Eps between 2003 and 2009. Please tell us
more about these three Eps.
- All of the music for them was mostly written in that early
period we just mentioned, along with the start of an epic concept
album called Buttered Cat. We managed to self release the first one
“Mild Profundities” right at the start of 2003, but then as a
band we followed a different opportunity to record for a publisher
who had shown some interest in some early songs of Joff’s which led
to several singles and an album as Joff Winks Band. This meant that
the EPs had to be done as and when we could fit them in: so, the
Double Egg EP was recorded in 2004 but only put out in 2006 and
Careful! It’s Tepid was recorded in 2006 and had to wait until the
end of last year to see the light of day. Stylistically, the EPs are
pretty diverse – lots of Zappa esque instrumental stuff, some very
surreal and absurd songwriting in the tradition of Robert Wyatt and
Hatfield and the North, and a few ambient and classical elements
thrown in too.
– We had
intended Mild Profundities to be an album length release. However, at
the time we were still pretty green and only really getting used to
the whole process of making a recording from scratch by ourselves.
So, we axed some material and focused our efforts on a smaller
release. We basically put together a whole team of people to cover
everything from cover artwork to mastering and manufacturing a
physical product. Relationships we very much rely on to this day! It
was a tough balancing act to keep up the composition for the Joff
Winks Band whilst trying to honor the remaining work by ASN. A
situation that eventually became overbearing and has lead us to the
renaming of the band after all of these years.
also tell us more about the live recording you did as Sanguine Hum,
but which includes Antique Seeking Nuns material.
- It wasn’t planned as such but came about thanks to Al Heslop who
runs the excellent progressive guitar trio Heights. He was mixing our
sound at the gig and had brought along recording equipment. We’d
been playing some of the early Nuns stuff for the first time that
year – particularly from the first EP – but as that EP was just
me and Joff these versions took on a different life as played by the
full band. Our drummer Paul mixed the tracks and we thought it would
make a nice transition to have Sanguine Hum playing some of the older
stuff. It did a good job of bridging the gap between the two band
names, plus it allowed us some extra time to finish off Diving Bell.
recording was really a great opportunity that presented itself on the
night of the gig. Al was there on hand and ready to try some
recording, it was all pretty impromptu and off the cuff
went from Antique Seeking Nuns to Sanguine Hum and a change of style.
Please tell us more about this transformation and process.
I would say that it is essentially the same band but just coming from
a slightly different angle. If you listen to our work in
chronological order of the time it was written which would be the
three EPs followed by Songs For Days by Joff Winks Band and even the
Nunbient electronic stuff that me and Joff did then there certainly
is a logical progression that can be heard. It was simply a case of
us feeling that the Nuns stuff belonged to a different era and we’d
learnt how to present ourselves in a more direct way. Sanguine Hum is
about a fresh beginning that absorbs everything we’ve done into a
more focused whole. Ironically though, this new album is certainly
the most complicated thing we’ve done, but the trick is to make it
all sound effortless rather than showy which I think we’ve
achieved. We recommend that people check out the sleeve notes for the
Careful! It’s Tepid EP, which tells our story in some detail.
change of style is really a work in progress. Matt and I are
influenced by many artists and ensembles, the list seems endless,
we’re constantly evolving the listening experience and this has a
big impact on the growth of new material. The more I take in the more
I want to try something else. It’s harder than might be expected to
follow yourself. I mean to maintain expectations or produce what may
be conceived of as a logical follow up. The entire process of making
our work seems to have defied any sense of logical or methodical
progression. Hopefully, one day we’ll sit back with a massive
catalogue of work and say, “nice one, it all makes sense”
give us your long or brief thoughts on your debut album as Sanguine
Hum called Diving Bell released some days ago. How would you describe
the music and which bands would you compare yourself with?
Porcupine Tree certainly influenced a lot of the album as we’ve
been fans of Steven Wilson since the mid 1990’s, so that influence
always seeps through. Listeners will possibly hear elements of King
Crimson and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, plus we have always looked to
American bands such as Tortoise and the Flaming Lips who have
developed a progressive language for their music without sounding
100% like a traditional “prog” band. There’s also a fair amount
of Zappa and Canterbury sprinkled in there too. This album is
something we certainly see as a starting point for people to get on
board with what we’re doing and part of the mission was to be as
direct and melodic as the Beatles or the Beach Boys and yet
instrumentally really push ourselves.
seems to have got this question pretty pinned down. I would add
however that it would be impossible to underestimate the impact of
artists from outside the progressive scene such as Steve Reich, Miles
Davis or Keith Jarrett and all of the Manfred Eicher releases on ECM.
is your writing and creative processes?
varied, even more so on this new album. We all write bits and work on
arrangements in rehearsal alongside Paul on drums and Brad on Bass.
Some tracks come along quickly others take years to find their shape.
There are some great moments on Diving Bell that came from
improvising as a four piece, and other sections that required some
more serious compositional thought to put it all together. We’ve
fairly evenly split the lyric writing for this one as well.
Joff - This album is really the most colloborative effort we have done to date. It involves elements of input from all 4 of us although Matt and I do share the majority
of the songwriting.
It’s been the first record where even lyric writing has been a
something of an eye opener for us all!
album has been released through a company called Troopers For Sound.
My guess is that this company is run by yourself. Please tell us more
about the record label and where people out there can purchase your
- Yes, we
set up Troopers For Sound to be an umbrella label for all of our
projects so we could have a home for everything we’ve done which is
currently a total of 3 singles, 5 EPs and 3 albums via a mix of
downloads and CDs across four different projects (Antique Seeking
Nuns, Joff Winks Band, Nunbient and Sanguine Hum). Everything
features Joff and me and all of the band stuff also features Brad
Waissman on bass and Paul Mallyon on drums. The album is available
directly from troopersforsound.com but will also be available from
selected online retailers as well.
For Sound is a labour of love for us. A place where we have total
control where we don’t have to compromise anything other than our
is your plans for this year?
- We’re hoping to do some higher profile gigs in support of the
album whilst also planning the recording of the follow up album –
which is already completely written, and in fact is a concept album
that we’ve been nurturing for the last 8 years or more. We’re
very excited to finally get the chance to present it to people.
– I think 2011 will start with some major consolidation. We
still have a lot of work that needs to be recorded and released
before we can move on to new material. The music in back catalogue
that needs to see the light of day is becoming a really important
issue for myself and for the band. Fingers crossed we should see
another full-length album this year with some smaller more eclectic
wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this
- Just to
say thanks to those who’ve supported the band in all of its guises
– and to say we’re really excited about the bands’ prospects
thanks to all the people who help us in our musical endeavors and
support our work.
Thank you to Matt and Joff for this interview
Their PA profile is http://www.progarchives.com/artist.asp?id=6094" rel="nofollow - and homepage's http://troopersforsound.com/artists/" rel="nofollow -