Saturday, September 7, 2013

... Interview with Terence Hannum & André Foisy of LOCRIAN

Locrian is an experimental drone band from Chicago. The trio is pretty old – they forge their sound since 2005 and have about 9 releases. They write music with sci-fi background and do whatever they want exploring new dimensions of dissonance and it’s opposite sides. The atmosphere is thin yet strong, the tracks are diverse yet with similar basis, it’s a real gift for followers of sophisticated underground scene. Terence (voice of abyss and electric signals of sputnik) and Andre (yoga master of guitars) represent Locrian for us tonight as Steven (drums exploiter) is absent though he did provide me band’s pics and video links – hello Steve!

Salute comrades! How are you? What did happen in Locrian life for the few last months?
Terence: My solo LP came out on Shelter Press with a new zine of some drawings.  Locrian did a few dates for when the new album came out.  So it’s been busy.
André: We’ve played some shows on the east coast and I’ve been busy teaching yoga and getting ready to go out on this little tour with Locrian in September.

Terence, what zine are you talking about?
Terence: A zine I did called Spectral Death which was digital drawings I did of headbanging heads.  Kind of my last series investigating that aspect of heavy metal culture and it came with the LP.

And yet I bet that some of our regular readers didn’t hear about Locrian before, and it’s a fact that you have a pretty lot of different releases. So let us help our readers – please mark some milestones of Locrian and tell about it’s records which are really significant for you.
Terence:  That’s hard to say, I would say the Plague Journal 7” was the first studio recording and the first real set of ideas we brought to the plate.  Then I would say The Crystal World when we first started working with Steven, and we had this literary framework to go around.  It was a big deal especially with the 2xCD set and the second disc was an hour long accompaniment to the first disc.

Okay, and which new ideas will be fulfill in Locrian new album?
Terence: Well we wanted it to be like two narratives side by side, as if told through a mirror.  Then there’s also how certain songs have suites and different parts.  We also were more loosely inspired by science fiction novels, and really sought to make our own story about an earth that just rejects humanity and makes itself uninhabitable.

Your music has drone elements as well as black metal touches and a lot of ambient and electro experiments, can you predict the way of band evolution? And how long do you usually work to keep a balance between different elements in your songs?
Terence: We are really interested in just trying to challenge ourselves to make music we haven’t heard before, to combine a lot of our influences and make something unique.  Whenever it feels comfortable or like something we’ve done before we try and change it, move forward.  Move ourselves and our technique forward.  We spend a lot of time sketching and discussing and then when we start crafting the song we really try and let each part breathe and think about the narrative of the song.

Locrian “Eternal Return”

I remember that one of your last works is a split-album with Mamiffer of Aaron Turner (Isis), I would like to ask you to tell us the story of this release.
Terence: It was brought to us by Mamiffer and Profound Lore, and it was a great idea.  We hadn’t met them or played with them before we met in the studio.

What kind of experience did you get from record session for that split-album?
André: We learned how that Faith and Aaron approach composing music. We also got to work with Greg Norman, the recording engineer, who we love. It was very inspiring to be able to create music in a studio that sounds great everywhere.

Can you distinguish your personal achievements speaking about Locrian as a composer and lyricist?
Terence: Honestly I love the new record, that tome is the culmination of a lot of ideas and approaches working together to craft something unique for us.

I see that Locrian grants you absolute freedom of creation, so I wonder – what was your reason to take part in another project – Kwaidan?
André: Terence lives in Baltimore and we really don’t get to play together much. Kwaidan is two of my good friends that are also great musicians. The two other guys in Kwaidan have an entirely different approach to playing music than Steven and Terence so it’s great to learn from them. Also, my approach to playing with the guys in Kwaidan is different. I’d like to keep my playing in the project on the more minimalist side of things, even more retrained than my playing in Locrian.

Andre, I know that you also run Ablution Media helping bands with promotion and spreading the word of underground society. What are your principles and methods? How do you work with bands?
André: I’m really interested in working with musicians and record labels that I like. I feel like there are lots of musicians and labels that are doing really great stuff and few people get to hear about them, so that’s my mission of running this small business.

Agarttha is a one of those bands you did choose to promote with Ablution Media, what kind of discoveries do you have now besides that intriguing band?
André: I’ve been working on the new Aun record “Alpha Heaven” as well as a group from Baltimore called “No Paris.”

What are your principles of work with bands you promote? Which genres do you prefer to work with and what are results of your work?
André: Ablution Media is a business, so I expect to be compensated by whoever hires me, but I’m not taking on every project that I am offered. I feel more inspired to work with musicians that I can get excited about. I’m mostly working with experimental musicians, but I’m not opposed to working with people from other genres.
I’ve been happy with the response that I’ve gotten for the releases that I’m promoting. Pitchfork recently did a feature on Agarttha that I set up. A lot of people have been writing about that album. I’ve also been promoting my own music for a while and I think that I’ve done very well with my own stuff.

Locrian “Visitation From The Wrath Of Heaven”

Andre, I see that you really dig in minimalistic sound discovering it in Kwaidan or promoting Aun and No Paris, how would you describe that scene? You know – as we’re talking about heavy experimental music it’s a bit difficult for me too judge about “lighter” experimental scene.
André: There are a lot of labels that release more ambient, and minimalist experimental music, such as Type, Thrill Jockey, Kranky, Touch, Warp, and lots of others. I think with all music, you just have to listen to it and see how it makes you feel.

Andre besides all of your musical obsessions you also have a time to practice yoga, more than this – you’re yoga trainer. So I would like to know more about your techniques – is your kung-fu stronger than my? Do you practice aghori rituals?
André: Yes I do teach yoga and I’m really happy to talk about it. I actually don’t practice any aghori rituals. I’m actually very keen on eating grass-fed meat, but I’m not so interested in eating other humans.
The yoga that I practice is very down to earth and influenced by modern scientific understandings of the body. My style of yoga opens up peoples bodies really quickly because it focuses on making muscles strong in a really long way. It also utilizes active stretching, which means that my students engage their muscles while they are stretching which helps students to achieve a wider range of motion while making sure that their bodies are strong enough to support them.
I’d love to start teaching yoga to more musicians though. I’m going to start writing about how musicians can use yoga while they are on tour in order to stay pain-free. Riding in a van all day for multiple days is really crippling on our bodies.

Well, it’s a good idea, but what’s about pranayama and mantra’s chanting? It would be very useful for vocalists.
André: Pranayama is a part of every yoga practice that I teach. One of the pranayama techniques I teach is called Brahmari and it’s a deep inhale, followed by a powerful humming. It’s not meant to sound good, but it’s very calming. It gives the body a buzzy feeling all over. I think that this technique would be very useful for vocalists in particular.

Thank you men for the interview. I wish you all the best in your positive, negative and neutral deeds. Good luck!
André: Thanks for talking to us!
Terence: Hope to see you at Roadburn!

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