Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Inquisition: 037.Ashes & Iron

1.How did you came up with the name of the band?

Chris: It was a song title from one of our previous bands (This Incredible Machine).  We decided that we wanted to go in a different direction musically, so we changed our name to Ashes And Iron.  The song that we took the name from would eventually become "Silens", the title track off our first EP.

2. Do you have a standard procedure for creating a song? Do you just jam around or is there a main riff and the track is built around it?

Chris: Sort of... Usually, we will have some riffs or parts in mind, then we try to construct around those main parts. It doesn't always work out that way. We have skeletons of songs that have been on the back burner for years... We like the parts, but we just can't find the glue to turn it into a song. If we feel like we're not making any progress, we'll set the song aside and work on something else.
Ian: Our standard writing procedure is not having a procedure. As Chris stated, we have many riffs and parts floating around just waiting to find a home. The most difficult part of our songwriting process is finding the ‘part between the part.’
Thad:  Most of the time someone will have an idea for a riff or a part. We’ll jam around on the riff.  While jamming we’ll test where the riff wants to go or how it needs to be changed. If it works with other song ideas we already have developed we’ll see how it wants to fit with those parts. If not, we’ll save it for a later date when we have other parts that will work together. Sometimes, while jamming on the riff new song ideas will emerge. Our process is usually iterative and fragmented. We don’t sit down and write an entire song from beginning to end as our music is not formulaic. We let the music tell us where it wants to go.

3. What are your influences and what kind of music do you listen to when you are at home?

Chris: I'd say as a band, our influences are pretty broad and I can't really pin it to a few bands. I mean, you can hear some obvious ones in our music, but we listen to all kinds of stuff.
Ian: Personally, I’m into music that I feel is real and authentic. And, ‘authenticity’ doesn’t necessarily mean high-brow. Like Van Halen before 1983.  Don’t you like to party?

4. Which is the one album you can't live without?

Chris: Dinosaur Jr – Bug
Ian:  Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
Thad: None. I don’t have that much attachment to any one album.

5. What's the first record you've ever bought?

Chris: KISS - Love Gun
Thad: well, it was a cassette and I was never really into the band all that much but Red Hot Chili Peppers Mother’s Milk.
Ian: U2 – The Joshua Tree

6. Name a band that you would like to share the stage or tour with.

Chris: Neurosis
Thad: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

7. Did the internet and especially the blogs help to spread your music around the world? Name a place (country) that you were surprised to know your music has reached to?

Chris: Without a doubt. People from all over the world have heard our first EP thanks to music blogs. I was surprised to learn that we have fans in Indonesia.
Ian: Without the internet our music wouldn’t reach out of our practice space. So, of course, having the ability to make our music available and receiving attention from numerous blogs has helped us reach wider audiences like a few fans in Russia.

8. Do you support the idea of Bandcamp where fans can decide the price or services like Spotify?

Chris: Absolutely. It's a great tool to get your music out there. Personally, I don't download music anymore, but I don't have anything against it. I would rather find it at a local record shop, order it online, or pick it up at a show. To me, being able to buy a digital copy of an album with a few clicks of a mouse takes some of the fun out of discovering new music. When I was a teenager, before the internet, I used to love going to record stores and scoring a couple records that I had been searching 3 years for. Part of the fun in discovering new music is the hunt. I think a lot of people are missing out on that today, but I do see the benefits as well.
Ian: While I’m not necessarily a fan of the mp3 digital music format, I am a supporter of music fans deciding what they pay for digital music. Like most artistic things in life, music is relative and what’s sounds great to me may not sound great to you. So, name your price. If you like it, and you’re a true music fan, you’ll probably pay what you consider to be a fair price for the music.

9. Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?

Chris: Who knows... We take things one day at a time. If we're still passionate about what we are doing musically in 5 years, then we'll continue doing what we do. If not, I'm sure we'll all be involved in other projects.
Ian:  I’m sure we’ll always be playing music. Together?  Hopefully.

10. Where have you been the past 6 years? What took you so long for your next release?  

Chris:  We've been busy. Collectively - Three kids, a Master's Degree in Architecture, etc.  We went through a couple lineup changes and it took time for us to figure out where we were going as a band.  I think we are back on track now.

11. Is the artwork of an album important nowadays in the digital era?

Chris: Art is important in every aspect. With music, you can hear it and you can feel it, but you can't see it. I think artwork just ties it all together.
Ian: Art is absolutely important. For me, since I’m first and foremost a music fan, part of the fun of buying a new record is and continues to be pouring over the artwork and the liner notes. I love finding out who created the album artwork and who engineered and mastered a particular recording.
Thad:  I am of  two minds on artwork. Is it important? Not necessarily.  Can artwork be compelling? Absolutely. Unfortunately digital music has in fact diminished the role artwork plays in the perception of a musical piece. I’ll never forget how the album art for L7’s Hungry for Stink perfectly exuded the raw, grotesque sensations I felt while listening to the music. My 12 year old brain was struck with how profound this connection is. I think this synergy of sight and sound is beautifully compelling; setting the stage for the music before you even begin to hear sounds. However, now that physical media is becoming something of a relic, I fear the love I have for album art is not shared by society at large.

12. What is your favorite album cover?

Chris: I have several. One that comes to mind is Cave In - Until Your Heart Stops.

Thad: Limiting this question specifically to album covers of vinyl records that I currently own, Goat - World Music. The crazy, die cut, multi-colored cover is just a psychedelic as the tunes on the record.

Ian: Robert Palmer - Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley.

13. It seems that a lot of people are turning to vinyl again. Why do you think that is and which is your preferred media format? 

Chris: I think people miss having something tangible. Compact discs have been on a steady decline and something needs to take its place... Why not vinyl? Vinyl is a format that has never really gone away. There's something special about it. I only listen to music when I'm in my car now, so CDs are my personal preferred format. For the band, vinyl accompanied with a digital DL code is our preferred format now.
Thad: I cannot speak to why society at large is rediscovering the joys of vinyl, however I can speak to my own music listening habits. If I am listening to music in my car I prefer CDs over MP3s. CDs still sound so much better, even than FLAC or 320k MP3s, in a car. If I am at home, I tend to listen to vinyl. Listening to vinyl is a type of spectacle, an experience. Plugging in my cell phone and pressing random just doesn’t have the same feeling. In addition to the spectacle of the album art and the embodied actions of moving the needle and flipping the record, I prefer the sound of a record in my home.

14. What's the most vivid story or moment as a band?

Chris: Many years ago, we were playing this show in the middle of nowhere. After the show, we were invited to a house party.  We were all having a good time until some meatheads showed up. We decided that we were going to leave and started rounding everyone up. Our drummer accidentally bumped into one of the guys and things escalated. Next thing I know, we're in the middle of a street fight. Punches and kicks were flying, bottles were breaking, and someone got hit with a bat... I looked around and more and more of these guys pouring out of the house and running toward us. Pretty soon we were completely outnumbered. We had no choice but to make a run for it. Luckily, we all came out unscathed.
Thad: Chris’s story is one of my favorites. My other favorite was when we were in Herrin, Il (a few hours away from our home). After our show, we decided to see what the town was all about. We were walking down the street and heard loud music coming from somewhere. We followed the music and discovered a “house” where multiple bands practiced. Several of the bands were having a party on the second floor. We found our way up to the second floor and made ourselves at home. We did not know any of the people there and they discovered quickly that we were strangers. After telling them that we had just played a show at the local music venue, we were welcomed with open arms. We had a great time hanging out and getting to know these people. One of them was even generous enough to invite us to stay at his home. It was great to find an impromptu place to sleep, as we were in no shape to drive two hours back to St. Louis.

Ashes And Iron released their second EP "The Wind Takes a Side " in December. Be sure to check it out.

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Buy from Encapsulated Records | Good Die Young

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