What inspired you in making this new album involving
(JAMES KILMURRAY) That's a good question. In my case I can remember a specific day which really set the ball rolling. It was on a road trip holiday along the west coast of Ireland. I've always loved the atmosphere of the coast and the sea so for me the whole trip was amazing.
On one of the days we caught a boat to one of the Aran islands out in the Atlantic. The island itself is covered in a patchwork of ancient stone walls and the atmosphere of the place was just mind blowing. It may sound clichéd but it was on the island that the song "A Fire on the Sea" started coming together. We already had some of the riffs for that song and in my mind the whole raw elemental atmosphere of the island completely resonated with the atmosphere of the guitar sound.
For me personally that was start, where
something inspiring took shape. A lot of my contributions to the album
came from that mood and it definately influenced the sound and atmosphere
(KIERON TUOHEY) Mainly positive from our fanbase. This album has had some of the best reviews we've ever had. But a few of reviews have been the worst we've ever recieved. There was also one review from someone who prefered us on "A Walk Through Oceans" and was very negative about Kil's vocals and the general direction. That was a new but inevitable phenomenon for us. We'll say similar things about bands we like and hear others doing the same. But I was a bit unprepared for us to be scrutinised in a similar way.
3-I personally appreciated the album very much and I found it more metallic and slightly less, lets say, mourning than what I was expecting. Is it just my impression or did you actually hit heavier.
(KIERON TUOHEY) Absolutely! This is a point which I think has been a little overlooked. Many will mention the melancholic beauty in our music, which is an important feature. But also important is the heaviness, power and aggresion. With the latest album, we felt a need to consolidate the different elements better than before. With the previous album, the two tracks which we wrote, "Winds Of Enlightenment" and "The Burning Midnight" saw us moving towards this approach. The last album was written over a long period of time and with two major line-up. So we had to take on some of the roles of the guys who had left as they were also involved in the writing. In particular when the old singer left, there was a number of new options as to where we could take the songwriting. So maybe we got a bit too excited with the possibilities. The writing personnel for the latest album, namely me and Kil was more settled and those new possibilities had become a regular fixture.
4-Album A Fire on The Sea came after a
while following the debut full-length album Under a Torn Sky (2009) and
with side projects (e.g. The Human Condition) plus demanding life/work
(KIERON TUOHEY) I think it was only finding
the time to do it around other commitments. We had hoped to record it
in the summer of 2012 but we weren't rehearsed in time. But it worked
out better for us to do it the following year. The album was recorded
and mixed in stages over five months which was quite a good pace for us.
5- On the other side, which features/facilities did you appreciate most for the making of the new album? For example, how was the experience at the Full Stack Studio?
(KIERON TUOHEY) I first met Matt from
Full Stack when we did a gig with Bastard Of The Skies back in '06. And
they sounded really heavy, so when Matt told us afterwards that he had
a studio, we were interested. But our paths didn't cross after that and
a we'd forgotten about him when we were looking for a studio to record
the first album a few years later. I heard about his place again when
looking for a studio to record the first Human Condition demo, as there
was no way we'd again use the studio we did the Unsilence debut at. The
Human Condition demos managed to capture the sound of the band so I knew
that Unsilence just had to record there.
6- It's cool to see how the experience
with another band is addressing towards resolution or better management
of important technical issues such as those about sound quality!
(KIERON TUOHEY) Yes.
We have been inactive over the past six months as our drummer Phil has
had a hernia. But we've started practicing again and this coming Thursday
(26/3), we have a gig in Liverpool with Coltsblood, Mael Mordha and Ninkharsag.
(JAMES MOFFAT) The Human Condition has had a few false starts over the past few years. After the demo EP came out things seemed to happen in fits and starts. I was in and out of work for about 18 months and over the past 10 months or so I havent had a job. Money has been really hard to come by. I havent had any transport and thereve been times where I havent been able to eat very well or afford gas and electricity, so doing anything with the band has been out of the question. With us all living a fair distance apart its hard to do anything without at least some money to travel. Im back in work now and Ive got transport again. Im still struggling for money for the time being, but I really wanted to get back into things as soon as I could.
... Did somehow the work on Unsilence's album also influence the contribution
in terms of composition, or at least mood, to the new music of The Human
Condition, at least for those of you involved in both bands?
What are you putting into The Human Condition in addition or in alternative to Unsilence?
(KIERON TUOHEY)Both Human and Unsilence operate as seperate entities. And those who are involved in both generally have different roles. In Human, Jonathon plays guitar and writes most of the music, although Jay has made some contributions. I haven't wrote anything yet as I had been working on the last Unsilence album. But I have contributed a riff for a new song and I think Jonathon is using something I wrote but didn't use when he was a member of Unsilence. I would like to write more for Human, but it's a case of the riff just sounding right for the band. I don't want to be putting forward material which was rejected from Unsilence.
In Unsilence, it's now Kil and I who do the writing. Jonathon just plays the drums but has made a few suggestions for arrangements. We asked Jay if he'd do bass on the last album when we knew the old bassist wasn't coming back at the end of 2012. It's possible that he might write for us in the future.
The only thing I have contributed to The Human Condition is the guitar solos. And I've been asked to do a guitar solo for every song in the classic metal/rock tradition. Whereas in Unsilence there would be songs where I don't play solos. We would see how the song develops before deciding to put a solo in. But on our latest album there is solos in all but one song (or two if you count the clean guitar track "Old Tides"). This might have been influenced by what I've done in Human. If you look at legacy of guitar solos in metal, there must be some pre-conceived idea of having a guitar solo in every song. And they sound great. So this time round I was thinking of accommodating solos more. After all, the idea of goimg against a pre-conceived approach can become formulaic in itself.
(JAMES MOFFATT) As far as writing goes, Id like to do a lot more. I want to get more out there. Ive been in bands for a while now but the only song Ive really had a writing contribution with has been Misericordes Sub Rosa on the last demo. That song was built around a bassline and riff I came up with, and I wrote the lyrics for that. We got that song pretty much finished in one jam session. Ive got one riff on the new Human Condition album, right in the middle of Chrysalis and Im quite proud of that one. I seem to find writing stuff pretty difficult, for some reason.
8-On Facebook I saw that The Human Condition took part to a gig during last January. Cool! So maybe it won't be too long before Unsilence too will go back onto the stage ...
(KIERON TUOHEY) The last Human Condition gig was actually last May. Then there was a lull in our activity due to reasons mentioned earlier. We had looked into sound some Unsilence gigs last summer when Kil was on holiday from college. But we didn't get anything organised. Kil has now become a father for the first time so there won't be any gigs this year. But we're hoping we can organise something from summer next year onwards.
(JAMES MOFFAT) Despite some gear problems, the last Human Condition gig went pretty well I thought. Id love to play some gigs with Unsilence. The new stuff deserves to be heard live. And Im really looking forward to the next Human Condition gig. Its in Liverpool, which is where Im from and where I still live. Itll be the first time Ive ever played here.
9-A final question: are you guys already planning or working on new music for Unsilence? And, if so, are there any specific sources of inspiration, at least music/style-wise?
(KIERON TUOHEY) We
have started working on new material. There isn't too much written yet.
So far, it's difficult to summarise the nature of the material. But I
think it will be something moodier without forsaking the heaviness gained
with our last album. That's something we want to achieve.
A FIRE ON THE SEA
A TORN SKY