Q&A with Hiroshima Shadows

hiroshima-shadows

Kieran Blake of local punk trio Hiroshima Shadows answered some questions about the band and their new record ahead of playing TRH-Bar September 19. Here's their self-titled tape, available for PWYC download and released last year via Born Recs.

How long has the band been together? Are you (Kieran) the main songwriter, or do the other members write too?

The band was formed over 4 years ago but I'm the only original member. It was originally me, Hannah Lewis who left to focus on her band Red Mass, Emily Bitze who moved to Toronto and formed Milk Lines with her husband Jeff Clarke of Demon's Claws, and a string of exploding drummers not unlike Spinal Tap. The current line up with Nick and Phil has been going strong for a while now, and it feels like the best fit; I'm the main songwriter and I definitely come in with an idea in mind for bass and drums but they come up with cool stuff I never would have thought of.

How do you decide what you write is "Hiroshima Shadows" or will find a home somewhere else? Do you always write on guitar?

Hiroshima songs are always written on guitar, or sometimes I just use a distorted bass if its a 'riff' driven song. There's almost no crossover between writing band songs and when I'm writing songs for my solo project because they're such different mindsets that I have to get into. There was one song that I felt was a bit too weird for my solo stuff so I roughed it up a bit and brought it to the band and that became "Drug Skill" on our record that's coming out later this year.

When is the Hiroshima Shadows record coming out?

The new album is completely finished, but we're seeing if any labels want to put it out.. if they don't it'll be out in some form by the end of the year. It's different in that it was recorded properly in a studio and mastered by a professional — we took a bunch of the old songs from the tape we released and recorded them with our newest songs — so the biggest difference is that the songs sound juicy now instead of half baked.

What do you like most about playing loud, aggressive music?

Well it's very cathartic to perform it, and its really fun to have people jumping around at your shows, but it's also refreshing and necessary for me as a songwriter to let loose and write about stuff that concerns me but I wouldn't normally write about. Like socio-political shit that would make me feel like a preachy douche if I was playing an acoustic guitar, or I can get away with sleazy songs about sex and drugs. My solo project is pretty inward so the band is outward. It's fun because it covers the other side of the spectrum of being alive. Solo I'm Dr. Jekyll and in the band I'm Mr. Hyde.

When looking up the band on Facebook I saw you made a personal account for the band. Did you find you weren't getting to the people you wanted to reach without paying Facebook? Would you rather the band not need to have Facebook (though it seems like a must-do for bands these days)?

Yeah, exactly. On Facebook pages they have this feature that tells you like "This post reached 14 people" and they also say "Do you want to boost this post?" And we have hundreds of fans on there that aren't seeing stuff we post so I feel like its a scam. So we made a personal profile and added all the fans. I'd like to one day just have a Twitter but I feel like people don't use Twitter as much -- you should add @hiroshimadows and make my dream come true.

How did you connect with Push&Shove?

We were hooked up with them for our Pop Montreal show, but I haven't heard much about them, they're a new thing right? So far so good; they're putting on some good shit this year.

Hiroshima Shadows are playing TRH-Bar September 19 at 9:30 p.m.

The craftsman behind CROSSS

The mystic indie metal of CROSSS is coming to Montreal before taking its new form in Toronto at the end of the year.

Originally from Halifax, singer/guitarist Andy March credits his interest in things spiritual in part to his time at a Shambhala Buddhist high school. It may also be where his chant-like vocals come from, moving over slow, heavy guitar riffs and relentless drumming.

March has just finished mixing the follow-up to last year’s heavy haunt Obsidian Spectre. The new record was tracked on familiar territory, during night sessions in Halifax’s Echo Chamber studio throughout 2014.

Like on Obsidian Spectre, he’s doing all the production work, from the engineering to the mixing to the mastering.

“It just takes forever. It kind of drives a person crazy trying to engineer and mix and master a record, and I think it probably dilutes its meaning, having to pass through the same brain so many times,” says March, who started CROSSS in 2008 in Montreal.

It’s common practice to have someone else master your record, but mastering is expensive. So March spent months training his ears to notice the minutiae that mastering engineers make their living from. The resulting LP was something you could crank without being overwhelmed, giving the songs more space, in the ‘70s style of recording.

“That one I felt went a little too far, it’s a little too gentle and comfortable. This record hits you a little harder, it’s not as easy listening,” says March. “It’s kind of in the middle, it’s not going to sound like a Ty Segall record, but it’s not going to sound like a Black Sabbath record either.”

He’s going for something heavier, with lyrics that are a little more relatable — while retaining the dark, druidic quality that makes a CROSSS record feel part grunge and part sacrament.

The record will be a kind of second half to Obsidian Spectre, and is expected to come out in the late winter or early spring.

The latest release from CROSSS is “Eye Seance”, one of two songs recorded in the latest Echo Chamber sessions written by Nathan Doucet, who plays drums in CROSSS and also plays with Heaven for Real.

Doucet and bassist Ryan Allen have been the main band for the past two years, but after touring this fall with a temporary lineup March will have a new band based in Toronto — with Mikołaj Gajewski on bass, and Kris Bowering on drums.

“Eye Seance” came out last month on Ottawa-based Bruised Tongue Records, typically a cassette-only operation. But thanks to a deal with March when he was making a hasty exit from Hamilton, Bruised Tongue has put out a handful of lathe cut records using Andy’s record lathe.

The track is on a split with “Young and EZ” by Toronto-based Soupcans. Bruised Tongue co-founder Pierre Richardson cut 100 records with Andy’s lathe, available through Bruised Tongue.

Lathe cut records are cut using a lathe (surprise), an old machine that makes impressions on rotating objects. Before tape recording, electric lathes were used to cut records onto plastic.

“I didn’t know where I was going to put my machine,” says March. “I have a few requirements, because it’s kind of big, and it makes a bit of a smell and uses a lot of power.”

He was able to make an arrangement with Richardson to store his record lathe in a back room of Gabba Hey!, a rehearsal and living space in central Ottawa. In exchange for storage and being able to come down a few days each month to work with the lathe, Andy showed Pierre how to cut records.

“The technology is still ancient, but there’s an online community of people and we were all experimenting over the last three years, and it just got to a place where it sounds really good, it’s consistent and doesn’t wear out,” says March.

Lathe cut records are made one at a time, so they’re only really ideal for rare and short-run releases. They’re known for inconsistent sound and short lifespan, but March says his records can be played on repeat for days on end without any change in quality.

Sandwiching art between two thin pieces of plastic, he creates his own short-run picture discs.

“There’s just like a lot of variables and there ended up being some pretty intense modifications to the machine [involved],” says March. Along with other experimenters around the world, March found using hard, smooth plastic and adjusting the lathe would lead to more reliable cuts.

“A couple of the developments I discovered by just staring at the machine for hours and hours,” he laughs.

“I’m a bit of a closet inventor, I’ve worked on a couple things that I’ve tried to bring to market, and it was really exciting to see it take off. I kind of have a way to make money off it which is pretty amazing.”

He’s working out an arrangement to bring the lathe to Toronto, where it would be moved to June Records, March offering his lathe services through the store.

“I’m pretty excited about it, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a job,” says March. “I’m excited to see if I can popularize it a little bit.”

CROSSS play Sept. 18 at Club Lambi (Telephone Explosion Showcase) and Sept. 19  at Brasserie Beaubien (Craft Singles Showcase).

Passovah Summer Fest preview: Smokes

Smokes are in the process of expanding, but this time they're looking to steer clear of 11-member jam bands.

Their sweat-inducing rock is rounded off with a little melodrama and a love of syncopation. Starting off as a guitar / violin duo three years ago, the band will play their first show as a four-piece tomorrow at the Piccolo Rialto as part of the Passovah Summer Fest.

Singer/guitarist Nick Maas and violinist Patrick Cruvellier moved to Montreal to study at McGill, but stayed for the music. They were first in a “crazy weird prog fusion band” called Bananafish, working together musically – and becoming roommates – since then.

“We needed to figure out what kind of band we wanted to make. We knew we wanted to play some rock and roll," Nick says. “I hadn’t sung in six years playing in bands, and I felt that I had a lot to say.”

Patrick started playing violin at age 6, but decided to move away from studying sheet music when moving to Montreal.

“I definitely have a passion for it, though I think I never fully connected with classical music," says Patrick, who played for years in orchestras and string groups. “I got kind of burnt out on it and realized I’d rather be playing music with my friends.”

They started playing with drummer Jeremy MacCuish two years ago, the two working on what would eventually become Smokes for a year before that.

MacCuish played drums in Parlovr, who signed to Dine Alone Records before going on hiatus last year.They met Parlovr singer/guitarist Louis David Jackson at a call centre (that happened to employ several musicians that they would eventually share the stage with) soon after leaving McGill.

They started rehearsing at the Torn Curtain, the practice space also used at the time by Parlovr.

“They were a huge influence for me, a really awesome band in Montreal at the time. We got to hear a lot of them, and we thought, man we’ve got to get him in our band,” Nick jokes.

Now adding Andrew Miller from The This Many Boyfriends Club on bass, they get to expand things a little more, and finally have someone to take care of the low end.

“It frees us up in some ways, now I don’t need to play power chords," says Nick.

“There are some great things about being a trio, it forces you to try different things," adds Patrick, "but there was a certain point that we realized a lot of what we want to be doing is playing high energy rock music. We realized sometimes we were dumbing down ideas just to fill out the frequency range.”

The band released the Unlucky EP last November with Dan Lagacé behind the board at Breakglass Studios and recorded it all live off the floor.

"[Lagacé] pushed us to do something we wouldn’t have done if it was just the three of us going into a studio," says Nick.

Now they’re working on a full-length with the opposite approach, doing the writing and recording over several months, at the Rosemont studio where Les Breastfeedersrecord their stuff, engineered and mixed by Marshall Vaillancourt (who plays in Archery Guildand No Aloha) and Miguel Marcil-Pitre.

They intend to release two songs this fall, with plans to release the album next summer.

As they grow their sound, they're trying to be ever-more concise. While Nick grew up in Milwaukee listening to jam bands like The Grateful Dead and Phish (hence Bananafish), he's now less about self-indulgence and more about structure.

“I used to have an instinctive backlash to short, poppy songs but I kind of grew out of that. Living here in Montreal there’s so much variety that I just decided to go to shows all the time, and as see much local music as I can," says Nick.

“[With] a lot of musical friends, some are making rock music, but it’s not the predominant [genre]. People are so supportive and it’s nice to get that cross-pollination."

Patrick also plays with the guys in Saxsyndrum (who both used to be in Bananafish), and also plays with Ohara, (who’s also playing the Piccolo Rialto tomorrow) and Year of Glad.

He's “the high-demand violinist, no one cares about guitar players,” jokes Nick.

“It’s not about the genre necessarily, we just hang out and go see each other’s shows. In a community where loud rock music isn’t really the focus it’s awesome to see people that are super supportive. If you’re passionate about it, it doesn’t really matter.”

Smokes play the Passovah Summer Fest with Frog Eyes, PS I Love You, Nanimal, CTZNSHP, Cat Pontoon, James Irwin and Ohara August 21 at the Piccolo Rialto.

More KBT Interviews

Year of Glad's haunted wall of oil

Year of Glad lies somewhere at the crossing of folk and drone, distant falsetto and heavy effects burying their free-form rumblings of guitar and drums. Now based in Montreal, singer/guitarist Alexandre Bergeron and drummer Nick Laugher have been friends since middle school, growing up outside of Halifax and playing together in a punk band called The Broom Handles.

Eventually, they started playing together again in Montreal, putting out the 7" Fave/Drawbackdoors themselves in 2012.

“I was playing glockenspiel for a while, we were working on these weird fucking Casio keyboard beats. And then [Alexandre] got a jam space downtown,” says Laugher.

His first show on drums (ever) was at Brasserie Beaubien for POP Montreal in 2012.

“It was kind of a trial by fire really. We play so many shows, and the learning curve is intense,” says Bergeron.

Nick would mess around on the kit when they were in bands, but  never owned his own. But eventually he wound up drums with Alexandre after hanging out with him on a solo East Coast tour.

“I’m not a drummer, I don’t know how to dominate and do that,” says Laugher, joking that he can’t play a straight beat.

Their earthy, self-described 'wall of oil' (they also love puns) sound builds and recedes slowly, fitting right into Montreal's growing drone scene.

“It’s fortunate that a lot of our peers in the scene are involved in this drone element that’s coming out of Montreal big time," says Bergeron. "The Plant especially is a huge epicentre for that.”

It’s a return to the kind of slow-burning intensity that Montreal was known for a decade ago, when Godspeed You! Black Emperor was in the middle of defining a genre.

“Music was the main reason that I came here. Godspeed was at the forefront of that for me in terms of their ideology and style of music. We were punk rockers growing up, and Godspeed had that punk rock spirit without the musical convention,” says Bergeron.

“I think Year of Glad kind of pushes that punk rock mindset.”

The result is less delicate, and can transform live into a 12-minute take on one of their songs. And the stuff is only getting longer as they become more comfortable as a two piece – inspired by their hometown heroes, Cousins.

“More recently we’ve been doing a more improvisational style, feeding off one another,” says Nick. “Everyone else we’ve played with has felt kind of alienated almost by that.”

“It’s an emotional basis that we’re going on, give and take all the time,” says Bergeron. “It’s really conducive to a drums, guitar and voice scenario because we can improvise so easily without having to know what scale we’re playing in.”

They’re not opposed to collaboration though. Their last show before Sled Island featured David Switchenko from Saxsyndrumimprovising lines the whole way through. And they’ve played several shows in Montreal this month already, before heading to Calgary tomorrow for their opening set for Chelsea Wolfe.

"People sometimes say ‘maybe you shouldn’t play so much,’ and maybe we agree with them, but it’s fun,” says Bergeron.

And given the improv style, Year of Glad is defined live in that moment; their fleeting jams becoming real for the crowd watching on.

“It can be a little dicier when there are all these other variables in a live setting, but sometimes it’s the best we’ll ever play, feeding off the energy of the room,” says Bergeron.

The two produce their records themselves, inviting friends to record and collaborate on their Cereal Bowl Collective label. Passing the recording back and forth, they slowly crafted their dense, ghost-like sound on Old Growth, the LP they put out in April.

“The first track that was kind of the catalyst for the whole project we recorded at McGill live off the floor, and it ended up being 200 tracks,” says Bergeron.

The track is album-opener “Deth.” They worked on the song over the course of two years as their live lineup morphed.

”It bears no resemblance to the actual bed tracks of that session," says Bergeron. "It’s all just experimentation. Laugher and I are always just trading back and forth.”

“Add some gloss, do some things and send it back,” says Laugher.

“This whole timeline is apparent to the track for me. It’s this weird sculpture that you’re chipping away at for so long that it takes this bizarre ambient form,” says Bergeron.

The result is a recorded version very different from what you’ll hear live. But now as a two-piece, that’s likely to change.

“I think the next project will be more of the live thing, more of what we’ve developing recently. There was such a long timeline for that last record. The next record we’ll try to make it quicker, more spontaneous,” says Bergeron.

As a two-piece they're free to play shows three times a week and change their sound, onstage or in studio, whenever they please.

“It’s not like fuck those guys they couldn’t hack it, it’s just that we work probably too much on it,” says Laugher. “That’s why it took so long for it to come together."

“We’re not a conventional project, it’s mostly unspoken things that are dissolved or created," adds Bergeron. "I think that’s reflected in the recordings, that decay and building.”

Year of Glad plays Sled Island June 19 at the Commonwealth Bar & Stage w/ Chelsea Wolfe at 10 p.m., and Containr June 20 at 4 p.m.

A Film Noir Disco Fantasy

Photo Olia Eichenbaum

Fame and fortune sounds just fine to Jef Barbara, he’s just not in a rush to get there.

He just spent five days in Austin to play South by Southwest, including the annual GayBiGayGay show alongside Cakes da Killa and Mykki Blanco, and the POP Montreal showcase. But rubbing shoulders with the industry’s kingmakers isn’t quite his style.

“I tend to not really enjoy going to parties and trying to schmooze with the right people […] it’s not my thing,” Barbara said a day after returning home to Montreal. “I spent a great deal of time eating tacos and enjoying the weather.”

The festival is known both for packed venues with fans eager to lap up the hype and empty rooms—but this year’s SXSW sported some questionably huge acts, like Lady Gaga and Jay Z, alongside the unknowns.

“I’d rather not force things too much, but of course should I be given the opportunity to play for Samsung and get paid a million dollars, I’m not stupid,” Jef laughed. Jay Z’s partnership with the tech company gave festival-goers a chance to see him and Kanye West play if they had the right phone.

But a festival like Austin’s indie music mecca, where similar bands are often grouped together, does show how unclassifiable his music really is. From new wave riffs to sequin-laced synths—to the odd Pink Floyd-like guitar explosion—it all revolves around Jef’s voice, hanging in anticipation off each sparse vocal phrase.

“I won’t fit in with the R&B crowd, nor will I fit into the synth-pop wavey crowd, nor do we fit into the traditionally rock ‘n roll, indie rock crowd,” he says. “Everything’s sort of in the mix, there’s further layers of identity that are put on top, such as my queer identity, that make up who Jef Barbara is.”

Jef has returned to Montreal just in time for a show at La Sala Rossa, celebrating the 15th anniversary of Archive Montreal, who put on the annual Expozine festival, and to raise money for their Distroboto project—local art vending machines in various Plateau spots for over a decade.

His second LP, Soft to the Touch, came out last fall on Club Roll Records, its 14 songs tied together more by its synthy aura than its sound.

Grainy, glammed-up music videos place Jef in front of the camera striking poses, surrounded by a lush fantasy world where everyone is easy and the drinks are free.

He has a background in theatre, but acting is something he could never fully commit to.

“As an actor you’re always subjected to somebody else’s view of you, you have to correspond to one’s idea to what a character should look like and what they should sound like and who they should be,” he said.

“As a singer, you’re not only your own actor but you’re your own director. Creating my musical universe was the easiest way for me to express myself in a holistic way.”

Jef Barbara is both a performer and performance, in a sensory bath of film noir and fluorescent light. But it’s getting harder for him to separate Jef the persona from Jef the person.

“It’s become rather confusing because a big part of the Jef Barbara character was inspired by inherent characteristics that I already had,” he says.

“It is composition, but it’s based on elements that are already part of my personality that I just decided to exploit, and to a certain extent to caricature. I don’t know if it’s a character anymore. I’m a bit confused.”

Jef Barbara (Archive Montreal anniversary w/ Pyongyang + Tony Ezzy) // March 22 // La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent Blvd.) // 9 p.m. // $12

Originally published by The Link Newspaper.

The East / West Spectrum

It can be argued that all music is political, whether it wants to be or not. If родина—the latest project by Sam Shalabi and Stefan Christoff—is political, it’s because the record holds no simple feelings. The listener must navigate unfamiliar sounds to decide how it makes them feel.

The result is complex, emotional and more demanding than what everyday Western music has to offer. And it’s this complexity that drew Christoff to music in the first place.

“Most of my ‘20s I spent my time doing hardcore activism […] for me there was a whole range of emotions that was driving those campaigns,” says Christoff. “There were all kinds of feelings that couldn’t be expressed in a press release or on a banner.”

It’s early afternoon and Shalabi and Christoff are rehearsing in Casa del Popolo’s backroom venue when we speak. The three of us sit onstage and discuss their latest project across the street from Sala Rossa, where the record was tracked.

The album’s title is an old eastern European word for “home,” and features largely improvised pieces recorded live, with Shalabi on the oud and Christoff on piano. It’s an eastern-inspired record pulling from maqam, an Arabic melodic system, with abstracted hints of free jazz.

“The two instruments are kind of the equivalents in oriental and occidental music,” says Shalabi of their sound’s cultural hybrid. While the oud works with eastern quarter tones, by design the piano can’t produce those intervals.

“The piano is the mother, the one that people write on, that everybody plays. It’s the same for the oud in Arabic music.”

Shalabi and Christoff share the same philosophy of studying through oral tradition, learning the oud and piano respectively by listening to others. Their musical discourse, always based on spontaneity, is shaped by their shared interests—which leans heavily on their politics. The two met at a local awareness-raising event for Palestine over a decade ago, shortly after Christoff moved to Montreal.

They have been crossing paths in Montreal’s activist and musical circles ever since.

While they’ve been jamming together for five years, their first release was only last year, Shalabi playing on one track of Christoff’s Duets for Abdelrazik.

This new album was recorded on a cold December morning over a few hours, but the exact date is debateable.

“We were on a lot of drugs, mostly birth control pills,” jokes Shalabi. Over the years his projects have ranged from meditative to nonsensical, often in the same track.

He’s a veteran Montreal player, having put out a number of releases with Alien8 Records, a label that has played home to master of ambience Tim Hecker and now-defunct Montreal mainstays The Unicorns. More recently Shalabi orchestrated the Egyptian-inspired psych ensemble Land of Kush.

Shalabi now lives in Egypt, where his parents grew up. The two recorded родина during his last visit to Montreal.

“The thing about specialization in the West is somehow your emotions and your intellect are two different things […] What does it mean to do something with no emotion in it?” says Shalabi.

“In terms of popular music, to me the emotional content is like someone who hasn’t used their arm in five years; it shrinks and becomes weak.

“It’s validating people’s worst tendencies.”

Originally published by The Link Newspaper.

Not Musical Tourism

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Suuns make the kind of music that will burrow inside your head, nesting in your subconscious only to emerge when you least expect it.

They toe the line between drone and dance, often falling into one or the other. Their dark, at times alienating, synthy, slippery sound comes more from a feeling than a theme, one that drummer Liam O’Neill worried they wouldn’t be able to recreate for their sophomore effort.

As a band, they had more at stake in their new Images du Futur LP. And far more people were listening, too.

“At first I thought we wouldn’t be able to do it again, or that it would sound completely different,” says O’Neill. “But it seems the more we work together the more we sound like us.

“We’re a live band, so the development of this record is just about to start.”

O’Neill is at work at a café in the McGill ghetto during our interview, as the band prepares for the first leg of theirImages du Futur tour—a few dates in small Quebec cities before showcase spots at the South by Southwest and Canadian Music Week music festivals.

The album will have been out for a month before the Montreal release show at Sala Rossa.

But that gap is good for the band, allowing for the industry stuff to be done first so they can begin to flesh out the murky ideas of Images du Futur before starting their own tour across North America and Europe.

“They’re necessary chores; you get on and nobody really gives a shit, but you’ve got to do it,” he says of the showcase gigs. “But it’s also good to hone your skills as a performer under pressure, and I think our band thrives on that.”

Images du Futur

The follow-up to 2010’s Zeroes QC has been mastered since last November and was recorded this past summer at Breakglass Studios in Villeray, also the birthplace of the debut LP.

But while the environment was the same, their approach to the new record was anything but. Zeroes QC was something of a dumping ground for songs they’d played live for three years; Images du Futur was carefully curated—and its tracks written in a much smaller timeframe.

They were also more accustomed to the style of producer Jayce Lasek of The Besnard Lakes, who knew what sound the band was going for this time around.

“It’s hard to tell what the aesthetic trajectory is when you’re just recording drums and bass,” says O’Neill. “We’re just a lot more mature. Now we know what’s worthwhile to pursue, what will lead us down the rabbit hole.”

That trip becomes all the more apparent on the second half of the record, where the club haunt of “Bambi” and the syncopated minimalism of “Edie’s Dream” begin to take hold, pulling you into the kind of fully-formed songs that barely existed on their debut LP. It’s a product of all four members gelling together earlier on in the songwriting process, although the “nucleus” of the song usually comes from singer/guitarist Ben Shemie.

Doing it Live

“I like the sound of an electronic base, with loose percussion around it. For me it saves its direction from becoming Ableton music,” says O’Neill of his drum style, referring to the popular music production computer program. “I like that loose feeling you inevitably get with the human element.”

It’s that human element which sets Suuns apart from their more electronic contemporaries. Three of the four bandmates studied jazz at McGill, something that O’Neill says has allowed him to execute whatever pops into his head.

“We were all trained as performers first, playing acoustic instruments,” he says. “These days there are a lot of bands that weren’t musicians when they were young, that grew up reading magazines or music blogs and then decided they wanted to play music.”

The strongest parts of Images du Futur are the tracks that the band allowed to rise from primordial jams—tracks like “Sunspot,” where the bass line would feel at home under today’s Radiohead, or “Edie’s Dream,” which emerged as-is from months of improvising during sound checks.

“As soon as I started playing it on the drum kit, which is growing to be a less and less fashionable sound these days, the song was much more natural feeling; it gave our ideas room to grow,” says O’Neill.

They keep the electronic aesthetic but still execute nearly everything live—a testament to their training as performers.

“There’s a certain alchemy that happens after you play a song for that long. You start communicating better, a pheromonal connection,” he says. “They become more gamey, more fragrant somehow.”

Their latest work is an exercise of restraint—nowhere on Images du Futur will you find the explosive moments like in the Zeroes QC standout track “Armed for Peace.”

The new record ebbs and flows, slipping into climactic moments at a much more gradual pace.

“A lot of people say our first record was all over the place, which in some ways I agree with,” he says. “But also that’s why I love this band, I feel like we can do anything and still be us. We try and bring our presence towards whatever we’re working on.”

And so far that ethos seems to hold true, even when collaborating with performers such as Arabic Psych artist Radwan Moumneh, who plays under the name Jerusalem in My Heart.

“We tracked a record with him in January, and it doesn’t feel to me like musical tourism or some strange academic experiment. It still sounds like our band in that scenario,” said O’Neill.

Originally published by The Link Newspaper.