What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Chris: I’ve always felt as though the communal and the collaborative are what excite me and what gives me life. I played a lot of team sports growing up and, although I’ve enjoyed music throughout, it wasn’t until later that I discovered an interest for drums. Rhythm and percussion became really addictive so I taught myself after some initial formal lessons. Playing in bands and with other people reconciled a lot of those feelings, that team spirit, but in a completely different and less objective or limited sense.
Kelly: I’ve been an avid listener of music since forever, mainly due to my parents always listening to music around the house from a young age. I played the saxophone in primary school though I didn’t last very long with that. To be fair the most famous saxophone player i’d heard of at that time was Kenny G (hardly appealing to a 12 year old girl, he was no Spice Girls). Eventually I swapped the sax for a guitar and it wasn’t really until I discovered punk (more specifically riot grrrl) in my early twenties that I thought there might be a place for me in music. And here we are now….
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Chris: Kelly got in touch about a collection of demos/recordings she had been working on that were linked to an idea for a new project back in early-mid 2019. After meeting her through attending and playing some of the same shows in and around Brisbane I quickly learned of her songwriting and musicianship, and, coupled with a lot of common interests and influences, the chance to work together was really appealing. The process with the record was then very natural but also had an air of experimentation.
Kelly: I had written a few songs that didn’t fit the other bands i’m in and wanted to do something more percussive and beat orientated. I was blown away seeing Chris play with his band Leavings down the Gold Coast in early 2019 and thought he’d be a good fit. Chris wrote and laid down drum tracks over four days at Incremental Records (we had no rehearsals together and no preparation whatsoever other than vague convos on facebook messenger).
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Chris: Rock drummers like John Stanier from Battles. Powerful and sweaty playing ultimately landing somewhere in between Blanck Mass and Beach House, not quite alphabetically but in terms of metronomic beats. The band Metric was an early influence for me which is maybe at its most evident with Ancient Channels. Then also groups like LCD Soundsystem, Yeah Yeah Yeahs (essentially any DFA Records or NYC “dance-punk” bands) were a fixed point of obsession for me: they all gave me plenty of homework and led me down many paths I’m still on. There’s a full circle aspect to this project; a lot of things I listened to at the beginning of my musical journey seemed to come to the forefront. To that end and more recently I’ve been really engrossed with the ideas and essays of Susan Sontag – ‘On Style’ most specifically and enduringly.
Kelly: In terms of music, bands like Beach House, Warpaint and Siouxsie & The Banshees were big influences. There are cool sci-fi film score compilations on youtube that I like. I love the tension and drama in film scores so on some level we’ve been mindful of that sort of thing. I’m also a big fan of the ‘gear change’ in a song- one minute the song is this and nekminnit…
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Kelly: Dream pop Slipknot
Chris: … maybe like martians marching in a museum.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Kelly: Beach House – Depression Cherry (not being able to hear Days of Candy on a daily basis would destroy me). Julee Cruise- Floating Into The Night (Some nice chill floating vibes to sip my coconut water from an actual coconut I found lying around my island paradise) and Automatic- Signal. Automatic are a new discovery and I find their music super hypnotic (so I can imagine having a bonfire on the beach to that record for maximum enjoyment). Films would be Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog) for obvious reasons, Hunt For The Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi because it is insanely cute and maybe Blade Runner by Ridley Scott (Just to hear that Vangelis drone again).
Chris: Loveless by My Bloody Valentine – I have never heard it in full but am aware it’s a classic. I’ve been saving it for a life-changing, or in this case life-saving, circumstance. Autobahn by Kraftwerk – there are so many albums from that era and that part of the world that make it a hard decision but Kraftwerk’s ability to evoke real human emotion from bleeps and bloops will never be lost on me. Probably no computers on the island either so if I want the feeling of dialling-up or rebooting it’s right there with me. Vision Creation Newsun by Boredoms – I’m sure it’s not the only album with a closing track referencing the eternal and forget that the image is hyper-appropriate for the scenario, this album is almost entirely rhythmically driven whilst being unbelievably fluid throughout. It’s nice and long, sounds strangely tropical and feels like a heat stroke-induced dream (in a good way).
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Kelly: Studio 100%. I like the exploratory and free feeling of recording and trying different things in service to the song. I still struggle with nerves on stage so I don’t feel free or comfortable in that environment.
Chris: Performing live – it’s the most immediate way to share what you’re doing and there’s no window or allowance to overthink things. It’s sometimes scary but always real.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Kelly: Whilst on tour with one of my other bands in Sydney we were playing a show with a band who performed a sage burning ritual to cleanse the venue. It was funny because people were sitting nearby trying to eat their dinner and enjoy their beers but the constant waft of sage was messing their vibe. I’m still impressed that venue staff didn’t tell them to halt their smudging.
Chris: Carrying my drums on public transport is much easier to laugh about in hindsight. For a while it was my primary means of loading in to shows and practices. I got really good at leveraging and counterbalancing my bodyweight, but there was one time where no amount of preparation or planning could help me. There is an annual public holiday here in Brisbane for an agricultural fair called “the Ekka”. It runs for a week usually but the day of the public holiday, which draws the biggest crowd, always causes havoc on the trains. Last year’s Ekka coincided with the recording sessions for our upcoming album and that day I had to drag my drums to the studio on those trains. It was mayhem and somehow I didn’t hurt anyone, and got out safely myself. I absolutely would not recommend or relive that scenario but it’s funny and surreal to think that I maneuvered a 2.5m wide, four-flight stairwell with hundreds of festival-goers.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Chris: ‘As Heavy As A Heart’ (yet to be released). It’s probably the least complicated drum part, amidst riffs and other percussive layers that are complementary and unembellished. When I first heard the demo I remember urging myself not to mess around because it felt so complete already. It’s a standout for me, and maybe my favourite song on the record.
Kelly: I think for me it would be a song off our record called ‘Cosmic Dark’, Chris’s drumming is off the charts on that one and very different to the original demo. Going into recording I didn’t think much of that song but when we got the mixes back I remember thinking “wow did we do that?”. It’s one of those songs where everything just fell into place.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Chris: We had begun rehearsing the songs in a live format earlier this year with our additional band members (shoutout to Imogen, Elise, Joel, Kelly & Ged!) in preparation for an album launch and eventual shows. Lots has changed since then but we hope to resume and carry through when all is safe and possible.
Kelly: I’m pretty eager to get back into the studio again, especially now we have a big band full of experienced musos who would bring so much extra to the next record.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Q) Have you been interviewed before?
Chris: This is the first interview for Ancient Channels, thanks Last Day Deaf!
Photo credits: Jason Cahill
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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