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.
At the core, Beats Master Will suggested a collaboration one late afternoon on Riff Lord’s front porch while we were enjoying a gin and watching the j-birds. We all met at the Stephenson Street Moonbase on a hot January Saturday and here we are…
From our bio:
Coalfalls materialised in the Ipswich summer of 2019 as an instrumental trio, drifting between ultra-pop, dream-gaze and post-punk realms, forging sculpted layers and swell of effects-drenched sonicscapes.
Embedded in backgrounds of visual and sound arts, the members of Coalfalls have wandered across projects of shoegaze, dabtronics, cinematic sounds, post-punk and alternative all-sorts.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
The release is a snapshot of the initial burst of energy that came about when we got together during an Ipswich summer with no parameters or conditions.
Coalfalls is our feel good hit of summer! This was our first jam in the January heat with a gin. We had no preconceived thoughts about what this collaboration would sound like so we surprised ourselves in creating ‘pop’. Coalfalls is about having a good time all the time.
Stephenson Street is lush and dreamy and evolves as it moves forward. It is a patient sunlight groove that ends with a dazzling intensity. It is like looking at life through a kaleidoscope.
A visual component to our music is important. Both tracks have been released with a film clip. Stephenson Street was filmed in the street where we rehearse. One of our cars appears in the footage – we didn’t know at the time the filming was happening so that was a completely random outcome. Coalfalls was also filmed in Ipswich at the home of clip Producer Greg Harm from Tangible Media. We set up and played along live while Greg worked his magic!
These tracks for us reflect the sense of place that underpins the band – our own soundtrack to life in Ipswich…
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
As a project we don’t consciously respond to specific influences or have an intention to play a particular ‘way’. It is not something we really even talk about together.
It is a very experiential process for all of us and very much about the ‘doing’ as a singular entity. That is what connects us at the project core – the approach of coming together and just seeing what happens. We have the privilege of a dedicated music space so opportunity to get together and just play is always there.
Outside Coalfalls, there is painting, field recording, wanders, bird watching, excellent cooked breakfasts, tree listening, theories, trains, dabtronics…
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?
We are an instrumental project. We are creating listening experiences so the sonic scape is the focus rather than any individual identity. There was a recent review that described it as being a particularly liquid form of jangling post-rock shoegaze. The idea of liquid sits well for us – other tracks we do perform range from moments of effects-drenched walls of sound to very delicate soundscapes. A stand-out in being a trio is that each instrument has equal weighting – so the waves and wisps of guitar swells and effects sit with clean bass and drums that all weave and interplay. There is a lot of patience in our approach so an idea will grow slowly into something wonderful and expansive.
We don’t have to structure any of the music around lyrics and vocals so there is no attachment of a song to any specific theme as such. The absence of lyrics / words shifts song meaning to whatever the listener conjures and they create their location and sense of place while they are listening – wherever that may be. We have likened it all to sonic wizardry!
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Our first response was that we wouldn’t take any specific item to a desert island. We like the concept of arriving and just immersing in whatever that experience is going to be. We did try and pursue this further – what came up was Groundhog Day, the entire back catalogue of Sherman and Field and a book on how to tie knots and This is Spinal Tap.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
We all enjoy the experience of just playing and combining sounds. We capture every rehearsal in some way like phone or tape recorder – documentation is a core part of the process, especially as there is no dedicated song-writing or pre-formed ideas to begin with. Performing live offers that sense of spontaneity in the uniqueness of what happens in that moment. There are no guarantees and each performance responds to that particular time and context, which is an element we like. Performing live also comes with its own journey for some of the members!
What we did learn in the studio in this project was the importance of recording everything! We recorded live to tape which was just beautiful however had its limitations if the tape ran out, which meant we would have to stop while this was changed. This was a step outside the norm for us – we wanted to go into the studio and just play live which is what we primarily did. There are no overdubs / double tracking of guitar so the outcome is what happened then and there really. When we record again this year, we will just hit record as soon as we tune and leave it on for the duration! The concrete outcome though is also special – that was us that day.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
One of the members will always have a technical glitch right before a performance starts – it can be anything but it is a guarantee and usually connected to Tonestar!
We are continually surprised at how much sound we can make in this neighbourhood without police intervention. We have only walked upstairs once to find the police trying to find a way onto the back deck -at 1pm on a Sunday afternoon! We are very grateful to the suburb of Coafalls for their acceptance!
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
There are some nice differences to the two singles and they both sit with a groove / pop type undertone. They are unique because they are instrumental. They both became under 5-minute songs, which was a concept we talked about after that initial jam. The Coalfalls track is simple, light and fun with its own sense of dreaminess, whereas Stephenson Street emerged as an arrangement that has been described as a catchy pop propulsive shimmer – we like that! There is ongoing evolution of sound so at the moment this answer will be different in a few weeks’ time as there are new ideas presenting right now. We never lose interest or attachment to the songs we have developed. We do however enjoy the sense of discovery in something new and journeying with that. This is really subjective and probably more important to the listener. We accept all our songs as they are. They have their points of connection and difference – that’s a great thing! We hope that when people get to see us live they will also experience that.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
The current Covid-19 responses interrupted our official launch on 1 May and other shows (in-stores, label showcase) that were planned. It is like a rubber band being pulled at the moment. We are still jamming so it may be fortuitous when we are able to return to performing live as we are exploring some new ideas and it will be interesting to see what will be in the set when we do get to connect live with audiences again. There’s motion in plans for recording and film clips again this year. We like the idea of double singles as a means of continuity in releases and sonic momentum so watch this space!
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Take the red pill and pay attention to the trees…
Photo credits: Greg Harm
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Coalfalls: