Ideal timing for a live chat with A Thousand Hours’ Red Collier, since today Last Day Deaf premieres ‘Moments’ from the Alaskan quartet’s debut album ‘Endless Grey’, out on Friday, March 17th, through Vesper Records. And to be honest, this one turned out to be of the first water. Not a single cut… 

“A Thousand Hours” exudes a feeling of expectation. At least as far as I can judge behind these three words. True?

There is a lot of that feeling actually, but truth be told we took the band name from a song by The Cure. But yes, expectation, yearning, pensiveness and despair are all overpowering emotions that can be heard in the album

So after welcoming you to Last Day Deaf, how did the band form in the first place? A social media thing or real life?

We all live in different states, so it’s more of a band like This Mortal Coil than a jamming and gigging band. It started with Demi, Albert and I all talking in one of the shoegaze groups on Facebook about collaborating on a project. We were able to rope in Nadi Mack for atmospheric keyboards and Mandy Clare and Nico Beatastic for some guest vocals. Mandy Clare is from Lights That Change, which is a brilliant ethereal band.

Your debut album is released tomorrow. Which is ‘Endless Grey”s concept? Feel free to share a few words about it with our readers…

Thematically, there it is tied together by elements, water, clouds, flood and mist. It is a bit moody touching on a feeling of isolation and yearning. Musically, we were very influenced by Low, Red House Painters, Cocteau Twins and all the classic 4AD bands. It’s hard to pin down genre wise, which is great. Slowcore, dream pop or shoegaze, we like being indefinable.

Projekt label?

Oh most definitely! I grew up on Projekt, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Soul Whirling Somewhere, Lycia… There is most definitely that element. I like to call it the gothgaze label, and in an indirect way we are progeny of that kind of music as well.

And what about  Greg Wilson’s involvement?

Greg has been an avid supporter from day one. And I have been harassing him nonstop since then. He does amazing work for the scene and mastered the debut album. We have so much thanks for him and DKFM Shoegaze Radio, I should probably order the shoegaze socks he has on his site’s webpage. Brilliant.

‘The Desolate Hour’ is among the finest examples of ‘Endless Grey’. Eerie, melancholic and at times in another orbit. What’s the story behind this fabulous tune?

This was the second song we started working on, and like most good songs…and bad songs, it’s about a girl. I was listening to a lot of Mark Kozelek at the time, and sometime while listening to ‘Katy Song’ for the hundredth time, the guitar line came to me.

Demi and Albert though really turned it into an atmospheric ethereal piece.

How did you find the recent return to action by shoegaze pioneers Ride & Slowdive?

I love the return of all my teenage favorites. It started with the My Bloody Valentine album, which was an exceptional return to form. Slowdive’s and Ride’s new singles are stellar really, yeah…it’s not 1991 anymore but I’m not expecting that either way. I’m just happy they are releasing music again and thrilled I can see them play.

Has your sound evolved then since last year’s self-titled EP?

It grew more expansive and dynamic. We shot off in so many directions, all within the same album. Mandy Clare brings this ethereal touch, Demi brings guitar shimmers and bass parts that really are Slowdive-esque, Albert  has this post-punk edge and Nadi tops it off with some great atmospherics.

It started off as a vaguely dreampoppy slowcore release with our first single, but since then we have rounded off to this nebulous vaporous depressive dreamy project.

Imagine yourselves in a world without social media! Just hazy, shoegaze.. What would you do to promote your album?

Dear God, I guess I would just make a million tapes and send them out non-stop. I mean, this is how things used to be done. We aren’t a gigging band, so we’d be hamstrung to that approach. We are fortunate to be around in this time though, the online shoegaze and dreampop scene is so welcoming and supportive.

Imagine what A.R. Kane did…

I suppose we’d do anything we can. I heard they sort of made up a story about them being in a band and built up interest based on that story. It’s brilliant really, and I think is indicative of a drive that bands need to get their music out. There are so many bands out there, so you have to claw and bite your way to be heard.

It’s unavoidable to ask then, why should genre fans “invest” on you? What’s so unique?

I think what is so unique, is that we make music that doesn’t necessarily appeal to strict “genre fans”. If you are wanting a pure dreampop album in the vein of Cocteau Twins or Slowdive, you probably won’t understand the music. Or, if you are looking for a Ride, My Bloody Valentine redux band, you won’t find it here.

We exist on the outskirts, and while some shoegaze and dream pop fans support us, it is too simplistic and arguable to put us in that bracket. So I suppose our appeal is to those with varied taste. If you like This Mortal Coil, as well as Low and all the dream pop and shoegaze and even darkwave bands in between, then you might like what is being played here. Purists won’t.

Great! And what’s next for A Thousand Hours? Any gigs to promote the album?

We are pretty much tied to the online promotion angle. It is hard for us to play gigs being in different states. But we are getting a good reaction from the online community. As for after that? We are going to let this album sit a bit before we start doing another album or EP. I am doing something with Jason Lamoreaux though, a bit of an ambient project and have started my own fledgling label, Vesper Records. So I will be busy.

Thank you for this one! Hope you enjoyed. Any ‘shoegazy’ wish before we drop the curtain?

I just want to say there are a lot of good bands out there right now and great releases coming out every day. I have the privilege to talk with so many bands, and write about them. It’s no coincidence all these old bands are rising again right now, I think we are in another golden age, so to speak. We are happy to have any part in it.

Christos Doukakis