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Veröffentlicht am 15.06.2016 | von Teresa

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PHORIA – Interview

Seit den Kindertagen macht der Kern der Band Phoria – Trewin Howard, Gitarrist Jeb Hardwick und Pianist/Synthiespieler Ed Sanderson – aus Südengland gemeinsam Musik, um dieser Tage nun endlich ihr Debütalbum ‚Volition‘ zu veröffentlichen. Auf den bisher veröffentlichten Songs zeigten Phoria schon davor ihr Vorliebe für Filmmusik und orchestralen Post-Rock sowie ausladende, auch visuell eindrucksvolle Klanglandschaften. Auf ihrem Debütalbum handeln die Songs, laut Trewin, von Liebe, Kunst, Wissenschaft und der Art und Weise, wie sich Menschen berühren, ändern und bewegen: Sex, Sterblichkeit, Bedeutungslosigkeit, Moral, Schmerz, Freude, Angst, Dunkelheit, das Surreale, das Absurde und die Schönheit. Wir haben Ed und Trewin zum Interview in Berlin getroffen und sie mit Fragen gelöchert gelöchert!

Phoria CoverExciting times ahead! The album is coming out! Any expectations or feelings you’d like to share?
Ed: If we’d released the album earlier in our career I would have been more worried but now I’m more like: Whatever, it is out now and I like it. I think it is a good representation of our journey as a band.
Trewin: Hopefully after when you’ve put so much time, consideration, effort and love into something you kind of already done that for yourself. Obviously you hope people are gonna like it, but you would have to be pleased with it else you wouldn’t have released it.

I really like the album. Normally I pay a lot of attention to the lyrics but the sound of your album kind of just melted in my ear to the point where I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics anymore.
Trewin: Good. It all comes from this crazy imaginary place and if someone listens to it and just hears a song with words – in my opinion – you failed. You want them to get lost and be transported to their own version of that world.

Is that the reason why your lyrics are so metaphorical?
Trewin: Yes, if it is to obvious what you’re saying then people don’t have the chance to interpret. I think you can say a lot by saying a little. I always liked it in other music when you don’t quite know what they mean so you cycle through all these different interpretations and exercise your thoughts until you kind of make the song your own. Because you have your own associations with it.

Trewin, you where pretty sick for some time and it really affected your ability to hear. Did that change you, as an artist?
Trewin: Initially I thought my music days where over because it was just so horrible hearing loud sounds. I was on my own little path with my own expectations and something came along and just bang and changed everything and reset me. Maybe I have to work harder to get the same result but in doing that, there is a different result. It affected things and I always thought it would be for the worse but things are going alright so maybe it helped.

How did the rest of the band deal with it?
Ed: I guess it was scary because as our singer he relys entirely on his voice and how he hears. But I can see in his results that it kind of chilled you out after the event. And I am still amazed what can he can do with his hearing even if it is impaired. It made you better a listening to music.
Trewin: I think our music used to be more of a downer, darker and scarier and I liked that. But now someone said that now it sounds more hopeful and I think it was really a push against this terrible thing that happened. But I can still make songs. I think it probably has a part to play in what the album sounds like.

Yeah, especially „Emanate“ gave me such a 90 flashback.
Trewin: Yeah the end, that whole euphoric trance feelings. I love that. We always try to get this huge euphoric feeling. I love the thought of a club full of people getting crazy to that.

On your website it says: „Phoria started making sense when you stopped trying to be a conventional band“. What does that mean?
Ed: We’ve been playing music together for over twenty years now. He played Cello and I played the Violin and we had lessons together. I guessed we always jammed together but with Phoria we were like „We are going to be a band“ and we went straight into the studio with guitars and organs and that’s what we thought a band was gonna be. What came out we were really happy with, but it didn’t sound anything new, it sounded kind of old if anything.
Trewin: Creatively you don’t want to hear things you have heard before. The more you can do amazing things with a guitar it’s more interesting to hear some sample of some crazy things. There are so many new sounds to hear. When I sit down and make music I want to hear something like you’ve never heard before. We’d always take the songs and try to make them work with this old stuff, like live drum kit and the guitar and organ and stuff. You can make lovely sounds but it’s nothing new. When we put down the guitar and started to emulate what happened when we made creative choices with the whole big product sounds then something new started happening. It took us a while to get it right when we played it live. Part of the challenge for the band was learning to put those things together and for a while it didn’t sound good. Once we got accustomed to these different methods and learned how to pull apart a computer session and bring it back to life in real time it was fine.

But music has been around for thousands of years, and with every instrument there is just a certain amount of notes you can play. Do you ever feel limited by that?
Trewin: Every composer, songwriter is hugely limited by what has come before but then you have to put your effort into doing something clever with it.
Ed:What I like with Trewin is that he is very experimental and he doesn’t pursue any other ideas then he’d like to pursue which is a very interesting way to write music. At least for me, cause I studied music and I find it really hard to sit down and be original. What I see Trewin doing and how I interpret it, it’s fascinating as someone who is just watching the process.
Trewin: I transferred onto a music course when I got tired with the art course I was on. I didn’t do any of the work I was supposed to do but just hung around uni making a lot of music in my own way. I didn’t pass but a huge amount of music came out.

Do you feel studying music holds you back?
Ed: If you know a lot of chords you end up judging yourself straight away but if you don’t think about it and you just hear someones interpretation who just sat down and played it if it’s come from their heart it makes sense and it doesn’t matter what the chords are. Knowing too much feels very limiting to me. I just hope I can use me knowledge to help Trewin be inspired by what I play.
Trewin: We have a pretty crucial relationship I think because I shun the whole theory side of it. I’m convinced that my way is the best and that if I actually learned to read music or the structure of music it would pollute sounds I want to make. But sometimes I get frustrated and I want to hear new things and I want someone to throw ideas at me and the couple them up and make something out of them. Ed can play seven different versions of the same chord and show me something I hadn’t even thought possible, because I sit there trying to play the piano badly.
Ed: I’m the musical calculator!

Are you ever scared the rest of the band won’t get a song you wrote?
Trewin: Yeah, I have to experience that sometimes. Then I’m so excited about something and they are like „Yeah.“ which is very different from when I play something that they really like. But for me it is crucial to have this critique, cause when you leave me alone I make music that is really weird, that I think is brilliant but maybe the rest of the world doesn’t want to hear it. But I have these guys breathing down my neck saying „this is a great idea, you need to work on that“ or „this is not really working“. Without that, I certainly wouldn’t be able to make songs.

I have recently asked myself if you can only appreciate music fully if you have seen it live. What do you think?
Ed: I think that are two different things but I would be dissapointed if I saw a band play live and they didn’t do anything different from the record or couldn’t reproduce their songs live. I think it is very important cause it is a unique experience. Like Jazz does’t really work on record for me, you have to see it live to appreciate it. Going with that in mind I think you just have to be a good live act as well.
Trewin: It was always the music I heard on record you have privacy and solitude and there are places you can go and get lost in that music, which you can only do on record. And there have been bands I have gone and seen live and it’s been ok, but they haven’t done what they did when I was listening to the record. It’s so hard to explain. Something definitely happens live that doesn’t happen on record so I would always keep these two things separately. It’s about the intent in the moment and the feeling live. I’ll happy watch someone just bust their guitar and be blown away by what they are doing and then I can go see a big band with lots of light and be bored.

What does it take to be a really good live band then?
Trewin: You have to expose yourself, you have to expose something that is difficult to expose. If you up and you know you are gonna do this and then sing that song it’s not very impressive. Wheras when you fight off all the fear and the occasion and let something of yourself out it is terrifying, I find it terrifying. If you give that to the audience it’s amazing.
Ed: Honesty. We’ve had some really hilarious moments on stage, where you know things are going wrong but you look at each other and it doesn’t matter. It’s all fun and people after the show came up, and thought we thought it wasn’t so great but they just loved the fact that we were smiling and laughing at each other. It made it a real experience.
Trewin: You see the struggle and the determination.

Is there something specific about the new album that you hope people will notice?
Trewin: I hope it encourages people to engage on a very physical level with whatever they do. We always strive for this overly used word “epic“. We strive for our music to be epic. I just really want people to be engaged cause you know you always have songs that you associate with things in your life and you have that powerful connection between your emotions and the music that you where listening to at that time. And I want it to really grab people by the scruff of the neck and make them either enjoy what they’re doing at that moment or make them feel very deeply.

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