André Foisy - Electric, 12-String and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Tape Loops, plus a lot of Effects Pedals
Terence Hannum - Synth, Vocals, Tape Loops
Steven Hess - Percussions
In 2010 Locrian released "Crystal World", I heard good things about them, now I can confirm that they are a good band. Today we'll talk with André to know them better.
Welcome on Aristocrazia Webzine, let's begin giving some infos on your band.
André: Thanks so much! I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to invite Terence and Steven to take part in this interview as well since we think of ourselves as a collective. Terence and I started Locrian about five years ago, and we brought Steven into the band about a year ago.
In only five years you made a wide discography full of vinyls and tapes, of course besides the cds, how can you be so prolific keeping the high quality of your works? Is instinct a fundamental part of your way of composing?
André: It’s difficult to be prolific and to have high quality recordings. Today, we are very much interested in releasing music that was recorded, mixed, and mastered well. All of those tasks are time consuming and costly. In 2010, our release schedule slowed down substantially and our release schedule for 2011 will probably be even slower. I don’t think that our release schedule has much to do with how that we compose our music.
Terence: I would say when we make music it is very instinctive, we improvise a lot, or one of us has an idea and the others elaborate. There is a lot of give an take. I think halfway through this process we can tell if it’s a dud or not, or just not clear.
After having listened to "Crystal World", I went back in the past with "Territories", "Rain Of Ashes" and "Drenched Lands". Black Metal, Ambient, Drone, how do you mix all these genre with your own personality?
André: Many of those styles are contradictory, but our tastes are informed by some musicians who play those styles. Therefore, I think that it’s natural that our sound will sometimes straddle genres. I also listen to more styles of music that the ones that you listed, but I don’t think that they directly influence my contribution to Locrian.
Terence: Thank you. I think we have a very broad level of interest, and in the end it has to be dark, it has to set the mood that we want.
Why did you choose the J. G. Ballard's novel as the title of your last album?
Terence: I have been a fan for a very long time and it had floated around in my head for a while. I am a very big science fiction fan and in general of most things apocalyptic. But "The Crystal World" just kind of sits above most sci-fi, say "Cats Cradle" by Vonnegut or something, because of hos he evokes this amazing crystallizing landscape.
It's really difficult to describe your music with a genre but i don't care about it, the most important thing is is the emotion expressed in your music, sometimes you feel like you are in wide, open space and then you find out that you are in a very tight room which make you claustrophobic, did you want to do this, these so evident changes which you can't avoid?
André: Thanks, those are great descriptions of how it might feel to listen to our music. I prefer your description to any comparison to other groups or genres actually. Sometimes we intentionally seek for our music to convey some sort of emotion, and sometimes our music will convey the feelings that you describe because of the way that we play. The way we improvise is like spirit possession. The mood of the music is sometimes not up to us, but up to something outside of us.
Terence: Yes, thank you. I think we want to just challenge ourselves and our listeners and do things that evoke visions like cinema by sound.
You collaborated with members of Nachtmystium and Yakuza, now you have Steven Hess at percussions and electronics. What changed in these years? What did these collaborations give to you and how was finding an element like Steven which in some way completes your sound?
André: All of the people who played with us on the "Territories" album are our friends. For most of the time that we’ve been performing as Locrian, we haven’t collaborated with any other musicians. That is, for the most part, Locrian has just been Terence and I. When we recorded "Territories", we decided that the album would be something collaborative since we hadn’t done anything like that before. We were specifically collaborating with people who weren’t part of our group with the exception of Andrew Scherer (Velnias) who performed with us throughout much of 2009.
We’d been fans of Steven’s work for a long time. In early 2010 we decided to play music with him and our personalities and musical interests meshed really well. We ended up recording "The Crystal World" together very soon after we started playing with Steven.
Terence: It took us a while too to even do Territories because we were so wary of collaborating and just making sure our voices as a duo were certain in what we wanted to do. Steven adds so much to the palette, his percussion and electronics and his whole approach really add to the equation.
I heard the influences of the 70s in you albums, the cosmic music of Tangerine Dream and the avantgarde style of Frank Zappa and King Crimson; does it influence your sound? How do you create your songs?
Terence: That’s interesting, I was given Freak Out! when I was young and I know its importance I always though Zappa needed to stop targeting his perception of what was wrong with commercial music and contribute something.
André: Those styles definitely influence what we do. One of my brothers got me interested in prog rock at an early age and that was really fundamental to my development as a musician. I would sit in my room as a kid and try to copy the guitar playing on the King Crimson "Discipline" record and the guitar playing on the early Genesis stuff.
Terence: I would say Tangerine Dream were a huge influence on me wanting to play keyboards, from when I was a kid and watching movies like Legend to obsessing over owning their output on vinyl and really getting into their era and groups like Popol Vuh and Kraftwerk. But I grew up with a lot of progressive rock and always wanted to have like a Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson set up. Surrounded by synths. I’m glad it comes through, I still need my cape.
Out of the music worlds you are teachers in Columbia College of Chicago, may i ask you what you teach and if in some way there is a link with your music?
Terence: I teach visual arts, mainly drawing or new media arts courses.
André: I teach courses in social science at Columbia and typically courses in cultural anthropology. What I teach is tied to my music in multiple ways. On a fundamental level, music is cultural so there are plenty of ties to the field of cultural anthropology or the subjects that I teach.
I also read about the Terence show at the Modern Art Musem of your city about his project which release different zines every year, can you tell us something more about it?
Terence: Sure, I made a zine every month for 2010, some collaborations others on my own, some drawings, some had audio components. All different sizes and edition sizes, it was a way to challenge myself to make new work and recontextualize the output I had. A kind of visual thinking. It culminated this month in an exhibition titled Negative Litanies at Western Exhibitions here in Chicago.
Did some of your students listen to your albums or see you live? Did you receive some comments from people who didn't know you as musicians?
André: Columbia is an arts and media college so some of our students will have really interesting tastes in music. I have had numerous students who have been familiar with my music and who have seen Locrian play before. I don’t discuss my music too explicitly with any of my students who are not already familiar with my work though.
Terence: Occasionally a student will know or figure it out. I never tell students though, nothing worse than being like the old dude with the band asking students to come on out. Plus I think students should have to do a little work. It always surprises me how little they know about any of their professors who can be titans in their field but the students can’t even recall their names, and they’re paying tons of money to sit in the classroom for hours. I don’t understand it.
What do Locrian need on stage to express their art? Do you give importance to the visual aspect in your shows?
André: The visual aspect is important. We try to do things that glorify our music rather us as people.
Terence: Lots of smoke and less light.
Do you have a night which you remember with pleasure or some interesting fact which you'd like to tell us?
André: We have lots of interesting nights as a band. We have some exciting shows coming up with musicians that we respect. I’m particularly excited about playing in New York City in April. We’re playing with three of my favorite projects: Gnaw, Martial Canterel, and Blacklist. Later in the summer we’ll be performing with Aun, and hopefully Mammifer. I love playing with musicians that I respect.
Terence: Every night is different, and I think we try and even challenge ourselves by playing with bands that maybe fit other genres or scenes that we’re fans of.
How is the metal scene in Chicago? Are there bands with which you are friends? Would you recommend some of them to our listeners?
André: Chicago has a pretty great metal scene today. Sun Splitter and Anatomy of Habit are two of my favorite bands in the area that you probably haven’t heard of. We also have a great experimental music community here too. In that category, there are people like Neil Jendon, Nicholas Szczepanik, The Fortieth Day.
Terence: The metal scene is still relatively small as far as bands go, but it has come so far in the last 10 years or so. The bands André mentioned are big ones but I would add Gatekeeper, Oakeater, Del Rey and for metal specifically I would say Weekend Nachos, Indian, I Shalt Become and some others.
What are Locrian working to? Maybe a follower of "Crystal World"?
André: We have a lot of music that we’re working on. We’ll be recording some stuff next month and we’ll be releasing our next studio album late in 2011.
Terence: Recordings, tours, etc. the usual.
Will you make an european tour, maybe with a date in Italy?
André: We have a limited time off of work, so we are going to play as much of Europe as we can in two weeks. Odyssey Booking is putting our tour together, so if anyone wants to help us out, then please contact them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Italian listeners have been really kind to us in the past and we would really love to come and play in Italy.
Terence: I would say yes to Europe and maybe to Italy.
Thanks for the time spent with us, the last message for our readers is up to you.
André: Thanks so much for speaking with us and for your own perspective on our music.