Circuit Sweet Interview, Circuit Sweet Introducing, Feature, Reviews

A Parliament Of Wolves ‘I Am A Knife With Legs’ EP Release/ Interview Special

December 15, 2014

APOW- Naomi Preece

A Parliament Of Wolves

Electronic, Experimental , Instrumental

A Hardware Electronic, Experimental Duo based Herefordshire/Gloucestershire borders.

Using a range of hardware electronics, guitars and keys, A Parliament of Wolves will attack each listener with a composed aggression and a powerfully layered wall of sound, intricate compositions mixing analogue synths and electronic beats with an array of hard hitting angular guitar riffs .

With the concept of A Parliament of Wolves being formed 2 years ago, now at the tail end of 2014 the duo are ready to release their first record to the world. APOW consist of sound designer/session musician Simon Gore- Keys/Electronics and touring musician Oli Montez- Guitar. Both musicians have been developing ideas, theories and then their own original material unnamed, creating their first physical EP release away from the public eye, before finally revealing their moniker.

The duo have already gained some support when they anonymously released their single ‘Guantanamo Babes’  on the 2014 Circuit Sweet compilation supporting the media site’s 5th Birthday. The compilation is streaming in full and available as a free download from circuitsweetrecords.bandcamp.com .

The long awaited fully independent debut release of “I Am A Knife With Legs” is now available worldwide, as of today 15th of December 2014 with both a physical release and a digital stream/ download. The EP was recorded over a series of days at various secret locations and studios across the UK.  Mixed and Mastered by Harish Jariwala and Simon Gore at the soon to be deceased £1M B6a Studio at Caerleon. Produced by Harish Jariwala, Simon Gore and Oli Montez. Harish is known for his outlet and work with Electronic Music Wales who have assisted with the release throughout.

I Am A Knife With Legs Track List

1. Dial A Corpse
2. Nikki Chappell Brings The Mosh
3. Shetland Phoney

The EP is out now and streaming via bandcamp. A physical copy will be available from the Circuit Sweet store in due course.

 

We had the pleasure in speaking with both Simon and Oli on the day their EP was revealed to the world. Personally they’re no strangers to Circuit Sweet, they’ve equally worked their fair share of CS related work- from reviews to photography. But together they’re a new outfit who we are thrilled to let the world discover.

Firstly thank you for spending time with us. Before we get to the details of your forthcoming  EP release ‘I Am A Knife With Legs’  we want to get to know more on you- Introduce yourselves- How long have you been playing and performing live?

SG: My name is Simon Gore, I go by many names. I enjoy long walks on the beach, romantic candle lit dinners etc etc. I started playing guitar when I was 7. I started gigging properly when I was 15. I started writing music with Oli in 2011. [I think…]

OM: My name is Oli Montez and I also like to party. I have been playing electric guitar and gigging since the age of 15. I think that 2011 sounds about right.

What was it that first got you to pick up your instruments- and then to write your own compositions and direct your creativity?

SG. As much as it’s a seriously out dated cliché, one of my earliest memories was of watching Marty McFly play Johnny B Goode in Back To The Future. I saw it and thought “I want a guitar”. Playing guitar has seen me through a lot of wonderful times, resulting in pissing around with synthesizers and drum machines! The guitar is my first instrument and go-to compositional tool. It was not until we recorded Guantanamo Babes last year that we had to figure out how we were going to do it live. It worked out easiest for me to do all the electronics and Oli to do all the guitar. That set up worked really well so we kept it.

OM: In primary school the only choices in terms of music that I had were between a trumpet and a guitar. This was around the time that I was discovering MTV2 and kerrang – which I tried to explain to my tutor when asking to learn something other than good king fucking Wenceslas. This guy laughed in my face and set me back big time with by the book nursery rhymes for future serial killers so I began to resent the guitar and gave up. Then one day my dad – who worked for PRS at the time – comes home with this gnarly red strat he borrowed from a colleague, plugged me into his car stereo and that was it. When it comes to writing with Simon I usually get a rough sketch to add to and subtract from. Then I use effects to manipulate the guitar to blend in with the analogue sounds.

You’ve been working hard behind the scenes for some time now and you’ve already accomplished so much but only recently have you revealed the band. For those unaware how did you both meet and what’s the story behind the formation of A Parliament Of Wolves?

SG: Back in 2008/2009 One of my previous bands played a local festival. I remember watching this band who performed after us, noticing the one guitarist kind of away with the faries for most of the set. With his head down, playing with a Kaoss Pad. He had an SG and bright green shorts. He looked so out of place in this traditional 5-piece line up. I remember laughing to myself and thinking “this dudes in the wrong band!”

Oli and I met at a gig in 2010 where we were booked to play together, back in the 3 piece days of the mighty Aulos. We had exchanged effects pedals with each other previously before meeting and noticed each others old pedals in our live rigs. It was one of those “Oh shit, you’re that guy” moments. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out and kept in contact. Oli came to a couple of my house parties and we started making music together shortly after.

Both of us are self-confessed technophobes when it comes to computer music. This was a-long distance collaboration and the only method we had for a very long time was simply sending video’s of each of us jamming ideas back and forth. I’d had some previous experience of electronic instruments but this is when I started really experimenting with different drum machines and keyboards/synths. Every so often we would get together and have a jam, working through the ideas we had been sharing. This was an incredibly long-winded but comfortable model for us both. It took its time but I feel that we have a defined sound now as a result of our persistence and dedication.
We knew that this project was going to take a long time to progress and mature, so we didn’t want to make a song and dance about it and bum people out when we didn’t have any material to back up the hype. So we chose not to reveal that we were working together until we had a release ready to go.

It wasn’t until we started working on structured music, getting to know each other better that I realized that Oli was the SG guy with the green shorts!

OM: Fun facts:

I still have those shorts.

That was the same show I met Naomi.

And we live there together!

What is it from life that triggers your creativity to project your unique style?

SG: I find as much influence in musical technology as I do in recorded music. I like hearing the technology in music, and how on many occasions, genre can be defined by the sounds of the instruments as adequately as the compositional and instrumental content. I find certain things about modern electronic music really appealing. How human error can be embraced and glorified by the constraints of machines. Finding characterful and unintended quirks – particularly with analog electronics. I find the element of nature having a higher power on your work a fascinating concept. How the change in temperature or humidity can affect your sound. How age can deteriorate instruments and mature their sound, pushing them into uncomfortable boundaries and achieving unpredictable results. That really inspires me.
I finally feel like I have got to a point in my life where I am quite happy with what I have done – musically and personally. I have started experimenting with new musical challenges and have redefined ambitions. I just want to express that.

OM: It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where an idea or a feeling may come from. I try to be open to as much information as possible be it musical or otherwise that can encourage me to be creative. I have never been truly fascinated with the guitar as an instrument, but I have always been drawn to effects and amplification. This is something I can take to the extremes when performing in this band, there is room for the more abstract and dysfunctional sounds that I enjoy but would be out of context anywhere else.

When you both sat down and APOW was born, what did you originally want the band to convey and do you think you’ve achieved this?

SG: Hahaha! I wanted to play noise rock guitar in dropped tunings and Oli wanted to play bass synth! So no for that part of it. However, one key element of the initial idea was to use drum machines and have them obviously sounding like drum machines. I am a long-term fan of The Kills and the honesty in their work. I like how their beats sound. It’s obvious and proud. It’s not hiding behind any false pretenses or trying to portray it’s self as anything more or less than what it is. Other bands like Moon Relay and Dead Ship Sailing are other good examples of the obvious drum machine-loop sound. I am very pleased with how we have managed to work out programming/sequencing and playing in a live environment without having to resort to a backing track. Not that that was ever an option.

OM: When we started I had no idea what was going to happen. I just wanted to play anything remotely like Teenage Bad girl. Which I still don’t know how to do. The thing that surprised me most is how much of a style we have developed. I know it has taken a long time to come to light but everything has found its place and there is a definite direction.

‘I Am A Knife With Legs’ is out today, December 15th, casting back to when you were creating the EP, enlighten us on your writing process and how you utilize your workmanship, what roles within material making did you both take?

SG: After we recorded Guantanamo Babes and our defined rolls became unintentionally apparent, the work really started pouring out. I could set up my kit, spend a day jamming out an idea and be able to send Oli a rough structure with beats, bass synth and lead/pad synth parts (and any other wizardary that happened along the way). When you stop trying to fight nature, the magic happens! All the compositions on the EP are the results of a short summers work. We have 2 years worth of material previous to this that to me just sounded imbalanced. Our roles are quite simple – I play drum machine, and synths, Oli plays guitar and samples.

OM: Stripping back the amount we were both doing was vital to our progress. It took us like 2 years to realize we couldn’t mash synths, swing our guitars about and head-bang at the same time. Usually when I have written a set of phrases I record them as loops and layer them and swap them around to see which feels best. Then I can play with the loops and add keys and other instruments. These sketches can then be recalled when a new beat appears in my inbox although It’s not always as simple as matching things up and I may not always be ready to work immediately. The beauty of sending ideas so frequently is that there is always work to be done and thanks to technology I can listen to beats anywhere.

From the writing process, the recording process followed -Tell us a little about your recording for the EP and how you’ve managed to get to the point of a breakthrough debut.

SG: We both experiment with a lot of equipment, re-purposing obsolete technology and trying out forgotten and discarded “tat”. The really impressive and distinguished sounds on the recording have been a result of gear that you would not look twice at in a prestigious music shop.
The EP was produced by Harish Jariwala of Electronic Music Wales. It really is quite amazing working with a real electronic producer. He just knows the right way to do stuff. He knows the right sound and how to achieve it but has just as much as an open minded and experimental attitude towards the recording as we did. I can honestly say he is the best producer I have worked with in my life and our tracks would not have half the impact they do, had it not been for his creative input.

It was recorded throughout many sessions, in dribs and drabs really, when we had the time. The same as the compositional process really. This gave a lot of thinking time, which can work out as a good thing or a bad thing. In our case it was a good thing as having been so confined studio schedules in the past, you end up having to be satisfied with your limited input.
As a result of this we have been really gifted with the facilities we have used. Had a few minor issues with failing digital technology and power crazy security guards in the process but it wouldn’t be an interesting tale without these occurrences.

 OM: I was at Simon’s house playing with some newly acquired kit, when we were done I switched off the old monitor I was playing through and it just sounded magical. The signal degraded over about 10-20 seconds and crushed the sound to this beautiful disaster. Then the quest was on to find the sounds hidden within all our broken and shot out kit.

It’s been tough getting things done; we had some major setbacks – like losing all recorded guitar tracks 48hrs before our debut release! It’s also been quite an endurance test, leaving from work to drive for an hour and a half to record all through the night to drive back and to go straight back to work. I hope the effort we have all – Harish Included – Put into this translates to the outcome and all that follows.

How would you describe your own sound?

SG:I really like dogs.

OM: I think that’s the abbreviation for

Intricately

 

Radical

Encapsulating

Archaic

Luscious

Looping

Yearning

 

Live

Intricate

Killer

Evolving

 

Dangerous

Omnipotent

Godly

Sounds

Who makes up the songtitles?

SG: Both of us. If we’re not texting each other eBay links we’re having a laugh thinking up and sharing stupid phrases for future titles. For the first time in my life I think I have too many AWESOME titles in the bag to account for the music we have! It might just be worth saying they are super intellectual and top quality.

OM: I have this fantasy that a big brother surveyor is trying to crack the enigma code of eBay item numbers and witty one liners that make up our text history.

What does the final finished EP mean to you and what do you feel it captures?

SG: It’s an adequate reflection of a fantastic journey. It’s not over saturated in sound or length. It complies with no, single genre allocation but portrays everything we have put into it. I’m very proud of it, I’m very proud of us. It captures exactly what we are.

OM: It’s like that moment in Falling Down when Michael Douglas just totally loses his shit.


What are you hoping will arise for APOW from this release?


SG:
Expectation has never been a priority in this project. It would be nice to see a bit of appreciation from the right ears but my upmost satisfaction of its existence is purely enough for me. Having said that, we are both live performers and it would be great to get the opportunity to play in some of the counties we aspire to. A humble little Euro tour in the summer would be ideal.

OM: I want to go live with it, and I want to feel it with great volume.

With the physical release, you both worked hard with creating your own thing, your own brand and made your own artwork. You are a positive influential DIY act holding on to your DIY mentalities. Why is this important to you?

SG:
As much as I am a sucker for a good collaboration, we knew what we wanted and we knew we wanted to do it. We are both multi-instrumentalists with artistic and practical backgrounds. We take on the responsibility and work load because we want to. At the end of the day, life is just about how you spend your time. I want to spend my time making music, making art and consequently obtaining a substantial reflection of my efforts. I loved the whole process of producing the artwork for the physical release but it was a lot of effort. I completely understand why others may not want to go to that effort. But it’s what inspires and satisfies us both, so that’s what we’re going to do.

OM: I think it was important to have a physical token to represent our approach to the project. Each piece is unique and individual, no two will be the same and that is something special. Personally I wanted something that will be around when the power goes out. Our culture is I want everything, right now, all the time, forever and I will throw it away when I am done. By making a one off copy it is hopefully going to be something that can survive.

You both fuse a lot of genres, sounds, a lot of ideas and ways to project your voice with the aid of some collectable hard ware, a vast array of pedals and your talents. Are you happy with your current projection or are you looking to experiment even more in newer compositions with whatever instruments you can find?

SG: I didn’t realize this whole “hardware” tag was actually in existence until very recently. We have both only every made music with musical instruments, so really, it was the only option for us. It’s not intended as a marketing ploy or novelty. I had no idea that performing music with musical instruments would be a selling point in live music… but I guess it is and it’s great to be part of that!
I’m pretty happy with my current set up. It’s taken a long time for me to be happy with it though. I had a nasty back injury a couple of years ago after suffering with back problems since infancy. As a result of this I can’t lug kit around like I used to. I have had to do a lot of research and experimenting to find the right live/compositional instruments for me. I will argue to the death with anyone that thinks that analogue and digital electronics sound no different and having had experimented fairly with both, I wanted purely analogue synths. So finding light enough live instruments that sounded the part was a long winded process but I am there now. My interest and enthusiasm with electronic instruments is only growing so I will undoubtedly expand my collection for studio use. I think it’s important to have a different studio and live sound, so you can never have enough options.

OM: I am still working on my performance set up with the band. I have always collected pedals and amps so there will always be something new, or old, or weird that I can use to create a new sound. Recently I have been trying to downsize what I use at a show. I want people to come to see the show, not what I am stood in front of. I’ll chat gear every day for the rest of my life as it has been my main interest for the last 10 years but when a kid who stands at the back death staring me all night comes up and shoots a pic of my pedalboard and leaves – I just don’t get it. I see them as tools to get the job done, not the focal point of a live performance.


Are you currently supporting the release with any live shows? (If not do you have any planned)

SG: A couple of private gigs for the end of 2014 but we are both off, out of the country at the start of 2015 so we are going to continue to write in the usual fashion. Maybe get another release ready, maybe tour in the summer when we are both back in the UK. We tend to cross bridges when we notice they are passing under us.

We wish the best from the EP release but for now enlighten us to what can we look forward to from you in the future?

SG:
Global warming. Oli is convinced he’s going to find a Jupiter at a carboot sale, so we might start using a Jupiter if he finds one at a carboot sale. I’m going to get a donkey at some point, I’m sure that will feature as part of our music or art in some fashion. I enjoyed painting the CD’s so much I would really like to focus on producing more artwork as A Parliament Of Wolves. We both do other musical projects, I’m sure you will hear of us working independently.
I have a condition called Irlen’s syndrome. As a result of learning and playing keys in APOW I have developed a very simple aid for people playing keys with the condition or similar visual related learning difficulties such as dyslexia. It’s a project that I’m currently testing and expanding and looking forward to piloting in education institutions in the summer.

OM: Seek and you shall find. When music creation has become virtual reality cloud format only I will reap the rewards.

As for the band, we don’t see each other enough to become divas and hate each other so I’m sure we can knock another one out in my usual timespan of 5 years per release per band. I would also like to begin work on the visuals for our live show.

And Finally any last words?
SG: Please don’t kill me.

OM: I feel like I keep ending up here but I’d like to encourage the importance of live performance. We get deceived on an hourly basis by almost everything we are exposed to. There has never been a time where people know so much yet do so little about it. Music is a powerful tool. It should not be abused. I don’t want to watch someone use their self-gratifying social media fashion statement to cue a glorified mixtape.

A huge thank you to these two lovely chaps, be sure to listen to the release now and we will update the shop shortly with their physical EP- something very beautiful which we can’t wait to share and strictly limited to only 100 copies.

 

apow.bandcamp.com // www.facebook.com/AParliamentOfWolves // @APOfW

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