It’s funny how things turn out sometimes. After something like 3 years half of the members of the band I formed, Lunar Rising, decided to leave recently. They didn’t all go at once but the reason behind it was the same: They decided that work should come first and they couldn’t be sure they could commit in the future if things got more serious.
After the last exodus, when the band pretty much collapsed, I can’t say I was surprised. We have gone through countless musicians in audition and various other band members that generally left because of that same reason. It follows that it’s not so weird some founding members treat their lives in the same way; in any case we all do really, just in different ways.
I mentioned that it’s funny how things turn out, and I say this because I have a growing interest in sound design and regular readers will have read bits and pieces about that. I envisioned a while back how the future of the band may sound and look; I have talked about creating unique shows, and creating atmospheres in a live situation as well as a recorded situation. As you may have read, I have recently got my hands on some new gear which allows me to experiment with these ideas, but I always thought the band wouldn’t be ready to take these ideas on-board for a long while. It’s quite a happy coincidence that this growth in interest has occurred now that I am building the band up again with the other two remaining members. And another happy coincidence in that it means we can sound just as huge without packing a stage out with eight people. The three of us that are left have expressed our dedication to our project and we all now have more control over how it progresses. We do also have a violin player interested in joining us too and things there seem hopeful but unlike before, our new setup will allow us to adapt if history does repeat itself.
So, I have talked about how my ideas are colliding and about the advantages of this new setup but I haven’t actually talked about how this will actually work. With my main interests being in sound design and atmosphere, this will be the core of what I base the band around. Using a laptop computer and my guitar synth, I have a huge range of sounds at my disposal, and these sounds can all be tailored to satisfy an aspect of each song. In the same way as I have created a sound for an aspect of a picture, I will now be able to design a sound based on the sentiment and story of a song. The computer will also give me power to loop phrases I play and sounds I produce but don’t be fooled into thinking that the computer will do all the work: The phrases can be played live and looped to play continuously and then cut out and brought back in as needed. All the while this will free me up to work on producing another sound or phrase or even change instruments… This will require careful planning in terms of timing and how many jobs I give myself to do at any one time but the sense of build-up and going from small sounds to huge layered soundscapes will be a natural by-product of having to do one thing at a time. Of course, this all has to be done under the glare of venue lights on a stage where, if anything can go wrong it will, as the old adage goes. This will mean that I will be forced to concentrate more, to be more prepared and to not drink so much beer… All good things to get used to!
The new sounds will include synth sounds that I have designed for specific purposes but will also include sounds that I have recorded out and about on my handheld recorder (Roland’s R-09HR); this will allow the final product to be cohesive in terms of atmosphere and concept. These sounds can be adapted and/or warped to lend themselves to the particular song in creation depending on how subtle I want their core make-up to be. Also, elements of the sounds may find more aesthetic or functional uses, making them contribute to melodies or rhythms far removed from their intended concept.
Of course, this band won’t be just me; singer, Dominique Allan and drummer Pavel Stanev are still on-board (hopefully along with a new violin player). Being a smaller, more tight-knit unit this means that we can all work on creating the sounds and sections beyond our respective instruments without confusion or over-doing things. Being a fan of Bjork, Dom brings similar ideas to my own to the project and you will know what I mean if you are familiar with Bjork’s work. Pav loves to push the boundaries and experiment; and being a musician that works on feeling rather than notation and dull, well-rehearsed standards he has an ability to transpose his ideas from instrument to instrument.
Before, the previous incarnation of Lunar Rising worked towards making atmospheric music that contained a sense of journey. This will still prevail but now the band will be much more focussed on the end product as our relationships are more fully defined by ambition and the ways we will achieve this are also more fully defined. Of course, who knows what may happen to disrupt this in the future but all I can say is that the intention is now fully lodged in my mind and somehow I will make sure these ideas are made concrete…