With the rumble of Kenny, still prickling the neck, I kicked off part III of the discussion with Max & Kishore Ryan… this time round we talk sound and silence and playing live at QPF. Can’t wait!
ALS: What a blast to feature Kenny in part II of our chat… there is such a menacing energy about that track, makes the spirit bristle! There are some other real stompers on the album, namely, the acerbic Leela, you mentioned previously, and Wild Honey. Knowing that Samaan was going at his guitar with a 10cent piece, I couldn’t help but conjure images of the late Ian Rilen on stage with the wildly underrated, X. Ian often attacked his bass, playing with a 20cent piece, and there is that same raw magic that they created at play on both of these tracks… a beautiful aggression, if you may. Then at other times on Streets of Jogjakarta and The Way She Smiled it is the silences that speak loudest. How do you see it all coming together live on stage? Will QPF be the debut live performance?
Kishore: Beautiful aggression is good way to describe it. It brings to mind the cheekiness of Peter’s bass playing on the track Boy City. Even though we only rehearsed the song a couple of times Pete seemed to know exactly when to shift into the next bit and did so just before everyone else, in a graceful, yet slightly belligerent way. I love what he plays in the outro too. His melody floats between the drums and guitar, but glues them together at the same time.
One thing I’d like to add about Samaan’s 10-cent coin thing is that it doesn’t necessarily have to sound aggressive. On tracks like Wild Honey he does have an aggressive, metallic sound. But even when it’s loud, he pushes the coin into the strings on an angle in such a way that makes a sound that is different to other guitar players.
The album has some special accidents on it. There is no doubt that it will sound different when we play it live. We won’t have the ability to scrap things, like we did in the studio. But we’re good at listening to each other and I have a great trust with Peter, Samaan and Max so there’s nothing to worry about. QPF will be the debut live performance.
You also spoke about a silence that speaks loudest, Graham, but I’ll leave that one to Max…
Max: Well those quieter pieces have a markedly different feel and overall I think we struck a good balance with the CD. One of the things that came through to me right from the start is that the band were really in touch with the words of each piece and what my voice was doing at any given time.
One of the quieter tracks as you mentioned Graham, is The Way She Smiled. This piece is comprised of three tanka (written separately at different times) and I got the idea to put them together and then repeat the three pieces three times over. With the band’s spacious instrumentation there’s a lovely sense for me of circularity as if each tanka is part of a revolving story.
I feel honoured to work with such intuitive players and it’s particularly delightful that they’re all into poetry and literature in general. I was always aware that Nick too was especially alert to a particular turn of phrase or intonation. He writes poetry himself and has published several collections.
We’ve got a good hour at QPF so we’ll probably stretch out some of our recorded numbers. We’re doing a couple of run throughs beforehand but, in keeping with the spirit in which before we lose each other again, was born, I expect there’ll be quite a bit of space for us to improvise. We may even throw in a bit of Velvet Underground or Modern Lovers!
And now for another track from the album, the surging, Boy City