Chris Bryson had the chance to chat with bassist Brian Cook to get a sense of the world of Russian Circles. How do you deal with the challenges of being away from home when on a long tour?
Chris Bryson had the chance to chat with bassist Brian Cook to get a sense of the world of Russian Circles. How do you deal with the challenges of being away from home when on a long tour? There are a few obvious things you can do to keep yourself sane: I find the bigger challenge to be dealing with coming home. Tour has its own momentum. You get in the van and it takes you to your next destination. At home, you have to recalibrate your brain to be self-motivated.
You go from being constantly in motion, constantly validated, and constantly surrounded by people to being static and alone. Dealing with that is the bigger challenge, in my opinion. Does the band ever change or alter its approach to songwriting and if so what have been some of the reasons for doing so?
Every song is a little different. We all live in different states, so we end up trading a lot of audio files. Being an instrumental band allows you to cover more ground stylistically with less need for adherence to a particular style. What aspects of your music do you think best benefit from this flexibility?
And for me, honestly, most of the interesting guitar-based music happening today owes something to metal. But metal also has a tendency to cling to these aesthetics that can be a little cartoony and juvenile, and that winds up manifesting in a lot of the lyrics and vocal delivery in the genre.
So being an instrumental band has benefitted us because it allows us to cull from the instrumental side of metal without having to shoehorn some campy frontman into our sound. The music of Russian Circles is filled with an emotional weight buried within transcendental darkness.
What are some of the inspirations and influences behind the narratives and ideas for your music? Any narratives are totally subconscious. Was the looping of guitar always something the band has done to give added heft to your music? Are there any other methods the band uses to further amplify or give added effect to your sound? Looping allows us have multiple layers and multiple textures going at any given time. Ultimately, we really just want to make things texturally rich and dynamic, but we also want to adhere to the three-piece format without resorting to backing tracks or having a laptop on stage.
What made the band decide to do a live album? The songs are constantly morphing. Once the album is actually finished, the songs still wind up evolving in the live show.
It just so happened that the Dunk! Festival set was recorded without our knowing it, and it was a concert we were all very happy with. When it comes to sculpting and recording what songs or a final album will be, how do differences in ideas and opinions get resolved? Honestly, the biggest conflicts in this realm have been pretty minor.
That was enough for him to willingly scrap it. There is no fun allowed in Russian Circles. There is very little electronic music that resonates with me because so much of it sounds like canned music.
It just makes me think of someone sitting at a computer screen, staring at a grid, and plugging sounds into quantized beats. It really depresses me. I want music to be an escape from staring at a computer screen. And more and more rock music is recorded in that manner. There is no push and pull. No interaction between the instruments.
And it makes all the moments where the band locks in and plays off each other feel that much more inspired. And as someone that still buys vinyl, I only want to spend money on music that still excites me after a decade or two of repeated spins.
Will the band be bringing any new elements into the fold with the next music you put out? Can you tell me anything about the next Russian Circles release? There been discussion of trying to make a darker, uglier album, but we also have a tendency to wind up writing songs with the opposite mood of what was initially intended. Then it was just a matter of putting out a record.
Then the goal was to tour. So my advice is to do whatever you want and do it passionately. Be involved in your musical community. Go see other bands. Throw your own shows.
Make your own tapes or records or CDs. Value your own art.
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