One of the best bands I have heard all year has got to be LA 'post-prog' outfit Days Between Stations whose debut album came out last year
They are a clear demonstration that there is more to prog than metal and that Ozric Tentacles are not the only band playing chilled out, sophisticated progressive rock
Here is Rock Revival’s interview with Sepand Samzadeh and Oscar Fuentes, thanx guys !
1. You are on the record as calling your music post-prog. Is this a reference to post-rock, post-modernism ?
Oscar: I think the term post-rock offers more latitude since to some people progressive rock now refers only to a specific sound – let’s say a 70s sound – so if a band doesn’t sound like Yes or Genesis or E.L.P. circa 1973 then they’re not considered progressive and they’re more or less dismissed. By calling it post-prog you’re sort of declaring the band free to try other things, free to roam, which to me is what progressive rock should be all about. It’s a reference to post-rock also, in a way (and I do admire a lot of bands in that genre), though we definitely don’t have the aversion to solos that a lot of those bands seem to have.
Sepand: Having the term post in front of the word prog, also gives the feel that our heritage is in prog music but we are evolving to a degree and taking it into different territories
2. Who would you claim as your main inspirations in terms of a more
classic prog sound: Pink Floyd comes thru loud and clear, any others ? Ozric Tentacles ?
Oscar: For me, my main progressive rock inspirations are some of the usual suspects: I absolutely love Marillion, Genesis, King Crimson, Yes, E.L.P., Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator, as well as some of the so-called “third wave” bands like Porcupine Tree, The Flower Kings, The Pineapple Thief. Many, many, many others. I haven’t heard much from Ozric Tentacles, although ironically I’ve been listening to their best of, Eternal Wheel, in the car for the last couple of days, and it’s great. There’s definitely a kinship there, especially in terms of groove.
Sepand: The funny thing is I did not even listen to Pink Floyd until ¾ of the album was complete, or any prog for that matter. I come from a hard rock, classical and electronic pop background. My biggest influences Nirvana, the Melvins, Sonic Youth, The Doors, Queen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Depeche Mode and above all Radiohead. I’m now listening to Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson, Porcupine Tree, and Yes and have to admit I am in bliss. It will be great to see how these new influences play out on the next album
3. Either/or is such a great song but reminiscent of Great Gig in the Sky, was this intentional?
Sepand: No, not at all. In fact, I only had listened to the Great Gig in the Sky a couple of times in my life. The strange thing was that Oscar and I went to see a Moby concert; I had never heard his music before and was curious. He did this version of Natural Blues, and that is the time I remember thinking, that it would be a great idea (You can only hear that version of Natural Blues as an iTunes exclusive). But when I hear Great Gig in the Sky there is absolutely no way I can deny the influence.
Oscar: Great Gig was definitely an influence on the song, but not the only influence. Not to give away our recipe or anything, but I sometimes think of a song in terms of its mix of influences. To me, on Either/Or you can hear Pink Floyd and The Black Heart Procession and The Verve (particularly in the bass) and Marillion and Herbie Hancock, filtered through us and, the hope is, sounding like us. Once people hear Holly, however, they can’t think of anything else but Floyd. But there are early versions of that song – without that vocal – that don’t sound very “Floydy” at all. Also, Great Gig is in a 6/8 time signature, while Either/Or is in 4/4, and that’s a pretty profound difference in terms of feel, in my opinion.
4. Can you tell us a bit about the actual writing process, how much is improvised ?
Oscar: There’s a definite back and forth between composing and improvising during our writing process, which is one of the reasons why we sometimes like to lock a song up in the cellar and let it ripen before coming back to it. Both Laudanum and How to Seduce a Ghost, for example, started life as studio improvisations that were considered finished until we’d meet the following week and get into the “What if?” game. You know, what if we had another section here? What if we add a Radiohead-ish or Gabriel-ish thing here? What if we make this song twice as long? Sepand and I grew up listening to pretty different stuff, and the beauty of that is that sometimes means one or the other of us will take a song into a completely unexpected area.
Sepand: I agree with that….. there seems to be this constant turmoil between improvisation and structure. Improvisation is definitely more adventurous, spontaneous and free, but it has it has its limitations. We feel that theory and structure actually add to that freedom, and allow for safe passage of sound. It was really important that each time we gave life to the sound, for it to breathe and come to life on its own. In the case of Laudanum, it took four years before we got it to have its own mood, sound and personality.
5. Any chance of coming down to Oz ?
Sepand: I can’t wait to come again. I was there for three weeks traveling up and down the east coast. We are waiting for the magical invitation
Oscar: My bags are packed! Honestly, when I was a kid growing up in Mexico City I used to pore over this photo book on Australia that my mom had. Sydney, Melbourne, Kangaroos, Mad Max! I was obsessed. Plus we’d love to grab a pint or two with Gav from Temtris -- he’s a good long distance friend of the band. The short answer is also yes.