Cat On The Wall: What is the Sonic State Relay effect? Please tell us a bit about yourselves and your music.
Sonic State Relay: Sonic State Relay is the bringing together of 3 different musical minds and a strobe light.
We’re Pete Clarke (vocals), Spencer Ball (guitar) and Rory Farrelly (bass). We originally met at high school – we went to the same school but were in 3 different years and we’ve spent the last 10 years evolving our sound into something we consider to be our own, while inevitably taking a lead from some of our favourite bands of the past. The sonic state relay effect is hypnotic, driven, and has substance and depth. It appeals to people who used to listen to bands like My Bloody Valentine and who are looking for something that taps a similar sonic vein.
COTW: You have been labelled as ‘psych-noir’, ‘loud turbulence’ and ‘white trainer goth’! What does that mean and do you agree? Is that close to the truth?
SSR:White trainer goth makes us laugh. And we like loud turbulence. To be honest, those descriptions came from listings put out by gig venues and the local press, and they probably took the writers about 2 seconds to think of. But in a way they fit and they give us something to put on our website. Bands typically don’t like to be pigeonholed, but luckily we haven’t heard of other bands in the “white trainer goth” or “loud turbulence” movements, so we like to think we’re pretty unique.
The Stool Pigeon described us as being “unlike anything else”, and Sarah Darling on XFM said we were “shoegazing back with a vengeance”. So we’re simultaneously unique and retro. Maybe Cat on the Wall can come up with that 8-word piece of literary alchemy that defines us perfectly if so, we’ll quote it on our website for ever, we promise.
COTW: How do you feel about downloading music? In what ways has the Internet been a venue for musicians like yourselves?
SSR: Well, in the past we only ever got feedback from our audience at gigs. The whole situation has changed now, and we’re hearing from people all over the world who came across us while browsing MySpace. So in that sense it expands massively the potential audience of bands like us, and that can only be a good thing. We’re not only meeting fans online, but also promoters, writers and broadcasters, and fellow musicians.
The downside of the internet boom is that only one of us is computer literate and is thus the band’s online bitch.
COTW: If you could work with any artist/s (past or present) who would they be and why?
SSR:Ok, ask us the same question in a week’s time and you’ll probably get a different set of answers, but for now:
Rory:Trent Reznor, Tim Commerford (RATM), Nick McCabe (The Verve), Chris Cunningham
Pete:Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), Martin Gore, Kevin Shields
Spencer:Jon Theodore (ex-Mars Volta), Sonic Boom, and for our album artwork either Peter Saville or a great French artistic duo called M/M (Paris), who I think did the cover of Bjork’s Vespertine. (ndr.: yes, they did. I should know, I named my cat after that album!)
COTW: When can we expect a full album to be released?
SSR:That’s a good question. We’ve got the material ready to be developed, and we reckon a couple of months in the studio would produce the kind of work we’ve been dying to make for the last 10 years. In contrast to the DIY ethic of the moment, we’re a band that’s serious about our sound and needs to work with a talented producer who understands that ‘sonic’ is the key element of sonic state relay.
COTW: What are your plans for the near future?
SSR: Well we had a great end to 2006, in November we got to the last 3 in XFM’s FREEDM competition to send an unsigned band to New York, and we also self-released our first mini album, Bring Your Sword Down, so we’re really looking to build on that in the first part of this year.
Hopefully the next few months will see us developing our live sound, getting played on XFM and Radio 1’s unsigned slots, and release an EP or album through a label.
Getting heard is what it’s all about for us in the near future.