29 March 2010

Fresh Meat Monday - Beneath Us, The Waves

photo by John Linton

Would you care to introduce yourself?
Of course. Hi, I'm Neil and I'm from Scotland but am living in Warsaw in Poland just now. Primarily, I'm a musician and composer, occasionally writing under my own name but more often than not as beneath us, the waves. I also run and manage the too many fireworks record label and am part of a photography and podcasting collaboration, We Sink Ships. So, yeah. That's me.
How would you describe the music you make?
Um... I guess the music I write is a mixture of contemporary, minimalist classical music and more experimental, ambient soundscapes. I've been quoted recently as saying it's "glacial" but that wasn't me. haha. Someone else said that. I just liked it.

How did you start out making music?
I started as a teenager really, with an old battered eko acoustic guitar with action so high I could barely fret the strings. By my early 20s I played in a band called Troika who were very schizophrenic in the music that they played, skipping from instrumental post-rock to early 80's new wave inspired post-punk. It was really fun but ran its course. During and after Troika, I continued to run too many fireworks while trying several aborted solo projects before giving up for a few years entirely in 2006, concentrating instead in photography. Last year, I started to write again, this time in a completely different way. People seemed to like what they heard and I had the confidence to keep going.

What process goes into the way you write songs?
Procrastination and panic. hahah. I write mainly on my computer using Cubase or Ableton Live with piano and strings samples to demo the songs. I've been teaching myself music theory and more recently I might develop a piece entirely in my head and on paper but more often than not I sit down and mess around until something sounds familiar and comfortable.

What can people expect from your live shows?
I'll be performing the shows with a live string quartet so that's pretty exciting. There will be more performance than just me sitting behind a piano occasionally prodding a midi controller. One of my songs, "The Secret to Snow" seems fairly popular but we decided early on that we couldn't perform this one live as I would need to increase the musicians on stage by adding two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer. That said, we're considering playing it just the once at the last show in Stereo on the 12th April if the other bands on the bill will help out.

What are you all listening to at the moment?
I'm listening to, and being influenced quite a lot by Arvo Pärt, Max Richter and Ólafur Arnalds at the moment. I've also recently got into a guy called Richard Skelton. Beautiful music. As well as that, there's an amazing record label from southern England called Schedios records whose owner, Clem Leek is a tremendous young musician and also signed up an wonderful pianist called Anna Rose Carter. Definitely worth checking out. I'm excited by some of the bands I'm playing with in the next couple of weeks too, The Scottish Enlightenment, Japanese War Effort, Euan McMeeken, Maple Leaves and the Last Battle.

What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010?
I'm working on an e.p. of ambient soundscapes where each song will be influenced or inspired by Polish, Scottish and Icelandic folk music respectively. If there's time before release, I'm hoping to have one of the songs remixed by friends of mine which will be very exciting. Other than that, I've started working on my first classical release for later in the year. I'll also be planning to follow up my first shows this month with more in summer and late autumn while also doing some shows in Poland. I'm very excited that I've also been asked to score strings for other artists, so there may be periods of "radio silence" through the year while I work on these. As if I wasn't busy enough, Too many fireworks will also be relaunching as a net-label later in Spring so there's that to come as well.

Beneath Us, The Waves - Elegy for Tramway (MP3)

beneath us, the waves has the following live dates lined up
29/03 - Roxy Art House, Edinburgh (DJ-set) - with Benni Hemm Hemm, Tisso Lake and Skeleton Bob
30/03 - The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh - with Japanese War Effort and Euan McMeeken (Kays Lavelle)
01/04 Liquid Ship, Glasgow - Elba Sessions gig along with Scottish Enlightenment
12/04 - Stereo, Glasgow - with Maple Leaves and the Last Battle
To buy tickets for the Stereo gig just click on the pretty picture below.

No comments:

Post a Comment