Hello Chris and Matt! I can’t get enough of your debut album Condors which I reviewed here a while back. I really enjoy the contrasting dynamics of your songs where some have a slow-pulling tension or easy-going, calm vibe and others are ramped up with guitar, keyboard, and drum turbulence. Sometimes this even occurs all in one song (“Scattered” hits the sweet spot for me). I’m also keen on Ayu’s keening, emotive, yet ethereal vocals. Who plays what and how did the three of you get together to form Nedry? From what I’ve read, you were located quite a distance from each other at the start.
Chris: Thanks for the kind words, glad you’re still listening to it a year on for the release, it’s nice to think we have a long shelf life in these times of short attention spans! On the record Matt and I share the guitar and keyboard playing duties, the majority of the drum programming was done by Matt. Ayu sings and manipulates her voice using a string of guitar pedals and a looping pedal and that’s pretty much how it goes live too!
We were all living in a similar area London when we formed Nedry, Matt and I knew each other from a mutual admiration of each other’s former bands, Ayu was involved with a number of projects and was going to and from Berlin at the time, Matt tracked her down and we started getting together on the weekends at Matt’s flat, bringing with us unfinished ideas and trying to figure out a way of making electronic music a more interesting live prospect.
The band name is a reference to a character in Jurassic Park, but I totally forget who the character is in the film and who plays “Nedry”. I did see the film, but all I remember are two scared kids in the kitchen being hunted down by a raptor.
Chris: Dennis Nedry is the fat slob who is in charge of the IT at the park and manages to mess everything up while trying to break out with the ‘dino-DNA’. We pretty commonly get mistaken for Nerdy and in this way we might have made a bit of an error with our band name! Jurassic Park is a brilliant film though, with the best soundtrack, we encourage our fans to watch it. There’s a rumour that if you play Condors alongside Jurassic Park things weirdly sync up, but then I don’t see how that can be true when the film is 3 times longer than the album.
Your sound has been described as “trip-hop”, “electronica”, “dubstep”, “breakcore”, and the catch-all “post-rock”. I’m not that familiar with the terms “dubstep” and “breakcore”. Are elements of your sound based on these styles and can you go into what that means?
Matt: Dubstep is the new “catch-all” term for anything electronic and bass orientated. We’re certainly influenced by this sound as well as all of the other genres you refer to although I probably wouldn’t say that we are particularly “breakcore”. My understanding of breakcore is music that is glitched to the max, cut up and messed up and I think we probably make music that is a lot more fluid than this.
On your MySpace profile it says that one of the ‘instruments’ your play is your laptop. Ummm, sorry if I sound like a musical/technological ignoramus, but how do you play your laptop?
Matt: We tend to just play solitaire on our laptops from time to time. I think in reality our music is very heavily based around computers, we drive a lot of our sounds from them and we play them in the same way that you would play a keyboard or a drum. You strike a button or press a key and a note is played. It’s all about creating sounds through the synthesisers on board the computer and then playing that in the same way any one would play an electronic drum kit or sampler or keyboard.
Monotreme Records released Condors in 2010 and you’ve also put out a recent single “Dusk Till Dawn” in digital format. Will this song be available on the new album that you’re working on now? What stage are you at in the album-creation process and how will it differ from (and/or be similar to) Condors?
Chris: Since mid-2010 we’ve been working on new tunes. We were really busy last year trying to play as many shows as possible, in between holding down jobs, and unfortunately weren’t as productive as we would have liked, but this year we’ve been pretty busy in the (home) studio. We set ourselves a target of getting one song complete by the end of January and that was “Dusk Till Dawn”, the other material is coming along nicely, but we’re fighting to obtain our own high standards and fulfill our expectations and we also want to try as much of it out live as possible, hearing our music in the live environment is the only way to really know if it works well. You can only have so much bass in a home studio before you really upset your neighbours. “Dusk…” will be on the album, but is by no means a sign of the direction we’re going in, if anything it’s the odd one out of our new stuff which is generally a lot denser, more focused and complex than anything we’ve done before!
When I reviewed your album here, I wrote that “The future of electronic rock is happening now in the form of Nedry…” because I feel that you’re making music that I at least haven’t heard before and that’s not easy to categorize. In your blend of electronics and guitar work and vocals I do hear shades of Radiohead/Thom Yorke, Blonde Redhead, Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor, and Plaid. Have any of those artists influenced your musical outlook? If not those artists specifically, who else has made an impression on you?
Matt: You’ve hit the nail on the head. We are influenced by all of these artists significantly, probably most significantly we all share a massive love for Radiohead and Thom Yorke. They’re probably the strongest influence across the whole band as we all really appreciate the efforts they have made into bridging the gap between guitar based rock music and electronica which is something that interests us greatly.
Okay, now this is kinda a silly question, but how do you come up with your song titles? I mean, some of them I can link to the themes of the lyrics, but what about a song like “Squid Cat Battle”, which doesn’t really sound like what that title suggests (and that’s probably a good thing!)?
I’d like to say that this is true but it’s not. But we don’t want to give too much away.
Before Condors you had released the SZ EP. Was it in the same style as your album? Are any of the songs on the EP also on Condors?
Matt: SZ EP is an instrumental four track that features some instrumental versions of two songs from Condors as well as a couple of other songs that we worked on during the early writing process for the band. They’re instrumental because Chris and myself were working without Ayu for a little while and we just put the ideas down.
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to postpone your week-long tour of Japan due to the ongoing crisis in that country. You’re set to play a relief fundraiser for Japan at The Croft in Bristol, England with a bunch of other artists. We can we expect from the show?
Chris: This gig is coming up soon, we’re really excited about playing in Bristol again and with Zun Zun Egui, a band that we admire very much and have played a couple of great shows with before. All the artists on the bill have a link to Japan, whether through a band member or family ties, so I think this will be quite an emotional night. It’s really easy to donate to the relief effort, I used The British Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org.uk/Donate-Now/Make-a-single-donation/Japan-Tsunami-Appeal), but there is also an extensive list of charities here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/mar/14/donate-help-japan-after-tsunami-earthquake. We’re really hoping we can return to Japan later this summer to play, we all have great memories of playing there back in 2009, some of the most fun experiences we had as a band for sure.
You were at the SXSW Festival in March and played a few gigs there. What was the experience like? What did you do when you weren’t playing? You’re normally based in England, so how did you get to Austin, Texas? Were you already on a U.S. tour?
Chris: Playing SXSW is an extremely expensive experience for any UK band, just the plane tickets and visas ran into the £1000s, so unfortunately we couldn’t afford to do any US touring on top of it this time! Luckily we had funding from the PRS, UKTI and our wonderful label Monotreme Records, otherwise we couldn’t have made it at all. As a band who loves playing live we want to do it as much as possible and playing in the US for the first time was a real landmark moment for us. I’m pretty sure we didn’t really see Austin, SXSW transforms it into this otherworldly place, just an insane amount of venues and drunk people / band members. We tried to make the most of the industry panel talks and networking events when we weren’t playing, most bands play masses of shows at SXSW, but we could only line up 3 as this was our first time, so we had a bit of spare time. We had a great time, it’s hard not to with so much new music to check out and opportunities to drink free beer. However, it is difficult to walk away from a festival with over 2000 bands playing and not think that you were lost in the noise of it all. The atmosphere is extremely competitive, a lot of people tend to just watch a couple of songs and move on, so building momentum is damn near impossible! We’re really up for coming back to Austin to play a show as part of a huge tour, that would be amazing.
I noticed that at your video for “Dusk Till Dawn” at YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5-11HMG3TM&feature=fvst), you are named a “SXSW 2011 Showcasing Artist”. How did you get picked by SXSW?
Matt: SXSW required an immense amount of work from us but ultimately we had to fill in an application form and send it off and hope for the best (along with a little bit of gentle nudging from Monotreme Records).
Can you please list your official site(s) where we can find out more about you? Thanks so much!