Silverwing are a progressive rock band who have released a concept album called Strange Daze Indeed, and ...
Hang on - progressive rock?, concept album?? Are we in the right decade here? Well, the fact that this kind of thing isn't allowed any more seems like a good reason to do it - that's what Rock'n'Roll is all about, after all. Have a look around and make your own mind up about it's validity and artistic merit.
This is the video for the single (Whose I.D.?) - Beware of the Bear!
Strange Daze Indeed
The album 'Strange Daze Indeed' was released on Audio-Nectar Records (ANSILVER-01) on Sunday 15th June 2014 and is available to buy on this site (see the link on the left).
Currently we are only shipping to the United Kingdom via the website, but if you live further afield, drop us a line at the address on the contacts page and we'll do our best to sort something out. (That's the postal address; e-mails will almost certainly go unread, real letters will be treated with the respect they deserve).
Veteran music-guru Chaz Kajankar interviews Aaron Water about "The Concept", politics, the cosmos, and the recent making of the new Silverwing album
CK: This is a concept album! - I've heard there are youngsters in Brighton who are amazed by it - so are people really going to buy this?
AW: It'S not an attempt to make money - I can't think of anything more boring and predictable. Concept-albums are more rock'n'roll now than ever - precisely because you're not allowed to do them any more.
CK: But people have the attention-span of gnats nowadays - they've gone digital.
AW: Well that's a bad thing then isn't it? - that's just a cop-out by the human species - a shallow failure to apprehend the depth and complexity of the world, they've got a problem.
CK: It must have cost money to make though?
AW: Yep - it's been complete financial madness, and there's also been the expenditure of blood, sweat and tears in the process.
CK: 'Strange Daze...' is quite a political album isn't it?
AW: Well I hate to sound like some some talentless twat who's left a pile of bricks in the Tate, or some genius who's cut a sheep in half, but the album actually does work on more than one level - its ultimately about the alienation of the modern state from the nature of the human being.
CK: I noticed you showed an excerpt from George Orwell's "1984" while you were constructing the Siverwing website, was that relevant?
AW: Well there's a track called "2084" which didn't make it on to the album for mixing reasons, although I expect we'll release it at some point - but you can't say George didn't try to warn us. Actually there's nothing you could read that's more relevant today than "1984", because all the techniques that Orwell predicted are now actually being deployed - the manufactured external threat, the new-speak, the screen that watches you - Britain is now quite literally within just a few years of the direct equivalent of the 'thought-police' state, and there is absolutely no sign whatsoever that the great mass of ordinary people are going to wake up in time to oppose it. It's extremely scary. The only thing Orwell had wrong was that he assumed that it would come from the left, well it didn't, it's coming from the right, via authoritarian capitalism.
CK: But it's a free-market man.
AW: No it isn't, you can't have free-market capitalism any more than you can have perpetual motion - because it's a fundamentally flawed idea - and the flaw is bloody obvious. If you take all the brakes off a market economy, the big boys will win and the race will be over within a decade - it will cease to be a genuine dynamic entity and become a top-down managed system serving the interests of the big boys. That's precisely what has happened, and it's why the last track on the album is called 'Paying For The Pantomime'. In fact it's ironic that Orwell also wrote "Animal Farm" - because we're now being farmed.
CK: Is there anything we can do? - apart from buy the album!
AW: Well there's a nice little version of the book-cover of "1984" going around which more and more people are simply photocopying and attaching to every bureaucratic form they have to fill in - its a good protest, because a lot of people understand it - it's very easy to do, and it's also causing a lot more people to read "1984" in the process. Civil disobedience and ridicule is much better than violence, and not only morally, because they're just the biggest gang on the block - and if you push them far enough they just send the tanks in and innocent people get hurt - because they don't actually give a shit.
CK: 'Strange Daze...' isn't just about politics though is it?
AW: Good Lord no! - it's also about childhood, and visions and dreams, and about being a piece of gel on a particle of grit whirling through a void thirty thousand light-years from the centre of a galaxy in a universe we can't understand - because that's the actual reality which we're failing to address - that's really being all in it together!
CK: You wrote most of the songs on the album, so which is your favourite one?
AW: Ouch! - very tricky question - um ... I'll have to stop giving you straight answers now - well the album version of 'Down To Earth' has come out very well and has made it quite a favourite, but 'Dove & A Raven' was always our most popular number which is why we used a live version of it on the album. On the other hand 'Whose ID?' is very powerful and has now become the single - a lot of people like the romance of 'Satellite', and I'd also pick out 'Sandman' which was an absolute bitch to mix but which has some charisma and is an interesting song.
CK: 'Whose ID?' is also the soundtrack to the video of course.
AW: Well yes, it's actually a song I wrote in my head whilst I was staggering around a certain po-faced supermarket one day, and then I went home and worked it out on the guitar - and now look at it! - and Steve Tallendale came up wth some great lead guitar on it too, which took it up another notch in the process.
CK: Quite a different style to yours.
AW: Yes - it's nice that there's that variety on the album, my lead guitar is more basic and lyrical whilst Steve's is a lot more incisive and technical.
CK: What about the other musicians in the band - did you all get along during the recording?
AW: Well Sally is well-known in the music industry as a great drummer and percussionist, and that comes through despite there having been some technical problems with the actual recording of the drums in Spain - Sal and I come from completely different planets but we have in common the fact that we both tend to 'wing it' and play off our nerves - so I think we're both grateful to Roger the bass-player for the way that he 'earths' the whole racket and holds it together! - we actually had a great time during the recording, Simon the producer made us very welcome amongst the olive groves, the skies were blue nearly every day, and each morning I'd get up before everyone else and jump in the swimming pool whilst the sun came up - it was three weeks in paradise really, quite a novel experience!
CK: So what sticks in your mind from the sessions?
AW: Um ... sitting alone by the pool at sunrise and writing the second verse for 'Satellite', watching Nik doing a pre-edit Red-Indian chant for five minutes without stopping, being one of twelve people completely mesmerized around a starlit dining table by Sal doing her party-piece on the spoons at 4 o'clock in the morning ... oh yes and bouncing halfway across a runway on one wheel at Bristol airport on the way back - there was an American guy sitting next to me who'd spent his whole life on aeroplanes and he said it was the second-worst landing he'd ever experienced!
CK: - you mentioned there were technical problems during the recording sessions, but I heard that you also had a problem with the well-known recording technique known as 'compression' at one stage - is that right?
AW: - Damned right! - I've got a massive problem with 'compression'! - it's been slapped on to everything in recent times for the alleged benefit of MP3 players and i-pods - and it's frogarsing diabolical. It's a completely anti-musical idea which destroys the dynamic range in sound and sucks all the air and life out of it. Its garbage - and yet the tragedy is that there's a whole generation now which actually thinks music is supposed to sound like that - and to some extent we're forced to suffer it too now, because these days a lot of people will only hear our material at all in an MP3 format. It's a joke - because our sound, just like acoustic music, and music itself, is all about dynamic range. In fact when someone supplied us with an initial mix of the album swamped in compression, it had compromised our efforts to such an extent that one of the sponsors of the project actually broke down in tears, smashed their copy of it into pieces, and burnt it - they were mightily relieved when we explained the cause and told them that we were going to get every bit of compression removed immediately as a matter of urgency! - luckily however, there are major producers leading a crusade against it now, and even major modern bands including the 'Arctic Monkeys' I'm told, who are finally realizing that compression is like a musical straight-jacket, a totally crap idea - in fact you might as well make people listen to music with a tea-cosy on their heads!
CK: Er - do you fancy a cup of tea by the way?
AW: Um yeah, okay then - perhaps I should have camomile - I think I need calming down! ...
CK: There's a kind of story or narrative involved in this album isn't there?
AW: Yes, and it relates to the video as well. In that sense it's the story of the Dad who has his hand over the eyes of his little daughter on the cover image, he has some kind of a breakdown in a shopping-centre - and the songs are some of the things which go around in his head whilst he's wandering through it - before it spits him out at the other end!
CK: Can we go through the songs a bit then?
AW: What all of them?
CK: Well briefly - did you write them all for the album with the concept in mind?
AW: No actually, they were written at various times over the years - while I've been having my own breakdown in slow motion I suppose!
CK: The first actual song is 'Tomahawk...' - so what about that?
AW: Well what about it? - there it is! - the songs aren't necessarily meant to be finite or wholly definable and I don't really want to reduce them by taking them to bits - but there were influences upon them I suppose. 'Tomahawk...' was a commbination of watching black and white cowboy films when I was very young, and then reading science-fiction books in the 1970's.
CK: 'Down To Earth'?
AW: Personal stuff - alienation, I've always had a sensation that I've just landed!
CK: 'Sandman'? - that's an interesting one.
AW: Childhood again, visits to the seaside, hope versus reality, idiot self-serving politicians.
CK: 'Whose I.D.?'?
AW: Um ... outside interference into the individual human condition - how about that?
AW: Hmm ... well despite other theories it's actually about some godddess-like woman who doesn't specifically exist and will probably always be just out of reach - adolescent of me but quite understandable! - er, isn't it?
CK: 'Cold war Baby'?
AW: The top end of St. Mary Steet in Cardiff in the 1980's, obscure punk bands, that kind of thing.
CK: 'Android Song'?
AW: Blimey are we there yet? - um, oh yes - beaurocrats and money-driven prats.
CK: 'Dove & A Raven'?
AW: Listen to it - that's yer lot!
AW: No thanks I've just had one!
CK: More tea vicar?
AW: Yes please - thanks very much! ...