It took us more than a year, to get to do an interview with this british progressive black/death avantgarde quaternion of madmen, because of their business with the new album, but it’s finally here. Because of time shortage, they will not do many interviews, so we are very grateful for the opportunity. For Bes B. was asking the questions and guitarist Sam Loynes did the answering for Voices.
B.: Greetings, Voices! How’s it going? What are you working on right now? Are you having any gigs or do you work on any new material? It is three years now, since your last release.
Sam: Time has certainly passed quickly and it feels like yesterday LONDON was released. It’s been a complicated time for the band since then. One positive thing to come out of this past 3 years has been our best work to date…Album number 3. We have no shows on the horizon.
B.: Tell us something more about Voices. What is the idea behind it, how would you categorize the genre you play and in general, where does it lyrically belong? What is the message?
Sam: LONDON was wholly conceptual. A cinematic experience in music form, born of a very productive time. So the message there was of our overactive imaginations, encapsulated within the city we live in. Moving forward we have hit our sonic apex. The next album is, in a sense, more musical. It’s about the songs, the sounds, the lyrics, the hooks and channeling our own musical desires and simply cannot be defined within any extreme music context.
B.: It is no secret, that out of four members of Voices, two were in Akercocke band and one still is. The idea of creating Voices – to whom it belongs? What led you to create Voices, when you were active in a different band and why did the two of you left?
Sam: No one left Akercocke. That band is the creative zenith for maestros Jason Mendonca, Paul Scanlan and David Gray. Anyone else is on the periphery. My view is that anyone lucky enough to share in that project with such influential musicianship, should view it as a privilege, even if it’s a fleeting arrangement. Voices did however, spawn from a yearning for Peter (Benjamin), David (Gray) and myself to continue to create. Akercocke’s progression was uncertain, it understandably needed to lie dormant for a time. A necessary and ultimately positive step in that bands ongoing legacy. Voices was a tributary of that downtime and since has flourished into something we all consider to be some of our greatest recorded work, especially the peak we have now reached with this forthcoming album.
B.: Now, I would like you to tell us something about your releases. Let’s start with the debut “Voices From The Human Forest Create a Fugue of Imaginary Rain”. What does the name suppose to mean? If the album has a concept, what is it? Since I couldn’t find lyrics to this album, I figured only as much, that it has something to do with human emotions. But what about songs such as Dnepropetrovsk, Eyes Become Black or Creating the Museum of Rape? What is their message?
Sam: I wouldn’t want to be as prosaic as to simply outline meanings and metaphorical messages within our work. That’s a part of the appeal for the listener, such as yourself. However as is apparent, that first album has allot of the basics within it. I’d say it has a true sound of 4 people struggling to cope in London and channeling our daily struggle via music. It was largely improvised and the creation of the music was fast and hectic. So I guess you can class it as genuinely primal.
B.: Speaking of concepts, I am sure that “London” album has a concept and quite visible as well, yet so hard to decipher. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it speaks a story of a certain narcissistic “artist”, who is, apart from wondering through a bleak London “in cold buses and cold patrons without features” , writing a suicide note, painting a portrait… of himself…? and is dealing with… a poisoning? What is the story behind this album? Who is “the artist”/ “the actor”, “the actress” and who is “Megan”? Whom is he jealous of (Last Train Victoria Line)? Why did they poison him? And who is “they”? I could go forever, asking these kinds of questions, so please, give us a description and a meaning to your work.
Sam: It’s obvious you’ve really taken the time to listen to every facet of that record. Thank you for that. Again we wouldn’t want to destroy the interpretation or visualisations conjured by your own mind. Needless to say you have a deep understanding and can see what we, at the pint of creation, saw narratively speaking. One clue for the aficionados, like yourself, thats worthy to gain a deeper understanding of the record and its influences…. go and get a copy of The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. Read the book and then watch the film adaptation starring Ralph Fiennes. This is as close to a physical manifestation of the albums concepts that exists. Not to say it is a direct sonic translation but rather the ‚muse‘ behind the concept.
B.: Will the next album be as storytelling, as the latest release? If so, could you tell us at least a bit about it? When will it be released?
Sam: We are approaching the end of the line with the album. Hoping an early 2018 release. The album is not a concept album. We have done this and left it behind. It’s an album with real ‚songs‘ on it… this will be apparent when people get their hands on it. Unlike before we have created an album of somehow recognisable yet utterly unique hits.
B.: What is your inspiration in writing lyrics and music? Is it just walking “through the streets of London” that is so inspiring, or is it something else, maybe some bands? What bands each of you like the most?
Sam: Musically we collectively span such a wide terrain of music it would pointless to try and note them down! That’s the key, this band are just as likely to be listening to Avalon by Roxy Music as we are to be listening to Bad by Michael Jackson. Ironically I would say it’s within heavy music we are more particular about than any other.
B.: Tell us something about your writing process. Do all four of you work together to write music, or each of you has his own place? If so, who is the mastermind behind the concepts/lyrics/music?
Sam: In each and every element it is a collaborative process. For the first 2 albums the music was largely improvised with the exception of one or two individually written by myself or Pete initially and then developed as a group. For instance I wrote „The Ultimate Narcissist“ and „Music For the Recently Bereaved“ and Pete wrote „Suicide Note“ and „Cold Harbour Lane“. However through bringing it to the rehearsal space is the way in which these songs reach their full body.
B.: Thank you very much for your time and answers. The last words for your patrons and for the readers of this interview are yours.
Sam: Out of the recent sparse time for Voices, we know album number 3 will challenge and hopefully ignite the spark shown by our listeners throughout our time thus far. It shall surface soon and with time, Voices will lead you once again down the rabbit hole.