Singularity: Interview with John Green from Singularity

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean

Interview

Sorry, but I don't know a lot of things about your band, so at first some "standard questions"! Please tell me something about the history of the band, something about the members!

Matt and Andrew have been friends for 25 years, and I (John) have known both of them for 20 years. The three of us had played in a few bands over the years, but this is the first time we have taken writing and recording to this level. Andrew and Jamie met in art school several years ago, so Andrew was really the common element who brought us all together.

How did it come to the bandname?

We considered several names early on, but Singularity seemed to capture the essence of what we were trying to accomplish - a single, common point at which all of our musical influences meet to create something unique and greater than the sum of the parts.

Are there earlier releases? What about the label, the success?

We did release a self-titled EP about a year before Color of Space which had "Lenses" and "Ebb and Flow". Those were the first two songs we recorded, and we decided to put them on Color of Space along with the four newer songs. Fossil Records, formed by Gary Franklin, was nice enough to bring us onboard their very unique organization after we had started distributing Color of Space independently. Fossil Records manufactures and distributes our CD while giving us complete freedom to promote ourselves in any way we see fit. Gary has put together a collection of excellent Progressive bands whose goal is to share information and expose interested people to their music. Last time I spoke to Gary, he said we were Fossil Records' number one selling artist. I'm not sure if that's still the case, but I sure hope so!

How would you describe your music?

We definitely focus on mood and composition over virtuosity, especially on our upcoming CD "Between Sunlight and Shadow". I think Color of Space has good energy, melody, and rhythms. We never feature an instrument for the sake of featuring an instrument in the form of gratuitous solos, but we'll definitely isolate something if it contibutes to the overall feeling of the piece.

What about the influence of other artists to you?

Andrew's primary influence is Rush, and it's no coincidence that Color of Space has a very Rush-like quality to it. Since Andrew left the band several months ago, I think we have integrated some diverse influences including Porcupine Tree, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd. Musicians who have influenced us a players include Bill Bruford, Steve Malkmus, and Mark Kelly.

How does the songwriting work in the band?

In general I present an overall framework based on riffs/rhythms/chord structures, and then everyone contributes their own parts and suggestions for modifying that framework. More often than not, Matt or Jamie will play something that completely changes the original direction of a piece. One of the nicest aspects of this band is that everyone is always open to following whatever direction the music takes us. Sometimes it's almost like the songs write themselves, which is a very fun and free way to play music.

What does the title of the record mean? But there is no title track!

Color of Space is a lyric in the song "Who We Are". It was intended to imply a broad spectrum of emotions; there are many colors in the vastness of space ranging from total and complete blackness to the firey oranges, red, and yellows of massive stars to the soft, backlit blues and greens and purples of nebulae.

What about your experiences in playing live?

Singularity has never played a live show. We're considering playing a show after our next CD is done, but right now we're really focused on recording.

Are you in touch with other bands?

We attend monthly meetings of the Colorado Art Rock Society (www.coloradoprog.org), and there are several musicans and bands with whom we get a chance to chat including Patch (www.patchmusic.com) and Swans Reflecting Elephants. There are some excellent bands on the Fossil Records label (www.fossilrecords.net) with whom we communicate, including Reindel and The Franklin-Newmann Project.

Do you know the prog scene of the presence?

Attending the Colorado Art Rock Society meetings exposes us to ALOT of new music. It's a great way to hear some great stuff and get a sense of how diverse people's tastes are.

How would you like to develop in the future? Do you think about changing your style?

While our songwriting remains very similar, I do think our style has changed quite a bit. The vocals will definitely sounds different with Matt and I taking over for Andrew. You'll have to check out "Between Sunlight and Shadow" when it gets released!

Is there a most important event in the history of the band?

Other than the actual formation of Singularity, Andrew leaving the band was probably the most significant event in our history.

What about feedback from different countries?

We get a surprising amount of feedback from countries like Finland and Japan. It's always very exciting to read people's comments, and it does seem like we get a more positive response from abroad than we do here in the USA.

Can you tell me something of the process of creating the new record?

Were there any problems or went everything well? Matt's guitar amp died midway throught the recording process, which put us on hold for several weeks. It was also pretty difficult to schedule time in the studio. Other than that, it was really alot of fun and went very smoothly.

Can you give me some liner notes to the songs of your record?

Ripple in Time: Based on a bass line that Andy brought to practice one evening. It started out as a fairly long song with several sections, but underwent alot of changes until it ended up as the version on the CD.
Mars Direct: Andy brought this idea in as a tribute to the work of Dr. Robert Zubrin on Mars Direct, a very detailed and fascinating plan for a manned mission to Mars.
Ebb and Flow: I wrote the overall framework for this song on an old Fender Rhodes over the course of 2 nights, and presented it to the band at a practice session. By the end of the night, Ebb and Flow was pretty much done. It's one of those magical songs that just wrote itself.
Who We Are: This song is based on a couple of fairly spontaneous keyboard lines that I brought to practice, and Andy was inspired to write most of the lyrics and vocals over the next few nights. Matt and Jamie rounded out the composition with essential instrumental and vocal contributions.
Strange Attraction: Andy came up with a rather odd bass line and I, feeling irratible, produced a rather irratated-sounding keyboard line to match. Since we had no recording equipment, we called Jamie (knowing he wasn't home) and played our creation for his answering machine. Matt contributed a major portion of the vocal ideas as well as the awesome guitar work.
Lenses: This was the first thing that Jamie, Andy, and I wrote when Singularity first formed, and it evolved alot after Matt joined the band. I could write many paragraphs about this song, but I'll let Lenses speak for itself.

So you could make a choice, with which band would you like to play live on stage, for example as support?

Porcupine Tree or Spock's Beard.

So you could have the possibility to make this record again. Would you change anything?

If we could do it again, I think we would take much more time with every phase of the process. We spent very little time mixing, and I think it shows.

Is each member of the band absolute satisfied with each song of the record?

Not at all. We all hear plenty of flaws and things we'd love to do over again. That said, I think we did a fine job and we're all very pleased with it.

Was it your intention to handle all the production, distribution and management things self or is it because you couldn't get an record deal?

It was our intention to handle everything, mostly because we were doing it for fun! We never sought out a record deal, although we would definitely be open to it if an opportunity presented itself.


© 09/2001 Renald Mienert
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