Friday, March 23, 2012

Locrian at Uneasy Listening: "I WANT TO BE SMEARED. I WANT TO BE NOT SO CLEAR"

Steven Hess and I recently spoke with Jamie Ludwig who started a great new website called Uneasy Listening. This turned out to be one of my favorite interviews that we've done. Here's an excerpt.

Link to the entire interview here.

"I’m hanging out with Locrian’s André Foisy at The Map Room in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, waiting for drummer Steven Hess to arrive when he tells me that a recent night out with friends has left Wang Chung’s “Everybody Have Fun” stuck in his head for days. Rather than being frustrated, or even hateful of the mental loop, Foisy says he’s rather enjoying the 80s party hit and even sings the chorus for emphasis. This makes me laugh because a) it’s Wang Chung, and b) enthusiasm for this particular track is not what I expect to hear from a dedicated experimental musician who plays in a band more known for exploring the outer reaches of noise, drone, heavy metal, ambient, and avant-jazz than it is for new wave. At the same time, given its non-adherence to convention, and its knack for successfully blend seemingly incongruous elements together, if Locrian announced its next project was a collection of dance covers not only would I not be surprised, but I’d be eager to hear it too.

Foisy (guitars, Arp Avatar, electronics) co-founded Locrian with Terrence Hannum (vocals, synthesizers, piano, organ, Mellotron, and tapes) in 2005. Despite periodic collaborations with other musicians, the band remained a two-piece until recruiting Hess, an accomplished drummer who also performs with Haptic and Pan American, among others, just before recording its third studio album The Crystal World (Utech, 2010).

Each band mate has his hands full juggling musical projects, work, relationships, and in Foisy’s case, managing extreme music label Land of Decay, but as a group, they are especially prolific. In just over six years, Locrian has produced upwards of twenty releases that encompass varying musical textures, moods, and instrumentation, and are often delivered in limited editions or multiple formats.

Hannum relocated to Baltimore in 2011, a move which might seem disruptive to an outsider but which hasn’t slowed Locrian down a bit. Since the summer of 2011, the band has released three albums including New Dominions (Utech), an evocative split LP with psyche/drone metalist Horseback, a critically-acclaimed, genre-defying fourth full-length, The Clearing (Fan Death), and Bless Them That Curse You (Profound Lore/Utech/Sige/Land of Decay), a sparse, graceful collaboration with fellow experimentalists Mamiffer (Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner).

What’s more, Foisy and Hess tell me over pints of exotic beers (Hannum, being across the country, was unable to join us), they’ve just been signed to Relapse Records and plan to record their next full length later this year. Relapse will also re-release The Clearing on CD and packaged with a bonus disc as The Clearing/The Final Epoch. Cheers to you, Locrian! Our interview follows."