Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with Labyrinth Ear

In recent history I posted about the up and rising duo in the electronic scene, Labyrinth Ear. I then contacted the duo and requested for an interview. The two were ever so kind to oblige and gave some incredibly thoughtful and elegant answers.
(image from

For a more thorough bio/information on the band, you can go to my Music To Discover post about Labyrinth Ear, here.

On to the interview!

Chromatist: How have you been?
Labyrinth Ear: We're very healthy, thank you, and yourself?
C: Doing quite well, incredibly busy, but doing well, thanks for asking!

C: Who makes up Labyrinth Ear?
LE: Tom and Emily

C: How would you define not only your band but also your sound?
E: The band is an outlet for our various thoughts and ideas, it's quite difficult for me to define us at the moment, as I'm not very sure myself yet, I don't really know exactly how others view us, there's quite a few conflicting descriptions.As we're still fairly new I feel we've got a lot more to come and this could change people initial impressions of us.
T: We haven't particularly set out to make a certain style of music, it's just sort of ended up how it is... Other people are better at describing it, our music, than we are. We have a lot of ideas that we'd like to incorporate into our music, some are easier to do than others. A lot of the time it's just about the tools that you have in front of you.

C: As ubiquitous a question as it is, what are some of your greatest influences?
T: My influences would be mostly electronic music, a lot of 80s and 90s house, techno and electro, italo, etc...
E: For me I would say many various and obscure film soundtracks.

C: On the song Lithium, is that a clarinet I hear? Correct me if I'm wrong. I can't say as I've ever really heard an instrument that classical used in electronic music. Was there any specific reason to combine classical-elements with electronic?
T: The backbones of this track I made many years ago, Emily really liked it and wanted to work with it,  I was reluctant at first but then we worked it some more and it became something we were happy with. The clarinet sound is from an FM synth, I just liked the timbre of it, it suited the mood of the track quite well. It has quite a sombre sound.
E: In general I've noticed that I seem to combine many different influences into one song, no matter where it may have come from. This sometimes can really irritate Tom, he would say something like, "But they're from two different eras... It doesn't make sense!"

C: What is the creative process like for you?
T: Well it's a very two way thing. We lock ourselves away in a quiet room and play each other music that we like or that we've been working on, do a bit of experimenting, researching and discussing. We find a lot of musical productivity happens at night time rather than in the day.

C: Are there any subjects/topics that you as a band want to discuss, in terms of your music's message and underlying theme?
E: Topics are usually put forward by me in the lyrics. I find it is a good outlet for me to throw them out there, I used to tell people what they were about, but I reread some interviews and I sounded either insane or annoying...Damien Hirst worried me by saying something in an interview about how people like art about problems, it's creating a celebration of them, but people don't like the man down at the pub moaning about problems. That's why I'm a bit reluctant to say, I don't want to appear moan-y or preachy as these are issues I feel strongly about, also sometimes the topic might be disturbing. For example some topics I've written about have been from news stories about murder, to homelessness in the UK. 
I try to keep the love stuff to a minimum.

C: Any upcoming plans, releases, tours?
LE: We have quite a few plans being made at the moment, I can't tell you much but we can tell you thre will be a release of a new EP soon.

C: Your refix of this Is How We Walk On the Moon is absolutely wonderful, what made you choose to work with this song?
LE: Arthur Russell's music is very important to us. Normally we'd steer clear of touching the classics. But we had a hankering to remix something that was special to us. We just started playing with the song, with no real intention to take it any further, but we started to get attached to it so we finished it, took a chance and put it out there. The response from people has been very kind and we just hope that it will draw a couple of new people to his music.

C: Do you find any inspiration in visual arts, dance, film?
E: I find influence from film very much, and looking at people in daily life, I think I'm a visual person, images help me to digest sounds and the connotations of those sounds, I use a lot of sample noises from film soundtracks, and I've noticed that my lyrics are quite colour description, art used to be my main focus. If I lost my sight I think it would make music very hard for me. I rely on it a great deal for being creative in music, I think It'd have to go into my old thoughts and memories for visual inspiration.

C: What is something that people should know about your music?
E: Some of the songs may appear very earnest, but they're not. I can't think of anything else.

C: Any parting words?
LE: We enjoyed writing this, interviews force us to reflect on our music and remind us we should do that more.
E: I think I talk to much.

I disagree! All of Labyrinth Ear's answers were incredibly detailed and it was an absolute honor to interview them.
Once again, thanks to Labyrinth Ear, and if you want to hear more from them check out their Facebook page or my original Music To Discover post, here.

I hope everyone is having a pleasant week.
I'll hopefully post, at least a short post, this weekend.
Love you all!

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