Interview

Selon Recliner

Selon Recliner

Monday 9th August, 2010 1:34PM

Been around since?

Guy Wishart & I began writing songs together with an acoustic guitar & a Dictaphone on an inner city Auckland veranda during the summer of 2004. By mid winter we were bored with the Dictaphone & acoustic gat and started collaborating with Michael & Vern… not long after Darls & Perry were on board too and things started to take shape. Darls is attached to Michael & has the voice of an angel and it made perfect sense to have her sing and not just drink all the wine while we were rehearsing.

Current line up?
Belinda Bradley - Vocals. Darlene Te Young - Backing Vocals. Vernon Rive - Bass. Michael Te Young - Drums. Roy Godwin - Guitar. Guy Wishart – guitar. Perry Bradley - Electronica.

Where are you based?
All over the place… Auckland central, Mangawhai heads, Coatesville & Bangalore - India

Musical history?
We’ve all been in a lot of different bands ranging from Metal to early Punk & Ska, to 90’s grunge and folk outfits. Guy is the only musician in the band who has had a solo career, one that includes winning a Silver Scroll. Guy is in India on hiatus at the moment. Perry & I met in my very first band pulled together by my brother, none of us could really play so we wrote our own songs. We were bad but we called it NEW, we learnt how to write & play, it was a very formative time, I was 16. Perry I hooked up and have shared 3 bands since including Selon Recliner, Michael & Vern have held down the Rhythm Section in a handful of Auckland bands, along with Darlene on backing Vocals. Roy has metal roots, Roy & Darlene were childhood friends & did some very early band stuff together, we’ve recently seen some old video evidence… it will never be shared;) When we started Selon Recliner we’d all worked with at least one band member in the past, it was a relaxed process of hanging out, jamming and song writing. Roy is the newest recruit coming in at the beginning of this year with a whole album to learn, and the Selon Recliner musical language to interpret, which he has done with panache & added his own flare to mix us up a bit.

What are you listening to at the moment?
Perry is listening to: Animal Collective, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens Michael is listening to: Toto (for Jeff Pocarro's grooves), David Byrne Roy is listening to: Dewey Cox, Chicken Foot, The Raconteurs Belinda is listening to: Grizzly Bear, Karl Off, Goldfrap Vern is listening to: Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Vol 8. Tell Tale Signs. Fat Freddies Drop Dr Boondigga & the Big BW. Ryan Adams, Heartbreaker. Darlene is listening to National Radio for sanity while navigating her busy but adorable 1 year old daughter.

What were you listing to in High School?
Vern listened to: Herbie Hancock, Bob Dylan.
Perry Listened to: Little Feat, Cabaret Voltaire, The Clash.
Roy listened to: Van Halen, Public Image Limited (PIL).
Belinda listened to: Tchaikovsky, David Bowie.
Michael listened to: The Police, U2, The Cure
Darlene has baby brain & can’t remember... although I think she said A-ha… but I’m sure she didn’t mean it;) We were too lazy to mail Guy in Bangalore to find out his present & past playlist.

What is your writing/recording process?
We have a broad influence base which was quite interesting when we were getting to know each other and required a lot of explanation. We bring our own musical quirks to Selon Recliner, there’s a rubbing off process that has happened in the band where the collective personality has become stronger than each individual and this is what gives our music it’s flavour. Our songs in the early days came from Guy with a pretty formed idea on gat, which I’d then take and muck around with melody & words. Then as a collective we’d suss out the arrangement & feel, and most of the time the songs would morph wildly from their acoustic beginnings. Songs on “The Orchid Door” are way more organic with one song being inspired from a single arpeggio loop on guitar, everyone took time to develop ideas, new ways of playing the instruments like bowing bass strings which appears in “If”. Reading out names & numbers from the white pages, reversing it and running it continuously in the background of “Everyone Moves Away” we tried out lots of stuff as we demoed and created the songs. We mucked around with time signatures, got the keys right for the emotional timbre of the voice and deconstructed on occasion the traditional pop song structure, when the song was more a piece, or a journey, rather than a verse/ chorus deal. Our goal hasn’t been to nail a particular sound, rather to explore with a set of instruments, our desire is to write music that creates atmosphere and I guess we just write for ourselves… which might marginalise us but it keeps us searching for our best.

Your Dream Collaboration?
We’ve always laughed about working with Nigel Godrich…. He has such a cool ear for production… and helped create some monster records. But we reckon Dave fits us just fine… and would give Nigel a run for his money.

You’ve got a new album out – tell us about it
The Orchid Door was recorded at Venn Studios with Dave Holmes engineering & co- producing. Even though the songs had been nutted out through the demoing process they were ready for that injection of inspiration you get when the excitement of recording proper kicks in. We recorded the Rhythm section including rhythm guitar over a 3 day weekend where we put down 15 songs. We wanted to capture the energy Vern & Michael share together as a section and if we made in any changes at that stage we could groove on it & get it right. From there we built up all the other tracks. There was ongoing importing of Perry’s sounds as he would create them in his home studio and Dave would receive digital carpet bags of sounds & keyboard lines to weave through the songs. It was a satisfying process with its predictable moments of challenge along with moments of discovery. We also managed real strings into a few of the songs, which is something we’d been wanting to do for a long time. The orchid Door is a cohesive body of work that had a good feeling about it while we were recording, and has met our expectations as a finished product.

Is this your debut?
If not, what other releases do you have out?
The Orchid Door is our 2nd album. Rest Room was our debut album released in 2006.

How did your album release party go? Who’s idea was it to have it at a Chinese Restaurant and why?
The Orchid Door "Buffet & Show" was "Sweet" and Sour (he he). The New Orient weaved its charm and people were really turned on by the concept… the show had great audio & visual production thanks to Zef, Zach & karl, and a very friendly interactive audience made up of friends, family & fans. We were hoping for a bit of chopstick throwing… but everyone seemed too mesmerised by their surroundings & were happily transported through the Orchid Door with tummies full of pork dumplings. The idea came about because of the slight oriental flavour to the album, some sounds & imagery, along with the albums name itself. The Orchid Door is taken from a set of ancient Korean poems. So the Buffet & Show seemed like a cool thing to do.

Of all the instruments you own, or have owned, what is your favourite?
Michael is the gear freak… he collects vintage drum kits & his fav to date is his 1962 Rogers white pearl holiday kit with Dynasonic snare. Although I have just started using a stomp box for Vocal distortion which is big fun and gets overused!

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt musically in the last year?
To keep exploring ideas and not settle when something is working straight off, doesn’t mean it’s hit its mark, we put pressure on each other to go harder & it worked.

What has been your favourite show to date?
The Orchid Door Release Buffet & Show

If you could share the stage with anyone (band or person) who would it be?
It would be with my Grandfather Fred Gedson, he was a drummer, percussionist & could play the xylophone with 3 sticks per hand. He led his own jazz band the “Fred Gedson Band” back in the 40’s & performed regularly at the Winter Gardens during the Civic’s Hay Day. I never met him, he died when my mother was a child. I’ve often thought about how wonderful it would have been to have had his mentoring, he trained one of his younger cousins as a jazz vocalist, Ngaire Gedson, who ended up singing at a number of Jazz festivals in America.

The future holds...?
Ha... well good things… we love the music we make… and keen to get as many people through the Orchid Door as possible.

The state of music in NZ is...
So good it’s SCARY!



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