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god bows to math

god bows to math

Interviewed by
Michael McClelland
Friday 4th November, 2011 11:55AM

After three and a half years, god bows to math are finally set to release their full-length debut album on November 7th. They're no strangers to hard work, with a number of tours and various other releases already to their name. It looks like this one will keep with band tradition, promoted through a few extensive tours in the coming months. For some insight into the long-overdue first album, UTR talked to guitarist/vocalist Martin Phillips.

So where’s the band currently at with putting out the album?

Everything’s finished and assembled. Just waiting for the release date (Nov 7th) to get it out there!

After various split releases and EPs... why only a full-length now?

I think of an album as more of a cohesive statement from a band. It makes no sense to rush it and just put the first 12 songs we got on a disc. The two split EPs we’ve done have been more of a promotional tool for tours, and as such were more of a marker for where we were at that time as a band.

And with years of touring locally under your belts, do you think you’ll head overseas any time soon?

We are! Currently planning go and play a few dates in Australia with a band called Make More from Brisbane next April then come back and do a big NZ tour and get down to the South Island for the first time in over a year now.

Given that you took your name from the song by Minutemen, would you say after all these years they still have a direct influence on the band?

I’d like to think the Minutemen have an influence on pretty much every independent band whether they realise it or not.

Any bands you’ve picked up on since then that have had a more recent impact on your music?

I think Wilberforces, Malenky Robot and Sharpie Crows all had a big impact when we started out playing shows. It’s awesome to have such quality music in our backyard.

If you had to narrow it down to one... who’s your favourite local band?

That’s an impossible feat; the beauty of being part of a local music scene is the breadth of music you get to experience. Every week you can see another amazing band. I saw Attic Skys the other week and those guys really impressed me. Other than that: Postures, Sharpie Crows, Rifles, Captain Sergeant Major (pretty much any band from Wellington that was around circa 2008). Wilberforces, Welcome to Concrete, Proton Beast, Diving, Mean Girls and High Society are all fantastic and that’s just the ones playing shows at the moment - there’s also Vacants, Meterman, Damsels. So many good bands here!!

As for the album itself... what does it sound like?

It sounds like us I think. It’s definitely the most cohesive thing we’ve done to date, an accurate distillation of our first three and a half years as a band. There’s a few slower songs on there, a few different ideas as well as a few songs we’ve been playing live since our first show three and a half years ago.

How was it recorded and everything?

It was recorded originally with Daniel Speight in December 2010/January 2011 but we ended up losing half the tracks and Dan left to head back to the UK so we used the recordings we had as a stop-gap EP and decided to head down to Whanganui to record with Warner Emery. We heard of his studio through some friends in Wellington, he did Terror of the Deep’s last album which sounded amazing so we went down and recorded it over a week down there. We ended up running out of time near the end so when we got back to Auckland we finished up with vocals and overdubs with our friend Tyler and tried to frantically get it mixed before it went over to Chicago for mastering.

Do you think there’s a certain advantage in getting mastering work done overseas?

I think there’s an advantage in getting mastering work done by people whose work you respect and people who do mastering full-time. That was my one concern with mastering the album that I wanted to spend decent money getting it done professionally, it just worked out that with schedules and the exchange rate the best option for us was to go to Jason Ward (at Chicago Mastering Service), there’s certainly heaps of amazing engineers locally who I would’ve loved to have work on it; I really like Angus McNaughton’s work, same for Dale Cotton.

How are you going to release the album?

CD and digital formats. At the moment a vinyl release is unfortunately beyond our means.

Will you be touring? Where are you heading?

We’re gonna spread the album tour out over a couple of months, take our time and finish up around Christmas. Then we’ll do a big month-long tour next year.

Dates at the moment are;
10th November - Auckland @ Whammy FREE SHOW
11th November - Whanganui @ The ARC Theatre $10
25th November - Hamilton @ Static $10
16th December - Whakatane @ TBC
17th December - Tauranga @ TBC
21st December - Wellington @ Mighty Mighty
22nd December - Palmerston North @ TBC


Any valuable lessons you’ve learned this year?

We’ve learned the importance of keeping to tight schedules, and how to multi-task.

Does it show in the album?

Probably not, the beauty of spending a week in a different city recording (with very little internet access) is that you can focus on the task at hand.

What’s a favourite album of yours that particularly inspired this album?

I’m not sure if there is one that particularly inspired this album. We were trying with this album to make it something that works as a whole, rather than just a collection of songs. In that sense I guess Mogwai’s Rock Action would be a reference point, as well as pretty much anything that June of 44 have done.

What do the next 2-3 years look like for you and the band?

Touring and promoting the album, hopefully heading for a few short trips overseas then taking our time and writing a follow-up.

Finally, any words on New Zealand and where it’s brought the band?

I know there’s a tendency to look on the negative side when talking about New Zealand music and it is depressing to see a lot of bland, generic imitations of overseas trends being lauded as something remarkable. But once you get past that New Zealand is a pretty amazing place to be making music. Being isolated geographically from the rest of the world seems to have influenced a sense of camaraderie. For us the support that we’ve been shown by people here is awesome, Wilberforces helped us with our first show and bands like them and Sharpie Crows, Malenky Robot, Sherpa, Postures et al have been a source of constant support and inspiration. There is a very altruistic element when you remove the chance of making huge amounts of money out of music. Bands, promoters and media here tend to do everything out of the love of music, not to make profit. Undertheradar have been amazing to us over the last three years which helps out immensely for a band with no money and little hope of any sort of mainstream recognition.


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