Every now and then musicians feel the urge to spread their wings and do something totally different from their main commitments. Bruce Soord of Pineapple Thief fame is one of those people. With Wisdom Of Crowds he explores his love for Depeche Mode and other likeminded bands. In Jonas Renkse of Katatonia fame he found a kindred soul and together they set out creating some soul stirring music…
What brought about the collaboration between the two of you? Your bands have vastly different sounds and, to a certain extent, audiences.
Yes, you’re right. Everyone is saying it’s a surprising collaboration. But I’ve always been a fan a Katatonia, ever since I joined Kscope and ran off with a load of Peaceville CDs! So if I get Katatonia, I’m hoping a lot of others will understand where the collaboration is coming from too. It will be very interesting to see how it is received by both sets of fans. I have no expectations at all.
In which areas do you and Jonas differ and to which extent do you complement each other as both persons and musicians?
Jonas is one of the most chilled out guys I have ever met. We had such a cool time together when we tracked the vocals (which were recorded at my studio). We had never met each other before so I confess to being a little apprehensive at the time, but I needn’t have been, because Jonas nailed the vocals so quickly, we were able to spend a lot of time cooking, drinking and fighting over who got to play the next tune on Spotify. I learnt a lot about music that week, Jonas has very eclectic tastes. I think that’s why musically it worked so well.
The WoC album is quite different to your other projects, although you can hear influences of both, was doing something different a conscious goal?
No, to be honest when the project started I had no goals at all. I think for that reason I was able to play with all the influences and sounds I had loved over my musical life. I could bring in break beats, distort things, play with fat synths and subs and I also found a lot more time to play the guitar, as I didn’t have the vocal to express myself with. It was great fun to have no boundaries. Obviously I had to keep the record consistent, so as soon as the sound found itself, I ran with it.
Which bands/artists influence the album, or was it more of an experimentation?
There was experimentation, but I think you could hear influences from the late 90s trip hop scene for starters. I live near Bristol and I remember back then we were slowing down break beats and trying to sound like Portishead. I also like a lot of the electronic bands who still sound like a live band. Bands like NIN & Depeche Mode. And then there are my metal influences that maybe people don’t realise I have, bands like Fear Factory, Death and Celtic Frost. Jonas and I had some late nights talking about the late 90s metal scene…
How did the recording process go for the album?
It was recorded in my studio, where I track most of the TPT stuff. It actually started about 4 years ago and I would dip in and out of the project over the years. The thing is, we could never get the vocals right. When Jonas agreed to come on board everything came together. He flew to my studio in January 2013 and the final, massive piece of the puzzle was put into place. The album would have remained on the shelf for ever had it not been for Jonas.
Your first show will be at the Kscope 5th Anniversary show, how do you feel about performing this material live?
I’ll tell you after the show! It’s a big risk and obviously a lot of the sounds will have to go on backing track. But I want to make it as live as possible. I always laugh when I see people at festivals watching bands like the Chemical Brothers essentially miming to a killer light show. I don’t want it to be like that.
There has been quite a lot of interest in WoC, which is understandable given the success of your full-time bands; will this be something you pursue in the future?
We’ve certainly not discounted it. Obviously Katatonia will always be priority for Jonas but if we can fit some more albums and maybe some small tours around our projects, then I think we’re both up for it. We really have no idea what is going to happen to be honest. Watch this space.
In conjunction with the previous question, how are you and Jonas combining the activities for WoC with Pineapple Thief and Katatonia respectively?
We’re just going to fit it in as best we can. The last thing I want is for WoC to have any kind of negative impact on our main projects. Katatonia are really moving forward at a rate of knots at the moment.
What is next for you guys as far as your other commitments are concerned?
I’m not sure what Jonas is up to (apart from being very busy!) but personally after a few shows in the summer, TPT are back into the studio to record our next studio album, due out on Kscope next spring. If things go to plan, there may be a WoC tour in December but it’s very early days…